Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why do Christians want equal time for Creationism?

I note with interest how the host and producers of the new television series Cosmos: A Space Odyssey, have been besieged with requests to give equal time to creation theory. Yet, the overwhelming consensus among scientists is that creation is a belief, not a scientific theory. There is simply not enough evidence to support the theory promoted by some Christians that God created everything. What I find interesting is that Christians seem to be the only religious faction that wants creationism taught in schools.

Albert Einstein was a scientist who believed in God. "God does not play dice with the universe", says Einstein. But as scientist, Einstein kept his religious beliefs distinct from his scientific inquiry. I don't recall that Einstein ever promoted the idea that creationism should be taught in schools, either. Oh, wait. He was of the Jewish faith.

So I wonder, what is the ultimate aim of the creationists? Could it be that they just want Christianity to be the primary and dominant religion of the United States so that they can feel safe and secure in their beliefs? They will find friends and allies in places like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with Oklahoma and Kansas to boot. Maybe even Utah. Could it be that some Christians want state sponsored religion?

Turn the tables for the moment. Let's say that the Muslims were promoting creation in school. Imagine the uproar we'd see from the Christians over that. Accusations would fly at the Muslims insisting that the Muslims were trying to turn this country into Iran. Imagine that!

I have known a few Christians and have attended church here and there. From what I am able to gather, many Christians have a sincerely held belief that if they don't absolutely, without reservation, believe in God and the Bible, that they will go to Hell. You know, that place where everyone suffers and there is no air conditioning? Yeah, that place.

Now I won't pretend to read minds, but allow me to speculate for just a moment here and consider with you, what might be going on. Let's assume for the moment that adult Christians, like anyone else, want to do the right thing. We all want to go to sleep at night, knowing we did the right thing, agreed?

The most likely conclusion that I can draw from the debate is that Christians are thinking about their kids. They want creationism in school so that they can be sure their kids will still believe in God when they leave school and that they won't go to Hell from changing their beliefs. I can't think of a better explanation than that.

If that is the case, and I think it is so, there is a really big problem with their attitude. There is no consideration for anyone else. Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims - they are all going to school, too. The reason that science has been so successful it that scientists are not afraid to admit that they are wrong when they are. Science is our best tool for understanding reality. Scientists understand that science is a quest not to be right, it is a quest for knowledge that allows us to be wrong, to eventually find a better answer. That is not the case with creationism. Creationism does not allow for or hold up to scientific inquiry and cannot be verified because it is a belief without factual support.

I want to come back now to the concerns about "going to Hell" that many Christians might have about not holding a firm, true belief in God and the Bible. I have a problem with a demanding, browbeating God who punishes me for not believing a certain thing, anything, even a book written by men who didn't know what the sun did when it went down.

I have faith in God, which I hold as distinct from belief. Belief in the Christian sense is a belief in God and the Bible without regard to new information. That is not faith. Faith is the reservation of judgment, a willingness to accept and acknowledge new information.

I have faith that there is a God, but I don't believe in God because I don't know for sure. I just take the days as they come, with faith that God is there, helping me, showing me the way. I do not believe that you must believe as I do, either. What I think that God may be, could be entirely different from what you think and that is OK with me.

I don't know how anyone could live under the crushing pressure of a God that punishes me for any deviation from belief in a book written by men who are prone to error. As Thomas Paine said, if you want to know God, look around you. God is everywhere if you want to find him.

Neither Thomas Paine, nor any of the Founding Fathers promoted the idea that we should teach creation in school as science. They were all wary of state sponsored religion, and we should be, too. If that were to happen here, we wouldn't have to hop on a plane to go to Iran.
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