getting bigger.

"How is that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is much better than we thoguht! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?' Instead they say,'No, no, no! My god is little god and I want him to stay that way.' A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificance of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."The Big Blue Dot - Carl Sagan.

I am teacher. I’ve brought that up plenty on here. But still usually people that don’t know me get confused. They assume that I am an English teacher. Which is laughable to me because I am not a good speller. Am queen of the fragment (see that was one) and use more than my share of be verbs ( a big writing no no).Turns out I teach science. I even have a Masters degree in it.

And I have sat through all the classes where the biology professors belittle Christianity. Sometimes subtlely and sometimes outright. And it has made me squirm in my seat a little. Ask myself some hard questions and read the few books out there than mix science and faith well. And I’ll be honest. There aren’t many. Because usually when scientists try to write about faith and when preachers try to write about science they are both out of their element and get plenty wrong. And I’ve heard some preachers I really respect sound really stupid when they start trying to teach me about my bad science. And inevitebly there is always a student, armed with questions and paraphinalia from their youth director all to ready to tell me that I am going to hell if I bring up the E word. (which I of course do).
And I’ve never gotten the controversy. The either/or – pick one sentiment that seems to be out there. I have never thought they were in opposition. The whole idea that Galileo was charged with heresy put in prison for supporting Copernicus’s idea of the Earth rotating around the sun ( rather than the popular so called biblical view of the Sun moving around the Earth) was ludicrous to me. I didn’t understand how this was any kind of threat to someone's faith.

And that was hundreds of years ago. But I still don’t get it. The idea that science and discovery are some threat to God.And I guess if you believe in Genesis as six literal 24 hour days and a God creating all the species in the world, fixed and unchanging made their way on to and off of the ark, then a Biology book can really put a kink in things.

In science, we try to avoid the word “proof” and “truth” because things are actually really hard to prove. But really easy to disprove. Technically you can't prove your hypothesis, you can only disprove it. It only takes one little exception to disprove a theory or law or throw out a otherwise fantastic theory. It can be true in 1001 situations, and it just takes one to throw it out. To change the rules. To re-write the science books.

And if build a narrow, rulesly God that we think has to fit our exact constraints and views and literal translations– then it would only takes one really good question or set of data to bring it all crumbling down. And what do we do with that. Does that make everything else invalid too? There is no re-writing the Bible.

But what if our God was bigger than that. Bigger than our interpretations. Bigger than our questions and occasionally wrong answers. Then instead of faith crumbling when faced with a question or idea that maybe we had gotten wrong it could grow and stretch and hold it all.

And I've started reading a book, that to be honest I was kind of afraid of, The God Delusion,by Richard Dawkins. A friend's son gave it to me after having his entire faith rocked after sitting the same Biology lecture hall I sat in 15 or so years ago. And he is coming at me hard with all kinds of questions and arguments. And this book scares me because I know that he is going to use some really good sceince to try and disprove my God. That I already have more than my share of questions and wasn't sure I could handle any more.
And so far I'm on page 67. And he has made some good points. And some questionable ones. But, I won't be losing any sleep tonight over what I've read. And that maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all.
Because my faith isn't a hypothesis.
And my bible isn't a textbook.
It is a love story.
And I'm pretty sure that my God has grown at least a little bit bigger.


Beth (and Eric) said...

It's a love story. Love that part! I need to send you a copy of the "Jesus Storybook Bible" that we got for Paige. It is amazing, and the writing is similar to yours! She talks about how everything was all part of the Rescue Plan, and Jesus is our Great Rescuer, and he has an unstoppable, never-ending, and many-other-cute-words-like-that love. I don't do it justice, but I think you'd like it. I can definitely see how you would be an English teacher. You're just well-rounded like that!

mommaof3 said...

We LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible here!!

I like this post, M. And I love that I have had to take God out of the comfortable box I have been carrying Him around in for the last 20 or so years as I study Revelations this year.

Not so comfy. But BIG.

And it IS a love story!

Tatiana said...

omg I always wondered the same thing. "What's the big deal?" Why does it have to be one or the other. Why couldn't God have created the heavens and the earth to evolve into what it is now? I know, the bible says 6 days. But what's a "day" to God? I don't think it's 24 hours.

Young Mom said...

I wrote about the Jesus Storybook bible in my "I'm allergic to the bible" post, do not reccomend it at all.
Also, after reading "The God Delusion", I reccomend reading Frank Schaeffer's "Patience with God" He walks through all the major atheist writer's of today and makes some great points!

the_Tmac said...

1 - this was so well put!

2 - we love the jesus storybook bible, too! it's super narrative theological goodness. P loves it.

3 - something interesting i remember from a brian mclaren talk way back when in a tent at a rock festival. he said the battle between science and religion is new. it only started when people started valuing literal truth over deeper truths of metaphor and allegory - and they decided the bible had to be literal if it were to remain valuable. before then, people knew a story could be true and not literal! i think he said it started at that copernicus gig you mentioned...the beginning of the modern age? what a messed up age to be a christian in!