I read a fascinating piece the other day while researching ahead of a trip to see Brian McLaren speak out in Louisville on Sunday.
Sure, this is a late response to that particular blog post, but I'm sharing nonetheless.
I'm certainly in agreement that religion has treated science with disdain when the two are not inherently competitive. I'm also in agreement that society has, in large part, sacrificed objective truth on the altar of subjective morality (although I don't think Charles Darwin is solely to blame for this shift in cultural attitudes...post-modern thought didn't arise from one man's scientific theory).
I disagree with Ken that "do unto others as you would have them do until you" is the core of Christ's message. It is undoubtedly an essential part of the Christian theology that Jesus established. It is not The Gospel. To think otherwise is to place man's actions ahead of God's salvation. Indeed, that line of reasoning has it backwards; the reverse, in fact, is true: salvation first, works that result from that salvation is second.
The Gospel is this: in an outpouring of love, God created the universe, and with it, mankind. The first man chose sin instead of a personal relationship with God, and, thus, sin entered the world, separating imperfect humans from a perfect and divine God. Yet God, in his great mercy and love, ever-seeking to restore man's relationship to Him, provided Himself as a sacrifice by coming to earth as a man, Jesus, who lived a perfect and sinless life prior to giving Himself to death.
In that act of sacrifice--and in His glorious, bodily resurrection from the dead three days later--Jesus now stands at man's side as an advoate, saying to God on behalf of those Christ has saved: "This is my child. He/she has asked forgiveness for the sinful acts of their lives that have separated them from you. Yes, this one is imperfect. But I was willing to live the life he/she could not have lived by dying the death he/she should have died. I took this one's place, Father. My perfection provides Grace to them in your eyes, regardless of their worthiness."
That's The Gospel. Sure, gratitude from Christ's sacrifice pours itself out from Believers in acts of sacrificial love; these are reflections of Christ's love for man, stirred in us by Christ living within us through the Holy Spirit. This manifests itself as Christ commanded, through "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you." But that oft-quoted verse is not The Gospel. A component, yes.
I'm not as intelligent as Charles Darwin. I think he came up with a fascinating theory. The minutae of how God, in His omniscence and omnipotence, established Creation, is beyond the limits of my human intelligence. Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that it is somehow wrong to attempt, with vigorous scientific observation and inquiry, to discern these and other matters. What I am suggesting is that mankind is guilty of a collective arrogance in regards to its attempts at comprehending God. That, among other reasons, is why I can't understand the reasons behind some evangelicals' celebration of an agnostic scientist, despite his obvious genius.
So, what do you think? Agree with me? Disagree with me? That's cool...but share your thoughts. Back 'em up.