I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about this whole evolution/creationism thing. In particular, about the way that people talk about the debate and talk to one another when debating.
I recently bought a bumper sticker that said "Keep your mythology out of my science class." I thought it was so perfect and fitting. And then the other day I realized what was really saying. I don't know how I missed it, but originally, I didn't think it was all that offensive. I mean...religion shouldn't be in a science class and I firmly stand by that. What's offensive about that? Somehow, I didn't catch the part where it equated religion with mythology.
Do I really believe this?
Yes, in most respects I do. The stories told, for example, in the Christian religion, are just as real to me as myths are: not real at all. They're stories. And they function, for many, as stories do - reflecting our humanity and carrying in them meaning that can be used to explain things and create a model for our behavior.
Do I feel the need to let every religious person in the car behind me know that I think they're stories are myths?
No. First of all, the word "myth" carries all sorts of connotation. And if people took it for what it means without that connotation, then I wouldn't mind declaring that religious stories are myths. But people don't work that way.
I don't think religion should be a special exception. I don't think that I should have to tip-toe around my beliefs in hopes of not stepping on any toes. I don't think that churches should be tax-exempt. I don't think we should let babies die because their parents don't want them to have blood transfusions because god might not like it.
But I don't want to tell the guy in the car behind me that I think his beliefs are stupid. Even if they are. Because I have to live on this planet with hordes of people whose beliefs are different than mine. And I don't think the way to go about solving this science in America problem is to let people know how stupid they're being. I think it's a ground-up thing...
But again...damned if I'm going to let mythology into my science class.