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Dumbing Down for Jesus

By Daniel out of the Lion's Den ~

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. I have a Master of Business Administration degree in Executive Management. I am highly skilled at performing on piano, guitar and saxophone. I am a certified Project Management Professional. My I.Q. is 132, qualifying for membership into Mensa. Yet, I have never felt so stupid and foolish as I do today.

For 30 years, all my adult life, I have subscribed to the teaching that the creation story in the Book of Genesis literally occurred in six 24 hour days. To not believe, they said, is to deny the power of the Almighty God of the Universe. To not believe, they said, would render the entire Bible full of falsehoods. To not believe, they said, would set your soul on a slippery slope on which your faith would fail, putting you at risk of eternal damnation.

Looking back, I see that believing in the 6x24 hour days of creation provided a foundation for believing that everything else in the Bible was literal. I believed that Noah built an ark and the animals came two-by-two. I believed that men built a tower in Babel, and that God made them all speak in different languages. I believed that God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, and turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt (but I didn’t know if it was calcium-chloride or sodium-chloride…) I believed that Moses parted the Red Sea, that Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, and that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not burn up in the fiery furnace. Above all, I believed that Jesus literally rose from the dead on the third day.

Coupled with the six day creation is the 6000 year old Earth - and certainly the entire universe, for that matter. Any attempt by science to claim that the earth or the universe was millions or even billions of years old had only one goal: the substantiation of godless Evolution. All this must have come to quite a shock when it arose in conversations with my coworkers and classmates. I thought I was being a faithful witness to Jesus, demonstrating that I had faith of biblical proportions. When confronted with facts and evidence about fossil records, carbon-14 dating, or the half-life of radioactive minerals, I spewed out the party line like a good soldier: “Those are tricks of Satan to blind people to the truth” or “God created the world to appear older than it really is.”

As my faith began to crumble, one of the first things I did was to question the 6x24 hour days of creation. Once I doubted the resurrection of Jesus, I had to reexamine all the teachings of every preacher I had known for 30 years – so “In the beginning” seemed like a very good place to start. It didn’t take long to find out about the millions of annual sediment layers in the Green River Formation, or the millions of years it took for coral reef buildup, or the millions of years required to form the alternating magnetic fields in volcanic rock ridges in the Atlantic Ocean. I could tell that I needed re-educating, and I needed it fast. I am just now finishing “Big Bang” (Simon Singh, 2004). What a breath of fresh air! The book is in essence a history of how mankind has been able to discover the secrets of the universe through many series of postulating theories and making observations with whatever technology was available at the time. Of particular interest is the way that the religious establish has been such a hindrance throughout many centuries.

In a Richard Dawkins video, he interviews Christians who are facing death due to terminal illness. The Christians appear to have a glazed look as they proclaim that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I know I had that same glaze as I stood firm to the Genesis creation myth. I have been stupid and foolish for a non-existent god. I saw a news article last week about how new measurements in cosmic background radiation mandated an adjustment of adding 80 million years to the age of the universe, bringing it to 13.81 billion years old. I know now that true science adjusts itself when presented with factual evidence, a thing that never happens within Christianity.