I Believe Dinosaurs Existed, The Earth Is Old, Adam And Eve Weren’t Real People—And That’s Okay!

jesusdino

The Christian Faith I grew up with was a pass-fail proposition.

You were either:
in or out,
saved or damned,
Christian or not—period.

The only problem was, the people who decided such things kept moving the darn line.

For example, to be “Bible believing” meant you were most definitely in, however if you concluded that the earth was more than 6,000 years old or that there probably wasn’t actually a talking snake in Genesis’ creation story or that a specific woman named Eve most likely didn’t get formed from another guy named Adam’s rib or that God didn’t actually dictate the Bible from Heaven or drop it already written, leather-bound and shrink-wrapped from the sky; well then you weren’t actually Bible believing after all, and you were out—written off as a heretic or a backslider.

And so it went with God and the things of God and God’s people. They all got shrunken down and with it so did the Christian faith.

Over the last several hundred years, Christianity has evolved into an ever-narrowing set of criteria regarding what one can believe about the Bible or about Jesus, or how once can vote on the hot button issues or hear God’s voice, or pray, worship, love, or breathe and still be a card-carrying Christian with valid membership in The Club. And inclusion here is heavily guarded by self-appointed, self-righteous gatekeepers who claim a monopoly on genuine faith and proper expression of that faith, and who rush to deem someone else “not really a Christian“.

If you’re like me and you’re one of the millions of people who finds themselves in one or a thousand ways deviating from what is “correct,” please understand how relative and unhelpful that word really is when it comes to the Creator of all that has ever been created.

Here’s some really good news for us all:

You can be a Christian and…

– not believe that people born LGBTQ are inherently sinful because of that fact.
– trust much of what Science has revealed about the world and how it works.
– not believe in a talking snake.
– believe that Hell might not really exist.
– notice what appear to be contradictions in the Bible.
– not believe you need a magic prayer to escape eternal torment.
– have non-Christian friends without having an agenda to “get them saved”.
– allow Biology, Archeology, Astronomy, and Psychology to all shape your Theology.
– point out when you see a church or pastor doing damage or perpetuating hatred.
– believe that dinosaurs existed on a very, very old earth.
– not vote Republican.
– see the beauty and truth in other faith traditions and even joyfully learn from them.
– believe that there is true stuff not in the Bible, and stuff in the Bible that isn’t true.
– not go to church on Sundays.
– have unresolved questions about major tenets of the Christian faith.
– not be completely sure who Jesus is but yet love him deeply and walk in his ways.

Power and control are seductive things, even for otherwise spiritual people. As a result, many Christians and church leaders often find themselves compelled to try and exert both of these over others, in matters of faith. In order to do this, they will often belittle people and malign their character and question their authenticity and doubt their intelligence and evaluate their morality and discount their experiences, should those people come to different spiritual conclusions than their own.

Reject this treatment at all costs my friends as it’s of the Devil (if he exists).

If someone tells you that you’re not doing Christianity right, simply refuse to believe them because they aren’t qualified to make such a claim. They are, after all human and as a result they are as equally flawed, biased, and full of contradictions and inconsistencies as they can ever claim that you are. They have the same evidence at their disposal that you do; the same Scriptures and the same books and the same ability to reason and understand and experience and listen and decide.

No one, no matter how earnest or faithful or educated or passionate or dedicated has an objective faith.

We are all equally products of our specific stories and the sum totals of our upbringing, education, personality type, place of birth, mentors, teachers, and life experiences. As a result none of us can ever claim sole ownership of the Truth.

Friends, despite what you may have experienced or been led to believe, Christianity is massive and wildly diverse and uncontainable, if it accurately refers to a God who is certainly all those things.

God cannot be placed in a box.
God is the box.
All that is true and good and beautiful is of that God.
And you get to live in it and breathe it in and discover it without constraints.

Never let someone else shrink your story. If Jesus wants your faith to look different than it does, trust that he will tell you himself; not a famous preacher or a church friend—and definitely not some random dude on a blog comment section.

Your Christianity is no other human being’s jurisdiction.

Be encouraged.

