Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great Hypocracy of the Christian Right

I just finished reading the late Carl Sagan's "Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God". His wife, Ann Druyan, edited this compilation of his lectures at a well-known conference on "Natural Theology". It was an excellent book.

It seemed odd that Sagan, an athiest, would be invited to give these lectures. I suppose it shows the open-mindedness of the inviting organization. Sagan's premise was simply that he couldn't believe in something that there's no evidence of. He dismissed the "First Cause" argument because he knew nothing about what really caused the big bang, and he believed that religions exist primarily as hierarchical structures that produce the kind of order that humans seem to need. Even though I profess my own version of Christianity, much of what Sagan said resonates with me.

The book's punch line has to do with nuclear war, which Sagan feared could annihilate humanity. At the time he gave the lectures there were more than 50,000 nuclear weapons in the world and the saber-rattling was ominous. Although the chance of large-scale nuclear war is much less now than then, his description of its likely impact on the earth is chilling and sobering. How could we ever have gone so far down this road?

Sagan savages right-wing Christianity in his discussion of nuclear weapons. He points out that primary Christian theology includes the "Golden Rule" as well as Christ's commandment to "love your enemy", yet many Christian countries have nuclear weapons and threaten to use them. How hypocritical!

All this brings me to the world of today and the Christian right wing's rabid aggressiveness, warmongering, and unwavering support of the military-industrial complex. Our media allows these self-described Christians to blatently support the U.S.'s "war of choice" in Iraq and its torture of prisoners without pointing out the total inconsistency between their religion's core beliefs and their own behavior. If Jesus was here today I doubt he would have anything to do with these faux Christians - except perhaps to take a whip to the book-selling tables of their leaders. Since he's not here, we are the ones who should be outraged about our own government's two-faced behavior.

Sagan pointed out that at the time he gave those lectures the world's countries were spending a million million dollars each year on armaments, and he claimed this was prima facie evidence that "religion" had failed us. Nothing has changed.


ThomasLB said...

Why don't we take care of the sick on our country? Too expensive. Why don't we have clean, renewable energy sources? Too expensive. Why does every American city have poverty ghettos? Because wages must be kept low in order to keep profits high.

Don't look at the words, look at the actions: Americans don't worship God, they worship money; the military is a tool used to protect and obtain it.

Woozie said...

What he said.

Ron Davison said...

I still think that one serious test of someone's Christianity is whether they've actually come to the point at which they place more stock in Christ's sermon on the mount or Moses's laws.