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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Letter damaging to constructive dialogue

  • A letter to the editor, April 17, surprised me with the news that I’m not a Christian, nor are any of my church-going, praying friends. According to that letter, we are atheists no matter how devoted we are to Christ’s mission or how sacrificially we give time and money to the church as a means of carrying out that mission.


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  • A letter to the editor, April 17, surprised me with the news that I’m not a Christian, nor are any of my church-going, praying friends. According to that letter, we are atheists no matter how devoted we are to Christ’s mission or how sacrificially we give time and money to the church as a means of carrying out that mission.
    According to the April 17 letter, people in Oklahoma are either atheists or Christians, and the determining factor is not whether they live the Christian way. The author of the letter claims that people are Christians if they think that “belief in God is incompatible with evolution. You cannot believe in God and evolution at the same time.” From this perspective, people who accept the thoroughly demonstrated concept of evolution apparently cannot believe in God and therefore cannot be Christians.
    They have to be atheists.
    This kind of arbitrary division of all people into Christians or atheists leaves out those spiritual pilgrims making their way through a difficult and complex landscape of information and theories. Such people accept the findings of science while sensing that the physical world described by science might not be a complete description.
    This journey does not require a rejection of tested evidence and analysis that leads to an evolutionary explanation.
    Dividing people who believe in the guidance and love of God into atheists or Christians based on their acceptance of evolution seems a poor way to think about the work of Christ in the world.
    Such a division damages the possibility of a constructive and on-going conversation between well-meaning people. Some of these people hold a sense of the Christian life that allows them to accept the realities of the world we live in while others might have trouble accepting some of those realities.
    This divisive approach also seems contrary to the basic notion of the early church as a body of imperfect but kindred folk who love one another. I nearly always find it difficult to discuss theology or church strategy with a person who thinks I am an atheist.
    Joe Hall
    Shawnee

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