An Iraqi Muslim man on U.A.E. television recently proclaimed that the moon is half the size of the sun, that the earth and the sun are flat, and that things that aren’t mentioned in the Koran are not to be considered in the matter. The man was on a show in which the contestants were debating whether or not the Earth is really flat or not, on a television station that is supposed to be the voice of the Iraqi people.
The average person on the street would say the obvious: that this is funny nonsense. He may say that this is a freak occurrence of silly ideas that come out of religion, which happen every so often, like whales that swallow humans, burning bushes, and magic Mormon underwear. But nobody really takes this seriously, and most religious people know that such stuff is for freaks or are stories to teach lessons to kids.
But the fact is that this sort of nonsense is intrinsically tied to religion and is spreading in America today.
Today, some Christians speak in tongues (speak unintelligible nonsense to themselves), believe in the devil as an actual being, and that the devil is behind things as innocent as Harry Potter. The biggest voting blocks in the United States are Christian, over half of which believe that the Bible is literally true. This means that millions of adults in the US believe in talking snakes, a Jewish zombie who can walk on water, and that a virgin gave birth. All of these beliefs have the exact same invalidity as the belief that the Earth is flat.
Religion is a kind of philosophy that accepts blind faith and the supernatural, and rejects reason and this world. Religion rests on faith, which means accepting something as true without evidence or in defiance of evidence. If you don’t need evidence, you can believe the weirdest things imaginable.
The Middle East had never had an Enlightenment, or a scientific revolution, or an industrial revolution. They have always been basking in a highly religious culture, and they have always had mysticism to guide them into oddities like beliefs in world-wide Jewish conspiracies. America on the other hand, is the highest product of the reason, science, and industry, and is still being overcome by religion. What does that say about the power of the Christian movement today?
Progress is not automatic. Man has free will and can regress into a more primitive stages if he chooses to. Man can ignore the glories of capitalism and accept mysticism. Don’t think that we can’t go back. Greece and Rome were centers of advanced cultures in Ancient times, but the Dark Ages followed them. Ask yourself why.
The Undercurrent is a magazine distributed at college campuses and communities across the country. We release a print edition once per semester, and in the interim, regularly post additional articles, blog entries, and campus media responses reports to our website.
The Undercurrent's cultural commentary is based on Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Objectivism, which animates Ayn Rand's fiction, is a systematic philosophy of life. It holds that the universe is orderly and comprehensible, that man survives by reason, that his life and happiness comprise his highest moral purpose, and that he flourishes only in a society that protects his individual rights.
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