Sunday Morning Musings: some of my thoughts this week have been centering on the topic of religion versus science. My preference would be to use the word “and” rather than “versus” but that is what created much of the discussion. It seemed to be an ‘either- or’.
To be more specific about some things the religion side of the discussion was talking Christianity, but other world religions could be included. From a Christian point of view much of the religion I was hearing was also coming from The Bible. Even the Bible was a ‘pre-science’ book there are still some people that take the writings quite literally. After all God or God’s Spirit guided or directed the mind and hands of the writers. It didn’t seem to matter that many of the stories were not meant to be taken literally but as a metaphor.
According to timelines established by Biblical genealogies the first humans (Adam and Eve) were created only 6000 or 7000 years ago. The scientist argued that carbon dating of fossils found buried in the earth that scientifically tells is millions of years old. Such discussion reminded me of the story reported by Anthony de Mello entitled The Golden Egg. De Mello writes:
A reading from the scriptures: This is what the Lord says: There was once a goose that laid a golden egg each day. And the farmer’s wife, who owned the goose, delighted in the riches that those eggs brought her. She was an avaricious woman, however, and could not wait patiently form day to day for her daily egg. She decided to kill the goose and get the eggs all at once.
De Mello then writes:
Thus far the Word of God! An atheist heard that text from the scriptures and scoffed: you call that the word of God? A goose that lays golden eggs! It just goes to show the absurdity of your scriptures. When a religious scholar read that text, he reacted thus: The Lord clearly tells us that there was a goose that laid golden eggs. If the Lord says this, then it must be true, no matter how absurd it appears to our poor human minds. (Anthony deMello, The Song of the Bird, Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1982, p. 115.)
From my perspective I can agree with neither the “atheist” nor the “religious scholar”. Scripture may be called The Word of God, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t written by human hands. When we continue to discuss religion and The Bible as the end all and be all, we get nowhere fast. For me the issue is about faith not belief in writings that are over 2000 years old.
The bible tells the stories of journeys – starting with the Adam and Eve story, and Moses, and Abraham and Sarah- they all tells us about our journey of faith. We are all on a journey with its ups and downs, moments of elation and moments of defeat. Yet the Bible is also a story of God’s presence with us in all these times. Not a God who is there to fix things for us (Deus ex machine – excuse my Latin.) Nor is God present and doing nothing, but as love that shows us how to be loving and caring and accepting in the best and worst life throws at us. In difficult times even when we claim the need to be alone, we can be but the truth is that a compassionate listener is ready and waiting for us to realize that when we are most vulnerable we are never totally alone.