Sunday, February 3, 2013

I much preferred colouring to Religious Education anyway...

Hmm, I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to be opinionated.

Consider yourselves warned.

So, I'm just going to come out and say it.  There's no point beating around the bush any longer.

I'm an evolutionist.

Yep, that's right, I believe in survival of the fittest, that we descended from apelike creatures called Australopithecus, and that Darwin was right when he put it all together.

I still remember the exact moment I decided that I believed in evolution rather than creationism.  I think I was about seven years old and I asked my mother how it was possible for Adam and Eve to be the first people if they only had two sons.  Uncertain how to answer that, she did what any responsible parent would do ... sicced me onto my religious education teacher who happened to be in the same shop that we were having the conversation in.

So I asked the Rel Ed teacher my question, probably completely blind siding her given she was just there to grab a tin of soup, and was given the answer that Adam and Eve had more than just two kids.

Huh, well that didn't sit well with my seven year old self.  Did that mean brothers and sisters got married and had kids?

Oh no, she said.  There were other people too, in other towns.  The children probably married them.

Okay, hold the phone!  So first I'm told that Adam and Eve are the very first people ever.  Then I'm told they have two sons.  When I question that, I'm told they had other kids too.  When I question THAT, I'm suddenly informed that there were a whole hoard of other people there, conveniently living in another town?

So which was it, were Adam and Eve the first or weren't they?

At this point my Rel Ed teacher felt a sudden need to get home.  She left with her soup, and I left with the realisation that I didn't believe a word of what I'd been fed.

The next semester when the Religious Education classes were put together, I found myself in the one where all the "non-religious" kids were put.  We got to colour.  It suited me just fine.

I don't think I'd even thought about that in years, but today I was reading an interesting news article about a 19 year old boy who has been fighting against the Louisiana Science Education Act.  The act, which was passed about four years ago, allowed teachers to bring their own material in when the science classes were teaching "contentious" topics like evolution and global warming.  Soon enough, that led to the teacher getting rid of the normal science texts altogether and using their own creationism based alternatives.

This kid fought, and won, the right to keep the pure science texts in the science classes.

I know it's a bit of a delicate topic for a lot of people so I'm not going to even touch on my opinion of that, but I just had to say ... from one childhood rabble rouser to another ... respect, dude.

56 comments:

  1. I don't feel too opinionated today, so I've got no warnings and I'm beating about the bush, ha ha ha.

    I think that there should be a variety of different Religious viewpoints taught in schools and discussed openly simply because we now live in a multi-cultural society. The teacher should not have a right to influence the children, but rather they should give a balanced view for and against, if the case may be. Some questions may be hard to answer or not answered at all, but teachers don't know everything and everything is not always known. Each child should be able to walk away from a class knowing the basics of different religions, as they get older, it's up to them to make a choice.

    I was taught that Adam and Eve were the FIRST people, but that's not to say there weren't others after, perhaps that's the way it went. I don't fight about it, people believe or don't believe. But I know what you mean about it being a delicate topic though, as some may fight tooth and nail to get their point across and to get you believing them.

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    1. I completely agree. I think it would be great if kids were taught about different religions from a historical perspective. A lot of the problems in the world come from a lack of knowledge.

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  2. When I was a kid, my step-dad was an atheist and my mom a devout Christian. He bit his tongue as per an agreement they had (as I later found out) but that didn't stop him from being passive aggressive about it. Like you, I had that question about Adam and Eve that I asked my step-dad. My mom shot him an angry look like "don't you cross the Bible, bitch" and he replied, "Sure, Adam and Eve, first people," and rolled his eyes. Then I had the follow up, like you, "the brothers and sisters married?" He replied, "well, it's wrong for brothers and sisters to marry, and that's why we're all so stupid now. So don't marry your brother or sister or your kids will be really really stupid."
    Repeating his version of history did not make me popular at school. But I didn't marry any of my siblings.

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    1. Well at least you learned that valuable lesson. Incest is bad, m'kay?

