But let me point out the difference between my faith in non-believing and your faith in believing. I put my "faith" in that what we can see, in what is real, and in what we can observe. I put faith in the processes that produce reliable, reproducible, and testable results. These observations are paired with other proven and tested observations to say something about our surroundings. These scientific explanations are known as theories - which you believe can not be proven. Lots of people mistake "theory" to mean "a guess", but it is just the opposite in a scientific sense.
A theory starts out with an observation and an associated idea to explain that observation (for example, the air near a burning candle is hot). This idea is formulated into a hypothesis (the candle is the source of heat) which is used to make a prediction (a piece of paper above the candle will start on fire). Then there are experiments to test against this hypothesis to see if the results meet the prediction in a process of verification (putting the piece of paper next to the wax, beneath the candle, above the candle). Verification leads to a revision of the hypothesis, which then leads to more experimentation (Only the paper above the candle burns, so revise the hypothesis by saying that the area near the flame is hot. Test again). Once the results consistently match the predictions of the hypothesis (every time the experimenter puts a piece of paper above the flame, it starts on fire), the results are presented for peer review. If it passes peer review (other scientists agree that the work is possible, and they see similar results in their own work), then the hypothesis and results will be published in a scientific journal. At this point, other scientists will try to replicate your results (Scientist B is paid by the wax company, and wants to show that its actually the wax causing the paper to burn, so he even has an interest in trying to disprove Scientist A, but of course, he cannot).
If any of these steps break down, the hypothesis is scrapped and the process starts over until the correct explanation fills its place. The great thing about this scientific method is that you can't pass off fraudulent science without it being caught eventually. And on top of that, its theories are always open to thoughtful, informed criticism and modification. Often times, two observations will appear to contradict each other under the current theory, and when this happens, the theory is revised to account for the apparent contradiction. Thus knowledge grows. This is in stark contrast to the religious maxims that require contradictory evidence be outright ignored or discarded. Certain theories are still going through this winnowing process, like the Big Bang theory, and I won't be surprised if new evidence someday emerges that sparks a revision of the theory. However, just because the explanation for the observations changes, that doesn't mean that all of the observations that were made are invalid. Other theories are more concrete, like genetic (DNA) theory, where 50+ years of experimentation, testing, and now medicine have shown that our genetic information is passed from generation to generation through DNA replication. It is highly unlikely that this theory will be overturned. But the whole idea of theories contradicting scripture is somewhat a moot point. The real concern for people of faith is that the observations themselves show scripture to be riddled with misunderstandings and plain falsehoods. Once the observations show scripture to be inaccurate, the theory that comes after is of little concern.
The highest achievement for a scientist's work is for his hypothesis to be validated with evidence and be considered a theory in the scientific community. The evidence behind theories as controversial as Evolution certainly faced stricter skepticism than your average piece of science, since it would be a great honor for any scientist to have their work be the foundational basis of the subject. Its true that scientists do not claim with certainty that the big bang happened, they only claim with certainty that the universe is expanding from a single observable point, and the big bang theory is the best explanation for the observed evidence. Scientists can, however, claim with near perfect certainty that evolution is true, because we have seen it again and again in action, and in the fossil record, and in the genetic material that we share with other animals. It is fair to doubt some theories, but to do so, one must first doubt specific pieces of evidence that produce the theory. And since the observations are so well documented, to baselessly doubt the validity of these observations is to doubt the other theories brought to us by science, like gravity, radiation, molecular theory, etc etc. To doubt these on the basis of faith is to spit in the face of what we know, of what we can observe, of our own senses, because they disagree with the writings of our particular ancient book. For all these reasons, I see that science provides the best method for obtaining true knowledge. I think its strange that people of faith can enthusiastically accept the science that brings us medicine, skyscrapers, combustion engines, television, radio, computers, electricity, and air travel, but when science has something to say about the Earth, our history, or other areas traditionally monopolized by sacred texts, its automatically discounted or distrusted.
