Monday, September 28, 2009

The lowest common denominator

Part of me is amused, and part of me is distressed at this video. On the one hand I'm not surprised that good 'ol Kirk "Mike Seaver" Cameron is making this video, but I'm saddened by the realization that this argument is actually accepted by a disturbingly large number of people.

It explains why Wolf Blitzer, an otherwise reputable journalist, would waste everyone's time asking Republican presidential candidates if they believed in evolution during a debate last year.

I'm also somewhat amused by this video in response to Kirk. If you can set aside your offense at the plethora of 4-letter words, this woman has some substantive points, particularly when she mentions how Darwin has nothing to do with the big-bang theory.

Ultimately I'm left not really knowing what to think. On the one hand, I don't encounter these issues on a day to day basis, because even the most conservative people in my congregation don't think that science and faith are mutually exclusive (something for which I'm very grateful).

On the other, clearly there is a substantive enough portion of the population with whom this issue still has traction. If it didn't, the Christian-media-industrial-complex wouldn't waste any energy on it because it wouldn't make them any money. And those guys are nothing if not good capitalists.

I hope that the silent majority of rational individuals out there will see the forces using Kirk Cameron as their spokes-puppet for what they are: people who want to scare you into accepting their ideology without questioning. The issue for these people isn't about faith in God or even the authority of the Bible, really. It's about the authority of their interpretation of the Bible. In other words, the authority of them. And that's scary.

I'd like to address one thing Kirk says in the video. He claims that atheism has doubled over the last twenty years. I have no idea if that's true or if he even has any research to back that claim (I suspect he doesn't). But one has to wonder, if atheism (which is not the same thing as non-participation in church) really is on the rise, is Charles Darwin really the culprit?

I say no. Christians have only ourselves to blame for our steadily declining influence in the world. People look at us and perceive us a judgmental, hateful, out of touch with reality, and too obsessed with our own wonderfulness to really care about what real people are going through. And those outside of the church who actually pick up a Bible and read about Jesus only have those suspicions confirmed when they see the horrendous gap between the teachings of Jesus and the practices of those who claim his name.

We can create straw-men out of Charles Darwin and attack them all we like, but our problems are our own fault.

That being said, I hope you'll listen to what Kirk Cameron's puppet masters have to say. I also hope you'll read Charles Darwin for who he is and what he has to say: not as a Nazi or a racist, but as a guy who looked at the world and began to wonder if things aren't more beautifully complex and diverse than we'd previously thought. Darwin is a guy not unlike Copernicus or Galileo before him: someone who dreamed big and was persecuted by the religious authorities of their day, only to see succeeding generations repent of their ancestors' stupidity.

PS- if you're interested in issues of science and the Bible, check out Dr. James McGrath's blog, Exploring our Matrix. He's a first rate biblical scholar who poses challenging questions to all corners of institutional Christianity. You should also check out this great article on Kirk's latest quixotic venture by UCC pastor Chuck Currie.


1 comment:

Unknown said...


Science and Faith are not mutually exclusive. Science is fact. Faith is Truth. Science is the how, and Faith is the why (the purpose of things so to speak).

I'm glad there is a fellow Nashvillian that feels the same way I do.