Tuesday, February 10, 2009

god of the gaps

this post can serve as an answer to the previous post..but it also expresses some other ideas.

I'm frustrated with the religious communities involvement and concern with the teaching of evolution, or the general acceptance of the theory. This is exhausting and superfluous. I remember when the DaVinci Code came out and there was an indignant reaction from certain religious circles. How silly! I don't know why this sort of debate, discussion, or even proposal of ideas, should be an issue of contention with "believers", or with the collective religious community. I do not mean to explore or defend evolution or creationism, but this distracting issue is just a microcosm. It raises the question...are we to have faith in scripture, or are we to have to faith in God...and are the two always aligned with each other? I think that an essential characteristic of a belief in Jesus Christ is the humble resignation to the idea that anything goes. As much of a guide as the bible should be, perhaps the exigent nature of Jesus challenges the religious "status quo" as it is "understood." Am I alone in thinking that the bible raises more questions than it answers, and therefore, leading us to rationalize and interpret that which we don't understand through subjective prayer? Whatever understanding one may gain through communication with Christ, no matter how outlandish or sober it may be, it is very hard for any external or objective qualifications to be made regarding this persons revelation, as this relation pertains exclusively to the person who witnessed it. Further, regarding one's own understanding...s/he may recognize the unprecedented and unexpected ways in which Christ can work, although, those divine influences have to make sense in a contextual framework. God's will has to fall within the parameters (however expansive they may be) of one's conditioned (consciously or subconsciously) world view...other wise it would come across in a indecipherable nature, on top of an already enigmatic spiritual language. I've heard the term "god of the gaps" used to describe the employment of lose faith in the scientific arena. Any gap that may exist in empirical studies would be explained away by attributing those "mysteries" to the handwork of God, but I think this idea exists within our own spiritual comprehension as well. Perhaps the more difficult ideas narrated in the bible are understood, rationalized, "culturalized", in a way that requires the use of our own intellect and judgement. God's comprehensive message is adjusted in a way that makes him an extension of our own idea of perfection. I do not mean to imply that this action is intentional and always a way of making God's will convenient to one's own life, but I do think that is a fair assessment. It's not a tool or a practice that is applied circumstantially, rather, it is an intrinsic part of our spiritual development and growth. The point of all this is to explore the possibility of God's message, in addition to being uniquely reciprocal based on one's personal relationship, being compromised and distorted when put forth into a public forum, and for that reason the separation of Church and State must be explicit and upheld. The recognition of "Christianity" as the state religion does nothing to uphold the will or reputation of Christ. We have compromised the purity of Christ through the herd-like appropriation, heist, and undermining of the essential transformation that can result from an honest, isolated, and self-motivated approach to God.


Blogger Najia said...

you should definitely watch "banned from the bible" and listen to "my god" by jethro tull...just a thought...they're both fantastic

4:00 PM

Blogger Melanie said...

The problem with taking the Bible out of belief in God is that the whole reason we know about Christ in the first place is exactly the Bible. If you take that away, God still exists, but you take away the knowledge that he gave us about Himself. In that case, isn't it totally subjective after all?

People will always overreact to things. My pastor's response to The Da Vinci Code was first to read it, second to point out the historical inaccuracies, mainly because he ran across so many people who, believing it was historical fiction as touted, were puzzled by it's assertions.
As for separation of Church and State, it is from a letter by Thomas Jefferson and the USSR's constitution (or so I've heard) and a few Supreme Court Cases. It's a fairly often misused phrase. I, for one, do not wish for a state religion nor do the majority of Christians that I know. On the other hand, if you believe something, it is part of your world view and you will act on it, otherwise, you don't really believe it after all.

I think the big problem a lot of creationists have with the theory of evolution is that it is taught as fact, and not as a theory.
There is plenty in the religious "status quo" that could be challenged. We have rather adopted a "cultural Christianity" whereby we accept Christ, but with no conditions or restraints. We have no idea what it means to be a bondservant. I, myself, can be as guilty as anyone in that regard.
Does the Bible raise as many question as it answers? Probably, but I don't intend to ignore the questions that are settled by it, either.

At any rate, I don't disagree entirely with much of what you do say here, but perhaps with different conclusions.

Anyway, I found this article, and not quite sure what I think of it yet, but it was interesting.

