Saturday, October 30, 2010

To bmtt

Thanks for commenting here. I am trying to find more recent statistics, but as I was researching this issue I didn't bookmark any specific pages. In fact, I have been looking at this off and on for years now, but never too seriously. I really didn't think anyone else was taking YECS all that seriously either. :\

religioustolerance.org

"Bishop notes that these figures have remained remarkably stable over time. These questions were first asked about 15 years ago, and the percentages in each category are almost identical. Moreover, the profiles of each group has been constant. Just as when these questions were first asked 15 years ago, creationists continue to be older, less educated, Southern, politically conservative, and biblically literal (among other things). Women and African-Americans were more likely to be creationists than whites and men. Meanwhile, younger, better educated, mainline Protestants and Catholics were more likely to land in the middle as theistic evolutionists." 1

It appears that I may be wrong about the "very few Christians" and I should have written "very few educated Christians". It makes me very sad to realize just how effective the YECS movement has been in indoctrinating the less educated among us. But only yesterday I found this link here.

I assumed it was a hoax, but after calling the hotel I found out that it was quite real. 0.0

I am still in shock.

If you'll go back a few posts to Across the Spectrum you will see that there are other ways to understand Genesis beyond the 6 day/6000 yrs and the Day Age model. There is the one I was taught as a young Christian, the Restoration View or Gap Theory, and there is also the Literary Theme Over Literal Chronology View.

I personally vacillate between the Restoration View and the Literary Theme View. I totally believe Genesis is the inspired Word of God. But it was also written by a human, a human who at the earliest lived in the Bronze Age.

Was it written by Moses, as theologians traditionally believed? Then for sure he was not there at the time of these recorded events! If it was given by Divine Revelation, then whatever the author saw and or experienced he could still only describe with his own understanding/vocabulary, describing objective realities in the only way available to that author (or any of us) his own subjective experience of that reality.

Or, again assuming Moses put ink to parchment, or reed to clay :) it is also possible that he was recording oral traditions just like the early literature of every other people group. As a Christian, this doesn't throw me into any kind of huge mental crisis. I am perfectly content that the important details made it into the stories as shared from generation to generation: that God created the world, mankind has a special status with God and in relation to the planet we live in, male and female were created to live harmoniously, etc.

I can't reconcile the Day-Age theory to reality because the order of the day-ages still don't make that much sense. So that's why I prefer the Restoration Theory (the earth is much older than mankind and other creatures populated the earth at this time; oh say like dinosaurs =) and further the Literary Framework Over Literal Chronology both.

Whoever wrote Genesis, they certainly weren't there literally to record events and they couldn't have lived the hundreds and hundreds of years from the Garden scene all the way through to the exodus from Egypt. So clearly, events in these passages were not described anything close to contemporaneously, nor by an actual eye-witness. Unlike the gospels, I might add. =D

The final truth about Christianity, for me, rests on personal experience of the Divine, experiences I have had while calling on Jesus. Honestly, there is no way I can come close to explaining what I have (mystically I think it would have to be called) experienced. Any analogy I make, any words I use, could not do justice to the Great Love, Goodness and Power of the Being I know as Jesus Christ.

When I read the Bible, I read stories of other people whose lives have been touched by that Divine Presence. Unlike many fundamentalist, I don't think these people are any better or worse than I as a human being. I don't hold any of them up as examples in any way other than as humans whose lives were touched by the Divine. God spoke to them, and it changed their lives, though it didn't perfect a single one of them.

I believe, with no hesitation, that Jesus Christ was fully God, fully man. I believe he was born of a Virgin, created by God in Mary's womb. Whether or not her egg contributed 23 of the necessary chromosome I do not know. I know that Jesus did not marry or have children, so the nature of his exact DNA will never be known. I believe that he lived a sinless life and that life revealed the true nature of God's heart to mankind by his words and deeds. I believe the gospels only account for some of his words and deeds, but I hold on to those accounts as precious and meaningful.

I believe his death on the cross brought God and man back into fellowship, though all the whys of the shed blood of Christ being the means for that are not black and white to me. I certainly don't believe the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" scenario, because I have in a sense come face to face with God (mystic, remember?) and I know there is no Hate in him at all. Nada. Jonathon Edwards was a compelling speaker, but he was just manipulating a response out of people who already felt unloved and unworthy.

