So writes Katherine Stewart in an editorial in today’s New York Times
“The Road To Coronavirus Hell Was Paved By Evangelicals”. So writes Katherine Stewart in an editorial in today’s New York Times. At best, Ms. Stewart is only flaunting her ignorance of the Western World’s march to modernity. At the worst, she is a hateful bigot. It could be both.
No evidence is presented in her article to support her position that Evangelical Christians have continually demonstrated a hostility to science. Her diatribe continues when she recounts isolated instances of resistance to government instructions in a very few cases by pastors. There has also been a similar resistance by more secular groups partying on the beaches in Florida and Mexico.
Rather an implied disdain for “religious nationalism” her words, and degree of ignorance demonstrated by people of faith when they exercise “their right of conscience” in the political arena, very much parallels the authoritarian thinking of the 17th century, when Puritans, Quakers, Calvinists, Amish, and many other religious groups were marginalized in their own home countries. Confusing minimalism, faith, and discernment with a disbelief in science is immature and short sited.
Christianity and the Christian Judeo tradition have changed the world more significantly and more profoundly than anything before or since. Nothing has influenced the march of Western Civilization toward modernity as has the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Sectarian and secular humanists, deists, agnostics and atheists have expressed similar thoughts. Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams and many of the philosophers of the Abrahamic traditions have expressed similar opinions.
Even without viewing through the lens of faith the influence of Christianity as being the pivot point in all of human history is indisputable. Marriage between a man and a women, equality of the sexes, the abolition of slavery, individual sovereignty and the recognition of The Natural Law being the bases for civil organization and governance is a direct extension of The Covenants of the Old and New Testament.
Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, The Bernoulli Brothers, Blaise Pascale, Einstein; great scientists all, many influential theologians all recognized that there is a great order in the universe that requires a “Great Orderer”. Any scientist if she is a non-believer, believes in the order of the universe otherwise they wouldn’t have the faith to test a hypothesis. The stretch from that faith in an order to an “Order” is not a big one for me.
My undergrad studies and experiments in organic and biochemistry only confirmed my own faith as I was able to confirm every day that order is ubiquitous in the natural world. Classes in journalism, communications, diversity and gender studies, may not give the same opportunities for empiric confirmation of faith that are afforded to students majoring in STEM study disciplines.
In the Academic Community, men of faith are more likely to be found in the basic sciences of physicist and chemistry than in the humanitarian disciplines or the soft sciences. Gerald Schroeder PHD., who is an applied physicist at MIT and a Jewish Rabbi has stated “that finding and exposing the unity between the creation story in Genesis and Cosmological theory” is and always has been the role of science.
Please, Ms. Stewart, understand that there is a great history and tradition of Western thought that supports the belief that there is a God. This belief has inspired many great scientists today and in the past. It is a belief based on faith. A faith that has led the march of Western Civilization into the Enlightenment, several Great Awakenings, The Industrial Revolution, and up through today.
It is a faith embraced by Christians, and Jews, and other traditions. Without that faith, the march to Modernity would have been very different. Thank God for people like Evangelicals, and Catholics like me and many other believers in God “The Great Orderer”. Shalom Peace