Creationism

This is a response to an uncomfortable and disheartening article written by my Blogosphere buddy, Pastor Aaron, here.

The article describes Aaron’s experience (as a Christian) of arriving at a Creationist lecture disguised as an Atheist, and how he was treated so poorly by the Christians there. I quote Aaron:

“While I did not have a T-shirt (a symbol anyway) it was obvious that there was a distinctive way that we were being treated because of the shared identification.  There were hateful glances, exaggerated perceptions, waxing surveillance by security, and anxious but strong ‘amens’ accompanying a lecture on “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” by Dr. Jason Lisle.”

Again I am reminded of James W. Fowler’s ‘Seven Stages of faith,’ which I blogged about not long ago. The ‘atheist-bashing’ people Aaron describes in his post sound just like Stage 3 of Fowlers’ progression- ‘the loyalist’.

Loyalists are conformists. They are acutely aware of what others expect of them and how they view them. This is a ‘tribal’ stage with a clear idea of what it means to be part of your particular group, and clearly defined boundaries of who is in or out. They have a strongly held but uncritical faith, often unable to explain why they believe things beyond referring to some external authority – “the Bible/my pastor says so.” Unfortunately, Fowler believes most adult Christians (in the West) are at this stage. I think this is an important part of the faith journey, but a poor place at which to finish it.

As for the Creationism stuff… well, while all Christians agree that God created everything, after that we seem to sit along a ‘spectrum’ of beliefs about how exactly God chose to do this .. from those at one end who adhere strongly to a young earth theory, to those who accept the current model of evolution as the way God chose to work (which is the official line of the Catholic Church) at the other.

What I find interesting is this – that, as far as I can tell, the place a Christian locates themselves along this spectrum seems to have absolutely NO correlation to how well they imitate Jesus or how transformed their life is. None. Zippo. Zilch.

So why do we care so much?? To me, the Creation/Evolution debate seems like a terrible black hole that sucks up Christians’ time and attention, where they could be focused on better things, like helping the solo mum next door who can’t feed her kids. Instead, a Creationist or Evolutionist can sit at their Apple Macs eating their bucket of fried chicken (or for vegetarians, insert yummy luxury food here) as they argue with each other over the internet, while the mum next door and her kids starve. As Christians, why don’t we just accept that God somehow made this amazing beautiful world around us, and move on? C’mon people, we don’t have to be right all the time … we just have to be in right relationship. Jesus doesn’t need defending. He couldn’t be bothered even defending Himself. He just got on with what He knew He was supposed to do.

If the starving single mum example seems far-fetched, we must at least heed the words quoted from ‘Shamelessly Atheist’ in Aaron’s article – “.. to Ken Ham and his minions we atheists are bogeymen, inherently immoral and evil.”

‘Shamelessly atheist’, I’m so humbled that you take the time to read blogs like Aaron’s and comment calmly and insightfully on them. I feel your pain, and I personally apologise on behalf of all insecure, defensive, myopic Christians who constantly forget that the line that seperates Good and Evil does not run between groups of people, but inside every human heart!

I’m always reminded of a great quote from Shane Claiborne:

“Whenever someone tells me they have rejected God, I say, “tell me about the God you have rejected”. And as they describe a God of condemnation, of laws and lightning bolts, of frowning gray-haired people and boring meetings, I usually confess “I too have rejected that God”

Perhaps, as Aaron says, we have more in common then we think? I believe it is time for a new, more open-minded dialogue that doesn’t demand that the ‘other’ use the same vocabulary as us before we begin to listen to them.. a dialogue that springs from the common ground of respect and truth-seeking.

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~ by humblemonkey on August 23, 2009.

One Response to “Creationism”

  1. I, too, find it sad when we get bogged down in these debates instead of being present to God alive and among us. Who cares how God created the world when God is constantly recreating us right now and begging us to join in these acts of re-creation–from re-creating the story of the single mum (a new word for me–hehe) to the stories of war and famine and faithlessness.

    We have a lot of self-proclaiming Christians who are really good at worshiping this Christ of ours without experiencing this same Christ. Experiences in Christ lend themselves to mystery and wonder and the unexplained. When God is an entity that we do something for, to or at, it’s probably easy to try to prove our rightness or others’ wrongness. When we become swept into this crazy/beautiful intimate relationship with a mystical Christ, we experience God in a way that helps us dig down to the jewel of our faith: we serve a God so great and so full of glory that we cannot even conceive God’s glory. I agree . . . even Christ didn’t overdo the explanations and proof.

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