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  3. I always wondered what would have happened if my parents were Adam and Eve 'cause I'm an only child. The world would have ended with me 'cause I could have never reproduced unless I had sex with animals. Bestiality ain't my thang.

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    1. But on the plus side, then there'd be people wandering around with tails and furry ears. That could be kinda cool ... in a creepy furries way.

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  4. If people want to teach the Bible as literal truth, then they should not shy away from its hard logic, like the incest which could only have produced the children of Adam and Eve's two male children. Hey, is that where the term "motherfucker" came from?

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    1. Ew! It puts a whole new spin on the expression "yo mama"

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  5. I hate to say this but you can't really use the states as a good example of much of anything anymore. Just given the last two major elections and the push back against being smart and president (cause of course you want someone dumb deciding what wars we enter and how much we spend for things) we really are embracing a weird place. The whole standardized testing thing sent the US education system plummeting in the rankings in the areas we could least afford it like science. I was lucky to graduate right before it got as bad as it is now and went to a relatively wealthy school so we were nerdy and it was a good thing. When I was dating the devout Catholic and considering converting so our kids wouldn't have to fight the whole Baptist Catholic issue, he didn't want me to go without him cause he was sure I was going to ask the nun or priest a question that made them abandon their faith. I believe in a higher power but I believe it's closer to the Dogma (great movie) side of things than what organized religion has become.

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    1. Oh, I love the movie Dogma! It's such a clever concept, and probably a lot closer to the truth than a lot of belief systems out there. That and Joan Of Arcadia, that concept was great too.

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  6. Surely even after the Cain/Abel mother incest debacle, the gene pool was narrowed again after the flood, when only Noah's family survived in the world. Really humanity is lucky to have diversified as much as it has.

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    1. Although if we really did start with just one set of genes (cause of the whole Adam's rib to make Eve brohaha) then we'd all just be clones of each other.

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  7. You go Girl! Coloring is far more educational.

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    1. And I rarely ever go out of the lines anymore. I put it down to the extra practice.

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    2. i have nothing agaisnt God, he is awesome. But Religious education is not. I hate it. Its so boring and i dont learn anything. It just wastes an hour of my night. Please help.

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  8. Wow, that's funny, it's usually the opposite. Have to agree with Southern Girl, I'd say we aren't an example of anything but chaos these days.

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    1. Gotta give the kid props for standing up for what he believes in. And I can understand his concern, he was probably thinking about how it would affect getting into Uni.

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  9. Just one question, when haven't you had an overwhelming urge to be opinionated?

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    1. Opinionated? Little old moi? Why, I have no idea what you mean ;D

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  10. I agree that coloring is better than religious education. I don't think believing in evolution is necessarily exclusive of being religious. I guess it would depend on how literal you take the Bible. If you believe that the Old Testament was written by men of faith in the form of parables to teach us valuable lessons, you might not believe that Adam and Eve were parents to the first wave of humans. (for all of those that believe in creationism...feel free to pray for my enlightenment) Of course, I could be wrong.

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    1. Oh absolutely, I've met plenty of religious people who are able to wrap their heads around both concepts and make them fit into their world view. Unfortunately, my religious education teacher wasn't one of them.

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  11. My husband, when he was a Christian, thought that the Adam and Eve story was like the Stork story. Given to children who weren't ready yet to understand the hard science of things.

    That is the only explanation that ever made sense. But not enough, we're both agnostic now. Also...wth is "Religious Studies?" How do they divide them up? No seperation of church and state where you are?

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    1. I'm in Australia, and this was in the early 80's. They used to split us up very loosely based on our religions for about an hour a week. All the little Catholics together, all the little Protestants together, then a bunch of the smaller groups all cobbled together, and finally a group of "non-religious" kids who got to colour and sing songs instead. I don't remember the classes continuing into the higher primary grades, so maybe they put a stop to it.

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  12. Not sure creationism and evolution have to be mutually exclusive. Where did the first molecule come from? Does God have a time line for his creations? Are we still evolving, or is GOd still creating?

