February 14, 2010

Debating Religion in Public Life

A very interesting article about a very vibrant debate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html

It's noteworthy that such a debate is happening in a developed nation.

I wonder about the time in the future when people in India acknowledge that there's a direct conflict between the teachings of Darwinian evolution and the teachings of religious texts.

I can't believe that people of India are more intellectually secular than Americans.
The events in Ayodhya a couple of decades ago could be a trailer.

It's not that Indians are more 'secular' than Americans or Europeans but their belief system has not been challenged.

So, Indians comfortably continue to have a dual system of belief: at home, Indians are incredibly archaic people with weird belief systems harking back centuries ... worshipping idols of strange Gods.

But, at school, Indians study and absorb and analyze textbooks that propound a purely Western-generated scientific way of looking at the world.

This dichotomy strikes me as particularly incredulous. It's just that religious rituals become almost a part of one's unconscious and people take them forgranted without analyzing the basis for them.

The NYT article BTW generated many, many interesting comments.

It was interesting to see so many readers blithly hoping for Texas to secede ...

And enlightening to read about the Founding Fathers and their religious inclinations ... or, lack thereof. It's truly extraordinary how foresighted the Founding Fathers were more than 200 years ago.

It's worth remembering that Darwin's great idea of evolution still lay in the future and science & technology was really in a rudimentary state when the United States was founded.

On a somewhat different note, is it a cautionary tale that Hitler was a legitimatly elected President of Germany?

Ironically, the one political system that was explicitely predicated on atheistic principles has collapsed - Communism!

What a tragedy ...

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