7 years ago: E pur si muove

7 years ago: E pur si muove April 11, 2013

April 11, 2006, on this blog: E pur si muove

This sad, angry woman has somehow been convinced that it is impossible to believe in God without also believing in an illiterately literal reading of Genesis 1:16. She’s painted herself into a corner in which she must reject not only evolution, but the existence of the dark side of the moon. She is forced to regard Neil Armstrong as the pawn of Satan.

This is the inevitable conclusion of the brittle faith she has been taught. It is impossible, she has been told, to believe in God without also accepting this unworkably literal reading of every phrase in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Thus, if the moon simply reflects the light of the sun and does not itself project light, she believes, then there is no God. And that means, she has been taught, that life is random, meaningless, nasty, brutish and short.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • SororAyin

    This post really caught my eye because I have encountered a couple of people who were desperate to leave the Fundie bubble but had no resources for doing so. Both of them lived in Bible Belt areas where everyone they knew was also a part of that bubble. Leaving Fundiedom would have potentially meant losing all their friends and alienated their family all in one fell swoop. Does anyone have anything to suggest that I could say to such people if I encounter any in the future? Once you’re in that bubble, how do you get out?

  • Either by finding the courage to walk away into the unknown without support, or by being sufficiently alienated by the bubble that anything seems better, or by being expelled from the bubble, or by finding a friend outside that bubble willing and able to ease the transition.

  • Original Lee

    Thanks, Fred, for posting this. Ken Ham and others like him are milking these poor people of every cent conceivable. They hold conferences with scientific-sounding seminars to help these believers maintain their beliefs and indoctrinate their children in the same beliefs. Then when their children fall away from the church, it’s because of secular science, not because of the literal interpretation of Genesis.

    A friend of mine who is now firmly within the Fundie bubble told me that he had had problems reconciling the speed of light with Genesis, because the light of the stars has been traveling for millions of years to reach us here on Earth. But Ken Ham helped him out of this difficulty by positing that God created our planet separately from the rest of the universe, as a six-day miracle, and now he’s OK with the literal interpretation of Genesis. (The fact that radiocarbon dating is only good for 12,000 years, according to Ken Ham, when the Earth is only 6500 years old, though, goes right by him.)

  • Green Eggs and Ham

    Stufffundieslikedotcom is a useful online site by ex-fundies. It would certainly be helpful in sorting through all the cognitive mess.

    There are plenty of Christians there, many of whom live in the Bible Belt. These folks would also have some practical advice about leaving the bubble.

  • It’s become cliche now but that sort of stuff just has to be making more atheists than Richard Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens ever could.

    I have this friend of mine and at times we’ve talked Christianity. She is a fundie and seems to be all about Judah Smith and his sexual purity message these days. I once told her that I didn’t believe the Genesis story was literal. She told me, “I don’t see how you could take it any other way.” I couldn’t get through. She didn’t get mad at me. I think she was really concerned for my soul to be honest but I basically told her that she had to think about the reason Genesis was written and that if it was written as a science book then clearly it’s not a very effective one.

    It’s so strange. If it isn’t completely accurate on every thing that it speaks of then it’s just worthless. It also has to be read as if it’s the greatest piece of literature ever for some reason. C’mon folks. Let’s be honest. There are parts you skip.

  • JustoneK

    I am still there. Buckle of the Bible Belt. All my family are…on the scale of Fundie, generally, and all with the upbringing.

    Internet helps me. Even if you can’t leave the area, because you work there and live there and everyone you know is there, the internet can expand who you know, and what they know.

    Even just lurking on relevant forums and stufffundieslike can be hugely cathartic. Wanting to leave that bubble does not mean you’re defective.

  • Original Lee

    I also think that insisting on the literalness of Genesis is a rejection of quite a lot of Biblical scholarship. The Bible is supposed to be unchanging and unchanged, according to them, so the analysis of which books were written first, and oh hey, the first Creation story in Genesis is actually a poem in Hebrew, and all of that, out the window. Because then, if you actually notice that there is more than one Creation story, and the stories don’t hundred percent overlap (similarly to the two different deaths of Judas in the NT), then that is Bad. I’m not sure exactly why it’s Bad, but pointing out little historical facts about how the Bible was put together makes their little heads explode.

  • We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

    One of the primary facets of this latest form of fundamentalism is an insistence that the Bible has always meant X, that RTCs have always believed X, and that the only people who don’t believe X are deluded by Satan.

    And then quite often, X is actually a very recent belief not supported by scripture at all. Some of us can remember when it wasn’t this way — because it was within our lifetimes that it changed.

  • Cathy W

    What a statement to make – that, billions of years ago, the whole, entire, huge universe, with a hundred billion galaxies each with a hundred billion solar systems, was created, just to be pretty for us for a couple thousand years? I almost prefer Last Thursdayism.

  • stardreamer42

    Unfortunately, sometimes the cost of leaving is indeed losing your family and friends, and having to go out and find new friends and chosen-family.

    One way to make a start is to look for new hobbies and activities in which to participate, where not everyone is part of the bubble. If you live in a city of any size, this is generally possible — small towns, maybe not so much.

  • Fanraeth

    Two things broke me free of the bubble, mentally at least since I still live in it. Being gay and loving the Harry Potter books. Odd combo, but being told your whole life two things are evil and Satanic that you know aren’t wrong tends to make you question everything else.

  • The_L1985

    When I was a kid, it puzzled me that Catholic schools got into the history of the writing of the Bible, whereas Protestant schools would never mention the subject.

    The larger numbers of fundies in Protestant schools probably accounts for this, even though I’d always thought it was pretty obvious that the Bible wasn’t written all at once. As a kid, I’d even wondered if it was possible for me to do something Important enough to get my own book in the Bible.