The film Inherit the Wind is a trip into the past. A place of not-so-olden times in which people living in a fairly modern environment believed in talking snakes, two people populating the earth for 900 years, demons, witchcraft, and the apocalypse. Excuses such as context of time no longer abound once we observe people like us, relatively modern human beings, who emasculate themselves by proselytizing their honest beliefs in Christianity.
Conviction is shown its bitter conclusion once logic is removed and strong feelings influence a large swathe of public discourse. A town of hateful, ignorant, and shallow bigots who have circumvented their own potential, weaken the State they live in, actively destroy the educational future of their children, and present a blight to human progress. People actually believed in the literal interpretation of their religions. Modern discourse postulates some unique aspect of Asian culture that has allowed it to swiftly bring itself to the 21st century in a very short span of years. Yet, here is a possible answer: The lack of the Abrahamic faiths hampering economic, social, and political prosperity. The lack of hatred of Science and of scientific theories because it doesn’t mesh with original sin, talking snakes, a genocidal God, and the idea of a Second Coming.
The end of the film, in which Drummond is shown to be a Christian, and the reporter a lonely shrew is telling. The Abrahamic faiths make one believe that it has to have similar characteristics to it or it is alien and evil. The implication being that Science must be some new way to the Abrahamic God because . . . because it just has to be because a holy book made by a bunch of violent ignoramuses during an age when cannibalism and heresy offenses were common had to have some grain of truth because so many people far less educated than I am believed in it. And yet, we are shown the past in all its glory in a fairly modern depiction that still has strict adherents today with Creationists. We see exactly what true faith does to people. We recognize that science, education, culture, and modernity have brought us out of a laudable pit of ignorance and bigotry; but the majority of us continue to profess faith as if it is goodness.
Ah, but what if it is real and the secularists are sent to hell? After all, if it’s real then we don’t have to worry about eternal damnation or “the absence of God” or a “meaningless” life. But has anyone posed the opposite and scrutinized these beliefs objectively?
Does anyone realize how pernicious such a belief truly is? People are led to believe that being “perfect” in the image of an ancient wise man will afford them eternal life . . . after they die. They somehow don’t see the self-contradiction.
People are encouraged to follow these rules – except they’re openly interpretative now so contradicting them is also fine – so that their “soul” will be sent into a heavenly bliss where all their loved ones will be reunited with them for eternity.
Meanwhile, the “non-believers” – and basically anyone who rejects the Abrahamic God because of their own religion or because they’re a non-believer – will be sent into hell where they will face justice for their transgressions of forming their own opinions and disagreeing with a violent God that teaches it’s believers to be hostile to them. As was shown by depictions of the town.
Ah yes, those secularists will face punishment and the believers will bask in the glory of God’s Kingdom. All technology, advanced medicine, luxuries like homes and sanitation, human knowledge itself, and the wonders of the natural world shall all be obliterated so that God can fight the Devil in an epic mass war and the true believers will be whisked unto heaven while the non-believers rot and die because the world is evil. Those secularists, what a nasty bunch of arrogant people for not being in any similar version to what my God deems as fit, yes?
But what if, hypothetically, a bunch of ancient people wrote stories to give their lives fanciful meaning because they didn’t understand the science behind earthquakes, lavas, hurricanes, and thus set-up a bunch of rules to blame their own societies because they thought it was all connected to their own actions due to cognitive biases? What if, all these mystic visions by these prophets and apostles were just self-delusions that people couldn’t make sense of because they didn’t know what a dream actually was?
What if, you are wasting your life on rules, expectations, and “traditions” that are followed because people are first led to believe they’re sinful because a holy book says they’re sinful and then make them wish to die a good death by forcing these rules: what women can and cannot do, what you must do on Sunday, how you must make love to your partner, what position you must make love, and fear the possibility of going to the wrong part of a dual mystic world that has absolutely no scientific credibility whatsoever? Who is being deceived and who is really damning themselves with their beliefs?
Inherit the Wind arguably shows that selfishness isn’t always wrong or sinful or evil. It is, at times, the best source of freedom from people bringing the utmost misery upon you because they have to go through that same misery. Being an individual above being “chosen” by God.
Incidentally, the Second Coming supposedly already came and went: