Hundreds of churches across the country will celebrate Evolution Weekend on the weekend closest to Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12. Evolution Weekend is the day when religious organizations from all across the United States representing a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science.Fantastic! Nine New Zealand congregations are listed among the hundreds marking the day, with another eight across the ditch in a westerly direction. You can learn more here.
One of the goals of Evolution Weekend is to provide evidence that evolution is sound science, that the science of evolution is central to the theology taught in most seminaries, and that the science of evolution poses no problems for people of faith.Alas, the majority of the clergy officers' corp, guarding the boundaries of what they can get away with without alienating those inclined to a monochrome fundamentalism, have been slow to embrace initiatives like this. To those who have, may be Force be with you.
And what better way to prepare for the big event than a final dose of Lloyd Geering's series on Evolution: The Real Genesis.
The compatibility of religion and science? Lotsa luck with that one! Having been soundly defeated at every confrontation, I suppose this is religion's fallback position - a tactic to hold onto as many faithful as possible as their "answers" are increasingly proven false.ReplyDelete
The believers may fool themselves into thinking evolution and Genesis are somehow in agreement or that science is compatible with religion - but that's just what they are doing - fooling themselves. The people who wrote the bible wrote what they wanted people to believe about their beginnings and their history. The people who wrote it didn't know the truth of the matter any more than those to whom it was written but they pretended they did because of their priestly/political positions of authority on all things God and country. In other words, they made stuff up that has been shown to be false and yet people still want to believe it. So, they twist what the old texts say into new and strange meanings that were never there. Then, living a life in denial and cognitive dissonance, they want other people to fall in line and believe, without evidence, their own crack-pot theory of evolutionary creationism and force feed it to our kids in school as if it were true.ReplyDelete
Depends on whether you believe truth can be conveyed by metaphor. Or whether you get as much of a thrill out of reading Gilgamesh as you do the Genesis stories. Or whether you factor in the different genre in the biblical books.Delete
Wiseacre fundamentalists do none of these things because they lack the intellectual flexibility. To them it's all black and white. Those who've had the benefit of a higher education emerged with degrees in engineering or something similar, not the arts. True to them means factual, inerrant.
For some of us, putting all that fantasy justification behind us means that we can appreciate the Bible in new ways. Not as a magic book, but as a chronicle of humanity's attempt to come to grips with ultimate concerns. Not inerrant, not infallible, and not beyond criticism - either in the scholarly or the common usage.
So, there you have my take on colourblind fundamentalism. Metaphor, the value of ancient literature in general and the vagaries of genre. It seems the same comments could be made about the more myopic and knee jerk fringes of atheism. Richard Dawkins is, in comparison, far more nuanced.
I do believe truth can be conveyed by metaphor - depending on IF it's a metaphor and understood to be a metaphor by the writer of said metaphor. Jesus thought Genesis was literal, which indicates that Jews thought it was literal. Whether God thought it was or not is moot, since we can't know what God thought - as if God exists and has a physical brain to think with.Delete
According to Paul the story of Abraham and his two sons is an allegory of the two covenants but the Jews don't see it that way. I don't see it that way either. To me it's a meant to be taken literal story about the seed of Abraham (the Jews) inheriting the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. Moses and Joshua seem to have understood it that way too - which means the Jews who wrote those first 6 books of the bible had a literal inheritance in mind.
I agree, we can appreciate the Bible in new ways. The Bible is interesting as ancient literature, as an example of ancient man's attempts to make sense of the world around him and as a tool of ancient leaders to gain power over men. The Bible is all these things and more. It is not, however, communication to mankind from a greater power.Delete
I see religion and science as having a checks and balances relationship. One of the checks that most religions bring involves an higher power related imperative behind doing the right, the moral, the ethical thing. People tend to abuse that in self-serving ways, no doubt about that at all. Unfortunately, I-O thinkers often take the most extreme from each discipline, and attempt to frame that as being the norm. In some minds, the poor toothless hillbilly Bible thumper, whose chief worry is how to get rid of Big Mama's tobacco spittin's becomes your typical Christian, while Dr. Mengele becomes your quintessential atheist scientist. Clearly, median specimens from both disciplines are more accurate reflections of the norm. But, such polarization makes for a good straw debate.ReplyDelete
What strikes me most these days is that whatever our outlook is probably has some pretty serious shelf-life.
I always used to say that upon death, one becomes gnostic (meaning finally knowing what is to be known), and there is probably enough correction to go around for everyone. That said, the best plan would probably be to learn what one can about God, and to the extent it is humanly possible, let this guide you to a relationship with Him.
I tried Googling "I-O thinkers" and came up blank. Meaning?Delete
Binary. I-O is a computer term, based on the on-off pattern information takes as it is processed by a computer. When applied to human thought patterns, it means that someone is missing out on the shades of gray because on any given topic they only see two seemingly polar opposites. An I-O thinker is a very shallow thinker.Delete
That would be 1-0 (one - zero) not I-0Delete
"An I-O thinker is a very shallow thinker."
You mean like how our brains work? (1-0) (synaptic firing threshold)
Or I-O: Input/Output (GiGo)- Garbage In = Garbage Out: Example: Pauline Christianity.Delete
It has been my experience that someone has to be real in order to have a relationship with them. I don't choose to have a personal relationship with imagination and emotion. Poignant stories may bring a tear to my eye (especially if accompanied by pitiful pictures of suffering) but I don't believe that stirring up those feelings mean God is calling me. I see it as it really is, my own emotions. Some people can stir up their emotions so much that they speak in tongues, so, I suppose I should get me down to a Pentecostal church and be immersed in "the spirit" - but, I'm not going to do that because I know better and know what it really is.ReplyDelete
Evolution Sunday sounds like a great step forward for Christians. I agree with Gavin that maintaining a metaphorical view works for many and I don't have a problem with that although personally that metaphor doesn't little for me. I know a number of people who maintain a personal feeling that there is something out there bigger then them and accepting and embracing the story that evolution provides is far better than trying to ignore or discredit the mountain of evidence that supports evolution.ReplyDelete
I agree with Corky that someone has to be real in order to have a relationship with them. From wikipedia's definition of interpersonal relationships "Interpersonal relationships usually involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings, and engage in activities together. "
The degree to which my wife and I influence each other, share our thoughts and feelings and engage in activities together is very tangible and evident to all who know us. That same test does not apply in every case of people who claim a relationship with God/Jesus that I've seen. Those relationships seem much more akin to the relationship a stalker has with their "significant other".