Every time I hear someone pontificating about how evangelicals don’t care about science or the poor or don’t like “hard questions” or are way into being Republican, I always wonder the same thing: Who are these people they’re talking about?
I am an evangelical. I know a whole, whole lot of different sorts of evangelicals all over the world, and I’m increasingly confused by the ever-recycled, echo chamber truisms about evangelicals.
I’m bewildered because many of the folks I know who are doing the most rigorous scientific research and working hardest to bring hope, help, and justice to the poor are evangelicals. Like these folks.
Or any number of the (literally) hundreds of evangelical students I could link to who I have personally met who are doing incredible work in science. Not to mention, this guy.
Or our dearest of friends who started this or this or this. Not to mention, these guys who were talking about social justice before it was cool (and before I was born). Or this dude. Or these guys, who just might be saving the world.
Some people like my friend Daniel so hate science and poor people that they become top of their field in medicine and then move with their families to developing nations where they give quality care to the sick.
And I hear about these stories of tremendous beauty in a dark world and talk to these kind of science loving, compassionate, justice seeking evangelical weirdos every single day.
I want to be clear: I’m not saying that this litany makes the gospel evangelicals believe true or that you should be an evangelical or that we’re worthy of any kind of respect or that the evangelical church doesn’t deserve criticism or that we aren’t all completely nuts.
But here is my honest question: Am I just really lucky?
I’m asking this earnestly. Do I just happen to know the ‘right sort of’ evangelicals, a negligible, invisible sect within a sect? Granted, I work for these guys. And they’re always coming up with things like this. But is my sample that skewed? Have I just gone to above averagely awesome churches? Because none of these science-rejecting, poor ignoring, homophobes go to church with me. So is my experience all that unique? Or is this stereotype based on partial truths or the Moral Majority of twenty years ago? Or is this a strawman that is being trotted out and bashed again and again? And if so, why?