It used to be thought that when a terrible lightning storm caused wreckage and fires to towns that it was the result of an angry god. God is pissed off and he’s going to shove a lightning bolt right down your throat. Why is he pissed? Might be because of something someone did thousands of years ago. Who knows? He’s always angry about something. Could be because someone picked up sticks on the wrong day, built a tower too tall, loved their own family more than him, bit a piece of fruit they weren't supposed to. The list is huge.
Over 2,500 years ago Lao Tzu stated that if lightning was the anger of gods, these gods are mostly pissed off at trees. It’s important to appreciate that even in barbaric times of rampant superstition and ignorance (two words that directly correlate with each other) there have always existed at least some very intelligent people gifted in doubt. But back to the populous belief that used to exist that lightning was indeed caused by an angry god. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the design of which is still used today. How would this science play into superstition?
The lightning rod prevents your house from being destroyed by lightning. It doesn't matter what day you pick up sticks on or if you have premarital sex. It doesn't matter if you pray to god, pray to a toaster, or don’t pray at all. It doesn't matter if your house is wall to wall sex, drugs and rock and roll. It doesn't matter how pissed off god is. Your house will not be destroyed by lightning.
Every church has a lightning rod. Why is this? Same reason that the Pope mobile has 3 inches of bullet proof glass. Praying away lightning doesn't work. Praying away an assassin’s bullet doesn't work. On United States currency it states in god we trust. It should really state in lightning rods and bullet proof glass we trust.
Even the most devoutly religious rely on science over prayer whether they’re honest enough to admit it or not. There’s a reason why kids have a greater risk of injury and death in schools that don’t have a proper tornado shelter than those who do during terrible storms. There is a reason why sickness and mortality is directly related to the quality of health care no matter where you live or what you kneel down to. There’s a reason why people today in modern nations live much longer than people did a hundred years ago. The reason is that science trumps magic.
The gods of religions are ever receding pockets of scientific ignorance. Gods no longer cause volcanic eruptions, eclipses, rainbows, epilepsy, earth quakes or horrible diseases. Because of folks like Benjamin Franklin, lightning god is dead. And in the massive graveyard of gods killed by science there are still empty tombs waiting to be filled. The stubbornness and denial of men still keep certain gods alive, but in the end science will win. When people don’t understand something it’s often referred to as god. When the understanding comes; god is replaced by knowledge.
"I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one." -- Sam Harris
"Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain." – Thomas Huxley
-James Kirk Wall
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