Some of the responses to Intelligent Design have been thoughtful and reasoned, others have been, well, a little shallow. One set of responses coming from within the Christian community has been interesting, and is highlighted by this letter to the editor in a paper in Fort Collins, CO. The original opinion piece was inaccessible.
This letter, though I may not assent to everything it seems to support, has one extremely good point going for it. The author remarks:
Chorpenning [the original opinion writer-a minister] affirmed Judith Hannah’s (geosciences, Colorado State University) remarks that Christianity is simply faith-based stories with no connection to what is verifiable in our physical world. Many people are content with such a faith, but many others, including myself, are not.
I also affirm the statement Chorpenning made as he closed: “I claim with strong conviction that God is the source of life and Creator of the universe.” But for me, I need more than unverifiable faith-based stories for those strong convictions. So I welcome the fact that science is increasingly verifying that blind chance is not sufficient to explain this world.
The difference is between the two authors is telling. Chorpenning represents a view in which Christians believe science debunks the Bible, but still want to hold to their faith. In order to do so, they feel they must relativise the truth claims of Scripture and believe on blind faith that it is “true” is some kind of non-objective sense. On the other side is the author of the piece I cited, and myself, who believe that Christianity makes truth claims about reality in the same sense that science makes truth claims about reality.
The more robust faith is the second kind. The first kind hides its head in the sand and fails to take Scripture seriously while taking the “outside” world seriously. The stronger faith is one that is able to take in the claims of skeptics and scientists who disagree with religious claims and work through them rationally and thoughtfully. That process results in a deepened and strengthened faith-the kind of faith Scripture tries to encourage.
I believe the kind of faith that needs to hide Scriptural truth claims behind a veil of religious relativism is a kind of sin-it is an act that completely misses the mark of loving God with all our minds, souls, and hearts. It leaves believers in the position where they think they can believe one thing “in the church” and a completely contradictory thing “outside” the church.
In all honesty, the point of view represented by Chorpenning is, I believe, a direct result of two schools of thought-Higher Criticism and Postmodernism.