Saturday, June 4


Wow. Being a Florida native I periodically scroll my home-state newspapers. And every once in a while, I come across a gem. This opinion piece asks why we should permit religious fundamentalists (and I object to that characterization -- the Christian right ignores, or at the very least deemphasizes, the fundamentals of Christ's teachings) to deny the rest of us the benefits of scientific discovery.

What right do fundamentalists have to deny us such medical wonders? It took more than 300 years for the Catholic Church to acknowledge that Copernicus was right, and that Galileo had been unjustly punished. Fortunately, the fundamentalists' crusade against science will be much shorter-lived. We all have too much to gain from science to let the rigid beliefs of a small minority deny us its benefits. In a relatively few years their crusade will surely come to a very timely end. During that time, however, science elsewhere will have moved ahead by its usual leaps and bounds, and the United States will have to scurry to catch up.

I have never understood Christians who fear enlightenment -- to whom science, philosophy, historical analysis, art, etc. are threats to their emotional, or spiritual (as they would have it) well-being. I've been a true believer in Christ since I was nine years old. I distinctly remember when (I was an intelligent child) I went from being a reluctant Sunday School-er to a child who had discovered Truth. Challenged to memorize hundreds of Bible verses in a matter of weeks so that I would win the annual class competition (I hadn't even started when others were winding down), I actually became so fascinated with the Word that I read far before and after the assigned passages to understand the context. I fell in love with Jesus then and there, though it took me many years study afterwards to be able to truthfully say I loved the Father as much. Similarly to how we interact as earthly children of earthly parents, Jesus seemed my ideal older brother, God the stern, not understood, and somewhat feared, parent. It has taken study and wisdom born of experience to relate to God as my true father. I remember when, having embraced that understanding, I exulted in a bumper sticker I spotted that said, "God is DAD. Hallelujah!"

My point is, in a decades-old search for spiritual growth, I have never felt threatened by a single scientific discovery or theory. Nothing I have ever read of science has disproven or contradicted the tenets of my faith. The Bible says, fear is the opposite of faith. So what is the Christian right exposing by their obsessive opposition to science?

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (I Jn 4:18)


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