In “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason” (New York Times,October 17, 2011), Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens advise,
The Republican presidential field has become a showcase of evangelical anti-intellectualism. Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann deny that climate change is real and caused by humans. Mr. Perry and Mrs. Bachmann dismiss evolution as an unproven theory. The two candidates who espouse the greatest support for science, Mitt Romney and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., happen to be Mormons, a faith regarded with mistrust by many Christians.
By “science,” they mean Darwin.
Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation.
Actually, no one who is serious about being a Christian talks this way. First, I am a Catholic, so if anybody had trouble recognizing their religious tradition in the “mainstream evangelical conversation,” figures it’d be me. But I don’t. Not a bit. I know of no serious Catholic who does. Our disagreements with sincere evangelicals are doctrinal, and have little to do with culture. It’s the liberal churches with whose culture we find nothing in common.
I also have nothing in common with people who think they can tell God either what he is allowed to do with what’s his, or what level of involvement demeans him – the essential Christian Darwinist position.
Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.
Ah, so clear and simple. Everything that is good about the evangelical Protestant churches in the United States is “evangelicalism” and everything that is bad is “fundamentalism.” Never lived in a world so clear cut, myself.
I would counsel anyone, of whatever philosophy or religion, to steer past the rubbish heap of Darwinism, on lack of evidence alone. And avoid anything else that is as poorly supported in science (though well supported in certain types of washed-out religion and thug politics.)
But there is another factor I simply must bring up. I have been reading Goldman’s book, How Civilizations Die, which echoes Phillip Longman’s similar book a while back: Evangelicals are the future of the church in America, because they’re the ones who care to have children. The Darwin churches generally have small Sunday schools.
Imagine carefully honing a presentation that jams together “survival of the fittest” with “the Lamb of God, slain for sinners” – when the congregations have progressively decided that there will be few children to whom to tell the Bad News. Not an idle threat. Both Darwin-friendly churches in my neighbourhood are dead. The others aren’t. That is not a reason to doubt Darwin as such, but it offers hope that we are on the side of reality if we do.
Same goes for the laundry list of HuffPost causes Giberson and Stephens front. Once we know what they’re fronting, let’s keep looking.
Note: No, I don’t know the exact relationship between Darwinism and childlessness. Thoughts?
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7 Replies to “Giberson and Stephens in New York Times: “Hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation””
The gap between evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics is essentially nonexistent.
When I was a seven-year-old child I had a playmate Catholic friend who talked to me about God. I told my parents that I wanted to go to church with her and her family. My parents were so horrified that they took me to a Unitarian Universalist “church,” which, in a small university town, was essentially an assemblage of university intellectuals who got together on Sunday mornings to congratulate themselves for being intelligent enough not to believe in God.
There was always talk about Darwin, and how he had come up with the irrefutable materialistic explanation for all of life. I bought it on “scientific” authority, until a Christian friend in 1994 suggested I read Michael Denton’s Evolution, A Theory in Crisis.
At that point I realized I had been screwed.
OT repost: Anika Smith interviews science writer Denyse O’Leary about her book, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul.
Is the Brain Just an Illusion?
Speaking as an eastern rite catholic, ive always gotten along with my protestant brothers and sisters, But as a former theistic evolutionist I feel betrayed by the so-called scientific community that taught me that neo-darwinian evolution was a hardcore fact. It wasnt till I found this blog that I was shocked that alot of things I learned about evolution just isnt supported by real science.
At first I was resistant and denied anything against the evolution, but last year I hit critical mass and switched over to the ID side.
OT:Bornagain thanks for the link, have you checked out the info on veridical near death experiences? Very good material indeed.
Your post inspires me, as I’m certain it does others. Thanks.
Herman Cain has a bachelors in mathematics with a minor in chemistry and a masters in computer science. He worked on ballistic rockets for a time. He also likes pizza. Herman Cain does not like the label African-American. He prefers black-American. Herman Cain is a politically incorrect black conservative scientist that enjoys pizza with extra meat, i.e a liberals worst nightmare.
I too as a Christian believed that God could have used evolution until I started reading the arguments of the creationists, and they made a lot of sense.
The thing about Michael Denton’s book is that he doesn’t use any theological arguments at all, it’s all based on facts which he observes as a molecular biologist.
In fact Giberson and Stephens’ “religious tradition” is unrelated to orthodox Christianity of any kind, evangelical or otherwise. In Christianity and Liberalism (1923), J. Gresham Machen wrote
These darlings of the NYT are nothing new, just a couple more rebels in a century-old guerrilla war where the enemies of Christianity blend in with its adherents in hopes of rising up and destroying it from within. Their willful ignorance of scientific evidence only adds another dimension to their irrelevance.