Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Life, the Universe, and Jodie ...

Sometimes we have conversations. We have a happy marriage, one that has not yet tired of exploring ideas about the world around us, and how we relate to it. I have a sneaking suspicion that we never will, actually, tire of it, and that is the source of a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction for both of us. In the beginning .... a cute phrase, doncha think? ... Jodie looked to me to help her find answers to things she had long considered, but never conceptualised, let alone put into words. Mostly it was about attitudes she had inherited, from parents, family, school and her general surroundings here in Oklahoma. I think what drove her to ask me was that I was simply the first person she had ever been close to that had been brought up in a different culture, with different ideas and a completely different perspective. It was probably encouraged by the fact that I clearly wanted to listen, and was willing to share.

That is where we came from, we have moved on a good deal. Jodie is now much more of an *equal*, in our conversations. She asserts her views, and listens to mine. She is equal in her own head, she was never anything less in mine.

Of late, the subject of Creationism has been on our minds. Not so much that it is something we obsess about, or even discuss much. Just generally. Little things like the opening of a Museum dedicated to lying to children about Evolution .... minor issues like that and the recent Republican debate where three of the ten rich old white men wanting to be President asserted a belief in Creationism, and a scepticism about Evolution. And they want to be the next Leader of the Free World!! The scary bit is that one of them might .... that they even can be considered credible is bad enough. I digress.

Today we chatted about the Universe, the speed of light, and the origins of religion.

Not bad for a quiet Tuesday afternoon. It was just one of those conversations that meandered a bit. Neither of us were seeking to explain the Big Bang, what came before it or what might happen in the unimaginably distant future when the universe stops expanding. These are answers that are unknowable, and quite likely will remain so well past next week. So it doesn't matter much.

We nattered about Einstein, about the speed of light (whether, if it is a constant, time is constant), because it kinda matters if distance is to have much meaning, and whether or not God is a concept, created by man to satisfy his own need to have answers, or whether there really is God, or a God, or several ....

We ended up talking about what has changed in the 2000 years of Christianity, accepting too that there was religion before Christianity, and that there probably has never been a time when there was actually less religion than the current time; though, living in Oklahoma, it doesn't seem that way.

For what it's worth ...... my view is that, right from the time of the earliest men, there has existed a need to understand the world around us. It was easy enough, when dragging the bear back to the cave, to understand that one was able to directly affect your immediate surroundings. It was impossible to understand what affected, or effected change in the wider environment. For example/ It's not too hard to plant a crop and see the result of the planting. You did it, and the wheat makes the bread. It is not so easy to understand why some years it rains when you need it to, and some years there is drought. That is entirely outwith the control of an individual.

It must have been a very short step from hoping that it would rain to praying that it would.

As our collective knowledge grows, we need to pray a little less (although hope springs eternal). We understand a great deal about why things happen, how and the mechanisms involved. It's also not so hard to make this leap of faith .... and I use the term advisedly ... If it is the case, that developments in our knowledge have lead to a clear understanding of things that were hitherto unknown, then it's not such a leap to expect that much of what is currently unknown, will not remain so for ever.

We also discussed why America appears to be in the grip of such Fundamentalist Religious Nuttery. It's a personal view, but I suspect it has a good deal to do with time .... and development in terms of nationhood. It's easy for the UK, with it's thousand year tradition of Parliament, to be relaxed about religion. It's just as easy for France, Germany, Spain, etc. Remember, the USA has been an independent nation for only a matter of two hundred years or so. How long ago the Spanish Inquisition, the persecution of Catholics in the UK and the dissolution of the Monasteries?

Jodie believes in God. She believes in God in the way all decent Christian folk do ... as a source of strength and inspiration .... not a daily ritual, but a staff when one is needed. I don't, and we live very happily together, with our conversations.

Neither of us believes the new museum (sic) is anything other than lies. Lies that will harm our children. The last gasp of a failed and dying theocracy.

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