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Sam Stumbles a Bit

It's very hopeful for someone who trafficks in rational skepticism to make the following forecast: It seems profoundly unimaginative-and, frankly, dangerous-to think that we cannot possibly overcome the religious divisions in our world. What is the alternative? Do you really … Read More

By / January 30, 2007

It's very hopeful for someone who trafficks in rational skepticism to make the following forecast:

It seems profoundly unimaginative-and, frankly, dangerous-to think that we cannot possibly overcome the religious divisions in our world. What is the alternative? Do you really think that the 23rd century will dawn, with unimaginably powerful technology having spread to every corner of the earth, and our thinking will still be governed by sectarian religious certainties? Muslims eager for jihad? Rapture-ready Christians holding political power?

Sam wrote earlier in this installment of his ongoing "blogalogue" with Andrew Sullivan that, sitting on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee he had what under different circumstances might be termed an "awakening." For Sam, it was nothing more than a momentary flash of Freud's "oceanic feeling," which drives all varieties of religious experience. (That Sam's quasi-feeling took place near the water gives this concept added semantic value, one would think.)

Does any of us really believe that faith will be eradicated even in some technocratic Star Trek future? Sam's case elsewhere hinges on the current abundance of scientific evidence for disproving religious myth, and yet, as he alarmingly reports, the vast majority of Americans still believe in angels. This contradiction hints at an inextinguishable human compulsion to believe in God, and I doubt that two more centuries will be enough time to allow us to evolve to the more self-assured plane where the earthly is precious and, indeed, good enough.

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