During this time of celebration, progressive Christians and non-Christians worldwide are still contemplating on what some people still consider the greatest sacrifice of all times – Jesus died for the sins of the world and his alleged resurrection. Although this may be something insignificant and for many people even absurd, could this be a metaphor for something of immense scientific proportions?
Jesus or the narrative of Jesus is the foundation of Western civilization which brought us science, technology, medicine and all the fascinating life enhancers we have around today. Nevertheless, science provides us the realistic and good and “evil” truth combination about sacrificing a life for the sins of others so that they could truly be saved! One doesn’t have to look too hard to find such evidence; all experimental labs using the mouse model are proof of great sacrifices where millions of mice give up their lives in exchange for that of humans. Millions and perhaps billions of humans have been saved and resurrected to a new life due to their own sins and sins of other humans; health and lifestyle, abuse, neglect, crime, violence and a lot more. As science came to stay with us for good as Jesus does in many ways, we should always take time to celebrate both of their uncounted miracles and enjoy a happy Easter.
Certainly many of us, Christians or not, have heard talks and presentations on various parallels of certain Bible characters or perhaps common people throughout history in regards to how they were / are born to be a “type” of Jesus, sacrificing their life for the benefit of others. For those of us that enjoy religious or secular metaphors, when it comes to science, sacrifices are a necessary evil which must happen in order for us to be saved from our many sins. Among the many sacrifices performed in scientific labs, mice are the greatest and most valuable offerings because of their genetic similarity to humans and their overall practicality. Millions of them are sacrificed worldwide in order to save people that sinned, sin at this moment (especially with all the food from Easter meals and the extra cholesterol from eggs) and will sin in the future (lack of exercise, pollution, stress, etc.). The most important health related discoveries and the best new drugs and medicine produced are the result of their great sacrifices.
Although the word sacrifice comes from religion, there’s nothing religious about sacrificing a mouse and certainly no one prays to a mouse for forgiveness, nor sings songs of thanks and adoration to it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to do so instead of any human imagination called a god?
The profound and touching experience I get from my research studies in cancer biology is that each and every time I receive a batch of new mice for my studies, I know they were born and pre-destined for a life of torture and sacrifice so that the many lives of humans could be saved in a literal and not a symbolic sense and have another chance at this truly and amazing thing we call life. As I watch the mice’ tumors grow and get bigger, their health getting worse, hear their pain and affliction for our sins going on for weeks or months, there’s no doubt in my mind they suffer terribly as they give up their lives for many of us to save us from our sins, much like Jesus did.
Science and technology cannot yet show us how to produce life, let alone create complex human life at this stage in our existence and evolution. It is why we consider life of both humans and animals special and something we should cherish, value and celebrate. Some of us certainly cherish life, whereas others do not, not even their own, for if they would, they will take better care of themselves and other fellow humans, including the environment they live in. Perhaps they take another metaphor the wrong way. They feel that just like “Jesus” died for your sins no matter what you do and rose again, science and medicine will save you over and over again, no matter what your sins may be, kind of like Jesus does. Thus, why worry so much when you can enjoy life and sin a little?
There’s a good chance science and technology will forgive even some of your gravest sins! But why commit them in the first place if you have a conscience? Oh, but that is one of the greatest problems and the most interesting intersectionality of religion and science. We often hear of preachers, priests and other religious personalities committing all kinds of grave sins (money laundering, sexual misconduct, etc. etc.), having lifestyles completely opposite of what they preach. Likewise, many scientists and healthcare providers live some of the unhealthiest lifestyles themselves. You’d think both parties should behave or do better! Thus, the essence of this metaphor is, why not become better people, non-believers and believers alike, especially those in the public sphere or high positions where others look up to them? Why not treat ourselves better, be more ethical and live healthier lives so that no one must be sacrificed on our behalf? As scientists we hope we do not have to sacrifice the life of lab specimen in order to save that of humans, but if we do not have other means, we must resort to this unfortunate, yet, amazing procedure which makes the exchange of life or restitution possible in a way that in my humble opinion religion cannot and will never accomplish.
We now can grow limbs and organs in the laboratory and if human limbs and organs will be successfully grown in the future and be able to cure cancer and other diseases, we may cease the sacrificing of various lab models all together. Such a revolution is a step forward in ethics and morals that only science can bring about. We can also perform all kinds of organ transplants, and someday we may be in a place with no more physical pain and suffering; perhaps we might even bring humans back from death. But if ever, it is science and technology that will take us there as we do not have much evidence that religion ever will. As many folks believe that Jesus was born to save us, some could certainly use this as a metaphor to save themselves from an intellectual death and start a new life, through science, technology and common sense. As this is the only life we know of and are sure of living while we still have it, Easter could be a good way to remind at least some of us about the greatest sacrifices and resurrections done through the miracles of science. They give many humans a chance to a new and better life while saving them from both a physical and intellectual illness and death and resurrecting them to a new life, a life truly worth living.