I used to teach Bible classes to middle & high school students in the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) school system. Now, I’m a secular humanist and an atheist. In this series, I review the major ideas I used to teach, in contrast with how I would teach them now.
#2. The next biggest idea I taught was: “Everything was created by God.”
And by the way, I was a self-described hard-core ‘young earth creationist’ (YEC!), determined to believe that six thousand years is all there was to the history of all life on earth; that is, I took the first ten chapters of the book of Genesis as literally as any fundamentalist Christian, just like most of my academic colleagues in the SDA church, and the rank-and-file members in the pews.
The way I’d teach that now is: Bullshit. (Sorry, but no other word quite captures it). The biggest problem I have with this, besides the mountain-chains-worth of evidence backing the current scientific explanations for Big Bang cosmology, evolutionary biology, and the corresponding lack of any evidence of intelligent design or biblical inspiration (yeah, besides all that, and that pretty much sums it, doesn’t it?) is that Christians insist that since something (everything, even) exists, then it must have been created by something else. That’s just the illogical, fallacious delusion-warped creationism leaking into their philosophical reasoning. I can certainly conceive of two additional possibilities, neither of which keep me up at night.
First, everything (i.e., the universe and all its life-making potential chemistry) has simply always existed. There. Why not? Of course, there is no simple answer to the “Why not?” And second, it’s possible that we may never know or even be able to know the answer to what if anything got it all started. And, as much as this causes the faithful to cringe, I say to that possibility “Who cares?” Yes, they do, but I ask that to make a point– Not knowing the answer to that question hasn’t stopped any scientific progress yet, has it? So, don’t let it bother you.
I’m so ashamed that I once exposed my students to junk science and horribly fallacious sources such as Ben Stein’s Expelled movie, and the assertions of the “Intelligent Design” (ID) proponents. The evidence I’ll point you to here has been around for just about my entire teaching career, but now the Internet has put it in an immediately accessible form. Don’t do as I did back then when I was confronted with evidence conflicting with my YEC/ID views– don’t mentally shut down or fearfully ignore it. If the “truth” loses nothing by a fearless, close inspection (something we all used to tell ourselves back then), then fearlessly test your ideas about creationism.
Start with Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Follow up with The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, also by Professor Dawkins. As a review and a good answer to Ben Stein and the other ID sources I used to show my Bible classes, the Youtube series called Why Do People Laugh At Creationists? is full of concise, witty presentations of facts in evidence against many popular kinds of YEC/ID propagandists.