Light it Up

This might just be one of the only posts I’ve ever written that has something to do with the outside world.

I am excited. Christianity Today (it’s for evangelicals, in case you’re unfamiliar) has put in a cover story (a cover story!) on evolution for June, and they even go so far as to mention some of the genetic evidence for evolution in this story. And they even talk about the ASA (the American Scientific Affiliation–a mostly-evangelical society of Christians in  science that I used to belong to), going so far as to get snippets from some of its members.

There was a year or two where I was subscribed to Christianity Today, and generally their articles focused on three things: The state of suffering and evangelism in foreign countries, the everyday lives of Christians in America, and pop theology. Occasionally a snippet would appear referring to evolution, and I got the impression that the intellectually-primed, urbanized staff were open to such ideas. Occasionally there would be an opinion article from someone claiming that evolution was true, or expressing indifference to the idea that it was true. But in this same magazine there are some egregiously conservative ads for Christian materials, with soft-focus-filter images and smiling housewives posing next to men who look like they were moulded from clay by the hands of John Elderedge. I’m pretty sure that magazine gets into a lot of very conservative hands, and I am just bubbling over with glee that some of these people will actually be exposed to a tiny sliver of what’s actually going on out there. To my chagrin, the only statistic about scientists’ beliefs on the issues are from the ASA itself: 66% of them accept that humans share ancestors with everything else, and 90% accept an old earth. Frankly, I’m blown away that 34% of that organization rejects or doubts a basic tenet of evolution, and that 10% are young-earthers, but the organization only has 1600 members altogether and when I went to the conference in Oregon last… erm… hm… that was already 3 years ago. Yuck. Anyway, when I went to the conference three years ago, it was all old[er] people and a few kids raised by the old people. I was one of maybe ten people under the age of 30 and one of three who were not the children of the people there. The reasons for all this were clear to me then, but they are even clearer to me now.

Ironically, I just looked over at my desk and saw… the June issue of the ASA’s journal. I’m STILL a member! The topics in here are basically all about squaring some kind of theology with evolution, death and pain (pretty much every issue is about this–though it doesn’t fit with what I saw at the conference, which was a bunch of evolution-believing, middle-class, self-aware individuals presenting lectures on saving the planet and pretty much not saying anything about Christianity the entire time). There’s even some guy doing a statistical analysis on those ridiculously long life spans reported in the Old Testament. Geez.

Anyway: back to Christianity Today. There are quotes in the article from Christians claiming that evolution, and a lack of Adam and Eve (i.e. a bottleneck of two individuals in the past) destroys the whole thing. There are quotes from people claiming that it doesn’t make any difference and that if Christians don’t accept the scientific facts, Christianity will effectively be a cult. The article ends with the writer suggesting that people get together in a room and talk this out, because this could be some kind of an earthquake (perhaps a schism?) for conservative Protestantism.

I don’t care what goes on in that room, but I’ve been dreaming of packing them all in there with each other for years on end. I absolutely cannot believe that Christianity Today would have the gonads to run that article as a cover story, what with the nature of their clientele. All magazines have lost readership since the Internet, and you risk losing half your distribution list if you’re Christianity Today and you put a hominid-looking Adam and Eve on the cover.

Thanks for stirring the pot, guys.

This is like finding out that there’s a big discussion in your little home town about the benefits and drawbacks of living closer to the city in which you live. Even if they don’t move downtown, some of them might move close enough that you can visit them on the weekend from time to time, and that would be better than never being able to see them at all.

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