The word “religion” has numerous meanings in conversation. Some even treat the word as if it is sacred; or at least it is often used to describe one’s beliefs; beliefs that they consider sacred. Why would a human’s religious beliefs be sacred? The word religion as used in this book is more specific and does not imply anything sacred.
Most will agree at least to some extent with the statements made herein for all religions except their own. Although there are some potentially offensive comments about the reader’s own personal religion coming up, please understand that the religious beliefs that are of the biblical truth are esteemed.
Religions, in general, are social institutions. The members of each religious institution typically have a common set of spiritual beliefs and traditions most often based on some book or dogma. Their spiritual beliefs generally include, or are thought to stem from, some divine being or god. Their religious beliefs are most often an organized attempt to satisfy the requirements of their deity to achieve a higher state of being in life, and then a favorable afterlife.
There are many different religions, but the particular set of religions in consideration here are those based, at least loosely, on the canonical collection of writings from Judaism and Christianity- simply called the Bible in this text. Religions are often completely separate and contrary to biblical teachings, even within Judeo-Christian religions.
The world’s diversity of Judeo-Christian religions is a result of humankind’s varied interpretations of the Bible, and they vary greatly. History has shown that biblical interpretations resulting in religions are often wrong, yet religions offer essential services to their members, and to society.
Past religious mistakes
Religious mistakes? How could there be religious mistakes, after all, haven’t many intelligent well-meaning people struggled and strained to be accurate concerning the Bible’s every word? How could the Bible be so confusing?
The Bible is in-fact a very simple book. Those who misunderstand it do so because they filter its words and phrases through their own personal religious filter. They faithfully believe that their existing beliefs are already correct and they become blind to a better understanding (John 9:39). When a biblical saying seems contrary to their existing beliefs, they become fearfully confused rather than enlightened. For them, at that point, the Bible appears to be a book so confusing one’s “faith” in their existing beliefs is all that matters. They “double down” on their beliefs and withdraw to the pre-supposed sanctity of their religion. If one truly loves his or her religion, then religion, even when wrong, becomes an immovable barrier.
All too often, intense biblical study is aimed at justifying rather than correcting religious beliefs- beliefs that are presumed immutably correct. Clearly if a faithfully held belief is wrong, lifetimes of diligent effort will not make it right. One result of such efforts is a Bible that takes on a mystical air, an air of meaning different things to different people. The different meanings are often contradictory.
Ultimately, most find a few biblical phrases with which they can relate and they stick with them; nothing else passes through their religious filter. Eventually, even those few phrases are distorted and become locked-in as proper religious practice. The phrases are indeed, out of context.
Where the biblical creation story is concerned, an absence of understanding is the sacred standard sold to religious followers as proper belief. In their absence of understanding, the words and phrases of the creation story have no real meaning- just as if they were in an undecipherable language on an obelisk from another world. Speculation as to their meanings is sacrilege as is any view in opposition to established religious standards.
On matters of science, there have been many documented religious mistakes in the past. For instance, some in the Roman Catholic Church made the mistake with Galileo of outlawing what he said scientifically because it was thought to disagree with the official Roman Catholic interpretation of the Bible. Galileo had asserted that Earth and the other planets revolve around the Sun. Galileo’s epiphany was seen as in direct opposition to a long-standing biblical interpretation- an interpretation that put Earth at the center of the universe.
Based on a statement made in the Bible, the biblical interpretation of heavenly body motion was that all things revolve around Earth. However, motion is completely relative to one’s frame of reference. From the perspective of the ancient biblical author and every modern person on Earth for that matter, everything does revolve around Earth. The biblical author was completely correct in saying everything revolves around Earth. Earth was the biblical author’s fixed reference. Earth was, and is in general, everyone’s fixed reference and perspective.
However, Galileo had assumed a different perspective. Galileo had assumed a fixed reference not on Earth, but centered on the Sun. Therefore, both Galileo and the biblical observer were completely correct. This is not a play on words, but is basic physics! One must always consider perspective! There are many other examples of religions attempting to enforce their interpretations as well- especially in modern times.
It is noteworthy that the modern stand of the Roman Catholic Church on the sciences is- they do not have a problem with them. In fact, a Roman Catholic priest originated the Big Bang Theory and Catholics are responsible for other major theories including genetics. Unlike some religions, the Roman Catholic Church learned from, and then, apologized for its past scientific mistakes.
Now some “Catholics” treat creation as an unsolvable mystery- a truth one need not bother trying to understand. However, Orthodox Judaism embraces the sciences as a means of better understanding God; the biblically supported position from the Old Testament and New Testament as well.
