Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One helluva workday

Recently, I had a discussion with a believer about the Book of Genesis. The conversation went something like this: 

Me: You do realize Genesis is merely poetic and not literal, right? 

Them: No.

Me: So you believe god made everything in six days?

Them: Yes, but days doesn't mean 24 hours.

Me: Really? What does the word day mean to you?

Them: Well, in this case it means a long time.

Me: Could you be a little more specific? And could you tell me where you're getting this fact from?

Them: Day just means a really long period, and this comes from the interpretation.

Me: But how many minutes in a "long period?" And who is doing this interpretation?

Them: I don't know how long a day is in the bible, and my church is interpreting the length.

Me: Do you hear yourself?

So, at this point, after I let this person talk for as long as I thought it took for them to see the light, I offered this:

Me: For 2,000 years, Christians have been taught that Creation Week was six literal days, that god did everything in six days and rested on the seventh day (which is perplexing given that an omnipotent god could have just created everything in an instant, plus he wouldn't need a vacation when he was done anyway).

This point was merely floating out there with no real response, so I persisted.

Me: In fact, this idea was so ubiquitous and sacrosanct that if someone challenged it they were labeled a heretic and could have been tortured for heresy by the church.

Them: Well, times change, and we are learning what was really meant by a day.

Me: What I think you mean to say is science is proving that Genesis isn't indeed fact, that man wrote this book and it wasn't the actual word of your god. But, I won't put words in your mouth, I'll let your god speak for himself to show you that Genesis meant six literal days. In Genesis, it says: 

"And the evening and the morning were the first day." —Genesis 1:5
"And the evening and the morning were the second day." —Genesis 1:8
"And the evening and the morning were the third day." —Genesis 1:13

There is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation here; an evening and a morning is one full day, and this is how it was written. 

At this point the believer retreated to their normal stance of not being smart enough to interpret the bible properly. 

Me: Well, what about Exodus? 

Them: What about Exodus? 

Me: Even Moses proved Genesis meant six literal days. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the Earth . . . and rested on the seventh day." —Exodus 20:9-11

So, by reading that, are you telling me humans are supposed to work "a really long time" for each day? Are our workweeks supposed to take as along as god took to create everything?

No answer from the believer. I said, "This is what always happens with religions. Science proves something, and a lot of times that something doesn't fit or even agree with the bible, and because it's irrefutable, religious leaders are forced to come up with some twisted logic (that contradicts what they themselves believed for centuries) just to make their scripture fit in with the cold hard facts of reality."

Finally, in his book Atheist Universe, David Mills wrote:

"A non-literal interpretation of these passages is thoroughly dishonest and wholly disingenuous. Scholars additionally pointed out that in the original Hebrew text of Genesis, the word 'day' is yom, which, when used with an ordinal—e.g., first day, second day, third day—refers invariably to a literal 24-hour period throughout the entire Bible. So there was never any doubt voiced—or even contemplated—that 'day' didn't mean 'day' in the Book of Genesis."

I guess the point of this is to show believers that the bible isn't literal or even 100% factual. The website christianitydisproved.com has this logical argument:

• If the bible is 100% factually accurate, then the universe is not billions of years old.
• The universe is billions of years old.
• Therefore the bible is not 100% factually accurate.

Why do I care? Because when people take the bible as literal truth, it tends to not work out so well for others (e.g. slavery, genocide, murder, ethnic cleansing, infanticide). 

Think for yourselves, do the research, be educated, not indoctrinated.

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