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  • Faith

    On Open-Mindedness and The Origin of Life

    May 31, 2012


    We all like to think we’re open-minded. (Well, I suppose there are those who consciously don’t want to be. I think I know some of them. Do you?) I’ve been thinking about the definition for a while, and generally I believe that open-mindedness means having open ears, and a willingness to understand and learn.

    But lately I’m wondering if being open-minded could mean something more:
    welcoming a friendly challenge to one’s worldview.

    I recently attended a viewing of a documentary on the origin of life. I was slightly leery of it, going in, because, given the organization that produced it, I suspected the presentation would be completely subject to my Christian worldview. I already know what my people believe. I want to hear the other side. Let them make their case and challenge my thinking.

    I wasn’t disappointed. Much of the commentary was from an opposing worldview. A scientific case for intelligent design was made by scientists who don’t believe in the Jesus I know and love. And quotes from Charles Darwin lit up the screen throughout the entire presentation.

    I believe God is the originator of life (and I’m ready to defend that position), but I’m still collecting the data I need in order to form my own conclusion on the age of the earth. Am I a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) or an IDT (Intelligent Design Theorist)? (I know what I believe in my heart, but until I understand in my mind why I believe it, I would never presume to defend that. Some call this wisdom.)

    There are impressive, intelligent arguments from both persuasions. And it makes me a little crazy when people authoritatively espouse an Old Earth or Young Earth, when they can’t begin to back up their claims from a scientific point of view. Sorry, but “The Bible says” or “the school textbooks say” just isn’t going to work in persuading “thinking people” on any side. (My faith became fully-formed as an adult by starting with an intellectual study on the historical evidence for Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But that’s another story.)

    So bring on those who study science with an open mind, who are willing to allow their worldview to be shaken, and who aren’t afraid to question old-fashioned theories of any kind. That’s who I’m willing to allow into the conversation. 
    Are you open-minded? Or if I raise a question that you can’t answer, are you going to walk away and ignore me?

    Let’s flip that around. Do you know what would make my day? To have someone challenge my worldview. Ask me tough questions. Comb through my brain to discover why I so passionately believe the things you find absurd.

    If I don’t know the answers, I’ll either go find them, or I’ll change what I believe.

    Which brings me to a final note on the definition of open-mindedness: Perhaps being open-minded means, more than anything else, being dedicated to finding the truth at any cost–even if that cost is one’s lifelong persuasion.

    2 thoughts on “On Open-Mindedness and The Origin of Life

    1. cacia says:

      I am so glad you wrote this!! Having not formed my complete opinion(and not sure I will in this lifetime, but am ok with that) on this topic…..I appreciate people being willing to actually be open minded about it!

      I still very much believe in Creation from a creator, but the less important details such as the age of the earth, etc…(REALLY- in light of more important theological such as Jesus dying for us, and everything that is part of that in our lives, The age of the earth not a do or die issue for me

      Thank you!

    2. Faith Bogdan says:

      I agree, Cacia. My beef with some of the more hardcore YEC’s is that they seem to promote a different gospel, one that says, “Except a man believe the earth is 6,000 years old, He shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

      I have two friends who are “experts” on the matter. One is a university professor of biology and the other an archaeology buff. Both are born again Christians. The first is an IDT, the second a YEC. They both can argue their viewpoints scientifically. Time hasn’t allowed me (yet) to sit down and hear either of them out more thoroughly, but I plan to, if nothing else, for the sake of being able to converse intelligently with others on the topic.

      But like you said, it’s not a do-or-die issue. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Him crucified and resurrected. That is why I can call these two guys my brothers. 🙂

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