“I thought creationists were monsters, until I married one.” -Tatiana Hamboyan Harrison
Loving the Enemy -Special to Newsweek
Hat tip to the shimmying atheist Kristine for pointing to this article.
Jan. 4, 2007 – It was only a little while after our first lunch as a married couple that my new husband got a test of faith. It came from my grandmother, who said that she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how anyone intelligent could be a creationist. Not that I could blame her. Before I met my husband, Rob, I would have laughed and agreed with her. This time, though, I glanced at my new husband, inwardly sighed, and wondered how heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d respond. With grace, as it turned out. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a creationist,Ã¢â‚¬Â he calmly said. Grandma quickly changed the topic.
When I first met Rob four years ago, I had no idea that he was a creationist. He had told me that his parents were fundamentalist Christians, but was silent about his own beliefs. At the time, I was between churches. I had left the Roman Catholic Church of my youth when I was 16 and would spend the next eight years searching for a new religious home before finally settling upon liberal Quakerism. It was only months into our relationship that he broke the news to me, while I was wondering aloud how different shapes of noses evolved. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe in evolution,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a creationist.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Before Rob, I hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t known any creationists. I assumed that they were people who believed in the Bible more than in scientific data, probably out of stupidity. Whenever I imagined what a creationist might look like, he or she was always standing up on a podium, passing judgment on all evolutionists, condemning them as nonbelievers and scorning them with hateful words. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sure where these people lived, but I figured it was probably down South somewhere, or in the Midwest. Surely IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never have to interact with any of them.
But falling in love with Rob changed everything. Though he was a creationist, he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t condemn me for not being one. On the contrary, he accepted my beliefs as legitimate and never tried to convert me. Still, it was hard for me to accept that my image of creationists could have been wrong. Instead, I made an exception for Rob, reasoning that he was different. But then, after a year of dating, the time came to finally meet his family.
I was terrified. Rob had been hesitant to let me meet his family, mainly over fear that I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t approve of them or that they wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t approve of me. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to a fundamentalist Christian college; I was a liberal Democrat; and, perhaps worst of all, I was an evolutionist who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe the Bible was the literal word of God. My perception of what a Christian should be was different from theirs; while I called myself a Christian, I could not take the Bible literally, which, to RobÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family, was a requirement for a Christian.