I just watched a the following video “Rare Look Inside Bible Belt Classroom,” and was pretty intrigued since I once thought as these students do. I’d like to offer you my own personal reasoning and learning process from one who went from a Creationist to an Evolutionist and then hit direct center.
I attended a Catholic school all the way until I went to the Ohio State University so I could really relate to the students in this video. I know where they are coming from and what their mindset is. When I read the comments it made me a little sad as they seem pretty cruel and really added no value to the conversation.
– Man…what a bunch of ignorant hicks…
– *Sigh*…every night I thank father science that I did not grow up in the Bible belt…man, what a bunch of ignorant hicks…
-yes you are all thinking it. “OMFG what?” at 1:57 . Jaw dropper. Welcome to fairy land. Now clap your shoes together Alice.
Growing up in a Catholic school you are taught creationism from day 1 and the story never changes. We were taught all the biblical stories as though they were complete fact.
The interesting thing is that the more educated one becomes, the more complex the story gets even in religious schools. In university one is taught more science and the religion is muted, but in religious schools things become more open to interpretation and the mystical. It is my understanding that the more religious training one receives they most likely become more open and tolerant they become.
To offer a crude metaphor, imagine peering down at a city from outer space. If this is all one does then it is just a speck, has always been a speck and that is all it is. This person will then tell everyone else it is a speck and if they do not agree then they are crazy. Yet, on further inspection and if they were to fly down into the middle of it they would see the many buildings, thousands of citizens walking around and a hive of activity!
Their thought process of what this former speck is would change completely. They might return to outer space and try to tell everyone everything they learned only to be stonewalled because no, it is just a speck to everyone who has not explored further.
Religion works the same way. There is a message, many stories and lessons. Some people take this as absolute fact as in Moses actually parted the Red Sea with his staff and helped the Jews to freedom. This is what we were taught in grade school.
However, in our Freshman high school class our teacher taught us that actually it was The Sea of Reeds that the Jews crossed and no water (or very little) parted at all. Once this was said, one of my classmates (Jason) yelled out “So you lied to us!!!!”
What Jason was referring to is that we were taught Moses parted the Red Sea with his staff for our entire elementary career and now they are changing the story. I didn’t understand why they would do this to us until much later on after college when I started diving into high level religious books myself. My assumption is the literal story is really a metaphor for what actually happened. AND this applies to just about everything in the Bible.
To explain with another metaphor, once you really dive into religion you start to go down “the rabbit hole” and to continue on the path it takes a massive amount of reading, study and an open mind. So basically, the formula is:
1. Stage one – start simple
2. State two – get complex
3. Stage three – arrive at simple again.
It would seem that in this day and age, some folks like the one in the video are still on stage one. If they continue on to university the story will change and if they have an open enough mind, they will hit stage two.
Unfortunately, stage two is very dangerous and has been the justification for massive killings in God’s name. They do their Bible studies, come to the conclusion that due to all the “facts” others must be converted and people must be “saved,” and it is up to them to do it. This often has been a great justification for war which is very very sad.
Yet, if they continue reading after university and read other religions books (Islam, Buddhism, Shinto etc), add a big splash of science we can come back to simple again.
The message is very simple and this one holds the most power for me.
Love thy neighbor
If one can truly do this and keep an open mind, everything else should fall into place. If you love everyone, then you will most likely be happy. You no longer rely on how others “make you feel” but rather almost radiate a light and through your positive interactions with others can actually change THEM! Just imaging a grump at the office and if you continue to smile and treat them kindly they will most likely change towards you and you will have affected them instead of them affecting you!
As for metaphors, everyone knows the “halo” that is on top of the heads of saints and other religious figures. For the people in stage one, it is an actual “thing of light” that only Saints get to wear. But if you look metaphorically, understand the message and really love people, folks will be attracted to you and you can even “light up” a room! Just think of some of these words that express this:
These words express the same sort of idea in that the positive people actually do glow and a light almost does emanate from them!
Now, back to the students in the video. I would not blame them, their parents or even their teachers. This is what their grandparents taught their parents and “learned” men such as preachers taught their grandparents. The educated classes, those that could read and write, were the priestly classes for thousands of years. It was only since 1950 that people really started going to university and people started thinking.
Yet, just because one goes to university doesn’t mean they are automatically going to think on their own. I would say most just repeat what they have learned from their teacher and have yet to break that very hard ceiling of indoctrination and start thinking for themselves.
So if we look at this on a macro level, it will take lots of school and then the improbable chance of people to start thinking for themselves (not just what they were taught) to make any progress. It is like moving a mountain and will take hundreds of years to get anywhere. Just think of how long it took the Church to recognize Galileo, and how impossible it is to change the mind of someone with a Ph.D!
Further, people tend to believe what those around them believe. That is why we have certain regions who support one political party and neighborhoods of a main religious group. These kids grow up and believe what their friends and neighbors do. When they are introduced to Darwin it immediately becomes “that book that is wrong.” They never had the chance to open up and consider it as by the time it was introduced it was already “wrong” in their minds and to escape this mindset they would have to leave their geographic location entirely, then somehow start reading and then improbably obtain an open mind!
For example, if you mention Japan to Americans what is it that they will think? They will draw on their limited knowledge and think that is the extent of Japan
Japan = Sushi, Kimonos, Cartoon characters.
