Posts tagged ‘evolution’
A few years ago, my husband and I drove from Colorado to Nevada. I was enthralled by the rock formations along the way, particularly in Utah. Yellow, red, green, and purple hues covered the mountainscape like watercolor paints gently brushed onto a canvas. The soft colors were in stark contrast to the rugged shape of the landscape. In some places, jagged cliffs predominated. In others, formations of hard rocks were balanced on top of softer stone that had eroded leaving the impression that the landscape had been chiseled away by an ancient Michelangelo. Still other sections were filled with flowing rock formations that looked like piles of sand had slowly broken off of the surface of the mountain and slipped down around its ankles like a crumpled silk robe.
The beauty of the mountains alone is enough to inspire awe, but learning about geology and understanding that millions of years of erosion have sculpted layers of sedimentary rock into the buttes, mesas, and curvaceous canyons I saw along the highway deepened my appreciation for the scenery.
When I was younger and a born again Christian, my curiosity about nature was stifled by the belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that the entire universe had been created by God in six days.
Although that belief eventually made the universe seem small and claustrophobic to me, at the time, I found solace and inspiration in the idea of creation…
For those of you who can count past ten, and are fundamentalists, I invite you to play a little game with me. (In the figures below, I have actually taken the most conservative estimate on dates and numbers.)
Imagine that one second represents a thousand years. We’re about to count, and count back in time. As you count, the years fly by in reverse order.
That’s all for now. One second. In the blink of an eye we’ve just skipped past every football match ever played, the landing on the moon, the first and second world wars, the invention of the aeroplane, the advent of guns, the renaissance; the germ theory of disease by Pasteur, the discovery of the circulatory system by Harvey, the skeletal structure by Galen. The works of Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Bach. The beauty of masterpieces by Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Monet. The Dark Ages, the Crusades, the Black Death.
We’ve come a long way haven’t we?
Let’s look at things from a biological point of view. Count with me…
The danger and the pain of the conflict between pre- and post-Enlightenment cultures were illustrated in a recent court ruling fining Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas, £5.2 million.
The church comprises around 70 members of the pastor’s (Fred Phelps) extended family. For years the church has denounced homosexuality and picketed the funerals of Aids victims. However, they later extended their pickets to the funerals of soldiers, who they say are being punished by God because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality. Last year, they caused outrage when they attended the funeral of Matthew Snyder with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “You’re going to hell”.
Matthew’s father, Albert Snyder, wept when he heard the verdict. “I hope it’s enough to deter them from doing this to other families. It was not about the money. It was about getting them to stop.”
Daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper – co-defendant along with another daughter, Rebecca Phelps-Davis – vowed to continue picketing military funerals…
The last time I wrote on this site I was concerned with the “meaning of life” (in parts one and two). The theme continues in this post (as well as a continuation from one of Simen’s articles), but only because the questions I have been asking myself and others has consistently led back to one answer, despite the variety of questions. I have been asking myself why I believe what I did when I was an evangelical Christian and why others continue to believe what they do – in relation to that which we cannot perceive by the five senses. Granted, there are many of those who simply do not engage in such self-reflection. This is as common among non-religionists as it is religionists. However, if you visit sites such as this one or even your favourite seminarian blog, then you probably do think about the deeper aspects of life – continually questioning your own assumptions and conclusions as well as others.
When I took a “Christianity and Contemporary Thought” course at my Bible college, one of our texts included James W. Sire’s The Universe Next Door. The book is essentially an oversimplified, biased walk-through of some major philosophical worldviews without too much polemic…
Posted on September 2, 2007 @ 09:47:27 EDT
Author Leonard David
The hunt for evidence that a 980-foot long feature on Mt. Ararat in Turkey might be the remains of Noah’s Ark has taken on a new dimension, quite literally.
Satellite Imaging Corporation of Houston, Texas has created a 3D terrain model of the so-called “Mt. Ararat anomaly” – making use of stereo IKONOS satellite image data to create a flyover of the site in remote northeastern Turkey…
The fallacy that we all abide by one paradigm (or at least that we should) has led many Christians, both those of the conservative typology as well of the “floundering liberal” (Falwell’s words, not mine), to believe that non-believers have no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. Yet they do not realize that this unfair accusation is no different than the atheist who would also unfairly place his or her paradigm on the Christian and proclaim that a worship of an imaginary being and the subsequent false hope for a life after this one is foolishly nihilistic and deters the “believer” from living a purposeful life.
In my previous post I expressed my wariness with the so-called meaningful Christian purpose. I stopped short, however, of offering my own “secular” meaning of life. The conservative pundit I quoted in the previous part recognized, more or less, that a non-believer is fully capable of living of meaningful life. This meaning, however, is limited to the ontological realm. The pundit could not see an ultimate, or teleological meaning for a secularist’s life. To many Christians, the atheist’s view is that we are born, we live for ourselves, we die by ourselves. Finito. Apparently, if their god is added to the equation, even if the only purpose is to bow before him, at least it is something. I believe that this has led Christians to adhere to a false dualism that is so present in gnostic paradigms: the material is empty, the spirit is where life is found. Yet everything in observable reality tells us otherwise. The lack of evidence for either a god or heaven leads one to wonder how it is that a theist can have such a pessimistic view of the material realm…
I wrote this article awhile ago on my personal blog (August 13, 2006 to be exact), but Roopster gave me permission to re-submit some of my old works. I apologize if some of the links are out of date. This post is, of course, a polemic against Biblical literalism, not all Christians. So lets not go there. If you are a theistic evolutionist or whatever, good on yea, let’s move on.
I often wonder what is a greater threat to the Christian faith, the theory of evolution or the belief in creationism (currently passing itself off as “Intelligent Design”). Honestly, I hate writing about the subject and so this will probably be the only time you ever read about it from me. The reason that I am writing this now is the result of a recent article I read in the Globe and Mail (a nationwide Canadian newspaper). The article stated that the journal, Science, published a study that found only 40% of Americans believed in the theory of evolution and an astonishing 39% considered the theory “absolutely false”. Comparatively, at least 80% of citizens of Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, and France believe that the theory of evolution it true. What is even more astonishing is that the percentage of “unsure” Americans has grown from 7% in 1985 to 21% in 2005. It is obvious that the culprit of the difference between Europe and the United States is religious fundamentalism.