Big Religious Squabble on Tuesday
My wife and I had a big religion-inspired brouhaha on Tuesday the 13th that nearly managed to spill over and ruin Valentine's Day (not that it's a real holiday anyway, but still I prefer to not have it ruined).
My wife participates in a bible study group on Tuesdays. Turns out, the previous week, her group, all women and ranging in age from early 20s to early 50s, had gotten slightly off topic when a woman who works at a genetics lab (not as a scientist, though) brought up the question of evolution vs. creation. None of them being knowledgeable in such things, they had decided to research the origins debate. My wife did not have the time to do her homework, so I piped up that I know a lot about such things and gave her a quick rundown of Young-Earth, Old-Earth, Theistic Evolution, and the straight-up scientific explanation for the origins of the universe, the planet, life, and humanity. Of course I pointed out how the only consistent view was the purely scientific one, and I especially took digs at the YECs, but I didn't make too big of a deal about it.
She came back afterwards and told me what they talked about. She explained that she didn't like to use labels because her beliefs fall somewhere between theistic evolution and Old-Earth creationism. As an electrical engineer, she can't deny science; she likes science. Hence, the YEC position makes no sense. However, she also believes in the bible as more or less true, that there are omissions but what's in there is correct. Specifically, she believes that Adam and Eve were specially created, even though she accepts that evolution takes place in all other organisms - figure that one out.
Somehow during our discussion about creationism, the topic shifted and she asked me something like, "How come you don't accept God?"
My response: "Because there's no convincing evidence for God."
Ah hell, here it comes. We've jumped off the precipice and are falling into the abyss now.
Near endless bickering ensued.
I asked her why she believed, and, to sum up, it basically resolved down to personal experience and gut instinct: not very scientific, admittedly. I challenged her with the question of people from other faiths who have just as much personal experience and feeling as she does but for their own faiths, and, honestly, she struggled with it. How could she be sure that her feelings were correct and theirs were not? I think she knew she was having a hard time; eventually, she just said that religion is a personal thing and I could get no more out of her on that topic.
Moving on, sometime while talking about evidence, she claimed that science upholds the bible in general and mentioned in passing that a portion of Noah's Ark had been found. Simultaneously my jaw slumped open and my tongue lolled out. From that point on, the debate was confounded by her belief that I think she's stupid.
She then accused me of just assuming that everything in the bible was wrong, so she asked me to name some things in the bible that science and history have determined to be true. I couldn't really think of any off the top of my head other than that the descriptions of some tribes and migrations are reasonable. Man, that did not go over well at all.
I certainly learned something though. My wife nor any of the other women in the group were particularly interested in the science when discussing religion. It's not that they explicitly deny the findings of science, nor that they just aren't very interested science (though most aren't), it's that, to them, Christianity is true. That's it: it's just true. None of them have a beef with science, but they just assume that, since the bible is true, then science probably corroborates the bible pretty well. My wife never even had a second thought about it; therefore, she's never looked into it. She never had a clue that scientific consensus says that most of the bible's stories are nonsense. She just assumed that science has proven things like the great flood - and this is without listening to IRC or Answers in Genesis claptrap.
All in all, a crappy evening of bickering. I don't know if I got her to think about her faith at all or if I just made her angry. At least I learned something.