Watched a documentary on Questioning Darwin. Tried to understand what the 29% of Americans who don’t believe in evolution are do believe.
As far as I understand, this is the thinking of those pastors who reject evolution:
If you believe in evolution then you believe God didn’t directly create humans as written in Genesis.
If you believe that God didn’t directly create humans, then you believe that God doesn’t directly create every moment of the universe, rather letting a process play out without direct intervention.
If you believe that God doesn’t directly create every moment, then you may have no need to honour/humour him, have no ability to expect intercession, or may find no use in discerning or trusting his purpose for every tragedy.
Pastors who proselytize an active and intercessory God — “an all knowing, all powerful, infinitely wise creator” — reject evolution to hold their belief in a direct and instantaneous relationship with a controlling God, keeping both the promise of intervention and the threat of judgment ever present.
This rejection of evolution is centred in the fundamental belief in a literally true bible and a rejection of any challenge to “biblical fact.” It is supported the teaching that martyrdom is the essence of being a true Christian. Biblical challengers are trying to martyr believers so they must be ignored and silenced.
In the end, this creation of common enemy who are out to persecute good Christians is a technique that has been used for centuries. In “The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom” Candida Moss suggests that the myth of martyrdom—and the expectation of huge rewards in heaven—was effective in organizing a cohesive early Christian identity. Why should it be less effective today?
I understand why fear bonding is such a powerful technique, why preachy preachers teach that it is the others who need to change, why activists find it easier to focus on oppression and persecution than on connection, vulnerability, forgiveness and personal growth.
Those techniques, though, deny the space for change by applying confirmation bias, rejecting anything that doesn’t fit our beliefs, denying anything that offers us challenge. It keeps us both fixed in belief and fixed in separations, unable to open to continuous common humanity.
When anyone goes into the world looking to prove that others are oppressing and persecuting them, they will always find sufficient evidence to justify their isolation, their anger and their beliefs.
How do we find people in the world who are not missionaries, just proselytizing their beliefs, who are willing to put themselves on the line to face to find connection rather than just look for affirmation of their expectations? How do we find ways to open pathways rather than just to blame others who do not buy into our belief structure?
More on this challenge later.