Fundamentalism: America’s Greatest Threat
There, philosophers of every background and religion freely exchanged ideas. Vast advances were made during this time, including the very fundamentals of economics, secular humanism, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, environmentalism, free-market capitalism, the scientific method, peer-review, and astronomy. In fact, it was muslim scientists, not Galileo or Copernicus, that first considered the idea that the earth orbits the sun.
The Islamic world also brought us advanced mathematics, including algebra and algorithms. It is even the source of our superior modern number system. If it weren’t for the muslims during that time, we’d still be using roman numerals.
During the many Christian attacks on Cordoba and Jerusalem, Mongol hordes led by Genghis Khan invaded the muslim empire in the east. In 1258, Baghdad was captured by Hulagu Khan. Since the Mongols had no use for science, art, or literature, much of this knowledge was destroyed. Soon thereafter, a new movement in Islam arose. A new movement that rejected the new principles of science and reason. This was the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism.FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Al-Ghazzali"
Abu Hāmed Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazzālī is widely lauded in the Islamic world as one of, if not the greatest muslim philosophers. He objected to all the advances gained by rational thought and scientific inquiry, and instead postured that all things happened because of the will of Allah. He rejected principles that may seem plainly self-evident even to the most rabid christian fundamentalist today. One of his primary rejections was that of the law of cause-and-effect. The philosophers of his day said that if one held a fire to some cotton, the cotton would ignite because the fire was next to it. al-Ghazzali said that it was Allah who caused the cotton to burn, not the fire. This is one of the earliest examples of “God of the gaps” fallacy, which is the belief that anything that can’t be explained by science is proof that God did it.
“God did it” was a profoundly disastrous philosophy for the Islamic world. Believing that God causes a man’s hand to move stifles any further inquiry into the matter, and prevents the future discovery of the nervous system. Likewise, creationists today opposing a scientific approach to the origin of life are only stifling any scientific inquiry into the matter, locking away any number of great advances our society could enjoy simply because the prospect that life originated by natural means is uncomfortable to their religious sense.
Fundamentalism Destroys Culture
When the Ottoman empire was formed in 1299, the old beacon of Islamic knowledge had long crumbled into oblivion, leaving only the Turks and scattered arabic and persian nomads. Gone were the philosophers, the scientists, and the mathematicians.
The danger today
There is a growing movement in this country that is not just against a few scientific theories like evolution or the big bang, it is against science itself. “Science leads you to killing people,” says Ben Stein, a creationist economist and political commentator. In his new movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” he charges scientific thought with horrific (yet baseless) accusations. He blames the holocaust on evolution and atheism, despite the fact that Hitler and the Nazis were quite religious, believing they were doing God’s work by exterminating the Jews. In fact, this author finds it quite ironic that Stein, a Jew, would dare accuse science of racism when he subscribes to one of the most racist religions in history: Judaism, a religion that exalts their race of people above all others as “chosen ones.”
It is a religion that, by its own scriptures, brags about committing one of the most heinous genocides in history: a holy war against the Canaanite tribes who occupied land they claimed was promised to them by God. The Jews of antiquity brag about pillaging and burning, slaughtering, raping, and enslaving men, women, and children.
Contrary to Stein’s claim, far more people have been killed in the name of religion than in the name of science. In fact, he believes in a God that has slaughtered by orders of magnitude more than his “devil.”
Now, the creationist evangelical movement is attacking the foundation of science itself, rejecting itself the scientific method, peer-review, and skeptical inquiry. In it’s place, they offer what al-Ghazzali offered in the 1100s: a world where all things are explained by “God did it.”
What they don’t realize is that the things we Americans take for granted–clean water, modern medicine, transportation, free education, and even our advanced weaponry–are all here because of the scientific method. We are the number one military power in the world precisely because of “big science.” We have doubled the human lifespan in less than 100 years because of “big science.” We toppled Sadaam Hussein’s government with minimal effort because of, yes, “big science.”
Think about the scientific level of the muslim world today. The best they can throw at us are IEDs and rocket launchers mounted on pickup trucks. And even then, the insurgents don’t have this technology of their own volition. No, they have it because the scientifically advanced USSR tried to conquer them in the 70’s and 80’s. And that is where their technology has stayed. Even Sadaam Hussein only had 1950s technology to repel the American attack in 2003.
If the fundamentalists take of the education of our children in the next few years, America is doomed to intellectually rot completely within a century. Gone will be our nobel prize winners and scientists as a generation of creationist children enter the workforce; a generation of creationist children taught that the answer to all things unknown is “god did it” thereby making scientific inquiry pointless. If that happens, we’re all doomed. Get ready for serfdom.
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Published: 05.25.08 / 8pm
1David Hammock 05.26.08 / 1pm
There are hundred of years of historical, religious, and spiritual inaccuracies that have either been reported, recorded or distorted. Many who have written about Christianity have written a few things that are true, while even Christians have portrayed Christianity in a persuasive but seductive light, leaving many not knowing the meaning of the word “truth” because it has been exchanged and replaced by a lie. Why would anyone want to be a part of such “life-disturbing” influence?
No wonder more than 95% of those recently surveyed among 294,000 recent “decisions” for Christ, one year later, are no longer in “church.” 91% of teen-agers do not believe in absolute truth. More than 50% of ALL Christians of all ages DO NOT believe Jesus Christ lived a sinless life.
In my estimation, the problem isn’t an exclusive “fundamentalist” problem. I think “religion” is now in despair and is sick. Teen-agers are leaving churches in “Droves.” (See American Family Association). I think Religion is sick, church is sick and what was suppose to be life changing to a planet that is a worshiping planet has been turned into it something it is not.
I’m not really interested in anything masquerading as holy that can’t bring life changing results to it. Why should anyone else? “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Otherwise, I have no time for nonsense. “A church that has lost its’ legitimacy will ultimately lose its power.” –George W. Bush
Rev. David Hammock
2David Hammock 05.26.08 / 1pm
Since the days of the tabernacle, synagogue and temple, paganism, hedonism and other diverse forms of affiliation with something determined to be worth believing in, men have fought.People choose to believe whatever they want to believe. They did in the days of Jesus; they do so today.
If the church is truly interested in surviving, the truth can still be found in the Bible. There is no extra-biblical revelation, irregardless of whom it is presented by. The Holy Spirit of God will not contradict the Bible. If every new movement or wind of doctrine can rock one’s boat, my guess is that they are in the wrong boat.
If there is a God, and God is the universal God of all mankind, I would have a problem if scientific theory couldn’t verify the truth. I think truth can be scientifically validated. Artifacts that are 1000s of years old have been scientifically dated, that confirm the truth of scriptures relating to the crossing of the Red Sea, Noah’s Ark, the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah, the actual tombs of Biblical characters and other Biblical claims.
Faith is required to believe scientific results as well as scientific theory. A bumble bee’s wing span can not theoretically support its’ body weight. The only problem is that the bumble bee doesn’t know that!
Keep up the good work.
Rev. David Hammock
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