Evangelical elitism due to oratory skills, speaker says
By FOREST BROWN, News Writer
Published: February 15, 2012
Certain evangelical speakers in America rise to prominence through their oratory skills, even in the face of scientific facts, author Dr. Karl Giberson said at a lecture yesterday. He referred to such speakers as “the anointed,” partly in reference to their ideology and partly in parody of what he considers to be their propensity toward elitism.
Dr. Giberson gave a presentation based on his recently published book, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, in Demaray Hall, Room 150 yesterday.
He discussed public figures who preach their messages to a misinformed audience.
Dr. Giberson described the techniques that these figures use to win over their large audiences.
“The anointed leaders of American evangelicalism achieve their success because of their ability to don the mantle of the academic while employing the communication strategies of the preacher,” he said.
Dr. Giberson said that often, reconciling faith with science is not an issue of faith, but of doctrine, emphasizing that the two can be compatible.
“There are Christians on both sides of these conversations,” he said. “These conflicts are between Christians keeping up with knowledge as it is advancing and those who remain in the past.”
The arrogance of the anointed, as he called them, is what makes them more difficult to reason with, Dr. Giberson said.
As an example, Dr. Giberson described the work of Ken Ham, a new-earth creationist who recently opened a Creation Museum in Kentucky.
Dr. Giberson compared Ham’s work to that of biologist Francis Collins, a geneticist who recently established the BioLogos foundation, a Christian advocacy group that emphasizes compatibility between science and religion.
The main difference between these two people is their attitudes toward their projects, Dr. Giberson said.
Ham saw every event leading toward the founding of his museum as a miracle and a sign of God’s will. Conversely, Collins showed humility in his approach, praying that his project followed God’s will, instead of assuming that it did, Dr. Giberson said.
Senior Cara Peter said after the lecture that she thought that an attitude of arrogance can hold people back from progress.
“These people hold strong views and aren’t willing to budge,” she said.
However, senior Michael Gencarella said although these speakers may have viewpoints or facts that are contradicted by science, they still make important contributions to discussions of faith.
“I think that they stimulate discussion; they bring things to the table that could be missed by others.” he said. “I don’t think that they should be silenced.”