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kahlanne

Why the need to know?

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I find it amusing that on a forum where so many preach tolerance about everything, and everyone, this statement would even be made.

 

If we are gonna preach tolerance, why in the WORLD would we exclude as friends, people who might have a different belief system about the earth's age?!?

 

Again: in my personal experience, consistently, it is the YEC community who excludes me and my children from their groups. And just prior to the actual exclusion, they usually dole out a lecture to me and my daughters regarding the perilous state of our souls. Again: the primary reason for the exclusion is not just because we "believe" [understand certain scientific truths] differently, but also that the things that we "believe in" will in some way permanently damage their children's spiritual state. 

 

I have yet to come across a secular homeschooling group who requires anyone to sign a statement of anything to join in. Christian homeschooling groups: yeah, more often than not, I'm told I must sign a statement that I believe in and agree with all sorts of religious doctrine that I just don't believe. 

 

Which I will never sign.

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If this is fine with you, then good; it is easier if it doesn't bother you and I sometimes wish it didn't bother me. To me, I don't know how one can feel they have a "relationship" with God, if many things make no sense, if you can't enjoy a "relationship" in the usual way.

 

Saying salvation doesn't hang on it makes no sense to me. The Bible is where we get the "instructions" for what salvation means and why it would be necessary. If parts of the Bible are just broad-based stories meant to show one larger point, i.e., "God made everything and it was good," then what makes anyone believe Jesus was Messiah, that his life, death, and resurrection happened as described Biblically? That any of that is necessary to begin with?

 

If God "inspired" a person to write the account of how everything came to be, why would he NOT give the account correctly?

 

The Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1-2 can mean a 24 hour day, but it can also refer to an age, a long period of time. When people insist that creation happened in 7 24-hr periods and any other interpretation is invalid, I don't think it's because God messed up the story, but rather because people fail to consider the nuances of the original language and literary genre.

 

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The Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1-2 can mean a 24 hour day, but it can also refer to an age, a long period of time. When people insist that creation happened in 7 24-hr periods and any other interpretation is invalid, I don't think it's because God messed up the story, but rather because people fail to consider the nuances of the original language and literary genre.

 

This is the problem with taking ANYTHING from the bible literally. People wrote the bible. People read the bible. All people are flawed... It's a compound problem, with the added bonus of dead languages, multiple re-writes, and lack of having BTDT to even begin to comprehend the subtleties of daily life at the time. Heck, we are all living right here, right now, speakers of the same language and can't agree on the meaning of words we use every day, right here at the WTM where education and understanding is the ONE reason we all found this place.

 

Therefore, it is important that we know, use, and understand the scientific method so we can understand the world in which we live. Historically, now, and in the future.

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The Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1-2 can mean a 24 hour day, but it can also refer to an age, a long period of time. When people insist that creation happened in 7 24-hr periods and any other interpretation is invalid, I don't think it's because God messed up the story, but rather because people fail to consider the nuances of the original language and literary genre.

 

I know about this, the different translations possible for the word "yom." It is other aspects of the creation account that point to the improbability of "yom" meaning a long age. For instance, even if we say The Creation lasted over long periods of time and each "day" may have been many thousands of years, the order and other details of Creation still do not match scientific "ages" in any way. Scientifically, there was not an "age" during which there were plants and trees, but no sun, moon and stars, right? Not to mention no animals yet. Animals and plants are interdependent, and they are also interdependent with climate, seasons, weather, day, and night. Flowers need insect pollinators, birds and seed-eaters, night-blooming flowers require bats and moths for pollination. All of these things cannot happen if plants are made one "day" (meaning long period of time), but then the sun, moon and stars, and animals don't come about until a later "day-age."

 

If we say, "Okay, it doesn't mean 24-hour day, AND the order and details are unimportant; all those chapters of Genesis are just meant to say God made it all and it was good," well, then one is just cherry-picking what is believable in the Bible and the Bible as a whole is just moot. If God inspired ("breathed-in" ) someone to write the Creation account, why would it be incorrect in detail? If He wanted to make it clear The Creator inspired this account, He could have given the writer a divine vision of what the sky is, so the writer would not say "God created the firmament..." What is a firmament? It is a solid dome above the earth into which the writer of Genesis tells us God "affixed" the lights in the sky. If God wanted to blow our collective minds, he could have inspired the writer to mention the orbiting of heavenly bodies in a vast expanse of space, not had the author pen the exact unscientific belief of the day - that the flat earth had a solid dome above it with jewels affixed that shone at night.

 

There are other reasons to conclude that the creation "yom" does not mean a long period of time. For instance, when the Sabbath was declared a holy day of rest, the logic on which it is founded is that God labored for six days and on the seventh, he rested. This is in the book of Exodus, but I am too lazy to cite it at the moment. Additionally, each act of creation described in Genesis concludes with, " ...and the evening and the morning was the first day...second day...third day, etc." can this be more clear? The writer is speaking of a DAY - one evening, one morning.

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The problem with the idea that God crested us with free will and we are free to choose to love him or not is that it doesn't actually seem to work that way in real life.

 

We aren't actually free to choose to love God or not. We believe or don't believe based on a complex mix of temperament, culture, education, and personal experience. These factors greatly affect not only whether we believe in any deity, but also what sort of deity we believe in. Even within any one religion like Christianity, when you ask people to describe their God, they end up describing very different things and that is because all those factors influence their concept of God or no God as the case may be.

