I grew up in a Fundamentalist Christian household. We took the Bible literally and assumed that those that didn’t were at best misled and at worst unsaved. As a literalist, I was taught that the events in the first few chapters in Genesis were literally true (i.e. there was a real talking serpent and two real original humans, a man named Adam and woman named Eve whose eating of a real fruit caused all of mankind to suffer). We were taught that this singular rebellious act was responsible for the fate of mankind and that it singularly necessitated a sacrifice to balance the scales of justice; therefore any watering down or questioning of this story was a fundamental attack on the need for salvation and was an affront to our beliefs. Many people continue to feel this way; however, I have abandoned the need to defend a literal creation event in the same way as most people abandoned the geocentric model of the universe when Copernicus proved that the sun, not the earth, was the center of our solar system. This has had some affect on my outlook on life and the world. First, it means that Dinosaurs, Homo Erectus, and Evolution are no longer offensive words in my vocabulary and when I read a report about how studying apes give us insights into humans, I don’t need to qualify that in my own head. Next, I have adopted a more “universalist” position with regards to those who grew up in a non-Christian tradition seeing “God” as someone who is looking for righteous people all over the planet rather than just the ones that conform to the faith I was given as a child. For my non-theist friends, I don’t need to see them as morally different than me simply because they see no reason for a “God” when life can emerge through natural processes. I choose to believe in purpose but I no longer need to rely on cosmology to prove it: It is a matter of faith and belief that are independent of how the universe came to be. It may be that we are the product of mechanical processes with no direction and no purpose and I have accepted this as a possibility; I choose to believe that there is purpose in the process but that is not something that can be (or needs to be) “proven.” This puts me at odds with my fundamentalist upbringing but I’m at peace with that (at some point, I may blog on the “Apologetics Trap” :). I’m sure I will offend some (Both Theists and non-Theists) with my position, but like Martin Luther I can say “Here I Stand” and I’m willing to live with the consequences. I can only wish blessings on my friends and peace upon their lives and let them know that I will advocate on their behalf irrespective of their views on origins. Namaste!