Arrogance is a two-edged sword. While it can make people feel superior and confident when stating their beliefs or points in an argument, the people receiving the message are often offended by the arrogance and feelings of superiority emanating from the messenger. In other words, the message may be valid, insightful, and credible, but these qualities are tainted and spoiled by the arrogant way it is delivered. There are a sundry of contexts where this happens, but I want to focus on one particular, controversial topic, and that is worldviews. Narrowing the subject even more, I will focus on fundamentalist Christians and hardcore atheists, who are science fundamentalists.
These two viewpoints provoke venomous responses from both sides of the argument. It is obvious that resentment easily morphs into disdain and outright hatred for the opposing point-of-view. When this happens, any hope of conversion or convincing others to see things from either viewpoint is overshadowed by the venomous nature of the argument. Stated another way, the message is tainted beyond recognition by the arrogant attitudes of the messengers.
Christian fundamentalists use faith rooted in the Bible, which is proclaimed as the infallible, literal “Word of God.” Most of the time, they view atheists as evil opponents who desecrate the Christian faith if only through a lack of belief in a higher power. I have heard more than one Christian say they hate atheists. They also see atheists as a threat to their evangelical pursuits. It is not difficult to see that Christian fundamentalists dismiss atheists as spiritually ignorant because they do not believe in God. I have watched more than one Christian cringe and become angry when the word “atheist” is spoken aloud.
So, dear science fundamentalist, when you “beat Christians over the head with scientific evidence,” you are not using irrefutable facts. You are using what is supported by current research and accepted as fact, but new information might prove the current research invalid. True science always leaves room for new discoveries or knowledge that will void what is supported by current scientific research. Likewise, dear Christian fundamentalist, when you “beat Atheists over the head with a Bible,” you are assuming they accept your dogma and literal translation of the Bible. Do not both of you realize that arrogant attacks, which vilify and demean each other, do very little to convince others of your superiority? Love and acceptance, whether you agree or not, will get you closer to your goal.
Why can’t the people on both sides of this issue lighten-up on each other and recognize the following: We are all creatures stuck on a rock with a molten center hurdling through space. We do not fully understand how we got here, what we are supposed to do while we are here, nor do we know when we are going to leave and what happens when we leave.
I can see validity and credibility in both perspectives, but nasty attacks that vilify those who do not agree with you do not promote your respective messages effectively. In other words, arrogance taints your messages, and your credibility is damaged. Most importantly, those of us in the middle of the melee grow weary of dodging barbs and being sucked into your arrogance. A quote from the late Earnest Hemingway is an appropriate end to this discussion: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”