Skepticism in Portugal

Being in Portugal, defending skepticism is a bit different from defending skepticism in the U.S. I tend to think religion is not the main enemy of skepticism in Portugal — in fact, people here don’t see a contradiction between being somewhat religious and quite happy believing in evolution, big bang, etc. In high school, I was enrolled in religion classes, as many Portuguese students are. My religion teacher explained quite well Darwin’s findings about human evolution, in order to make us see we should never ever read the Bible literally — something like “see, this is what science tells us [implying we should accept it]; so, the Bible could never be read in a literal way”. I would like to discuss and reflect about this: is this something Portuguese? Something European? Something about my personal experience with no relevance to others? I don’t really know, but would like to understand it better.

(Maybe I’m deluding myself. I understand religion plays a part in the lack of scientific culture in my country. My grandfather once told me people are now living less and less, since the Bible spoke of 900-year-old people. I tried to argue, but to no avail: “either we believe it all, or we don’t”. He is more coherent and maybe a bit more lucid than myself regarding the true compatibility of religion and science…)

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