Friday, March 25, 2016

Doubting Thomases all

The earth awakening, again

Today my school district is closed because the symbol of the dominant religion round these parts was crucified on this day.  I am a science teacher in this district, paid to teach young humans a way of thinking that unveils the terrible beauty of patterns in the natural world, so that we can alter the same natural world in beautiful and terrifying ways

Make no mistake--science is a revered discipline not for what it teaches us about our role in the universe. It is revered for the awesome power it unleashes. We have become the gods we pretended to become back when Adam ate the apple.

Madam Marie's, Asbury Park, a place for believers
(credit Leslie Doyle)

I have faith that the outside world exists external to us. I have faith in uniformitarianism, that things behave the way now that they always have, that they behave here as they do there. And that's about as far as my faith goes as a science teacher within the walls of Room B361.

During lunch yesterday I was asked if I was "religious" by a colleague who wondered aloud if any science teachers have faith. I answered yes, and that's as far as that conversation went. I grew up Catholic because I was born of Irish American parents in the mid-20th century in the eastern part of the United States. God's honest truth.

I am a man of faith, maybe too much, but not a man of belief. I maybe could use a little more of that.


The oldest Gospel Mark was written a few generations after the death of Jesus--the original version ends with the women running from the empty tomb.
"When they heard, they fled and went out from the tomb, for shock and trembling had seized them and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."

And that's it. That's it.

Nothing of the power of believers to drive out demons, to handle snakes, to speak in tongues, to drink poisons without harm, to heal with a laying of hands. None of the fun stuff that makes evangelical Christianity so powerfully attractive.

Ol' Doubting Thomas doesn't appear until the Gospel of John, written a few generations after Mark. Thomas needed to see Jesus' wounds to believe he was Jesus, and the Lord invited Thomas to thrust his fingers into the wounds, or so the story goes.

I suppose I should appreciate the story a bit more, given that it gives the stamp of approval for skepticism, allowing us to poke our fingers places we shouldn't poke them. but the skepticism only goes so far.

I have today off because a good portion of folks in this part of the world confound faith and belief.

It's been raining off and on for hours.  I will wander out to a muddy patch of earth, poke my fingers into the ground to remind me that it, too, exists, then drop a few peas into the ground, hopeful that they will grow.

Peas growing in B361

I have faith that they will, even if I do not believe it. And they do.

The heart of science is blowing up beliefs.


Anonymous said...

This: " my school district is closed because the symbol of the dominant religion round these parts was crucified"

You are better at scientific reasoning than to say that. Thousands of people have been crucified. So while it is true that the symbol of the dominant religion was crucified, crucifixion did not make him special enough to cause school closures both continents and millennia removed. It was the resurrection that did that.

doyle said...

Ah, Grasshopper, Easter fell on Sunday--we got Friday off for the Crucifixion.
And my view of the Resurrection starts and ends with the original Mark.

Still, the point is I edited it a tad.

Evidence indeed