In this latest installment of college-age church dissatisfaction, I'm trying the online sermon route today. There's one obvious pitfall here though- unrestricted reign of my distractibility.
I'm still listening to the sermon. It's just paused for now, while I'm reading the Creation vs Evolution essay posted on the site of the Emerg Doc referenced as a sermon example. Well-written, balanced stuff, and encouraging to realize how long ago it was written, even if I disagree slightly with the conclusions.
I'll try to type out coherent thoughts about church later, suffice to say that it's never been deeply important to me as an institution, and I've been mostly surprised by what I don't miss, more so than what I do.
What I'm mostly thinking about these days is complexity and creation. The mechanics of how God may have made the world don't excite me as much as they used to, but I still nestle comfortably into my evolutionary theism. The aforementioned essay notes that most of how Christians choose to interact with science seems to bear more with their concept of God than on any sort of consistent set of objections. It's true. I like the story of evolution. I like God as an artist more than a magician, shaping eons of development like movements of a symphony.
I can run through evidence for certain readings of Genesis later, if anyone actually cares (... *crickets*... Okay, thought so.) And honestly, I don't really care which viewpoint people eventually subscribe to- so long as they understand the uncertainties and implications of their positions. I just want to address the statement that ends most discussions about science/religion I have with church people. They will wade through the distinction between types of knowledge, even humour a discussion of literary genres in the Old Testament, and acknowledge that using God merely as the caulking for any gaps in our scientific understanding is a foolish approach to apologetics. (My God is more than the Strong Force, thanks.) Some are even okay with the suggestion that sections of Genesis are Mythological in their approach to truth.
The objection is far more primal: "It's just too complicated."
There's something horribly messy and wasteful about natural selection, even with the provision of divine guidance. It's brutal and unelegant, and worst of all, it's indirect. There is something inherently confusing about an omnipotent being choosing to accomplish plans through such convoluted means, especially if we are to believe that humanity is somehow special amongst the species, more than a bald ape with a highly developed prefrontal cortex.
And then there's death. Buying into anything but a literalist interpretation of Genesis involves the demise of individual organisms, if not the extinction of entire species (depending on which of the non-literal readings), before humanity even emerges with the moral capability to sin. Even if we make a distinction between 'physical' and 'spiritual' death,...