Jesus came with the opposite message: God loves you. He counts you worthy of His attention. God is good. As the Apostle Paul wrote: God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself and not counting men's trespasses against them.

I fully believe Jesus rose from the dead and continued teaching for almost two months until he bodily left the earth. I believe He is here in Spirit today (meaning an actual mystical presence, not an idea) loving people, calling them into relationship with the Divine, answering prayers when it is in everyone's best interest to give us our requests, and trying to teach all who will seek Him what really is good, virtuous, holy. (Hint: that has nothing to do with avoiding love, life, learning and liberty, as so many seem to believe.)

I hope you realize what a gift it is for me to write so plainly. It is a gift of love to you, bmtt, and all others who have found fundamentalism a spiritual death trap. Because as you well know, I am going to now get comments suggesting I am not a "real" Christian. It won't be long before someone will accuse me of slandering truth when I speak truly of my experience of Jesus and my understanding of the Bible.

Already, I feel myself being pushed out of Christian circles. It started in the Christian home school community, but I know it won't end there. The existence of men like Wade Burleson, Steve McVey and Gregory A. Boyd gives me hope that there are people with whom I can experience true Christian fellowship.

Because therein lies the big paradox for me. Jesus commands that I am to love the fellowship of believers as He loves them. That's kind of hard to do when they are excluding you as a heretic. =) But from all I know of Jesus, this is not an optional add-on to the faith, but it is a central tenet of following Him. Loving my fellow disciples, loving my neighbor as myself, even loving my enemies (A group that increasingly seems to overlap with the group of self-identified fellow disciples! Ouch!) these are the main event.

I fail at this miserably most days, yet I am not discouraged. I am encouraged because I know that God is good, and merciful, and is in no way unjust. He will not condemn me, and yet at the same time wants me to go and sin no more. I accept this paradox gratefully, and I start each day new grateful that His mercies are new as well. I do not beat myself up when I fall short of my own ideals. I accept that I am just exactly who I am, loved by God and precious to Him, and also that by His Spirit and in the fullness of times, someday I will be like Him.

So there it is. My faith in Jesus Christ is the most precious thing in my life. And yet it seems that being honest about my faith in Christ is also the most polarizing, isolating thing in my relationship with other believers. This is difficult because as I understand it love amongst the disciples is supposed to be the New Command that supersedes all other commands.

In the meantime, I will refer all believers who read here back to the earliest book of the Bible. It is not Genesis. The book of Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible. In chapter 38, God sums up nicely what He thinks our attitude about the beginning of time should be: humility. Read it for yourself and see if you don't get the same message. =)

9 comments:

  1. (administrative request: it would be helpful if you linked back to the original post in the first line or two and if you linked from your comment to this post)

    I never thought YEC was a fringe blip--ridiculous, yes; fringe, no--since I heard about the Creation Museum. Even lousy museums cost a gold mine to fund and this one is no exception. Someone very rich or more likely a whole lot of not-so-rich people must be around to underwrite it.

    I grew up believing in a literal Creation (if not exactly six days some six thousand years ago) but I also belonged to a well-educated family and associated with well-educated families, we didn't much try to reconcile science and faith. We more or less chalked it up to "no one was there--neither the Christians nor the scientists--so it is a matter of faith, no matter what you believe".

    Even so, when I started working out the stuff in the Bible that just didn't add up--internal contradictions, logical fallacies--even without thinking about the evolution/creation debate, it made me spurn my Christianity. I had be so indoctrinated that anyone who didn't take the Bible as God's literal word, dictated (or "channeled" as it would be called outside the church) directly by God to the writers, and protected by Him through all the copying, canonization committee meetings, and translations... well, they just weren't True Christians. When I quit literalism, I quit Christianity. It has taken me twenty years to find my way back to a Christianity that includes my evangelically heretical beliefs.

    And that is the worst kind of Pharisaical religiousness--that the rules and dogma became more important that loving one another and leaving the doctrinal statements up to God. If people had shown love and caring to the "heretics", admitting that no one can ever know (in our modern sense of the word) the literal history of the world or the truth (again in our modern sense) of our creeds, then I would have remained in fellowship with Christians all along. But when our churches took it upon themselves to judge the state of my soul's relationship to the Divine based solely on my outward adherence to doctrines or policies, instead of recognizing that God is the only one in a position to judge that relationship, there was no longer a place for me at "God's Table".

