God & Darwin followup

Following our discussion of religion as it related to the case study, I wanted to expand on my comments, since I went out on a limb on this particular lecture with my own personal beliefs. Religion has become an important part of the public square, but journalists often are uncomfortable knowing how to deal with it.  images-1They are either unacquainted with the evangelical tradition, given the geography of elite media as located elsewhere from the heartland of the evangelical concentration, or they take the often most vocal, fundamentalist view as the prevailing “religious” view–excluding other shades of faith expression.  In part, this is due to the success in recent years of the blending of conservative political ideology with a certain kind of religious belief into what I termed “political fundamentalism” (exemplified by figures like Sarah Palin, and her “speaking for God” vs. “speaking to God”).images In short, I would argue that journalists should regard the “intelligent design” movement as distinct from science (as a different realm of explanation and truth claims), and not feel obliged to report a controversy in the science where there is no controversy.  The case story could be given a religious frame, but that frame should not be religion “vs” science, but rather how one particular religious expression (“political fundamentalism”) sees that kind of conflict, while other faith understandings (including those of many scientists and your humble instructor) do not.  Ultimately, it’s the controversy among religious expressions that each believer must navigate for him or herself, including the need to reconcile one’s own faith (or lack of one) with the need to be tolerant of others within a democratic community.

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