How is this blog different?

There are a ton of blogs out there about science, religion, and evolution.  Pharyngula and sensuous curmudgeon are two that spring to mind quickly.  Both of these are very good blogs that I would highly recommend.  So, you might ask, how is this blog any different than the many others?  It is written by a regular guy who hasn’t closed the door on faith and religion yet is hesitant to run through it headlong with out peaking inside first and asking some questions.

It seems to me that many of the folks engaged in the so-called “science and religion debate” are at polar opposites of a wide continuum of possible beliefs.  As a result many of these folks, both religious fundamentalists and atheists, come across as zealous nut-jobs.  Being confrontational and in-your-face does little to advance your point, no matter what it is.  The people they are trying to reach instantly put their guard up.  I would be willing to bet that most people fall somewhere in between the opposites of religious fundamentalist and atheist.  These middle of the  road people are the people I want to reach.

It shouldn't be this way...

It’s okay to think and ask questions and be spiritually faithful.  It is not okay to believe something blindly without thinking about what you believe and why you believe it.  Similarly, it is not okay to criticize and belittle someone for what they believe (I have been guilty of this in the past)or don’t believe.  However, stupid is as stupid does.  I do think it is okay to call someone out when they DO something stupid.  Regardless of what someone believes then, if they say or do something not so bright it should be brought to their attention.  I’ll hazard a guess it will happen on this very blog at some point.

Finally, whatever you believe and whatever your relationship with a supernatural entity, it’s personal.  It should be kept that way.  No one wants to be brow beaten and belittled for not sharing someone else’s beliefs.  By all means talk civilly about what you believe with whoever WANTS TO hear it, but don’t force your beliefs on anyone.

So it begins.  As this blog progresses I will be adding posts based on some recent books I’ve read, including How to Think Theologically, The Faith Instinct, and Science and Theology: an introduction.  If you find anything I written so far, make a comment below and let the civil banter begin…

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About benevolentheathen

I am an Associate Professor of Biology at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. I teach courses in ecology, evolution, and behavior with an emphasis on terrestrial vertebrates, especially reptiles. In recent years I have become increasingly interested in the interplay between science and religion. I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I am continually reassessing my thoughts and ideas about God, faith, and religion and how they fit into my empirical worldview. View all posts by benevolentheathen

5 responses to “How is this blog different?

  • J.F. Wickey

    Hm. Are you sure you want to do this, man? Coyne is very good. I was listening on the way to St. Louis. Could it be that religion is precisely the kind of social evolution that works for/against the human race? Just rambling because I’m still seeing the center line from the drive. LOL

  • benevolentheathen

    I don’t think evolution of any sort is for or against anything. Evolution is a blind process.

  • The Free Thought Activist

    I like the premise of this blog, and I couldn’t think of anyone I know who would be a better fit to speak on such topics in such a combination. After your recent news article it will be interesting to see what you come up with. Referencing your latest post, you said any relationship with a supernatural being should be kept personal, however, that goes almost directly against the tenants of Christianity. One of the main ideas of Christianity is to “spread the faith”, and there have been people who have given their lives because they believed in it so strongly. I agree that one should not “belittle” or “browbeat” another on the topic of faith, but asking a devout Christian to keep their faith personal would be like asking a renowned scientist to keep their research to themselves. If they did that only Pasteur would have been drinking safe liquids and Edison would have been the only one with electric light. At least that is the way I see it.

    • benevolentheathen

      Thank you for the kind words. I have always appreciated the way you think.

      I think a person can keep their faith personal and still “spread the faith.” It is the way some people chose to spread the faith that is unpalatable to me. No one would argue that a husband and wife have a personal relationship. Some parts of that relationship are private, some aren’t. I feel the same can be said about the personal relationship some people claim to have with God. It makes sense to me that people would want to share with others the good feelings they experience through their god. However, if the person being proselytized doesn’t want to to hear about someones religious experiences, they shouldn’t have to. For whatever reason (and I have a few ideas why), many people feel threatened when they meet someone who doesn’t hold the same religious views as they. This is often where the brow beating starts. Perhaps in the future I will post on this aspect in more detail.

      At any rate, thanks for reading and keep commenting.

  • The nature of the relationship between science and religion:Neighbors, layers, or deftly woven fabric? « benevolentheathen

    […] couple of weeks ago when I started this blog I said it was about science and region.  I haven’t said much since about the two […]

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