The freedom of our schools to teach well-established science and to instill an appreciation for independent critical thinking is under attack by religious fundamentalists. To the extent they succeed, our children and our society will suffer.
"Religions fill a deeply felt need. Throughout history, practically all societies, whether isolated tribes or complex civilizations, have had some sort of belief system in the form of a religion. If something as ubiquitous and seemingly necessary as religion is actually a false concept, significant consideration ought to be given to what might replace it."
Christian leaders teach that the Bible is inerrant and authoritative, often referring to it as "The Good Book." They encourage us to read it, but they evidently realize that most of us will only read the recommended passages, accompanied by a good dose of interpretation, and that only a few of us will ever read it from cover to cover, and then form our own opinions about what it actually says. If all of us were to sit down and read the Bible straight through--and then actually put into practice what it admonishes us to do--civilization would be dealt a devastating blow from which it might never recover. That may seem to be a surprising conclusion, but the author makes a convincing case for it simply by looking at what the Bible itself actually says.
What authority can we trust to provide good answers to life's big questions? For questions about the physical world--how it got here, how it works, where we came from--the discoveries of science give us honest and reliable answers. But science does not claim to know the answers to moral and social issues, which are of utmost importance because they determine how well we can live together. Religions do claim to have the answers in this area, but how good are their teachings? A careful look at moral issues addressed by religions can tell us a lot, and maybe even provide a guide to validating our own moral choices.
What is real, and how do we know it? Religions and science put forward quite different answers to those questions, the gap becoming wider as the religious thinking becomes more fundamental. A comparison of the workings of religion and science shows which one we should trust for answers, even if we don't always have the interest or the patience to learn about and understand scientific discoveries (or to wade through religious rhetoric).