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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Don't ask me how I came upon this particular web page, because I can't remember the chain of events that lead me there. It is on the WorldNetDaily web site, which from what I can tell has a conservative slant. The page itself is a critique of Richard Dawkin's recent TV special "Root of All Evil?". The review itself is nothing remarkable. But one paragraph did jump out at me:

Madeline Bunting, a columnist for the Guardian, who reviewed the series, wrote: "There's an aggrieved frustration that [atheist humanists] have been short-changed by history – we were supposed to be all atheist rationalists by now. Secularization was supposed to be an inextricable part of progress. Even more grating, what secularization there has been is accompanied by the growth of weird irrationalities from crystals to ley lines. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, the problem when people don't believe in God is not that they believe nothing, it is that they believe anything."

So belief in crystals and ley lines are weird irrationalites but religion is not? And just where is all the credible evidence for all of religion's claims of miracles and supernatural beings? How is believing that a woman was impregnated by a god or that her son rose from the dead and will some day come back to earth any less irrational than believing in the power of crystals? And religion has never produced any weird irrationalities? Does the Salem witch trials come to mind? And believe it or not, some of the crystal web sites I found were actually written by Christians! (Although maybe they are not real Christians?) Sorry, but secularism does not have a monopoly on weird irrationalities. In fact, weird irrationalities are the hallmark of religion.

Belief in the power of crystals is merely a minor inconsistancy in logical reasoning compared to the effects of religion on rationality. In my quick perusal of some web sites devoted to the power of crystals, they seemed to be primarily about protecting yourself from negative energy and such. Yes, somebody could take this too far and foolishly decide to rely on crystals instead of seeing a doctor for a major health problem. But in general, it seems the biggest danger of believing in crystals will be your money magically disappearing from your pocketbook.

What I didn't find on these web sites was any prescription as to how to live your life. I didn't find anyone preaching about right and wrong, good and evil, saints and sinners. I didn't find anyone villifying people who don't believe in the power of crystals. I didn't find threats of eternal damnation for all those "immoral sinners" who don't follow the power of crystals.

Yes, believing in the power of crystals is an irrational belief. But something tells me that I would have a much easier time convincing a crystal believer that they are being irrational then I would a religious believer. If I got to choose, I would much rather live in a country where the majority of people believed in the power of crystals instead of the power of Christ. Crystals won't tell you whether homosexuality is a sin or whether abortion should be legal. Crystals won't try to impose creation myths upon our science classes or subvert our constitution. Crystals won't command people to persecute, hate and kill in the name of the Almighty Diamond. Hence, I have a much better chance of getting Crystalites to consider such things in a rational manner. Give me the weird irrationalities of secularism any day.

And a note to G.K. Chesterton: When they believe in God, they already believe anything.


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