As with all posts on this blog: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and in no way represent the views of any organization, group, or individual living or dead. If you like the opinions expressed here, well and good; if not, you are more than welcome to disagree, and to help me improve them. Further, the author reserves the right to change his opinion on any of these matters at any time. That is all.
Most folks who meet me, and can stand the non-stop self-absorbed monologue that I try and pass off as conversation, would probably come away with the idea that I was an essentially rational human being- a little nutty, but essentially rational. I say this because I have found that many people out there operate under the assumption that religious types like myself are simple, close-minded nut jobs (admittedly I do spend too much time hanging out on Reddit, so you'll have that).
On behalf of simple, close-minded nut jobs like myself, let me clarify the following points:
- I have never met a single person who takes every word of the Bible literally, and neither have you. Some claim to, but ask them, when it says in Psalm 50:10, "...for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills." does that mean that the cattle on hill 1,001 isn't God's? They will argue that it still is, because they understand the nature of figurative language. This is because they, like yours truly, take the Bible "literarally" rather than literally. Those of us who have studied its origins have complex ideas about its history and do not believe it to have been dictated from the mouth of God, or free from error. We understand it is the product of communities, editors, etc... Just saying.
- Evolution happens- it does. Yes it is a theory, it is a darned good one and it makes the most sense based upon all available data. This does not nullify the idea of the existence of God.
- Were extra-terrestrial beings to land in every major city in the world simultaneously right now, it would do nothing to slow or stop belief in God, or the Christian religion.
- I do not wish to make my religion law or live in a theocracy. I have seen how those play out- no thank you.
- Religion is not responsible for every war any more than it can take credit for every hospital and university, or any more than Science is responsible for every war by giving us metallurgy, ballistics, physics, etc and can take credit for every hospital and university because of their improvement through the application of the scientific method... In this sense, religion is a cultural force and can be used for good or ill. It is, admittedly especially heinous when a religion that advocates for peace is used to justify violence, but that does not make the religion qua the religion bad, merely those who twist it and those who allow themselves to be manipulated by it.People do these thing, good and bad, war and hospitals.
- To misquote Paul Tillich (a 20th century theologian): God does not exist, God is existence. I believe that God is the essence of being itself, not some white dude on a cloud.
- I do not think God is going to send you to hell. The idea that God would damn you or anyone for all eternity for not being able to sign off on a mission statement, or believe the right things, makes God an arbitrary and capricious monster (angry Christians, see the author's note at the top of the page).
- Science and Theology (the study of God) are not competing forces. Faith and reason are not opposites. They are different ways of understanding and they do different things, the problem comes in when people misunderstand their nature and their use. Walk into a kitchen with a scientist and kettle of water boiling on a stove and ask the scientist why it is boiling. They may tell you about the laws of thermodynamics and how the heat energy is being transferred from the heat source through the kettle and into the water via radiation, convection and conduction. The molecules in the water, excited by the heat, spread farther and farther apart, which results in this case has resulted in the visible phenomenon of boiling (angry scientists, I realize this is probably a rudimentary and flawed understanding- please see the author's disclaimer at the top of the page and feel free to set me straight). Walk into the same kitchen with a theologian and with the same kettle boiling and ask them the same question, "Why is it boiling?" They may tell you, "Someone wanted tea." They are both good answers but they take the meaning of the word "why" differently and yield different results.