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I don’t debate creation vs. evolution, because I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, which doesn’t teach that they’re mutually exclusive, either (one of many things I’m thankful for from that church). When I received my first grown-up Catholic Bible, I devoured the introductions and additional material, which included information on literary genres and forms used in the Bible.

The Allegory: A figurative story with a veiled meaning. Read Genesis 2, 3; 4, 1-16; 6-8; 11, 1-9. For centuries, these chapters have been misunderstood as inspired lessons in science. The Bible does not teach science; it teaches religious values. It uses these folktales to teach a lesson.

So it kills me when people are upset about something really cool like the confirmation of the Higgs boson particle because it doesn’t line up with what they think the Bible tells them.

For instance, here’s a cool article I read about the Higgs boson and the concept from the Standard Model of physics that the visible universe only constitutes four percent of the actual universe (The Missing 96%” –Higgs Boson Will Help Unravel Mystery of the Invisible Universe). Whoa! I think it’s really cool that our universe is more complex than we are able to currently comprehend. But look down at the comments, where people start the God vs. science debate. Argh!

First, one without God:

It’s all made up. 96%, 99.9999%… It doesn’t matter because how can you say how much of UNDETECTABLE stuff is actually missing?

That’s just someone who doesn’t understand science, I think. And it’s answered by another commenter:

…we can detect dark matter [the missing 96%] through gravity, which is how we know it’s there.

Then we have

That’s an awfully big statement to be made if you don’t bring the word God into the calculation.

The origin of matter has been solved? Put all your theories together and then ask, where did that come from?

Good question. I think God is part of it. I think these theories can be valid AND God can be behind it all. Not everyone agrees, though. And this is a science article, not a religion article, so…no discussion of God! That doesn’t mean God doesn’t exist.

Then there’s  guy who posts a short BASIC program which I think is some kind of Bible fortuneteller program, and then he uses it to post Bible quotes. Parody, I think. And there are even a couple of people who appear to be actually discussing the science.

Oh,  here’s one I really like:

What if there never was a beginning at all, and things have always existed ? We make a huge assumption — a hidden one so big it is like the elephant in the room — when we ask how things “started.”

This is a great question to ponder, both in relation to science and to God. After all, Christian doctrine (I’m not sure about other religions) says that God at least has always existed. Is everything that exists a separate creation by God, or is it all a part of God and has therefore always existed? And if E=mc2 means that matter and energy are equivalent and neither can be created or destroyed, does that mean that everything has always existed, too?

ANYWAY, why can’t we all just get along? Why is science so threatening to some believers, and why is religion so threatening to some non-believers?

It’s Friday. I’m worn out. But tomorrow is September 11, and I promised I’d do a post.

September 11 is the anniversary of a horrific event. I don’t generally take special notice of the date. I don’t have a loved one to remember, and it doesn’t rouse any feelings of patriotism in me.

I am still sad about it. Sad that so many people died. Sad that other people could hate our country so much. And sad that over the years, many people have used this event to justify hating and even killing others.

I’m sad because I believe wholeheartedly that this is not the way to live.

I’m a follower of Jesus, and Jesus is very clear on this.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

“But I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

(all quotes from Matthew 5, New International Version)

So I’m sad when others who claim the name of Christ instead follow the way of hate, fear and anger. I believe there is another way: the Way of Love. And I believe that there is an abundance of love among God’s people; enough to overcome the fear and hatred!

For example:

Carl Medearis practices the Way of Love by meeting with and befriending leaders of Hezbollah, an Islamist group regarded by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Christian Peacemaker Teams have been living and working in Iraq since before the U.S.-led invasion. They are currently working with displaced people in the Kurdish region.

Christian Peacemakers also live and work in Israel/Palestine, walking Palestinian children safely to school, monitoring treatment of Palestinians at security checkpoints, replanting olive groves, and more.

Also:

People responded so strongly to the gas explosion and fire in San Bruno, California last night that within 24 hours enough food, clothing and supplies had been donated. They didn’t need any more. No, I have no idea how many of the donors were Christians! Does it matter? I think it still counts.

And there are many others, Christian and non-Christian, who practice this Way of Love.

However, we all fall short, too. I do it all the time. I become angry, snap at others, and often feel justified in my anger. I mean, it’s OK to be angry with people want to burn the Q’uran, or who hate on cyclists, or who are otherwise small-minded, right?

Oops. That’s not the Way of Love, either. But God’s grace lets us start over and try again, whether our transgressions are big or small. Which means two things: that I get a second chance, and that I have to be willing to give others a second chance. That I have to love them.

This post is part of a 9/11 Campaign of Goodwill organized by author Sarah Cunningham. If you’d like to take part, write a blog post, tweet, or Facebook status communicating your own message of goodwill.

I had a hard time with this book. Barna divides (based on research, polling, etc.) the American people into seven faith tribes: Casual Christians, Captive Christians, American Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims, and Skeptics.

I really dislike making generalizations about people, so the first part of the book, in which he explains the characteristics of each faith tribe, was difficult to read.  Also, I felt like implication was always that the Captive Christians were the ones who got it right.

However, later in the book Barna does compile a list of values that the faith tribes do have in common, and suggests that it would be beneficial to our country for the faith tribes to do all they can to instill and encourage these values.

My husband read this book first, and kept telling me that while the first part would make me mad, the last part would make up for it. I didn’t quite feel that way — I still felt like Barna was pushing a Captive Christian worldview.  So I can’t say that this was a book I liked, or that I felt was important information.

It is the result of a great deal of research, though, and it was interesting to look at the data comparisons and research methods in the appendices.

Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for a review via http://viralbloggers.com.