Black and white, cats and dogs, Christians and atheists. These pairs are just about as opposite as it is possible to be. But there is one fact that is so basic, so essential to logic and clear-thinking, that Christians and atheists agree on it.
(As for the other two pairs, our black Lab Twister definitely prefers his color and the company of other canines to that of, you know, those arrogant, self-absorbed furrballs.)
NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace — author of the highly recommended “Cold Case Christianity” — explains what that most basic fact is while responding to a probing question from a college student about how to explain the existence of a god:
Believe it or not, early in the decades following Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection, His followers were considered unpatriotic atheists by the most powerful government in the world, Rome.
As Ryan Leasure writes on The Poached Egg on this Palm Sunday, Roman Emperors expected subjects to bow down to the Roman pantheon of gods in an act both of loyalty to Caesar and religious piety.
Christians — in a dramatic act of separation of church and state —refused to worship the Roman gods and were thus viewed officially and by many Romans as atheists. But there was also an economic angle involved, as Leasure explains:
For all of our knowledge, there remains no definitive, testable, repeatable scientific answer to the question every person who ever lived asked themselves at least once: What happens to me after I die?
Science deals with the material world, cause and effect, the repeatedly demonstrable. But death, at least as far as we know from common human experience, is always and everywhere a one-way ticket (yes, I know there are folks who claim to have died and come back with vivid – but unverifiable- reports of what Heaven is like).
(The photo above is courtesy of Madison Grooms of Unsplash.)
Things, including people, tend to change over time and, according to the conventional wisdom of many of the top folks among the scientific and cultural elite, if you combine enough time with the right kind of matter and the phenomenon called “chance,” you get to evolution as an explanation of the origins of life on Earth.
Note that the phrase can either refer to theistic evolution, which God uses, or a-theistic evolution, which puts God entirely out of the picture. There is also an important distinction to be made between macro-evolution, which concerns the appearance of distinct species, and micro-evolution, which concerns the appearance of changes within species.
So why should anybody working on Capitol Hill care about this?