Some say it’s an oxymoron, but I am not sure. I do know I am one.
Creation is the hottest topic between the religious vs. atheist crowd. Science against faith stories. Evidence against faith. It’s a really a hot button for many. I have seen people become very personal and argumentative when it comes to creation. For some reason, this is the topic which carries a lot of emotional baggage with it. I have seen a lot of people behave offensively on this.
I have been a lot of things actually. I have been a devout YEC, an evolution basher, an enthusiastic Gap theorist, then a euphoric OEC and then a troubled Theistic evolutionist. And now I am more inclined to be just an evolutionist, and not so much troubled anymore. My transition has been across the board from atheist to agnostic to slightly deist to YEC to OEC and within that from Gap theory to Theistic Evolution. The more I studied, the more I figured that evolution was undeniable.
Apparently, a lot of believers don’t agree with me when it comes to that. I don’t blame them. It is not an easy thing to do. It took me some time to come to realize that there is probably no way that I may able to square things out between my faith and science, or between faith and evolution. That is my opinion, and some believers have no trouble reconciling science and creation, and I am fine with that.
However, my conclusion is that the biblical creation story quite certainly makes a strong case for
It happened very recently that I had a sit down with some of my christian friends. It was a usual thing, nothing special but as always a few theological fine points were up for discussion. When it came to me, I recalled my experience of finding God and then walking with him. There were smiles all around the room for we all had seen and shared some time and all of my friends had witnessed how my life had had a turn around for God. So recounting what I had been pondering for over a year in silence and what I had begin to properly understand quite recently I mentioned that I found it a real beautiful thing that God had used evolutionary mechanisms to derive life and that the whole structure was so self sustaining that even without any active interference from God, it had the tendency to carry on natural work. I also said that Adam and Eve may have been factual people but the story of Genesis 1 is more of a lesson rather than a strict scientific account and it was never meant to be taken literal. And that I do not think the story in all of its detail is factual.
Everyone looked at me with mixed expression, raised eyebrows and might I add, a few frowns. A few of them shook their heads in dismay. And then, when I was just a wee bit nervous, I began to understand my mistake. The cat was out of the bag. And then came the barrage of questions and rhetoric and accusations, clocked at 200 miles an hour with no stops. To be honest for a moment I thought I was standing in front of the inquisition.
From being asked why I would reject “The word of God” to “Are you even a christian, do you even believe in a Christ?”…I was spared “the devil’s spawn” but one of my friends even implied that when he said that by holding on to such lies, I was “doing satan’s work” and “pushing others away from God and leading them astray”…one of them called me “spiritually blind” and that “the bible is worthless to you”.
I was dumbfounded, and I noticed while my friends were still there, the brotherly love and christian warmth that I had felt all those years, had left the room.
Today, in contrast, atheism takes itself very seriously indeed. With their zealous denunciation of religion, the so-called New Atheists often resemble medieval moral crusaders. They argue that the influence of religion should be fought wherever it rears its ugly head. Although they demand that religion should be countered by rational arguments, their own claims often verge on the irrational and hysterical. Of course, there has always been an honourable atheist tradition of irreverence and irreligious contempt for dogma. But today’s New Atheism often expresses itself through a doctrinaire language of its own. In a simplistic manner it equates religion with fanaticism and fundamentalism. What is striking about its denunciation of fundamentalism is that it is frequently made in the dogmatic, polemical style of those it claims to oppose. The black-and-white world of theological dogma is reproduced in the zealous polemic of the atheist moraliser…
…The New Atheism is very selective about who it targets. So although it claims to challenge irrationalism and anti-scientific prejudice, it tends to confine its anger to the dogma of the three Abrahamic religions. So it rightly criticises creationism and ‘intelligent design’, yet it rarely challenges the mystifications of deep environmentalist thinking, such as Gaia theory, or the numerous varieties of Eastern mysticism that are so fashionable in Hollywood. Since the New Atheism is culturally wedded to the contemporary therapeutic imagination, it is not surprising that it has adopted a double standard towards spiritualism.
Historically, atheism has sometimes co-existed with opportunism towards religious and spiritual belief. The French philosopher Voltaire hated religious fanaticism but nevertheless believed that religion was useful for pacifying the masses. In a similar vein, in the nineteenth century, the French social theorists Henri de Saint-Simon and Auguste Comte believed that social stability required them to invent a new religion. Invariably, such attempts to construct a secular religion are really about trying to endow human experience with meaning.
It was inevitable that sooner or later the New Atheist crusade would mutate into a quasi-religion. Alain de Botton’s recently published Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion is an attempt to absorb into atheism the current therapeutic and spiritual fads that influence Western elite culture. De Botton has proposed building temples for atheists through the UK. ‘It’s time atheists had their own versions of the great churches and cathedrals’, he says. Unlike the New Atheists, De Botton does not adopt an aggressive approach towards religion, which means his attitude does at least contrast to that of Dawkins or Harris.
Recently I cam across a question posted by a YEC regarding stars and older events in our universe. Here it is followed by my brief answer.
Now I am no astrophysicist, but I do know that science pretty well agrees on the big bang. Therefore the oldest event in the universe is everything originating at the same point.
It is said when we look deeper into space we see older events. Yet, how does that account for the older events happening closer together since the universe is in fact expanding with time? And the older you get the more compressed everything becomes. Is this not true for time as well?