 

If we were free to choose whether to love God or not, the results would be randomly distributed regardless of the factors I mentioned, but it isn't that way. Ask any of us who used to believe but no longer do and see how many say, "Well, I did believe, but then I decided not to love God anymore." It goes way beyond freely choosing.

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Susan, why is it we cannot "like" your posts? We would really, really like to "like" you!!! :)

I'll just like you liking her instead. :D

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I only addressed the original and follow up questions of "Does science matter? And why?". Paraphrased, because that wasn't exactly the original question, but others before me made the link between the age of the earth and science.

 

The thread has gone in another direction. It seems to have been stated that people like me cannot be friends with young earth creationists. That is not my stance at all. 

 

It seems to me, from the small amount of discussion I have engaged in on this topic that yec is a widely held view in my world. I don't agree, but I don't believe in creation in any form, nor  do I believe in the Bible at all. Most of my friends and deeply and passionately Christian. As a woman of faith, I am drawn to other women of faith. We don't agree on the teachings, but the application to our lives is the same.

 

I have never been threatened with hell. My children have never been excluded. We have all taught our children that we believe differently, and that is ok. I know to avoid overtly religious groups and stick to inclusive ones.

 

I have no intention of invalidating the experiences of anyone here. I do not presume to tell anyone how they should choose their company. I do not pass any judgement if I would choose differently. 

 

I just wanted to put it out there that not everyone who believes yec is bunk finds the companionship of young earth creationists undesirable.

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Susan, why is it we cannot "like" your posts? We would really, really like to "like" you!!! :)

 

 

We can't like Susan's posts, but we can report them. Hmm. That seems backwards.

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This is one area where the LDS faith diverges from most other Christian religions. We believe the garden was intended to be a temporary state--that A&E couldn't fulfill the command to "multiply and replenish" until they ate the fruit, gained a knowledge of good and evil, and became mortal. The Fall was a necessary step on a journey of eternal progression, and Eve's choice (not a sin) opened the door to mortality for God's children.

 

That actually makes a heck of a lot more sense in narrative terms! Thanks for sharing. I didn't know that.

 

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Lol, I think it's funny the direction the conversation has taken. I've had it explained to me in very polite but firm terms by a Christian member here, in a public thread, why she wouldn't be friends with me and my family. Did anyone ( Including myself ) jump on her for 'intolerance' ? No. it was  explored, understood and accepted.

 

So don't y'all be hypocrites and jump on it now that you see a juicy opportunity for tut-tutting about the intolerance of the secular left.

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Lol, I think it's funny the direction the conversation has taken. I've had it explained to me in very polite but firm terms by a Christian member here, in a public thread, why she wouldn't be friends with me and my family. Did anyone ( Including myself ) jump on her for 'intolerance' ? No. it was explored, understood and accepted.

 

So don't y'all be hypocrites and jump on it now that you see a juicy opportunity for tut-tutting about the intolerance of the secular left.

I've seen that here too, not directed at me, yet, but I specifically remember one person saying she and her children wouldn't be friends with atheists or homosexuals. It happens all the time. But I guess since liberals are the ones who "preach tolerance" it means we must tolerate every single thing, no matter how hurtful.

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Honestly, I can't imagine God trying to explain to the ancient Hebrews the level of science that we have now about the earth.  I mean seriously, how on earth would they have understood plate tectonics and evolution and dna? Things were explained at a level that would be understood. That makes sense to me. 

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Honestly, I can't imagine God trying to explain to the ancient Hebrews the level of science that we have now about the earth. I mean seriously, how on earth would they have understood plate tectonics and evolution and dna? Things were explained at a level that would be understood. That makes sense to me.

They would not need to know plate tectonics or DNA in order to say something more intelligent than sky-lights affixed to the firmament.

 

Also, ever read Revelation? Beasts and scrolls and horns and dragons? Even if John was describing his vision as best he could, he still did not mamage to say anything that makes tons of sense.

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Saying salvation doesn't hang on it makes no sense to me. The Bible is where we get the "instructions" for what salvation means and why it would be necessary. If parts of the Bible are just broad-based stories meant to show one larger point, i.e., "God made everything and it was good," then what makes anyone believe Jesus was Messiah, that his life, death, and resurrection happened as described Biblically? That any of that is necessary to begin with?

 

The Nicene Creed absolutely requires a Christian to believe that Jesus is Messiah and that He was crucified for our sins, died, and was resurrected on the 3rd day. It does not require that Christians hold a literal interpretation of Genesis as historical & scientific narrative. That's the difference.

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Again: in my personal experience, consistently, it is the YEC community who excludes me and my children from their groups. And just prior to the actual exclusion, they usually dole out a lecture to me and my daughters regarding the perilous state of our souls. Again: the primary reason for the exclusion is not just because we "believe" [understand certain scientific truths] differently, but also that the things that we "believe in" will in some way permanently damage their children's spiritual state. 

 

I have yet to come across a secular homeschooling group who requires anyone to sign a statement of anything to join in. Christian homeschooling groups: yeah, more often than not, I'm told I must sign a statement that I believe in and agree with all sorts of religious doctrine that I just don't believe. 

 

Which I will never sign.

 

I will say first that I have witnessed this behavior and I am sorry it has happened to you.

 

I will also say that one of my dearest friends of 23+ years is an atheist. I have/had friends of many religious belief systems (Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, etc.) and numerous denominations. I am an evangelical Christian, and right now I have a dear, dear friend who is Catholic and another friend who is Coptic. I have had friends who are gay, including someone I considered a best friend for more than ten years from high school. I lived in the city for many years and have friends who were formerly gangbangers, including one friend who I would trust with my life or my children's lives.

