“Don’t walk alone” – Outreach Media

Posted by on July 30, 2011 in Thoughts | 2 comments

Outreach Media are again using science to try and convince us that not only is there a God, but that their version of God is the true and only one. This month’s poster reads:

don’t walk alone Jesus: “I am with you always, to the end of the age”

Don't walk alone

In case you were wondering, the verse snippet is from Matthew 28:20, the part in the New Testament which claims that Jesus rose from the dead, that an angel came to earth and moved the boulder away from the entrance of his tomb so that he could preach one last time to his people.

The Outreach article claims that through scientific research, we have discovered that people who lead normal and social lives in relationships with others lead healthier and happier lives. This is true, we are social animals, and we benefit from being close to others. We benefit from friendship and we benefit from sex. If we live solitary lives, we can fall into depression and illness. Yes, science has shown this to be the case.

But then, as usual, the article makes a flying statement:

We humans are good at analysing the parts of things with science and psychology and so forth. But it’s impossible to understand the ‘whole’ without hearing from the maker. God is the one who understands relationships best because He made us. And our greatest purpose is to be in relationship. Firstly with God, but then with other people. God is so clever at making relationships work that He designed sex to help husbands and wives know each other more deeply. It’s not too small a thing to say that ‘relationships are the most important thing in the universe’.

No, this is not the case at all. Relationships have evolved in humanity because it is beneficial for humans to co-operate with eachother in order to survive. Sex was not “designed to help husbands and wives know each other more deeply”, it was evolved over time and is simply a mechanism which allows us to reproduce. The pleasure in sex is also evolved, the benefit of sex making it a thing we wish to do, making it something we strive for. Side effects of sex are bonding into relationships, again evolved so that our offspring have a better chance of survival.

Here’s where I get a bit annoyed though. Relationships are rewarding and they are sought after, but they are not “the most important thing in the universe”. By saying that human relationships are the most important thing in the universe, we instantly put humanity up on the “God created us” pedestal, and we are suddenly special again. And this is precisely what this whole poster is about; that we are important, not only in the scheme of society, but in the scheme of the universe. This self-righteous, self-centred, self-affirming belief is one of the greatest problems in religion. The side-effects of this attitude are many and varied, not the least of which is raping the planet for human means, disparaging those of different faiths, and exploiting people and the planet in the name of God. Believing you are special is a convenient way of having a sense of entitlement, as if your presence is more deserved than those who aren’t special, i.e. unbelievers and people of other religions.

I agree with the sentiment. Don’t walk alone, try and find some meaningful relationships with people, join a knitting club, socialise and learn from others. Make the most of this one life you have. Do the most you can with what you have. And one of the ways to have meaningful relationships is to not see yourself as special, but to see those relationships you have as special.

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  1. “But it’s impossible to understand the ‘whole’ without hearing from the maker.”

    As soon as you believers sort out and agree upon just who the ‘maker’ is – and religions start converging on that instead of continuing to splinter then we can talk about necessities surrounding said maker. In the meanwhile, stfu.

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  2. And, well, there’s scientific evidence for said maker.

    As an aside, and related to my first comment, if you are going to engage in the head-desking exercise of debating about god with someone, I recommend always ask them to specify precisely which god they insist exists. I mean, there are tens of thousands of JCI formulations of god alone. It’s only fair to you to know which one you are going to combat when you have evidence backed up by only a single scientific method. ;-)

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