February 13, 2006
From today's NYT, ministers rally to defend Darwin's theory on the day of his birthday (the 12th):
More than 10,000 ministers had signed the letter, which states, in part, that the theory of evolution is "a foundational scientific truth." To reject it, the letter continues, "is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children."
"We believe that among God's good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator," the letter says.
The original petition is here. It is a thoughtful and needed counterpoint to the shrill extremism of the Dover debate.
However, the same NYT article notes that the mainstream Protestant denominations that represent most of the letter-signers have shrinking congregations. Fundamentalist and evangelical denominations - with a literal view of the Bible - are growing.
Posted by David at February 13, 2006 08:20 PM
Bear with me. In the novel Piercing the Darkness, one of the main characters, Sally, realizes that she is attempting to navigate her life based on a allegorical “map” which has no landmarks, no borders, no prominent terrain features, no paths, nor roads.
Using this map, she is unable to determine her location. She is unable to tell if she is on the right path, near the good, or near the bad. In fact she is unable to determine which direction she is headed or if her current location is even represented by the map.
The allegory relates directly to the question you ask. Many people are bothered by the vagaries of relativism, or even the breadth of moral acceptance offered by liberalism, leaving them in the same predicament as Sally above, not knowing where they are and if they are headed the direction they want to go.
Fundamentalism offers them a moral map that has boundaries, landmarks, and directions. Whether you agree with it or not it creates a structure in which to live, providing guidance to the unguided. I believe the attraction to fundamentalism is the attraction to knowing where you stand and where you are headed.