[The younger scholar] asked his former professor, now colleague, why he was sent to graduate school with so many gaps in his learning. The answer: “Our job was to protect you from this information so as not to shipwreck your faith.”
(This is Clark in turn quoting another source, Peter Enns.)
That in turn prompted me to revisit a thought I've had for a long time. Basically, it's this: I feel sorry for evangelical Christians of a conservative bent whose faith compels them to deny reality and turn away from the richness of the world. Here's why…
- I feel sorry for you that your faith is so weak it can be challenged by open, honest education. If I were a faith holder, I'd like to think my faith would be strong enough to be reinforced by the mysterious, miraculous complexity of the world around me rather than undermined by exposure to reality.
- I feel sorry for you that your God is so petty that He tempts you with false evidence such as dinosaur bones embedded in the rocks of the Earth. If I were a faith holder, I'd like to think my God would love me enough not to twist the world around me with cheap tricks in an attempt to lead me astray.
- I feel sorry for you that your God created you with all the magnificent imagination and intelligence of the human mind, only to demand that you ignore and even falsify the fruits of reason and observation. If I were a faith holder, I'd like to think my God would rejoice in the fullest use of the gifts granted me by His creation.
- I feel sorry for you that your faith is so petty and narrow-minded that you cannot encompass the glorious complexity of evolution, astronomy and Deep Time. If I were a faith holder, I'd like to think my faith would enhance my imagination rather than impoverish it, and bring the world to me rather than shut it out.
- I feel sorry for you that your religion compels you to act in ways and believe in ideas that are so obviously stupid, mean and hateful when viewed by everyone outside your tribe. If I were a faith holder, I'd like to think my religion would make me an example and even a leader to everyone outside my tribe.
So I say to those people I feel sorry for in Evangelical America, wake up. We live in a better world than your faith allows you to see or believe. I feel sorry for both you and your impoverished, petty God that you cannot do so. If He is as you say you believe Him to be, your God is either a bully or a liar, or both.
I will welcome you joyfully when the scales of your blinkered faith fall from your eyes and you see the beauty of the world as it truly is.