Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Earth is only 6,000 Years Old?

Yesterday I began a discussion with a friend of mine about how seemingly ignorant "religious" people. And I would like to clear this up here and now: the "religious" folk in question here are the massive amounts of evangelical Christians who refuse to believe certain scientific fact under the rather nebulous excuse of faith. I, in most cases, would be more apt to label this as ignorance. The impetus for this conversation was this: one of our managers at work ordered a book for his child, a book whose title was The Earth is only 6,000 Years Old. Seriously. A children's book dedicated to passing out some form of ignorant (or at least misguided) misinformation. It just seems to me a bit early to be arming children with arguments to fight all of scientific thought for the last century and a half. Now before you freak out and begin labelling me a left-wing, atheistic socialist, let me tell you something:

I am a Christian. I believe God created the universe and made us all special in it. I believe that around 2000 years ago, Jesus was born into this world to live a perfect life that none of us could live. Then he would act as a sacrifice on our behalf and die for our mistakes. Then he rose again two days later, sufficiently conquering death. This is what I believe, what I know to be true, and I'd stake my life on it.

That said, I also am a believer in natural selection, and in evolution. I believe that the earth is indeed more than 6,000 years old (significantly more so, in fact.) I even believe in the big bang theory. A lot of Christians (and non-Christians, too, at that) would say that both of these sets of beliefs would negate each other, or at least invite some levels of contradiction. I here have something to say to them: faith and science are not mutually exclusive. I would even posit that they work together.

Science merely studies the tangible aspect of God's love. God loved us (or knew He would...) so he created this exotic and lush world in which we live. Science studies this world in a logical, analytical process. In essence, one could possibly get away with saying that science is the study of God without acknowledging His existence. I digress... The point here that I aim to make is that for one to have a healthy faith, one does not need to exclude and censor out secular information. What is one's faith if can't stand up to Harry Potter?

I think that one's faith (I'm including my own) becomes stronger when tempered with ideas that contradict them. When one reads, oh, Darwin or (shock!) the Koran, their faith is tested. The status quo is challenged and a crisis of belief is forced. You are challenged to back up why you believe what you believe. Some people would say that you don't need to challenge your faith; you simply believe what you believe. Well, riddle me this, Reader: what then makes your faith more correct than anyone else's? You have to be able to back up what you believe, or to use the vernacular and highly hackneyed cliche: you got to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

That said, I believe in modern science. And I also believe that modern science does not disprove God. I'd say it makes a case for God. Let's take the Big Bang theory. According to scientists, the known universe was created when some floating molecules interacted in a chance pattern and, wham, we have galaxies. As you can see, I am hardly an expert. But nonetheless, this is roughly correct. My question: where did these "floating molecules" come from? If the universe had a definite beginning (which science points to, if my info is correct) what preempted it? I believe the answer here is God.

I do believe the post has rambled on long enough, so I'll end with this. Christians who flat out refuse what is so obvious in the world around them are really more a hurt to themselves. I think that all this does (aside from frustrate everyone around them) is limit how far their faith can go. They can get only up to a certain point before they have to say "Uh oh, outside is the real world. Faith doesn't belong in the real world. Better just stay here in my little box of Faith." My friends, faith is a practical thing, not meant to be shut away in one small corner of your life. To those who would rather just be comfortable with a static, monotone religion and faith, I have one thing to say to you: poppycock. Poppycock.