As mankind reaches for the stars and wonderful advances hitherto unthought of in all branches of the sciences crown the 21st Century at its beginning, as the one in which Mankind will begin to ‘green’ the planet Mars and establish colonies there, from where, in ages to come inter-galactic space-craft will blast off to penetrate ever deeper into the Universe; there is a parallel movement within world religions, Christianity in particular, working in opposition to the advance of certain sciences, which they see as a threat to time-honoured spiritual beliefs.
There has always been opposition from the growing fundamentalist movement within the mainstream churches to Darwinian evolution, and any new fossil and other scientific discoveries that add weight to this branch of scientific research. The thought that life on earth began as micro-organisms up to 3.46 billion years ago, is anathema to these people, who persist in clinging to 16th century dogma that God created the Earth, hominids and all manner of animal and other life forms, the Universe, whatever, in the space of a few days in the year 4004BC!
Modern science can gently, but firmly dismiss such fables. As explained in this book’s Introduction, modern science can demonstrate that the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old, while our Universe was formed by the [latest] ‘Big Bang’ up to 12 billion [some suggest even 15 billion] years ago.
When, during the 1990s, the brilliant Stephen Hawking and a team of British scientists were able to calculate the very millisecond of the beginning of the ‘Big Bang’, and announced that they were now going to follow this great scientific breakthrough, by discovering what happened before the ‘Big Bang’, Pope John Paul the 23rd expressed an opinion plucked straight out of the Middle Ages., when he stated that, while the discovery of the very millisecond of Creation was a wonderful scientific discovery, the scientists concerned should not attempt to go beyond this to learn what happened before the ‘Big Bang’ – “These are matters for interpretation by the Church”!
The author has been told by a Catholic priest that his Church is not opposed to Evolution, nor human evolution; as long as the scientists accept that the Soul evolved at the same time as Man!
The clergy are lamentably limited in their knowledge of science and history, and any discussion on these matters is hardly ever free of their resorting to Biblical statements and ‘moral’ arguments based upon Church dogma!
There are, of course, exceptions. Clergymen of mainstream churches, who through common sense see Evolution as part of the natural progression of nature; while others are world-renowned astronomers, archaeologists and anthropologists, yet they remain in the minority. I do not wish to offend when I say that the God of the Bible belongs to far earlier, pre-Christian fertility religions. However, ‘something’ had to be responsible for the formation of the Cosmos and all life within it, and I believe that everything owes its existence to a great life-giving “intelligent energy” which has no beginning or end, and which cannot be adequately explained by science or the Church, and which is beyond our comprehension to understand.
Yet the fact remains that the majority of clergy, and all fundamentalists in particular, are uncomfortable with the proposition that there could be intelligent life forms occupying Earth-like planets elsewhere in our Universe, being unable to tear themselves from their ages-old belief that God created the Earth and human beings as his one and only special creation, and therefore such life cannot exist elsewhere in space!
If however, and there is growing evidence which has the support of leading Cosmologists, that Life, in one form or another does exist elsewhere in the universe, these findings threaten the very existence of organized religion as we know it. Change must inevitably come, with the gradual development of a new, universally-accepted moral philosophy of life based upon sound, scientific reasoning that Mankind will carry with him to the stars, a philosophy that will sweep away forever all our present religions with their long history of fanatical wars, persecutions, torture and murder, presently personified in Middle-East conflicts and the bloody rise of Islam. Is this religion?
Mankind does not need churches or any other structure to worship. Admire instead the mysterious eternal life-giving “intelligent energy” to which all Mankind should look to in admiration, for this life-force is all around us.