 

My point is that friendship is generally about manners and respect. If those can be maintained, a sincere friendship can bloom.

 

I do have to take exception to your statement about secular homeschooling groups, though. On one hand, I have found acceptance in many venues, secular or otherwise. On the other hand, I have experienced real judgement from some atheists. There are some groups that are distinctly inhospitable towards Christians. There are some groups that openly mock Christians.

 

That is not to negate your point about judgmental faith groups. Rather, just wanted to point out that human beings have an unfortunate tendency to treat people who are different from them badly, whether secular or faith-based or otherwise.

 

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I have Buddhist, Pagan and Orthodox friends too. They don't tell me humans co-existed with dinosaurs though :) 

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My point is that friendship is generally about manners and respect. If those can be maintained, a sincere friendship can bloom.

 

I do have to take exception to your statement about secular homeschooling groups, though. On one hand, I have found acceptance in many venues, secular or otherwise. On the other hand, I have experienced real judgement from some atheists. There are some groups that are distinctly inhospitable towards Christians. There are some groups that openly mock Christians.

 

That is not to negate your point about judgmental faith groups. Rather, just wanted to point out that human beings have an unfortunate tendency to treat people who are different from them badly, whether secular or faith-based or otherwise.

 

 

Yes, I agree with you about friendship being about manners and respect. I have some dear, lifelong friends who are Christians. I'm glad to have them. One woman, in particular, crossed a room full of women who had shunned and humiliated me for my beliefs to shake my hand and tell me how glad she was to know me. Another stood by me when a homeschool mom gathered up her kids at the park and told me she felt betrayed by the fact that I never revealed that I'm a liberal and rushed her kids away from us. The first mom emailed me later that night to apologize for the whole scene.  I'll never forget these kindnesses. It reminds me to keep trying. 

 

I believe you when you talk about your experiences with some secular groups and atheists, and I"m sorry too that you have been treated unfairly. While I haven't seen any secular groups do this sort of thing in my own personal experiences, I've seen some secular homeschooling message boards that were downright hostile towards fundamentalist and/or evangelical Christians. I never stayed long at them. I'm not looking for hostility from anyone.  

 

sigh... It's hard, isn't it?

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Well, I was just sharing my experience, not making a generalized statement of fact.  In my nearly 10 years of homeschooling, of all the conversations I've had about curricula with religious homeschoolers (Catholic and Protestant alike), I've never met a single YEC.  I'm sure they're out there but, at least in my experience, they are indeed a very fringe crowd in my area.

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The Nicene Creed absolutely requires a Christian to believe that Jesus is Messiah and that He was crucified for our sins, died, and was resurrected on the 3rd day. It does not require that Christians hold a literal interpretation of Genesis as historical & scientific narrative. That's the difference.

I don't think you're hearing me, though. My argument is that if one concedes that the creation account is "a story" that is written in the Bible, I don't know how one also points to doctrine about Jesus, also from the Bible, and says, "...although *This* part is true." To me, either everything in the Bible is meant for our instruction and benefit, or ALL of it is suspect. Why would one believe specific things about Jesus if one thought the Bible was flawed? It makes the Nicene creed moot.

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I don't think you're hearing me, though. My argument is that if one concedes that the creation account is "a story" that is written in the Bible, I don't know how one also points to doctrine about Jesus, also from the Bible, and says, "...although *This* part is true." To me, either everything in the Bible is meant for our instruction and benefit, or ALL of it is suspect. Why would one believe specific things about Jesus if one thought the Bible was flawed? It makes the Nicene creed moot.

Ok, I can't speak for the Christian bit.  But I was raised Jewish (Reform) and absolutely we did not take the Torah as absolutely literal.  Yet some rules are taken from there because they have proved true to the culture and experience of the people.  You can get something out of a text without having to take it literally.  Some believe parts were written to be taken literally and some not so much.  But there's room for interpretation.  I can't speak for Orthodox or Chassidic beliefs. So understanding science is vitally important-it doesn't negate anything.  Many people believe science actually confirms their belief in a higher power because it's all so amazing and complicated and fantastic.  Studying those things brings one closer to God, in that case.  Just my two cents from my experience. 

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I don't think you're hearing me, though. My argument is that if one concedes that the creation account is "a story" that is written in the Bible, I don't know how one also points to doctrine about Jesus, also from the Bible, and says, "...although *This* part is true." To me, either everything in the Bible is meant for our instruction and benefit, or ALL of it is suspect. Why would one believe specific things about Jesus if one thought the Bible was flawed? It makes the Nicene creed moot.

 

Because it isn't one book, it's a collection of books, letters, writings, poetry, etc. Each part has to be read keeping in mind it's genre. Some sections are allegory/fable to teach a truth, some parts are parable, some parts are prophecy, etc etc. 

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A lot of people think it it is dangerous for kids to be around gay people.  I can acknowledge that some feel that way, but I don't think it's really OK for people to "shield" their kids from gay people.  Most here wouldn't dare suggest such a thing is OK.  If someone did, a lot of the people supporting "shield kids from YEC folks" would be up in arms.  But to me it is the same thing.

 

People spend too much energy caring what other people think and do.  It improves nobody's quality of life.  You know, if people stopped reacting to the YEC noise, it would probably die down.

