Are there ways to make this controversy less “political” and more about ideas?

Ever since I realized this “war” between science and faith that BioLogos is trying to address may have begun with the differences between Ancient Greek and Jewish cultures regarding the supernatural, I have wondered how such a binary opposition could persist for so long as America became more multicultural after 1965.

So I wondered about the following steps that could be taken to make this less of a binary opposition and wanted to get your thoughts

1.Only European Cultures involved. This battle seems to me as a minority male and son of Eastern Orthodox Asian immigrants to be unchanged since 1925 and the Scopes Trial. It is a battle between people of European ancestry almost exclusively, whenever it takes the form of a battle on the national scale.

So get minorities and their church cultures to step into the fray to make it less binary and more pluralistic.

  1. Very male. Look at the staff of ICR and the Discovery Institute.

Only here in BioLogos have I ever seen a substantial number of women comment on the science and faith topic. Is this about “apologetics” as a culture solely—-that world seems very male to me? Josh McDowell, Frank Turek, Norman Geisler, Lee
Strobel…

I don’t know what exactly can be done to improve this situation, but there needs to be both genders involved on a national scale.

  1. Take the Red-Blue state stuff off the table. I seem to remember Discovery’s website talking about “making America great again” and calling Biden “despotic” for proposing a nationwide mask mandate to deal with COVID.
    But ever since Reagan, creationism has been a Republican thing and evolution and climate change a Democratic thing.

Pluralism and diversity will make this situation more complex than the “winner take all” reality of Red-Blue politics.

  1. Take television out of it, or reduce it to a minimal level because what is needed is text not entertaining images. Here I folllow Neil Postman in his thesis that political television is about entertainment and is destroying public discourse.

  2. At the same time, provide historical context to lay and expert audiences in one neighborhood where there are churches close to universities. Here is my bias coming out
    as a historian of science.

  3. Acknowledge the intelligent design movement as far as one thing…the origin of complexity does have worldview implications.

  4. Celebrate the fact that the Gospel presentation referencing the four gospels only at the ICR museum is something ECs and YECs and ID people can agree on.

  5. Deal with damaged relationships and the issue of witness in neighborhoods like Dover, PA and at Baylor…both cases ID-related

  6. Follow James Davison Hunter on how to make the culture wars less warlike
    a. Expose the same audience to the same information at the same time
    b. Involve a lot of different types of people
    c. Find out what is sacred to individuals

  7. Realize there are two dimensions
    Controversy inside the Body of Christ that is supposed to be salt and light
    Controversy between sections of the Body and the world of secular education

  8. Peacekeeping separates two parties with the help of a third, to prevent open hostility. The separation of church and state as well as teachers’ unwillingness to teach evolution have acted as forces to maintain peace in local neighborhoods in America.

This is unfortunate as it makes the whole thing feel deeply political.

Peacemaking involves two parties forming truces and accords. I think we ECs need to acknowledge the relationship between science and secularization on some level that YECs and ID people are so deeply worried about, if we are going to be heard by them at all. This comes from interviewing them

Peacebuilding involves all parties having a love fest and singing kumbaya. It seems to me this step is unrealistic given the struggle has gone on over two hundred years.

But a truce is possible. And that salt and light can get out into the world at last.

Thoughts?

Could this be because it is the same sector of Xtianity which pushes male dominance and opposes equality for women.

Yes the parties cater to extremists as political capital. So you have the same division on abortion, gun control, and gay rights.

Not possible. Freedom of speech.

Seems to me this is bit like trying to make airplane safety an issue for making peace with the terrorists of 9/11.

Seems to me like this presumes that we can decide who is inside the body of Christ and who is not, let alone that people can agree on such a thing.

That’s a possibility – not to paint with too broad a brush, but when an organization is dedicated to “taking the Bible literally,” that generally includes strictly adhering to gender roles and household codes, as well as the young earth, and those organizations do tend to be more conservative. To be fair, STEM fields have been dominated by men for a quite a while, so it’s not like that would be unusual in origins organizations. Some of the most well-known YEC leaders are aging at this point – I wonder whether the next generation will include more women or not.

