William Thornton is the SBC Plodder.
Among the things I’d like to see before I die is a climate where Christians can have reasonable, informed, civil, and illuminating conversations about evolution and creation without all the unreasonable, uninformed, uncivil, and obfuscating clutter that seems to accompany such things.
Allow me to recount a sample, fictional conversation:
I don’t have all the answers but I join most scientists in a belief in evolution as the explanation for much of what we see today.
You are an idiot.
Darwin was an idiot.
Scientists are idiots.
You don’t know science.
Evolution is an atheist plot.
It’s all a Satanic conspiracy.
You couldn’t possibly be a Christian and believe evolution
Of course, God loves you and I do too.
Wait, I need to tell you some things you don’t know and no one else will ever tell you about evolution.
There are serious, polite, highly educated Christians and many who are well educated in the scientific disciplines and who are creationists. These have the temperament and knowledge to approach a conversation on the subject without rancor, incivility, caricatures, or condescension.
I just do not run into many of them.
Most of the creationists I run across are rude, know-it-all, pseudo-intellectuals who have an excessive, perhaps obsessive, interest in the subject coupled with an appalling ignorance of virtually all of the matters of substance that touch on it. The main goal seems to be to present as poor an image of a follower of Christ as can possibly be put forward.
Maybe I’m around the wrong crowd.
My guesses as to why we have a poor public image are:
1. Intellectual inferiority complex.
2. The poor example of the creationist movement leaders most of whom excel in polemics rather than reasoned dialogue. These creationists seem to have goals that include. (a) the utter humiliation of those who disagree, (b) the throwing of red meat at those who agree so that they can raise funds, and (c) just pure meanness, all in the cause of Christ, of course.
3. Creationists of this stripe are loath to admit that there is any possibility of being wrong or that true Christians may stray from the dogma of young earth, six day, creationism.
4. These creationists appear to have the subliminal belief that young earth creationism is an addendum to the Gospel itself.
I am well into my seventh decade and have been a serious lay student of such things for about thirty years. I am not expecting to see a change in the atmosphere on this matter. While there are some sensible voices in all this, it appears to me that the divide has grown and not diminished the last decade or so.
To sanitize this entire rant of mine, I offer one example of a reasonable, civil approach: I dare you to read Andrew Snelling’s Earth’s Catastrophic Past and Davis Young’s The Bible, Rocks and Time side by side.
I recommend that.