Friday, May 25, 2007

The problem with anti-evolution rhetoric

All I can say is that people can convince others just about anything if they have enough money. This New York Times article, "Adam and Eve in the land of Dinosaurs" talks about the $27 million Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky which opens May 28. The museum is the brainchild of the notorious young earth creationist Ken Ham.

People talk about "What Would Jesus Do?" but would Jesus have Christians spend billions of dollars to promote literal interpretation of Genesis like the Discovery Institute and the young earth creationists starting the Creation Museum and Dinosaur Land, while people around the world are starving and gravely suffering? While people still don’t know the love and grace of Christ? Creationist movements preach to the choir and at the same time, without doubt, they turn people away from the faith far more than they bring anyone into the faith. Has anyone ever become a Christian from listening to creationists preach Creation?

I honestly can’t understand how any Christian who truly assesses the situation can think Christians that live that kind of way could be truly following Jesus. What about spending that kind of money on missions and humanitarian work instead?

I care about the faith, about the integrity of God’s word, and the way that people practice it out in their lives as witnesses to nonbelievers. But frankly the direction it’s headed scares me! Clinging to nonsense at the expense of rationality does not serve as a good witness.

National Center for Science Education Director Eugenie Scott appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss the new museum. In this ABCNews online article, it says:

"In an evolutionary world view, why should you have things like absolute morality? Why would it be wrong to kill someone?" said Jason Lisle, of Answers in Genesis. "I'm not saying that evolutionists aren't moral. I'm saying they have no reason to be moral."

This basic misunderstanding is one of the biggest problems with anti-evolution rhetoric. The Judeo-Christian faith teaches that a Savior or Messiah will come into the world. Christians believe it was Jesus. Jesus rescued all people from sin and death... to those who accept the Way, the Way of love. Absolutely, you can not deny that horrible pain and suffering exist - among humans and animals. People do horrible things to other people - murder, rape, torture, manipulation, lies. Evolution does not give permission to anyone for anything. Evolution simply describes the way the world is. It's a dog eat dog world. Hello... that is what the whole story of original sin, and the Fall, are all about.

Yes, religion and spirituality offer morals and rules for living that allow people to rise above their sinful and selfish tendencies that we all have. To Buddhists, it is way of dharma - right conduct, and nonharm. The Boddhisattva in Buddhism commit to helping all others achieve a state of enlightenment out of the committed Bodhisattva's compassion. To Christians, it is the Way of grace and forgiveness and brotherly love. The Golden Rule. Christian and other religious tenets allow people living in an evolutionary world - in which yes, horrible events such as murder occur and we all are selfish by nature- to choose not to live a life that harms others- such as murder. So how come Christians know their faith so little that they can not understand that?

So the point the guy's making is that evolutionists don't have a "reason" to be moral, meaning that they don't have a God telling them what to do. Yet many do live just as moral of lives as Christians. How can this be? And many Christians fail to follow the tenets of their religion. Priests abusing young boys. Pastors leaving churches in shame after extramarital affairs. Christian abortion clinic bombers. These are extreme examples - but not really. Every Christian, like every person, has things in their past - or present - they're ashamed of. We all fail to be perfectly good, we all hurt others intentionally or not. That is why Christians believe we need a Savior - someone who loves us unconditionally no matter how much we screw up. And I'm talking major screw up - God's forgiveness is for those very people who do the major ^&*%-ups as well as the little ones. If only they can accept it - to really accept that one is loved and forgiven despite one's flaws - that is when a revolution of the heart takes place (and those who have committed the most grievous crimes are often the most grateful recipients of grace).

But when an evolutionist follows morality despite not having a religion - well, what do you think of this? Jesus said, in one of my favorite passages, when he was hanging out with a Samaritan woman who had been divorced many times and was living with a man not her husband. Jesus shared water from the well and said "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

To worship in spirit and in truth, to me, means to live out the way of loving your neighbor as yourself (which is the earthly manifestation of loving God) - and those who do this are following God whether they think they are or not. To be not hypocritical, to be truthful in words, to live a life of respect for one's fellow human beings - that to me is worshipping in spirit and in truth.

1 comment:

Sus said...

ahhh shoot you beat me to the punch!! I laughed my arse off when I read about this story in the papers. Checked-out their website and I must say their admission price is pretty decent....hey maybe we should go on a roadtrip?!!