Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics
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Abortion. Homosexuality. Environmentalism. Evolution. Conservative positions on these topics have divided American politics and defined mainstream evangelical Christianity. But what if the strongest arguments against popular evangelical stances on these issues come from evangelical Christianity itself?
marriage does not mean it should—change is occurring nonetheless. The question is: How should evangelicals respond to that change? For much of the 1990s, the evangelical Right waged war not so much on gay marriage as on homosexuality itself. Campaigns against gay rights, and in favor of heterosexual conversion programs, were widespread in evangelicalism. In 1992, James Dobson worked to pass a referendum that prohibited in the state of Colorado “all legislative, executive, or judicial action at
Eden. Genesis 1:28, they say, should be interpreted through the lens of Genesis 2:15, not vice versa. As Calvin DeWitt writes, “In the context of the rest of the Bible … one must come to the conclusion that dominion means responsible stewardship.” Humans are to take care of the world, in this analysis, not exploit it. Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, sums up the overall argument of green evangelicals well: “Many Christians who are not environmentalists … have not carefully
supported their unique theological convictions. So the early Christian theologians decided that sound interpretations of the Bible must not only draw on biblical passages (since even heretical doctrines can be justified doing that); they must also be consistent with church instruction on such issues as the deity of Jesus, the triune nature of God, and the purpose of the law. This guide for interpretation was called the “Rule of Faith,” and was justified with respect to both the Bible and also the
earth stood still in space, and that the sun and stars revolved around it. Science has demonstrated that this is not true. Shall we go on to interpret the Bible so as to make it teach the falsehood that the sun moves around the earth, or shall we interpret it by science, and make the two harmonize?” Although creationists may assert that the Bible is a scientific textbook, they fail to apply that assessment consistently. What happens when we approach Genesis without expecting a treatise on modern
can’t be used for other purposes. It’s not difficult to think of alternative possible uses for the small piece of wood that forms the base of a mousetrap, or the giant clip that remains once the catch and hold-down bar are taken away. The same analysis applies to biological structures as well. Indeed, as scientists have shown, even when multiple proteins are removed from a bacterial flagellum, the resulting structure is still useful to its host. The proteins forming the base of a bacterial