There was a time when science, a set of disciplines based on evidence, and religion based on belief, were one and the same. That is because the belief in a supreme being was reinforced daily by the power of the natural things and occurrences around early world communities.
The gradual separation of science and religion to the point of becoming opposites was a necessary evolution in the development of civilizations. There came a moment when the paths separated and the priest could no longer be both the leader of believers in someone greater than ourselves and those that sought to understand the laws of nature and its universal extension into the cosmic realm.
A major measure of the progress of a civilization is the degree of compartmentalization that occurs in scientific study as well as in the development of a relationship with God. The highest expression of sophistication in an enlightened culture is the singular belief that God is always on our side at the same time that science diversifies into highly specialized areas of study about what we do not know.
There comes a time toward the end of a cycle round however, when decadence sets in and weakens the separation of the two sides of our original being. This development leads to the fragmentation of our will to continue the search for truth.
The separation of church and State that is in our Constitution, as another example of that same duality, is thought to constitute important progress over a time when State religions dominated the landscape. Yet, church leaders, especially in the Protestant Evangelical community, have been in the forefront of efforts to reunite religion with the State.
Also, there are a growing number of members in the community, of which Evangelicals form a significant part, that are making a consorted effort to undermine science in favor of expressing truth by inspiration. In doing so, they are playing into the hands of charlatans and cultists that represent themselves as biblical prophets.
Among them is the QAnon Movement that portrays itself as having secret knowledge that the religious community is beginning to embrace even though it is described as a “far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles run a global child sex trafficking ring and conspired against former President of the United States Donald Trump during his term of office.” QAnon further alleges that “Trump has been planning a day of reckoning known as the Storm, when thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested.”
That very much sounds apocalyptic and combines a Christian view of chaos with a second coming that replaces Christ with Trump as a new “Messiah sent by God.” This language constitutes an effective extension of the religious belief system that brought to us Jesus Christ as our savior.
The on-going attack on the COVID-19 vaccine and the science behind it constitutes another part of this Movement. It seeks, in part, to combine an anti-science agenda with the worship under a new “high priest.” In a larger sense, the effort to collapse the separation of science and religious belief under a new order is another important indication that the fragmentation, decadence and the dark side of our societal life cycle is upon us.
This has happened before in world history and America is not immune to the fate of those on the downward side of their cultural round. Yet, the country continues to have the ability to create opportunities for renewal.