Two thousand years ago Jesus walked around as the ultimate pragmatist, claiming that truth would set people free. Recent testimony about how the Bush Administration has suppressed scientific information on global warming has become a sad metaphor for how far we have fallen.
The life changing “truth” Jesus spoke of was knowledge through a relationship with God. From what I’ve read he never tried to trick anyone. He never forced anyone to believe one way or another. He trusted that with enough information people would make the right decision. Compare that to the way President Bush has operated on a myriad of topics, but specifically on the issue of global warming — tactics which have been revealed by recent congressional hearings.
Federal scientists have been pressured to play down global warming.
Climate scientists frequently have been dissuaded from talking to the media about their research.
Interview requests of climate scientists frequently were “routed through the White House” and then turned away or delayed.
Scientific findings have been edited by the White House to reveal more positive findings.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked for those documents and, not surprisingly, the White House has been slow to hand them over.
Fear of science is not exclusive to the White House. In an incredible example of cognitive dissonance, Americans spend almost $6000 per person on health care, yet more than half also reject the theory of evolution. We happily enjoy plastic surgery, air travel, and longer life spans, and 13% have never even heard of global warming. Our daily lives are lined with the benefits reaped from science, and we claim not to trust it.
Which principle of Christianity sets it in opposition to science? Why is an increase in truth feared? I don’t recall Jesus ever hiding knowledge. In-fact, most sermons you hear probably revolve around Jesus’ role in expanding God’s revelation, and then letting people make their own decisions based on that information.
It is easy to say you love God. So, Christianity adds a pragmatic check which says you can’t claim to love the unseen if you can’t love that which you can see. Thus, “who ever loves God must love his brother.” Had John faced this current group of believers maybe he would have asked how some can claim to love God while fearing discovered truths.
Lack of faith does not come from accepting science. If anything, it comes from rampant ambivalence on display. Ours is a society that takes what it wants and discards the rest. We accept science the way we accept faith and that, perhaps, is why so many are disgusted with religion. Its fiercest supporters fail to see a disconnect when people who have devoted a lifetime to studying God can somehow find a way practice things that should seem unimaginable. When caught they are excused or defended, a reaction which does not indicate any appreciation of newfound truth, but, rather, the inconvenience of getting caught.
Science now fills that which has been surrendering: a need for truth. This should have been Christianity’s strong-suit. For the believer all truth should be God’s truth. Believing based on selective ignorance is nothing to be proud of. Such thinking corrodes life itself. Many believers are racked with an impressive mixture of guilt, ignorance, and incompatible beliefs, and, in a reversal, their lives are bound by it.