As I read the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week, walking somewhere between M.L. King Boulevard and 4th Street, it hit me: Profound cultural misconceptions shape public opinion for the worse.
For the sake of brevity, here are four cultural misconceptions in summary form:
1 Church and State. If you listen long enough to the Freedom From Religion babble - galvanized by their recent bullying of schools and local municipalities - you might actually believe what they are saying. However, "separation of church and state" does not mean that religion should be muted in the public sector (as if our founding fathers were all atheists). Rather, it means that the government has no right to dictate the affairs, theology, and worship of the church, as was the case in England under the monarch.
2 The Myth of Neutrality. Removing God from education, politics, and overall public morality, does not create "neutrality"; it communicates the belief that God is either unimportant or absent. And that takes a lot of faith. This faith-based trend to quarantine Christianity from the public square is, at best, hypocritical. Nobody is neutral (including me), especially atheists, agnostics, and other anti-religious or religious groups. However, it's these "tolerant" progressives who become the most intolerant of all! I believe in true tolerance, that everybody has the right to present and argue their position or viewpoint without binding the conscience or engendering legal consequences. I don't believe in the "new tolerance" that calls you a bigot or seeks to silence your perspective if you simply don't agree. That's not tolerance; that's hypocrisy.
3 The Genetics of Gay People. While the apparent discovery and publicity of the so-called "gay gene" in the 90s (and the later, the "God gene," in 2005) garnered immediate and popular support, it has yet to be proven. Read that last phrase again. A person isn't born "gay" any more than someone is born an "alcoholic." Sure, there might be genetic and hormonal proclivities, but homosexual conduct is ultimately a person's choice. Whether it's right or wrong is another matter.
4 The "Science" of Evolution. By definition, the scientific method employs the techniques of observation, experiment, and measurement, none of which applies to the theory of evolution. Ask any biology or science teacher to give one observable, verifiable, and tested case of a species evolving into another (e.g., a dog to a non-dog). They can't. I'm not talking about microevolution or adaptations. Obviously, these happen all the time. But a belief in macroevolution shapes public opinion for the worse. Despite Sam Harris' best attempts (which simply boil down to an issue of semantics) there is absolutely no moral foundation if we have simply evolved from primordial goo that somehow came alive billions of years ago.
Don't get me wrong. I sincerely strive to love all kinds of people - atheists, gays, evolutionists, my enemies, everybody - and I support their right to present and argue their position. But if you don't agree with someone, deal with the issue, instead of dispensing "bigot" citations as if you yourself are not one.
Brian H. Cosby, Ph.D., is an author and pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA), located in Signal Mountain.