#4 - Do Some Criminal Investigation!
Trying to get in the ring with a topic as big as creation-evolution can be pretty daunting. Even if you consider yourself a science-type, it's a conversation that gets pretty deep, pretty fast. How can I break into it without getting slammed? Here are a few pointers that might help.
Think of it as a really huge, really messy crime scene. The universe that is! Evidence everywhere! Science discovers more and more information every second. There's no shortage of things to look at. The key in any crime investigation is accurately reconstructing what happened by looking for clues that identify the responsible party. How clean was the crime? DNA evidence? Witnesses - lots tougher if there weren't any. What was the cause of death? Weapons. Ballistics. Criminal psychology. Crime labs, microscopes, chemical tests... the list goes on and on.
In the wake of it all, we've got God - the defendant if you will. A defendant who has come forward pleading "guilty" but in the most subtle way. He's clear enough about admitting it...but he's going to let the CSI guys figure out the details. Some give no credibility to the guilty plea. Others are pouncing all over it eager to point out his connection to the evidence.
You would figure that a crime this big - that happened a long time ago according to any one's reckoning - would have a lot of theories about how it happened. So, don't be dismayed that there are so many voices trying to reconstruct what happened. That's where your research will have to come in.
Look stuff up. Don't just keep hitting the link to your favorite site either - spread out a bit. Read some young earth stuff, some old earth stuff and even things from theistic evolution. Find out how people are handling the evidence and what they make of it. Get informed about the various arguments for and against each perspective.
Answers In Genesis (Young Earth Creationism)
Reasons To Believe (Old Earth Creationism - Hugh Ross)
American Scientific Association (Theistic Evolution)
National Center for Science Education (Naturalism's response to Creationism in Education)
Read some great books that will help you into the discussion... or take you deeper than you currently are. Find books that start at your level of understanding. If something seems really over your head, put it down. Look for something more basic. Some books assume a level of scientific understanding that may be beyond you. If you come to Cosmic Fingerprints, I recommend grabbing up a book or two. Books are so good because you get to hear the person out. All the way. No interruptions.
Discuss what you're reading with others. We'll spend time in discussion groups at Cosmic Fingerprints as well as offer the chance to sign up for follow-up reading groups. Discussion groups can help you make more mileage out of your learning.
Hold your convictions with grace. Some things you learn about will make you want to slam your lappy shut and look for the nearest adversary to pick a fight with. You might find yourself flinging a book across the room in disagreement. That's normal! But when you're in dialogue with others, keep it respectful and constructive. Be willing to develop your view over time instead of feeling the pressure to know it all.
Each piece of evidence you put together will help you toward a bigger view of the world, the universe and just maybe God himself. Jump in and give him your best shot!