Sunday, November 2, 2014



Pope Francis I
Pope Francis recently claimed that the theory of evolution and the Big Bang are “not incompatible with the existence of a creator” and has argued instead that they “require it.” A sympathetic media has portrayed Francis as progressive and as embracing the scientific worldview. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Francis believes in the existence of angels and demons. A child usually abandons this sort of silly belie fat the age of five. Francis, on the other hand, recently conferred special status upon a group of 250 Christian priests that indulge in exorcism in 30 countries. He himself performed exorcism upon a handicapped boy in wheelchair. Since the boy is still wheelchair-bound, I think it is cruel of Francis to have given the child false hope. Francis has urged the Christian sheeple to believe in guardian angels. He claims to hear voices in his head and advises Christians to obey the voices they hear in their heads as well. Hearing voices is a common symptom in schizophrenia. Francis is either a schizophrenic or an obscurantist charlatan. One hopes that most Christians do not hear voices in their heads.
Let us now examine whether science and Christianity are compatible.
The Bible teaches that bats are birds whereas they are mammals. It claims that rabbits are ruminants that regurgitate their food and chew it again whereas they are not ruminants. It claims that insects are four-legged creatures whereas they are six-legged creatures. It informs that god created the world in six days 6,000 years ago whereas physics reveals that the universe is 14 billion years old. It claims that god created the earth first and the sun later which would be a cosmological impossibility because solar planets were formed from the gaseous dust long after the sun had come into existence. The biblical ignorance does not end there. One is told that god then created oceans and whales before he created the terrestrial creatures. Biology has proven this wrong and has shown that whales were originally terrestrial creatures that later relocated to oceans.
In other words, evolution and the Big Bang have thoroughly debunked the biblical Bronze Age ignorance. Any high school biology or physics student would have told Francis that neither evolution nor the Big Bang requires the existence of god. On the contrary, they make the existence of such a god redundant. In particular, by debunking the biblical claims, biology and physics have by implication repudiated the existence of the god of Christianity.
big bang  darwin
Why then does Francis attempt to convince the Christian faithful that science and Christianity are compatible? One must turn to cognitive sciences for answer. In the past, the Church waged war against science whenever science debunked biblical claims. However, at least in the West, censorship is becoming increasingly difficult. As children study evolution and cosmology, they realize that the Bible is false. This results in cognitive dissonance in the minds of children. Not surprisingly, many children in the liberal and educated pockets of the West abandon Christianity once they enter their teens.
The Church faces a dilemma as a result of this phenomenon.Waging war against science and resorting to censorship as it did in the past alienates the post-millennial generation from Christianity.It is counter-productive to the evangelical mission of the Church. Francis, therefore, has offered truce out of the necessity to keep the flock together. It is out of compulsion that he has become a salesman of holy snake oil, i.e., the claim that science and Christian beliefs are compatible. All one has to do is to abandon moral scruples to sell snake oil and Francis has shown alacrity in abandoning scruples.
Francis also realizes that admitting that any part of the Bible is false is suicidal. Such an admission would induce the faithful to subject other biblical claims to logical scrutiny as well. A Christian may then wonder that if the Bible is false about biology and physics it may be false about salvation too. Francis, evidently, doesn’t like that prospect and is willing to lie to safeguard faith. Since the Bible doesn’t have any injunction against lying, Francis can take solace in the fact that heisn’t violating any biblical commandment by lying.
However, a reasonable person must be worried. The Church runs educational institutions in many parts of the world. Every time the media portrays such an obscurantist charlatan (or schizophrenic) as Francis as scientifically progressive, it indirectly empowers Christian priests to sell Francis’ holy snake oil to unsuspecting children. A post-millennial child may be repulsed by the overtly anti-scientific stance of an Evangelical Christian but may not be able to discern that Francis is selling holy snake oil. It is a travesty that society tolerates this kind of abuse of a child’s trust to please the clergy.

(Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based writer, an atheist, a practicing orthodox Hindu, and author of What Every Hindu Should Know About Christianity.)
Article Summary
Article Title
Pope Francis, the holy snake oil salesman
An explanation of the Pope's sudden embrace of science.

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  • Rakesh Krishnan Re this sentence, "It informs that god created the world in six days 6,000 years ago whereas physics reveals that the universe is 14 billion years old."
    I'm not the expert here but the Bible most likely doesn't say the earth was created 6000 years ago. This was written by Bishop James Ussher in 1658 in his tome Annals of the World.
  • Kalavai Venkat Rakesh Krishnan Correct, but Ussher arrived at the date based on 2 Peter 3:8 and the genealogy in the Bible. So, creation 6,000 years ago is implied in the Bible. This is why Fundamentalist Christians are also young earth creationists.
  • Vidyasankar Sundaresan So, it looks like the Pope is politically distancing himself and his church from the young earth creationists. It has nothing really to do with science or any kind of independent and critical thinking.
  • Kalavai Venkat Vidyasankar Sundaresan True but this is nothing novel. The Catholic Church has been playing this 'have it both ways' game for a long time. In effect, even though Francis claims to disavow (Un)Intelligent Design, he is embracing precisely that. It is an age-old diversionary tactic. This is how they dealt with geological timescale in the 19th century: first deny, then grudgingly concede, but insist that there is a divine hand behind the process. Sadly, since very few individuals in any society are scientific, this kind of nonsense finds traction. The discomfort with biological evolution is an affliction which affects Hindus in America as well. Last evening, an Indian American doctor wrote me offline arguing that evolution isn't true. I have seen courseware used in Hindu temples which claims that Hinduism teaches (Un)Intelligent Design.
  • Dilliram Chettri The scale of conversion in my state Sikkim is unmatched to any other parts of the country. Here it sometime amaze my when i see Church in the remotest part of the mountainous region where there is even no school. Snake oil seller in Here are creating havoc and it seems they have good no of buyers.
  • Raghurama K Pantula 400 years behind schedule!
  • Bharat Krishna Surprising Hindu temples in the US teach (Un)Intelligent Design! Though it might not be intended, I felt the Dasavatar story shows evolution(of species & consciousness). And I thought evolution doesn't pose a threat to Hinduism as Hinduism is not history-centric.
  • Vidyasankar Sundaresan Kalavai, there are lots of woolly and nebulous things going on in the name of Hinduism. In a way, it is good that there is no one Pope to make such statements, but instead, we do have lots of uninformed preachers and priests ourselves. This renders meaningless any discussion of consciousness at any kind of philosophical depth.
  • Kalavai Venkat Vidyasankar Sundaresan Agree. In our tradition, the archaka isn't expected to weigh in on philosophical issues. I think the problem is with our activists / spokespersons, who are highly Christianized.

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