So this is probably a question that all of you have either asked yourselves or been asked by others. I've had conversations multiple times about this subject since the first time that I came online. 


I know of three versions of how Genesis can fit with evolution. GAP, Day-age, and allegorical. 


GAP to me is a joke. It proposes that between the versus in genesis ( between 1:19 and 1:20 if I remember correctly) the bible leaves out millions ( or billions) of years. Besides the fact that this makes god out to be a deceiver, it also still doesn't explain why the rest of creation is out of order. Like why the earth and plants are created before the sun.


Day-age makes an attempt to explain things by turning day into some indistinguishable period of time. Mainly by using versus like 2 Peter 3:8. 


Again we encounter the same problem as the first though. The arrangement of creation is out of order.


The last attempt is by saying that Genesis is allegorical. This is probably the best attempt at making things fit. Mainly that of making it so that it doesn't matter what order the Genesis account is in because that is not the point of the verse. They aren't suppose to be taken literally. 


One problem with this, and this includes the above versions as well. On what basis are we determining that Genesis isn't meant to be taken literally. Why should we drop the one interpretation for the others?


The main answer that I've gotten for this is that if we want science to fit with Genesis then we need to change Genesis in order to make it fit with our understanding of science. An example of this can be found here.


So this leads me to ask. Should the bible determine reality or should reality determine the bible? Because if Genesis is taken as non-literal so that we can fit it with science, then does that not mean that we create a precedence when it comes to how we look at the world? Wouldn't that mean that when science determines whether an event/object is good or bad for us then the bible takes a back seat? And if the bible takes a back seat, wouldn't that undermine the idea that it is the inspired word of god? I say it does.


Between the moderate Christians and the fundamentalist I always go with the moderates. I would rather have people who are pro rather then anti science. Still, on this subject I have come to realize that I cannot agree with moderates. Not with what has been presented. I can no longer tell a fundie directly that I see no conflict with science and the bible. 


What are your thoughts. Do you think that these two can reach some reasonable ( if not god written) consensus on the matter? I would be interested in hearing what you have to say.


As a side note, I really enjoy Robert Ingersoll's Some Mistakes of Moses.


Great read if you find the time.

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Replies to This Discussion

I don't see how one can reconcile the stories in the bible or other "holy" books and facts of evolution.

Creationism, myths of how creation occurred, of how "chosen" people can slaughter others who are young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor, different and diverse makes no sense. There is just too much cognitive dissonance for me. Also, scientific, biologic, chemical, geologic and historic facts disprove fables.  

Dominionism, human beings having priority over creation and one race over another and male over female just shouts of hierarchical stratification of god, man, woman, earth and spirit and provides rationale for abuse of power based on Bronze Age, tribal peoples. Assigned power is political and has nothing to do with morality. 

Exceptionalism, my god is better than your god, or one nation having dominion over another, or male over female, or one race over another is silly, except such beliefs create tyranny, suffering and oppression. 

In practical terms, those who believe in genesis, follow the precepts of the bible, and impose expectations on others based on these fallible principles, do not meet the needs of human beings or the Earth.  Using religion to justify government, corporations and profit motives to dominate and oppress all that exists is pure, unadulterated tyranny.  Personally, I hold the institution of religion in utter contempt.  


Joan, do you hold in contempt the crutches used by people with sprained ankles? The dentures used by people who'd lost their teeth? Etc, etc, and etc.

Resist with all your energy the attempts by people with sprained ankles to compel you to use their crutches, but holding their crutches, etc, in contempt will exhaust your energy.


Fil, is it correct to conclude that you've never sprained an ankle?

If someday you do, you may find that crutches enable walking.

Of course dominionism is crap. It also relies on a hierarchy of power: one leader and many obedient followers. They will not use persuasion; they will use violence.

If someday they come at you, and if your present concern with crap and bullshit has not exhausted your energy, you will feel a concern with survival.


Fil, thanks for recognizing a crutch can be a tool or a weapon.  I respectfully restate the conclusion:

The difference between using a crutch as a tool or a weapon is in the intent of the one holding it.  

Fil, I like your "A" instead of "the" and your pointing out other "mechanisms".  

One of the things I feared when I let go of faith in a personal god was that I would be alone, not find the triumphalism and joy of evangelical christianity, and would be an outsider.  

Fantom Fears, I now call them.  

The music could be improved upon.  See:

"...the intent behind using religion as a weapon comes from the weapon itself."

Donning my philosopher's hat, which I seldom do, I ask "Does a material object have intent, or does a person who uses the object?"

Poets find English a good language because meanings differ so subtly. In "...doesn't enable the user to force others to use a crutch.", "entitle" might work better.


Yeah, damned agent-seeking component in our brains.


We've got something similar that our brains do (what I believe you're referring to), called the intentional stance ... or something to that effect.  Dawkins explains it in detail, in The God Delusion, I think it is.  And yes, I know he was summarizing someone else's work, but I haven't got a chance in hell of remembering whose it was.


Basically, it's what lets us look at a tiger and see how it's 'built' ... then guess that it's built to kill us.  It's a fairly useful survival tool.

It's the malfunctioning of this brain process that makes us see intention in things like lightning, volcanoes, and rock slides ... then look for the agent that has those intentions.

I am so glad you use the metaphor of crutches.  Of course, when one sprains an ankle, a crutch is not only necessary but more comfortable.  When an ankle heals, the crutches go in the closet or to GoodWill.  My closest friend is a quadriplegic confined to a wheel chair because of M.S.  She can no longer feed herself, or even turn a page of a book.  She is realistically and truly dependent for everything.  Her family and we friends care for her, slow down our conversations so she can get a word into our chatter; she has strong opinions and voices them confidently, even though her voice is barely a whisper.  

Crutches and wheelchairs are tools and worthy of respect, not contempt.  Religion, especially if taught from infancy to only look outward for guidance or help very often fails when faced with grown-up, real world situations.  Yes, some people find strength in belief in some higher power; for many it is not necessary and not sufficient.

The first time I said out loud that I am an atheist, the sun did not stop in the sky, bolts of lightning did not strike me dead, a flood did not inundate my world. Family and friends are horrified, convinced I am doomed, that I have no basis for a moral foundation, and am called lots of things ... selfish, misguided, predict I will even become an ethical and moral misfit!

Those who were the cruelest and most judgmental often are the ones who come to me in private and ask questions.  There is something about thinking critically about a problem, looking at pros and cons, anticipating expected and unexpected consequences, making a decision based on my best information, and changing course if my thoughts and actions do not solve it.  There is nothing wrong with making a mistake;  there is something wrong if one expects answers to come from "out there", whatever that is.  Sadly, some don't realize that.  I certainly am not going to remain silent. 

I don't feel compelled to turn to religion for comfort or guidance, it has failed me too many times. Having a sense of agency, of being able to stand firmly on the ground, shoulders squared, head held high, aware of real problems and fake fears, I no longer feel helpless. I know I have the obligation to seek ideas and options and have no obligation to choose another's point of view.  Not having to be right helps maintain a sense of self-respect; not having to please others provides freedom.

"...I no longer feel helpless."

Well said, Joan. Recently a man I work with in a volunteer activity, who like me went to Catholic schools, surprised me with "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic."

Because I see too hasty a protest as cover for denial, I replied merely "Nonsense."

He repeated his line and I wanted a more effective reply. I watched his way of working and found a reply I liked better: "Once a Catholic, always helpless."

He stopped.


Wonderful story!  Thanks.
What about this question:  Can Grimm's fairy tales and the telephone directory co-exist?


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