 

I actually agree with you that "shielding kids from YEC folk" would not be okay if it were being said that way - as not allowing them to be around anyone with that belief, with no other issues or qualifiers. And some of the previous posts did read that way. I hope those posters were referring to the behavior of rejecting or trying to convert that sometimes accompanies a belief in YE doctrine.

 

I know some YEC who don't care what anyone else believes. I get along fine with them and have no problem with my kids being around them. I have no problem with them mentioning their beliefs if the topic of conversation calls for it. I simply explain to my kids why we disagree (at an appropriate time).

 

I have also met many YEC who I now shield my children from because of past experiences that were hurtful to my older son - parents encouraging their kids to exclude him, people telling him he was going to hell, etc. Those behaviors are directly related to their beliefs and the fact that we don't share them. I admit it is my personal experience coloring my understanding of the posts about shielding kids, but I assumed them to be talking about people of the second type.

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Because it isn't one book, it's a collection of books, letters, writings, poetry, etc. Each part has to be read keeping in mind it's genre. Some sections are allegory/fable to teach a truth, some parts are parable, some parts are prophecy, etc etc.

*sigh* I get that. But which parts are which? The story of a savior being born of a virgin, for example, was a common legend in several ancient cultures. Some scholars convened and decided that Revelation was a true prophecy. How do they know. John was starving to death in exile on Patmos when he wrote it, IIRC. Who is to say he wasn't insane at that point?

 

Anyway, I just think it is too convenient to excuse anything that is illogical by saying, "it made sense to people at the time," or, "it was allegory most likely anyway." If the Bible really is The Word - that which God wanted people forevermore to know - there is no reason for any of it to be weird, or inaccurate, or contradictory, or reflecting attitudes that are no longer decent. If God loves us all, and does not will for any to parish, if he is the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to seek and save the one lost lamb, then his Word to us would necessarily be sensible, kind-hearted, marvelous and transcendental of the limits of time and space. It would not be so mystifying that you need a theology phd to make sense of anything. It would be intrinsically good and loving and decent and bring out the best in all.

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I know about this, the different translations possible for the word "yom." It is other aspects of the creation account that point to the improbability of "yom" meaning a long age. For instance, even if we say The Creation lasted over long periods of time and each "day" may have been many thousands of years, the order and other details of Creation still do not match scientific "ages" in any way. Scientifically, there was not an "age" during which there were plants and trees, but no sun, moon and stars, right? Not to mention no animals yet. Animals and plants are interdependent, and they are also interdependent with climate, seasons, weather, day, and night. Flowers need insect pollinators, birds and seed-eaters, night-blooming flowers require bats and moths for pollination. All of these things cannot happen if plants are made one "day" (meaning long period of time), but then the sun, moon and stars, and animals don't come about until a later "day-age."

 

If we say, "Okay, it doesn't mean 24-hour day, AND the order and details are unimportant; all those chapters of Genesis are just meant to say God made it all and it was good," well, then one is just cherry-picking what is believable in the Bible and the Bible as a whole is just moot. If God inspired ("breathed-in" ) someone to write the Creation account, why would it be incorrect in detail? If He wanted to make it clear The Creator inspired this account, He could have given the writer a divine vision of what the sky is, so the writer would not say "God created the firmament..." What is a firmament? It is a solid dome above the earth into which the writer of Genesis tells us God "affixed" the lights in the sky. If God wanted to blow our collective minds, he could have inspired the writer to mention the orbiting of heavenly bodies in a vast expanse of space, not had the author pen the exact unscientific belief of the day - that the flat earth had a solid dome above it with jewels affixed that shone at night.

 

There are other reasons to conclude that the creation "yom" does not mean a long period of time. For instance, when the Sabbath was declared a holy day of rest, the logic on which it is founded is that God labored for six days and on the seventh, he rested. This is in the book of Exodus, but I am too lazy to cite it at the moment. Additionally, each act of creation described in Genesis concludes with, " ...and the evening and the morning was the first day...second day...third day, etc." can this be more clear? The writer is speaking of a DAY - one evening, one morning.

For those who look at it metaphorically, it says something more like, "God made everything. He made the day and night, sun and stars, trees and flowers, lizards and sharks and all the other cool stuff. It is an awesome (literally), amazing world."

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I don't think you're hearing me, though. My argument is that if one concedes that the creation account is "a story" that is written in the Bible, I don't know how one also points to doctrine about Jesus, also from the Bible, and says, "...although *This* part is true." To me, either everything in the Bible is meant for our instruction and benefit, or ALL of it is suspect. Why would one believe specific things about Jesus if one thought the Bible was flawed? It makes the Nicene creed moot.

In my opinion, those of us who believe in evolution AND the Bible aren't discounting the truthfulness of the Genesis account. I consider it more of a poetic retelling of what was undoubtedly a very complex process (my guess is we've just scratched the surface on the complexity). I believe God created the universe. I also believe science gives us some clues as to how He did that.

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*sigh* I get that. But which parts are which? The story of a savior being born of a virgin, for example, was a common legend in several ancient cultures. Some scholars convened and decided that Revelation was a true prophecy. How do they know. John was starving to death in exile on Patmos when he wrote it, IIRC. Who is to say he wasn't insane at that point?

