No matter what explanations I give Young Earth Creationists and Biblical literalists, they always have some explanation for how their position still works. This is because of their unwavering commitment to Biblical literalism.
Sherlock Holmes once said, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
This single quotation revealed the truth to me a few days ago.
- For Biblical literalists, their interpretation is the truth of God.
- If their interpretation is the truth of God, then anything that disagrees with their interpretation is impossible.
- And, according to Mr. Holmes, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
This forces Biblical literalists to accept all manner of harebrained ways of explaining away the contradictions in the Bible and between their interpretations of the Bible and science.
Most fundamentalists were taught that if there are any contradictions in the Bible, then it is untrustworthy. And many atheists became so after discovering that those contradictions did in fact exist. Both start with the same problematic premise:
(1) If there are contradictions in the Bible, then the Bible is false.
Fundamentalists follow (a) with
(2a) The Bible is not false, therefore
(3a) there are no contradictions in the Bible.
Some streams of atheists accept (a), then follow (a) with
(2b) There are contradictions in the Bible, therefore
(3b) The Bible is false.
This is sheer genius. Fundamentalists cannot even consider the possibility of (2b) because they have already accepted (2a)! Atheists reject (3a) by considering the rather obvious (2b). Naturally the naturalist will appear the more enlightened one because he can truthfully say that evidence will change his mind (because it will!).
But they have both accepted (a).
This is how one can be both an evolutionist and a Christian: Reject (1). Consider the possibility that there are nuances in the Biblical text. See scripture as a living document rather than a textbook on theology. See the conversation that Job and Ecclesiastes have with Proverbs. Recognize the beauty in the different truths revealed in the two different creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2.
Or accept (a), and choose between ignoring the evidence and rejecting the Bible.