A fellow student recently expressed conflicted feelings over what she believes and what she was raised to believe. Science isn’t exactly conducive for believing in life after death or even God but she “feels good” whenever she attends mass. It’s a case of belief and fitting in; not following strict religious rules is not going to send anyone straight to hell, yet the sense of emotional well-being is also appealing.
In my experience, I have never “felt good” the times I was in a church service. Perhaps I’ve attended the wrong services, but I suspect what feels good to one person and boring to the next depends on the temperament. Some people may argue that religion teaches moral values–and for some it may–but I personally lay that accomplishment at my parents’ feet. The only things I have been bombarded with were messages of being “saved”, propaganda, and antiquated rules that really should be modified to fit in with the modern times.
Going to church because it feels good isn’t wrong by a long shot but none of this solves the faith limbo that many young scientists go through. You’re taught to question everything and suddenly you don’t know if anything is certain anymore. In childhood everything is solid and real because it is unquestionable. And then you get older and learn that there is no Santa Claus. There is no Easter Bunny. And the proverbial bottom of slippery slope the question, is there a God?
No one is born knowing what to believe or not. This boils down to personal experience and observation. But whether someone is a religious fanatic or the most stubborn atheist, once he or she has formulated life principles, these should be followed consistently. An atheist going to church to listen to the choir sing is one thing. But if you’ve decided to make asking questions part of your life, questioning some things and blindly believing others is hypocritical.
Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections. An excellent resource for any student taking brain physiology. I’ve seen primate, octopus, and barn owl brain slices under the microscope as well as having a fresh sheep brain sit on my desk for an entire term (for studying purposes, of course), but there’s some interesting slides on polar bear, weasel, and manatee on this site.
Quatloos! The cyber-museum of scams and frauds.