Yet, if one goes there, learns the language they will soon realize that Japan encompasses so much MORE!! So much in fact that it will change them and they will not return the same person as they left.
Learning about religion is like this. Depending on how far they dive into religion they will absolutely change and become something different. Going back to metaphors, Baptism is like this. You were someone, they pour water on you and now your something different. This is the simple version. Yet, what it really means is that if you truly understand the message (which takes a long time) you will no longer be the same person as when you started your learning. If you truly understood the message, you would “love thy neighbor” be at peace and due to this no trauma could shake you.
I could get into “The Secret” and mystic stuff but that is another post. So, I’ll just leave it with “the law of attraction” is a commercial version of this. The messages at their core are if you “believe” then things will start “magically” going your way. If you have a setback it doesn’t bother you because you know things will turn out well and your inner “light” will keep you moving as simply and gracefully until you are successful again. (but again, I’m not going to far into this)
Getting back to Creationism vs. Evolution
It is absolutely proven that Evolution is true. But take heart creationists, all is not lost!!! If we deconstruct to the cellular level and microbiology we still do not know very much and have billions of small universes to explore. From all my readings it would seem that everything is made of energy. The problem is that “Bible people” always seem to go to that ultimate scientific threshold of discovery and say “SEE, THAT MUST BE GOD DOWN THERE AT THAT LEVEL!” But then science makes another discovery and the scales tip in science favor.
YET, once we have read all the science there is still “something.” In fact, if we continue down the “Rabbit Hole” of science we are going to get into other dimensions, different levels of consciousness, parallel universes and so on. This will take many more thousands of years to figure out scientifically and at this level our tiny brains can barely comprehend what is there. The trick is to NOT say “well, that must be where God is.” Instead just think of God not as a being that just made humans out of thin air and that is it. Surely, God must be more grand than that!
At this point, it would be beneficial to adopt the methods of a two year old who continually asks “Why?” They HUNGER for knowledge and want to know “why” until it exhausts the parents. WHY is it that “Bible people” just accept the simple answer?
Two year old
Two year old – “What is that?”
Adult – “It is the Sun”
Two year old – “What is the Sun?”
Adult – “Um, gas and nuclear reactions I think.”
Two year old – “Why” (Smart two year old – Why does it give off light?)
Adult – “Dunno”
Bible Person – “What is that?”
Professor – “The sun.”
Bible Person – “OK”
As you can see, we have to continue exploring and understanding, not just accept that “x” is “x” because professor person told us so. Here is how a religious conversation would go.
Student – (*Insert complex question)
Priest – (*Complex answer)
Student – Why?
Priest – (Choose one) – “It’s a mystery.” / “God works in mysterious ways.”
The answer is:
a.) Priest doesn’t know
b.) Has an inkling but cannot explain
c.) Is tired of your questions (LOLOLOLOLOL)
So for me my thinking about Creationism / Evolution goes like this:
1. Humans – Evolve from cave men – Can see evolution still taking place as we are now much bigger than people 400 years ago. Really would like to hear a lecture on how are brains are evolving with all the data we are supposed to process due to technology now. Something must be going on there.
2. Animals – Small creatures – Back to the sea – fish – organisms – oceanic “soup.”
3. Planet/Sun forms from stardust – heats up ocean and causes ocean “soup.”
4. Big Bang
Now, what is before the big bang? Again, a Christian would say “God” but I say NAY! I want to know what energies were there, were there any other universes before this one? Are there any other parallel universes? Does the universe expand and contract on a repeated cycle?
AND THE KICKER WHICH BRINGS RELIGION BACK
After understanding all this and science figures it out, are there things I cannot see or perceive? I have five senses, is there a universe or parallel plane of existence overlapping this one? As we are now at energy being the building blocks of everything, does it get extinguished and just go away? How does it begin like when a baby is born? Could energy be this thing religion calls a “soul?” Does anything exist? Are these things which I perceive really “real?” Who am I?
At this point, religion actually morphs into philosophy which is intertwined with science! Now, we can equally fault the “creationists” who think some supernatural just created Adam and Eve out of thin air and end of story. We can also fault the “Evolutionists” who really only get back to the primordial soup from the oceans and really do not get into stardust and energy.
And why do they not do this? Because science is still figuring out what Dark Matter and all that other stuff in space is.
So, the main takeaway from this post is that science is good and will correct itself if it is wrong provided they stick to the scientific method. And religion is just a way to try and explain things we have no idea about yet and try to put into simple terms.
Religion often goes astray and is a bit more stagnant, but I would say this is because they are tackling something much more fantastic but unfortunately doing so poorly as the message is rarely truly understood. Further the levels and layers of understanding are many and it is very difficult to truly “understand,” — “enlightenment” anyone?
Finally, for those who want to discount religion entirely just take comfort in this thought:
- You live, you die, you are no more – go be depressed
- Religion – There is something else that goes on which humans do a very poor job of explaining but yet one day, science might be able to provide a better answer and get closer to the mark. It could be something along the lines of energy, or maybe just “mind” which has impressed itself upon the void. I dunno….
But what I do know, is that anyone who says they have all the answers is extremely incorrect and a simpleton.