Beware. Religion is never a right or wrong package deal. Right or wrong about science does not imply correctness about any other biblical topic. A religion may be perfectly accurate on some issues while blatantly wrong on others (with respect to biblical teachings).
There are of course many examples of horrendous deeds carried out by protestant peoples as well. In fact, the Protestants are the primary source of the senseless contention between science and religion today. They clearly do not realize how much damage they do to their own stated purpose. They claim to want to “save souls” by spreading the “good news,” yet the bad news is that many badger evolutionists and other scientists right out of church. The brotherhood and sanctity of their religions is more important than the teachings of the Christ! This is not a new phenomenon (John 12:43) and is a phenomenon that applies to all religions.
Some religions even attempt to influence changes in what is taught as science in public schools. They would require people to subscribe to their religious beliefs and want science to conform and as a result, they have lost credibility with the masses. Their unfounded and frequently voiced biblical interpretations are largely responsible for a sharp decline in spiritual beliefs in recent decades. They preach their interpretations only to the dwindling few who still believe them true.
Many religions and religious people have long since fallen into the trap Augustine (St Augustine- Bishop of Hippo. 354 to 430ad) wrote of in his book The Literal Meaning of Genesis1. They have brought upon themselves the scorn of the scientific community, and that scorn has now propagated through much of the world. They feel that their religion is under attack by science- and it is! Faithfully, they are reluctant to question their religion. However, those same religious people feel like they are doing God’s work and they often mean well. Of course, most everyone thinks his or her own religion is true and correct even though it disagrees, at least to some extent, with every other religion, and with modern science. Humanity’s most irrational traits are exhibited in religion.
Instead of people applying reason to their religion and learning more about the god of the Bible, religion is simply that muddy ground in which most people become stuck. It is rare for anyone to change his or her religion, no matter which religion it is.
Religious groups should have realized that their biblical interpretations were flawed and then sought to correct them shortly after the discovery of the first dinosaur bones. Clearly if the god of the Bible exists, there could be no physical evidence to the contrary- a simple application of faith. Instead, they seem hopelessly stuck in their religious beliefs.
Other clues as to religions’ flawed interpretations are the biblical statements that make no sense to them; some of which are thought to be grammatical errors, or that one must “simply have faith to understand.” Some people even celebrate the biblical confusion as if it is an essential hurdle of faith.
Religious leaders often claim that “true” science will ultimately prove the existence of God. However, their “true” science is only that “science” which is distorted enough to support their entrenched interpretations of the biblical creation and Noah flood stories. Science already proves the existence of God and simultaneously disproves the “entrenched interpretations.” They are common mythology.
We all tend to believe ourselves fortunate to have been born into the correct religion, no matter which religion it is. Yet clearly most religions are biblically wrong- at least on several issues. Religions have been consistently wrong about science throughout history. Religions largely create the confusion about an otherwise straightforward Bible.
One should assume personal responsibility for his or her beliefs- especially those they would teach to others. Above all, one should not confuse religious beliefs with the truth about the Bible, or God.
The modern nemesis of the religiously faithful is evolution. Some, acting in opposition to evolution, willingly dilute other aspects of the Bible including the accuracy of chronologies, genealogies, and biblically specified dates for the sake of explaining ancient finds from anthropology. Their anti evolutionary stand has become their last stand of faith in their religion. Consider this- if they are correct about the biblical inaccuracies, should one really expect their otherwise flawed Bible to be accurate concerning evolution?
Knowledge of evolution and of science in general, eliminates all that has been presumed erroneous in the Genesis stories and renders them readable and completely true- as is! Knowledge of modern science eliminates the religious confusion for all except those who are blindly religious. The truth of creation has had a growing presence for over a century yet the religiously blind refuse to see it.
As a side note, from a New Testament standpoint, of prime importance is the new covenant (contract) afforded humanity by the sacrifice of the Christ- no matter what a person believes about the creation story. Why would any “Christian” religion divide people away based on their creation story interpretations that are unexplainable at best, and that are clearly contrary to science; creation story interpretations that have the tone of mysticism and mythology? Shouldn’t Christianity readily embrace a better understanding of creation? Understanding Genesis in the light of scientific reality is a key to understanding the rest of the Bible. Moreover, understanding Genesis in light of modern science is an essential key to winning back the masses.
The religious reader is reminded that biblically, God’s only adversary is Satan- not science, not even scientists of non-belief.