 

Anyway, I just think it is too convenient to excuse anything that is illogical by saying, "it made sense to people at the time," or, "it was allegory most likely anyway." If the Bible really is The Word - that which God wanted people forevermore to know - there is no reason for any of it to be weird, or inaccurate, or contradictory, or reflecting attitudes that are no longer decent. If God loves us all, and does not will for any to parish, if he is the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to seek and save the one lost lamb, then his Word to us would necessarily be sensible, kind-hearted, marvelous and transcendental of the limits of time and space. It would not be so mystifying that you need a theology phd to make sense of anything. It would be intrinsically good and loving and decent and bring out the best in all.

 

How do we know? Through studying. Particularly through studying the history. As for why it isn't just simple, easy peasy, etc....God is complicated. the Universe is complicated. Try to boil it all down into something wandering shepherds and illiterate people will understand, and this is what you get. If I asked an astrophysicist to explain the world to preschoolers, it would come out kind of weird, and the preschoolers wouldn't understand it all. God is infinitely more intelligent than the scientist, and is trying to explain things incredibly complex.I don't think us needing to use contextual and textual criticism to read it is asking too much of us. Sure, some peoples won't have access to that kind of scholarship, but you know, they probably aren't the ones that care how old the earth is.

 

Edited to Add: I was a religion major at Florida State University (secular school). We learned early on about the parts of the Bible and how to tell which parts were what genre, why that was believed to be the case, etc etc. These weren't people that had a dog in the fight, or just trying to make it all fit into their own idea of what the Bible should be. 

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*sigh* I get that. But which parts are which? The story of a savior being born of a virgin, for example, was a common legend in several ancient cultures. Some scholars convened and decided that Revelation was a true prophecy. How do they know. John was starving to death in exile on Patmos when he wrote it, IIRC. Who is to say he wasn't insane at that point?

 

Anyway, I just think it is too convenient to excuse anything that is illogical by saying, "it made sense to people at the time," or, "it was allegory most likely anyway." If the Bible really is The Word - that which God wanted people forevermore to know - there is no reason for any of it to be weird, or inaccurate, or contradictory, or reflecting attitudes that are no longer decent. If God loves us all, and does not will for any to parish, if he is the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to seek and save the one lost lamb, then his Word to us would necessarily be sensible, kind-hearted, marvelous and transcendental of the limits of time and space. It would not be so mystifying that you need a theology phd to make sense of anything. It would be intrinsically good and loving and decent and bring out the best in all.

 

I come from religious tradition that has a very rich mythology with weird, fascinating stories which are absolutely not meant to be taken literally. Then there are the other kind of stories which speak of miracles and of direct influence of the gods on real people. These are meant to be historical. When I was a theist, I could very easily move from one type of story to the other and not feel any dissonance at all. 

 

Now as a non-believer I see all of them as "just stories", but that does not mean that a distinction does not exist. Coming from a tradition rich in stories, the difference in the literary styles of the different stories in pretty much intuitive to me and I can apply that intuitive sense to even the stories from the Bible. The Genesis account for example in no way, shape or form comes across as historical. But as a believer, I believed in literal truth of plenty of stories similar to the Resurrection account.

 

I know my personal experience with such stories is not the same as making an objective case. But I just want to say that it is not "cherry picking" to discern a difference between various literary forms.

 

I also disagree with stripping away the social and cultural context of ancient texts. Ancients from all over the world told stories in which gods were heroes at times, and villains at times. They told stories of kind gods and jealous gods and lustful gods and vindictive gods. These stories were not meant to be "literally true". So when somebody said "It made sense to people at the time" - yes it did, because they had a way of engaging with stories in multiple ways and could glean multiple layers of meaning.

 

It is sort of funny and sad and ironical I think that modern humans with all our superior knowledge show so much more naivete and so much less sophistication when dealing with simple stories.

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So when Paul said death came into the world through one man, was he saying death came from the actions of a metaphoric man?

 

The problem isn't just Genesis. The problem is that Paul pretty much built his atonement theology around the idea that humans messed up, bringing death (whether literal or spiritual) into the world. Jesus had to die as substitute for our sins because humans were created perfect, but chose to rebel. I don't think Paul thought it was a metaphor.

 

If God actually created a world full of suffering and death on purpose, a world where species closely related to us went extinct, a world where we might have too if we hadn't sometimes acted ruthlessly to survive, how can we be blamed for sinning? We were already separate from God because we were made that way to start with. We had competing instincts of empathy and selfishness, loyalty to our kin and fear of the other, values and rules that allowed us to live in a very threatening world but that weren't always nice. And why was our world threatening? Because God made it that way. On purpose.

 

Why would God create us so separate from him, only to try and woo us (well some of us anyway) back? And why would he inspire a book that says he created a good world, but we messed it up when really he created a messed up world and we had nothing to do with it?

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So when Paul said death came into the world through one man, was he saying death came from the actions of a metaphoric man?

 

The problem isn't just Genesis. The problem is that Paul pretty much built his atonement theology around the idea that humans messed up, bringing death (whether literal or spiritual) into the world. Jesus had to die as substitute for our sins because humans were created perfect, but chose to rebel. I don't think Paul thought it was a metaphor.

 

If God actually created a world full of suffering and death on purpose, a world where species closely related to us went extinct, a world where we might have too if we hadn't sometimes acted ruthlessly to survive, how can we be blamed for sinning? We were already separate from God because we were made that way to start with. We had competing instincts of empathy and selfishness, loyalty to our kin and fear of the other, values and rules that allowed us to live in a very threatening world but that weren't always nice. And why was our world threatening? Because God made it that way. On purpose.

