We are now more than halfway through the year 2020. I want to take stock of the status of faith and science and my desire to blog about them to encourage Christians, particularly Evangelicals, to adhere to sound science. When I started blogging about these issues in 2009 I wrote about a conversation I had with a former pastor and my desire to help fellow evangelicals deal with the so-called controversial issues of modern science, particularly age-of-the-earth, creation, and origins issues. I told him:
“…these issues are not going to go away and we evangelicals cannot stick our heads in the sand of anti-intellectualism and pretend they don’t matter. We, our children, and our grandchildren have to live in an increasingly technological society where science-based decisions involving the shape of our future must be made. Are we going to relegate ourselves to the sidelines of irrelevancy?”
So I designed and put on a class that dealt with these issues and then blogged here at IM in the series located here . My hope then was that perhaps I could start a dialogue that would lead some evangelicals to a less antagonistic attitude toward science. I really had modest expectations and thought I wasn’t hopelessly naïve.
Over at the BioLogos forum, Kevin Smith recently posted the following:
“I avoid discussions about evolution, the age of the earth, global warming and other science topics within my evangelical community. I do point them to certain books, articles or videos that presents my views. However, during this pandemic many of my evangelical friends are questioning the seriousness of Covid 19, often posting conspiracy theories on facebook. I usually ignore them and just post things that encourages safe practices during this time. I am very disappointed and sad in how many in the evangelical community are responding to this very serious situation. I’m not asking for advice or anything, I just need a place where I can share this because, like many of you know, talking about science with this community can be difficult and it often makes me feel alone.”
Well, that about sums it up for me too. Many of my former church mates who took my class now post the most egregious nonsense about the pandemic on Facebook. They apparently learned nothing about how to assess media articles about the pandemic, except if it fits with their latest conspiracy theory then it must be right. Evidence to the contrary is “fake news”.
I take some comfort in that the explosive resurgence of the virus seems to have shaken some people, including political leaders, out of their complacency. But others, like the Georgia governor, are seeming to double down. Most mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics seem to accept the advice from Dr. Fauci and others and are in agreement with the main points of mask wearing and social distancing. Even Jerry Falwell Jr. seems to have made a wise, science-based decision in re-opening Liberty University.
It was very disheartening to see the concerted attack against Dr. Fauci by Whitehouse aides, but that seems to have abated, and even Trump, moved by the polls that show the public disagreeing with his handling of the pandemic, seems to have tacked with the winds of public opinion, trying to save his reelection campaign.
The team at Covid Act Now—health professionals, epidemiologists, and other experts—have updated their COVID risk map to confirm the dire state of affairs: Not a single U.S. state is currently “on track to contain COVID.”
What would really make me feel better about my fellow Americans, as well as my fellow Evangelicals, is for the anti-maskers to start fading away into a very small minority, and their footprint on all types of media, social included, to correspondingly decrease. I’m not very optimistic but I am trying to remain hopeful. So much pain and suffering could have been avoided, please, God, let them learn their lesson however belatedly. I’m going to keep on blogging in the hope I can chip away at the ignorance however small my impact might be. Light a candle instead of cursing darkness and all that.