This little post isn’t really about religious tolerance per se, but now and then, images are fun.
Yesterday’s post was about the solidarity that is noticeably lacking among some minority groups and women. But what actually motivated me to begin writing was this so-called insight article. Several months ago, I moved to a new neighborhood. Ever since, whenever I drive somewhere to the south (which is 98% of my trips), I can see from the highway a sign for the Creation & Earth History Museum in Santee.
To be perfectly honest, I believe the theory of evolution, the Big Bang, and an earth age of at least 4.5 billion years jibes just fine with Creation. The more complex and elegantly functional the world seems, the more I believe in my glorious God. But my purpose isn’t to write about why I rather believe in evolution+Genesis instead of either/or.
All this time since I moved, I have been vaguely curious about the Creation Museum. It has a dinosaur statue on the outside, so apparently the people at least acknowledge that dinosaurs were probably real creatures. My first feeling toward the place was, “Oh great, more science denying Christians making us all look bad.” Maybe my curiosity simply stemmed from my effort to overcome my initial, unfair judgment. For a few reasons, I wanted to go alone, not with my husband, and since the semester finally ended this week, I decided yesterday was the day.
I was naturally up way before the museum opened, so I decided to read up a bit on their website. I was intrigued by a list of 800 scientists (I don’t think they’re all scientists, but mostly) whose names were attached to a somewhat vaguely titled declaration that “more investigation needs to be done into the theory of evolution,” or something like that. But as Law & Order taught me early on, you can always find some scientist or doctor to go along with your side of the story. I kept looking. That’s when I found the article I linked above. That’s when I got upset and decided to write.
Do you know why I’m Catholic? Of course there are many reasons, but one of them is that perhaps despite what people who have never even met a priest will say, the church is so welcoming to reason. To keep on topic, I’ll just stick with evolution. As a Catholic, you can believe God created the earth in precisely six 24-hour days, measured and defined just as we measure and define them today. No problem. Or you can believe God created the universe in six impossible-to-define days, and set in motion a wonderful, long (to us) natural history of neutron stars and asteroids and planets and amoebae and you and me. Also no problem. You’re not accused of not being a true Christian for having one belief or the other.
That’s the main problem I have with many Creationists and fundamentalist Christians. You’re not a “true Christian,” or “really” a Christian unless you agree with every little thing they believe. The moniker “fundamentalist” is quite funny in this way because these people rarely argue about fundamental beliefs—the Trinity, Resurrection, Incarnation, Virgin Birth, grace, etc.—but have this aggravating tendency to argue that every belief is fundamental…
But it’s really not. Honestly! Look up the word “fundamental.”
Anyway, let me take a deep breath and refrain from detailing my aggravation with my more Pharisaic brethren. What matters?
If I had to guess, which I do, because God has not been talking to me clearly from a burning bush, I’d say that what matters is faith and love and holding onto these as motivation for everything else. But what motivates arguments? Is it faith or is it pride? Is it love or is it the will to impose your own way upon others? Has anyone been saved because they were persuaded to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis? Perhaps. But I would venture a guess that far more have been saved because they have heard the Good News that Jesus gave himself up to save us, and that brought them new life.
We Christians have enough reddit atheists to defend against. We have enough temptations on a daily basis, or at least I know I do. We have enough people around us who genuinely need help: people who need food and shelter and someone to look into their eyes with respect—not who just need us to change their minds about whether God created the universe in a literal or a figurative six days! What is wrong with us? How can we busy ourselves writing articles and arguing both in person and on the Internet, amongst ourselves, about every little thing? I do not think that’s the will of God. I think we have mixed up our priorities, and it is to the detriment of the whole church.
To stand in solidarity with the poor and suffering, mustn’t we also stand in solidarity with one another? I’m not even saying the entire church needs to unify under the Nicene creed. I’m saying we must unite in purpose, intention, and charity. I don’t see any room in that for accusing fellow Christians of “not really” being Christians.
I am saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, not by my best guess on how God made everything.