First, read or listen to the NPR piece:
Christianity does not hinge on the literal existence of a first man and woman nor on a literal moment-in-time fall from grace. The brokenness of our world and our glimpses of joy are evidence enough that we were created for perfect relationship with God and other humans and that we’ve screwed it up beyond repair. Christianity hinges on the concept of our original purpose of glorifying God; on our choice of sin; and on our redemption by God. This little garden-of-eden-to-end-of-the-age is acted out in our hearts every day–and God still wins us back.
Shifting gears: when Paul mentions Adam as a literal man, he’s writing under the interpretation of Genesis that was accepted in his day. If God is as incomprehensible as we say he is, what’s to stop him from inspiring a man to write an epistle under a cultural interpretation that may not be literally true? He is still our Maker, our Lover, our Forgiver, and our Judge, and I will still follow him even if he allowed something like that in the writing of the New Testament. Is this a copout to a self-created image of God? Perhaps–but in the realm of the infinite, the game changes.
The alarming thing is that those who resist current trends in science are acting out of fear, not out of faith. Read Romans 14 and judge for yourself whether I’m taking the final words out of context, but the chapter ends with “whatever is not from faith is sin.” Hardcore denial of current scientific research reflects a lack of faith that God could go beyond the boxes we were taught to put him in. That’s not to say that current research is correct–I don’t know if it is, because it’s changing all the time; but I do think it’s incredibly fearful of evangelicals to torch scientific disciplines that seek to understand the immense complexity of the world God made.
I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the economy for which it stands:
One nation under mammon, insolvent before its creditors,
With paid vacation and personal days for all.
So you’re trying to follow Jesus (sometimes–and that’s why you said trying). What should you do when someone you love is attacked in the heart’s most vulnerable space?
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
But the evil committed against her was so–
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Excerpts from Matthew 5 and 7.