I LOVE comments. Please leave some even if they are brief half-formed ideas
that you aren't even sure you really believe. I just love comments.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Extremely What?

When I heard about Sam Harris's book, End of Faith, I was excited to read it. Then I started it and felt like he made ridiculous assumptions, but had a good point or two. The last couple of days I've read a few pages and found some more good points or issues. So, I think it must be a pretty good book that will be tough for me to get through.

Anyway, here's the most recent comment that really struck me. Sam Harris points out that Muslim extremists are extreme in their faith. That is, the problem is they really believe what Islam teaches.

I don't know anything about Islam or Muslim extremists. But the comment generated this question for me: Are Fundamentalist Christians more extreme in their faith than Progressive Christians?

Obviously, I think the answer is no. But, I wonder what others think. AND, I wonder what Progressive Christians can do to counteract the perception among, Fundamentalists, atheists, and dare I say even Progressive Christians, that the answer to this question is yes.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Solution

Christians are required to stand up against evil. Progressive Christians don't like the idea of that, but I'm sorry. There are people doing terrible evil stuff in the name of Jesus, and it is our job to stop them from misusing the name of our Savior for such things. Anti-science used to just be stupid. Now it is evil. It is preventing research into cures for diseases. It is interfering with efforts to stop to the distruction of our planet. Anti-science must be stopped. Here's my suggestion for how you can help.

CO-WORKER: Well, I don't see why they can't teach evolution and creationism.

YOU: I don't understand what the two have to do with each other.

C: Creationism is how the Bible says the world was created and evolution is what science says.

Y: Oh, right, I'm sorry. It is kind of like how the Bible assumes the Earth is the center of the universe. It's kind of funny, in Genisis it talks about how God separated the fermament and there was water above and below. And then during the flood, God opened the flood gates from the sky and the ground.

C: Well . . . I mean . . .

Y: No, right, we would never say now that you have to believe the Earth is the center of the universe to be a Christian like they did in the Middle Ages.

C: Well, I mean, the thing is evolution is just a theory. There are lots of holes in it.

Y: Sure, sure. Like for instance, when the Church challenged Galileo for supporting Copernicus' idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe, Copernicus was wrong.

C: What?

Y: Yeah, the guy who is most famous for challenging the church on the center of the universe stuff, was wrong. He said the sun was the center of the universe. That's not true. The sun is the center of the solar system. If fact galaxies rotate around some center of the universe.

C: Oh.

Y: Of course, the story in Genisis has nothing more to do with how the planets are arranged then it has to do with the origin of species. Its about how God relates to us. I really hate it when people misuse the Scripture for political gain. You know what I mean?

Note 1: There appears to be some controversy over whether the Church persecuted Galileo the way modern Christo-fascists persecute modern scientists. So, I would just say that the Church challenged Galileo's science based on articles of faith.

Note 2: Copernicus was actually a real jerk. We read his text in a high school at which I taught and Copernicus really made fun of Ptolmy for being a dummy for thinking the earth was the center of the universe when obviously it was the sun. Well, jerk, it is not the sun either.

The Problem

MR. VANDEHEI: Senator McCain, this comes from a Politico.com reader and was among the top vote-getters in our early rounds. They want a yes or on. Do you believe in evolution?


MR. VANDEHEI: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree -- believe in evolution?

(Senator Brownback, Mr. Huckabee, Representative Tancredo raise their hands.)

SEN. MCCAIN: May I -- may I just add to that?


SEN. MCCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

So, about a third of the candidates for president from the political right believe do not believe in a set of scientific theories as a matter of faith. And the one who explicitly does, feels a need to explain his position.