 

Why would God create us so separate from him, only to try and woo us (well some of us anyway) back? And why would he inspire a book that says he created a good world, but we messed it up when really he created a messed up world and we had nothing to do with it?

Yes, this.

 

Also, if the Bible were clear and it was easy to decide which parts are meant in what way, there would not be 1,200+ denominations all based on the theology of the Bible. Even just the fact that YEC vs. OE divides believers who are both looking at the Bible speaks to my point.

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Sneeches. I could run an entire convention on home education based on Sneeches! LOL, check your religious beliefs at the door because we are all in this home education thing together. So let's talk about Hamlet, polynomials, and angular momentum!

I agree, almost...lets not talk about polynomials because I am allergic to them and will have an anaphylactic reaction to that sort of talk.  

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People who talk like this usually end up with a DIL/SIL who is the exact type of person they can't stand.  LOL.

 

 

 

Yeah, I doubt that. My kids would likely not be attracted to someone like that unless they radically change who they are.

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I agree, almost...lets not talk about polynomials because I am allergic to them and will have an

anaphylactic reaction to that sort of talk.

Sorry! Take a benedryl and join me for algebra class! :)

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People who talk like this usually end up with a DIL/SIL who is the exact type of person they can't stand.  LOL.

 

That hasn't been my experience so far. Of course I'm usually the first to point out and jump on anecdotal evidence, so I most certainly realize that my experience is anecdotal and doesn't negate your statement. I just know my kids.

 

Yeah, I doubt that. My kids would likely not be attracted to someone like that unless they radically change who they are.

 

:iagree:  That's what would have to happen here too, and I don't see it happening.

 

Dss has chosen a woman whose beliefs don't conflict with his. He would have a hard time with someone who wanted to raise their children in a religious home. Ds' girlfriend is an atheist as well. While they have friends who are believers, and even one who is YEC, neither of them could have a romantic relationship with someone whose beliefs are completely opposite of their own. I don't know where this relationship will go, but even if they eventually break up, ds would have to undergo a radical change to find himself attracted to someone who is a fervent believer (young earth OR old earth). He's practically a 7 on the Dawkins scale.

 

I know that love is puzzling sometimes, but I just couldn't see either of them being attracted to someone so opposite in the first place.  Even if there had been an initial attraction, it would fade once they started to get to know each other. I also can't imagine a woman who has strong religious beliefs and considers them an important factor in a mate, falling for either of my boys.

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Which answers some questions but raises many, many more.

 

The whole of modern biology is built on understanding evolution. If you don't understand the concept - and this is the only time I'll say it here, but many creationists prove by their arguments that they do not - then you don't understand modern biology. Which means many discoveries that require evolution are lost to you. If we didn't understand the concept of evolution, we wouldn't be able to grasp why we need new flu vaccines every year, or why we need new pesticides frequently, or why we shouldn't overuse antibiotics. (And those are just some of the topics!)

 

Our understanding of the history of the universe is based, at least on part, on relativity and the speed of light. Relativity isn't some abtruse concept - if we didn't understand that, we wouldn't be able to make GPS function. If you reject the concept that the stars are extremely far away and the light we see now was emited billions of years ago, then you're rejecting relativity, which means there are whole fields that are completely inaccessible to you, forever.

Okay, I am old Earth, but in my physical anthropology class in college we spent a semester studying the fossil record and the various theories regarding how evolution actually works because as my prof explained we have a good idea but we don't have all the details worked out yet and it is still debated.

 

Is there now a consensus on exactly how evolution works? I'm asking because I don't have time to read up on it and I'm truly interested, thanks!

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BTW, the Bible never says the age of the Earth, if God can create the Universe, he can certainly make a billion years go by in one day. That is how it was explained I me.

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Okay, I am old Earth, but in my physical anthropology class in college we spent a semester studying the fossil record and the various theories regarding how evolution actually works because as my prof explained we have a good idea but we don't have all the details worked out yet and it is still debated.

 

Is there now a consensus on exactly how evolution works? I'm asking because I don't have time to read up on it and I'm truly interested, thanks!

 

There will never be a way to confirm we know exactly how evolution works simply because we can never confirm that we are familiar with all the details that exist. In other words, we can't know everything. But we do now how evolution works, even if we are still exploring newly uncovered details. 

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In my opinion, those of us who believe in evolution AND the Bible aren't discounting the truthfulness of the Genesis account. I consider it more of a poetic retelling of what was undoubtedly a very complex process (my guess is we've just scratched the surface on the complexity). I believe God created the universe. I also believe science gives us some clues as to how He did that.

 

In what way does a scientifically methodological approach clue us into the supposed contributions of the god of the bible? 

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For those who look at it metaphorically, it says something more like, "God made everything. He made the day and night, sun and stars, trees and flowers, lizards and sharks and all the other cool stuff. It is an awesome (literally), amazing world."

 

A metaphorical look, however, is indistinguishable from a secular look unless you add the component of sin, being separated from God, and requiring the blood sacrifice of an innocent in order to restore justice (as sin is understood as an offense). Even if that sacrifice is metaphorical, what does that mean about the nature of the relationship? And if that sacrifice is metaphorical, in what way is it distinguishable from a secular point of view? 

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Honestly, I can't imagine God trying to explain to the ancient Hebrews the level of science that we have now about the earth.  I mean seriously, how on earth would they have understood plate tectonics and evolution and dna? Things were explained at a level that would be understood. That makes sense to me. 

