Bumper Stickers and Bigotry

We’ve all seen those Jesus fish bumper stickers on cars. We’ve also seen the Darwin fish, sprouting little legs, that have emerged as a reaction to the Jesus fish.

National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg doesn’t like the Darwin fish. Let him speak for himself:

I find Darwin fish offensive. First, there’s the smugness. The undeniable message: Those Jesus fish people are less evolved, less sophisticated than we Darwin fishers.

He goes on:

the whole point of the Darwin fish is intolerance; similar mockery of a cherished symbol would rightly be condemned as bigoted if aimed at blacks or women or, yes, Muslims.

Well, my trusty Buick happens to have a Darwin fish on its bumper. Turns out Goldberg is putting words into my mouth that do not belong there.

The Jesus fish is an expression of faith. The driver is saying to his fellow commuters, “this is what I believe.” It is a positive statement.

I am also making a positive statement. I am saying, based on the evidence I’ve seen, that I believe the universe is more than 6,000 years old. I am saying that it is possible for species to evolve over time.

That’s it.

There is no smugness. No mockery. No implication that people who disagree with me are less evolved. Nor do I have any animus toward any religion, Christian or otherwise; disbelief does not equal contempt.

Goldberg reads a bit too much into it, frankly. Evolution says nothing about whether or not God exists. It says nothing about the origins of life itself, let alone the divinity of Christ.

I certainly have my opinions on the matters. The Darwin fish has nothing to do with them. It says only that, as the eons pass, life changes. It evolves.

I get the sense that Goldberg’s faith is deeply held, and is for him a source of strength. That is wonderful.

What a shame then, that he a priori assumes ill motives of people who do not share his faith. My beliefs give me strength, comfort, and beauty, too. Even though they’re different from his.

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