The enemy revealed
The root cause of why Christianity is losing the younger generation—and what to do about it.
Published: 24 September 2009 (GMT+10)
This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently revised to appear in Creation 32(3):48–51.
We are losing our children! Research indicates that 70% of teens who are involved in a church youth group will stop attending church … 1
Similar statements from Christian leaders aren’t new, but many still can’t seem to identify the root cause of the problem. However, most front-line evangelists in the Western world have reached a consensus. The following quote is from a person who shares his faith more times in a month than most Christians ever will in their lives.
“I am an evangelist. I go around and talk with people. One-on-one conversations. My time on college campuses and talking to high schoolers, the number one answer that I get for there not being a God, so then I don’t have to believe in [God/the gospel], is evolution. ”2
That’s a Christian evangelist’s take (based on experience); how about an atheist’s opinion?
“The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of … evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed.
If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed.”3
So despite many compromising Christians saying there is no conflict between faith in the biblical God and evolutionary theory, intelligent people around the world see the inconsistency clearly.
What “not to do”!
Proverbs 26:4 (bold added) says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” Who is the “fool”? Psalm 14:1 says “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (I.e. an atheist). So Christians should not answer atheists according to their way of thinking or else they will appear foolish themselves.
Christians that accept evolution as God’s way of “creating” are not winning the battle in debate situations. Take the following discourse between theistic evolutionist Francis Collins and atheist Richard Dawkins;
COLLINS: By being outside of nature, God is also outside of space and time. Hence, at the moment of the creation of the universe, God could also have activated evolution, with full knowledge of how it would turn out …
DAWKINS: I think that’s a tremendous cop-out. If God wanted to create life and create humans, it would be slightly odd that he should choose the extraordinarily roundabout way of waiting for 10 billion years before life got started and then waiting for another 4 billion years until you got human beings capable of worshipping and sinning and all the other things religious people are interested in.4
Point to Dawkins. Actually, several points. Collins says God “ … could have activated evolution … ” But the Bible isn’t about what God “could” have done. It’s about what He did. And how would Collins answer the number one question skeptics ask about Christianity (“If there is a loving God why is there so much death and suffering?”)? He can’t. Peter Bowler, a renowned Darwin historian known for his antipathy to biblical creationists, understands the implications;
“If Christians accept that humanity was the product of evolution—even assuming the process could be seen as an expression of the Creator’s will—then the whole idea of Original Sin would have to be reinterpreted.
Far from falling from an original state of grace in the Garden of Eden, we have risen gradually from our animal origins. And if there was no Sin from which we needed salvation, what was the purpose of Christ’s agony on the cross? Christ became merely the perfect man who showed us what we could all hope to become when evolution finished its upward course.”5
The bedrock of logic is the law of non-contradiction. People that contradict themselves in debates are made to look foolish by their opponents. Describing Genesis as compatible with evolution is indefensible against an informed opponent. Take these excerpts from a review by atheist Jerry Coyne of two books by theistic evolutionists;
“Why reject the story of creation and Noah’s Ark because we know that animals evolved, but nevertheless accept the reality of the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, which are equally at odds with [secular interpretations of] science? After all, biological research suggests the impossibility of human females reproducing asexually, or of anyone reawakening three days after death.
Without good cause, Giberson and Miller pick and choose what they believe. At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board.” 6
A slap in the face
If Christians needed further confirmation of what ministries like CMI have been warning about for years, they need look no further than this billboard from the Freedom from Religion Foundation (US).
International humanist, atheist and skeptic bodies rightly see Darwinism as a powerful weapon to undermine the Bible and Christianity. And they use undiscerning and naive clergy to achieve their stated anti-God, anti-Christian agenda.
So effective has evolution been in converting people to atheism that skeptics are boldly promoting using compromising Christians in their anti-God agenda! In a new article on skeptic.com an author lists ‘105 Ways To Promote Skeptical Activism.’ In their ‘Quick Reference Guide’, point number 20 reads as follows;
20. Make allies. Be cooperative … We need help. Build bridges.
Work with religious groups. (Our best allies for defending evolution are members of the mainstream clergy groups.)7
So (according to the skeptics) the best allies for promoting atheism are collaborators in the church that promote evolution. Little wonder the compromising Churches are bleeding their young people (particularly the intelligent ones) out of their congregations at an alarming rate.
