Theology and Reality

Theology and Reality June 22, 2018


Heather Goodman wrote this on Facebook, and I thought it was such a great way of making an important point, that I asked for permission to share it:

I think too many Christians start with the idea that Evolution would have to make sense theologically first, in order for it to be true. Something doesn’t have to make theological sense to be true. It’s either true or not true. Theology has to grapple with reality, we can’t force reality to bend around our theology.

The gist of it is not an entirely new idea. It has been said, for instance, that “you are entitled to your opinion, but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.” But more needs to be said about this, because we live in an era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” and while it isn’t clear whether “fake news” is “your own opinion” or “your own facts,” “alternative facts” sound worryingly like the latter. Of course, it is true that even mainstream sources (whether journalistic or academic) can leave things aside that are awkward, hard or even impossible to explain within the current prevailing framework. We need a balance between not getting in a deceptive information bubble, and not simply expanding our sources to include those that don’t deserve to be included. Telling the difference takes a significant effort to learn on our part.

Of related interest, Christian Frock writes, “We cannot allow biased media to spoon feed us bias. We need to demand representation and accountability. Read every syllable with a critical eye. These times demand it.”

Chuck Queen wrote recently:

Until a person is willing to concede that he or she could be wrong, and is ready to listen to voices and seek truth beyond one’s particular group, that person will remain trapped in the darkness of one’s group biases and rigidity, blind to the beauty, bounty, and bigness of God.

But once a crack opens and a ray of honesty and openness breaks through, once the fire of the inclusive Spirit of Christ is ignited in one’s heart, one is “born again” – and again and again and again, because there is no end to the possibilities of new life.

Sheila Kennedy wrote:

Thanks to technology, we are marinating in propaganda and falsehood–weapons that are ultimately far more powerful than assault rifles.

There have always been efforts to mislead the gullible, to confirm the suspicions of cynics and the certainties of ideologues. No matter how diligently we try not to indulge in confirmation bias, most of us are susceptible to the “facts” that have been slanted in a direction we’re predisposed to accept. But we have never seen anything like the onslaught of utter fabrication that has been made possible by our new communication mediums, and the result is beginning to emerge: Americans are increasingly distrustful of all information.

We don’t know who or what to believe, so we suspend belief altogether.

Frenk Lesko wrote about the distrust of climate scientists by people who trust scientists countless times every day on other matters. Hemant Mehta blogged about how the director of NASA had his mind changed by evidence. Meanwhile, fake news continues to be discussed all over the place:

On “Fake News”

Science and Pseudoscience

There’s No Such Thing as Fake News (And That’s Bad News)

How to Mislead Without Saying a Word



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