My husband and I have an ongoing conversation about the New York Times. I contend that it is editorially anti-religious. He regularly shares opinion pieces that contradict that claim. (I respond that the odd opinion piece doesn't change the fact that the editors, on the whole, are anti-religious. But that isn't really the point of this post...)
So it was this morning. Nguyen showed me two opinion pieces that any Christian would appreciate. The first was a guest piece in Maureen Dowd's column. She invited a priest friend to write about the nature of suffering and death and God's role in it. It is a beautiful column.
The second ran in the paper on Christmas Eve about a physics teacher who takes one class period per year to discuss some of the bigger issues of life that the study of physics doesn't address. What is the meaning of all of this? Why are we here? His answer is humble. It is about love. To illustrate his point, he shares with his class about his disabled son and his son's ability to communicate love regardless of his inability to speak.
So what do these two love-filled columns have in common?
The vitriol and anger with which they were received by the readers of the Times.
This comment is from the essay about God's role in suffering:
About the physics teacher, T of London wrote:
This is religious indoctrination in disguise. Love is a physical phenomenon, a direct result of evolution and not some magical force of the universe. The universe doesn’t care about us, and our emotions are all tools evolved to enhance our probability of survival. A shame that a physics teacher doesn’t understand what he teaches and chooses to bring into the classroom a dose of good old, irrational, misguided and factually wrong sermoning.
Apparently we are no longer even allowed to discuss emotions, never mind faith. Love is now the enemy. Love must be reduced to a chemical reaction and nothing more... and if you believe there is even a tiny bit of mystery to it, you have gone off into the realm of dangerous mythology.
For all you garden variety atheists and agnostics who still believe in the power of man's goodness, beware. Pretty soon you, too, will be villified in the public square for believing in something as irrational as kindness or love.
The snarky sarcasm that runs through the responses to both columns might be enough to scare anyone from writing about love or faith in the Times. I hope and pray that will not be the case. It takes courage to speak about faith, these days. And I pray that the haters will not be so loud that they silence those who speak love.