Galileo: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use.”
Galileo was condemened by the church and sentenced to confinement within his residence for putting forth and holding to the idea that the earth was not at the center of the solar system. It was essentially a universal idea believed to be rock solid from the bible itself that the sun was the center. Not the earth. Galileo challenged said belief and would not back down. He trusted his observation instead of drinking the koolaid. He paid a high price. But he was right. And he knew it.
I don’t know that I all out chugged the koolaid. But I certainly took hesitant sips for a lot of years. There was something always nagging inside me that what I was being told just didn’t add up in some ways. It didn’t all fit together. And it didn’t make sense that God would either intentionally deceive mankind with certain elements of creation or, as Galileo puts it, expect us to forgo part of who we are as humans. It just didn’t sit well within me. So I kept sipping until I found the courage to spit it out.
I am thinking of things like this: God must have created dinosaur fossils and an apparent very old age into the earth. Or this: the laws of physics were altered by and “The Flood.” And even this: the current state of mankind (good/evil or upright/fallen) is the result of an interaction over an apple between two people and a talking snake. In the end, I think it all comes down to how literally the bible is to be taken.
I eventually realized something. NO ONE, no matter who they are or what they say, takes the entire bible literally. NO ONE. A simple example would be cutting off your arm if it causes you to sin. Who does that? NO ONE, at least no one who is not locked up in a rubber room for their own protection. There are plenty of people walking around saying that they do. But they don’t.
So why the big battle over the first few chapters of Genesis. To hold literally to that is to build one’s entire faith on a very flimsy house of cards, subject to the slightest whisper. And what kind of faith is that? A weak kind.
It makes much more sense to me to understand that we do not yet understand all there is to know about how to interpret nature. And we do not yet understand all there is to understand about how to interpret scripture. And we will never understand all there is to understand about either of those. And in that is God’s genius, really. Nature is always changing and the bible is a very dynamic book. They complement each other. They don’t threaten each other. When we discover something new about the one, we should use it to help us better understand how to look at the other. That is a much better way to live than to force feed koolaid.