Time for a serious post. All this talk about Kansas schools refusing to introduce evolution and instead teaching Adam & Eve as fact has got me angry. Even though the Pope himself said in 1996 that evolution is "more than just a hypothesis", fundamentalists refuse to even be open to the possibility of debate.
"Lord, save me from your followers."
That's a saying that I find particularly full of truth. It's not that I'm a religious guy, in fact I'm not religious in the least. It's just that that saying speaks a lot about people who are so devoted to their dogma that they cannot see any reason. In the name of their religion, they commit acts that would appall their god. I'm thinking of people along the lines of anti-abortion supporters who go killing doctors (irony, anyone?) and the like. My point is, I feel too many people take religion way too seriously. Churchill said "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject" which I feel is the problem. Not enough people are open to new ideas.
When a new concept explains something previously unexplained, it should be embraced instead of shunned. People fear change. People fear progress. Take the Catholic church for example. Only in 1992 did it finally admit that the Earth revolves around the sun and Pope JPII formally apologized to Galileo, a dude who's been dead for hundreds of years. I suppose it's better late than never, but why the reluctance to admit fault?
I understand that throughout time, religion has served a few purposes: to make people adhere to a moral code and to explain things in nature that they didn't understand. Every culture has this. So what makes Roman religion myth at this point, but current religions not? Moreover, people who claim to respect other religions are giving lip-service for the most part, because if they truly thought something else was the true religion, they'd be practicing that instead. Personally, I don't care what people practice, as long as it makes them happy and it doesn't encroach upon my person. But I digress. My point is, as we discover the real reason why things are as they seem, people should be more flexible in accepting it.
All this to get to the following. A Vatican Cardinal has come out and said people shouldn't take the Bible so literally. I feel he's 100% on the mark. The Bible has its positive uses. It should be seen as a book of stories with morals, sometimes very excellent morals. Othertimes, there are instances of behaviour that is simply from a bygone era. People must adapt to the times and determine what is right or wrong in any given era. I don't really subscribe to any religion but does that make me immoral? No because I understand how I would like myself to be treated and try to treat others likewise.
Religion or lack of it doesn't make people good or bad. Many atrocities have been committed in the name or religion and I've felt the whole "do good or else you're going to hell" bit is pretty selfish. I don't want to do good for fear that I'll be screwed. I'd like to be good just to be good to people, hoping they'd do the same for me.