Yeah, I can’t think of any well-known apologists off the top of my head that are female. Apologetics can get very philosophical, which is another discipline that seems male-dominated. I think in the conservative American Christian realm, many communities still adhere to a “separate spheres” view of gender (whether consciously or unconsciously) – the idea that leadership, speaking, and public roles are primarily reserved for men, while women’s attentions should be focused more on the domestic sphere. Perhaps apologetics is also viewed a little bit like a “pastoral” discipline too. So in that view, women’s roles in apologetics would be more “under the radar” types of things. I saw a book that came out recently called “Mama Bear Apologetics,” aimed at mothers who want to teach apologetics to their own children – presumably something that will take place in a private sphere, not a visible, public one.

Good point. I wonder if that’s just because many minority cultures simply have bigger fish to fry. It’s understandable that many people in that case would be more drawn to practical applications of science and would view the origins debate as something that’s more theoretical and has little real effect on how someone lives out their faith. If that’s the case, then “we” in the majority should also aim to learn from them, and seek to understand these practical concerns better – the origins debate would benefit from more perspective.

We were introduced to a female apologist indirectly this week by @Ron_anon at https://alongthebeam.com/2017/03/09/the-wind-and-the-trees-by-g-k-chesterton/. There’s more here: https://alongthebeam.com/published-articles/, and of course it’s her (Rebekah Valerius’) blog.

There is a lot of boxes to unpack with your questions. I’m not going to even try to address all of them. In America, and UK, I think one reason why it’s mostly a European issue is because we are mostly all Europeans in our ancestry and for 1000+ years there has been some form of English spoken as the main language within countries in Europe that Christianity prevailed in and for various reasons English has become one of the most known languages. It’s a common second language regardless if you’re in Asia, America, or even Africa. All of that leads up to most writings on Christianity that gets popularly spread ends up being in English or quickly translated to English. So many white Europeans can instantly google ancient church father quotes found from some isolated preserved fragment of some letter. But you probably can’t find those as easily translated into Chinese or whatever all the languages there are spoken in Africa and various islands around the world. So everything is kind of set up for English speaking people to instantly have more resources available which means more English speaking teachers on the subjects making more books on it.

I’m sure there are things like ancient Shinto writings that are readily available for japanese audiences that are not for English speaking communities.

As for the male part that’s probably part societal and theological. I’ve not made up my mind on this subject, and will eventually have to study it out. But for the moment within the body of believers I only see the qualifications laid out for elders and deacons as being men with 2+ kids in one marriage among many other things. I know there is some debate here, which is why I said I’ll have to study it out. So far everything has lead to me being about 90% leaning towards what I mentioned. After I study it perhaps I’ll have a different opinion then what was developed so far. But that’s just strictly for church office roles and nothing outside of that.

I don’t completely by into the idea that science is scarier and needs extra caution tape around it concerning EC views for fear of some atheistic culture developing. One reason is because prior to this debate even happening the church has had some dark periods. From burning witches and Catholics vs Protestants killing one another and the handful of southern and northern American white slave owners with edited bibles there has been many issues. Ultimately, it comes down to education mostly. The republican side seems to be more anti science concerning anything not in line with a literal interpretation of genesis. Many of those states also score lower in general academically and we see more of them out of shape and not outside in nature as much. But the left has weird anti science issues as well that pops up occasionally in my opinion. Until covid, the majorly of anti Vaxxers I met were white liberal women between 25-40.

But in general I stay out of these things. I think anyone who is really interested in theology and academically inclined who actively seeks to share their research and opinions in a social media outlet will gain popularity. Ultimately, science is not political. But politicians have created a political atmosphere to almost anything and each side has helped cultivate it more and more.

