Beliefs and More Beliefs
W. Andrew Arnold
April 1, 2005
I have enjoyed my break from TCV. Upon my resurfacing, I find myself more interested in religious topics than I am in political topics. Sorry Laird and Andrew. My inclination to discuss such topics very well may be futile; but such could always be said when dealing with a fundamentalist mind-set, whether it be religious or political.
As some of you may have read in my article “Agnostic Goes to Bible Study” (see metrobeat.net about two months ago), I have been participating in weekly discussions of the Bible and theology. As part of this project, I was directed to Beliefnet.com. They have a little test that asks you your views on varying beliefs and then scores it relative to various branches of various religions. My belief system was most like the Quakers but one branch of Buddhism was not far behind.
The important part of this exercise was not in giving my beliefs an identify (because there are certainly areas of disagreement); but to find different sets of beliefs that resemble mine for exploration. However, I find as much benefit from the areas of disagreement as from the areas of agreement. Would be interested in what some of you find.
Relatedly, the recent debate about evolution and Genesis taking place on the editorial pages of the Greenville News has caught my attention. The fundamentalists get so offended when it is suggested that evolution explains the method of creation. The state quite confidently that God created the Heavens and the Earth. However, how did God create life? Most fundamentalists have a “I dream of Genie” view of God: He just twinkles his nose or waves his hand and bing…Earth.
I would suggest that regardless of the first cause of creation, there would have been a method. God did not have Cosmic bulldozer. So, when someone says “God created….” What exactly does that mean? Thinking beyond the spoon fed myths of ancient nomads seems beyond the capability those educated by private fundamentalists schools. However, just because the Bible does not spell out the particulars of the “how” of creation does not mean that there is a “how.”
And, you would expect that a God who is responsible for the evolution that we see and the quantum mechanics we cannot see to use the laws of His science to use these laws in His Creation. If God is the author of science, then understanding science is just as reliable as religion (if not more so) in discovery the mind of God. I have heard fundamentalists explain that natural phenomena like cannons as things that just appear to be millions of years old as if God were trying to through us off his scent or send mixed signals about creation.
This seems absurd. If you believe God created Earth, then you must believe that science is the actual handwriting of the Creator and not simply the inspired word of God transcribed by others. And, thus those who put the faith in myths of old to explain creation miss an important opportunity to learn something deep and important about man and his God.