I picked up a quote from author Stephen King a few years back. I don’t recall where I got it but thought it was interesting:
“The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance…logic can be happily tossed out the window.”
A recent Huffington Post article, Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds seems to be an attempt to make a case that once religion is introduced to children they cannot distinguish between reality, fairy tales and religious claims.
In both studies, [children exposed to religion] were less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend, and in line with this equivocation, they made more appeals to reality and fewer appeals to impossibility than did secular children,” the study concluded.
On the surface this would seem to validate King’s claim. Atheist Richard Dawkin’s goes a bit further claiming that Reading Fairy Stories to Children is Harmful. But then Richard Dawkins defends “mild pedophilia,” says it does not cause “lasting harm”so, he does not seem to be a credible source of information on what may or may not be harmful to children.
All of this raises two questions in my mind. First, is it true that we must abandon logic in order to believe in God? Second, are the studies reliable? I think I will tackle the second question first.
It is very likely the researchers have a creation story they hold to which is based on belief not on actual science. The creation story is from a Darwinian standpoint which essentially holds that in the beginning there was nothing which for no apparent reason and without cause suddenly exploded into everything. If they substituted the religious story of secular humanists for the religious biblical stories they used would children also be “less likely to judge the characters in the fantastical stories as pretend”? When you think about it the only real difference between the story of a princess kissing a frog which suddenly becomes a handsome prince and the macro evolution of Darwinists is time. If the transformation is sudden it is a fairly- tale but if we add thousands or millions of years to the story we can call it science. Without doing a study with these perimeters and comparing them I am not sure any real conclusion can be derived.
It is also the case that in order to enjoy certain stories we, even as adults, suspend our critical thinking in order to enjoy the book, film or play. I recently watched Terminator 2 with my grandkids. In the first film John Conner sent a soldier back in time to protect his mother from a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). In the process the soldier and Conner’s mother engaged in hanky panky and John Conner was conceived. At the end of the film the Terminator was destroyed except for a piece of his arm and a computer chip. In the next film Conner is a teenager and the machines send another terminator to kill him, Schwarzenegger returns as a reprogrammed Terminator which the future John Conner reprogrammed to protect the young John Conner. All enjoyable especially if you like films with lots of things blowing up. But, if we maintain our logical mind we could not enter in to the world of imagination. For example, John Conner was conceived by a soldier who was from the future but on the way to the future the first time through there would not have been a soldier from the future (the future had not happened yet) and therefore Sarah Conner would not have become pregnant with John. But then it gets more complicated because the machines which took over the world were created based on the information gathered from the arm and microprocessor left over from the first Terminator. Of course, the first time through there would not have been a Terminator and therefore no parts left over from which to make the evil machines. In the second film the parts from the first terminator, the new terminator and the old terminator are all melted in a cauldron of hot metal and destroyed. The parts no longer exist from which the future machines were developed. Would changing the future that radically mean that John Conner would not have been born and he would suddenly disappear from existence? In fact, all of history from the point just before the appearance of the soldier from the future would also change wouldn’t it?
The entire premise is simply not logical but it does make a good story. That brings me back to the first question. Do we have to abandon logic to believe the Bible? The answer is no. Jesus turning water into wine is not against logic but may simply be out of the realm of one’s experience or is in conflict with someone’s worldview. It might be that the story is not true but it could also be that the worldview of the person rejecting the story is false. How is the story of Jesus turning water into wine any more fantastic than believing reproduction went from Asexual reproduction (divide and multiply) to male-female sexual reproduction? One is simple, no dating involved, no trying to understand one another, just divide and multiply. Also, there is no genetic change in this process so how would reproduction have evolved? We have not seen either water bring turned into wine or a transition from asexual to male-female reproduction occurring and so they are not really scientifically testable. In order to answer these types of questions we need to draw on logic, history, evidence and reason. The above study does little more than demonstrate that children are impressionable but then, I am a grandfather and could have told you that for a lot less money:D