I came across a great quote from St. Augustine written over 1500 years ago:
“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.
“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”
– St. Augustine of Hippo, 5th Century AD (considered by some Protestants to be one of the theological fathers of the Reformation)
Even in the 5th century, the science vs religion debate was brewing and old St. Augie got it right: there is only one truth. Any religious belief that seems in opposition to observable and reasonable fact needs to be reexamined. God doesn’t lie and His Truth is visible in His creation, so any interpretation of scripture that seems in conflict with the observable facts of nature is, by definition, suspect. My book on the creation accounts of Genesis addresses this head on.
As St. Augie pointed out so correctly, doggedly clinging to an interpretation of scripture that is glaringly at odds with the observable truth of our universe is not only embarrassing, but is damaging to the cause of Christ in that nonbelievers, once convinced of the folly of even a single part of scripture, will be forever averse to trusting any part of scripture. We cannot accomplish the great commission if we, as believers, bring into ridicule the scriptures that establish the foundation of our faith. THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUTH. Seek that truth with all you heart, soul, and mind, even if it means opposing long held doctrine. Even if it means pissing some people off. The truth is too important to simply go along to please others. Have courage. Seek Truth. As my mother used to say, the Truth shall set you free, but first, it will piss you off.