Battle for Britain: a battle for hearts and minds
Published: 14 September 2010 (GMT+10)
How did human beings originate? According to a survey published in July 2010, 68% of British people believe “human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years” while only 16% opted for “God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years”.1 The equivalent figures, respectively, for two other countries polled were 61% ‘evolutionist’ and 24% ‘creationist’ (Canada), 35% ‘evolutionist’ and 47% ‘creationist’ (United States). What an unhappy accolade, that Britain tops the unbelief charts!
At the same time, Britain finds itself in a moral morass and has become a society with increasing antipathy to all things truly Christian. The conviction by a Glasgow Court, earlier this year, of American evangelist, Shawn Holes (19 March 2010) is tragic testimony to how far Britain has fallen as a nation. What was the “most serious crime” that was so “offensive” that it led to this committed Christian spending a night in custody and being fined £1,000?2 He had the temerity to suggest that homosexual behaviour is sinful and to deny certain claims of Islam! Yet, even a ‘gay rights’ campaigner publicly acknowledged that this conviction was heavy-handed and contrary to the principle of freedom of speech.3
Legacy of evolutionary thinking
Ever since Darwin, Bible-believing Christians have drawn people’s attention to the connection between believing evolution and denying Christianity. Tragically, many Christian leaders have ignored or even denied the link. Highlighting this is part of what we at Creation Ministries International call ‘the relevance message’, undergirding all our endeavours. Although much of the church has sought to marginalise creationists, and claims that the debate over origins is a side issue, our contentions have been endorsed in recent years from a surprising source: the ‘new atheists’. I speak, of course, of men like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Chris Hitchens, Sam Harris and Victor Stenger, all of whose books have been best-sellers across the western world.
In the few years leading up to 2009 (the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous ‘Origin of the Species’), a whole spate of atheist rants against Christianity appeared in print. Like those Christians who believe Genesis to record true history—the Creation, the Fall, the Flood of Noah’s day and Babel—these atheists have pointed out the many reasons why Darwinism is totally incompatible with biblical Christianity. In effect, they have been shouting: “Don’t you see? Evolution is a fact—it’s the truth! Therefore, Genesis is a myth, and Christian morality and the message of Jesus Christ collapses like a house of cards.”
Churchian compromisers are out of touch
Some within the church, particularly the theistic evolutionists, try to make out that the latter claims are from those at the extremes of the debate, and that it is prudent instead to tread the middle ground between atheistic evolution and ‘young earth’ creationism. High profile, influential examples, that spring to mind, are Francis Collins (leader of the human genome project)4 and Dennis Alexander (Faraday Institute),5 men who profess to be evangelical but who, in practice, ask us to understand Genesis in a completely different way to that of the Apostle Paul and other NT writers (See What does the New Testament say about Creation?).
But, the view that Genesis is foundational to morality, for instance, is one that many thinking people hold who are neither atheists nor creationists. For instance, well-known journalist Melanie Phillips, a professed agnostic, said in a recent interview: “You don’t have to be a religious believer to understand that if religion—more specifically, the Hebrew Bible and the Christianity that built upon it—underpins Western civilization and the codes of right and wrong—putting others above yourself, freedom and equality, and belief in reason—that form the bedrock of that civilization, then eroding or destroying that religion will erode or destroy those virtues and the civilization they distinguish.”6 And how right she is.
The truth of the matter is this: by bowing the knee to Darwinism (e.g. teaching that human beings share a common ancestor with all living things), professing Christians are clinging to a faith that is no longer rooted in real history. It is often asserted that Darwin’s doctrines have been misused by the new atheists, and that he was simply concerned with biological change. However, Darwin’s letters and autobiography demonstrate that he was well aware of the relevance of his message—a dangerous idea that undermined the truth of Scripture.7
Bad tree—bad fruit
Consider that, in a letter in 1859, he calls Thomas Huxley: “ … my good and admirable agent for the promulgation of damnable heresies.”8,9 Less than a year later, he wrote again to Huxley as: “My good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel—i.e. the devil’s Gospel.”10 It is not difficult to see why Darwin’s rejection of biblical history (in favour of the imaginations of his own heart) led to his rejection of the rest of Scripture, including the Gospel of Christ. Not long before his death, he wrote: “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.”11
The last century and a half bears testimony to the sad examples of loss of faith among many more who failed to heed the warning of Scripture (2 Tim. 2:16): “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” And today, we are all too familiar with the bitter and ugly fruit of the Darwinian tree. One thinks of the rampant drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and rise in suicide among Britain’s hopeless youth.