 

But he missed the most basic, fundamental, simple facts, facts like cleaning hands after voiding one's bowels or before preparing food. Making this a commandment doesn't require knowledge microbiology. If God can make eating shellfish or planting two different seeds in a single field a divine rule never to be broken (for what conceivable purpose?), why not make washing hands a divine rule never to be broken? Why state that the prayer of the faithful and the elders of the church anointing a person will heal sickness when this idea patently untrue? Forget the reasons behind these rules and regulations, something as simple as making a rule to wash hands after eliminating waste or preparing food could have made a profound difference in the lives of the people the god of the bible chose to set apart and bless. But somehow this knowledge seems to have been not only missed, but other, erroneous information was divinely inspired to be recorded for the good of humanity instead. 

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The problem with the idea that God crested us with free will and we are free to choose to love him or not is that it doesn't actually seem to work that way in real life.

 

We aren't actually free to choose to love God or not. We believe or don't believe based on a complex mix of temperament, culture, education, and personal experience. These factors greatly affect not only whether we believe in any deity, but also what sort of deity we believe in. Even within any one religion like Christianity, when you ask people to describe their God, they end up describing very different things and that is because all those factors influence their concept of God or no God as the case may be.

 

If we were free to choose whether to love God or not, the results would be randomly distributed regardless of the factors I mentioned, but it isn't that way. Ask any of us who used to believe but no longer do and see how many say, "Well, I did believe, but then I decided not to love God anymore." It goes way beyond freely choosing.

 

I agree with you that the idea of free will is an illusion, most especially when it comes to choosing one's religious beliefs. As Richard Dawkins once mentioned, "Isn't it a remarkable coincidence almost everyone has the same religion as their parents ? And it always just happens to be the right religion. Religions run in families. If we'd been brought up in ancient Greece we would all be worshiping Zeus and Apollo. If we had been born Vikings we would be worshiping Wotan and Thor. How does this come about ? Through childhood indoctrination." It seems more likely to attribute the idea of free will to the ancient answer as to why the gods didn't intervene as expected, or deemed necessary or helpful. 

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I know about this, the different translations possible for the word "yom." It is other aspects of the creation account that point to the improbability of "yom" meaning a long age. For instance, even if we say The Creation lasted over long periods of time and each "day" may have been many thousands of years, the order and other details of Creation still do not match scientific "ages" in any way. Scientifically, there was not an "age" during which there were plants and trees, but no sun, moon and stars, right? Not to mention no animals yet. Animals and plants are interdependent, and they are also interdependent with climate, seasons, weather, day, and night. Flowers need insect pollinators, birds and seed-eaters, night-blooming flowers require bats and moths for pollination. All of these things cannot happen if plants are made one "day" (meaning long period of time), but then the sun, moon and stars, and animals don't come about until a later "day-age."

 

If we say, "Okay, it doesn't mean 24-hour day, AND the order and details are unimportant; all those chapters of Genesis are just meant to say God made it all and it was good," well, then one is just cherry-picking what is believable in the Bible and the Bible as a whole is just moot. If God inspired ("breathed-in" ) someone to write the Creation account, why would it be incorrect in detail? If He wanted to make it clear The Creator inspired this account, He could have given the writer a divine vision of what the sky is, so the writer would not say "God created the firmament..." What is a firmament? It is a solid dome above the earth into which the writer of Genesis tells us God "affixed" the lights in the sky. If God wanted to blow our collective minds, he could have inspired the writer to mention the orbiting of heavenly bodies in a vast expanse of space, not had the author pen the exact unscientific belief of the day - that the flat earth had a solid dome above it with jewels affixed that shone at night.

 

There are other reasons to conclude that the creation "yom" does not mean a long period of time. For instance, when the Sabbath was declared a holy day of rest, the logic on which it is founded is that God labored for six days and on the seventh, he rested. This is in the book of Exodus, but I am too lazy to cite it at the moment. Additionally, each act of creation described in Genesis concludes with, " ...and the evening and the morning was the first day...second day...third day, etc." can this be more clear? The writer is speaking of a DAY - one evening, one morning.

 

In my experience, decoding the clues behind these mysteries serve as a distraction from the real problem with one of the central claims of the Christian religion - that Jesus is somehow a bridge between God and humanity. If one accepts the fact of evolution and the long history of the human species, this means that for some millenia of human history, heaven watched with seeming indifference as generation after generation of humans were born, suffered, died, and denied eternal life until the point at which God decided to send himself/his son to act as a scapegoat to pay the debt for the offenses of humanity - offenses humans were created to commit by their very nature.

 

The problems humanity are understood by the bible to have are problems that are not logical, not supportable with any objective evidence, and seems to be tailor made to be solved by the religion itself. The idea of paying a debt for someone else, a debt one is compelled to commit whether they want to or not, whether they are aware of it or not, is an idea that doesn't survive modern ethical concerns. The idea that one must adhere to certain impossible expectations or be found guilty (and that offence to be made right through bloodlust) is the kind of idea we would never accept from a system of justice today. It simply doesn't conform to what we know about the world, about human behavior, about simple cause and effect. An omnipotent god would surely know this ahead of his followers. Even if he didn't guide them properly because of particular elements of their culture, it makes no sense that he would instead guide them erroneously. 

