PRAISE THE LORD...
An article on BBC (Unfortunately, I lost it. Will post a link to it as soon as I find it) corroborates what we all thought was heavily responsible for Bush winning the election- the faith and votes of conservative, evangelical Christians. For me it will always be a source of wonder how, even in the most 'advanced' country in the world, the election of the President is dictated by people who worry much more about his ability to 'preserve the sanctity of marriage' than his ability to fight the war on terror, to get jobs, or to protect the environment and save us from impending doom. For all the mammoth politicking that went on, these issues apparently did not figure to any reasonable extent for the ~4 million evangelicals who voted. For them, it seems that gay marriage and abortion were still the main issues. This raises a couple of plausible points and questions in my mind:
1. Who really 'runs the country', any country for that matter? Is it really the liberal, well-educated people?
2. Love it or hate it, religion is always going to be the most enduring theme in civilization, even when we are going to be travelling in space pods to distant planets.
3. In spite of our rants about science and rationality and about 'being good in spite of religion' (my stance), the time when people will accept a morally upright but atheist President (as opposed to an evangelical but morally devious President) is a figment of our imagination. Will that time ever come?
4. This really brings us to the definiton of 'advanced'. How do you define advancement? Even now, it probably turns out, not by the number of people getting a college degree, the growth in crop production by the use of genetically modified strains, or the successful landing of the Mars rover. It is a common and well founded conception that technology has really changed the way we view ourselves and the world, and that it has become completely enshrined in our being and living. I seriously doubt the absolute nature of that statement now. Events such as these cannot but help make us wonder whether all that technology and 'progress' is seriously dissociated from the social and emotional progress of human beings.
I have no argument against religious people. But sometimes I fear: will their faith in God sometimes overrule their faith in rationality and elementary morality? I certainly don't ask this question without having any precedent for asking it! If we think of it, it is quite obvious that more crimes have been commiteed against humanity in a century that was the most 'developed' in history than any other. Most of them have been committed in the name of religion. Ironically, we also know that it was technology that made these crimes possible. On the other hand, we can argue that technology is never, by itself, responsible for such events. It is only its misuse that makes them happen.
So the fact is, even now, for most people even in the US, religious issues are the most important. There is no problem if resolution of these issues is going to lead to a more peaceful co-existence. But does it always? Cannot help but wonder...