Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Religion of Blood - Spirituality through DNA

Recently, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my boss' book that we're working on together. His topic is re-imagining God in a multimedia age. His perspective is Christianity.

I've learned a lot about faith, Christianity and true belief in the past few days. But of course, as an agnostic, I cannot help but extrapolate, and think of this topic beyond the limited framework available to a practicing Christian. And as such, I've had a number of interesting thoughts.

In particular, one of the main topics we have been addressing is that of God as communicator - and the changing nature of his communication. This led me to think about the symbolism of Christ on the cross and the bleeding wounds from the nails - as well as the bleeding wounds he incurred in the hands of the Romans, so delicately portrayed in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ.

This is where the biologist and computer programmer in me take over. I'm not a religious person but I hold some strange beliefs - namely, I believe that DNA is the most exquisite programming language ever, since with only 4 base-pairs it allows us to make people. And what are people if not incredibly sophisticated computers.

Christianity is not the only religion to focus on blood sacrifices - from Hinduism to the ancient Aztec religion to animistic tribal customs, the notion of blood sacrifice has been a central part of religion in all of its guises. Why is this?

I would argue that blood-letting is the most elemental expression of faith - that the DNA contained within the blood that is spilled is the very essence of spirituality and represents the work of a higher entity, if you buy into that sort of stuff.

In that regard, Christianity hearkens back to the old tribal animistic days much more than Judaism does. Christ bids his followers to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood - his blood that contains (if you believe in his divinity) divine DNA. On the cross, his divine DNA is spilled into the ground, and unlike his body, which is resurrected, the blood that is spilled remains in the ground, suffusing the Earth with these lines of code.

Going even further in this bizarre analysis, in Genesis, it is said that God created man in his image. I would argue that (again, if you believe in this stuff) this 'image' isn't a physical manifestation, since God logically doesn't look like a human (hard to be everywhere all the time as a biped), but rather the DNA which was used to create people is made up of the molecules of divinity. God communicates through Christ and through man in the form of DNA - which to early worshippers who didn't understand the intricacies of science was best expressed in the form of blood, a vital part of our survival and a shockingly bright visual reminder of our mortality.

God is a programmer whose language of choice is DNA/RNA. When exposure to UV rays causes a thymine dimer to occur, that's an example of a bug in the code. When cancer cells proliferate uncontrollably, that's an example of an infinite loop. This would indicate that God is not infallible and that all living creatures are part of an incredibly large experiment. Alternatively, we may merely be God's plaything, and God is actually a petulant child playing a DNA version of Sim City.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clever, but essentially meaningless. Boy, and you find the leap of faith that Christians make unfathomable. Your theory makes sense in a kind of fictional world of Sci-Fi that you seem immersed in. (Well your epistemological view of the world is grounded in Science Fiction. Discerning the antecedents of Science fiction of course we would find Christianity and a host of other belief systems. But none of this has a rigorous or convincing grounding in philosophy.Unless of course you are satisfied with magic?)I think you are on the right track. Keep searching. I hate to think of you putting your intellect to work as an associate in some god-awful law firm. Yes, you may become very rich, but your clever and imaginative intellect would be waisted. (Remember the commercial “this is your mind on drugs”? Just replace drugs with “law firm”.) Have you thought of studying scholastic philosophy and Thomas Aquinas?

The law can be fun at first, but in truth only an intellectual drone should take it up as a career. Consider philosophy. Try taking a look at pre-enlightenment philosophy as a starting point. Don't automatically dismiss it. Give it a chance. Yes, I know, you are terribly busy with law school now, but keep this suggestion in the back of your mind. Especially once you find yourself ensconced in some life sapping law firm.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Nixie said...

I have no intention to work at a law firm in the long run. I am fully intending to move abroad and do international law of some form.

On the other hand, philosophy is reading someone else's thoughts. And no one has the right answers.

My theories and ideas are merely expressions of the sci-fi story concepts that I have developed in my head over the years and plan to put on paper someday.

12:26 PM  

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