Nice boys don’t ask questions like that said the minister

Earlier this week, Dan Brown the author of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” appeared on CBS Good Morning. It was fascinating to learn of his upbringing as he was raised by a mathematician father and a very devout mother who was the church choir director. Brown even sang in his mother’s choir. He said he was raised to ask questions and lived in a very healthy balance of science and religion.

Brown noted it was not uncommon around the dinner table to question all things, such as what if Jesus was not the son of God and was a mortal prophet? This type of questioning was encouraged as it opened his mind to discussion. It also let him gain a better understanding of religion in the context of greater scientific information. When he became concerned that the Big Bang Theory seemed to be at odds with the bible’s view on creation, he went to ask his minister. The answer he received was not welcoming of discussion. The answer resides in the title to this post. “Nice boys don’t ask questions like that,” said the minister.

He said this was a life changing answer. It had the opposite effect from what the minister likely intended. Brown said it told him that we should be questioning more things in the bible especially where the text doesn’t jive with scientific data and leading thought. Many who have discussed the Big Bang Theory have noted that it need not, by itself, contradict a divine hand of creation. But, that is not the answer he received.

Since he wrote “The Da Vinci Code” which is based on the plot that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child, he was asked on the show about the recent papyrus that indicated that Jesus was married, but was proven to be not authentic. Brown notes that religious scholars over time have discussed whether Jesus was married. The book and movie just made the issue more known to others. He was not saying Jesus was or was not married. Brown was simply noting that it has been discussed in religious scholar circles.

So, we should question texts such as the bible, especially when considering the context of when they were first written and later translated. I have written several posts about people of faith teaching against science and scientific exploration. For the home schooling mothers (and fathers) and owners of the Creationist museum that talk about the dinosaurs walking with man on an earth that is only 7,000 years old, this does a huge disservice to the children. They are being taught that others will try to dissuade you from these teachings, which will only alienate the kids from their teachers when the truths become more evident.

As someone of faith, to repeat a message that I have been noting in earlier posts, it is not possible that every word in the bible is true or any religious text for that matter. They each have good messages and teachings to live by, but even if divinely inspired, these texts were written by imperfect men, interpreted and reinterpreted by imperfect men, and translated and retranslated by imperfect men. God did not dictate, so the men related what they believed to be true in the context of their own biases, understandings of science, and human imperfections. And, they were men. Women are treated as second class citizens and even chattel in many religious texts.

For a minister to give the response to young Dan Brown’s question like he did, showed his own lack of faith in the document. The bible has many great lessons, but it also has parts that don’t get brought up much in sermons. We must question things. King Solomon, who is revered in the bible for his wisdom, tells us God gave us a brain and we honor him when we use it. So, we should use it and ask questions.

We need to reconcile what the text means in the greater context of science and history.  For those who believe the earth is only 7,000 years old, when data literally beneath your feet refutes what you are saying about the age of the earth, then you should pause and think. If we don’t allow an updated understanding of the bible and religious texts, then people will pay attention less and miss the key messages that Jesus had for us. And, that would be a shame.

 

 

12 thoughts on “Nice boys don’t ask questions like that said the minister

  1. Just a quick point, as I’m sure you know, the Big Bang Theory was developed by a Jesuit priest, Georges Lemaitre, who also calculated Hubble’s constant 2 years before Hubble…

    • Thanks for the comment. I was not aware of that. That further validates my point that The Big Bang Theory need not be at odds with a divine instigation. Many thanks, BTG

  2. I have found truth is always eager to be questioned, and never has to apologize for it’s answer. If only people could learn to think bigger! Really good post!!

    • What a great first sentence!! Thanks for your comments and wishes for all. You reminded me of an old friend who used to say, “always tell the truth, as you don’t have to remember as much.” Best wishes, BTG

  3. Many believe that God did dictate, and it’s not possible to have open discussions with them. I was raised Roman Catholic, a church that is open to discussion about evolution and science, but there are certain articles of faith that you aren’t allowed to question (such as the transubstantiation). Or rather, if you do question, you are told to take it on faith.

    • Great comment. My raising was as a Southern Baptist, which has some interesting viewpoints and interpretations, that they wanted you to take on faith. I like to use a modern day example – if God revealed himself with the same message to Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, Billy and Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, do we think the message put on paper would be exactly the same? It would reflect their biases and beliefs. There is a church near where I live that is down to three members. They in essence have driven everyone away with the most strident of messages. That is sad as more could benefit from the good teachings of the bible. Thanks for stopping by. BTG

  4. I love the big idea behind this, that we should be open to discussion and using our brains. I think the other problem with telling kids one way and avoiding facts that don’t jive with religion can lead to them growing up and feeling lied to. If we are always open and teach them to rely on faith while they study and learn and question, they can resolve these issues themselves without feeling duped.

    • Emily, I think you are on the money. The feeling you have been duped is a tough emotion to overcome. When I was watching the documentary about “Questioning Darwin” a creationist mother was home schooling her children to believe in creationism as authentic science and said you will be questioned on this when you get older, but they are wrong. One of the children wanted to grow up to be a scientist, which is great, but what happens when his lessons are challenged by data. I love what Dan Brown’s parents did creating an environment for questioning. Thanks for stopping by, BTG

  5. Very interesting post. I believe in questioning everything. The more I question, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I question. We all have our own truths, our own viewpoints, as it should be.

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