Former Priest, now Atheist: Religions Can Contribute To Mental Lazinessby Don Lacey on Aug. 31, 2012, under Atheism, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Creationism, Critical Thinking, Economics, Education, Faith, Freethought, God & Bible, History, Logic, Nature, Question of the Day!, Reason, Religion, Sanity, That's Life!, Willful Ignorance
In this part of Dr Stephen Uhl’s story, he explains how religion can make you mentally lazy.
St. Paul wrote that faith is the foundation of things hoped for, the explanation of things unseen. And the poet Robert Browning wrote “Ah, that man’s reach exceeds his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” This basic and commonly felt desire for more than man can actually achieve creates a wish-fulfilling heaven for many. On the other hand, it energizes curious, rational, scientific minds ever further in their pursuit of knowledge of the real facts of life. The former see a lot of supernatural mysteries and miracles with God solving human problems; the latter work hard building better microscopes, spectroscopes, and computers to expand human knowledge and dissolve the mysteries of ignorance.
Recall that the original sin against God in Moses’ Garden of Eden, as described in his biblical story in the Book of Genesis, was man’s desire for knowledge. Adam and Eve (more correctly, “Man and Woman” or “Male and Female”) were given totally free access to all the delights of the Garden of Eden with one very important exception: they were not allowed to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Well, you probably know the rest of the story, how Satan (Snake) tempted Eve, Eve tempted Adam, and they both ate of “the Tree of Knowledge.” Having eaten of this specially forbidden tree, having committed The Original Sin, they discovered they were naked, became ashamed of their good bodies, and were kicked out of the beautiful Garden of Eden.
And what was God’s specific punishment for Adam and Eve and all their descendants for this curious seeking of knowledge? “In the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread.” Ah, ha; now man has to work in order to eat. What a shame! And the very natural and reasonable tenet that man has to work in order to eat is a hard reality for the lazy. It is surely not nearly as hard as the reality for the little fish swimming his tail off trying not to get eaten by the big fish. Did you ever wonder what that little fish’s original sin was? Why does he have to work so hard to stay alive or else suffer and die so that the big fish might live?
It is so much easier for some to “believe and be saved” from such harsh natural reality—all things are possible for him who believes; the Bible tells me so. Therefore, just believe and you’ll be saved; ask the ignorant poor in a soup line waiting for a free handout. Their faith assures them that God will provide! But some sweaty human being first has to kill an innocent turkey.
The oldest Catholic order of monks, the Benedictines, have a central tenet: Ora et labora, pray and work. When I belonged to that order of monks, yet another of the thousands of divisions within the Christian Churches, we were taught to pray as if all depended on God, but work as if all depended on us. Is that a can’t-lose or a can’t-win arrangement?