“if Order Now:
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Thoughtful ChristianWJK Books

313 thoughts on “I Believe Dinosaurs Existed, The Earth Is Old, Adam And Eve Weren’t Real People—And That’s Okay!

  1. Thank you, John.
    Personally, I have NEVER voted for a political party; they’re ALL corrupt. I always vote for people who I think have the best chance to make the right changes. What a shame they hardly ever get elected.

    My religion is the same way. I stopped ‘believing’ in “The Church” quite a while ago. In the end, if God and Christ aren’t in your heart from the very beginning, then you’re screwed, cause you’re not gonna find Them in a Church.

  2. John, you state that you can be a Christian and not completely know who Jesus is…. please explain what you mean by this. I have entered into a good conversation with some family members concerning this article and i need clarification on this particular issue. To be fair, I don’t agree with most of your assertions, but i want to hear what you have to say to make sure i am not taking this the wrong way.

  3. I have wondered for years what hard line followers of all religions will do if we get to Heaven and it’s like the floor of Congress when it functioned well – Heads nodding together and deals being made ….Mary cradling an injured child in her arms while a Native American Spirit causes an undetectable spontaneous human combustion of a wife- and child-abuser; God and Mohammed working together to lead rescue workers to where survivors of a bombing lay under the rubble. Jesus and Buddha working together to scoop people up out of the water after an airplane crash…..But when I’ve wondered that aloud, anyone within earshot has been scandalized at the very thought.

  4. Thank you! I no longer identify with the “Christian” label but I enjoy reading your posts. For me, it is entirely possible and refreshing to believe in a higher power without believing the Bible is the word of God. Some of the very best people I know are atheist or agnostic, possessing the most loving and giving of souls. They have superb ethics, values and good judgment without relying on this book, although all are prolific readers. I studied the Bible six years before I could let go of the indoctrination that started with “Now I lay me down to sleep”…

  5. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”
    ~ Galatians 1:8

  6. I will never forget reading about Abe Lincoln trying to decide how the God he prayed to and the God the Rebels prayed to, being the same God mentioned in the same Bible for both, would resolve the outcome of the US Civil War. Maybe it is just as well to ask that the Force be with us and then get on with what we know to be right.

  7. Just because I find this stuff interesting…I believe that Adam and Eve were real people but that there were evolved people outside of the garden. When Cain killed Able, he was sent away from his family of origin, but he found a wife out there somewhere. I think that is what Genesis refers to when it says that the sons of God looked on the daughters of man, saw that they were fair, married them, and produced a race of giants. Either way, it doesn’t matter, as God is not confined by time, or space or culture. It’s just fun to think about.

  8. John…

    I believe that modern day christianity has devolved from a faith that was once more about spirituality and a direct relationship with God, into a belief in dogma and rules and systems of belief made up by man rather than god, and instead of bringing people closer to God, has moved them further and further away until hate has become love, and love has become evil. I firmly believe that modern day christianity is the generation of vipers that Jesus spoke of. They show their utter disdain and hate for anything that is actually Christ like. Instead, they have twisted a religion of love into one that fosters hate and division and drives people further from God.

    As a former minister myself, and as a member of the LGBT community, God isn’t as small as modern day christianity makes Him out to be. They have lost their way and become the pharisees and Sadducee of our time. Sure of their own righteousness, but their pretty white robes hide the filth that lies beneath. Whited tombs.

    ~Elain

  9. The word “Christian” means ‘Christ-one’, ‘like Christ’, or ‘little Christ’. As I was reading the article, I kept waiting for some for of reference to the actual recorded accounts in the Bible of who Christ was, what He taught, etc, but no such reference came. As a self-proclaimed Christian, I am curious where this comparison comes in. It seems to me that (1) either John has no desire to read or reference the Bible when creating his idea of Christianity, or (2) he is using a ‘pick-and-choose’ approach toward his faith; a very convenient philosophy as it limits one’s accountability while maximizing license. This biblically ignorant religious platform is incredibly dangerous.

    • It’s funny you mention the “pick and choose” argument when talking about John’s take on Christianity. Cherry-picking what parts to follow is exactly what modern Christianity is about. Nobody follows the old testament laws because they are seen as archaic (not many people are being stoned to death in America these days, especially for eating shellfish or wearing a garment made of more than one kind of material). But in old testament times, those laws were taken very seriously.

