Tonight a few fellows and I watched several hours of public television (or “state-run television,” depending on the country you live in). We watched Nova talk about this science and that for awhile, and the thing which really struck me as we watched report after report was the reality that these sciences are built upon some kind of fear. Tonight’s episode included reports about hurricanes and bird flu and stem cell research, among other things, and the philosophies so many of the scientists expressed in each of these fields of research struck me as only so much fear. Here are a few paraphrases, including my own explanations in italics:
“We need to allow stem cell research for the sake of lengthening our lives on this earth, (even if we do complain about living half the time) because, despite our complaints, the thing we fear more than a terrible life is the darkness after death.”
“We measure the surface temperature of the oceans every three hours in our effort to understand hurricanes because we fear the awful power of these great storms which we cannot control and which we assume are uncontrolled.”
“We study the genetic language of killer viruses because we fear the pain and death they may bring.”
As I began to recognize just how much godless people fear, it became something you could even see in their eyes. We muted the program and let the captions roll awhile, but you could still read fear within their eyes. The may take sick pride in the things they believe they are learning about hurricanes or bird flu*, but the foundation of fear is still there. And this makes me grieve. How different all of these things would appear to the one who knows an Author of life, an Authority above all of these things. So it seems to me.
Later as we watched a Frontline report on the gross abuse of power by President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, I thought to myself how blessed are the meek who shall inherit the earth, and the poor in spirit whose kingdom is heaven. What have we to fear?
*During the report on hurricanes, one scientist remarked, “We have always known that hurricanes operate in cycles…” I could not but take issue with the use of the words “always” and “known.” Clearly, they have not always known such things–neither they personally (they did not know these things when they were babes), nor the scientific community at large throughout any human history. And, too, can they truly say they know a thing only because it has responded predictably for a limited period of time? They do not understand the why behind it, why air should rapidly move at all, how any cycle would have begun initially, and so on–and none were there to report it. The reality of how little they know should stagger them to humility…perhaps humble enough to cast eyes heavenward beyond creation to its Maker? We pray.