A tale of two creation “scientists”

A reader recently sent me an article from Christianity Today titled, “A Tale of Two Scientists: What Really Happened ‘In the Beginning‘,” by Tim Stafford. The article’s subhead is: “How two evangelicals—one a young-earth creationist, the other an evolutionary creationist—have lived out their faith and professions.”

The article details two scientists’ lives, named Darrel Falk and Todd Wood. Falk is the older and Wood is a bit younger. Both of them have evangelical upbringings, but Wood’s was a little more backwoods and provided a tighter hold on a literal translation of the bible.

Both of these men are rendered a bit close to jokes by the article, despite that it was published in Christianity Today. Take this beguilingly poorly sort out paragraph for example:

Both Wood and Falk grew up with absolute confidence in the Bible, a strong sense of family, and a belief that church was the place to find meaning and community. Both of them had an unusual aptitude for mathematics and an interest in science—though neither one had much idea what science was. They could have followed very similar pathways, and in a sense, they did.

“Absolute confidence”? When I was five, I had absolute confidence in my surroundings, my parents, Sunday School teachers and teachers, too. Why? Because if I didn’t, I’d get a fucking spanking. Or I’d get in trouble. Why, because my parents needed to protect me from the world in the best way they knew how. That means I thought the Bible was real … and so was Santa Clause. And Easter Bunnies.

Absolute confidence equaled absolute naivety and ignorance. 

I had a penchant for book smarts, and I wasn’t aware of what “science” was either. That makes Wood, Falk and I the same goddamn people. Or, the writer is just trying to mythologize  them like writers do. It’s also call lying.

There really is no substance between the first word of the first paragraph in this article and the last period. There are moments that talk about how there is a movement within the Christian umbrella to accept both ideas of young and old, God-guided creation.

Young Earth Creationism is a complete waste of time.

Until Christianity lets YEC go, we can’t take it seriously. During the parts of the article talking about Wood, I found myself trying to absorb more, reading twice, but often disappointed in the writing and ideas behind his so-called search. Which amounts to little more than a stubborn temper tantrum telling the world that he’s not going to stop reading the bible literally.

Take this for example:

Todd Wood graduated at the top of his high-school class and went on to Liberty University in Virginia, the first of the Woods to attend college. Liberty’s biology department emphasized field studies, and he delighted in the freedom of the woods and waters that he explored as part of his learning.

Quite on his own, Wood found creationist publications in the library, and he soon became expert in the literature. He had read a few creationist books in high school, but the university library opened up a much richer field.

The problem with the article is it isn’t chronological at all times. While it’s long, it’s not exactly clear and, to me, it’s poorly edited.

Falk goes from not having kids and only affording one meal a day, often a TV dinner, to having two daughters whom he can’t figure out how to raise without church and the bible. What a slave he is to ignorance. In fact, he never imagines that he could successfully raise children with a secular education. That’s sad.

The article talks about faith, god and stuffing god into science in ways that assumes its audience all agrees on definitions that cannot be defined. I don’t agree that Todd Wood has any relevance whatsoever.

Don’t write about “faith” and insist on being taken seriously

My Christian professors at a Christian college taught us not to write about our personal experiences, or others personal experiences, with god. Why? Because the definitions aren’t set. The ideas are abstract. It might make sense to you, but it’s not universal (despite believers telling you otherwise).

It has no place in professionally written content, so don’t blame me when I can’t accept others writing about it and expecting different results.

While I can assume I know what this writer is talking about when he discusses faith, I really cannot. It means so many things to so many people.

The most ridiculous part of the article is that Wood understands that evolution is incredibly convincing, but he refuses to accept it entirely based on “faith.”

This renders Wood an asshole. The evidence is so convincing and strong, but the dusty book with an evil message that Wood was given as a child is more important than the facts.

What is it about this book and its evil message that if a child accepts it, he brings it into his adulthood? It puzzles me to no end.

There isn’t any room for YEC’ers. Even in the article, they are made out to be silly idiots. I don’t think it was the writer’s intention, but if it doesn’t come across to you, I’m not sure you’ve grasped the intent of this article, nor read enough on the topic.

Apropos to the Rob Bell conversation

I’ve posted a couple times about what’s now known as RobBellapapalooza™. It’s the controversy that is stemming from the publishing of his new book, and whether or not he thinks everybody goes to heaven or not.

I don’t have anything personal to add. I haven’t read the book yet, but I look forward to breezing through it if I get my hands on it.

But Hemant Mehta posted on it early this morning and I thought I might redirect you toward Mehta’s post (here). It’s solid.

