A recent conversation with an evangelical reminded me of the near famous Firefly scene in which Shepard Book finds River Tam altering his Bible:
River: Fixing your Bible.
Book: I, um…
River: Bible’s broken. Contradictions, false logistics – doesn’t make sense.
[she's marked up the bible, crossed out passages and torn out pages]
Book: No, no. You-you-you can’t…
River: So we’ll integrate non-progressional evolution theory with God’s creation of Eden. Eleven inherent metaphoric parallels already there. Eleven. Important number. Prime number. One goes into the house of eleven eleven times, but always comes out one. Noah’s ark is a problem.
River: We’ll have to call it early quantum state phenomenon. Only way to fit 5000 species of mammal on the same boat.
[rips out page]
Book: River, you don’t fix the Bible.
River: It’s broken. It doesn’t make sense.
Book: It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.
I think Whedon really caught the dynamic between atheist and evangelical there.
Atheist: This doesn’t make sense.
Christian: You have to feel it!
Atheist: But is it real?
Christian: That’s not the point, it works!
As Zach Alexander pointed out in his review of Faitheist, to most atheists epistemology is important. But to progressive Christians, fussing over the number of animals on the ark misses the point completely.
The fact that Rivers is insane and Book is not what he pretends to be just increases the verisimilitude. Or something.