Because our brains work to keep an equilibrium with our mental states and the physical world, humans have this uncanny ability to kid themselves. Sometimes, the greater the distress, the greater the infallible joke played upon themselves that they ‘don’t get’.
I do it, too. I know I have something wrong with my teeth- there it goes again! Okay, I’m almost entirely certain I have cavities. Do I make a dentist appointment? Nope. Is it because of money (well, mostly)? But sometimes I tell myself… Maybe it’s not cavities! But I know damn well I need to see a dentist regardless.
When I came to understand more about science and the psychology of faith and learned more from personal experience, my belief in gods tapered off. Oddly enough, I never had the odd contention of many believers today: trying to reconcile the truths of the physical world (discovered through the modes of science, particularly) and my faith in god. In other words, I never believed in both evolution and god the same time. You might know this book:
My mom had this book, probably still does. I was living on Kings Deer… so eighth grade…. So, about eight years ago, Mama had me read a passage about some scientist who knew much about evolution, and believed in it mostly, and said that it didn’t go against her belief in god. I immediately frowned at my mom and said, “There’s no way you can believe in evolution and still believe in god.”
As you may have gotten on my other post about religion, at this time of my life, I was a major believer in god and his spirit and such, but I knew- knew– that if you believed in all the science that proved evolution that there was no way you can simultaneously hold your views on the Christian god. My mother promptly and enthusiastically agreed with me.
Now on Biltmore, I’ve had a conversation with my mom, after my great revelation(s). We were arguing about my atheism (because I refused to go to church and, bluntly, told my parents I didn’t believe in god) and I told her it was similar to how she didn’t believe in other religions, like Islam.
“Islam was made up in like the year 600. It’s obvious that it’s made up!”
“So, Christianity is true because it’s older? Look,” -I had found a really good yaoi manga at the time and wanted to end this conversation before my dad joined in and be proven an idiot with an even longer discussion- “even if evolution was ENTIRELY untrue- Christianity is pure balogna! We know for a fact that the Earth is over however old the Bible makes it out to be, from the first seven days through Adam and his sons.”
My mother then began to explain things that pretty much solidified my lack of faith forever: “God’s days and years is not the same as human days and years. One day or year to God is probably like a million years for us!”
At the time, I simply stood there with my mouth open, thinking, She can’t be serious!
Now, I’ve heard of that excuse before talking to Mama, but, you know, from somewhat crazy delusional believers (and a legit delusional believer: some ridiculously old guy in suspenders on a bike handing out rain-ruined pamphlets for all the kids going to hell in the 7 Eleven parking lot).
But to hear it from my mother was just astounding because it gave credence to the belief. Not proof of its veracity or anything, just proof that people actually believed it.
“But, Ma,” I was pleading. I had put down my bowl of cereal in shock and spread my hands as if to show her I was unarmed. “Why would the Bible say days or years then? The Bible was written by humans for humans, right? Why would they write days and years if that’s not what they meant?”
“Because the Bible is metaphorical! The men who wrote the Bible knew that and knew that those with faith would know what days and years meant to God!”
“Why not just put millions of years? Heck, God was speaking to them right? He could have told them the exact number-” I told her a ridiculously long number- “just as He told the exact number of years the guys lived!
“And, wait, Ma- if it took God millions of years for us to make the world- what is the Sabbath Day? If it took millions of years, what’s so special about God making it in a week? If it took millions of years, why can’t evolution be true?
“And Mama, if the Bible is randomly metaphorical, what great things has God truly done?”
“You’re not listening! You have your fingers in your ears, [my name]! I’m telling you that God works differently than how we think, and we can’t even imagine his power. And you keep coming up with stupid excuses!”
Here she was, explaining in exquisitely vague detail how the Bible meant entirely differently than what it says, making God very nearly useless, and she comes at me saying I’m coming up with stupid excuses!
Along those lines, I regularly check Why Evolution Is True and there have been posts and articles by Jerry Coyne (the owner of the site) where idiots go on about ID (Intelligent Design) and he (and I and many others) are surprised that so many count ID as credible and scientific.
When I first came upon his site, his latest post was him answering some person’s comment and someone referring that comment to an ID site. Not knowing what ID was, I checked it. I immediately thought it was a joke- a group of radical believers kidding themselves, and that no one really took them seriously.
More time on the internet, and I have realized that people legitimately, in their hearts, believe in ID. Smart Harvards and Yales defend it with a couple pounds of paper.
Mama believes it.
Besides the fact that Intelligent Design
is a misnomer …. is completely wrong…is a creationist lie, ID being true would belittle the Christian god (the majority of believers in ID believe in the Christian god) .
Nice to know, Intelligent Design website. Your openness to the Matrix and tentacle aliens playing with our marbled universe is refreshing. Because if you believed in the Christian god, there wouldn’t be need for all this hullabaloo from ID theory, because that guy very clearly did a lot of things with a magic wand and whether it was evident to us mortals is completely inconsequential and contradictory to relying on, ya’ know, FAITH.
Seriously, what’s with all the efforts to prove a god scientifically or historically? By most scientific and historic standards, almost all religions’ gods are made up- so if you honestly wanted to prove god by those standards, you would have stopped believing. Only when coming from a creationist standard does the evidence suddenly reveals itself to god’s true followers, and people continue to believe.
The physical evidence is before their eyes, but they’ve found multiple ways to freakin’ kid themselves left and right.
The best example I can think of is dead people, especially at funerals. Heard about the little girl who died in 1920 and looks alive? . I heard my aunts and Momo say how my grandpa looked like he was sleeping in his coffin. I’ve read A Taste of Blackberries long ago and have long agreed with the narrator- people who die look dead. That little girl looks dead; my grandpa looked dead.
Anywho, ID and other such nonsense is looking at a dead body, saying it looks alive, and then making up anything and everything (very elegantly, and perhaps with a degree) to ‘prove’ that that dead body is indeed alive- while at the same time believe that death is also real, but is circumvented in this case for the reasons above. Whiiiiich is basically the point of many religions- that ‘you’ go on after your body dies.
Though that begs another question….