The Madness of the (Too) Faithful

Any of y’all who have been around here for long probably know that I really like the blog Deus Ex Malcontent, being one of my top five blogs I visit, really. It’s pretty common over there for religion, particularly Christianity, to get some ribbing and, frankly, an ass-reaming at times. It has been happening pretty frequently, lately, thanks to folks like Sarah Palin and the Duggar family.

One of the problems, of course, are those believers who simply stoke the fires by being bald-ass ignorant.

I mean, here we are, already believing in a spiritual realm that cannot be proved by science. We believe in a being who demands faith and keeps Himself purposefully out of view, and that already makes us look a little odd to folks who are living totally in the realm of the intellectual and the visible world.

We don’t need to be ignoring the basic reality of the world on top of that.

You see, it’s OK to believe in things spiritual. And if you’re Christian and actually obeying the Word of God, you won’t be hurting anyone or causing any havoc with your beliefs. And frankly, looking at the other side, it’s silly for those who are purely rational to hold up religion to scientific standards because the spiritual realm is not something that can be examined and poked and prodded and analyzed with instruments.

But people, stop taking the Bible so damned literally that you ignore the realities of, well, reality.

The Earth is not 6,000 or 7,000 years old, OK? Dinosaurs and humans didn’t walk around at the same time at any point. Crude oil was created by millions of years of organic decomposition of animal and plant matter; it wasn’t just put there by God. Satan didn’t manufacture fossils and stick them in the ground to fool us.

Look, God gave us intellect to do some wonderful things (look at how far science has come in even just the past 20 years, with probably more amazing stuff than in the previous 100 years), and I just don’t see him allowing a bunch of imitation shit to be part of his created world (and universe) just so that we can be tripped up. God’s not trying to make it harder for us to find him. Jesus came along to make it easier. Sure, Satan deceives us in many ways, but he didn’t make a bunch of props and slip them in under God’s nose.

So, back up off the literal nature of the Bible for a moment. Because while it is literal in a sense, it also isn’t.

A lot of the events of the Old Testament, particularly the first several books of it, are not to be taken precisely as they are written. Those words were put down for the benefit of a bunch of people who were not scientifically savvy. I mean, get real. Is God going to have prophets write down shit about relativity and physics at a time when people don’t even know what the hell gravity really is, except for the fact that things fall down? Is God going to talk about the Earth being formed and developed over millions—nay, billions—of years for a people who wouldn’t have any conception of numbers that large?

The answer is no.

We are expected by God to have the intelligence to realize that the Bible was written for a certain group at a certain time. The spiritual things hold true age to age to age. But the explanations and descriptions were dumbed down, people.

A lot of the nit-picky laws the early Hebrews had to follow were an example of this, I think. Why all the dietary laws? Well, part of it was probably just to give them some silly rules as part of the overall plan of letting them know they they’re human and needed divine intervention, because they wouldn’t follow even simple instructions from an almighty God. But the other part was to protect their health. No refrigeration, folks. Cross-contamination. Microbes. But they couldn’t possibly conceive of microbes in that day and age. So, it’s easier, for the sake of preserving the Chosen People, for God to say, “Don’t eat this shit.” Some of the other hygienic laws, too, probably came from a similar place.

I already feel weird enough trying to make sure people know I didn’t stick my head up my anal sphincter when I hang out at places where agnostic and atheistics intellectual folks go. I take the ribbing (and even the hostility, most of the time) with good humor. I comment on the ridiculousness of some of my Christian brethren too.

But damn it, there are a lot of you out there who are ignorant and don’t think, and you act like science textbooks are anti-God, and I’m sick to fucking death of it. Use those brains that God gave you. Realize that the Bible is essentially true but that doesn’t mean you have to believe the world was created in six days and that Adam and Eve had a pet stegosaurus.

Trying to bridge the spiritual and intellectual and providing some thoughts as to how things really might have happened in early creation and early human history is part of why I started this blog. But it disheartens me that so many people who share my faith won’t use their heads to see that there are deeper and more complex theories and possibilities to explain why the world looks one way when the Bible says something else.

But there are too many ignorant folks out there who won’t think and, frankly, you are making it harder for those of us who do try to be more than just “sheeple.” You make it hard for us to be taken seriously by non-believers. More than that, by making us all look like fools, you reduce the chances that we will lead non-believers to Jesus. So, in short, you wallow in ignorance by saying “Well, the pastor says” or “Evolution is bunk” and you inhibit your ability to do the one thing Jesus told you to do: Spread the gospel.

Trying to spread the gospel in 2,000-year-old to 7,000-year-old terms to a modern world is foolishness.

The sad thing though, is this: Everything I just said is probably not even worth saying, because the people who are truly wallowing in ignorance and hiding behind the Bible like this are highly unlikely to be reading my stuff to begin with.


4 thoughts on “The Madness of the (Too) Faithful

  1. The First Domino

    Hey, don’t be so hard on your fellow religionists. They’re closer to the truth than science in this instant. (I’ll take that up later, but first:)

    Oil from dead carcases and decomposed plant life? Scientists are not all in agreement here: consider this link, and I’m sure you can Google more. “Oil May Not Be a Fossil Fuel”–

    [“The Earth is not 6,000 or 7,000 years old, OK? Dinosaurs and humans didn’t walk around at the same time at any point.”]

    Actually, in the strictest sense, ol’ Dino and humans did “walk around at the same time” in the glorious, holy moment we call now.

    Time, as you well know, is a human construct. It does not exist: it’s how we measure movement. The only time, if we can say that, is this sacred moment that we call now. So the planet is actually not yet a day old, not 6,000, or 7,000 (closer to the facts than science), and not billions of years old.

    That being the case, the planet, as well as the universe, is as young as it is old.

    God created the visible and invisible universe in one holy moment (You see, He couldn’t wait!), and it’s taken, from our limited perspective, billions of years of evolution for us to see, experience, and appreciate it.

    From God’s perspective, it happened All At Once; it happened Here and Now with no intervening time, or delays.

    Just another perspective….

  2. Deacon Blue

    Actually, First Domino, if more Christians took an abstract or philosophical or metaphysical view like yours, I wouldn’t be so annoyed. But for most people, it’s a very simplistic, knee-jerk “The Bible geneology only shows 6,000+ years worth of people from Adam to now so that must be the actual chronological span of time the Earth has been around.” Or, “the Bible says the whole world flodded, even though there isn’t any geological evidence of that, so I’m not even going to consider that it was a hyperbolic story.”

    It pains me when people don’t take the context of ancient times into account when they read the Bible narrative and simply say, “the Bible says so.” While it is the spiritual handbook, the Bible is hardly an ironclad historical document, particularly in the OT. Yet many Christians treat it so. They insist all the details are perfect in the Bible.

    If more people paid attention to the “a thousand years is as a day to the Lord, and a day is as a thousand years,” perhaps they’d understand that time is relative to God. That a six-day creation doesn’t mean 6 24-hour days or the Great Flood that wiped out a corrupt humanity didn’t have to consume the whole world necessarily.

    But with religion, as with so many other things in the world, for many people, thinking is overrated.

  3. thewordofme

    To The First Domino,

    HUH !!

    Scientists are almost never in perfect agreement.

    Yes we move thru the time stream into the future, time only goes forward.

    What are you smoking by the way?

  4. thewordofme

    Hi again Deacon,

    Regarding your last paragraph, We both suffer from this syndrome…nobody listens once they have their ‘mind’ made up.

    *Sigh* :-)


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