Atheists are quick to draw Christians into an evolutionary world view because they know where it leads. Jerry Coyne’s review continues;
“This disharmony [between science and religion] is a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious.
Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel.
This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict…”8
Militant atheist Eugenie Scott has said;
“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 … ”9
Why do atheists want religious people to promote evolution? Atheist Bill Provine says:
‘One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.’10
So the strategy is simple. It’s like getting people to dig their own graves. Suck Christians into believing in evolution then attack them on their intellectual inconsistency. The aggressive atheist Dawkins does this very well.
“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!”11
What else does the Bible say about answering atheists?
Proverbs 26:5 says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”
The apparent contradiction between this and the preceding verse cited above is only there on the surface—both apply in different ways.12 The last thing that an atheist needs to hear from a Christian is that his foundational doctrine [evolution] is true, because there is no need of God, or a saviour in a biblical sense, in that worldview.
Without evolution there must be a creator that they are responsible to, there is no third option. What they need is to have their foundation shattered,13 realize they have been standing on “sinking sand”, and that as a sinner they need Christ desperately.
By answering them “according to their folly” (“scientifically”, but without buying into their beliefs) and showing them how unwise it is to believe in evolution, Christians can remove stumbling blocks to the faith. Modern arguments from design and information theory vs. evolution are incredibly potent! (Potent enough to make prominent atheists like British philosopher Antony Flew, for example, long renowned as “an intellectual ambassador of secular humanism”, recently turn his back on atheism.)
Draw the battle lines
So the enemy has been revealed. The atheists themselves have made it clear that the most damaging idea to faith in God is evolution. Now that Christians know, perhaps they should take to heart what has been attributed (wrongly—see Addendum) to the great Reformer Martin Luther about picking your spiritual battles.
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”14
Since Genesis is the most attacked book of the Bible today, we can confidently assume that most people will have questions about Genesis and creation/evolution issue. Therefore, by equipping ourselves with answers in this area we will be able to help many people move closer to Christ.
Addendum 13 November 2009
The famous “battle” quote has been attributed to Luther for decades, including by Francis Schaeffer. But though Luther said many similar things, this quote did not actually come from Luther but from a 19th century novel about Luther and the Reformation. See Where the battle rages—a case of misattribution.
- T.C. Pinckney, ‘We Are Losing Our Children!’ Remarks to Southern Baptists Convention Executive Committee, 18 September 2001. Return to text.
- Personal correspondence from Mark Cahill, evangelist and author of One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven. Return to text.
- Frank Zindler (Professor of Philosophy-New York University), American atheist, in a debate with William Craig, Atheism vs Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996. Return to text.
- <www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1555132,00.html> Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 God vs. Science We revere faith and scientific progress, hunger for miracles and for MRIs. But are the worldviews compatible? TIME convenes a Debate by David van BiemaA. Return to text.
- (Darwin historian) Bowler, P., Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2007, p. 7. Return to text.
- Web Article-Seeing and Believing (The never-ending attempt to reconcile science and religion, and why it is doomed to fail) by Jerry A. Coyne-A review of the books Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl W. Giberson and Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul by Kenneth R. Miller-The New Republic-A Journal of Politics and the Arts (February 04, 2009) <tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=1e3851a3-bdf7-438a-ac2a-a5e381a70472>. Return to text.
- What Do I Do Next? edited by: Daniel Loxton <www.skeptic.com/reading_room/what-do-i-do-next>. Return to text.
- See reference 6. 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.
- Provine; W.B., ‘No free will’. In Catching up with the Vision, p. S123, ed. Margaret W Rossiter, Chicago University Press, 1999. Return to text.
- Richard Dawkins-The root of all evil? (BBC broadcast on Channel 4, 16 January 2006). Return to text.
- See Don’t answer do answer! Return to text.
- With wisdom—and appropriate gentleness—exercised, of course. Return to text.
- Luther’s Works. Weimar Edition. Briefwechsel [Correspondence], vol. 3, p 81f. Return to text.