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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?

We went to church this evening, because an online friend invited us, and because my husband wanted to find out more about this particular church.

I’m not going to critique or review the church, because I think I have no business doing that! However, if it’s 95 degress outside and you’re meeting in a non-airconditioned gym with no outside doors or windows, for the love of God and his people, please set up a couple of fans!

Despite that, it was a pretty good service — good music and a lively message that used clips from movies and tv shows as illustrations.  And being in a church again, after a long absence, made me think.

You see, there are certain beliefs sometimes taught in churches that are dealbreakers for me. If these things are being taught in a particular church, I know I’m not interested in being part of it.

For me, those things are literal creationism (the earth was created 6005 years ago in six days) and the belief that homosexuality is evil. (Quick note — I’m not saying that these are necessarily the beliefs of the church we attended. I don’t know enough about that church and its beliefs to assume anything.)

I know that for some people, my non-belief in those items would be dealbreakers. And some people have completely different dealbreaker issues.

Throughout the history of Christianity, when people have dealbreaker issues with each other, they split into separate groups.  That’s why we have Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. And that’s why we have so many Protestant denominations.

But is that really how it should be? You go your way, and I’ll go mine? That doesn’t really fit well with what Jesus taught (Love one another as I have loved you?).

So what are the alternatives?

Some churches choose to avoid the divisive issues and focus on the more important beliefs that draw us together. After all, the Nicene Creed doesn’t require us to believe in literal creationism and says nothing about homosexuality. Jesus also had nothing to say about those issues.

But this isn’t done universally. So I, at least, continue to avoid churches teaching those things. And I feel guilty about it, because I’m not loving the people in those churches, and because I know that we are not in accord with each other.

Another option might be to openly acknowledge and discuss our differences, lovingly recognizing that we do hold different points of view.

Some people can handle this, but some are absolutely certain that they are right and can’t tolerate another point of view. And I’m pretty close to that myself. I’m pretty darned certain that science shows the earth wasn’t created 6005 years ago in six days, and I don’t understand why anyone insists on arguing that position.  And to me, painting homosexuality as evil is bigotry.  But I’m mostly willing to let people believe what they believe as long as they don’t insist that others follow their beliefs, too.

So where does this leave us? As usual, with much imperfection. I don’t know how to reconcile my strongly held beliefs with the strongly held beliefs of other Christians.

I do know that with God, we can do all things. So I can call on God for love and patience when interacting with people from different viewpoints.