The vast record of our ancient forefathers reveals a past shrouded in the mysteries of story, myth and religious belief. These tales and recurring clashes evoke deep reflection as they expose a startling view of the influence that anger continues to exhibit over our society. The projections of anger onto supernatural beliefs has been recorded since the dawn of time, the riddles of nature being attributed to the personification and perception of ghosts, spirits and demons; the gods of polytheistic pantheons; and the divinities of modern monotheisms. The following research into the history of modern Europe and the unique conditions which gave rise to the Christian faith has also shed immensely valuable light on the maelstrom of current world affairs. Geographically speaking, the position of Europe nestled snugly between Africa and Asia played a pivotal role in its secularization. The continent’s survival and success depended on innovation and this, coupled with the less centralized control of monarchies vs. vast dynasties (think Han Dynasty of China), naturally led to an appreciation and fostering of the inquisitive mind. What puzzles me is that Christianity was at the forefront of this movement; to be Christian in Medieval Europe was to be literate and learned, of a polite and gentleman-like persuasion. This philosophy was most highly exemplified by the nobility and religious scholastic thinkers of the time, of which many are still greatly revered today for their faith and simultaneous thirst for knowledge of the natural world. So what happened? The rise of the University institution was just the beginning, but even then religion benefited perhaps the most from the printing press and dissemination of knowledge.
That being said, I don’t think it’s fair to blame the intellectual institutions for the current bias in the scientific community (as the article I’ll post below partly does, but also graciously accepts the fact that open-mindedness should be embraced by all). There were innumerable persecutions by the Church in the early days, unchecked zealotry, the hunger for power rampant everywhere; this is a reflection of the vulnerability of the human condition, the ‘fear of the unknown’, the need to ‘control the environment’, and ‘greed’. While these themes have their place in religion, I feel they are firmly rooted in psychological and behavioral philosophy. The leaders of Christian Europe had a vision, a divine mandate in their eyes, to share the Holy Scripture with the rest of the world. Yet while their teachings were well-intended, they were but mere mortal men and just as susceptible to “sin” as the rest of us. Upon securing the new Holy Roman Empire as their ship, the rudder of Catholicism assumed nearly full reign. And look what happened. The despairing schism of The Reformation is but a single piece of evidence that illustrates how unyielding and frustrating ancient philosophy can be. I personally believe that our contemporary dichotomy is but a symptomatic offshoot of this tumultuous historical founding.
Hailing from a theistic family, I was really inspired by what this article had to say. In response I proclaim: shedding the confines of the religious institution has allowed me to retain my spirituality and yet gain a universe of insight by my studies of the sciences. Embracing our complex history and critically analyzing the lessons and mistakes of old has also helped me to better understand myself. But what is tragic is that even my own friends and family fall prey to the savage and archaic rhetoric of intolerance. When my own flesh and blood ostracize me from my dying father’s bedside on the grounds of religious morality, I am hard pressed to accept that things will ever improve. Furthermore, working in an Emergency Department for the last four years has also given insight into the disconnection between spirituality and science. It is my humble opinion that both are equally lacking the strengths of the other.
But there is still hope. I still have faith in the raw, passionate power of humanity. Understanding our oft’ times violent past is the first step towards embracing a future of peace and acceptance. I have faith that our hearts are bigger than our swollen, hurting and angry egos. There is always hope for change – and in fact adaptability is arguably our most important trait as human beings. That, and our ability to love. So let’s unite here on RageAnon and make the world a better place through freedom of expression, self-reflection and a passion for positive change!
To access the article which inspired this blog-post click here: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/why-aren%E2%80%99t-more-intellectuals-believers?fb_action_ids=10201939741519899&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210201939741519899%22%3A570554479670139%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210201939741519899%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D
A psychosocial abstract on the effects of anger on religion and society can be found here: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-0-387-89676-2_2#page-1