Celebrating East African Writing!
The most controversial book ever written in history was The Origin Of species by Charles Darwin. Written in 1859, the book pitched a very serious challenge to the world’s most civilized societies and confronted the ancestral and Religious belief regarding where man thought he came from.
Charles Darwin never dismissed the idea of God’s existence, but his body of work, that was a result of years of research, gave life to a powerful concept that shook the world. And even more than he himself would have wanted, his theory flagged of the beginning of debate and war between Science and Religion which continues to this day. Science seems to be taking home all the trophies and foreskins.
Charles Darwin’s theory argues with very reasonable evidence that we are all products of an extensively long and complex process called evolution, where a single micro organism through a series of radical transformations, and mutations, in its struggle to survive ended up with only the most biologically and physically functional features it needed for its sustainability.
Darwin called this the struggle for life and suggested that every species survives by means of natural selection, thus coining the popular phrase; survival for the fittest. His theories received mixed reviews, the biggest critics of Darwinism being organized religion.
Darwin himself was at a one point of his life very religious, but it is alleged that he later stopped attending church at the height of the evolution debates in London. He never mocked religion like many of his fellow scientists of his day, but perhaps the most significant statement he uttered on record was that religion was just a tribal survival strategy whose wholesome purpose was to straighten people’s morals where the tribe, or Nation, or community, that practiced the best morals had a higher chance of survival and multiplicity.
Darwin further supported this statement by underscoring the fact that each Religion claimed to be more superior over others, further explaining that the rivalry between Religious Deities is proof that there is an ever ensuing struggle for life not only between the species but also in the survival instincts within the same species in this case, human beings.
Darwin’s theory can be almost proved right when you consider how the Christian Religion is the most dominant, thus attesting to the fact that, in every race, struggle and competition between the species or within the species, there is going to be a dominant competitor. And now the question lingers whether Christianity is just a dominant system of beliefs that have accumulated from man’s struggle with himself in a bid to find relaxation and to explain his existence and afterlife.
Our world today has been radically transformed by overwhelming technology to a scale we didn’t even imagine possible thirty years ago. If you take into account all the benefits of modern living, with key highlight on the new health care system, stem cell research and genetic engineering, then it will not be difficult to understand the rumors that circulate in our press daily that human beings will soon be living to be 150 to 200 years of age.
We no longer live in the dark ages where a simple flu used to sweep a whole city like the great Spanish flu of 1918( spanish influenza) that killed 100 million people worldwide, (making it the deadliest human disaster in human history.) Today, scientific research is making cutting edge discoveries that are improving peoples adaptability to the conditions around them.Cancer researchers now say most forms of cancer will be cured effectively in ten years time, there has being rumours of an AIDS Vaccine and the mortality rate and life expectancy is at an all time high. In fact, there have being rumours circulating on the internet for some years now, of an elite, state of the art private clinic in Los Angeles where a special club of billionaires of the world are investing heavily on the research that is being carried out there and in return, their bodies will be frozen in the vent of their death, until such a time when science will solve the mystery of death and a cure will be found to overcome death and so the dead frozen rich guys will be unfrozen, brought back to life and discharged to go in living possibly for ever.
If Charles Darwin was to hear about this, he would not think it is madness, rather he would term it to be just another survival strategy for the strongest individuals within the most dominant speices, human beings. Charles Darwin never saw a computer in his life, and by the time one was invented, Charles Darwin had been dead for 100 years, but his theories about evolution, struggle for life and natual selection are still very much alive today.
It is interesting to note that we have always had religion since time immemorial, from the age of the ancient Mayans to that of the Romans,-but we have only had science for just around 150 years(since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and the Wright brother flew an aircraft)yet it’s remarkably intriguing that within that short time, technology has sky rocketed to another stratosphere. The largest satellite in the world can now record every move you make day in day out for as long as you are going to be alive. If a plane crashed in Beirut, you could learn about the plane crash in five minutes on CNN. You can make a purchase or a sale by the click of a button if you decide to get into the online marketing world.It is now possible to clone a human being if for no other reason as to use the clone to harvest stem cells and implant them on your body to cure even the deadliest of diseases .The largest computer server in the world can process 70, million terabytes of information in an hour-which is the equivalent of the overall output of 700, 000 employees in a company working 24 hours a day every day of the year for 490 years.
If it only took 150 years to amount to the level of technology we have today, where will we be in onother 150 years. Man has increasingly become more self reliant in the effort to secure himself a less volatile existence .As a result of having a comprehensive understanding of himself and the world around him, man’s philosophical ideals have changed drastically for the last 200 years.He no longer attributes every dramatic worldly event to God but rationally undestands that the universe has its own laws and so does nature and that if any of these laws are violated, then the world becomes chaotic and desolate.
