I was baptized Episcopalean, then later, when my mother changed churches, attended a lutheran parochial school and was “confirmed”, which meant that I had meorized all the dogmatic clap-trap that the church felt was most important. My dad attended religious services as a “good example”, but, it turns out, had more naturalistic beliefs, and preferred that I come to my own conclusions. Thanks dad, for not forcing something down my throat.
Subsequently, starting in high school and more so after, I read up about other religions and figured out that almost all of them boiled down to the Golden Rule: treat others like they would like to be treated; with respect and dignity. i was never a scholar about it, just reading enough to satisfy my curiosity.
But despite eventually abandoning my religion, I still believe in a god, something beyond us, something the universe is all a part of. Then I learned about the “Big Bang” and the ancient origin of the universe. Astrophysicists assure us we are all made of star dust. For real. They tell us that the first generations of stars that, after they created a bunch of more complex elements from hydrogen atoms (one electron, one proton) crashing into each other, went nova and exploded outward. This formed new stars and new galaxies. And these astrophysicists said this all started happening some thirteen or fourteen billion years ago. And yet, I wondered what, or whom existed fefore the ‘big bang’?
But the “Good Book” that I had been supposed to believe in blindly says it happened in seven days. And theologians say the universe is only six thousand years old. What gives? Turns out some Irish archbishop (James Ussher) in the 1600s had been given the task of compiling a probable age of the universe based on bilical passages. You know, adding up all the ‘begats’, plus, of course, the original ‘seven days’.
Who to believe? What to beleive?
Starting with Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Biblical scholars point to it maybe had been somewhere between the Tigres and Euphrates rivers.
But what if our distant ancestors expressed their understanding of their world — and the stars beyond through parables and metaphors? Does that give lie to the bible? No one back then had access to microscopes or telescopes, so these ideas had to be expressed in a way that people could understand. And if god gave us brains, did he or she expect us to use such a wondrous machine?
Science is our way of finding the reality behind the parables and metaphors.