We could not be luckier here in Kentucky. We are that state that promotes religious quackery. Oh, in case you don't know or are thinking of traveling south to warmer climates, on your way through Kentucky stop and see the Creation Museum. It is our pyramid to primitive faith.
Soon the museum will serve as host to what some are saying is the debate of the century -- Creationism versus Evolutionism. Not since the days of the Scopes Monkey Trial has there been another more important debate.
Are you kidding me?
I am so weary of this nonsense. This madness just won't go away, will it?
I suppose not. At least, not as long as there are Christians who mistakenly think that the infallibility of scripture all collapses if Genesis is not regarded as a scientific treatise on the nature and origin of the universe.
The story of Creation in the Genesis account of creation is the story of Adam and Eve, the story of human community. Or, the lack of it. And, that's about it. Not to diminish its richness of imagery, the literary skill with which it is written, or the multiple spiritual, ethical, and moral insights one might discern throughout it. Genesis is indeed all of this. What it is not, however, is a historical account of the creation of the universe.
No intelligent person believes it is. So, why can't puny little minds let this primitive notion go?
You'll have to answer that. My own suspicion is, again, they mistakenly believe if you don't accept all of the Bible, any of it can be rejected. Yet, they themselves reject parts of scripture such as outdated verses as in Leviticus 25:44.
If you were taught in Sunday School, as I was, that Genesis is all about how God created the world in six literal days of 24-hour duration and that Genesis is the explanation about how "original sin" came to be on this planet as a consequence for the screw-up of Adam and Eve, then you will understand just how conflicted I've been most of my church life after learning the truth that Genesis is not about any of this theological nonsense at all.
Furthermore, the madness that misinformed Christian zealots taught me as an impressionable youth -- "brainwashing" might be a better description of it -- and so undermined my natural capacity to live by faith by saying stupid things like -- "If you don't believe Genesis... if you have any doubts about its authenticity... you are not living by faith" and other such heretical statements -- then you can understand my consternation over debates like this one that just won't ever go away.
Frankly, I'm ill of it. And, I know that this is just another reason among the many reasons why scores and scores of Christians have left the Church -- again, not their faith or their devotion to Christ, as some church leaders mistakenly think still -- but churches and parishes that promote heretical things. This Creationism craziness is indefensible and only ever succeeds in making Christians look like a a bunch of intellectually-bankrupt nitwits.
That there are still Christians believing in and promoting Creationism is actually more unbelievable than the illogical nonsense in Creationism they wish everyone would just believe.
What is this story in Genesis all about?
The story of Adam and Eve is really just the story of you and me.
You are Adam and I am Eve and together... well... that makes we.
Genesis is the Jewish version of the mythical stories of creation found in virtually every primitive culture and religion. Its emphasis is on the Creator, creation, and community. It isn't about proving the existence of God. It isn't about proving that God created the universe in six literal days. And, it isn't about how human beings all got inflicted with something it calls "original sin."
It's not about any of this at all. It is instead, and mostly, about the failure of humans to guard and grow the community God created. Just ask any Hebrew. Which might be a good place for Christians to start anyway, since the book of Genesis comes from their scriptures, not ours.
The creation story is about human community or, more accurately, the propensity of humans to destroy the potential for community.
When you get this simple truth about the purpose of Genesis, you will begin to grasp the point of the Jesus story -- which is all about the creation of a new humanity and the potential for a new community. Which is why Saint Paul called Jesus the new Adam (Romans 5:12-18). In other words, Jesus' message -- the Genesis message -- is that we are one human community, one new humanity!
Jesus did not come to create some new religion. Bishop Desmond Tutu is right when he says, "God is not a Christian." Jesus no more set out to begin "Christianity" than Buddha set out to establish "Buddhism." These religions, or philosophies, were creations of the followers who came after these spiritual masters. Both groups have done much good, as one might argue with all religions. But virtually all religions, including the Christian religion, have been responsible for incomprehensible evil throughout history.
Much of what I was taught as a young Christian about Christianity, about other religions, and much of what many Christians are still being taught today, is where heresy may be found today. And, creationism is just one of many heretical Christian ideas. It may have been helpful to people in pre-scientific periods of human history. But it is a pain-in-the-ass to thinking Christians today. To argue that the creation story in Genesis is a literal, historical account of the origins of the universe is to make yourself look to the rest of the world as an ignoramus whose words, and I would add, whose witness, cannot be taken seriously at all. If you're an Evangelical Christian and reading this, is that the kind of witness you wish to be?
The story of Genesis, as well as the story of Jesus, is the story of the creation of humanity and community and a new humanity and community, respectively. When you get this, my friend, every Adam and Eve you meet, which is to say, every person you meet, will be a member of your extended human family... your human community.
This is what Saint Paul was pointing toward when he said, "There is no Jew or Greek or bond or free or male or female..."(Gal 3:28). In other words, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, Hindus, Churchgoers, those who've left the Church, insiders, outsiders, black, white, yellow and red, gays and straights, lesbians and transgendered...indeed everyone you meet...we are all just different Adams and Eves and, as such, we are all brothers and sisters.
This IS the Gospel message. If this is not the Gospel message, then what is it? If this message is not realized, promoted and worked toward, then what else really matters?
When you get this truth, my friend, then you will appreciate Genesis for what it is. But you will also have a new appreciation for the story of Jesus. Furthermore, when this truth grips you... and transforms you... you will stop the blind and ignorant labeling of people... the categorizing and judging of people as "believers" versus "non-believers" or "creationists" versus "evolutionists." You will also give up the silly notion that the Bible needs your primitive rants to protect its sacred power. Most importantly, however, you will suddenly, almost magically, start seeing people everywhere, not as enemies to be eliminated, but as brothers and sisters, even as your family members, who must be loved, forgiven, and sometimes redeemed.
Because stuff like this is the proof of real conversion,real salvation, real enlightenment. Not the little rants disguised as Christian apologetics by less than intelligent-thinking Christians.
The day will come -- and not too quickly -- when the Creation Museum will disappear like the dinosaurs in it. What will remain will be people of faith who have not rejected evolution in favor of creation but have rejected religious ideologies and beliefs founded on fairytales and flaky thinking.
"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge," warned Einstein, "will be shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods."
It took the Church nearly four hundred years to admit its stupidity and apologize to Galileo. So, for centuries, the Gods just laughed. And, laughed. And, laughed still more.
On February 2, 2014, the Creationists will stand up to declare their Truth and Knowledge in "the debate of the century!"
And, the Gods will laugh again.