I'm gonna break from my usual semi-objective approach and speak directly today though, because something is on my heart.
Debate is great, challenge is great – but we as human beings frequently cross a line (particularly when we're nice and safe behind our keyboards!) I know I've done it; presented a viewpoint so angrily that I start damaging my spacebar – a viewpoint I'd never have the courage to say to someone's face.
Unfortunately, this is a topic that generates a LOT of Christian-bashing in forums and discussions all over the place. This is particularly true where Young-Earth Creationism is concerned – likely owing to the fact that this viewpoint really has no proponents outside of the church. To the outside world, this idea seems woefully ignorant, and the bashing commences.
It seems as human beings we have little tolerance for views that conflict with ours. If we're convinced we're right about a thing, we don't like that thing to be challenged. This is how I used to feel about non-evolutionary, young-earth creationism: I was convinced it was Biblical, and that was that. I'm now convinced I was wrong.
So, too, does the secular world hold vehemently to their viewpoints: If it leaves open the possibility of God being involved, it must be nonsense.
The difficulties are two-fold. Firstly, blind devotion to an idea that we don't understand; an idea we haven't taken the time to test and learn for ourselves – is dangerous. It leaves us closed-minded and ignorant. This, by the way, is why refusing to crack open your Bible and study and learn about WHY we believe what we do is a bad call. You can be both faith-filled and ignorant, but it's not a good thing when crunch-time comes.
Put simply: don't get irate about a debate you don't yet understand. I've done it plenty, and I've always looked silly. Take the time to learn, to explore, to formulate your own opinion and then wade in.
Secondly, when we allow ourselves to get angry because someone disagrees with us, we immediately and finally reduce our own argument to an irate rant. No one takes an angry person seriously in a debate.
Because here's the alarming problem: when it comes to this debate (and others) it's not just the non-Christians getting madder and madder, more and more vehement, more and more ridiculous. We're letting our own side down. We should be above it, we should be letting our actions and words outwork our faith, but we don't – we just get mad.
I'm gonna be honest, I've gotten a fair amount of angry reaction to my last article – the one that offered scientific proof as to the age of the universe – and none of it came from non-Christians. Frankly, we've all got to chill out if we want to get to the bottom of this stuff. Because just for a heads up: the really controversial stuff is still to come.
I'm exploring these things, the same as you, dear reader. I'm learning and growing and developing: not because I've been told a thing IS a certain way and every other viewpoint is nonsense. Rather it's because by studying the universe as it IS - and not as I think it ought to be – I discover more and more about the majesty and wonder of the God who set it all in motion.
Daniel Buckingham is currently studying to be a Salvation Army Officer (Minister). He likes science and video games. He doesn't like Pina Colladas or getting caught in the rain. He's a geek, but he's slowly coming to terms with it.
Daniel Buckingham's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-buckingham.html