We must have faith in tolerance
I’ve endured some very contentious exchanges with some very belligerent people about religion, faith and God. When I saw this editorial article in New York’s Metro Newspaper I knew that it had to be placed on here for people to read and be enlightened.
WE MUST HAVE FAITH IN TOLERANCE
By. Thomas Keown - (From the August 19, 2009, issue of New York’s Metro Newspaper.)
“You really can’t be an intelligent and thinking person with trust in science and also faith in God. Of all the new attitudes that welcomed me to when I moved from Europe this was among the most mystifying. Coming from the sheltered, potato-breeding backwaters of rural Northern Ireland to the Ph.D.-sprouting soils of Massachusetts many years ago, this supposedly “liberal” attitude to faith is puzzling still.
Last weekend I was having a chat with a pleasant young lady in a pleasant old bar and everything was going pleasingly well. My jokes were landing, my puns performing and she was laughing even when she didn’t realize the full extent of their cunning. But then the subject of church came up and she shut down. She saw people of faith as narrow-minded, unthinking and a little backwards. Not as those who do more charity and volunteer time more than anyone else in America, or led the civil rights movement or sequenced the human genome.
And fair enough. Every day there are bagfuls of examples of faith misused and folk claiming to be ‘Christian’ who wouldn’t recognize compassion if they saw it in their soup.
But could I get her to see that judging a product by its user is nonsensical and unworthy of her? That one doesn’t judge a car by its driver or a painting by its painter? I suggested reading books by smart Christians who were also scientists. Or C.S. Lewis. But, ‘I don’t want to read anything trying to persuade me of one side of something.’ Better steer clear of the Op-Ed page then. Or most books on most subjects in most libraries.
That so many clever folk can be so vociferously open-minded and tolerant of all things and all thoughts – but so closed-minded and intolerant of the merits of faith – is a contradiction that should be smacked down with a wet fish.
A few Sundays ago a brunch of God-lovers were singing songs and praying prayers at a picnic on Boston Common. The senior pastor was a Harvard physicist, the bloke holding up the words a Psychology Ph.D. Among the crowd were lawyers, doctors, grad students and MIT types.
Faith and intellect, God and science, learning and leaning appeared compatible that day. Will you tell the open-minded folk or should I?”