Hypocrisy, thy name is Luke. Here's some of my own theological activism/contextivism not an hour after I wrote about disliking it. This is an optional rant post. I've tried to stay away from ranting on this blog, but in this case I just need to vent. Feel free to skip this ...
Remember I said one of the theological discussions/debates to which I'm drawn is the whole evolution/creation/Genesis thing? Well, I had been in just such a discussion over on imonk with this "Will" guy. I brought up the parallel to the Galileo affair, and he wanted to take that on.
The main meat of our exchange starts here. I'll wait while you catch up on at least that much.
Done? Good. Normally I would have commented back again, but imonk very smartly closes comments on posts older than 6 days, and I was too busy bringing my newborn daughter home from the hospital to comment in that time. That's mostly why we're getting into it here.
His last comment is the worst offense, and I really hate that it will be the last word in the dialog for anyone who stumbles onto it later. Oh well. Here's what he said:
Where does it stop Luke? What if science one day provides evidence that resurrections don’t happen. Do we need to stop with the black and white thinking that requires a literal resurrection?
Oh….wait. Science does show clearly (one heck of a lot clearer than it does show evolution) that humans that are truly dead for 3 days don’t come back to life. How can we reconcile this without becoming the closed minded church of Galileo? Maybe the resurrection was metaphor. Maybe the ancients didn’t really care about a real literal resurrection. Maybe they just cared about hope coming out of disappointment.
What? Are you arguing with me? Why are you being so closed minded about things. We all know that the dead don’t literally rise. Don’t we? The sooner Christians stop clinging to silly notions such as this the sooner we can have a genuine faith.
Or…..we could believe what scripture says and let science catch up later. Your choice my friend.
This is a classic slippery slope fallacy. It seems common among scientists, engineers (like me), and fatalists. Basically, Will is saying that if we reason that Genesis 1-3 is myth rather than literal Truth, we will inevitably be forced into sacrificing our faith in Jesus Christ to reason. It just doesn't work that way for me. Maybe it works that way for Bill G (if he's still reading this blog)? It's a similar string of logic: observe that the authorship or accuracy of text in the Bible is uncertain, and be inevitably forced to conclude that the whole Bible is myth. I just can't connect all those dots.
Back to Will's particular statement about resurrection. A similar thought came up in class as well, and I'll ask it here: is there any way science (archaeology was the science in question) could void your faith?
In that particular discussion, I had to admit yes. If I'm someday convinced that we have uncovered the tomb and remains of Jesus, that would shake and uproot my faith. I would have to more seriously consider Judaic and/or Islamic traditions. It's somewhat unpleasant thought, but I have to admit it to myself out of intellectual honesty.
So here's the point: I used to feel that way about evolution, but I don't anymore. And the key for me is context. The context of Genesis 1-3 within the Pentateuch, the Old Testament, the Jewish and Christian traditions - means evolution just doesn't amount to a faith-changing notion for me. But I understand completely where Will is at right now. When my faith was "the entire Bible is literally true as read in my own interpretation," then believing evolution would have been a faith-changing event for me. But when I rejected sola (my) scriptura, it suddenly became a non-issue.
But the key for me has always been about context. I just get really irked when people confuse contextualization with total relativism - i.e., either you ignore all context and take everything directly at face value, or else you have to concede everything you think to be True is totally relative.