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Friday, 12 October 2012

Myths for Breakfast and Myths for Supper too

Myths for Breakfast.......
I spent some hours yesterday morning reading "Exhortation to the Heathen" by Clement of Alexandria. In this second century book, the pagan convert to Christianity, Clement, exposes the absurd and impious myths of the Greeks. These myths had entered the cultural consciousness of the people and  provided the worldview from which people were able to answer where things came from, how they should behave, and so on. They weren't challenged by the populace but widely accepted.

But then Clement, who absorbed these myths as a child, gets converted to Christ who is the truth. And now he begins to question the myths he has been brought up on and here is the important bit - he exposes them for what they are:  absurd and impious.

He does a great service to his culture and the church.

..... and myths for Supper
Later that very evening, I watched Stephen Hawking's "Universe". And I was flabbergasted with how low-on-fact and high-on-philosophy/myth the programme was. I could not help thinking exactly what I'd thought that very morning, "What a bunch of foolish fables!"

Two thousand years hasn't changed the human heart.

And nor has science.

The central myth of the programme was that natural laws unaided by any kind of  external intelligence can produce the beautiful, complex and fine-tuned universe we live in.

But the evidence for intelligence - the need for intelligence to describe nature - has been pouring in over the last few decades, in Hawking's field as much as in other fields.

Take for example, the many physical constants in nature which are "set" at a certain, specific value. It turns out that you cannot alter these values by very much or there would be no universe at all. Like the cogs in a clock, a small change in a cog's size or number of teeth, quickly renders the clock useless.
This fine-tuning points to an intelligence.

The fables of today
Today, of course, our fables can't contain mythological men and monsters, they have to be clothed in science. But they are fables just the same for they are designed to explain where we came from, how we should behave etc., etc.

The real problem with these modern fables is pride. The idea that modern science/ scientists can answer all the questions of the universe.  Hawking revealed this hubris (probably unwittingly - which makes it all the more tragic) when he said:

                   "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, 
                     why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

As if a mere puny small human mind can grasp the mysteries of the universe.

There is a great need for modern day Clements who will expose these empty myths for what they are, and save both the world and the church from their vacuous lies.

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