Should Evolution Be Taught To Children

DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE ANY OF THIS?

The Bible has the following either implied or stated as fact:

Our universe was spoken into existence out of nothing…by a floaty thing  in the sky
Plants were created before the sun was.
The first man was created from dust.
The first woman was made from a rib taken from the first man. (we both have the same number of ribs however)
They are in a garden that has ‘magic’ fruit, to make people live forever and be smart.
There is a talking snake.  (did it have legs I wonder)
Incest was used to jump start the population.
There are Angels…good and bad…and demons.
There are giants and Unicorns.
There are witches, wizards and magicians.
There are bad Angels that rape human women.
Human pregnancy/reproduction is possible with no human father. (just like some of the other gods around the time of Jesus).
People can rise from the grave and walk the streets. (Zombies anyone?)
People live as long as 900+ years.
Dinosaurs and people lived together.
God commits genocide by flooding the earth and only saving 8 humans. (apparently the thought of just starting completely over never occurred to Him)
God makes the Sun stay in the sky so a human battle can be completed.
There is a talking, burning bush somewhere in the mountains of the Sinai desert .
There is a talking donkey.
People (other than Moses) can change wooden staffs into live snakes
A man sees Jesus in a beam of light…and all of Jesus’ thoughts and wishes are downloaded to him. (Hollywood Blvd. anybody?)
There is a man that lives inside a fish for 3 days.
Insects are said to have 4 legs (would a God REALLY be this stupid??)
The cure for leprosy is dove blood sprinkled on the toes (REALLY??)
If you position mating livestock in front of a stripped stick, they will produce stripped offspring.

Today we can actually disprove most of these Biblical assertions/stories.

Do mainline Christians really believe any of this is true?  Or is it just the fundamentalists wackos among us.

The Fall of Man

The Fall of Man as seen by Thomas Paine

“The Christian Mythologists, after having confined Satan in a pit, were obliged to let him out again to bring on the sequel of the fable. He is then introduced into the Garden of Eden, in the shape of a snake or a serpent, and in that shape he enters into familiar conversation with Eve, who is no way surprised to hear a snake talk; and the issue of this tête-à-tête is that he persuades her to eat an apple, and the eating of that apple damns all mankind.

After giving Satan this triumph over the whole creation, one would have supposed that the Church Mythologists would have been kind enough to send him back again to the pit: or, if they had not done this, that they would have put a mountain upon him (for they say that their faith can remove a mountain), or have put him under a mountain, as the former mythologists had done, to prevent his getting again among the women and doing more mischief.

But instead of this they leave him at large, without even obliging him to give his parole—the secret of which is that they could not do without him; and after being at the trouble of making him, they bribed him to stay. They promised him ALL the Jews, ALL the Turks by anticipation, nine-tenths of the world beside, and Mahomet into the bargain. After this, who can doubt the bountifulness of the Christian Mythology?

Having thus made an insurrection and a battle in heaven, in which none of the combatants could be either killed or wounded—put Satan into the pit—let him out again—gave him a triumph over the whole creation—damned all mankind by the eating of an apple, these Christian Mythologists bring the two ends of their fable together. They represent this virtuous and amiable man, Jesus Christ, to be at once both God and Man, and also the Son of God, celestially begotten, on purpose to be sacrificed, because they say that Eve in her longing had eaten an apple. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Authors emphasis 

There Was No Moment of Creation

One of the many problems modern science poses for Christianity is the question of how to understand original sin. The traditional teaching, which holds that Adam and Eve were the only humans on the planet when they were created on day six of Creation Week, that the ground was cursed and they were expelled from Eden as a result of a specific sin they committed, and that this corrupted state was in some way passed down to all future human beings, is no longer tenable. A variety of lines of evidence make it clear that the human population has always numbered in the thousands and certainly never dipped down to two. Moreover, evolution makes clear that humans arose through eons of natural selection. There was no moment of creation, and there was no state of primordial perfection for them to sully. Jason Rosenhouse, The Evolution Blog http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2011/09/what_does_original_sin_mean_in.php?utm_source=nytwidget
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Adam and Eve Are Dead…Finally

Well actually they never existed…and the proof is available for all to see.

Christian scholar Dennis R. Venema is the BioLogos senior fellow for science and the biology chairman at Trinity Western University.  He writes that the chimp genome displays “near identity” with the human genome as detailed by (Francis) Collins’s team.  The detailed analysis involves sequences of genes and the makeup of individual genes, but especially important are the locations of “pseudogenes” that are seemingly no longer active. The cumulative evidence, Venema concludes, shows that “humans are not biologically independent, de novo creations, but share common ancestry” with prior primate species.””