 

For me, the length of the day is irrelevant as it is a detail within the process of justification, a process I find to be outdated logically and morally, whether it's taken literally (damned to eternal torment for not believing in Jesus), or allegorically (damned to an eternity of missing out from the perfect company of a loving god). In my opinion, these details about the interpretation of the bible serve to allow one the ability to maintain a belief in an idea that would otherwise be identified as immoral and unjust. Because the bible can be interpreted in so many different ways, each way finding legitimate support in the very pages of the bible as well as in the history of the community of the faithful, one can find comfort elsewhere in the bible, noting that others just read it "wrong." 

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Not everyone is well educated about ALL subjects.  Its just a trap to even worry about can you be "well educated" and believe the earth is 6000 yrs old.  The fact is, if you believe the earth is young you are refusing to acknowledge peer reviewed credible scientific material.  You are refusing because your personal bias is in the way.  You are choosing to believe this in the face of all incontrovertible evidence.  

 

It doesn't mean you are not well educated IMO.

 

It means you are discarding reason.

 

 

I don't have time to read all of the responses, but I have to reply to this.

 

I believe the creation account in Genesis is literally true -- that God created the world in six literal days.  To believe in an old earth, you'd have to have death before the fall and that raises all sorts of theological issues.

 

That doesn't mean we haven't taught our kids geology, etc.  They know the geologic ages,etc.  They know how old scientists believe the earth is and they understand the evidence.  I can't stand Apologia -- my kids have learned all of their science from secular texts and started taking science at the CC in 9th grade.

 

The way we explain it is that Adam was a grown man when God created him.  He wasn't just a sperm and an egg or even a newborn baby.  He had the appearance of someone who had lived twenty or thirty years as soon as he was created.  The trees in the garden were mature trees, bearing fruit.  If you cut one down, it would most likely have had rings.  Was God tricking us?  I don't think so.  He created a mature world for man to live in.  Of course the mountains were already formed.  Maybe it was like a time-lapse photography thing -- you know, He could have created it the normal way but sped up so billions of years of development happened in a day.  We don't know because we weren't there.

 

I don't see this as discarding reason at all.   The Christian faith is inherently reasonable.  In fact,  Jesus is called "The Word" -- logos.  

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I don't think you're hearing me, though. My argument is that if one concedes that the creation account is "a story" that is written in the Bible, I don't know how one also points to doctrine about Jesus, also from the Bible, and says, "...although *This* part is true." To me, either everything in the Bible is meant for our instruction and benefit, or ALL of it is suspect. Why would one believe specific things about Jesus if one thought the Bible was flawed? It makes the Nicene creed moot.

 

Then one wouldn't be a Christian. What exactly is the point you're trying to make here? I'm not trying to be snarky but am confused. I thought you were asking how a Christian could read Genesis as something other than a literal historical and scientific narrative. Accepting the doctrine laid out in the Nicene Creed is the definition of being Christian. If an individual cannot accept those teachings, then he/she is not a Christian.

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I don't want to speak for Quill, but I understand that her question is how to resolve a non-literal Genesis with the doctrine of Original Sin and the need for a Saviour.

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I am OE with a Physics degree, and I don't understand what all the fuss is about.  By fuss, I mean the idea that YE people should be rejected as friends or a convention boycotted.  Reject curriculum, yes.  Reject people, no.  Use YE/OE as a sort of litmus test?  Doesn't make any sense to me.  Now if it were NAMBLA we were talking about, then yes reject the people.  At least that is where my personal line is.  

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I don't have time to read all of the responses, but I have to reply to this.

 

I believe the creation account in Genesis is literally true -- that God created the world in six literal days.  To believe in an old earth, you'd have to have death before the fall and that raises all sorts of theological issues.

 

That doesn't mean we haven't taught our kids geology, etc.  They know the geologic ages,etc.  They know how old scientists believe the earth is and they understand the evidence.  I can't stand Apologia -- my kids have learned all of their science from secular texts and started taking science at the CC in 9th grade.

 

The way we explain it is that Adam was a grown man when God created him.  He wasn't just a sperm and an egg or even a newborn baby.  He had the appearance of someone who had lived twenty or thirty years as soon as he was created.  The trees in the garden were mature trees, bearing fruit.  If you cut one down, it would most likely have had rings.  Was God tricking us?  I don't think so.  He created a mature world for man to live in.  Of course the mountains were already formed.  Maybe it was like a time-lapse photography thing -- you know, He could have created it the normal way but sped up so billions of years of development happened in a day.  We don't know because we weren't there.

 

It isn't reasonable to dismiss evidence because it raises problems within a religious argument. It's reasonable to modify personal belief according to the evidence available. This is true regardless of whether or not a personal belief is religious in nature.

 

I don't see this as discarding reason at all.   The Christian faith is inherently reasonable.  In fact,  Jesus is called "The Word" -- logos.

Every religion is promoted by its adherents as being inherently reasonable.

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So He created us and gave us free will. Why did he give us the opportunity to sin? Why plant the Tree of Knowledge?

Because obedience doesn't mean anything without temptation.

 

He doesn't just give us free will, he gives us the opportunity to prove ourselves, which makes us happy when we succeed. For the times we don't succeed, he gave us a path to be redeemed. Even Jesus was tempted in the desert, God doesn't ask us to do anything Christ Himself didn't do.

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I don't want to speak for Quill, but I understand that her question is how to resolve a non-literal Genesis with the doctrine of Original Sin and the need for a Saviour.

 

The story of Adam & Eve disobeying God is in a completely different chapter than the Creation story. A belief that the 7 days of Creation may be a metaphor for some time frame other than a modern week does not mean that I don't believe Adam & Eve were actual people whom God specially created as the first true humans.

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