I love it when “friendly” gets strong arm-ish.

Ahhh Hells Bells, the battle is raging over Rob Bell

The moment I saw the video I posted about Rob Bell’s forthcoming book “Love Wins,” I emailed a link to my brother Jon and said, “I think you’ll like this video from Rob Bell.”

He responded and said, “Cool. Looks great.”

Then a few minutes later, he emailed and said, “I ordered a copy!”

I posted here a couple times about it. Over the weekend, it landed many hits here at Le Café. I wasn’t aware that it was trending on twitter. But throughout the weekend, Rob Bell got eclipsed by drunk-driving bitch whore Debra Oberlin, who apparently is more popular than hell.

You see, Jon and I talk about once a week, sometimes more. My family is Christian and I’m the black sheep atheist. Jon is not thrilled (no one is) that I’ve gone the route of a non-believer, but he has made a great effort to be the same best friend he was to me before. I’m so grateful for that. Over time, he’s become more comfortable, and I’ve asked that he behave in all the same ways as before. He tells me when he’s praying for me, and he tells me when he feels attacked by the devil. I’m so glad that he feels that comfort level again.

Earlier this week, Jon and I talked on the phone. He said he’s been following the battle within the Christian camp (which is dizzyingly vast). Real Christians™ believe in hell, heaven and the resurrection. That trinity is more important than the father, son and holy ghost.

The quibble over the invisible is never ending.

Without hell, Christians can’t scare children into holding onto the gospel through adulthood. Jesus just ain’t good enough to latch onto. They NEED hell.

So for a pastor with the notoriety of Rob Bell to insinuate, “Hey, there might not be a hell.” This is big stuff. If a pastor of a little, po-dunk church in rural Wyoming said it, no one would bat an eye. But Rob Bell has influence over many thousands.

Rob Bell saying it is an iPad 2 announcement game changer. Rob Bell is the Steve Jobs of Christianity … and frankly (and I hope it’s true), he could change EVERYTHING.

Back to my conversation with Jon. Jon sounded deflated about it. He said, “People are criticizing Rob Bell, calling him a Universalist … and they haven’t even read the book yet.” He paused and then he said, “Just read the freaking book.”

My dad sent me an article from Christianity Today (link) yesterday that spells out more of the controversy. Dad reads this blog just as closely as anyone I know, and I he’s a mighty solid Christian, too. He’s one that the world can admire, especially because he puts up with all the shit I write here. But more so because he’s very well read and articulate about what he believes.

That Christianity Today article also calls Bell a Universalist. Apparently calling a “Christian” a universalist is a pejorative. Thems are fightin’ words!

If Jesus were so goddamn clear, why the hellfire are there so many sects and so many interpretations of the bible? I know this isn’t a new question and Christians have a hundred different ways to respond … but it doesn’t change the fact that they can’t agree on damn near anything.

I want to point out that Bell discounts hell in his book “Velvet Elvis” which was published about 6 years ago. So it’s not new for Rob Bell to say this. It’s just that this new book puts it in the title. And since most Christians don’t read anyway, they would never get past the front of the book.

Honk.

Also, I want to point out that hell is the simplest Christian doctrine to discount. I was able to do it as a Christian … long before I stuck a flag in atheism. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for topic to dry up … but it never will entirely … because Christianity NEEDS it.

I was reading the article in Christianity Today, and it ends with a quote from the Christian Deity named Rick Warren. Warren is a god among Christianity, and anyone who says Christianity is a monotheistic religion is blowing smoke up your ass. Warren says, “I believe in hell because Jesus says it’s real & he knows more about it than anyone.”

I laughed so loud when I read that that my neighbors sent a squad car.

The non-biblical tradition that guys like Warren tell their mega-churches is, “When Jesus died, he spent three days in hell.” What a load of malarkey. So Warren tells everyone this and it is gospel.

The short of it is, Christianity needs Rob Bell, and it desperately needs to follow his lead. If there’s a guy who models a form of Christianity that I started to agree with as a Christian … it’s the version he writes about in his books and talks about in his video series. He’s what I consider a smart Christian … and it’s high time Warren got on his weepy knees and asked for an ounce of the smarts that Rob Bell has.

Warren’s purpose-driven life focus should be, “Become more like Rob Bell.”

Hey Christians … you’re making a HUGE mistake by demonizing Rob Bell. You should stop. Rob Bell actually makes you guys look cool.

But who am I? A humanist with an atheist voice who has no following as large as Rick Warren’s or Rob Bell’s. I’m easily discounted. If only there were a way to become a hugely adored Christian … and then break the news. I’m doing this all wrong.