We went camping last weekend with a friend from the Dance-walk flash mob. A very nice family had their tent next to ours.
One evening around a bottle of wine, my former Anglican friend and I were joking about communion wine. This of course led to talking about religion. She told us that she’d never found any satisfactory answer to how people “know” that their religions are the best. Most people just tell her that they “know” because they’ve experienced it or that they “just know”. Since the same answer comes from Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Pentecostals, and others, she has remained unconvinced of their conclusions.
The dad from the family next to us couldn’t resist. He walked over and immediately began to tell us that we shouldn’t be so cerebral. The answer was in the Bible, after all, and could be found with logic. However, this man couldn’t explain to us how it was logical, but a preacher he follows on YouTube explains the mysteries of the bible with said logic. If we watched YouTube Preacher we would also see the logic of creationism and leave the cerebral folly of evolution.
This man said the problem with the bible was how people read it. I agreed with him. I mentioned the relief of not having to read it as historical fact and trying to deal with the fact that the birth and resurrection stories don’t match. The man stopped. He couldn’t compute that the birth stories didn’t all match and began to argue that they did. The conversation ended with him encouraging us to watch his YouTube preacher and me encouraging him to reread all the birth and resurrection stories and charting the events. For fun.
The man was very polite, passionate and well-meaning. The hardest part was that I felt like I would be hurting his feelings or challenging him to a duel if I disagreed with him. Witnessing is not a fair set-up. It is not an exchange of ideas, or even storytelling. It is a sales-pitch, but when you reject the pitch the person who is offering it feels personally rejected. If you don’t want a vacuum, you don’t want a vacuum. If you don’t want an incoherent explanation of the logic of creationism, you aren’t just rejecting the idea since the person has tied that idea with their life experience, world-view and even life purpose. You are rejecting them. It isn’t fun and it isn’t fair.