Saturday, January 23, 2010

Creationism/Evolution and Idolatry!

I have some quite random thoughts & questions for today. All of which stem from watching the Duggars on TLC. (I realize I mention them a lot, I don't watch much tv so the shows I do watch I talk about :D)

In the one episode, the parents bring the children to a creationist museum and some of the exhibits and subject matter boggled my mind! I tend to hold the Catholic view (and this has always been my thought, no matter what denomination I was researching) that however the world was made, it was designed so by God. Meaning, I won't denounce evolution...Genesis almost sounds like an evolutionary process to me. Anyways, Jim Bob stated that the world WAS created 6,000 years ago, and obviously does not believe in fossil records or carbon dating. They also seemed to agree that humans lived during the time of the dinosaurs...huh? I believe they are Baptists...but is this all the "norm" in creationist thought? A lot of religious bloggers seem to take sides, like you have to adhere to either creationism or evolution. Are there any creationists here? If so, I would love to hear the reasons for these beliefs. Why do you distrust science/the accepted age of the earth? Why can't science be apart of His design? And where did the dino theory come from?!

*This is an honest & sincere curiosity, I am not trying to fight or disprove your beliefs. I just want to understand this viewpoint because, to be 100% honest, I never really looked into or cared to research this topic! eek!

The next part of my post is about the Protestant view of idolatry. I have heard time and again that the Catholic statues of Jesus, Mary, & the saints is idolatrous and pagan. I haven't really thought about Protestant "idolatry" until Michelle Duggar (on the mission trip episode to El Salvador) told Jim Bob their Nativity Scene had been blown over due to the weather. (Also, one of the kids had a shirt with Jesus' face on the back.) It hit me that I know MANY Protestants who have manger scenes and life sized nativities on their lawn at Christmas time. Why is this an acceptable statue or depiction of Jesus and Mary+Joseph, but Catholic statues are not? Maybe there are misconceptions as to what & how the statues are used in the RCC and that is what the protest is all about.

I had a guy send me a picture of Catholics on their knees in front of a Mary statue and he said this is obviously a picture of worship, thus "proving" Catholics are idolators. Now, I cannot argue that in some countries, and even in America, Catholics mix old religious practices (like in Latin America & Africa) with Christianity and this does result in praying to statues, etc. But, from what I gather & believe, the statues are like pictures we take. I can have a picture of my mom holding a dog and when I look at it I remember her, the human being, and the things we did that day, etc. I don't believe that picture is my mom, I don't talk to the picture and expect her to converse with me. It's not her. Similarly, statues and holy artwork reminds us of the Jesus and the saints and what they did for God and the faith. They are not objects that house the soul of the saint or anything...we know it's just stone/wood! We use them as tender reminders, as a picture of loved ones would, because to Catholics, the saints are family and role models. We are all connected in the Living Body of Christ. And we don't pray to saints; we ask for prayers from them. Like I would ask you to pray for me.

So...yeah, comments & thoughts are always welcome & appreciated!
Have a great week everyone, I'll be moving back into school & starting
my life back up again away from home. Oh joy! (heehee, just pray for me!!)


cliff said...

Hi, I suggest going to the "Darwins" blog if you haven't already been there. They have a thread devoted just to evolution. One of the posts is on evolution vs. creationism.

About idolatry - some people have no imagination, or are just plain mean. I don't know what else can be said on that.

Good luck as you go back to school.

caraboska said...

There are a couple of different camps among the Creationists. Some believe we are talking about 6 literal 24-hour days, and some believe we are talking about 6 periods containing and evening and a morning, but not necessarily of the same absolute length as our 24-hour day. I personally have never known a Creationist who claimed that any dinosaur was alive at the same time humans were. But evidently such people do exist...

About idolatry: I can even stomach the idea of 3D pictures of Jesus or various holy people who are to be an example to us. But I really had to draw the line when I walked into a beautiful church one day, turned around towards the back and saw a gorgeous stained-glass window... and then its title: 'God the Father'.

For much the same reason, I do think it is treading on thin ice to make images of Jesus. There is one novel solution I've seen among the Jehovah's Witnesses in their publications. I have many differences in views with them, but this one thing I even agree with: if they make an image of Jesus for didactic purposes, to illustrate some incident from the Gospels or something to that effect, they always make sure that He looks different each time, so that it is clear that this is not intended as a literal representation of His appearance.

I personally do not display any religious images in my home. I attend a church here in Poland that has discreet images, but the Quaker Meeting I attend in the States has a Meeting House so plain that the only way you might figure out that the room used for worship is set aside for that purpose is that it has pews. Otherwise the only thing that could be termed 'art' would be purely architectural details such as moldings on the doors and ceiling - which are however painted white and contain no other adornment.

Let's say I err on the side of caution, especially since I live in a country where it is more than possible to find people praying TO saints in front of statues (and burning votive candles as they do so). I don't want to give any appearance of something that I absolutely do not support, and displaying images at home could lead to misunderstandings.

caraboska said...

PS Actually, my view on images is pretty far out of the box. My view is that we are not to make images, but rather BE them. We are supposed to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and the new self we put on as believers is supposed to be renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. So if I want to make an image of God, I focus on living so that I am as much like Him, so that I reflect His attributes as much as possible.

cliff said...

Hi again, just received an email and here is some of it:

The best thing I recall reading on the topic was a book by Ronald Numbers (a Seventh-Day Adventist turned agnostic -- in part as a result of realizing that some of the creationist beliefs he was being fed were untrue) called The Creationists. Despite the author's personal background, it's fair (though frank) about trends in Creationist thought:

Numbers is generally a fair guy when it comes to science and religion. He edited the collection Galileo Goes To Jail And Other Myths About Science and Religion -- which does a good job of debunking many of the anti-religion (primarily anti-Christian) myths about the history of science and religion.

As you probably noticed from the old Evolution thread, I have fairly strong opinions about creationism. But like you say, it's a debate that gets old very quickly. Both sides say the same thing again and again, and while I think the creationists are wrong as a matter of fact I find a lot of atheist evolution proponents far more evil -- so I mostly got tired to writing about it.

Hope this helps.

R.A.~ said...

thank you all for your comments. I know where I stand, but I definitely want to understand the other side, so I will for sure be checking out those sites cliff!!

peace & shalom always~