      I wish more people realized religions in general are archaic and unnecessary. More wars and deaths have been the in the name of religion than just about anything else in history. Morality and religion are not mutually exclusive. One doesn’t need a God to know right from wrong. The decision to live a selfish life, or to live a life of service to others, and the recognition that the latter type of person will be happier and more fulfilled is a personal decision that again, doesn’t need a God or religion to understand.

      Seeking truth and being a good person is about all we can strive for as humans. To say that a geographic based religious system – and that your religion, whichever it happens to be, is the only true religion and the only way to God, or the only way to be a good person is laughable.

  10. Everybody getting worked up over nothing. Nobody’s made up fairy tale is better than the other. Great, you believe in dinosaurs and didn’t vote for a guy who basically embodies the guy in the old testament. You also still believe in an invisible magician who lives in the sky, looks like you, talks like you, and cares about you. Nobody takes you seriously. If anything, big pops is laughing at you. Get over yourselves!

    • Exactly James. The fact that in this day and age there are so many people still desperately clinging to their out dated Abrahamic religions is just ridiculous.

      MORALITY AND RELIGION ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. You can be good without God people!

  11. This is not a challenge or criticism, just my humble view. I have a hard time understanding why it is so difficult for some to believe in an actual rather than allegorical Adam, Eve, garden, etc. I don’t really care how old the earth is because the Bible states it existed before time was introduced. But that is beside the point. A God, who can love us and reach across all that separates us, can do just about whatever He pleases. If I believe Jesus lived and died to reconcile me to God, opened the grave and walked around on earth another 40 days, then ascended into heaven, then I have no trouble believing in Adam and his fam. If he wants to create an “old” earth, he can. It is a mystery and we are asked to have faith. Faith has been the most precious part of my life’s journey and I’ll take it over “science” any day.

  12. Wow. Reading this really resonated with me. I had a long conversation last night with Christian friends about gay marriage, and I shared that I feel led to support gay marriage as being judgmental and against it never sat right with my heart. No one else shared my view. Sometimes I worry I’m not a “real” Christian as my views often differ from the mainstream and I do have a lot of doubts and questions. Out of genuine curiosity, what do you think constitutes being a Christian?

  13. I don’t call myself a Christian; I don’t really follow any particular religious doctrine any more. I DO believe in ‘God’, but in a way that most Christians would likely take issue with: there is only one God, but that one God wears many hats. Whatever you call the Creator of all things, He is the same. And probably (if he is still watching and paying attention to what we’ve been busy doing for the last umpteen thousand years since Man became the dominant species on this planet) thinking how very silly we are to spend so much time and energy arguing over who is right about who/what God is/is called/wants us to believe/says on a given issue.

    Christianity at its heart boils down to this: a belief that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, Jesus, that we might be saved from our sins, which will be washed away by Christ’s blood, shed for us.

    So, for me, anyone who grabs a Bible and shoves the Old Testament under my nose is in part straying from the point: Jesus has given us the Covenant of the New Blood. Matthew 26:28 ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’

    Mark 12:29 TELLS us that there is only one God. (Let’s ignore the Holy Trinity, because my thinking is that this verse applies to all the forms and facets and belief systems that have a God figure in them, and the Holy Trinity is the Christian version of that one God). ‘The most important [commandment] is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.’ (To paraphrase the NIV verse). (Deuteronomy says something very similar at 6:4 ‘The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!’)

    Mark 12:30 then instructs to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. 12:31 says ‘The second commandment is this: Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these.

    So, love God, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.

    How you choose to show your love for God and your neighbour is entirely up to the individual. For me, I try to live a good life; I try not to hurt others, I try to treat others as I would like them to treat me. I try not to lose my temper. I try to be patient. (I’m working on those.)