A crisis among the youth
Even many non-believers wonder what’s gone wrong. On a 2008 front cover, Time magazine asked: ‘Unhappy, unloved and out of control: An epidemic of violence, crime and drunkenness has made Britain scared of its young. What’s causing the crisis?’—prompting interesting responses from British newspapers.12 May I suggest an answer to Time’s question? For the last fifty years, young people have increasingly been taught that they’re ‘just animals’, that they evolved, that there’s no good or evil, and there’s no real purpose to their existence at all. There is no God, they’re told—“nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”, as Richard Dawkins has infamously put it.13
In January 2010, a report from the United Kingdom’s leading independent social research institute painted another bleak picture of declining faith in Britain.14 The National Centre for Social Research reported that many more people now say they don’t belong to a particular faith, compared to the 1980s. This being the case, it is hardly surprising to read, in the same report, that just a fifth of non-religious people consider homosexual behaviour to be morally wrong and around half of British people think it “makes no difference to children whether their parents are married to each other or just living together.” Allegedly, this is because the younger generations “have more tolerant views.” However, what this survey does reveal is a complete ignorance of what God’s Word has to say on these crucial moral issues.
With the pressing issues of our day, this is not a time for Christians to lie down and admit defeat or to sink into apathy. While much of this article has dealt with the situation in the UK, exactly the same problems face Christians in nations across the world. The conviction of my colleagues and I in CMI is that the time is ripe to answer the burning questions that many people have, and this can only be done by pointing them to the first book of the Bible. The roots of our Christian doctrines and the basis of morality and jurisprudence are to be found in the book of Genesis. Can we rely on your prayerful interest and support?
Unashamedly, my plea to you, dear reader, is: Help us as we seek to seize the day! Atheists may advertise with their slogans, such as “There’s probably no God”, and we may continue to see efforts by godless individuals to push ahead with legislation that’s inimical to committed Christians—but why not begin to see these things as opportunities to engage people in meaningful conversation, and prayerfully ask God to show you how to make the most of every opportunity that is afforded to you?
We must set the agenda for change in our respective nations, one prayer at a time, one step at a time, one person at a time. We must be prepared to demonstrate the relevance of the Bible, the Christian faith, and the Gospel, to those around us. Why not use some of CMI’s witnessing tools—tracts, small witnessing booklets—in your personal conversations with people? Show a thought-provoking DVD to a small group of friends, or talk to us about arranging a meeting in your community. Ask for a catalogue of our book and DVD resources.
A great place to start is our popular Creation Answers Book, which deals with dozens of questions relating to many aspects of the creation/evolution debate. The DVD Case for Creation (5½ hours of programmes recorded on live television) is packed with fascinating scientific information, designed to better equip Christians in their outreach and evangelistic endeavours. And, our full-colour quarterly magazine, Creation (now in its 32nd year) is brimming with timely and relevant articles—subscribe to this fascinating and equipping feast of information here.
- Three-country public opinion poll by Vision Critical, Americans are creationists; Britons and Canadians side with evoltion, last accessed 21 July, 2010. Return to text.
- See Christian preacher fined for speaking on homosexuality, last accessed 29 July, 2010. Return to text.
- See Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell defends 'homosexuals are sinners' preacher and slams £1,000 fine as heavy-handed, last accessed 29 July 2010. Return to text.
- The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Francis Collins, 2006—reviewed at Harmony and discord. Return to text.
- Creation or Evolution: Do we have to Choose? by Dennis Alexander, 2008—reviewed at creation.com/review-creation-or-evolution-david-anderson. Return to text.
- Interview by Kathryn J. Lopez, editor-at-large of National Review Online, 20 May 2010, Melanie Phillips on a World Gone Mad , last accessed 29 July 2010. Return to text.
- Atheist philosopher, Daniel Dennett, titled his influential 1995 book: ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the meanings of life.’ See also Darwin’s real message: have you missed it? Return to text.
- ‘Damnable heresies’ is a quote from 2 Peter 2:1, the Authorised (King James) Version. Return to text.
- From a letter dated 16 December, 1859. Letter 85, More Letters of Charles Darwin, edited by Francis Darwin & A.C. Seward, vol. 1, p. 131, John Murray, London, 1905. Return to text.
- From a letter dated 8 August, 1860. Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Edited by Francis Darwin, vol. 2, p. 123-124, D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1911. Return to text.
- From a letter to Frederick McDermott, November 24, 1880. The myth about his deathbed conversion is just that; see Did Darwin recant?. Return to text.
- For example, The Daily Mail, Drunk, violent, promiscuous... a U.S. view of British youth as seen on the cover of Time magazine, last accessed 29 July 2010. Return to text.
- Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Basic Books, 1995, p. 133. Return to text.
- The survey was published in January 2010, see British Social Attitudes 26th Report, last accessed 1 June 2010. Return to text.