11:32 AM

Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:25 AM

Blogger David said...

i wasn't implying that the bible should be ignored or eradicated from the christian faith. I think it's obvious that for the bible to influence your life, it takes your own reading of it, your own understanding of how the stories apply in your life.

Also, the 1st Amendment of the US constitution has some pretty clear words regarding religion.

You said, "On the other hand, if you believe something, it is part of your world view and you will act on it, otherwise, you don't really believe it after all."...I understand what you mean, but does that justify whatever a ruling party wants to impose on a diverse population of people, regardless of what those people may believe themselves? Is it justified if a manifest of one's belief includes the manipulation, or restriction of the rights of others? Surely you agree that, even within Christian ethics, there exist differences of opinion in how those ethics should play out in public and even private forum.

Regarding the article you linked, that has mostly to do with the medical field, and when dealing with large sums of money, there are always protectionist tendencies employed by those in charge. That is evident with the insurance industry, the demonization of "social health care", etc etc. I just read an article it TIME magazine about the hurdles a stem cell scientist had to jump (i assume some coming from religious ideology and their take on the value of life) in order to continue his studies in the search for a cure for diseases. Although, regarding evolution...I know it is still a theory, but there are records to back up the theory, and perhaps there is not enough to make it a law, although, there is far more evidence to suggest evolution over ID or creationism. Once again, why does it matter so much to the religious community whether creationism is presented as a legitimate idea? Why is evolution such a threat?


also, here are some jefferson quotes :-)

It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.

I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

7:34 AM

Blogger Melanie said...

RE: the Constitution
I have no problem with the state staying out of the church (any church), but less comfortable with the church being prohibited from the public sector. I think the prohibitions against a specific state religion are clear. Unfortunately sometimes the state has to be reminded that the first amendment has a second half. Separation of church and state was taken from a letter by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church and was a play on the words of Roger Williams. They were concerned that there would be a national religion. I certainly would not advocate for that. BTW, just a historical note: Jefferson was not a part of the making of the Constitution. He was in France. He wrote his own version of the gospels taking out the miracles and combining them. I checked it out of the library and read portions of it once, but it was a long time ago.

I have my own studies and views on stem cell research, and one thing that is clear is that adult stem cell research actually shows more promise and with fewer ethical dilemmas.

I thought the link I posted had mainly to do with cold fusion. I have no idea how valid a field that is, but I have heard similar complaints in other areas of science. Evolution is a theory. Personally, I don't think one needs to teach creationism or even intelligent design. It would be enough to show the theory's holes (and there are still plenty of them) and the fact that even evolutionists argue amongst themselves about the sequence of things. I never heard that in high school biology. It was pretty much taught as undisputed. There isn't really enough time in the universe for evolution to account for what we have. That speaks volumes to me.

I guess I find much redeeming in Orthodox Christianity. I guess it might depend on how one defines it. If you mean a list of legalistic do's and don'ts we probably agree, although I would submit that even legalism provides a strong framework for some who feel they need the boundaries.

"I understand what you mean, but does that justify whatever a ruling party wants to impose on a diverse population of people, regardless of what those people may believe themselves?"

It's funny, but what people believe in regards to some issues seems to have changed over time with a change in governmental policy (abortion being one issue as when Roe v Wade was passed, it as not popular opinion.) I don't think your question has a simple answer. I suppose if the people believed in human sacrifice my answer would be different than if the people in question are less barbaric. A change from within is usually the best. I'm not sure what imposition you are specifically referring to. If you mean mandating one belief system, then we probably are not too far off one another on this, actually. However, if you totally exclude God from the public sector the alternative is pressure to believe in no God. There has to be a way to allow for both viewpoints to be heard, but neither side seems content with that at times.

"Surely you agree that, even within Christian ethics, there exist differences of opinion in how those ethics should play out in public and even private forum."

Surely, I agree. The central thing is who is Christ and do you accept Him as Lord.

1:57 PM

Blogger John Paul Roney said...

If Darwin was right (which his theory was deeply flawed in a lot of ways, as is the case with many great scientific discoveries) I have no idea why organized religion would be threatened by it. If you believe god is the creator and made all species and time to him is not as it is to us (something talked about specifically in the bible) then it's just the discovery of the mechanic that would have been used. It's a senseless battle to me, but that's why I'm not in a church.

I like this blog, David. It was great meeting you.

8:44 AM


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