What is your version of faith? - To completely put all belief into the literal translation of one book and deny any evidence that proves it otherwise. At least with scientists, they will be the first to admit that they are wrong if the evidence proves so. Regardless of all the insurmountable evidence from the fields of archaeology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics (which all are somehow consistent with one another) as to the age of the earth and the universe, how long it took species to evolve, and everything else that seems to contradict the Bible, people of faith refuse to accept it with their "open" minds. Science invites skepticism about its theories and begs one to find weaknesses in the ideas, whereas faith actively stifles that attitude. People of faith know God exists because the Bible says so, they know the Bible to be true because it is the Word of God, and they know it's the Word of God because the Bible says so. You are caught in this endless loop of circular reasoning, and to justify it, you throw out the supposed virtue of blindly believing what someone else has told you (faith), which is extolled in the Bible. I find it interesting that faith today is much different than the "faith" of the men in the Bible that instructed us to have it. These are men that supposedly benefited from direct, divine intervention or by conversation with the God of Abraham. If their stories are to be believed, the evidence that God existed was undeniable, because God actively revealed himself in a way that left no doubt. So what do they know about faith when the evidence was spoon fed to them?
Its apparent that you have a hard time believing that we may have evolved from simpler species. You say that to suggest such a thing is demeaning to our existence. How can we be some product of an incredible accident? Clearly, nobody believes that our uncle was an ape, and nobody believes that our distant ancestor was an ape. But isn't it possible that our distant ancestors were slightly less intelligent? Or that they had slightly bigger foreheads? Yes it's possible! There is plenty of evidence in the fossil record for such creatures. And if those had slightly different features, couldn't their distant ancestors be slightly different? Over hundreds of thousands of years, isn't it possible for slight changes and mutations to lead us from our current state to a state that more closely resembles a lesser primate? At some point, ages ago, humans and lesser primates shared a similar ancestor, and evolved to our current species in parallel. We were never gorillas or chimpanzees, we have both evolved in parallel from a common ancestor. Is that so hard to believe?
And far from being insulting, the diversity of life on earth is a marvel of beauty, and isn't it even more amazing that the elegant and simple mechanism of evolution through natural selection over billions of years produced such a wide array of life? And lets not forget that just because some may consider the idea of having evolved from simpler species insulting, given their belief that our exclusive sanctity is handed down from a higher being, the perceived insult says nothing about the actual truth. The evidence provided by science points in the same direction, and God is no longer needed to fill the gaps of our ancient ancestors. Why is it enough to suggest that there is an eternal being that created us, but not enough to suggest that perhaps the universe always was? How is the former less ridiculous than the latter which has the evidence to favor it.
I read Romans 1:19-28 a few times, as you suggested. Without considering that the Bible can't be self-verifying and must be proven as truth before heeding its instructions, all I see is a poetically composed verse that talks about how non-believers are doomed because they choose to understand the world around them rather than blindly accept scripture as their source of truth.
Psalms 111:10, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
So it is not acceptable to obtain knowledge through science and check it against scripture? Here, wisdom is now apparently defined as ignorance. We are commended for getting our truth from the Bible without justification or verification, and we need not look elsewhere for truth. I'd like to see these tactics put to use in a modern courtroom: "Judge, as you see, umm, I umm, forgot my diagrams and evidence today, but I CLAIM that the whereabouts of my client on the night of the murder are known, and he was NOT at the crime scene. In this matter, I am the sole source of the truth, and you need not call any witnesses to the stand, since they would all agree with me anyways. ...Nevermind that the fingerprints and DNA match my client, those were placed there by dark forces to confuse you and test your faith in what I say, which actually proves that I'm right!" The standards that allow this verse to be taken seriously would get any modern lawyer disbarred, or at the very least fired by his client. Why should we continue to accept such grand statements without double checking them? Wouldn't we be doing God a favor by showing that his claims are actually true by using methods outside of Biblical study?
I love you too,