I recently came across a Facebook post discussing certain scientific concepts where somebody called one of these ideas a “lie of Satan”. And it got me thinking about the members within the Christian community who appear to be close-minded enough to denounce science and its findings- and it reminded me of what I believe to be a problem within our entire society.
One such “Christian vs Science” idea is the claim that the earth is only around 6,000 years old. I understand that this is a commonly believed idea within the Christian community. And I take a lot of issue with this, as I don’t believe there is enough- or any- evidence to support this claim. But what I don’t understand is, why do Christians believe this in the first place?
It could be said for those that believe the bible is 100% true that the bible may not be so much a play-by-play kind of book, but rather a book of highlights. For example, when “Sam” watches a football game, he gets to see each and every play of that game. But if “John” watches the highlights of the game on ESPN, he knows just the same as Sam does that the Packers beat the Bears, and that the Bears sacked Aaron Rodgers three times.
If John took the highlights and assumed they were the true play-by-play, he might also assume that the game only lasted a quarter. But that doesn’t make sense.. this is a football game. They last much longer than that. But he knows what happened during it, how it ended up, and the writers on ESPN picked for him which parts of the game were the important ones for him to know. He might wonder why they added certain pieces of information and left others out, but that is much different than speculating that it is because the information he was given was all that happened during the entire game.
Science and Christianity don’t have to disagree. In fact, the bible rarely- if ever- contradicts any scientific findings. That includes how old the earth is. If you were to interperet the bible literally, you might be able to make these assumptions and theorize that science tells us something that is in contradiction with the bible. But you can also very literally acknowledge that the bible might just as well be your book of ESPN highlights, not the football game on NBC. In which case, adding up the ages of a few people in a book do not accurately represent the age of our planet or our entire universe.
I find it extremely frustrating that there are those within the Christian community who not only don’t acknowledge that they don’t know whether this concept should be taken literally or not, they take it a step further and accuse all opposition as a blatant lie. Is this not incredibly close-minded?
I came from a household that believes a lot of the things I’m implying here, and I personally believed a lot of them as well. I used to take offense when I heard someone call my ideas close-minded. But as I’ve discovered in my recent years, that accusation was unfortunately, fairly accurate of me.
I was watching a TED Talks video recently where the speaker asked the audience, “How does it feel to be wrong?” Certain members of the audience offered up different answers, telling her that it felt bad to be wrong or that they didn’t like it. She corrected them. She said, “that’s how it feels to KNOW you’re wrong. Being wrong doesn’t feel like anything. In fact, being wrong feels exactly like being right.”
That’s a profound thought if you let it speak to you. Being wrong feels like being right. That’s because you don’t know you’re wrong. I like to think that the main difference between being close-minded and open-minded is very simply being able to make the statement, “I don’t know for sure”. And that’s something I just don’t see people practicing that today.
Although I used Christianity as an example, this close-minded epidemic extends beyond any religious or political belief, and applies to our society as a whole. If we could each within ourselves act with a little more humility about our own beliefs, I think that we would find ourselves and our counterparts less defensive and more open to each other’s ideas. And being open is the key to finding the truth.