    Biblical stories may be simplistic responses to complicated questions and easy fodder for intellectuals, but God's hand in creation should not be so easily discarded because the Bible's explainations are so flawed.

    Writing often starts out with a concept and evolves into something completely different, but that doesn't subtract from the creator or label his works as random or caotic.

    Love any post that makes me pause and think.

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    1. I like Joeh's comment. Seeing my niece be born, many strange and unexplainable coincidences, and weird cosmic nudges leave me tentatively believing that there is something far greater and enigmatic than ourselves out there. I get really annoyed with people who take the Bible word-for-word literally and can't understand the necessity for the use of allegory in a book written during a time when most people didn't even know how to read. Not to mention the fact that it was written by humans, who are innately flawed.

      Oh and BTW the Bible actually mentions 3 sons specifically and then also adds that Adam lived like 930 years and had 'sons and daughters' besides just the first 3 sons mentioned by name.

      I happen to believe in evolution - but did you know scientists (as of last time I checked) have as of yet been unable to produce a new species? Variations, yes, but a new species set apart as a distinct branch from the one it descended from? Nope. Isn't that super-interesting? How stupid ARE we?

      Is it possible to be an agnostic Catholic? =/

      Great post, BTW. I was going to take a nap and now it's too late. Thanks a lot. lol

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    2. Now days of course I know it's a much more complicated issue, but at seven years old all I knew was that a grown up was feeding me a line of bullshit which even she couldn't rationalise, and just expecting me to swallow with a big grin.

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  13. Would you please hand me that red crayon?

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  14. I love that picture---although it would be cooler if Jesus was holding a unicorn :)

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    1. LOL! I'm sure there's a picture of Jesus holding a unicorn out there somewhere. Just do a sacrifice to the great lord Google!

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  15. I remember always wondering about this as well and being very sceptical of the convenient explanation of 'other people in other towns...'

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    1. Yeah, how exactly did they get there? Were Adam and Eve really that fertile that they could populate a whole other town before they had Cain and Abel?

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  16. <3 Growing up, my parents were wonderful about letting me find my own way to or from religion and for that I am ever so grateful. Being the nosy, curious, opinionated child that I was (and the adult I continue to be), religion just didnt provide me with the answers I craved... even as a kid that shit didnt make sense to me.

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    1. I think being a nosy, curious, opinionated child is what got me out of Religious Education :D

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  17. I am all for coloring instead of religious "education"! I was one of the lucky ones that got out of Sunday School with my intelligience intact.

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    1. Well it suited me. I quite liked colouring. It was the only artistic skill I ever had.

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  18. That kid is a hero.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. He probably increased his classmates chances of getting into a good college, that's for sure.

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  19. As for me, I was "lucky" enough to be raised in one of those really weird "religions" so ditched the talk for crayons as soon as I could, and haven't looked back. PS I love that you are opinionated - always makes me laugh to read your thoughts on life. Go Kell!

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    1. Aww, shucks! I'll remind you that you said that the next time I'll talking (ie. scolding you) about budgets!!!

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  20. This reminds me of when Spawn queried the fact that if Adam and Eve both had belly buttons, then it meant that they had been 'born' and not created. :)

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  21. I haven't read all the comments because I get bored talking religion. My dad was a preacher, and also a pragmatist. So when I read that Cain married so-and-so from the such-and-such family, I asked my dad where they all came from if Adam and Eve were the first people. He had no problem saying it was just a story, like Noah and the ark, or the wine at the wedding at Cana'a. The stories are meant to suggest something, but they are not literal. The problem with most religious people is that they're too scared to admit none of it is real, and they're too ignorant to learn the inherent lessons.

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    1. Val that was the point of Dogma. That people built belief systems on the Bible, Koran, Torah, etc and were unwilling or unable to see that basically we're all supposed to be good to each other and try to be decent human beings. When your beliefs get questioned people get defensive and no real conversation ever takes place.

