Ramblings: The Great Divorce Part II

Remarriage

Last time I described how the divorce from objective observation of reality in finding truth, or some call it reason, occurred. But reason and science were slowly reunited with the church through a convoluted course. I wish that I could say that the church came to its senses, repented, and remarried God’s gift of reason. But that would not be true to history.

At the end of the Dark Ages, there was a growing disillusionment with the anti-reason approach to life. Life expectancy was about 28 years old and was a trudge. There was not a lot of art, music, literature, or science as compared to the centuries before . . . or after.

The Medicis of Florence were the richest family on the planet, maybe ever. They were so rich, Jeff Bezos could have been there butler. Their patriarch, Giovanni de’ Medici, wanted to find a new philosophical basis for life in Italy. He basically cut out the philosophical middle man, the church, and adopted Plato directly as the basis of life. But in this new Plato-centric philosophy, the all-important unseen things were no longer the church, saints, spiritual matters, and the heavenlies, but the human experience. The short name for his is humanism. It made joy, love, hate, reason, beauty and other human experiences the center of life.

Givanni de’ Medici (in red) at his Academy of Plato, teaching Italians how to follow Plato

From this revolution, reason was important again, resulting in an explosion in scientific observations of the world.

In northern Europe, this idea was the seed to the next significant movement, The Enlightenment. At least the protestants embraced this age of reason, and many of the prominent scientists and thinkers of the early Enlightenment, such as Newton, were Christian.

Divorce # 2

In divorce in marriages, it can be insidious, or provoked by an event. Insidious is where the couple “grew apart” over the years. The latter is where Joe comes home ill from work only to find his wife Jane in bed with his best friend, Larry. Or it could be where Jane finds Joe has been downloading child porn on his computer. Or it could be where Joe drinks heavily and then punches Jane in the face, giving her a black eye. The divorce lawyer is suddenly on speed-dial.

A major event provoked the divorce of Christianity from reason. The event? It was when Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of the Species in 1859. This sent shock waves throughout western (Christian) culture.

On the Origin of Species - Wikipedia

Darwin wasn’t a raging atheist who wrote his book to disprove Christianity. He started his adult life as an Anglican. By the time he died, he had evolved (pun intended) to being an agonist. All he was doing was making observations about the actual world, like any excellent scientist.

The problem was, while the Bible said absolutely nothing about the age of the earth or even early human history, the church had developed a certainty about those issues. They believed the earth was 6000 years old and humanity was created abruptly from scratch and all animals remain as they have always have been. Like their catholic counterparts who rejected Galileo’s observations of the universe, the nineteenth century protestants, rather than listening to Darwin’s observations, rejected them as lies against God.

From my perspective, all the essentials of Christianity can fit in a thimble. However, the human retooling and expanding of Christianity into a culture has made it so complex that you couldn’t put all their tenets or “essentials” in the Colosseum.

From my perspective, all the essentials of Christianity can fit in a thimble. However, the human retooling and expanding of Christianity into a culture has made it so complex that you couldn’t put all their tenets or “essentials” in the Colosseum.

Stock Illustration - Hand holding tiny man in thimble

I remember joining a protestant church years ago, and the pastor gave me a five-page paper of all the tenets of that denomination. I had to sign the paper, saying that I believed all of them, before I could be a member. I had been a Sunday school teacher for years and I couldn’t continue unless I signed that document. It was like those 100 items were the litmus test to prove I was a Christian. It included things about the age of the earth being six thousand years, that Israel was to be a nation, etc. I told that pastor that I did not believe many of those. He winked and said, “I don’t either, but signing the paper is a formality that our denomination requires.” I signed it, but I wish I hadn’t.

By the late nineteenth century, the protestant church in America and the UK (other indigenous churches weren’t part of this problem) collapsed into a defensive position, perceiving this new science of Darwin as their enemy. I don’t know of any science that took on the mission to disprove Christianity or the existence of God, but that’s how these Christians perceived it and it was based on this erroneous position that one essential of the evangelical church was that the earth was six thousand years old.

Meanwhile, the fields of archaeology, paleontology, geology and astrophysics were exploding. Most scientists simply want to find the truth by observing the actual world. The evidence of an old world was overwhelming. Because many of these things contradicted the six thousand year old earth as mandated by the protestant culture (nothing to do with the Bible), the protestants generated false narratives for their defense (example).

One false narrative is that the scientists have a moral problem. As one pastor confined with me, “The evolutionist believe that because they want a reason not to believe in God so that they can take drugs and have sex with their girlfriends without guilt.” Other false narratives included the scientist were making up their findings. I know this firsthand as I spent a few years with one of the creationist organizations. It was when I realized that their narrative was completely false, that I left them. Today, if you mention carbon dating or radiometric dating around an evangelical, they will probably smirk and say, “You know that’s bogus.”

The walls thickened around the protestants in North America as they took an even more defensive position in the face of growing threats from a progressive world. We have reached the point that the evangelicals don’t trust any information that does not come from within their culture or contradicts the tenets of their culture. They now have their own radio stations, own TV stations, own news programs, and their own political party (Republican), mis-trusting all things other. They do, readily, believe false narratives that support their complex Christian culture. For example, to stake out the extreme, those with an evangelical background are more likely to believe the totally false conspiracy theory of QAnon. They have now divorced themselves from the process of observations about the actual world and the rational deductions from those observations. The modern evangelicals (might even narrow it to white-evangelicals) are now in a position of being anti-science, anti-reason.

From my perspective, if God is there, and I think he is, then he created reality. The more we observe reality, the more we observe and learn about God. The scientist is God’s prophet, the handlers of that which exist.

Mike

Published by J. Michael Jones

J. Michael Jones is a writer and PA who lives in Anacortes, Washington. He is the father of five children, who are now grown and out discovering this wonderful world on their own. He has previously focused his writing on non-fiction including medical topics and issues of the philosophy of Christian thought. With the success of his last book, Butterflies in the Belfry, Michael is now moving into fiction with his first novel, The Waters of Bimini.

3 thoughts on “Ramblings: The Great Divorce Part II

  1. Gracias por tus reflexiones Johnny. Me consuela mucho leerte.
    Yo he sentido lo mismo que tú en el mundo cristiano.
    Gracias, gracias, gracias por tu consuelo.

    Cuidate y mucho animo en el proceso de tu enfermedad.

    Abrazos desde España.

    Helena

    Like

  2. “Today, if you mention carbon dating or radiometric dating around an evangelical, they will probably smirk and say, “You know that’s bogus.””

    Just like “BIDEN AND THE LIBS STOLE THE ELECTION! ALL FAKE NEWS! TRUMP IS LOOOORD!”
    The attitude transfers easily from Religion into Politics.

    Like

  3. From my perspective, if God is there, and I think he is, then he created reality. The more we observe reality, the more we observe and learn about God. The scientist is God’s prophet, the handlers of that which exist.

    “God Lives in the Real World.”
    — Favorite tag line of Eighties radio talk-show host Rich Buhler

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: