Monday, February 14, 2005

Every belief has its costs

[Skip to "Jist of it" below to bypass my cathartic ramblings]

Having a semi-scientific background, I habitually notice when "science" is brought into "theological" discussion. In particular, the idea of a Darwin-based "evolution." Being one that leans towards a Creationist paradigm (rather, my own variant of it - which may or may not be acceptable to those claiming to be "Creationist"), I have sat in wonder at the development of the God-caused-Evolution that seems dominant in those who speak public ally about God.

These public speakers/writers are also very interested in the end of exclusive practice and speech (yeah!!). It began to feel to me that the God-caused-evolution stance was an attempt to say, "Hey you, scientist-types. We are no longer going to beat you over the head in public with our preconceived ideas about mater and origin. In fact! we're going to incorporate what you say. As we dialogue with you, we are going to [finally] let you be an equal voice."

Here begins the first "cost." In order to be non-exclusive, we have to make up for the past. We cannot say, "You're an equal voice" and STILL have nobody buy what the previously-oppressed is saying (in case I'm not making sense, we cannot tell "scientists" that they are a part of the dialogue while continuing to tell them they are wrong about Evolution).

This is the heart of affirmative action. We cannot say, "All are equal" and still have inequality at work, in pay, at school, etc. So affirmative action shows up - a swing of the pendulum the other way. It's destructive to its own goal, but it is the way that feels most correct and appropriate to humans.

So now there is a certain amount of pressure on Christians. Are you going to continue to exclude smart, science-oriented people!?!?!!! But what about smart, science-oriented people that think Evolution is . . . silly? None of the neuroscience department at Arizona State University thought Evolution was an option - there is NO way Evolution can produce a human brain, nor the non-physical connections of the 'mind.' What about Steady-State scientists? or Plasma theory?

Cost: in an effort to be "inclusive" we are hitching ourselves with people that we shouldn't be. The other issues that are being tied to these public-speaking Christians (VERY good issues: injustice, the abuse of authority, the silliness of mechanically thinking about God, etc.) will be mocked because of the messenger (ironic: most of these public-speakers talk clearly about how the message and the messenger are vitally connected - do they know the cost of holding to this truth?).

The jist of it...
Here is a list of what I think is driving some of the crisis-level issues. Green: many of these Christians, who are finally allowed to value something other than the all-go-to-hell-without-Jesus rhetoric, resonate with save-Earth ideals. Social Action: the unwillingness to not live what one says. The unwillingness to ignore what much of the American church has left to others or the government. Inclusivity: the desire to engage in actual conversations (that go BOTH ways) with those who have been excluded by Christianity. PostModern Theories: even self-observation by many of these philosophers see these non-solid, actually-relative stances as already crumbling. pseudoTolerance: the combination of Inclusion and PostModern relativity. Ask a "tolerance" person if they are tolerant of non-tolerant people/beliefs. But one just can't be non-tolerant in one's statements lest one be dismissed by the seemingly tolerant. SemiUniversalism: the combination of Tolerance, Social Action, and Inclusivity.

So the idea of Green and Evolution plus the Bible combine into: the Earth is to be cared for by humans, not simply consumed. God has spent millions of years creating this planet that we are now rapidly consuming. We should care for the earth, not simply because we should, but because we are destroying what cannot be rebuilt except by miracle or a million years of non-use. The real rationale is not goodness nor the Bible but Evolution. When Evolution goes away, does the reason to be Green go with it? Or will something else take its place? It makes the whole affair look some illegitimate combination of consumerism and Save the Forest.

The emphasis on the active, ushering-in of "the Kingdom of God." Rejection of the ridiculous lifestyle of the 1900's (U.S.) where some people actually lived as if Heaven was all that mattered, not here-and-now (as it pertains to people, the planet, etc.). However, this round of the "Kingdom" sees ALL people as subjects of the Kingdom. This SemiUniversalist Kingdom deliberately looks away from a future Heaven (though not denying it's existence). Further, all promises to Abraham, David, Israel (the people group) are rewritten. Ironically, this stance erodes Hope. While it DOES bring God back from being all-future, it all-but forces Him to leave future and promise in order to prioritize "today." Further, it forces the adherents to abhor those who are not SemiUniversal as evil, almost people-Haters! One even went so far as to say that the Church is simply (and only?) God's response to evil. Forget relationship, forget Body, forget God's glory, forget hope, forget promises, forget the past or the future, forget...

The forces that drive an issue, even misguided ones, do NOT negate the highlighting of the issue! But the reasoning, the rationale, must be done a little better. Because most humans, in my observation, do NOT allow the first sentence of this very paragraph. Further, as an actual expression of Conservatives and Liberals, I MUST allow these ideas to enter the discussion. I must let them illuminate the dark, unseen parts of my own beliefs, theories, paradigms, AND practices. It just saddens me that the good of what is being said might be lost due to illegitimate connections.


BAB said...

would you say that why you believe something is as important as what you actually believe?

David M said...

I suppose I would see the "importance" of each being non-overlapping. I think, moreso, that beliefs in isolation (non-dialogue) lead to some pretty silly ends!