We live in this world equipped with assumptions.  The very first thing one does in the morning—getting out of bed is in itself, a reason-filled decision that is based on assumptions.  For instance, the duty to go to work on time is one of them.  Of course, one has the choice to retreat back to slumber at the expense of his punctuality.  Yet to do so is to scar one’s integrity.  And so almost unconsciously, one has to weigh the importance between getting up on time for work or to sleep at the expense of his integrity.  Most people will choose the latter, and rightly so.  It is the most reasonable response anyway.

Seeing that a simple activity is performed with reason, one begins to wonder how on more important issues, such as the character of the divine for instance, would many believers retreat from rational thinking.  Why is it that we find it necessary to use reason in just about everything else yet on religious topics, the use of reason of often flung out of the window?

Why can’t we, the believers, be consistent to back beliefs with reasons rather than to simply concede the difficult issues to mystery?

Reason is extremely useful.  It helps one to weed out falsity with truth.  We use it all the time.  In courtrooms, schools, office, even at home.  If one’s claim cannot stand up to reason, then surely, such claim is false.

The same could be said to competing beliefs.  Even Gods.  If reason can do one thing, it helps show which God trumps the rest.  For surely, there cannot be two different claims of God that would stand on equal footing… for God, by definition, is Maximally Great… and no two different beings can be equally maximal in greatness.

The Book of Genesis is perhaps one of the most difficult literature to reason with.  There are competing claims regarding the first eleven chapters of the book and even I can’t help but remain undecided.  But one which I find really disturbing comes from the creation story as interpreted by Young Earth Creationists.  The creation story was recorded as having been done in six days.  YECs would describe this event as six literal days spanning one straight week (including the Sabbath of course).

I just find this a bitter pill to swallow.  To say that such claim is true is to also say that the Universe is simply less than 10,000 years old.  One which is totally absurd when you think about it.  Light is the fastest entity to travel through space.  Yet the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest from the Milky Way, is 2.5 million light years away.

This means many things.

(1) It is impossible to have an error margin of 2.49 million light years.

(2) If the Universe began from the Big Bang (which we have pretty good evidence now), then by inference from the distance between the two galaxies, assuming that the universe’s expansion travels in the speed of light, the universe should be AT LEAST 2.5 million years old.

(3) The only way for fundamentalists to escape this reality with reason is to say that God created all things about 10,000 years ago with the appearance of age.

Just look at how absurd #3 is.  One can just imagine how many people refuse to believe in the God of the Bible because of the fundamentalist view of the creation story.  Sure, #3 is possible.  But is it plausible? Will an all-wise God purposefully deceive humanity? Can an all-good God also be a deceiver? To all three questions, the answer coming from a reasonable person should be a resounding no.

Of course, further defense of Young Earth Creationism would stem from various methods to try to change the topic rather than to deal with the issue.  In order to salvage a poorly crafted doctrine, one has to resort to casting doubts on as much scientific methods as possible.

Being an apologist is just fine if one aims only to prove himself right.  Yet if one’s purpose is to help the thinkers believe, a lot of hurdles has to be crossed and fundamentalism is really clipping our wings.  Many of what apologists would say run the risk of excommunication, and worse, ostracization.

It is common for believers that should they find no other way to reason further, or if their belief is backed into a corner, they would retreat to mystery.  Deuteronomy 29:29 is a daylight example.  That one of many shining verses one would quote when the defense of his position crumbles.  It is the trump card, as though only the fundamentalist is warranted to use.

I write this with a mix of frustration and exasperation.  It is very hard to discuss even the minutest of details with people who are selectively biased on reasoning.

The real danger comes when indoctrination comes before building the foundation.  when one is indoctrinated, it is already too difficult to strip the wrong beliefs and bring him back to the basic foundation.  Unless and until one is assured that his thought patterns is properly grounded on the foundation, he will surely remain encased in his shell of doctrines.  Defending not only the absurd but even worse, the misrepresentation of God.

 

“… Truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

 

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