Churches celebrating the ‘Year of Darwin’
Compromising churchians in self-destruct mode
Published: 19 February 2009 (GMT+10)
Even before work started in earnest on CMI’s Darwin Film early in 2008, we predicted (and cautioned) that there would be much fanfare in 2009 over the double celebration of Darwin’s birth (200 years ago), and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his world-changing Origin of Species. And hardly a day goes by without us being made aware of some pro-Darwin/evolution event being promoted. However, it is even more disturbing when the church is the one doing the promoting.
This is the case with St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia who have commenced a year-long festival of events to “celebrate evolution”. Even a prominent local newspaper was surprised when it wrote:
“Given that Charles Darwin is supposedly the central figure in the divide between religion and science, one might not expect the first place to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth to be a church.”1
The newspaper gets it, so why doesn’t this Anglican church? Of course, the secular media easily recognize the incompatibility between the plain straightforward creation events of Genesis and the millions-of-years particles to people concept of evolution. It is not my intent to be condescending, but the reality is that atheistic evolutionists of the ilk of Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris et al. must be rubbing their hands with glee when they see the church embrace evolution in such a way.
In an article called “Darwin a uniting force for science and religion”, it was reported:
“Both the cathedral service and festival were born in the fertile mind of Melbourne University geneticist Philip Batterham, a devout Christian. He approached Melbourne Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier, and Dr Freier, who originally trained as a biologist, was delighted. ‘I don’t see any incompatibility between science and Christian faith, and this is a good time to reflect on the way they work together, because Darwin is the central figure in the supposed divide,’ Dr Freier told The Age.”
Making the church relevant with evolution?
Although it is their genuine (but misguided) intent to show that somehow the church is not out of step with modern science, they have completely misunderstood the difference between what most people understand as science and the theory of evolution. CMI has no problem with “science”. In fact, we probably employ more scientists than any other Christian organization, and I can vouch that every one of them believes that gravity (discovered by a creationist!) is a real phenomenon, and that water boils at 100° Celsius (212° F). Such facts are in the realm of operational science, which deals with events that we can observe happening. Evolution and creation are both beliefs about the past that cannot be observed in the present.
Evolutionary atheists know only too well that a devout acceptance of evolution leads the majority to unbelief in God. A recent survey of evolutionary scientists showed only 3 percent believed that evolution and religion were completely compatible. Although at times Richard Dawkins has applauded, and appealed to, Christian leaders for their opposition to creationist beliefs, elsewhere he has ridiculed them for believing in evolution. For example, he said:
“Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!”2
And he went on to say:
“It seems to me an odd proposition that we should adhere to some parts of the Bible story but not to others. After all, when it comes to important moral questions, by what standards do we cherry-pick the Bible? Why bother with the Bible at all if we have the ability to pick and choose from it, what is right and what is wrong?”
If the church, in its acceptance of evolution, also does not accept the account of Adam and Eve as being real history, then one wonders on what basis the church can preach to people that they need to be saved? In short:
- If there was no literal Adam and Eve,
- And no literal sin,
- And if death did not enter the world through their actions,
- Then we do not literally need to be saved from anything.
It is for this reason that evolutionists, claiming the first book of the Bible to be incorrect, correctly understand that the whole Gospel of Christ depends on the foundational events in Genesis. The well known statement by Richard Bozarth writing in the American Atheist magazine sums it up:
“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”3
When Christian leaders start accepting the scientific interpretations of those who are openly hostile to the Bible to start with, why aren’t there alarm bells going off inside their heads? Why don’t they apply critical thinking skills to the information being presented? One can only presume it’s because there is a misapprehension that the science (they mean evolution) being spoken about only deals with facts and that it is somehow religiously neutral. But just how religiously neutral are the major (and very militant I might add) organizations who are pushing for evolution to be the only acceptable explanation for origins? Is evolution even scientific to start with?
