Posted: Jul 06, 2017 4:04 pm
by pelfdaddy
I recently had a face-to-face discussion with an old Christian friend, and I thought the readers here might enjoy a run-down of our brief talk.

My friend is a preacher who pastors a church and hosts a Christian radio talk show in a town in the Rockies. We went to seminary together when we were both in our early twenties, and he is a very likeable guy to this day. Recognition was followed by a firm handshake and a man hug. Very brief catching-up chatter was followed by his asking, "So...how's your walk?" by which he of course meant, "How is your relationship with Jesus?" I told him...

"I'm a non-believer these days".

His apparently lack of surprise told me he already knew. Preachers love gossip, and the rumor mill is always humming. He said, "You know, a lot of people are drifting away from the Lord because they think science has disproven God. The New Atheism that's out there says God is dead and religion is dangerous... but you know what? Ever since I started to really study science, I've found that my faith is stronger than ever, because science backs up every word in the Bible."

"Except the part about the stars".

"Which part is that?" he asked, hitching up his pants and putting his hands on his hips. Aggressive, just like the younger version I once knew.

"Where it says he made the stars also."

"Well..." he chortled..."uh--He DID make the stars also."

"We know what the stars are. They are unimaginably vast engines of power. Our galaxy is but one of billions, every one containing untold millions of stars, our sun being one of them. Its energy is so tremendous that it challenges description. That energy radiates outward in a sphere. That sphere dissipates its energy as it grows--spreads itself thinner and thinner. It hardly notices the tiny speck we live on as it passes by. When it arrives here, that sphere of energy has a radius of 93 million miles. We are getting hit by a section of that sphere that is about 2 millionths of a percent of its total output. And that tiny fraction is running the whole planet, and has been for ages. That's just your average star."

"But that only makes my point. You're singing my song, Brother. The more you know, the greater God really is!"

"But it's wrong."

"What's wrong?"

"The perspective is backward. The stars were here first, and they are vast and far away. They are not lights that God stuck into our ceiling to decorate our nights as a nice little afterthought. And an afterthought is what you have when you lamely throw in, 'Oh yeah...he made the stars also'."

"But you're acting like you expect the Bible to be a science book. That's not the point. The use of metaphor in scripture is no surprise--what would people have thought way back then if God had told them everything there was to know? They could never have understood."

"It's wrong. Not just missing detail, but actively the opposite of correct. The perspective is human, totally human. The author did not know what those things in the sky actually were. As a result, he gets it backwards. He is not using metaphor. He is directly misinforming the reader through his own ignorance. That's your Holy Spirit writing words through human authors--it comes out looking like it's just the human authors, and it is."

He put his hands in his pockets, smiled and asked, "One question, and answer honestly, OK?"

"Absolutely."

"You didn't walk away from God because of science, did you?" He wanted to pin me down as an abdicator who stepped down from my position in the kingdom of God because of some sinful desire.

I answered frankly. "No, not initially. I got bored and frustrated. God doesn't do anything. So I stopped caring about what he thought. When I realized I didn't need him, it didn't take long to realize he just wasn't there at all. I knew there was no God before I got interested in science. It was a renewed interest in science that convinced me that the whole idea of God was just...kinda stupid. But the main thing is, I just don't need God. Now...your turn to answer a question for me--honestly, OK?"

"Go for it."

"Your faith isn't stronger because if science, is it?"

He shrugged, "I dunno, I guess not really." Then he took a meaningful and dramatic step toward me, poked me in the chest and hissed, "I NEED him." Then he stepped back as though waiting for this profundity to sink in.

"You know what?" I said, "You've gotten really fat."

He threw back his head and laughed, patted his swollen belly and howled, "God's been blessin'!"