Images: Adrien Sahores & Bastiaan Van Gaalen | Anthony Maule | Vman Magazine ‘The Evangelist’
Evangelism in America
The Evangelical Rejection of Science NYTimes Op Ed
Anne here, highly recommending this NYT op ed piece by Karl W Giberson & Randall J Stephens. Karl W. Giberson is a former professor of physics, and Randall J. Stephens is an associate professor of history, both at Eastern Nazarene College. They are the authors of “The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age.”
Science is on trial in the Republican presidential field, now a bastion of evangelical anti-intellectualism. Not just parts of scientific research like climate change are under debate. Evolution is not only dismissed as an unproven theory, but all of archaeological discovery about the lives of humans before the Old Testament are ignored — as if the rest of the world is just crazy or launching a deceptive attack against pious Christians.
As an American, I do not recognize the country in which I live. The country that put a man on the moon is today capable of denying the very fact that it happened. Depending on whether or not the Republicans win the next elections, not only will the Republicans continue their relentless war on women.
Next, they will wage war on our minds and all intellect. Speaking for myself, this is the fascism I fear most. Call it tyranny dressed up for a Tea Party.
It’s as if scientific discovery, physics, and mathematics don’t exist. All answers for these extreme evangelicals who dominate the national dialogue lie in Genesis and ‘God’s Word’. As for educating our children with knowledge skills to make them competitive in a global economy, it’s heresy today. And we Americans let these people control our textbooks!!
Their deceptive fingers are in every pot of life today, chipping away at all forms of knowledge.
Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.
Note that on the subject of pornography, the most conservative amongst us — those who scream the loudest about pornography — are MUCH more inclined to be the ones watching it. The nation and the future of our children are held hostage because disproportionate numbers of conservative and evangelical men can’t keep their hands off the digital mouse. These perverted men monitor porn so that the rest of us won’t be contaminated.
This is a pathetic state of affairs for a nation that prides itself on being a leader of the free world.
Not All Evangelicals Reject Science
To be clear, not all evangelicals reject reason and science. Just Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and every other Republican candidate for president except Mitt Romney — who caves by the day to these dogmatic fundamentalists — and Jon M Huntsman Jr.
Both men are Mormans, a faith rejected by most evangelicals as being anti-Christian.
In his 1994 book, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” evangelical historian Mark A Noll described as an “intellectual disaster” people like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann. (Note, I have attached his general discussion about the evangelical mind to these two people.)
Noll called on evangelicals to repent for their neglect of the mind, decrying the abandonment of the intellectual heritage of the Protestant Reformation. “The scandal of the evangelical mind,” he wrote, “is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”
Coming American Theocracy
Does America’s embrace of freedom of religion allow a sect of people, a dogmatic group that seeks a theocracy in America, to highjack the nation’s mind?
Why does the national media stand by, afraid to rock the boat by asking key questions not only about the rejection of evolution among the candidates, but also all scientific inquiry? Why do moderators not ask the presidential candidates — many of who espouse an open desire that America become a theocracy like Iran — to back up their views on national television in these endless debates?
Just for the record, I am far more fearful of these religious zealots than I am of Muslim terrorists. It isn’t just the case that they insist on taking complete and total control of women’s bodies, voting to make miscarriage a felony and now supporting legislation to end birth control of almost every kind. National spotlight evangelicals want women back home where we belong.
My greatest fear is that they want my brain, my very ability to think and read and reach an intelligent conclusion around facts.
How is this vision of America the theocracy that embraces evolution different from Saudi Arabia and all the other societies we condemn as being part of the Dark Ages?
There is no difference, except that American evangelicals say they are promoting the right God, the only God that counts. It is beyond my comprehension as a thinking person, that an individual with these anti-intellectual, anti-science views could become president of the United States of America.
It’s bad enough that Rick Perry got a grade D in principles of economics and flunked organic chemistry at Texas A&M. Now Americans embrace not only a stupid, stupid, stupid man as the answer to our economic problems but also one embraces a theocracy for America.
Bottom line, I weep for America’s children of the 21st century. If Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann represent the future of America, then our days HAVE PASSED. It’s not only rampant materialism that is sinking America or unions run amuck with unreasonable demands.
Simply stated, America has lost its mind, and I doubt this is a condition that is easily fixed. Anne