Secular Religion: Meaningful stories
by phil on Saturday Jan 3, 2009 3:21 PM
I don't think modernism killed religion. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to poke holes into religion. I presented the Adam & Eve story to my dad, and he asked back, simply, "I just don't understand how Adam & Eve populated the Earth. What, did they have kids and those kids have kids? That doesn't make sense." It took my dad about five seconds to come up with that, and that's the kind of logic that could have been prevalent even in 100 AD.
So the question is, is the inaccuracy of the Adam & Eve story a deal-breaker? Perhaps humans have an innate need for authenticity, or some sort of reality principle wherein we only like to believe things that we know are real. Skeptics and science-minded people who cling to evolution theory would believe that a research paper is essential to have a proper origin story.
But I don't believe that scientific rigor is a prerequisite for a story to be meaningful. For example, I don't believe that Tarot cards have any special power, and yet I find that the readings I get are meaningful. We should separate logical consistency as one dimension of a story, and meaningfulness as another. In my opinion, the meaningfulness is what really matters to us.
The ordinary person hasn't read The Origin of Species, or any of the addendums to the theory of evolution. Nor has the ordinary person looked at all the arguments for and against intelligent design. At some point, we just pick a story that is satisfying enough and run with it.