Since high school, I have been on something of an intellectual and spiritual journey from what I was told to believe to what I believe for myself. It wasn't until recently that I have finally started to become comfortable with what I do and do not accept as the truth regarding the origins of our existence here on this planet. I grew up in a diverse Christian home: my mother's side are devout Roman Catholics and my Father's Lutheran. I was raised Catholic and we went to mass religiously (no pun intended) every Sunday and my mom said my Hail Mary's with me every night before bed.
The existence of God and His role in our lives was not even a question. From there, I went to a Christian pre-school, a Catholic kindergarten and grade school, and then a privet Catholic all-girls academy. In High School, evolution was barely talked about unless you were taking a class specifically related to it (or maybe it was but I tended to fall into a coma during science related lectures) and in primary school, it wasn't talked about at all.
My father is what my mother likes to call a "holy roller": he is a starch Fundamentalist Christian and a Young-Earth Creationist who believes that the bible is fact and not to be interpreted in any way other than literally. I can remember him talking about the evils of evolution and how it was impossible for monkeys to still exist if we evolved from them. He said that the evolutionary theory was just that: a theory and not fact like the bible. My father is an extremely intelligent man who reads and researches his beliefs but he is blindly religious.
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My high school was an extremely intellectually nurturing environment. When I started religion classes there, while there was some bias, I got to hear other peoples points of view and beliefs which helped me to start figuring out what it was that I truly believed. It was through these classes that I met some girls who happened to be atheists. I had no idea that the general consensus among those girls was that all religious people were un-intellectual and unintelligent because of Young-Earth Creationist. It was during this time that I started read about the subject and I read a lot.
I read a book by a Christian astronomer named Hugh Ross, an Old-Earth Creationist who believes that the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis are not a literal portrayal of actual events but rather, God's revelation of the creation of events to the writer of Genesis. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I promised my father I would at least give some Young-Earth Creationist views a chance. My dad gave me two books: one by Henry Morris and one by Ken Ham (the author of the assigned article. ) I was unimpressed by Henry Morris's book as I found it extremely tangental and rambling.
I then moved on the Ken Ham's book, called The Answeres Book: The 20 Most-Asked Questions about Creation, Evolution, and the Book of Genesis Answered! I was actually appalled because essentially, he said that a person who does not believe in Young-Earth Creationism is not a Christian because they don't believe the Bible. This was extremely disturbing to me because most of his comments throughout the book and on his website Answers In Genesis/ mission were extremely intolerant and even at times abusive towards scientific community as a whole.
How could it be possible that the same PhDs and other teachers from whom I was learning all be deceptive liars? I think that's why I had such a problem reading and accepting this article to be anything other than bullshit. True, he is not spouting any of his "holier than thou" spew in this particular piece but because I know and have read his other works I know he is trying to sell something: his own small-minded one-sided view of the world. The truth of the matter is that evolution is not anti-Biblical. I know that the Earth and the universe are both old.
I know that life itself is old, we have scientific proof of it, but the question for me remained how exactly did life begin and develop. The Biblical creation story is clear: God created everything from the very beginning. How it progressed from there is not specifically spelled out. I have come to believe through reading, research, and soul-searching that evolution is the best and most plausible explanation for the progression of life on this planet. When my father was learning about evolution, it was discussed in terms of long-term gradual changes facilitated by natural selection.
It had now been found that the process can be sped up by natural selection and other genetic processes. Over time, evolution has become better supported through tireless research. I think Evolution is easy enough to digest for people like my mother until it gets to the issue of monkeys. Whenever that subject is brought up it gets uncomfortable because she doesn't want to believe that we, God's handmade "mini-me's", originated from, to quote the immortal line from the movie Planet of the Apes, "damn dirty apes".
The idea that God hand-made each and every one of us from scratch is an easier pill to swallow for most Christians. I feel that biological evolution is a beautiful and reasonable explanation for the physical progression from apes to humans but it lacks a spiritual explanation. My Grandmom always said to me that she never fully believed in God until she was in the room when someone died. You can see all the life: the intelligence, the love, everything they were in life completely drain from them and all thats left is an empty vessel.
I never thought I'd have an experience like that until my Grandmom passed away in her sleep last March. I saw everything she described happen right before my eyes and it was then that I realized that there had to be something, some supernatural aspect to humans that no other animal possesses. When I saw her lying in the casket, it was no longer my Grandmom but the shell of the beautiful and complex person she once was. Whether you want to call it a soul, God's breath of life, or his image and likeness we are different and not just in our linguistic skills.
It is clear to me that God chose us to be His children and to love Him forever but how or why he chose to differentiate us from the rest of the primates is still unclear to me. I have come to find that my thoughts and beliefs align with what is called Theistic Evolutionism or Evolutionary Creationism. Theistic Evolution is the concept that classical religious teachings are compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution.
Because I found this concept that fully aligned with my beliefs, I have never been more firm in my faith or more sure of my belief in God and Jesus Christ. I believe that God sent Jesus to cleanse me of my sin and I believe that He loves me. I believe that He hears my prayers and answers them and I believe that God did create the universe and everything in it but he chose to do it in a ways that we, his children, can study scientifically so we can better understand Him and His plan for us.
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