Archive for September 29th, 2008

29
Sep
08

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.

*Sigh*




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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