My Rebuttal to Jerry Coyne and Simon Worrall’s National Geographic Article

Why is religion harmful if it at least raises the importance of human life?

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

A few weeks ago I ran across an article on National Geographic, In Age of Science, Is Religion ‘Harmful Superstition’?. Simon Worrall, a National Geographic author, interviews evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne about his latest book, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible.

I think it’s safe to say, after reading the article I was pretty steamed. Coyne speaks so confidently of theory; he tosses all religions into one pot and contradicts himself; he cites a horrendous incident as further proof; all the while concluding the mind mere molecules and thought process as nothing more than molecular motions.

Some may say, “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.” I understand that Mr. Coyne will not be impressed in the least by anything I may say, and were I to present the most solid proof, he would remain as he is, believing in what makes sense to him, simply because he has rejected God, his Creator. But then again, nothing he says will move me either. I write this article for the simple reason that I feel there is not enough truth being spoken. Too often do Christians keep silent, for fear of not being good enough (to which I can relate), but also because they don’t know what they believe.

The world is in earnest to disprove God and the Bible. It is a war that Christians need to take more seriously.

So I would like to address a few of the more noticeable points in his article. Believe me, there is much more I could address.

Generalization

First of all, the article as well as Mr. Coyne himself, is rank with generalization. He lumps all religions in one pot and calls it superstition while later on he calls some religions beneficial. He makes it clear that what he is really rejecting is God. Obviously, since the “Abrahamic religions”, as he calls them, dwell more on the One God, he is especially critical of them.

However, next he says to call all religions bad is to set out “on some tendentious gambit to discredit religion”. He says, “The less a religion has to do with a tangible God, the less it hands out moral dictates and the better it is.” We come to the crux of the matter. Obviously, Mr. Coyne doesn’t want anyone telling him what is right and wrong. 

Next, he clearly states that he doesn’t believe in an afterlife and yet he uses the phrase “road to perdition”. Perdition implies the afterlife. How can someone be on the road to perdition when perdition doesn’t exist? Is it because, deep down in his hardened heart he knows he can’t deny what is awaiting him on the other side of this life?

And of course, there was many more instances of generalization. But I don’t want to leave this subject before pointing out the first and most notable incident. The very first picture of the article looked to be about four or five decades old featuring a run down church, a measly number of members, depicting a questionable situation. What does that tell you about what they are trying to imply?

Molecular Matter

Being an evolutionist, Coyne rejects the account of creation in Genesis and instead thinks it more logical, and beneficial, to believe that we are “creatures of physics, made of molecules” where our thoughts are merely the “results of molecular motions”. There is no soul, ergo there is no conscience.

Since this is the case, let me ask the questions that beg to be answered –what is right and wrong? If there is no ultimate authority –if we are our own authority, who’s to say what is harmful to society and what is beneficial? Where do we come off with our laws that say killing another person is wrong, stealing what doesn’t belong to you is wrong if there is no foundation for it? 

Extreme Situations

I suppose what angered me most was the fact that he brought up Christian Scientology as further proof, and Mr. Worrall played off it (note opening statement). He quotes a situation where two Christian Scientologists let their daughter suffer until she finally died in agony. I agree with Mr. Coyne there, what they did was deplorable! But Christian Scientology is so unbiblical I despise the fact that they use the Christian label.

‘Christian’ literally means ‘little Christ’. Therefore a Christian is someone who lives to emulate Christ. Scripture gives a clear account of the character of Jesus. He is loving and compassionate but also just and uncompromising. During his earthly ministry when he worked miracles he wasn’t nonsensical. God has given each of us the ability to reason and use logic. We are responsible to measure our conclusions up to the truth and law in His Word.


Moment of Truth

Furthermore, Mr. Coyne is so determined not to be duped by ‘religious superstition’ that he has gone to a lot of trouble to prove the need for a ‘superior being’ illogical, even irrational. He himself notes how sudden his moment of ‘awakening’ was that any normal, and intelligent person, would weigh the proof before accepting it as truth. While listening to a Beatles’ album he says he suddenly came to the realization that there was no God. And from that point his whole life has been based on and interpreted through that conclusion. It’s shaky and unproven ground to be standing on, to say the least.

Conclusion

Mr. Coyne is entitled to his beliefs as is everyone else. No religion should be forced upon anyone. Instead you should have the right to reason and come to your own conclusions. Events in the past when people have killed, if not able to proselytize, in the name of Christianity are a terrible blow to the Christian reputation. God does not approve of forced belief because in the end it really isn’t belief. God wants our love and loyalty. He has given us every reason to obey Him.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 14:34).

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

So I have expressed my views and Jerry Coyne has expressed his. The difference being that mine is based on the teaching of a Superior Being, and his on his own, foundationless reasoning.

No matter how hard we try to run from God, we will face Him eventually. And that goes for a nation as well.

– National Geographic article — In Age of Science, Is Religion ‘Harmful Superstition’? http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150531-religion-science-faith-healing-atheism-people-ngbooktalk/
– Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible

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