Polls show that almost half of all Americans think that Adam and Eve were real people that lived less than ten thousand years ago. In other words, they take the Biblical account in Genesis quite literally. As an American, this frightens me. It shows an appalling amount of scientific illiteracy among my fellow Americans. As a Christian, it sometimes makes me question my faith. I find myself wanting to distance myself from such a seemingly ignorant or delusional throng. I am encouraged, however, by the fact that over eighty percent of all Americans identify themselves as Christians. This, of course, means that at least thirty percent of all American Christians don’t believe the story of Adam and Eve is anything more than allegorical. I am glad to count myself among these.
Unfortunately, most people who believe the Biblical story to be merely allegorical are cautiously silent about their beliefs. This, I’m afraid, is seen as tacit approval of the much more vocal group who take the account literally. Non-christian outsiders might perceive this to mean that it is necessary to take the Bible literally, in order to be a Christian. This is not true (although I am sure there are some Biblical literalists who would disagree with me). This public perception would undoubtedly drive many of the more intelligent and well-educated outsiders away from Christianity.
Our job as Christians is to bring more new Christians into the Church, not drive them away. The Church needs an influx of new, bright and even scientific minds. If more like-minded people spoke up about their beliefs, it could be a step toward making this happen. If you believe stories like the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Flood to be mere allegories, say something, for goodness’ sake!
This is me, saying something.