For example, Dr Eugenie Scott of the staunchly anticreationist National Center for Science Education NCSE) revealed their agenda when she said:
“ … I would describe myself as a humanist or a nontheist. I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day! … What we [such clergy and atheists] have in common is that we want to see evolution taught in the public schools … .”4
Some years ago, the PBS channel in the US broadcasted a series about evolution. Scott’s organization produced and published a free online study guide specifically so that church groups and Christians in general could allegedly harmonize evolution and their faith. CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati dealt with each weekly broadcast as it appeared and this formed much of the content of his book Refuting Evolution 2.
And as we reported recently, a self-avowed atheist Michael Zimmerman, is canvassing and enlisting the support of churches around the world to endorse evolution and celebrate Darwin for an evolution weekend. It’s not even very subtle is it?
Head in the sand
It is such a shame that the church is being openly misled and deceived by atheists who want nothing more than the God of the Bible relegated to the trash heap of history. They know that dividing opinion in the church (see Foxes crying foul in the henhouse) will lead to self destruction just as the Lord Jesus warned us about (that a house divided against itself will not stand, Mark 3:25). Unfortunately, the well-meaning clergy’s answer to this is “We must all embrace evolution” without fully comprehending that this is, in reality, a fast track to atheism.
The reason I say it is a shame is that there is an abundance of sound, credible scientific information to support the Bible’s account in Genesis. At the time of writing, on this site alone, there are over 6,500 fully searchable articles. We have more information today to support what we should believe in this specific area than at any time in church history! We should be out there shouting this from the rooftops instead of trying to win over unbelievers by accepting their own foundational belief system (or just burying our heads in the sand on the issue). And the information is life-changing and empowering. For example Don N. wrote how creation information actually opened his mind:
“The idea of a young earth and literal interpretation of Genesis was THE KEY that opened my mind and my heart (in 1981) to accept everything else the Holy Spirit has now been able to teach me through the Bible … Coming to grips with a believable Genesis lifted a veil from my eyes so I could see the true condition of this world and myself. Baptized, raised, and confirmed in a compromising church, God seemed uninvolved, unimportant, even capricious. But now, words fail me to describe how seriously I take God’s word and I couldn’t in this lifetime recount the miracles that I now can see and thank God for. Thank you for continuing in this work.” (Emphasis in original).
Sometimes when the tide seems against us, the task seems insurmountable. But be encouraged. In this year of Darwin, let’s rise up and make a difference. It did in Don’s life!
- Darwin a uniting force for science and religion, < www.theage.com.au/national/darwin-a-uniting-force-for-science-and-religion-20090208-811o.html>, 9 February 2009. Return to text.
- Quite so: Paul’s arguments in Romans 5:12 ff. and 1 Corinthians 15:21 ff depend on a historical first man, Adam, who brought bodily death into the world. Paul then contrasts Adam with Jesus, “the last Adam”, who brought bodily resurrection from the dead. Return to text.
- G. Richard Bozarth, ‘The Meaning of Evolution’, American Atheist, p. 30. Feb. 1978. Return to text.
- T.J. Oord and E. Stark, A conversation with Eugenie Scott, Science and Theology News, 1 April 2002, quoted in J. Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery Publishing: Washington, DC, 2006), p. 175. Return to text.
I just wanted to amplify the point made by Don N’s testimony in this article. I became a Christian in 1990 and it is only in the last 5 years or so that I can boldly look head-on at the Propositions of Scripture, armed and equipped with a biblical hermeneutic predicated not upon the tenets of Naturalism (and its poster-child, Evolution(-ism?)but the faith-building, encouraging work of such resources as yourselves. I’m beginning to wonder whether Evangelical churches (of which I count myself a member) are emulating Israel’s history in chasing after competing cultural alternatives, mediated on the secular intellectual front, such that we’re effectively praying "Lord, I cannot accept your Word ‘as is’ for it is buffetted t! o and fro in the market-place of Ideas-therefore, send your Holy Spirit instead!" Nonetheless, I have benefitted and continue to look to such resources, teachings and encouragement as you provide in order that I may love God ‘with all my mind’. Bless you for the workhorse, unspectacular and person-transforming ministry you provide: you really ARE at the coal-face!