In some way, we’re all guilty of incredulity at some level but it becomes bothersome when someone says, “You can’t know for sure such and such event didn’t happen.” Well of course, but then is there any reason to believe it did?
I think we can reasonably rule out the Biblical story of Noah’s flood for example, either by simply contemplating how logical it would be for animals to line up in pairs (putting aside the ones that reproduce asexually) and march onto a boat like something out of a quaint Disney animated cartoon. The counter argument is always, God is all powerful–he can do anything! Then why didn’t God just make all of the innocent animals and people disappear while the flood was happening and return them when he was done drowning the wicked? Better yet, why didn’t God simply snap his fingers and make all the wicked drop dead. How come it was necessary to kill seemingly innocent animals (I don’t know, maybe animals do commit sins) to punish wicked men and women. The more logical explanation of the flood story is that the people of that era were simply trying to explain a disasterous event. After all, they weren’t scientists.
Lest you think I’m close-minded, I once was a literalist. I did believe in Noah’s Flood as a young ardent creationist. Creationists regularly defend the flood myth by trying to come up with logical answers versus miraculous ones. Answers to problematic questions of large dinosaurs fitting onto the Ark. Their retort is that maybe God allowed for baby dinos to be saved which are small–which brings up even more questions. First of all, it doesn’t state anything about baby dinos in the Bible and second of all, how are these babies marching in pairs to get to the Ark when they may need the support of their parents. The better reply would be, “God shrank the animals to fit inside the Ark.” You know why Creationists (well, most creationists) won’t say that? Because it sounds ridiculous.
And yet a defense of a miraculous story should contain more miraculous suggestions, not logical-sounding ones or scientific-sounding ones. Why do creationists and Christians in general feel the need to sound scientific? Because in a time of modern media and technology their stories are embarrassing when you take them literally, they equal the imagination of fairy tales.
The end result of evolution can be incredible, but it is a natural process that can be traced and researched. And as always, what is incredible is relative. From our small human vantage point we may not understand that a creature as complicated as say a giraffe is but one of many creatures designed over time by natural selection. If nature were personified she might say, “What’s all the fuss? I make and destroy animals all the time. ”
While atheists may use incredulity to mock religion because the stories have no basis in reality, literalist Christians use incredulity to avoid looking at the science. I know I did. When I was a creationist, one of the favorite arguments was to find a complex organ like an eye and say it is too complex for natural selection. Now that I have come back around to discovering evolution (feels like it has taken a life time to begin to grasp how powerful natural selection is) I keep finding a multitude of explanations by qualified scientists for how eyes developed or other structures that may have taken research and reflection to understand. It is lazy thinking to gasp in incredulity and then be so arrogant as to think there is no explanation for it based on natural processes. The unexplained is not the domain of the gods, it is simply a holding pattern until the “aha” moment of a scientific mind grasps what happened.
Dare I make this statement: Atheists are justified in their incredulity while Christians are not. I don’t know if it is fair, but it is hard for me not to suggest it because the claims of miracles aren’t falsifiable–you either believe or you don’t. With evolution, you at least have a concrete subject matter that you can test and debate and new information is ever forthcoming. Even as it is an established Scientific Fact, Christians can still challenge the evidence. Noah’s Ark is a story with no evidence–an incredibly ridiculous, but entertaining bedtime story.