"The belief that rational and quantifiable disciplines such as science can be used to perfect human society is no less absurd than a belief in magic, angels, and divine intervention. Scientific methods, part of the process of changing the material world, are nearly useless in the nebulous world of politics, ideas, values, and ethics. But the belief in collective moral progress is a seductive one. It is what has doomed populations in the past who have chased after impossible dreams, and it threatens to doom us again. It is, at its core, the enticing delusion that we can be more than human, that we can become gods.
We have nothing to fear from those who do or do not believe in God; we have much to fear from those who do not believe in sin. The concept of sin is a check on the utopian dreams of a perfect world. It prevents us from believing in our own perfectibility of the illusion that the material advances of science and technology equal an intrinsic moral improvement in our species. To turn away from God is harmless. Saints have been trying to do it for centuries. To turn away from sin is catastrophic. Religious fundamentalists, who believe they know and can carry out the will of God, disregard their severe human limitations. They act as if they are free from sin. The secular utopians of the twenty-first century have also forgotten they are human. These two groups peddle absolutes. Those who do not see as they see, speak as they speak and act as they act are worthy only of conversion or eradication."
"It is this naive belief in our goodness and decency--this inability to face the dark reality of human nature, our capacity for evil and the morally neutral universe we inhabit--that is the most disturbing aspect of all these belief systems. There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea we are morally advancing as a species or that we will overcome the flaws of human nature. We progress technologically and scientifically, but not morally. We use the newest instruments of technological and scientific progress to create more efficient forms of killing, repression, economic exploitation, and to accelerate environmental degradation. There is a good and bad side to human progress. We are not advancing toward a glorious utopia."
"Scientific and moral progress are not the same. One advances. The other does not."
I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with you.
Humans are naturally flawed, naturally debased and sinful, and will never be within a hundred million miles of perfection. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that we are also capable of having a moral compass and acting with decency, and in fact most humans do. One can always say that people like you and me are the minority, and certain stories would seem to support that (a child getting run over in China and left to die, despite being in the middle of an immensely crowded street). Yet for every one story like that, you can find ten of the opposite (an entire town turning out to rescue a child trapped in an old well, half a dozen motorists stopping to put a stop to an attempted carjacking, etc).
To say that we are irrational, sinful, and debased is in-line with Christianity.
To say that we are incapable of being good is to deny that God works in and through us.
(Sorry, but I was getting an overly misanthropic vibe from this. Correct me if I'm incorrect about you thinking this.
Also I apologize for the large amount of comments I've been posting lately. I've been looking through your submissions, old and new, and they're very...thought provoking)