Today, I wanted to openly reply to another blogger who posted a response to my comments on The Root of all Evil? which aired the other night on BBC. I started to write a personal response and decided to post it as a blog entry instead. Scott's Comments can be read here. Here is my open response to Scott's Entry:
Many thanks, Scott!
Yes, you are correct, "Pentateuch" is the word I was attempting to use. I have heard the word but never actually seen it written down. (Surprisingly none of my reading has ever included this word... at least none that I can remember.)
I am, in fact referring to the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, those that more-or-less became the first of the books of the Christian Bible. I gather that I am a bit of an anomaly; having been raised within the Catholic Church, I was never actively encouraged to actually read The Bible. My interest came more from a desire to understanding that which each Sunday I professed a belief in. My sincere thanks for the correction and I will correct the spelling in the entry above.
I'm glad to see that I didn’t attract immediate promises of damnation from the far right for posting it. (Not that it would have made much difference to me…) I have long held the belief that Science and Religion are two servants of the same master. They just hold different positions. Science is there to explain the unknown; Religion is there to explain the unknowable. I have no delusions that we (mankind) will ever unravel all the wondrous mysteries of our universe. At least I hope we don't. It will be a sad day if we ever do. I would hate to live in a universe where there is mystery or reason for inquiry.
I can understand that the mythology preserved in The Bible once served the good and valid purpose of explaining why the universe exists. But mankind has long since moved past the time where we particularly need a creation myth. Our current understanding of how we came about is every bit as miraculous and even more fascinating than that which is taught in Genesis. Don't get me wrong, Genesis is a lovely fable. Two of them really, but it has done its job. When Genesis was written it was impossible for us to grasp the true nature of the universe. We had neither the intellectual maturity nor the base principles to grasp it. But as said in the book of Esther (from The Apocrypha):
God hath wrought signs and great wonders
Our being able to understand how wondrous the universe really is does not diminish how great those wonders that God hath wrought are!
By insisting that all there is to know about God and his wonders was written thousands of years ago and is contained within the covers of one single book, the zealots do their god a disservice. How small a god would he have to be to be completely revealed by a single book that has not changed (except through transcription errors) in hundreds of years.
It's like the whole belief that the Earth is the center of the universe and we are the only intelligent creations in it. What a small god it would take to create nothing more miraculous than us!
Oh, and as for my holding the centrist view and being able to appreciate all sides, yes. I certainly can appreciate that what people believe is what they are comfortable believing, I do wish, however, that some times people would be a little more comfortable appreciating what other people's views are. The world would be a far better place if humans could just learn a little patience and understanding.
I hope wherever you are, you will take a moment to see things from a new prospective.
Don Bergquist – 12-January-2006 – Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom