July 1, 2008

Darwin & God: "We Be Mates"

I've always wondered if Darwin and God could get along. This interview article with a pretty articulate author has settled my mind in some ways and agitated it in others about the possibility.

The story was written by a NYU classmate/fellow Salon intern, Vincent Rossmeier, who I give props to for some very insightful questioning.

One of my biggest beefs in my religious background is accepting without question everything in the Bible and glorying in the fact that you are doing so because that shows you have complete faith in God's Word.

So, in that vein, I was very satisfied with the answer given by Karl Giberson, the author of "Saving Darwin: How to be Christian and Believe in Evolution" on why people believe this so blindly:

In short, intellectual laziness. We're not prepared to do the hard work to make our culture more sophisticated. We don't drill into our children in Sunday school or church the fact that ancient people thought differently about the world than we do. Even a modest amount of sophistication in biblical interpretation will show that the biblical authors, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, are not writing history.

I would couple intellectual laziness with fear. When you get to a certain point, it is uncomfortable and scary to possibly believe that you're sinning by believing otherwise. There is so much fear manifesting itself when one opens that Holy tome. Especially for me.

So many questions and problems I have with the way scripture is addressed in current culture are talked about here respectfully. If only the voices from the pulpit and the science realms could meet this way more often in dialogue.

It's not easy fighting with your faith tradition. However, it is even more difficult fighting with the people you love who think you're becoming a heretic for believing such things and questioning what is so simply beautiful and black and white.

I'm convinced that the gray areas are where real life exists. And that we should not shun it, but embrace the logic and rationality as easily as we do the mysterious and awesome.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at July 1, 2008 5:01 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Even if scripture is infallible, literal and sufficient, that still doesn't mean we can know every part of it or even how to approach the lessons. Like anything, fundamentalism is not inherently bad unless taken to extremes. If the scriptures are perfect, we humans can't possibly know that perfection in its entirety. That would be posing as God which is clearly against everything in the scriptures.

I don't know about you, but I have kinda gotten tired of the whole historical context reading. We get caught up in all the minutiae to the point where we forget the Bible was summed up in two sentences: love God and love people.

This article may be of interest to you: http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/5605

I can safely say that you are definitely not the only one who feels this way. While you may feel guilty questioning the validity and accuracy of the Bible, there is nothing in most church doctrines that would forbid you from questioning the application of the Bible.

You are so right about the dialogue. If the churches and scientific organizations would spend less time fighting about differences and focus on the common moral framework we all have and the concern for justice, the world would be better. A global congregation of one billion Christians and 5 billion with either another affiliation or no affiliation, we could have such a better world, being that even atheists can be driven by a higher authority than arbitrary self-interest.

After I moved out of my parents' house and no longer had to go to church, I asked myself if I really was Christian. After reading every other religious text (even the Qu'ran) and then going back to the Bible, I finally said that I could never appreciate any other religion. And I had to justify to myself why I believed in the Gospels after being repelled by my church's practice of indoctrination.

The biggest gray area I found is why believe these things? Why believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Why value the Parables? Why believe anything at all? What does it do? What does it change and why?

If believing something as outrageous and improbable as a person ascending from a mystical heaven as a human and sending out an army of winged people to make a rapture of virtuous souls on the earth makes you a kind, compassionate person and helps you to ease the suffering of others, why not? There's nothing in the current hyper-dimensional, string theory physics literature that can dispute the possibility.

Posted by: Evan at July 1, 2008 7:26 PM

Amanda,

Interesting. :) As I get older I see that even black and white are merely extreme shades of gray.

As I learned in Senior Seminar at SHU, its actually important to question what you believe and why you believe it. Do you believe because your parents did? Or because someone told you to believe it?

The truely great in this world didn't do what others told them to do or expected of them, they questioned everything. Look at Albert Einstein-teachers thought he was an idiot. If he would have believed them and did what they say where would science be?

Since we are talking Bible, look at what our characters in the Bible did. Even if others don't believe the Bible to be true or historic, what does it show?

Noah went against the grain and baffled everyone by building the ark. Moses taking thousands into the desert for forty years - who in their right mind would do that? Peter actually believing he could walk on water. Joshua actually believing that if he and his people would walk around Jericho's city walls 7 times that they would just fall??

You get the point. Even the Bible is full of people who did crazy things, against the odds and regardless of what others (including relgious leaders) around them thought.

My point is, question your beliefs. Toss them around, chew them up, spit them out. THEN you will develop true faith, that has been tested by you. You will believe because YOU believe. Not because its what you are expected to believe...

Good night!

Posted by: Amy at July 1, 2008 11:34 PM

This is for Amy, thanks for the answer to Amanda.it was put in a great way. I too am a beliver in the Bible. grammy

Posted by: grandma at July 2, 2008 8:51 PM

Hi..It is a total coincedence that now I am uttering these words. I am a believer of Qur'an. I sometimes contemplate how the Christians could believe a human as GOD..I am really curious..I don't say it to crticise what you believe or not..because I know everybody is free what to believe in..I also want to add that I love Jesus(peace be upon him) because I , as a muslim , know He was also a Prophet and transmitted the message of Allah the Almighty.He told the same realities as the last Prophet Mohammed(pubh). I agree you Amanda what you said about faith."you will believe what you believe" thanks for letting me question again..good night

Posted by: imren at August 18, 2008 7:06 PM
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