In my Kingdom and Covenants class at DTS, Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost stated in one of his lectures that “Evolution is Satan’s greatest lie”. I disagree with this statement on many levels (the classes have otherwise been phenomenal). I would like to nominate an alternate phrase for this title which there are many contenders -“They are not fully human”. I feel this phase has done more to hurt the cause of Christ than any other.
The Bible clearly teaches that we should not only love our brothers and sisters, but even our enemies. This message is consistent in both the Old and New Testament (Proverbs 25:21, the entire Book of Job, Matt 5:44, Luke 6:27, etc.). The only way individuals could align their Christianity and their behavior is to reduce the humanity of those they are oppressing. My theology professor, Dr. Glenn Kreider asked “How would you present Christ to someone who had listened to his master cite Exodus 21:20 while he was being beaten?” (citing 12 Years a Slave). I am glad we are recognizing now that it is not OK when a black person is shot by the police, but a don’t see much of a reaction when a black person is murdered by other means in our inner cities, definitely not the same reaction as if someone in suburbs is murdered.
During the Irish potato famine (1845-1851) over 1 million Irish died of starvation and exposure, 2.5 million emigrated, while Ireland was exporting food during these years. To get a bowl of soup, you had to renounce your faith and convert from Catholicism to Protestantism, anglicize your name and give up your language. This is not unique to Christians as this exact phrase was used by a Chinese Government official in regard to the potential human rights violations associated with their treatment of the Uighors in the Xinjaing province (see Frontline), “There are no human rights violations as they are not fully human”.
Dr. Swamidass has repeatedly called for caution in the labeling of human vs non-human in anthropology or evolutionary science.
I need to examine myself closely as not to fall into this trap as well. There are those on the margins of today’s society including homeless, drug addicted, seniors with dementia, the severely handicapped, etc. which I could do a much better job loving as a brother or sister. My wife, who is an occupational therapist, says they are still the same person, just their means of interacting with the world are greatly challenged.
If we had a homeless person enter one of our churches, I would hope we would react as David did with Mephibosheth, showing the “kindness of God” (2 Sam 9:3) to him or her. David and Jesus treat the disabled and celebrities the same, with the loving kindness of God. I need to learn from this.