Evangelical Hypocrisy When it Comes to Science

guest-post

Guest post by Sarah.

Disclaimer: I can only speak of MY life experiences.

The fact that many Christians (& many other theists) are hypocrites is a well-known topic to people who have the left the faith. Maybe some still engrossed in the church feel twinges of hypocrisy mixed with guilt from time to time, but these are swept aside & buried to be dealt with another time (if at all; maybe I’m giving too much credit).

I was raised Baptist. Any of you who have read Bruce’s blog for any length of time can pretty much guess what the household was like: church services twice on Sunday & Wednesday night, revival/missionary meetings, vacation bible school <shudder>.  On top of God’s commandments: no cussing, premarital sex, drinking, drugs, no non-Christian friends, dresses only. Hellfire & brimstone. Oh…and no biology degree for you young lady!

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the following shows would be playing on TV: Law & Order SVU, Forensic Files, The First 48, DateLine Mystery. Any crime show was binge-watched until bed time. As long as there were no F words flying, it seemed to be perfectly suitable viewing. People being murdered isn’t entertainment in my book, but I lived there so I couldn’t say anything.

While many of these shows are interesting, I started noticing a pattern. My parents would say they liked seeing how they caught the bad guys. Guess how they did it? Three magic letters: DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).

OK, I had and have a huge problem with this because of the underlying attitude of what I presume to be a largely Christian audience (according to ABC News, 83% of Americans are Christian).  Here’s what the underlying attitude is: science is only useful when it catches criminals or something else worthwhile. Generations of hard work by many different scientists have gone into the study of genetics. Entire textbooks have been written by biologists holding PhD’s in their respective fields. Researchers have found specific genes that cause certain diseases. Hell, there’s even a procedure called an amniocentesis that can help a pregnant woman find out if her baby will have Down Syndrome.

Great stuff right? Well, not really, as long as these wonderful geneticists/biologists keep their mouths shut about HOW MUCH they know. If they try to give a basic lesson on genetics & how entire genomes have been mapped, showing all life on Earth is connected….NO, STOP!! That’s not what God’s word says! MAYBE YOUR GREAT GRANDDADDY WAS AN APE BUT I WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GAWD

This has to be the biggest case of  hypocrisy/cognitive dissonance I know of. Remember that episode of the Simpsons where a supposed angel skeleton was found  and Lisa was the only skeptic? I haven’t watched that episode in a long time, but the bartender Moe was rioting with everyone else about how science sucks or whatever and a mammoth tusk falls on his back. He says “Oh! I’m paralyzed! I just hope medical science can cure me!”  Yes, that’s exactly what they think and feel but won’t admit it.

Here’s a thought experiment: Go to your refrigerator, open it and look for anything in the fridge that religion has given you. Nothing there right? Now look again in the fridge at what science has given you; for one, the fridge itself. Running water to the freezer for ice cubes, milk that has been pasteurized. Fruit & vegetables found in any grocery store when it’s not their growing season. Are you diabetic? Your insulin is there too.

Science has given humankind many thing,thinks like:

  • Air conditioning
  • Indoor plumbing
  •  Electricity
  • Cell phones/Computers
  • The internet
  • TV/Movies
  • Radio
  • Medicine of all kinds
  • Pain-free childbirth
  • Anesthesia/Surgery
  • Dentistry/Orthodontics
  • Cameras/Photography/Videography
  • Contact lenses/glasses/Laser Vision correction
  • Flea/Tick treatments for your dogs/cats.

Yes, it’s even benefited our pets. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Now to be fair, it has been said that science has given us some bad things, like gas in both World Wars, the atomic bomb, etc. But was it science itself, or was its “use by humans” that was bad?

Where would we be without science? Still in the Dark Ages as peasants trying to scratch the lice off our heads while being told by the clergy we’re suffering and hungry because we’re sinners & God is angry with us

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4 Comments

  1. Geoff

    Excellent post.

    My pet hate introduction to a post, or article, or whatever is ‘I’m not anti-science but…’ The particular writer then shows exactly that they actually are anti-science; or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that they pick and choose their science. And of course this is the same as being anti-science.

    There are so many examples but the most common is ‘science should be more willing to embrace such and such an idea’. Perhaps it’s ESP, or NDE, or homeopathy…whatever. These people miss the point. They really, really do. Science (in the sense of scientists doing their job) would love to find evidence of something new. Maybe objects that move without obvious assistance? Or terminally ill people helped by prayer. I understand that. Wouldn’t it be great?

    Unfortunately science is yet to find evidence of one of these elusive mysteries. It’s not that it closes its eyes to it, rather it’s that it requires a level of evidence that the particular phenomenon is unable to provide. That’s good science.

    Reply
  2. Karen the rock whisperer

    The attitude of “I will use whatever modern science provides that makes my life better, but I refuse to believe that science’s underpinnings could possibly be true when they conflict with my religion” annoys the crap out of me. But I also understand that if my religion says that believing in X means I will be tortured for eternity, and I truly believe that, then I’m gonna find a way to not believe in X. Fear is a powerful motivator.

    I don’t think most of the people who think this way are hypocrites, either. That would suggest they put a lot more thought into the problem than I think they really do, because even thinking about the taboo scientific topics is scary as hell. Conservative Christianity, especially, seems really big on thought crimes. Better to start praying for strength to think the right thoughts than risk having the wrong ones.

    What a waste of precious life to think this way.

    Gimme a TARDIS and let me go back and fix one thing, it would be the evil theology of eternal damnation.

    Reply
  3. Brian

    Thank-you, Sarah… A very well expressed experience of Baptist upbringing. I used to call us Baptards until I was made aware what an insult it was to others… When I first heard the term, I thought, how brilliant! The onion peels layer by layer as time goes on and as we allow ourselves to live in our own bodies. As the term, retard, became gross, so did Baptard, and in that process I realized that I was trying to reveal how deeply entrenched we were within the world/cult of Baptist life, as if it was a physical condition. Unfortunately, I did not offer fair space to to those termed, retarded. In my experience, those people were always a joy to be with, trusting and open, ready to live in every and any way. As the onion peeled in my leaving Christianity, I began to see many things. Baptists too often feel like they have discovered real money and that all others are fooling with counterfeit cash. Therefore, when they spend their real money, God’s dollar, they automatically assume that it is bona-fide, the genuine article.
    Karen may be right to want to address the issue of eternal damnation first, as I have many memories of suffering mortal fear over that…. as a young child. The harm done to children must be addressed first and foremost as it has left much damage in our lives. What a waste of precious life, indeed….

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      Thank you Brian, I agree. I’m working on writing an article about how I was saved (the 1st time); you knw how we have to constantly update our salvation. The main motivator for getting saved was indeed the fear of eternal torment. Glad you liked my article!

      Reply

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