As I was driving to work this morning I pulled up behind a car, the back of which look more like a collage of bumper stickers than part of a vehicle. With the exception of the rear windshield there was not one square inch on this thing that wasn’t covered, and even the windshield had a few blockages.
One of the bumper stickers was sending what I believed to be a very noble message. It said, “We need a Department of Peace.” I’m all for promoting peace. I am not a total pacifist and believe that there are times when war is necessary, but at least as a general objective peace is a good thing.
On the same car was one of those Christian fish symbols with legs attached and the word “Darwin” written inside. I can’t imagine that there are too many of you out there who do not know what I am talking about, but for those of you who may not, picture this. In the early days of Christianity, fellow Christians devised a surreptitious system for identifying one another. One person would use a stick to draw a curved line (kind of like a frown) in the dirt. To anyone looking it would just look like they were doodling on the ground. If the person watching was a Christian, however, they would draw a mirror image of the curved line, making the two lines meet at a point on one side (i.e., the nose of the fish), then crossing over each other at the other end of the line making the tail of the fish. If you want a picture, see the “Christian Links” page on the Ten Minas site. We have a picture of this “Christian fish” there.
Nowadays, a number of Christians put these fish on the back of their cars to identify themselves as Christians. As I said, this is a symbol that Christians have long used to identify themselves to one another (it’s not like we all walk around with “Christian” emblazoned on our foreheads).
In the last few years, someone came up with the idea for Darwinists to express their views on the back of their cars by creating one of these fish, but putting legs on it and writing “Darwin” across the middle. This is the placard that was on the car in front of me. It also had something I had never seen before, a T-Rex eating one of the Christian fish symbols.
My point is actually quite simple. I firmly believe that the first step toward peace is to try not to antagonize your opponent. I have often encouraged Christians to follow 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Why use the Christian fish to identify yourself as a proponent of Darwinism? I understand that many people believe Darwinian evolution and Christianity are contradictory. But why use a symbol that obviously has deep meaning to Christian adherents and, in essence, mock it to make your point? Why is the T-Rex eating it? Why are you putting feet on it?
It seems to me that this type of behavior is essentially “thumbing your nose” at Christianity. It is the type of behavior that you should know could generate strong negative emotions in the person or class of people that you are targeting. It is behavior that is designed to antagonize. Why else use that particular symbol in such a way that you have to know would not be welcomed by those who were using it before you? The Christian fish did not in any way mock Darwinism. Christian believers were not ridiculing Darwinism by putting these fish on their cars (although please do not misunderstand me to think I am saying that many Christians do not unfortunately ridicule others). It just seems to me to be an unnecessary attack and I find it ironic that someone who advocates a quest for peace would get the first step toward that peace so horribly wrong.
Please do not get me wrong. I am not starting off some kind of a crusade to have all these placards removed. I don’t start screaming at the car in front of me every time I see one. I am only using this small example as a point of entry for something bigger. Namely, if we really want to work for peace, let us begin by trying to respect one another. This does not mean we have to agree with each other, or that you cannot tell someone that you disagree. But do this without mocking, without teasing, without ridicule, and in a manner that shows that you respect your opponent as a human being.