Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Creation Museum

Answers in Genesis is finally opening their museum devoted to creation and the 'truth' of the Bible as they see it.

A quote from them: We’ll begin the Museum experience by showing that “facts” don’t speak for themselves . There aren’t separate sets of “evidences” for evolution and creation—we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study. We’ll then explore why the Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things.

This so-called museum, suggests that the evidence in nature points to a 6000 old earth with the story of Genesis being the way the world was created. Now this is an interesting new develop in the anti-evolution world. They are building as place that mimics a natural history museum to promote their religion. I have no problem with that, it just isn't a true science museum and in fact it is full of lies and misrepresentation of the evidence. It is in fact a fraud.

Now this is nothing new, anti-evolution Christians are commonly known to lie about the facts of evolution. So my point is to ask, is it okay to lie to promote your worldview in the face of over whelming evidence? Is this place not sinful because it is trying to bring people to Jesus? Please tell me because the whole anti-evolution crowd seems to be getting more bold about lying and getting in people's faces. I wonder what that is about.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Viginia Tech and what we should do.

In light of the horror at Virginia Tech this week, I wanted to say something about a possible Jewish response.

There is a Jewish prayer that is said when taking a journey, T’fillat Haderekh. A line from that prayer seems to speak loudly as of late.

“Bring us to our desired destination in life, in gladness and peace and protect us from all enemies, from ambush, wild beasts, and all sorts of mishaps.”

We say these words as we embark into the unknown, leaving the safety of the place we call home. However, as we go through routines of our day we don’t anticipate the dangers that we see in these words. There are places that we feel safe our homes, our schools, our houses of worship. Repeated instances of tragedy shake our souls and remind us of the dangers of the world. On Monday at Virginia Tech, we saw once again the safety shattered. We were reminded of the ever-present possibility of horror.

But knowing that horror is possible should not force us away from community. The Great Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav said, “The whole world is a narrow bridge. The main thing is not to be afraid”. It is hard today not to be afraid, as we see the pictures of how a single person can cut down so many, at a place we all thought safe. But our sorrow at the loss should not just make us afraid, but revive our need to reach out to others.

Judaism calls us to social responsibility. Our values teach us a way to live, even in an uncertain world: Al tifrosh min hatzebur, do not separate yourself from the community. Kol Yisrael arevim zeh b’zeh, all of Israel is responsible for one another, and we extend this to the non-Jewish world that we share, as we see everyone created b’tzelem elohim in the image of God. We thus act for our sake and for the sake of peace mipnai darkai shalom.

Perhaps a way to deal with the fear and anger is to look in our own worlds for those individuals lost to the community. We can ask our children what or whom they fear in the world. What wild beasts they see in the places we always thought free of them. I hope that as we continue each day we aren’t frightened to embrace the greatness of God’s creation, in an attempt to avoid the fear within.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Bible is not a history book

I continue to be amazed by the numbers of people who believe that the Bible, both Hebrew and Christian, is 100% true and the stories in there happened in the fashion that they are described. Now leave out the fact that there are many contridictions, false statements and of course that evidence points to a very different history people still believe. Apologists do mental gymnastics to make their view work, others just say that God is mysterious, some tell us that all the evidence is the work of the devil to move us off the one true story. What they fail to realize is that all text of the Bible we have today are interpretation as we have translated them and added to and deleted things for many generations.

What I can't understand is why one's faith could be so fragile as to need the stories to be true. Why can't we find the truths in a story even if they aren't actual records of fact? I study Bible a lot and the more I read the Hebrew Bible the more I see it as the story of a society trying to find ways to live together as a tribe, despite the diversity of the crowd. Simple rules lead to better interactions between the people, the people and their world and the people and their God. But it was a document created to be reexamined for every generation as it lives in the moment, not in the ancient past.

Now I wish that the literalists would open the book more to learn how to live and less to condemn others, but what can you do. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. It is just when they try to make their beliefs law that bothers me. Abortion, Homosexuality, Evolution, all hot button issues have the literalists out there trying to make their view of the Bible law. This is where I get angry and this is where they must be stopped. We live in a free society. Let us not make it a theocracy.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Religion and Politics

This is my new blog, I will explore the intersection of religion and politics in the United States. Specifically I will write about what I see might be problematic. I will hope that a dialogue can develop, especially with those who disagree. Remember we are always learning. So sit back, relax and wait for the words to come.

Why Hate Crimes Laws Are the Right Thing To Do

Indiana is one of a handful of states without a hate crimes (or bias crimes) law.  For many legislative cycles a bill was killed by the Re...