More than 200 hundred years ago, the only technology the world could boast was a railroad track in few places like china and America.The world before 1800 was what it was, a desolate consortium of loosely based ideas on what life was about.It was a time of the bloodiest wars, the most deadliest pandemics, and the most primitive of human population settlements. Religion was perhaps the only obvious escapism to counter all the puzzles the world could not solve.The idea of a supreme being been in charge of everything was never debated, but what was debated was the kind of platform which the supreme being occupied thus giving rise to very historical fall outs between nations leading to such hazardous wars and confrontations like the Crusades, the Spanish inquisition and the French Revolution.
But what If Religion is just an earthly idea derived from the dark ages that has gone too far?Then where do we stand, who are we and where did we come from? Charles Darwin argued out the best alternative explanation aside from the creation theory.Many scientist the world over have upheld Darwin’s evolution theory with more proof on the table like the Jigsaw puzzle that suggests the world was one large continent millions of years ago but split to what it is now.Scentist claim that Dinoursars roamed the earth some 160 million years ago and become extinct. This theory has being a silent dagger to mainstream religious believes especially Christians who claim that God made the world 12, 000 years ago, and that the bible is the most accurate book yet fails to mention dinousars ever existing.
What Science and technology is now proving, is that we may be victims of our own need of being controlled by a greater power than ourselves. Thus the idea of God. Now that we have a lot of evidence on how we might have gotten here, new age movements all over the world are rising to counter normal religion as we know it and advocating for a Scientific belief system.There is in fact a church called the Church of scientology which upholds science and mental consciencesness as the only valid belief of who we are.
The Scientist although they have made astounding discoveries, they are however wise enough not to embrace their entire researche thesis and run with them. Scientist believe that the idea of God exiting is not entirely irrational. Scientist say that everything is energy, we are all energy and energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Scientist thus claim that there is a force in the universe, the maker and creator, the force that has brought us here, the energy.
Albert Einstein, the most renowned scientist in history was quoted as saying: “I believe in a God who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” This God, that Einstein envisioned was a God who represented a diverse range of universal energies that are responsible in bringing about the existence of nature and civilization. What Einstein was saying was that there is very powerful force in the universe that existed even before time began, and there is absolutely no doubt this force exists since we all must have been created by something, if not someone. Einstein interpreted that the idea of Religion among civilizations was a result of the absence of Science which was counter replaced by a belief that there is an omnipotent deity who is credited with “Creation”.
Many religious beliefs of God parallel the fact that he has always being, he is always is and shall forever be- an example is in Christianity where they refer to God as the Alpha and Omega, begging and the end.Scientist concept of the energy in motion that they claim brought about the existence of the world and the rise of micro-organisms is that this Energy can neither be created, its always in motion and cannot be destroyed.Which parallels the religious belief of God pre-existing before time, now and forever.
Many new age leaders of the scientific movement are ever critical about the role Religious faith plays in the modern world. They say that having Religious Faith is an act of blind submission to authority which has caused man to seek for something that he cannot be tap into – causing man to waste a lot of his time in the quest for divine knowledge and then compel him to write books like the Bible and the Koran which he say are pointers to the path of light.
The new age leaders now claim that Religion has been the culprit of all major wars that world has suffered, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.During the crusades, christains tried to convert pagans and then murder them if they were reluctant to be converted, killing even women and children.Adolf Hitler thought that the jews were enemis of political freedom and Christianity and he had them exterminated. The Catholic Church in Europe had for centuries ruled with an iron fist of blackmail, and murdered anyone who resisted its policy. By the time the the protestant movement arose, there were bloody wars and skirmishes.
We are likely to see more scientific advancements in the next decade or so and this will make man feel more in control of his destiny than any other time in history.But will man forget God? Will he push away centuries of conciseness that there is a creator who lives in heaven? Then what about life after death? Where do we go from here? Is there a heaven and a hell, or is it just make belief?
No one can confidently paint the situation that we shall encounter after we die. Our science might be incredible but we have yet to conquer death or bring people back to life. And we cannot say for certain whether there is life after death. There must be. We are all bodies of energy in motion and energy cannot be destroyed, but whether we shall become angels, or just roam the universe as souls, it’s a discovery science will never make.
Meanwhile, the best thing to do is to just believe there is a God, for who else is there, our world is very complext and precise in nature to have been made out of a molecular explosion. I believe in science but will not take my chances to rule out God and adopt science as my new Religion, I wouldn’t want to miss heaven by a technicality. Even Charles Darwin, on his death bed quickly reverted to Christian belief shortly before he took that last breadth into eternity.
He had come up with an impressive explanation of who we are through his book The Origin of the species but he did not want to take any chances.
© Jack Nganga 2010
If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.