I have just finished watching “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein. Although it is not my intention to address the main thrust of the documentary I did notice something brought to light in this production that is strikingly similar to what I have experienced. Many people in the scientific realm who speak out and give even in inkling of an idea to the thought of intelligent design have been ostracized, called names, misrepresented, etc by those of the evolutionary party. If one is to “make it” in the realm of professional science then he must give assent to evolution or suffer the possibility of exile. One is not permitted to challenge the already seemingly mass accepted theories (although propounded as facts) of today’s great evolutionary minds.
Now, there is much more to say concerning Ben’s production, but I just want to make this one comparison as I unfold what I intend to be a series of posts. What he has shown to occur within the realm of science and institutions where “freedom of academia” is touted, is the same spirit I have experienced within the religious community that claims to hold “the Bible as it’s only rule of faith and practice” and the belief in “the priesthood of every believer”.
Now, this is not a religious denomination bashing post as I am not attempting to say all of one denomination are this way. The particular denomination that holds to both of these things, with vehement passion, that I have just mentioned is the baptist denomination – of which I am still unashamedly affiliated. But the over all spirit of American Christianity that is popular today exhibits these “persecuting” traits I am speaking of and many times, they don’t realize it. The people are propagating what they have heard from the pulpit; and doing so with fervent zeal and a well-intentioned heart. And many times the pulpits are mindlessly propagating what they have heard from pulpits before. To question is to be asked to leave, sometimes in a nice way, sometimes not so nice. To question the preacher is many times placed on par with questioning truth itself. When one really gets down to the core of it, it is not the Bible that has become the only rule of faith and practice, but rather whatever the preacher says; and whenever tradition is exalted above TRUTH it always results in error, for kind produces kind.
So what are some things done to squelch the “dissenters”? Straw men are constructed, names are called, history is twisted, misrepresented, or altogether denied or ignored, and a myriad of scare tactics are used to keep people from examining certain parts of Scripture or befriending those who have. Why? Well, I would argue there are many “satellite” reasons, but the core reason is that humanism has so permeated our thinking that we no longer allow the Scripture to form our philosophy, but rather interpret Scripture in light of our preconceived, humanistic, philosophy. In short – we have created a God-Box.
This God-box is minuscule, yet monstrous.
Minuscule in that it’s inhabitant is confined to the smallest possible living quarters conceivable.
Monstrous in that this infinitesimal box permeates every aspect of our life.
Sadly, when people open their boxes to look at their god, they don’t notice that it’s empty, they see exactly what they want to see – a god of their own making. Only if God, chooses to open their eyes, can they look beyond the box and see the Transcendent Creator of all. Only if he opens their ears will they hear His life-giving truth. Otherwise, they will boo and hiss and anyone who tells them to put down their box, and stop their ears and cry “heretic!” at anyone who tells them that they have no God at all.
But, does God not manifest Himself as working in prescribed ways? Of course! I am not saying that we can know nothing for certain about God, remember let Scripture be your only rule of faith and practice, I am simply saying that God is not put in a box. If God says He will do a thing then rest assured it will be done. To believe that is not to encapsulate Jehovah. If God chooses to bind Himself to a particular end, and He does tell us of His doing that, then this most certainly is not us boxing Him in. For us to not take Him at His word is wicked. But also know: For us to take Him at a word which He never spoke is just as wicked. And it is the latter sin I am addressing.
As we go though this, may God manifest Himself even more to each of us. Tearing down the walls that we have erected. For some, it may be uncomfortable. For others it may be a paradigm shift. But for all – may it conform us more and more into HIS image!
Soli Deo Gloria!