    And that is just plain wrong no matter what interpretation of the Bible you prefer.

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  2. wow. that didn't seem nearly so long-winded when I was writing it! sorry!

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  3. (((Sandra)))

    Kinda turns the whole "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another" completely on its head, doesn't it?

    But since God is the only one in a position to judge our relationship with Him, and since He himself took responsibility for anything that might come between any person and the Holy God, making the way for us ALL to be welcomed in His kingdom, well, that really is GOOD NEWS!

    Yay, Sandra! It's really true! We are accepted in the beloved! Jesus doesn't turn away anyone who comes to Him. *contented sigh*

    Going off to rest in His love as I live my life, SS

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  4. I had be so indoctrinated that anyone who didn't take the Bible as God's literal word, dictated (or "channeled" as it would be called outside the church) directly by God to the writers, and protected by Him through all the copying, canonization committee meetings, and translations... well, they just weren't True Christians.

    I get this a lot. Sheesh. :(

    Glad you're not letting your experience of reality and definition of faith be governed by fundamentalist tripe anymore.

    I have noticed that many fundamentalists-turned-atheists can't let that go. They continue to firmly believe that in order to have a *real* Christian faith you must hold to an inerrant, literal (fundamentalist) reading of Scripture.

    To both fundamentalists and ex-fundie atheists, I want to teasingly retort: "Who died and left you God?" ;-D

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  5. "I totally believe Genesis is the inspired Word of God. But it was also written by a human, a human who at the earliest lived in the Bronze Age."

    But, why wouldn't God "inspire" the human to get it right? Especially with the salvation of every human being at stake? Are you saying that the book upon which we're supposed to base our entire lives is part errant and part inerrant, but there's no way to really know for sure which is which? Dang. You'd think God would have been considerate enough to at least put a little disclaimer on the top of each chapter: "The following was written by a fallible human living during the Bronze Age, so don't take it literally" or "This part is true so make sure you follow it to the letter so I won't have to send you to you-know-where for eternity." At the very least, that's what I'd do... if someone "died and left (me) God." ;)

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  6. So you think it was line for line exactly transcribed by what? Did the author "channel" the Holy Spirit like in automatic writing?

    God doesn't need to put a disclaimer on anything, because he created man with the ability to reason and learn. He fully expects us to use our ability to reason, as in "come, let us reason together...."

    Peace and good will to you, little (or older) brother! SS

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  7. [rolling eyes]

    Let's see. Martyr complex, intellectual cowardice, pretentious airs, simple-headedness? Check, check, check and check. Yep, you're a "true" christian.

    By the way, I could have had you for lunch; that I didn't is "my gift of love to you."
    ;)

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  8. Wow. That's a lot of name calling to include in one sentence. Seems the good will only flows in one direction on this exchange!

    I notice you didn't answer my sincere question about how you define "inspiration".

    May God be merciful to you, person who claims the name of Christ. I think it is pretty plain that your comments are not coming from a James 3:17-18 place:

    But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

    Amazingly, I wrote today's post BEFORE I read your comment here. n_n Now that's what I call inspiration! =D

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  9. This exchange was really confusing. I thought bmtt identified as an atheist, so I answered the post with that in mind.

    Imagine my surprise when he/she began defending the fundamentalist doctrine of inerrancy! I assumed then that he/she was reacting so strongly because I was questioning a cherished doctrine of theirs, and that the former talk about being an atheist was mere baiting of some kind?

    It did not make sense. Why would an atheist be supporting a fundamentalist doctrine called inerrancy?

    Bored today, I followed his/her link to their blog where they again self-identify as atheist, and former home school parent to boot.

    I think this makes my whole point about fundamentalism and the new YECS dogma turning people away from the faith.

    I do think it's unfortunate that bmtt (and he/she is not the first!) has held on to the black and white thinking of fundamentalism, an us vs. them mentality in which people who disagree with their beliefs are villified and denigrated and not worth honest consideration or good will. Seems that same high-minded attitude that "I am one of the enlightened few" is a part of the old religion bmtt wanted to hold on to, for some reason. Go figure.

    Fundamentalism sucks.

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