I've mentioned before that I think my dad suspects that I may have fallen away from the faith. It is important to describe the kind of man my father has become in more recent years, from of the more legalistic dogma that plagued him growing up.
My dad is a musician, a baby boomer with a love for blues and making guitars. His idea of a good time is hanging out at Blues clubs and open mic nights and listening to musicians play. On the weekends he goes to local events and craft festivals to sell his handmade guitars. (which are amazing btw) I highly approve of this new hobby turned lucrative business. On Sundays my parents flit from church to church, visiting friend's churches, going to events, or sometimes going to a local megachurch. Once a month they host a backyard jam where my dad has built a stage. They invite all the neighbors. My dad worships God through his music and rarely is demonstrative with his faith these days. He is still a young earth creationist (see previous post on The Days of Peleg), but seems torn between science and faith.
I am my father's daughter. We are both logical people. (and musicians) Religion is approached from an analytical angle and we used to talk for hours on end about various theological points in the Bible. Those conversations began to change when my own beliefs began to evolve from YEC to intelligent design to evolution. I no longer feel comfortable talking about those things with either of my parents because I respect them and don't believe that at their ages, they will ever change their minds.
The other day I am on the phone with my dad and out of the blue, he brought up one of Mayim Bialik's video concerning how she rectifies religion and science in her mind. He really wanted me to watch it. I am subscribed to her YouTube channel and have seen the video a few times now. My dad sounded so disappointed that I had seen it. As if this video would somehow help me to rectify god with science.
Firstly, I believe Mayim believes in god because that was what she was raised to believe in. Period. That is the major reason why any of us believe or believed in a god. We are taught that Santa Clause exists and continue to believe unless someone we trust says otherwise. Second, the god she believes in is very different from the god I was raised to believe in. A mystical wish-granting prosperity-doctrine superstitious super being who sends people to hell. Jews don't have a hell. She is aware of this. She knows that her definition of God is very different from the Christian majority in our country. Thirdly, she sees the worship of God as recognizing that there was a creator and reveling in that creation with gratitude and humility. This means that in her version of her religion, it is okay to study science because that is simply learning more about God's creation. What she doesn't address in her video is that when you study science you run into some fundamental problems with the Judeo-Christian account of creation and you then have to address literal vs. figurative interpretations of the Bible. My dad would not have liked that video if Mayim had admitted that she believes in evolution. (which she does btw) Finally, Mayim addressed the idea that God gives her purpose and she finds some kind of comfort in knowing that everything and everyone has a purpose. Personally, I like the idea that we find our own purpose as we move through life. There is no big plan, which may upset some people, but I find it freeing. There isn't some plan out there that I may be missing because I haven't prayed enough or am not obedient enough. And those terrible things that happen? That's life. By being living sentient beings we run the risk of getting hurt, sick, run down. Things will happen to us that are outside of our control. Sometimes we can rise above it. Sometimes it kills us. If the problem lies in other humans then the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of those who do the hurting. Some of those people will receive justice and many won't. Our brains want to make sense of it, to find a pattern, to believe that those who do us wrong will receive some sort of punishment. That helps some people sleep at night. Not me.
My dad suspects. That's obvious now. He isn't sure what exactly I do or don't believe in, but he suspects something. Perhaps my kid has said something, slipped up as I suspected he might. It's a big secret to ask a kid who already doesn't agree with it, to keep.
I know. I know. Eventually they are going to find out. My mom's righteous indignation is something I can deal with. My dad's quiet disappointment will be hard.
This where the stories of Atlantis came from, which would be from around the same time period, give or take a few hundred years. I mean, logically (ahem) the only way a man as old as Noah could live as long as he did is if they had advanced technology. Also, it would explain why one man was able to build such a sturdy boat. He had power tools! Yes, you read that right. But here's the thing. My dad was right about one thing--You have to make these mental leaps in order to make the story work. One farmer at the age of 100 couldn't possibly build an ark the size described in the Bible by himself without serious help. Since the Bible does not specify if anyone helped him, and based on the recent pitiful museum built in Kentucky, there really isn't a way for someone to build that monstrosity without help of some kind. Hence, this idea that Noah was part of an advanced civilization that lived hundreds of years and still had the raw intelligence that God gave Adam & Eve. In other words, those early people were smarter than us.
Now, let's jump ahead to Genesis 10:25. As a kid, my dad told me that this was referring to the splitting apart of the continent Pangia into the continents we have today. Later, he changed his mind to say that the divide was one of language, not geography and that he believed the continents split during the flood. We are not going to go into the fact that such a vast upheaval of land in one go would have caused a catastrophic effect on our planet to the point where it would not have been habitable 40 days after the floor. The volcanic activity alone, nevermind the tsunamis would have been awful. And there is absolutely no evidence that this all happened at once since we do actually know how these things work. So back to Peleg. My dad now believes that this verse is referring to the Tower of Babel and everyone getting a different language. This was actually one of the first Bible stories I rejected as it is obviously an attempt by ancient peoples to explain why there were so many different languages. Looking at the etymology of words we can see how language changes and grows. Linguists can look back at language and trace its origins. We may not speak Egyptian now, but we can look at some of the dialects and languages spoken in that region and come up with a reasonable approximation of how the language sounded.
But last weekend my dad threw me a new doozy when he suggested that not only was language divided in the days of Peleg, but that was when human beings also developed an in-group/out-group mentality. Say what now? His logic was that because human beings could all speak the same language at one point, they all got along. It wasn't until we couldn't speak the language that we began to form psychological connections with people who are the same as us and shun those who aren't. Now, the Bible itself contradicts this notion. I mean, Cain already killed his brother fairly early on in Genesis and it suggests people were living in cities already and would kill him if they knew of his terrible dead. That's basic otherness. People build cities to form groups.
Now, not liking to argue I said to my father, "I'm not sure about the days of Peleg, but it is a natural human instinct to want to group yourself with people who have common interests and beliefs." I wanted to insert, it was a safety measure created by evolution, but I'm not stupid. The interesting part of this whole conversation is that my mother was giving me some serious side eye the entire time because she knows that I think most of Genesis is a load of hooey. We've gotten into it before.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.