Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why believing in brickmaking doesn't equal hating builders


Talking about creation and evolution tends to bring out the worst in some people. For some reason it brings out worse things in my fellow Christians it seems. Its weird you know, it almost never happens that an atheist would make fun of my faith or try to demean me – although granted, those people are out there. As a Christian who believes that evolution is a scientific fact I have found heaps of scorn and ridicule from other Christians though. In fact, I am currently shunned (yes, shunned) by a former member of my cell group for my views on the subject. I have to tell you, this debate has drained me because no matter what, we seem to be going over the same old ground over and over again and this is going nowhere.

It is as if there is this beautiful house with a sign next to it that reads “This fabulous home was erected by Bob”. I look at this and say: “Isn’t this marvelous? Just think how much work and planning had to go into getting this house to its current state! Foundations had to be dug, obstacles had to be removed and that was just to start the thing! Then they had to get cement and bricks, wires, pipes and support beams – do you know how much work goes into making just each of those components? Then it had to all be brought together here and put together exactly right just so we could have this beautiful house. I think Bob is a great builder!”

At this point my creationist brothers and sisters tend to intrude into my moment of awe and say: “What is wrong with you? The sign mentions none of that! How dare you suggest there was a “process” used by Bob? The sign clearly states that Bob “erected” this house, you just don’t want to believe the sign because you hate Bob! You probably don’t even think Bob exists, do you?!”

And so it goes. I have found that no matter what I say, no matter what scientific evidence and proof I point to, they will always simply try to wrestle the issue down to God vs Atheism. According to them, people who accept evolution also must hate God, hate the Bible and want to get rid of God and the Bible so they can live evil, lust-filled lives. Also people who accept evolution accept genocide, abortion, lawlessness etc – because of course they reject God and everything about Him. As in all things regarding this debate the facts do not faze them. Scientists are all part of a giant New World Order conspiracy to destroy faith in God – regardless of the fact that 70% of evolution accepting scientists are also religious. Certainly, many have used evolution to argue against the existence of God, but the one does not logically lead to the other. Certainly it has not for me.

Also, I do not believe that this means I have a lower opinion of God, quite the opposite in fact. Look what Charles Darwin wrote in the conclusion to Origins of Species:

“Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.” (Interesting side note – noticed how he mentions belief in a Creator? Mmmm…)

I very much agree with his sentiment there. I think the amount of time, energy, difficulty and trouble that it took to make me via evolutionary means makes me far more special and worthwhile than I would have been had we just been poofed into existence by magic.

However I have found that it is pointless to try and explain this anymore. No matter what I say, to these Christians I have forever turned my back on God and the Bible (because I want to live a life of sin obviously!). I guess you call these things “irreconcilable differences”. I cannot ignore facts and evidence just to make my theology work – personally I would rather adjust my theology to fit with reality. I believe in a Creator and I accept evolution. I see no conflict here. I do not claim to have it all figured out, nor do I claim to understand it all, but I learn more everyday and plan on continuing to do so. So far I have found it completely possible to believe in God and accept what Science has taught me.

10 comments:

Peg said...

Dear Eugene,

I am a fundamentalist Christian and I do not criticize you for your position but I don't understand your position. And unfortunately, I have yet to see concrete evidence supporting evolution. I know what scientists keep trying to prove but yet there seems to be a hole in each theory.

And as I have stated in another site, how can I be from a gorilla if gorillas still exist? When something evolves from something else the original something IS the something else.

DNA research has taken us many places and even to creating human skin on a cow. For what known reason is beyond me, seeing as how I would be one upset cow should I break out in psorasis with only hooves and legs that can't bend high enough to reach the itch, but so be it.

Where is the beginning of evolution? The very,very beginning of matter itself? Where did it come from. The very beginning of the universe? Where did the first cell come from to evolve? How was matter made that produced the evolutionary process?

These are the questions I want answers for, for if you find those you will find the truth.

And Eugene, I have been turned off as well by Christians who profess to be but walk a different walk and I have learned through my own Bible studies that each man must search his own heart, love with a compassion that sprouts others to love, and understand that each person with the beginning of time has been subjected to a nature inherit of sin. And are by no means perfect.

It is our God-given desire to search for truth and evidence to support our truth and our God-given curosity to dig as far as we can. Continue to dig and continue to post your digs for we will all learn something even if we disagree.

As I go through life and learn, dig and learn to be dug in return...unknown.

GumbyTheCat said...

Nice post.