    Galatians 5 is the other chapter that has great meaning. ‘All that matters is faith, expressed through love.’ Then we are instructed to walk by the Spirit, and not indulge the pleasures of the flesh – things like hatred, idolatry, sorcery, sexual immorality, debauchery, impurity (and oh, those things are wide open to interpretation if you want to argue their meaning), and we are warned that those who practice such things will not enter the kingdom of God. And this is followed by instruction as to those things that are the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    I don’t know. I believe, for myself, that if I try my best to be loving, joyful etc and do my utmost not to let hatred take root in my heart, that I am on the right path.

    The things my parents brought me up believing were such ideas as ‘Hate the sin but love the sinner’ and ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’. ‘Remove the splinter from your own eye before trying to remove the mote from the eye of another (or something like that). Judge not lest ye be judged is another favourite!

    I’ve never really stopped to think whether Adam and Eve were real. I don’t believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old; I definitely don’t believe that men rode around on dinosaurs! If there’s no Hell, is there a Heaven? What is Heaven like? I’d personally like it to be a place where I can be reunited with the people I’ve loved and lost and the cats I’ve loved and lost.

    I’m not sure there are any correct answers, for the most part, so I think loving others and treating them how I’d like to be treated seems like a pretty sound and non-harmful way to live a life. As is trying to do good in the world, in whatever way we can and how we perceive that to be. Voluntary work is a good starting point.

    I’ve waffled so much I think I may have lost my point; really I don’t think any of us is qualified to say if someone is or is not ‘a Christian’. Rather than slap on a label, I’d rather see others try to live in the way that Christ instructed us to.

  14. It’s not just the last couple of hundred years that people have been careful to define what it means to be agreeing with God, and what it means to be a Christian in that light. Church history is 2000 years of passionate debate in order to preserve the Church’s holding fast to the Gospel, which is that Christ is the Creator, and the Lord, the Substitute and the Treasure of this life and the life to come. It’s not easy for post-moderns to place themselves in this larger timeline and story. But it’s comical that so many find it so easy to state their opinion with so little education and so heavy a reliance on what they think, experience, and hope to be true. John, you hope for a God who won’t offend you. Who won’t offend anyone. You even think that I would write something like this out of hate, but it’s not if it’s true and you’re fighting against Truth himself. I do love you. I so dearly hope you encounter Christ in this life. Your idea of him is so very weak, he’s only a man and a servant of your popularity. But he is the Risen God, patient but fearsome, and coming with a sword and fire in his eyes.
    “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”

  15. My wife had a funny comment. “You can be a ‘Christian” and not agree with God. But you can’t be a Christian who disagrees with John Pavlovitz and not get blocked.” Since John blocked me on Facebook and i was not at all trolling, just challenging his unbelief.

  16. This is a.. LIE, UNTRUE, NOT GOOD , NOT O.K. AND MAY ”He” The true and living God,( The only one there is) and The Lord Jesus Christ His only Begotten Son,… God In The Flesh… tell you Himself ……

    • Bahaha – this cracks me up. Let me guess Susie, John is a liar and a deceiver sent by the devil to try and corrupt the “good Christians”. Since when is someone who is trying to be open minded and not bigoted towards anyone telling a lie? You probably think the Bible is some magical book of truth that was directly written by God at hands of a few “chosen ones” to record the word of God, and that everything in the bible must be true because it’s the bible.

      Your taking offense at the authors suggestion that faith in God is a personal journey that anyone should be able to experience, regardless of race, sexual orientation or any other human trait, simply shows how Ignorant and unaccepting of a person you are. Exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught.

  17. Oh please…you can be Christian and still blah blah blah

    Well who says? You? Who are you to say what you can do as a Christian? And all you are really doing it saying things thats align with your own personal beliefs. Well you dont get to make that call. Just keep your opinions to yourself. Or start your own religion or something. Dont trybto twist Christianity tonfit your personal worldview!

  18. Here’s how I see it. A day in the life of God is a Billion Years to humans’ concept of time. So, in the first Billion Years God made the earth and, in the last Billion years, God made life on Earth. Adam and Eve were not real people; they were the separate sexes that God created at a time when the life he had already created was still made up of single-cell organisms.

    God is God; He can do whatever he chooses. He does not obey Man’s concept of what God CANNOT do, because there is NOTHING that God CANNOT do.

  19. Pingback: Confession – Hannah Downey

Comments are closed.