I was watching The One Show tonight (Yes, I watch The One Show. Get over it.) and the star and writer of the marvellously funny Rev, Tom Hollander, was on. He had mentioned the ridiculous amount of plastic carrier bags polluting the Atlantic Ocean and, in connection with an item on scientific innovation, suggested that,
“Science is destroying the planet, so maybe it can help to fix it too.”
And I thought, yes! Science is destroying the planet! This ‘great force for reason and good’ is actually a force of destructive, ruinous evil which will be the end of us all!
Let’s look at the evidence. Science has given us guns, nuclear bombs and chemical weapons; instruments of great suffering and mass killings.
Science has given us vehicles and factories which belch out greenhouse gases, changing the climate and choking the vulnerable.
Science has given us the race to create so much new technology that we strip our planet of its natural resources, leaving our children or grandchildren with a barren Earth.
Science has allowed us to create working practices which sacrifice services and jobs in place of efficiency and profit
Science is evil. It has destroyed lives, jobs and our world.
Of course, it hasn’t. Science is, more often than not, a force for great good. Medicines saving lives, communications bringing people closer, the ability to predict and survive disasters, cleaner and safer energy, the list goes on and on.
Science is clearly not evil, but some people have chosen to use it for selfish or evil means. They have twisted its intentions and practices for their own ends with no regard for the good it can do.
The same goes for religion. It is a common argument that religion is a force for evil. The scourge of the world. The cause of all of its ills.
This is also patently untrue. Religion has, of course, and continues to be used for great evil. Wars, torture, oppression, murder, abuse of power, mental and physical abuse and brainwashing are just some of the evils carried out in the name of religion.
They are not, however, the reason for the existence of religion. Religion exists in order to help to bring peace, order, love and salvation to a chaotic world. It exists to bring people closer to the higher power people call God.
Religion has been used to create organised health care, mass education, peace work, the fight against poverty, campaigning against human trafficking and many other great things.
The fact is that religion, in itself, is neither good or evil. Science, in itself, is neither good or evil. How people choose to use these tools determines how we view them. People choose to be good or evil.
It’s easy to focus on the bad points of something you disagree with and call it evil. It’s easy to focus on the good points of something you agree with and call it perfect. The fact is that very few things are either bad or good, it’s purely how we choose to use them which determine that. Where religion is concerned, only God is truly perfect. His followers aren’t, which is why so much evil is done in his name.
Jesus commands us to love, be peacemakers, show forgiveness and help the poor, sick and vulnerable. He also calls out those who don’t do any of these things and asks us to do the same. We can’t stop evil, but we can help to shine a light on it, and on good, and help to point people down the right path.
We need to take responsibility for the actions of human beings, rather than blame concepts for evil. And we need to find a better way, the right way, to run our lives and the world.
We have been given the way by Jesus, and we can do our best to follow his example.