I have been condemned by so many fundamentalists for what they call "straddling the fence" I've lost count... lol. To too many of them, anyone who does not believe exactly as they do is not a Christian... period.

It seems the hardcore fundies are the ones who don't practice what they preach. Some of the most foul and evil people I have encountered on the internet call themselves great Christians.

GumbyTheCat said...

Okay.

I've read most of the rest of your blog and you are going into my favorite links section of my own blog. You have an outstanding way of communicating. Keep up the great work.

TPluckyT said...

"We're on a bridge, Charlie!"

Eugene said...

Peg - It is a pleasant surprise to run into a fundamentalist who manages to disagree with me in such an agreeable manner! Thanks for that! Regarding evolution, there is plenty of concrete evidence. Your current sources cannot be very good however if you think that evolution teaches that we come from gorillas. Regarding the beginning of evolution, well since I am a Christian and I do believe God is our Creator my beliefs on the matter should be obvious.

Gumby - Thank you, I really appreciate that! Always good to meet a kindred on the blogosphere!

Tim - No, "Shun the unbeliever" was not in reference to Charlie's trip to candy mountain, but thanks it was a cute clip!

Peg said...

I'm sorry Eugene, but here comes my confusion again. You have said that it is obvious your beliefs as a Christian on where it all began, but Genesis specifically says each day the sequence of creation. It does not say on the sixth day man was evolved (and after billions of years) from a single cell having the same genetic specifications as certain primates or other beings. Man was made in the image of God from the dust of the earth and the first woman from the rib of man--given life through the breath of our God and given dominion over all with the intelligence to do so.
Or is that where we part ways? I being the fundamentalist as in believing the Bible was the inspired words of God written by man and is the true and accurate account of events leading up to and including the final destruction of the earth?

I guess it is too hard for me to understand the thoughts behind a God who can create the universe with just one word and then takes billions of years evolving life in it! (He has power to create the world but not enough power in the creation of instantaneous life. )
But there again, I do not believe the earth is billions of years old. I stand firm definitely knowing we are thousands of years old, but can't go beyond that scope.
I don't know Eugene, but I dig as well although I guess my trail has always lead me back to the Bible. Thus, I am a fundamentalist.

Good Luck in your search and I hope for you to find happiness and contentment in your doing so.

Many Blessings,
Peg

Lawrence said...

A good article Eugene, I have encountered this circular argument before, which happens even when there are no atheists in the discussion.

It's a funny thing, Peg; Eugene's article makes no bold statements about the world, only states his position before discussing Christian reactions to that opinion.

In your comment, you said "It does not say on the sixth day man was evolved (and ...[you go on]"

and the irony is, that Eugene had already pointed out that he gets this kind of response;

"At this point my creationist brothers and sisters tend to intrude into my moment of awe and say: “What is wrong with you? The sign mentions none of that! "

The irony is that the very article you are replying to, is talking about the very type of response you've just given.

Peg said...

Hi Lawrence, Eugene does state that he is a Christian who believes in evolution in the first few sentences of his article and I respect that, but don't understand it. It is not a flaw within Eugene nor myself, I just don't understand. But as I have stated I am a fundamentalist and do believe that God is the creator of all things in the days He set aside for each and believe that God created man from His own image, not evolved after billions and billions of years, etc.

And Lawrence, from Eugene's response, I do believe that Eugene understood where I was coming from and accepted my first post in the light in which I intended which was NOT to step on his toes or bully his opinion, but to understand fully a debate, if you will, of his account. (Thus I agree, to disagree.)

Lawrence, I do apologize to you if I have caused you any ill feelings or misinterpretation on my response and appreciate your response to my post. I will learn to be more careful with my wording to delicate situations.

Sincerely,
Peg

Lawrence said...

Hello Peg,

It is clear that you agree to disagree, and is good to see your polite manners in these issues - these are very rare. It just seems that the article was not an attempt to open a debate on any subject further than peoples attitudes on the matter (otherwise it would have been more bold.) Eugene had already detailed your very response in his article, it's good to see you can appreciate the irony =]

Regards,
Lawrence

Peg said...

Lawrence, I sometimes find myself impatient in digging and with my child-like manner, "are we there, yet" need to know more and NOW!
And was indeed hoping to explore the workings behind the very mind not wanting the intrusion, thus a snake in the grass would be rightfully titled me and you the victor of the capture. ;-0}

Sail on as well, Lawrence, for we shall all come to a resting spot fulfilled!

Touche' ;-0}
Peg

Have a great day!