‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Bullying and Intimidation at the hands of other Christians?

I want to raise a serious issue here, and it is this; why do some Christians who in many ways seem tolerant and respectful to others think it acceptable to bully and intimidate Christians who are creationists ?

Stephen Tomkins of ShipofFools website (and deputy editor of Third Way magazine) writes that 'Civility Works - mostly'. Although he calls for civil discourse he argues that "we also at other times need to give vent to anger at ugly and harmful ideas. At times we need to bolster and unify the opposition of right-thinking people to them. At times we need every rhetorical trick up our mucky sleeves to convince waverers that horrid and stupid ideas are horrid and stupid." He is here referring to creationists because he first writes that he thinks creationism is "a bottomless pit of deliberate stupidity."

But why is it acceptable to use 'rhetorical tricks' to 'bolster and unify right thinking people' and so silence those who hold to ideas that are "horrid and stupid" ? If people are right thinking won't they accept an idea on the basis of reason alone? There are of course some beliefs that will look odd to outsiders, such as the Hindu belief in reincarnation, but our response should be one of respectful dialogue.

There are other occasions I have found when admission that I am a creationist attracts accusations of being stupid and a deliberate liar. But what does this really reveal? That perhaps some Christians are cowardly and unable to stand out from the crowd in support of ideas that are not mainstream. Perhaps it is thought that being cool, or a joker, or fitting with the 'in crowd' will somehow lead people to Christ?

In fact if I wasn't a creationist I think I would become one just to expose the weakness of character that such attacks reveal. Such comments I believe reflect the attitude of the playground bully and need to be challenged. Surely we can extend respect to those who hold ideas that may differ from our own.
Andrew Sibley

1 comment:

Eric said...

When people employ tricks, bulling or bluster, one knows instantly that they do not have a real case! So Ship of Fools lives up to its name and its editor is not able to actually put an argument against biblical creationism, but has to attempt to brow beat. Good one, and should we listen to a mere brow beater? I think such discourse goes straight to the WPB.