There was a wonderful moment in this evening’s Christianity: A History, when Colin Blakemore asked a Vatican astronomer why he doesn’t think the Earth is only 6000 years old. Said astronomer replied that the Bible doesn’t have to be taken completely literally, because it’s not a science book. How do we know it’s not a science book? Because science books need to be updated, while the Bible doesn’t.
Srsly. This actually happened. I have no idea what he meant, but it only applied to the old testament – the new testament is obviously completely true, and we know so because it says so in the Bible.
The Vatican dude was a bit rubbish, to be honest – a Creation Museum ‘astrophysicist’ was better, as he was intellectually honest enough to admit that when evidence defies scripture, he chooses scripture. It’s ridiculous, but at least it’s not couched in desperate justifications.
It was a decent documentary, actually. These shows often go a bit Robert Winston, and end up all wishy-washy we wouldn’t-want-to-offend-religious-people, and trying to find some line between ‘the two extremes’. Not this time: Colin Blakemore ended by expressing his opinion that science will eventually explain the religious impulse, at which point Christianity, along with all religions, will be dead in the water. I’m not entirely sure about that, but it was good to see someone expressing a proper opinion rather than trying to ‘start a debate’ by lobbing potshots from safe ground.