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    2. Truthfully, I think it's just human nature. You see it in things other than religion, like TV show fandoms or anyone really who follows something avidly. They get so caught up in their own mindset of what is and what isn't, that they can't see that other people might not agree with them and that they have the right to not agree if they don't want to.

      I go on Tumblr. I see it all the time.

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  22. Real touchy subject... I'm on your side though. I can't believe in a grater being unless I see proof. To many holes in the whole bible story thing. I suppose I am an agnostic. I am behind all religions being taught in school - kids have the right to decide for themselves based on the facts . Not sure there ever was an Adam and Eve or two sons and a few sisters thereafter - the whole in breeding thing just creeps me out.

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    1. I'm a Pagan, which I find suits me better because it's very much "Meh, that's what I believe, but if you don't then that's cool".

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  23. When I was in year 9 I won the religion prize at my school. This came as a great surprise given that I am most definitely agnostic and getting the answers right was pretty easy when our rather random teacher regularly left the answers on the board. In those days when you won a prize you could choose your own book. I chose the Time Life Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were. It is a brilliant book of myth and mythology but I'm told that students are now no longer able to make their own choice - I often wonder if I'm the reason why, it did cause a stir.

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    1. LOL! It would only have been worse if you'd chosen "The Golden Bough: A Study In Magic".

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  24. Hello! Nice to meet you! Wow scary but believable that someone had to fight to get science books read. I remember my friend and I saying we didn't believe in God from about 6 and we've both stuck to it, plus we were REALLY into Dinosaurs x

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    1. Welcome!

      Ooh, I went through the dinosaur phase too. I don't think I'll ever get over the scandal of the Brontosaurus.

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  25. Hi Kellie :) I agree with almost everything you wrote - except for the part about not believing in the creation. I do believe that God created the world.

    I don't believe that there is any conflict between science and religion - except in the minds of men, since we still know so little. It's good to note that the theory of man's having evolved from lower forms through an evolutionary process remains just that - an unproved hypothesis. I embrace the study of pure science - but deductions, theories and opinions should be clearly stated as such.

    I love science. I love all truth - which must logically all be embraced within the same reality. It is surely just as much a mistake for overeager defenders of faith to discard scientific findings because of apparent contradictions, as it is for overzealous evolutionists to disdain and evade the fundamental questions about life that are answered by religion. I don't know how the dinosaurs fit into everything, but I look forward to finding out one day.

    Why do I believe in God? At least partly because it's the only explanation that makes logical sense to me. Faith continues on where science only points the way.

    I would have answered your questions very differently, and would have been likewise very unsatisfied with such conflicted teachings. I think you may have got the better deal with the colouring.

    Bravo for saying what you believe. Respect to everyone, dude.



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    1. I'm a Pagan, which gives me quite a bit more leeway with what I can believe than most religions. It means my faith doesn't conflict with science at all.

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  26. Love you, love this post. Power to the children who question things which just don't make sense to them. I appreciate the differences we're all entitled to, yet still puzzled by blind believers. Ah, well...peace to all! We're all in this together, like it or not. Please pass the Periwinkle...

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  27. Fascinating subject, Thanks for making such a wonderful post.
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  28. This was such a nice post to read. It's refreshing whenever I read words of common sense and actually THINKING for oneself... and you were so young! If I went there, too, I think we'd both be in the same class coloring. :p

    I'd prefer coloring over being told spoon-fed lies. That's really what drives me batty. It isn't people's religious views, but refusing to actually think and re-think what they're told before coming to a conclusion of their very own.

    And even then it's all guesswork and putting random puzzle pieces together... which imperfect/ego-driven man has either 1). invented from the start, or 2). simply decided to change (to benefit themselves), throughout the course of human history.

    Even now, my "religion" is pretty much the same as it was when I was a kid... which is that I simply don't know. I don't have the answer because every question leads to more mysteries.

    Again, this was a refreshing post to read, and I'm sorry for rambling. :p

    Kristin

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