- “We live in a generation that prides itself on personal preferences and choices. We believe what we want to believe, and reject those things that do not fit our personal viewpoint. This is especially true when it comes to matters of religion. We hold today to a bewildering array of religious beliefs. Some of us can even be quite religious about our refusal to believe in God! On his deathbed in 1882, Charles Darwin spoke regretfully of what his contemporaries had done with his ideas and speculations on the origins of life: ‘To my astonishment the ideas took like wild-fire. People made a religion of them.’
We pride ourselves on being more intelligent, more sophisticated, and more informed about what we believe than previous generations. We even promote critical thinking in our schools, yet one has to wonder how critical our thinking really is! The fact is that we are not very different from earlier cultures, including the ancient Greeks. As Jesus responded to Martha, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it has been true throughout human history, ignorance and arrogance all too often walk hand in hand…”
Copyright ©2007 Christopher N. White. (Written for a talk at Columbia University.)
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