Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What would convince me? Part 1

I got a really interesting question from a reader the other day, and it got the old brain moving.  The question was basically if someone could show that evolution and Christian theology were indeed compatible, would that be enough to convince me that evolution was correct?  My gut reaction was, no, that would not be enough, and then I had to figure out why.

Here's the thing.  There are lots of critics out there who call me a fideist, which I understand to be a derogatory term for someone who might look down on reason or science in favor of faith.  Given some of the things I've written in the past about evolution and creation, I can see how people might think I'm a fideist, but really, I think it's a pretty silly conclusion.  Why would a fideist be a scientist at all?  If I really thought science was so inferior, why bother?  Because it's a fun game?  No, that's lame.  There are much better games in this world.  Scrabble, for instance.  Next time you hear someone call me a fideist, do me a favor and roll your eyes in an exaggerated, theatrical fashion to illustrate how silly that is.  Maybe people will start getting the point.

There are also a lot of folk who say I suffer from cognitive dissonance, which I also had to look up, and it turns out that's the condition of someone who believes two contradictory things.  I guess what they think is dissonant is believing that there is lots of evidence for evolution while at the same time remaining a creationist.  I don't know why that's dissonant.  There's a big difference between acknowledging that someone is making a good argument and conceding that the argument is correct.  I'm not sure why that's so hard for people to understand.  My students pick it up very easily.  What's up with the rest of you?

Back to my point: Would a sound theological argument explaining how Christianity and evolution are compatible be enough to convince me to accept evolution?  I suppose if you think I'm a fideist or suffering from cognitive dissonance, then you might think that a sound theological argument (assuming such a thing exists) would be enough to convince me to accept evolution.  But I'm NOT a fideist or cognitively dissonant, so it's quite a bit more complicated than just having an argument for compatibility.

In future posts in this series (which will be irregular), I want to explore why that wouldn't be enough for me. For those of you still trying to "figure me out," I hope this series will be very illuminating.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.