Saturday, July 3, 2010

In praise of .... The Guardian

There were two particularly interesting articles in today's paper. I always look for the Face to Faith section because you have the option to comment on-line and I like to do that. Today's Face to Faith, Christianity, Arrogance and Ignorance, was penned by the former editor of the Catholic Herald, Peter Stanford, and looks at the areas of ignorance we have about one-another's faiths.

...I found myself wondering whether I was unusual in my ignorance among those in the west who purport to take religion seriously, or whether I had stumbled on a bigger problem. Is our lack of knowledge of not only eastern traditions but also (crucially today) of Islam the rough equivalent of the point blank refusal of most of us to learn any other language than English? Just as we arrogantly and lazily assume that everyone else in the world will be desperate to learn English, do we also assume that our Christian traditions are the lingua franca of world religions against which all other faiths must present themselves?

The Guardian also runs an ongoing series called Bad Science, illustrated by a picture of Frankenstein's monster. This week, Ben Goldacre, under the heading Challenging Behaviour, was considering the phenomenon that is our propensity to ignore scientific evidence that challenges our pre-existing view, (ignoring it being merely one of the options available: the others include intimidating it, buying it off, reasoning it away or suing for libel.)

When presented with unwelcome scientific evidence, it seems, in a desperate attempt to retain consistency in their worldview, people would rather conclude that science in general is broken.

I think there is a link between the two articles in terms of having our preconceptions challenged and our general unwillingness to hear a well reasoned alternative perspective. Other worldviews? Secondary to Christianity - after all what does the Bible teach?

But surely in the ongoing debates within Christian circles we see the self same approaches in relation to human sexuality and climate change to name but two. Are we really back to science v religion in the search for objectivity and truth?

I really do like a newspaper which makes me think.