It is so easy to speak harshly of those who believe differently than you.
I have entered what Brian McLaren calls the third stage of faith: perplexity. Everyone has an opinion. Who knows what is right? And I’m slowly shifting to the fourth: Harmony/Humility. Love God. Love Others.
As I begin a new Bible study group this fall studying the Pentateuch, I’ve considered this week how to handle Genesis 1-2. Did God create in a literal week? Did He use evolution? Why was woman created? What is the creation mandate for marriage?
I know how I used to teach these things. What is the right way for today? How will I react when someone differs, or passionately clings to their understanding and condemns mine? Will I bristle at the labels: biblical, clear teaching, plain meaning and traditional? Can I express the liberal truth of inclusion in a humble way? I know what I used to think of those who believe like I do now…can I take the judgement myself?
Science and faith
History astonishes me. Because we usually repeat it.
Everyone once believed the earth was the center of our solar system. Why? Because the Bible said so. The world cannot be moved. It is firm and secure. It is held by strong pillars. (Psalm 93:1 Psalm 96:10 Psalm 104:5 Job 9:6 Psalm 75:3 1 Samuel 2:8) Science was proving the earth revolved around the sun. But because that “theory” went against the “clear” teaching of Scripture, that theory must be condemned as un-biblical and wrong. The people who believed it were accused of being in sin, rebellious and anti-God.
“Those who assert that ‘the earth moves and turns’…[are] motivated by ‘a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;’ possessed by the devil, they aimed ‘to pervert the order of nature.'” `John Calvin, sermon no. 8 on 1st Corinthians, 677, cited in John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait by William J. Bouwsma (Oxford Univ. Press, 1988), A. 72 (Read the whole article here.)
Sound familiar? Evolution, genetics, brain chemistry and homosexuality are being probed by science. Does the science match our understanding of “clear” biblical teaching? If not, how do we respond? Like Calvin? I know I have…
…but now, I am humbled by my ignorance. And I am motivated to understand more. I am cautious about dogmatics. And I hope to love those in a different stage than I am with kindness, patience and sometimes simple silence. It is better to be quiet than to argue, namecall, or condemn.
It is so hard.