All 6 entries tagged Religion

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September 16, 2005

All these quiz things

Whilst I, of course, take the results given by these 10-minute online personality quizzes with a rather large bagful of salt they nevertheless do sometimes bring up some pertinent questions, made especially difficult due to the fact that you are only allowed to answer true or false. For example:

Do you see people who get taken advantage of as being weak and deserving of being used?

Do you think science and logic represent the pinnacle of human understanding?

Do you believe it is your right to indulge yourself with every last dollar you earn?

Do you consider living a virtuous life to be one of your top goals?

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Would you sooner go without sex than go without good-tasting food?

Think about some of the sinful or wrong things you've done in the past. Do you foresee yourself continuing to do these things?

Rich men and women deserve every penny and should spend or save their wealth as they wish.


August 25, 2005

Morality or common sense?

Is it ever right to ignore morality for the sake of saving lives?

George Bush has recently declared that, to combat the increasing AIDS crisis, he recommends abstinance rather than the universal use of condoms. Of course this is a lovely idea and morally would is far preferrable tactic, but realistically it's not going to work. If condoms are no longer supplied more people will contract AIDS and, as a result, die.

The other day I watched a fascinating programme about the new Pope. It mentioned a situation in South America where Bishops were preaching a Marxist-tinged message to promote changes in the political system in response to the extreme poverty faced by many of the population. The Vatican published document condemning this, encouraging the poor people to adhere to the Bible and turn to God instead of worrying so much about their lot on Earth. That, again, again is a lovely sentiment, but is it right to ask people to essentially give up the prospect of a better life when something could be done about it?

But then if you begin to ignore your moral code, particularly for those upholding a faith, doesn't it fundamentally undermine that faith?


July 28, 2005

Fundamental religion… an addendum

Further to Chris's comment on my last entry, the following debate does indeed seem interesting:

(To paraphrase) If we accept the possibility that the Bible may not be literally the word of God, are our laws defined by a Christian moral code or is the Christian moral code defined by a set of pragmatic civil rules?


July 19, 2005

Fundamental religion?

What would our notion of good and evil be if we had no religion? Would we still have an innate sense of right or wrong as human beings? Or are our morals so fundamentally based on religion that very few people living in the Christian world can truly say they are not religious.

July 18, 2005

Personality predictions

According to an article in New Scientist (yeay – a lack of study and rehearsals means I'm actually having time to read!) your tendancy to be religious is at least partly dependent on your genetic makeup. This flies in the face of the previous nurture over nature evidence which suggested that the religious beliefs of children were proportional to those of their parents. The evidence was derived from a study examining the differences between identical and fraternal twins: identical twins showed far more similarity in adulthood.

Despite my keenness as a biologist to understand the origins of our physical and mental capabilities and characteristics and to be able to use this knowledge to alleviate the suffering of many with genetic diseases I worry that we could go too far. I think I fundamentally disagree with the screening and termination of embryos on the basis of relatively minor genetic diseases. Some of the most interesting and intelligent children I've met have been those with Asperger's or autism and one of my best friends at school has a brother with Down's Syndrome and he's one of the happiest and most genuine people I know.

It worries me slightly that we are getting into the realms of predicting fundamental character traits. Will we reach a point when we can predict with a defined level of certainty what our children are going to be like physically AND mentally? And will this not be restrictive and take much of the mystery out of life and parenthood?


April 15, 2005

My head hurts!

ARGH!

Have just spent the last hour watching an election question time on BBC 1, and I have to say it's not helped clarify my decision as to who to vote for at all, in fact in has just reduced my brain to mush (which may have been exacerbated by the wine, but we'll ignore that)!

Now, I have to admit that I've not taken a huge interest in politics in the past, but I believe that as a citizen of this country I should at least make an attempt at an informed vote. But it's all so bloody complicated, and as every elected PM and party seem to fail to live up to their promises, it all seems somewhat futile!

This is not helped by the fact that on many of the issues I can't even figure out what my view is, let alone identify the party that is most in line with this view. Take the immigration debate, for example. Now, on the one hand, I don't see that there's a problem in admitting people of other nationalities into our country if they are living in substandard conditions in other countries, providing that it does not adversely affect our economy. We are a wealthy nation, and why shouldn't we help some of the needy in the world in this way? But where do you draw the line? How do they actually decide who gets in and who doesn't? On the other hand, I can also see that immigration must be having an effect on many individuals in our society. After all, if I was rejected for a job in favour of an immigrant I'd probably feel a little peeved. There aren't enough jobs in the country to employ the crazy numbers of graduates our own universities are currently spewing out, let along adding graduates from elsewhere!

On quite a different, but related, point, I think that maybe one of the reasons we get so riled up about immigrants bringing their own religions and customs to our country is because we as a nation are embarrased that we have so little pride in our own customs. In India, more than 10 official languages are spoken and several religions exist side-by-side. How? Because each group of people is confident enough in its beliefs to not feel threatened by others. What do we have left to be proud of? People discount the Christian faith because a relatively small proportion of the population actually goes to church. But we are still fundamentally a Christian country – our morals and laws are based on Christian laws, and who in this country would deny the value of the 10 commandments as a good principal for living? But we are not proud of it! We go to such lengths to be politically correct about the religions of ethnic minorities but we do not give the same respect to our own belief system.

Anyway, I have somewhat digressed from what I was originally talking about: it just shows that my mind is confused. Bed calls…


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