Evolutionary Anthropologists Seek to Study Christianity
According to a press release on EurekAlert, “Anthropologists have almost no track record of studying Christianity, a religion they have generally treated as not exotic enough to be of interest.” This omission needs to be rectified, says Joel Robbins (UC San Diego): “Anthropologists, who are specialists in the study of religion outside the West, ought to be in the forefront of studying global Christianity and its impact,” he said.
Robbins noted the difference in outlook between anthropologists and Christians. Anthropologists stress continuity and change over time, whereas Christians focus on radical discontinuities, such as the birth and second coming of Jesus, and the individual experience of conversion. “One does not evolve into a convert,” he said.
That’s right; conversion is a miraculous transformation begun by repentance from sin and faith in the miraculous resurrection of Messiah. These are inexplicable by an evolutionary process. Did you notice that the anthropologist’s innate bias at looking for continuity and evolution will color his or her perception of the subject? Explain Paul by evolution, Dr. Robbins. Tell you what; we’ll let you analyze C.S. Lewis as an anthropological subject, if you will let him analyze you back as a theological subject (a kind of thing he did, at length, in his writings). Beware, though; he could undermine your operational presuppositions by showing them to be theologically based. It could be an interesting contest: the survival of the wittest.