On Facebook this morning, reference was made to an article commenting on a movie about a young Christian who confronts his atheist professor. The part that struck me was that the argument between the student and professor, it seems, was one over evolution vs. creationism. I am getting really tired of this putting people in boxes by drawing from one belief that they hold different from one’s own. The acceptance of the theory of evolution does not make one an atheist. The belief that there is no God is what makes one an atheist. The difference between evolution and creationism is about how God is engaged in the world, not about whether there is a God to be engaged. (I will say more about atheism at another time.)
This tendency to look at a part of a person and assume one knows the whole is old. I remember the little parable about the mice who thought they understood what an elephant was but each was looking at only one part and assumed the part it was looking at was the whole elephant. That is what is happening here. The above is about a specific scientific theory, but I get equally irritated about those who judge people because of their political views. A political liberal simply cannot be a Christian, right? Different political views reflect different beliefs about how a government should function, not about whether one believes in God or what religious path one follows. A sincere Christian can believe that the government should be actively engaged in administering assistance to its citizens. Another sincere Christian can believe that the government should have as little engagement as possible in the affairs of its citizens.
The problem with this judgmental stance is that it causes people to go on the defensive, to stop listening to one another, to get angry and controlling, to cluster with others who believe the way they believe against those who believe differently, to name those who have different beliefs “enemies”…and you know where that leads.
Enough! Everybody go to your corners and cool off!