Archive for the 'Creationism' Category

WHY ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS ARGUMENT???

WHY ARE WE STILL HAVING THIS ARGUMENT???

This ad describing “the evolution of flavor” appeared recently on Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page. It triggered a storm of protest from Creationists—and an equal and opposite reaction of ridicule from those who don’t share their view. In the midst of this imperfect storm I’m compelled to ask: Are you kidding me? Are we really still having this argument in the second decade of the twenty-first century—over the internet? Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. The book introduced his theory of evolution by natural selection. Its application has revolutionized countless aspects of modern life. Of course, some Christians protested that Darwin’s theory contradicted the biblical accounts of Creation. Their spiritual descendants haven’t budged—or grown–an inch in the last 150 years.  They work tirelessly to discredit evolution. They oppose its inclusion in public school science education at every opportunity. They demand that their religious view be recognized as a legitimate scientific alternative and given equal time. But it’s no such thing. Welcoming this religious view into the classroom  diminishes the scientific literacy of children subjected to such educational malpractice. Yet to this day Christian charter schools in some states receive public education funding t0 promote this narrow religious doctrine. One Scottish newspaper described the use of public funds by Louisiana charter schools to teach children that the Loch Ness Monster was a dinosaur that co-existed with early humans.

I don’t want to rehash the argument here—not even the part about religiously-based charter schools using our tax dollars to promote their religious worldview known as Creationism. I do want to encourage people of faith to learn and grow beyond Creationism’s narrow, fear-based interpretation of scripture. Insisting that the Creation stories are about “just the facts” destroys their beauty and poetry.  They are more far more poetry than prose, especially science textbook prose. Let us for God’s sake stop misreading Genesis 1-2 as a primitive science text. Then our souls can soar with this vision of a God far greater than a heavenly answer man or cosmic butler. Stop forcing the text to answer only the question “How did God create?” and trying to exclude all science that doesn’t fit that narrow box. (Incidentally, that includes all the science that makes possible most of contemporary life and technology.) Let’s celebrate the story’s affirmations of faith: “In the beginning…God” (Gen. 1:1); “And God saw that it was good.” (the refrain repeated after each stage of creation); “God saw all that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31, after six days of Creation.)  Let us never again confine God within the impossibly short timeframe of Creationist theology. Let us boldly and reverently worship a God we may never fully comprehend—big enough to use natural processes over billions of years to create the universe we continue to explore and discover, which is still a work in progress.

The Clergy Letter Project  began in 2004 when a school board in Wisconsin addressed this issue. Before long hundreds of Christian clergy had written or signed letters affirming the complementary nature of scientific and religious truth. Today that number has grown to nearly 13,000, in addition to hundreds of Jewish, Unitarian, and Buddhist clergy. The letter says in part, “We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as ‘one theory among others’ is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris[pride].”

Recently in the church where we worship, we sang a hymn by Dr. Thomas Troeger  which says in part,

 “Praise the source of faith and learning that has sparked and stroked the mind

with a passion for discerning how the world has been designed…”

God created us with the curiosity and ability to unlock and understand this amazing universe. Let’s use all God’s gifts, including our minds. Let’s do our best to discover all God’s truth. If it’s God’s truth, it can only lead us—to God.   Many scientists affirm that their explorations of God’s wonders have deepened their faith, not destroyed it. Just ask Frances Collins [LINK]how his faith and his science fit together.

Troeger’s hymn continues,

“Let the sense of wonder flowing from the wonders we survey

 Keep our faith forever growing and renew our need to pray.”

I want to know all of God’s truth I can discover. I’m not afraid new information will destroy my faith. This awesome, Creating God didn’t remain remote and stay behind the scenes. He loved his creation too much. When the time was right, God said, “Look, I’ll show you,” and came and shared our life through Jesus of Nazareth.

A Little Help from My Friends

Some folks wonder if they’ll run out of ideas for an enterprise like this blog.  My problem lies in the other direction. My “Idea Zone” file just keeps on growing. I don’t always look at it before I write a post. Sometimes (like last time) an idea presents itself just when I’m ready to write. But not every week is like that. Besides, some of those ideas in the Zone are worth addressing in some depth. I want to explore them all fully. So I wander through my IZ often in order to re-acquaint myself with the inhabitants. A little time and distance often reveal fresh possibilities in too-familiar material. My problem isn’t finding something to write about. It’s choosing from an abundance of ideas and issues I want to address. A related problem is my recent busy-ness. I’ve struggled to find enough quiet space in which to think, meditate, cogitate—yes, and pray—to sort out the best among all those good ideas.

So I’d like a little help from my friends and followers. Among all that’s on my mind, what’s on your mind too? What would you like to see addressed in this space? Which among the ideas below grabs your attention or catches your curiousity?

 Highlights from My Idea Zone

  • The resurgence of Creationism in schools and other parts of society; its implications for Christianity, society, and scientific progress
  • The obesity epidemic—Does the church have a role to play in addressing the issue? How does stewardship of one’s physical resources fit into the bigger picture of whole-life stewardship?
  • Some multi-part issues:
    • Lessons learned at my pool table about life and ministry.
    • Names we shouldn’t have to call the church (e.g.” friendly”, “missional”, “bible-believing”, “evangelical”, “externally-focused”).
    • History we must teach upcoming generations—Clarence Jordan, Watergate, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Nazi attempt to co-opt the church, Joseph McCarthy, the Civil Rights struggle; who or what would you add?
    • The Bible, its place in our lives, the different ways we read it and how those different approaches shape our theology, our practice, and our life together. (Might be another multi-part project!)
    • We’re losing the ability to compromise or to disagree agreeably. We’re insisting more and more in politics, religion, and other areas of life on “my way or the highway”. Can we find a different way?
    • “I’m not talking to you today, God”—one woman’s way of praying through a very tough time.

That’s by no means all. My intent when I write is never to bring the final authoritative word on a subject, but to share my perspective in the hope of starting a wider dialog that generates more light than heat with regard to the subject.

So, friends and followers, a little help please. Which among these ideas rattling around in my mind interests/concerns/excites/angers/puzzles you? What haven’t I covered that’s on your mind? Chances are you’re hardly the only one thinking about it.

 


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