I think a big thing is also how each one of us as a individual handles these things in our own lives. I don’t see evolution vs literal 6 day creation as a political issue and so when I’m approaching people I don’t come at it as such. I come at it as an issue about doctrine and textual analysis. I know people who voted for Trump that believe in evolution and I know people who pushed for Sanders who believe in 6 day creationism. They seem like outliers but dozens nonetheless.

With the opposite sex and how we treat them it’s the same. I know guys who won’t hang out with women , and women who won’t hang out with men, unless they are trying to get something like money or sex. I know some who don’t do it because for them it’s weird and taboo. One of the biggest influences in my life on my theology and helping me work through scripture is a woman whose 60ish and has never been married and has no kids and lives with her 90 year mother and helps take care of her. I don’t really know why she’s never been married or has no kids but I’ve never asked because I felt if she wanted to share she would. She’s straight and she’s a disciple within the Churches of Christ. She’s also believes mostly in a literal 6 day creation. But that’s just one tiny aspect within theology. She knows greek, including Koiné Greek, and Hebrew extremely well.

Most of my friends are males. I have few friends honestly but lots of acquaintances. Besides my fiancée and cousins, I only have two female friends who I am really close with. One lives close by across the creek and the other is someone who loves further away. We talk a lot and often go camping together for days and despite living 11 hours away we see each other at least once a month in person or more. Some people get irritated because we hang out alone. There are a lot of people who still cling to it being some sort of sinful dance. But I don’t have any reason to feel that way theologically or morally. My fiancée is ok with it as well. She lives in China atm and she has close friends she’s known for 25+ years that are men and she likes to dance and will go out to eat, go dancing, and to the movies with them. It does not bother me. I’m not worried about her allowing feelings to develop and if they do I’m not worried about her doing anything about it other than tell me and then we will discuss how to work it out. She loves God more than she loves me so I am not worried about to much. She’s not going to sleep with them firstly because she believes in waiting for marriage and she believes in us. So when me and my friends who are women are hanging out at my place watching horror movies or anime sitting next to each other on my bed and my fiancée calls and it’s a video chat and she sees them she’s not threatened or panicked because she knows I’ll always be faithful to her.

The reason why I brought all of that personal stuff up is because I do believe it’s connected to the discussion. I recognize that a lot of men and women regardless of the generation, race, and nationality are not ok with it. I know atheist liberal men and woman who are very jealous and same for Buddhists, Christians, jews, and muslims. So because for many it’s weird to them to hang out with the opposite sex I believe it helps creates this gender divide on studying together. You won’t see many men and women in relationships hanging out with the opposite sex talking about theology together late at night. They can’t crash out at the persons house or their significant others will freak. They just don’t hang out as much. Which is also perfectly fine. But I think that is part of the reason why you see it being dominated by men. Lots of men hang out for hours and hours talking about theology to one another. I don’t know many women who do that. I’m sure plenty do, but in general i see men doing it. Society has gotten very busy. Most people don’t have as much free time during the day. So it’s later on at night that they have free time and men seem more comfortable being out late at night walking back from a friends than a woman and since most seems to not be cool with opposite sex hanging out alone it just ends up working out with more men hanging out alone at night getting nerdy about theology. I feel like men are less isolated then women. When I go to bars, like a sports bar to watch a fight I mostly see men there. I never see groups of women watching volley ball matches and so on. I don’t watch wrestling but I imagine it’s mostly men going as a group to wrestling matches. Same for most sports. I hardly see groups of women out hanging out at places after 9pm. But see men often.

Hah! This is serendipitous… You @-tagged me, so the forum flagged your post and I read it. When I posted the link to the “The Wind and the Trees”, I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to where it was being hosted. I know the essay well, and have it in print, and was just googling for a nice online version. When I saw it on a personal blog by someone who was apparently a Chesterton lover (and not just some hoard of public domain texts), I grabbed that link. But you mentioned Rebekah Valerius’ name, which seemed familiar… And, as it happens, I’m almost positive I met Rebekah and her husband at a Chesterton meetup here in the Dallas area maybe a year or so ago. I guess it really is a small web after all…

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