Atheist-turned-Christian Francis S. Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federally funded organization. Collins’s wrote a 2006 bestseller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, where he said there are scientific indications that anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors perhaps 100,000 (currant science says 200,000) years ago, long before the apparent Genesis time frame, and that they originated within a population that numbered something like 10,000, not two individuals. Far removed from the traditional belief that God specially created man and woman in the Garden of Eden, and they were biologically different from all other creatures alive at the time.

In his recent (2011) pro-evolution book, The Language of Science and Faith, Collins and co-author Karl W. Giberson step up matters, announcing that “unfortunately” the concepts of Adam and Eve as the literal first couple and the ancestors of all humans simply “do not fit the evidence.”

The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis has long been subjected to scientific challenges, but “there was a lot of wiggle room in the past. The human genome sequencing took that wiggle room away” said Randall Isaac, executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation.  DNA science is totally changing what many believed about human beginnings.

Will the Adam and Eve question become a groundbreaking science-vs.-religion dispute, in the 21st-century? The modern day equivalent of the once disturbing argument about whether the Sun orbits the earth or vice-versa?  The possibility is there: the emerging science could be seen to challenge what Genesis records about the creation of humanity and also the species’ unique status of being created in the “image of God,” Christian doctrine on original sin and the Fall, the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and, perhaps most significantly, Paul’s seminal teaching that links a historical Adam with redemption through Christ.

The fall-out from the non-historicity of the Biblical Adam and Eve will be huge.  Many people in the earth sciences have known for some time that the Genesis stories are just myth, the science behind the notion is just too darn strong to endlessly ignore.

South Carolina pastor Richard Phillips, chair of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology worries, “Can the Bible’s theology be true if the historical events on which the theology is based are false?” If science trumps Scripture, what does this mean for the virgin birth of Jesus, or his miracles, or his resurrection? “The hermeneutics behind theistic evolution are a Trojan horse that, once inside our gates, must cause the entire fortress of Christian belief to fall.”

All these years Christianity has been working under the assumption that Genesis is true and that all humans who lived in the past, and are alive today, are descendents of Adam and Eve.  The whole dogma of original sin and the blood sacrifice of Jesus to redeem humanities sin goes out the door.  Combine the fact that DNA, and other evidence, says that Adam and Eve did not exist…with other revelations that science is making about the Biblical myths, and I predict that Christianity is facing a real crisis of belief.  
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God and the Sumerians

There is no foundation for making the moral and supernatural claims that the Christian religion makes.  That is not to say that the evidence is inadequate…it is to say that there is NO evidence for almost all of their claims.  All religions have human fingerprints all over them and the Christian religion has never even come close to proving that there is anything true about their claims that a god created the world about 6,000 years ago in a fit of creation that lasted 6 literal days.

If that were true the Sumerians and other people living in the Fertile Crescent at the time would have sure been surprised…they had already built a large city or two and were in the middle of perfecting agriculture and culture building. They and their brethren in Jericho had been advancing civilization for a few thousand years already.

It must have pretty disconcerting for the Chinese, Indus Valley, East Indian, European, Asian, Australian, North and South American peoples that had thriving cities, culture, and advanced civilizations already going by 6,000 years ago.  In the Fertile Crescent I wonder what the existing people did when Adam and Eve were plopped down in their midst?  I mean they were intellectual infants…didn’t know how to farm, hitch up a water buffalo to a plow, make cheese or beer or anything useful, and they kept running around naked for god’s sake.  And where were their bellybuttons??

God must have phoned in the creation of Adam and Eve, because he created them with absolutely no skills or inbreed knowledge of the world and its ways.  The Sumerians however already knew mathematics and about the seasons and animal husbandry, maybe some astronomy, and a myriad of other things necessary to survive in a cold and cruel world.  They had known these things for thousands of years before God “Created the Earth” in 6,000 BC.

If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we’re going?” -Justin Brown

Jesus Was/Is A Myth

If one follows the many earth sciences closely enough you are presented with facts that if followed deeply enough and cogitated about long enough, reveals to you that all is not as it seems.

For example, science tells us that actual humans (Homo-sapiens…us), have walked the earth for near 200,000+-  years. Among scientists this is pretty much an un-disputed fact, Other, almost humans, walked the earth for several million years…some modern day European and Asian people have actual DNA from some of these ancient ancestors, meaning there was inter-breeding and viable, fertile offspring.

