Humans are born storytellers. When they first began speaking, they asked questions about the basic mysteries of life: How did we get here and who made us? Why do we die and is there something to experience after we die? Where do we go after we die? What are those bright shiny things in the sky and what is ‘sky?’ What causes thunder & lightening, an eclipse or drought? And what causes natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods?
From earliest times, humans answered these questions by asking their shaman, their spiritual leader. They received answers that were magical, mythical and superstitious because their shamans did not know any better.
When religious leaders could have known better because science had become a part of human knowledge, they continued to perpetuate nonsense; because if science was correct about our origins and evolution, then everything they believed in was wrong. And most importantly, they would lose power and wealth.
Religion gave the masses hope and comfort when their lives were desolate. But people had to believe blindly in religion’s answers in order to accept their lot in life. They were not told the truth – it was delusion. But it worked and still does.
Interestingly enough, scientific thought arose out of a religious background. Therefore, the two are not mutually exclusive – one did evolve from the other. However, once science burst forth, showing the folly of religious myths, theocrats reacted viciously. Rational thinkers were burned at the stake, drawn & quartered, drowned, or imprisoned. Even worse, they were made to deny reality and their own mind.
Truth was science’s only offering. Scientists said that there was no room for belief and superstition in their world. A problem could be answered by hypothesis, experimentation, peer review and reproducibility. The answer would change if the data changed.
Here is the difference between religion and science. They ask different questions and they offer different answers and solutions. Religion is for the intangible and improvable. Science is about the real world and rational thought. Religion is about faith. Science is about reality. Religion has told better stories for a longer time. Now is the time for scientists to tell a better story. At our point in human history it is imperative to view our universe from a scientific viewpoint in order to save ourselves and our world. Mythology can only get us into deeper trouble with Mother Nature. She isn’t a believer.