Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Diversity Pictured and Diversity in Reality

The following NPR article is interesting:
A Campus More Colorful Than Reality:  Beware That College Brochure

It seems some colleges are using photoshopped pictures to create images of a diverse student body on campus. So, the college magazine or website uses images of a more diverse student body than really exists.

I've seen churches do this, too. Such websites show stock pictures of families and individuals of various ethnic backgrounds, while in reality the church in overwhelmingly white. That can be good if they sincerely desire a diverse congregation, or misleading if there are bad reasons the congregation is not diverse.

Indeed, churches often reflect their communities, and as such, may not have opportunity for a very diverse congregation. Using such pictures might be a way of communicating to the viewer that everyone is welcome at the church. In such cases, the intended message is that people of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed. However, this does not excuse callous attitudes towards such people.

For example, I once had a minister tell me that studies show that it would have been economically better for African-Americans if the 1964 Civil Rights Bill had not passed (FYI: 80% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats in Congress voted for the bill). He knew my family is an interracial family, and he suggested that this law was a bad law. If you do not understand why this is an offensive remark, please see the movie, The Help, and understand that at that time in which this story took place, my marriage would have been illegal in many states.

There is no excuse, economic or otherwise, to support a system that humiliates people. Taking a callous attitude towards people of color might be one reason a congregation is not diverse. In such a case, using stock pictures of diverse people can be deceptive.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Christians: Anti-Evolution but Pro-Social Darwinists?

As christians, we know God created all that exists. As the Apostle John said concerning the Son of God:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Kindle Locations 41809-41812). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition. 

However, many disagree concerning how God created the heavens and earth. What is clearly not compatible with scripture is a naturalistic evolutionary explanation for the universe. This is often called "Darwinian Evolution," and denies any role of the Creator in bringing about the universe.

What I find ironic is that many conservative christians who believe the heavens and the earth were created in six 24-hour days with no evolution involved often, at the same time, believe social problems should be solved primarily through the free market. That is, such individuals believe that even if private charity cannot provide for the needs of the poor, a government should not tax some people to provide for the needs of these poor people. The outcome would be that some will die, but others will adapt and become self-sufficient. This results in an economic "survival of the fittest" system, also called "Social Darwinism,"where the weak die and the strong survive. Sounds Darwinian to me!

While I am convinced a free market economy is best, I also know that all human systems are flawed, including business, economic, and political systems. As such, christians must not raise the free market to a divine position.

I also do not encourage redistributing people's wealth for the purpose of social engineering because this approach assumes an elite group of humans know how to construct and guide society. However, to use a fair tax to provide for the basic needs of poor people does not have to involve social engineering.

Biological evolution and social evolution must be seen in light of God's sovereignty. This means that while christians disagree over how God created the heavens and the earth, we must not hold to a scientific theory that does not allow for the Creator to be the reason for the existence of the universe. Likewise, while christians disagree over the role of government in the economy, we must not hold to an economic theory that allows poor people to die when we have the ability to provide for their needs (Galatians 2:10; James 2:5-7).