DNA and the old bones are telling this story…this is indisputable, non-judgmental,   unbiased science that is narrating the story of our ancestors life, not a book written by goat-herders–millions of years after the real beginning of the tale.

All of the above, and more, leads us to the necessity to re-examine and measure many old tall tales that have been passed off as truth to billions of people…namely the Biblical myths of our earthly Genesis.  Moses nowadays is thought to be pretty much a mythical figure.  His “contribution” to the Bible (The Pentateuch) is probably a product of earnest Jewish scholars of the sixth or seventh century BC …long after the reputed time of Moses…trying to keep a tribe together

We know that the essential stories of Genesis…Adam/Eve, Noah, dispersion of language, slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt, Exodus, exploits of Joshua, etc. are mythical or allegorical tales.  Some people may think this is not a big deal, but some cogitation on the subject proves otherwise.  In fact if these stories are not true, the consequences ricochet through time…to the story of Jesus, and then go even greater lengths to prove the whole chapter–maybe the whole book–is only myth.

Follow this: there was no Adam/Eve as portrayed in the Bible. The Bible gives clues that much of civilization and early technology was miraculously “there” almost as soon as the story got going. This irrevocably puts the stories into the fifth or sixth millennia BC…a time that is extremely well researched and known about by our earth sciences.  The bone evidence and DNA evidence agree in their respective branches that there was never a time when our ancestors only numbered 2 in the case of Adam/Eve, and further out, the 6 mythical procreating members of the mythical Noah’s Ark.

As stated above man/womankind has walked the earth for 200,000 +- years…there was never an Adam/Eve couple six or eight or ten or fifty thousand years ago.  No Adam and Eve mean no “Original Sin” which irrevocably means there was no need for a Jesus to die as “blood atonement” for non-existent sins.  If you think about it God said, before Paul invented Original Sin, that children are not guilty of the sins of the father. Also the blood atonement think is kind of stupid…it’s nothing but theater, a contrivance to batten up a weak plot line.

With that thought in mind we go to some thoughts of people who are, or were, in the front lines of scholarship in matters of the Christian religion.

“It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last”Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute

“We can recreate dimensions of the world in which he lived, but outside of the Christian scriptures, we cannot locate him historically within that world”Gerald A. Larue, The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You to Read.

“The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel”Bishop John Shelby Spong.

“According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality”Maurice Bucaille, The Bible The Quran And Science

“Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it”C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy

“Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one anymore. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern re-mythologizing of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction”Robert M. Price, Jesus: Fact or Fiction

“So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that “we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus”Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg

So Prof. Bultmann is saying that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are unreliable, so bad that we can’t be sure about Jesus. Just how much faith can we put in the Gospels?  Let’s see what some other scholars believe…

“We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John”Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, The Gnostic Gospels.

“All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions”Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University.

“The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong”Randel M. Helms, Who Wrote the Gospels?

“But even if it could be proved that John’s Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who “John” was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person”John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar, Testament.

“Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them”Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College.

“Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus”Jeffery L. Sheler, The Four Gospels

“The bottom line is we really don’t know for sure who wrote the Gospels”Jerome Neyrey, Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.

“The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life”Moncure D. Conway, Modern Thought

Some really bad press for a few people from the Christian religion. They keep saying there is all this evidence that their religion is the true one.  I’m wondering where it is.

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The God of the Hebrews

The God of the Hebrews

“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind; Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee” Leviticus 19:19

So said the Lord God Jehovah.  This is the God of the Hebrews speaking, and He’s damn serious about interfering with their lives and customs. This is the “Word of God” writ large. This is the God who created the universe, our world, and US, for God’s sake…He doesn’t want men experimenting and finding out that by doing certain things with their animals and food gardens they can improve their lives; get more milk and meat perhaps and improve their crops resistance to pests or drought and yield more.

Why would a magical and supernatural sky God say such a thing to a poor humble farmer and expect them to honor such an order?  Is this how the Hebrew God amuses Him/Her self?  What possible advantage could be had by not mixing some fabrics together? This is the God who kept telling the Jews to go and massacre men, women, children, babies, and animals for the sin of not believing in Him.  You know…the genocidal God.

And why do modern day Christians and Jews happily go about today with mixed fabric clothing and eat beef, chicken, pork, and other foods that have been genetically modified for a thousand years?  Did God give in at some time in the past and allow such advances that man could work on his own?

