Enlightened Facts: A Letter to Rev. Gary Kowalski*: I had the pleasure last evening of attending a lecture/discussion at the Islamic Center of Wayland featuring Unitarian Universalist Reverend Gary Kowalski. A short impressive biography of him can be found here. He spoke on his book entitled "Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America's Founding Fathers." A poignant take-away from the lecture by me was the astounding intellect and prescience of our Founding Fathers. I knew they were smart, perhaps, very smart men but I did not know how extraordinarily smart men of phenomenal vision they, in fact, were.
They were men hewn out of the Enlightenment who put religious belief in the cocoon of one's personal sphere. That is they kept relgion from entanglement with the state since they knew the danger from Europe's many wars over it. That the Republican Party in particular, in our age at this time has sought to rope and hog tie one segment of a very gullible and ignorant part of our public is, to me, sad for all of us, indeed. It was, I believe, and as I think Rev. Kowalski believes too not our Founders' intent to use a religious litmus test, specifically a Christian litmus test, as a mandate for the presidency. I post my email to him below.
Dear Dr. Kowalski: I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture/discussion at the Islamic Center last evening. I searched your name on Amazon to see the other books you have written. There are, indeed, many. Of particular interest to me, as one who sees an oxymoron in the coupling of science and belief, is entitled Science and the Search for God. I personally am a fan of the Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" school of thought. I think religion -- all religion -- has no place in the company of science and vice versa. The more apt analogy to this is science is to god as climate change is to the devil. I hope I have the time to download your book as I have a pile of 1/2-read others I must finish.
There were many more things I would have loved to discuss with you. For example, what if the Founders could magically return to see the truths science has discovered i.e. all of the archeological, biological, understanding of physics, the mathematical determination of the age of our earth by radiological decay, bacteria's evolutionarily changing organisms confounding medicine's attempt in the use of antibiotics to cure infection, the archeological discoveries of ancient creatures whose age we are able to date and the germ understanding of disease. How would those truths have affected our Founders' thought? Would they have been more religious or less? Personally I think -- although I know this is conjecture and we cannot ever know -- most would be even less religious than most were.
Our knowledge of all scientific fact is not supposition or conjecture. Certain principles are rock solid fact the study of which has been duplicated by hundreds of scientists over time. If we prove something and then it is duplicated over and over and over again by scientists who all come to the same conclusion we fairly, I think, can see it as credible truth. Science is always, though, open to change if the evidence dictates but the emphasis is on evidence.
DNA is truth, evolution is truth, bacteria/viruses cause illness, the earth rotates around the sun, the age of the earth is 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old, the fact that the universe is much larger than we thought, etc. are indisputable basic truths of science. There is disagreement as to certain things within those truths but the basic truths we now know are indisputable fact.
There has been no one absolutely no one who has shown proof that a supreme being exists and all of the gobbledygook that goes along with the various belief systems is man-made myth. Nothing or very little whether in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, or anything else is based on fact. There is little fact but some of it can show us how better to treat our fellow beings. The rest of it, in my opinion, is unproven nonsense. The fact that 1/2 of our political order in this country holds the Bible as truth and inerrant truth at that, is its own psychotic insanity out of touch with proven reality and makes the strict separation of church and state all the more imperative. We who love academic analysis, science and the progressive thought it advances are held hostage by those who regress our nation and who would catapult us into a new inhumane Dark Age.
I believe religion -- all religion -- kills more than it saves, retards man more than it advances him and is simply man's way of explaining easily that which he does not know and most of all that which he fears -- illness, death and loss. The many who gain prominence like the Billy/Franklin Grahams, Pat Robinsons, Jimmy Swaggarts of the world capitalize (emphasis on capital) on just those fears. It's a great gig if one can get it as religion makes them very very very rich! Just my opinion.
I LOVED the lecture/discussion and could have stayed another three hours! Thank you for an enjoyable evening.
*NB: List of Rev. Kowalski's books is here