Field of Science

Cafeteria religion

Imagine living according to the Bible for a whole year. A. J. Jacobs of Esquire did that. I highly recommend this video of him telling the story on One conclusion is that it is literally impossible to do a hundred percent, especially in our modern world where you can go around killing adulterers. Toward the end he muses over cafeteria religion, the notion that you can pick and choose which part of the Bible to believe in, and which parts to ignore. "What's wrong with it? I like cafeterias."

Recently, several Christian scientists have argued that science strengthens their faith, and that there is no contradiction between reading the Bible and what science teaches us. Of course, that's when you don't take everything in the Bible literally. Genesis would seem impossible to reconcile with modern physics and biology if not read as allegory or even completely ignored. 

Kenneth Miller, in Finding Darwin's God, argues against creationism and for evolution, and then continues to state that only theologically challenged Christians (my term) see any contradiction between faith and science (he's a Roman Catholic).

Now a Karl W. Giberson, physics professor from some Christian college™ (how's "Many Differences, One Faith" for a motto?) states that science and (his watered down version of) faith can be reconciled. A position Francis Collins seconds, and he's even an Evangelical Christian.

Michael Dowd, Christian preacher and "evolutionary evangelist", has been living on the road for six years teaching other christians that science is a vital part of christianity.

I wish these people would just tell me how it is that they can pick and choose which parts of the Bible they can interpret as allegory and which we should take literally. How do they know? Who told them? How do they know? It sure as hell doesn't say in the Bible. I did meet a Jehovah's Witness once, who told me it was obvious when you read the Bible. Fair enough. I would then say all the parts that contradict science in any way are to be ignored, but then JW's do actually believe that the World was created as described in Genesis, and that Noah really gathered up all species on a boat.

How does a Christian know which denomination to join? The truth is most choose out of convenience - same as parents, neighbors, spouse, and never really give those differences any thought. From this point of view the fundamentalists whom all other christians are so quick to dismiss at least believe with some consistency (neglecting the fact that the Bible is internally inconsistent).

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