Did any of the Leviticus laws make much sense?  Oh sure, the Christians say that the death of Jesus’ made the Old Testament laws not applicable to us anymore…yet they hold on to the ones they want to keep, like homosexuality.

Why didn’t this all-seeing, all-knowing God make laws prohibiting Slavery, rape, pedophilia, treating women as third class humans, murder for religious reasons?  You know…some really useful laws that would benefit these poor souls and help them rise from the grinding poverty that all people suffered in those times.

Come to think of it, why was this God absent for the nearly two hundred thousand years that modern humans have been populating this earth?  And then why on earth pick on a scraggly small tribe of dirt poor Middle Eastern goat herders???

The Biblical stories when taken apart piece by piece make no sense whatsoever. There is no real God there, only dreams and campfire stories of goat herders.
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Sargon the Great and Moses

Sargon of Akkad / Mesopotamia (c.2300BC to 2215BC)
His birth story from Wikipedia Here
“My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes; with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and […] years I exercised kingship.”   
The river would have been the Euphrates.

Moses of the Hebrews / Egypt / Promised Land / Israel (c. 1396 BC+- to Feb-Mar 1271 BC+-
His birth story From the Jewish Encyclopedia Here
In the Exodus account, the birth of Moses occurred at a time when an unnamed Egyptian Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew children born be killed by drowning in the river Nile. Jochebed, the wife of the Levite Amram, bore a son and kept him concealed for three months. When she could keep him hidden no longer, rather than deliver him to be killed, she set him adrift on the Nile River in a small craft of bulrushes coated in pitch. Moses’ sister Miriam observed the progress of the tiny boat until it reached a place where Pharaoh’s daughter (Bithiah, Thermuthis) was bathing with her handmaidens. It is said that she spotted the baby in the basket and had her handmaiden fetch it for her.
Hmmm…Sargon the Great, who we know was real, was born in secrecy and his mother built a small craft and set it / him free on the river. Story from somewhere around 2300-2200 BC in the Babylon / Mesopotamian area.  Sargon is the first individual in recorded history to create a multi-ethnic, centrally ruled empire, and his dynasty controlled Mesopotamia for around a century and a half.

Moses whom many Biblical scholars now think may be a mythical character who lived around a thousand later than Sargon…if he (Moses) were real, has the same birth myth as a great historical character who lived a lot earlier. Also to be considered in this story is that those same Biblical scholars think that the story of Moses and his writings was a pious fraud, written by Hebrews who were exiled in Babylon (Mesopotamia) in around 587 BC to help bring the Hebrews tribes together in faith.

One could reasonably conclude that parts of the birth myth of Moses was “borrowed” from Mesopotamian writings they came into contact with in Babylon.

Also one could look at the mythical Gilgamesh flood story (circa 2700 BC), the greatest surviving work of early Mesopotamian literature, and see some mighty close similarities with the story of Noah and his Ark…which was part of the Pentateuch that Moses was supposed to have written around 1270 BC, but was probably written by Hebrew scribes in the 6th century BC.

I think this part of Biblical myth can also be reasonably thought of as another Hebrew “borrowing” of storyline from the Mesopotamians.  Boy those Hebrew’s are sharp…

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The Bible and Neanderthals

A team of biologists led by Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany have concluded the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence and determined that the Neanderthals did contribute to modern mans genes through interbreeding.  As many as 4% percent of modern humans in Europe, Asia and some other parts of the world have Neanderthals for distant relatives.

My question is how do you think this will affect the creation vs. evolution debates? The fact that “God’s People” have the blood of pre-humans that weren’t even thought of or explained in the Bible.  How does Christian apologetics reconcile an incredibly old (28,000 to +350,000 year old) race of people that could probably talk, as they had the requisite physiological parts, and we know they did make tools and bury their dead with personal items and flowers, and may have made jewelry, contributing to our gene pool.

So far it looks like the intermixing occurred in the Middle East about 50,000 to 80,000 years ago or maybe longer.  No indication yet of any mixing in Europe where modern humans entered about 45,000 years ago.  There is also no sign of mixing in any of Africa’s indigenous peoples. It is truly amazing what DNA science can tell us, don’t you think?

Someone locally ask me if I thought that the Neanderthal might be the Nephilim mentioned in the Bible and I told him I didn’t think so as the Neanderthals were short (5’2” to 5’ 4”) in stature.

Could this be the people that Cain drew his wife from?  No no no, just being silly, as we all know that Cain wasn’t real, and the last Neanderthal died out about 30,000 years ago.   🙂

Quote of the day

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.  Baron D’Holbach


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