Spiritual Thought Without Belief in a Supreme Text?

planet forming eso-1301A debate exists among a vast number of people about things which are less tangible in our life. If you’re a Christian the debate extends beyond whether there is a God.

Legal arguments flourish over posting of specific religious text in public buildings or teaching creation in the classroom.

To the Christian, acceptance of God includes a son born from a virgin and though he lived and died as a man, he’s believed to be a part of a greater godhead. Exact interpretations vary, but he’s claimed to be the Son of God.

If you’re an Orthodox Jew, you also will believe there is a supreme being, God or YHWH or Yahweh. Jesus Christ isn’t accepted as a deity.

As a devout Muslim, you too will believe that God exists, someone who created heaven and earth and is a supreme being usually referred to as Allah. Jesus Christ isn’t accepted as a deity although he is as a prophet.

Whatever your understanding, beliefs or religious affiliation, there are people willing to intelligently discuss the difference between belief and the unknown. As science increases in its understanding of how the universe was started and the order of development of life, there have been many who claim, that which isn’t understood are part of the mystery and that is the domain of god. It has been given a label in circles of philosophy, “the God of the Gaps.”

If you listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson with an open mind, you can readily understand his logic. Unlike some people who insist that things are exactly as they perceive them to be, he’s saying, work within your own framework of reasoning and understanding, just don’t blindly accept and demand to teach your fundamental beliefs as a basis or replacement for science. Historically, we’ve gone past the point of accepting the earth is flat or the sun & stars rotate around the earth. The next steps for some people are to understand that teaching Genesis for creation isn’t teaching fact.

Believe in what you want but truly understand the difference between what you feel and what is really known. If you don’t know enough about basic laws in physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology, it shouldn’t mean that all people must change the facts to conform to your own lack of knowledge. If you’re a religious person, it’s OK to have doubts. This should be a step in learning more about something you find important and not less. Accepting things on faith rather than learning more on your own is an evasion or in some cases, just downright lazy.

I have to admit that when someone insists that all of the earth and the surrounding universe was created in 6 days (six – 24 hour periods), then I have to think this is someone who has managed to avoid learning scientific fact and accepts self-deception.

For example as outlined in Genesis:

Day 1 – God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light “day” and darkness “night.”

Day 2 – God created an expanse to separate the waters and called it “sky.” (perhaps that could mean the atmosphere, but you know that can’t be true until you get to day 4)

Day 3 – God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters “seas.” On day three, God also created vegetation (plants and trees).

Day 4 – God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and the night. These would also serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years.

Notice that light was created before the sun, moon & stars, as explained in day 1, now it’s shown to be created on day 4. Then we see that plants were created before the sun, an essential source for their life on day 3. If you accept some theological explanations which say these days were longer than a literal 24 hour day, that would mean plant life existed a long time without photosynthesis. If you accept the explanation that the sun, moon & stars were created on day 1, then why are they mentioned as created on day 4? Also, ask yourself, how do days get a designation without rotation of the earth on its axis revolving around the sun? Accordingly, that’s day 1, again.

open bookNo matter how you examine a text such as the Bible, which some claim it as inerrant, truth, logic and intelligence should immediately suggest to you that this text can’t be a literal account. If you accept it as prose by someone completely void of basic science, then you can say, creation in Genesis is a nice story, but nothing more. Don’t feel compelled to believe things for convenience, social acceptance or self-aggrandizement, however don’t doubt in things beyond the physical just because there’s only 5 physical senses.

Where do these ideas originate?

Every civilization who have recorded their history have a creation story. Not surprisingly, none of these stories completely agree with one another. None of them are based on a provable scientific understanding. Some claimed divine inspiration like the Bible and others claim to be handed down through the generations.

 

The Scopes “Monkey Trial” was famous in its day, the information presented is a bit dated. The Scopes trial is useful to understand some of the basic controversies surrounding science education and creationist theories taught today.

The Tennessee anti-evolution (Scopes trial) Click on image for sources

The Tennessee anti-evolution (Scopes trial) Click on image for sources

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