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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dispatch From the Saving Darwin Tour

FROM KARL GIBERSON: Since I teach at a Christian college, I don't spend a lot of time hanging out with atheists and agnostics. Most of the ones I know personally—Ron Numbers, E.O. Wilson, Michael Ruse, Dan Dennett—are delightful, interesting people that I would be happy to have dinner with; in fact I have had dinner with Numbers and Ruse. But these guys, of course, are the elite of the nonbelievers and, for whatever reason, seem cool-headed, civil, and committed to respectful discourse.
I have always wondered what the more rank-and-file atheists are like. Well, after reading the responses to my interview on Salon.com, I know. They are rude, and seem every bit as narrow and intolerant as fundamentalist Christians. Just as I worry that fundamentalists want to take over the country and impose their way of thinking on the rest of us, I would worry if this crew took over. They seem completely opposed to pluralism and resentful that I have written a book suggesting that Darwinians and Christians might be able to get along. (Incidentally, Ruse has written a similar book, Can a Darwinian be a Christian?, that I prefer to my own on this topic.)


Steve Martin said...

Hi Karl,
Welcome to the bruising world of internet blogging :-).

Personally, I'd be careful not to characterize any group (including rank-and-file atheists) by the evidence from internet resources alone. From my personal experience, this medium (internet blogs) can bring out the worst in everyone (it is faceless & often anonymous). But your point is well taken: many aggressive (evangelizing) atheists are mirror images of the absolute worst characteristics found in aggressive fundamentalist Christians.

One thing we as Christians should always remember is that even on the internet we are not anonymous - we personaly may be anonymous but we are always associated with the name of Christ. And if our interaction is characterized by meanness & uglyness, how can we blame others for rejecting the Christ they saw in us?