[the great debate]

Many years ago, the debate between creationism and evolution was the hot button issue. People argued vehemently about it, casting their lot firmly on one side or the other but never on both.

For a while, things quieted down. We found other things to divide ourselves into "us v. them" over so creationists v. darwinists became somewhat passe.

Then Bill Nye got in a debate with a creationist and suddenly battle lines were drawn ago. BuzzFeed articles were written. Passive aggressive Facebook posts were made. Cruel comments about opposing sides were made on all of the above, comments about forced sterilization, idiocy, and the like. In short, things got ugly quickly as they are wont to do in this digital viral age.

I don't actually want to talk about the debate itself. Frankly, I believe there's room in faith for science and room in science for faith. The two things are complimentary, not contradictory. It's hard for me to understand why this is still such a debate. But it is.

The whole thing is rife with unspoken connotations.

Christians are hateful, stupid people, clinging irrationally to unenlightened view points.

Atheists are heathens with no moral code, condemned to hellfire for their arrogance.

Neither of those are true. Yes they may be true of the vocal minority of individuals. There are spiteful, uneducated Christians and there are amoral heathen atheists. Those types of people do exist.

But they're not the majority. Not even close.

The truth is often somewhere in the middle. But the truth is we've always needed an enemy, someone we can set ourselves apart from. We can point at that enemy and say "Look at him. Look how bad he is. Look how different I am. Therefore, I am better". This validates us. It validates our choices. It validates our beliefs about others. It validates pretty much anything we want it to.

And you know what irks me the most about this standoff? The pot is calling the kettle black and considering itself superior. It doesn't matter who's the pot and who's the kettle. For example, people often criticize Christians for being homophobic bigots. How is saying "all Christians are bigots" any different than saying "all gay people are sinners & condemned to hell"?

It's not.

It's not any different at all.

And both sides consider themselves enlightened by virtue of the fact that they hold the view they do.

All I'm trying to say is, can we just lay down our arms and try to find some common ground? I know it doesn't seem like there is any, but I promise you there is. Those misconceptions you have about the other side are probably based on a certain individual, something you saw on tv/the internet, or a combination of both. But that in no way typifies the entire group just as Fox doesn't typify all republicans nor does MSNBC typify all democrats.

The truth is that the vast majority of both camps live their lives somewhere in between these two extremes, quietly going about their daily business without doing any of the things the opposition is accusing them of.

Let me lay a challenge before you.

Go out in the next week and just talk to someone who either does or doesn't believe in God. If you don't believe in God, talk to someone who does. If you do believe in God, talk to someone who doesn't.

And this time, listen. Really, truly listen. Ask questions. Try to understand.

Whatever you do, don't go into the discussion looking for a debate. Don't go looking to prove how right you are and how wrong they are. Don't go looking to change their views. Just talk. Don't seek out that vocal minority either. Chances are, they'll rile you up and the whole thing will fall apart. Find that average Joe Christian or atheist and talk to them. Get to know them.

I promise you, you'll be surprised at what you learn.

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