Big hurdles: The Adam and Eve story
Ever since I actually opened my mind to Christianity (rather than just vociferously describing myself as "open-minded," which I used to do all the time) I've found acceptable answers to some major hurdles to faith. Hopefully this post will be the first of many on this subject.
What about all that Adam and Eve stuff? No reasonable person could believe that's literally true, therefore the rest of the Bible must be suspect as well.
This was a big one for me. Especially when you approach the topic with a cynical, bitchy attitude it's easy to write this off as a bunch of silly stories. But when you calm down and actually open your mind and think, "ok, is there any way this could be true and/or be the inspired word of God?" a funny thing happens: it starts to seem plausible.
Do I literally think that two people named Adam and Eve were hanging out with God and talking snakes in a place called the Garden of Eden? Not exactly. But I think it could be true in a sense. For example:
When my son is four years old and starts asking questions like where babies come from I'm not going to open up a copy of Hustler and give him all the graphic details. I'm going to tell him something that's based in truth, but more appropriate and palatable to his four-year-old mind. I'll probably say something like, "When two people love each other very much a baby is formed, and it grows in Mommy's tummy" or something like that.
Is it the literal, scientific truth? Not really. But it answers his question sufficiently without overwhelming him or telling him things he's not ready to hear. I have a lot of nuanced reasons for not explaining sex in all its complexity to him, though his limited intellect couldn't understand that. He should just trust me that I know what I'm doing and will reveal information about the world to him as is appropriate.
Let's say for the sake of argument that there is a God and that a few thousand years ago he decided to hand down an inspired text to people to explain life and how they should worship him, one that would be accessible to people of all intellects, at any place and time on earth. Would it have made sense for him to start off with, "When I first created the universe it consisted mostly of photons and other massless particles like neutrinos…"? No. Just like I wouldn't answer my four-year-old's question about where babies come from with a complicated discourse on humans sexual mores, it's plausible that God told people the truth, but just framed it in a way that made it more palatable to them and the times they lived in.