Now I am no astrophysicist either but from what I know, space time like a 3 dimensional grid (actually in theory it is 4 dimensional). FYI, the expansion is not at a consistent rate throughout history. Light as you know, the further it goes from the source, the more it scatters. But also remember that light is both wave and a particle. And that there is a lot of matter in the universe which affects light because of gravity.
Now, the expansion of the universe is happening, we know that. But why is it happening and what it really means to expand?
Consider a stick of gum and put four small objects on it, two objects on either ends, call them group L1 and group L2, mark their position and then stretch the gum. You will see that the distance between group L1 and L2 on either sides of the gum increased from each other but their location on the gum itself hasn’t changed at all, it is the same. The whole gum has expanded.
The same way, the universe expanded, and the expansion which is happening now is because of inertia of the Bigbang. But there is matter in the universe and there is gravity present so the bodies which get closer together, bond with gravity and thus they remain at the same distance at which they bonded. It is simply that their space, like in the gum example, is being stretched but because of their gravitation bond they are not expanding away from each other.
Meaning L1 and L2 moved apart but the two bodies in L2 remained bonded to each other while expanding away from L1 altogether.
Bodies which gravitate towards each other are released from the inertia effect of the big bang therefore they stay with each other because of the gravity in between them. This is the precise reason why the Andromeda galaxy is not moving away but in fact moving towards the milky way galaxy, because of the gravitational force present.
I have oversimplified it but that is the basic thing.
I know some people might frown upon the title just to begin but if you did frown, I suggest you try a face-palm too, because you might be doing that anyway by the time this post ends.
Most of the highly conservative Christian sect has so far taken science out of their lives that a mere mention of the word brings people to look at you like you went crazy or something. The idea that science can be right is frowned upon and heavily debated among many YEC groups. To be fair though those people are not against science, they are against it only when the validity of their exegesis is in question. Evolution, ID, creationism, multiverse and all that.
I see a lot of people who believe in a literal 6 day creationism and Intelligent Design, let me say it on the outset, I respect their faith. I respect it because it is tied with their belief.
The point of this post is not to attack creationism or intelligent design but to ask my readers a few things to consider.
My humble opinion is that while there is a good following of Intelligent design and Creationism, these are still not scientific models of any kind. Many supporters of creationism and ID assert that evolution has problems. I agree it does, but they are not what the critics of evolutionary biology think they are. A lot of anti-evolution among Christians is because most often evolution is misrepresented and demonized. The worst of all misconceptions is that evolution makes man come from monkeys. No.
I wonder whether atheists think deeply about the various issues. When I was an atheist, I did not pay that much attention to Christian thinking. I was brought up in an atheistic family where I was told to read the Bible but with keeping some distance from it, not to be sucked in to it. I also thought that Christians were not wise people and I did not explore Christian thinkers which was mistake. Maybe there are many atheists out there who are like I used to be, not exploring things.
I am a theoretical physicist and can talk about physics and its relation to faith. I do not find any of it disturbing my faith. Even my university physics professors never said anything disturbing about faith in their lectures. One thing I remember very well: One of my physics teachers wondered that the world is describable. There are quite few laws describing vast amount of things and one really wonders about this. And one can wonder further, where do these laws come from? What is their origin? One of my atheist friend does not wonder about this at all, because he says that when he thought about it, he could also wonder about the origin of God.
It was some years ago when I was reading Stephen Hawking’s “A brief history of time”, a great book to understand somethings about our universe in plain English. I was always fascinated by space travel and I still love to read about the universe and how it operates. My single greatest curiosity is still, “whats out there 5 billion light years away?”, and it was the same when I was a child. I still wish I could one day travel into space (highly unlikely), I never was good with maths so despite my love of physics I am not a very technical guy when it comes to calculations and I hear that the guys who go up there have to be very intelligent, oh well, never mind.
What I was reading was that, how Einstein’s general relativity theory predicted the behavior of our universe, and in there hawking also wrote that if the universe had a beginning then an outside agency must be involved, which for the sake of our convenience we may call God. But he also wrote that if quantum physics and general theory of relativity are combined, a universe may have been formed literally out of dense matter, at quantum levels. The math is dense but his point being, that this way the creation of the universe would not need a creator, as time would not matter, his famous line being, the start of the universe is like the south pole, whats south of the south pole? it does not really matter. This way the creation of the universe would be governed by the laws of science.
Thank you all for participating in the discussion and sharing your views whether we agree or not, I appreciate all of your precious feedback. I encourage everyone to speak their mind as they see fit. 🙂
A couple of remarks, first I do not think that the days in genesis, represent ages. As you also noticed, as far yom is concerned, where it does also mean more than a day, I am simply not trying to prove that because I realize that it is unlikely so. I am not arguing with any biblical verses in genesis to mean differently than six literal days. My point is that the story of Genesis is not talking about the age of earth at all. My contention is that is using poetic structure’s to emphasize creation and perhaps make the story more easy to remember, with categorical creation details divided into segments, to be sung and told again to future generations. I would be intellectually dishonest if I do what I am asking you not to do.
Furthermore I also believe that the Genesis authors believed that the six days actually meant six literal days, just like they thought that the Sun and the moon orbit around the Earth and not vice-versa. Their knowledge was limited to their day and age. That is perhaps likely so, because in Exodus 20 when the genesis creation account is again summarized they follow the original six day construct, and that is also for the sake of consistency.