The Great Debate
by Greg West
I have had a heavy heart lately. I look at the world and see how people treat one another, and well, it just breaks my heart. And as my wife will tell you, just watching the news can make me cry (yeah, I’m a sensitive guy). I got so upset the other day at the soccer complex because a guy took my prime parking space when it was obvious that I was attempting to maneuver into it. This guy just pulled behind me, blocking me, and stared me down until I just gave up and had to find another space. Now, I can tell you that before I became a Christian and Christ started changing me from the inside out, in that situation I would not have had any reservations about confronting the guy and either given an ass whoopin’ or gotten one myself. As it was, "turn the other cheek" and all that, I just drove off and found another space and almost literally walked the extra mile.
During my long walk to the facility, I was just so angry! I wasn’t angry that I didn’t get my spot, I was angry because people can just be such rotten jerks and not feel bad about it one bit. Fortunately for me, God provided the opportunity to do two good deeds. They were very small gestures- one involved making the long hike back to my car to get the extra lawn chair from the trunk for a woman who forgot hers, and the other was getting a bench for my mom-in-law and sis-in-law who also forgot something to sit on- just small polite gestures like I said. But being able to do that made me feel good all over and almost made me forget about the jerk who took my spot.
Anyhoo (<– – if you don’t know me well, "anyhoo" is a sign that I’m shifting gears), so lately I’ve been in an informal friendly debate with a friend of mine, sort of an "evolution vs intelligent design" thing, and have been doing quite a bit of research on the subject, which means reading lots of articles, essays, and visiting a lot of blogs. The main thing that I’ve come up with is that this debate has gotten ugly. Finding a true civilized scientific debate on the subject has been a real challenge because most of it is just one side calling the other side "stupid, dumb, intolerant, closed-minded, bigoted, evil, ignorant, insane, etc…", and that’s just the Christians! Okay, not ALL of the Christians, but some of them are an embarrassment to me as a Christian (sort of like TBN).
Apart from all the nastiness, I’ve noticed that many (not all) of these atheists are not just content to ‘not’ believe in God, they don’t want anyone else to believe in God either. They can tend to be quite evangelistic about it, and it tends to rub a lot of us Christians the wrong way.
Let’s take a look at this quote from Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and unofficial leader of the anti-God movement:
"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)."
I find that statement offensive, insulting, and downright rude (he gets even nastier in his book, The God Delusion), not to mention it’s simply just not true. When we, as Christians, are offended by statements like this, we sometimes tend to slip into an "us VS them" mentality and react in ways that are contrary to our held belief that we should be Christ-like. We forget that "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
So, this brings me to back to the question, Why are people so mean and rotten to each other?” I’ll tell you, and you can check this out in your Bible (I suggest starting with Genesis and working your way through Revelation), it’s because of sin! Yes, sin! Some people are offended by that word and claim not to believe in it (those people are ignorant, stupid, or… well, you get the point). But I believe in it and can tell you that I am a sinner 100% through and through. I am a liar, a thief, an idolater, an adulterer, and in my heart, a murderer. It is only by the grace of God that because of Jesus Christ I am saved and set free from my sin. And it is only because of the Spirit of Christ in me that I am able to and have any desire to do anything good at all.
You can believe that there is no such thing as sin and that humanity will rise above itself and make a better world, but I have to agree with Malcom Muggeridge when he said that "The depravity of the human heart is at once the most intellectually resisted yet the most empirically verifiable reality."
My point is (yes, finally) that Richard Dawkins and others like him are sinners loved by God, just like I am. Jesus died for Richard Dawkins as much as he died for me, and we are to love and pray for the lost, not just our friends and family. I’m going to be praying for Richard Dawkins and I hope you’ll join me.