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It’s not Christianity!

Biologos says: Christian parents and students should believe evolution

by and Lita Sanders

Published: 2 October 2012 (GMT+10)
123rf.com/Vladimir Nenov

On their website’s front page, BioLogos has two articles to coincide with the start of the school year in the US. Many parents are sending their children off to school and university, and many Christians are worried about the effects of evolutionary teaching on their children’s faith.

The first article seems aimed more at parents. ‘Allaying Parental Fears about Evolution Education in the Public Schools’ is a narrative about a conversation between the author and a concerned parent whose child was learning evolution in public school. The author ended up convincing both parents that evolution and Christianity were compatible, and even better (in their view), the parents became ‘evolutionary evangelists’, spreading their newfound view in their church.

Leading the flock astray?

This sadly demonstrates the concerns we’ve had at CMI about Biologos since its inception (see Evolutionary syncretism and The non-mythical Adam and Eve). On the surface they seem all embracing of, and willing to dialogue with, anyone who has a long-age or evolutionary view of God’s Creation. But from day one, notably absent from their ‘list of friends’ are the biblical (young-earth) creationists (BCs). In fact, they commented that their agenda is to help Christians believe in evolution. As such, this caused us to be more than wary about accepting them as just another group who claims to be Christian, but believes in evolution, because they have demonstrated such a low view of Scripture. It appears their agenda is to marginalize BCs by using some sort of popular authority argument. I.e. “Look at all these scientists who have no problem reconciling evolution and the Bible. It’s those young earth types who have the narrow view.” Dare we say, Biologos are really proving to be ‘Wolves in sheep’s clothing’. Is this harsh? We don’t think so, particularly when they are leading people away from a straightforward understanding of what Jesus and the apostles clearly believed. And who is to say having such a ‘narrow’ view of Scripture is bad anyway? Since when did God rule by democracy? Let’s read what God’s Word has to say in this regard.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits”Matthew 7:13–20.

Lest you think this is too harsh, it might be worth reading our initial report on Biologos called Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos, but just to summarize a few points:

  • The Apostle Paul (and the other apostles) was wrong when it came to Genesis.
  • Jesus was similarly wrong.
  • Biologos’ founder Frances Collins claims that modern genetics proves that Adam and Eve were not real historical people (again, this compounds the implication that Jesus and the NT authors were wrong).

As we said in that article:

“But BioLogos’s consistent syncretism goes beyond the “blessed inconsistency” which we believe enables a person to be a Christian evolutionist. They are a syncretistic religion which no longer takes Scripture as its authority; rather, they twist and distort Scripture to try to fit with their true authority, evolution.

“The result is a religion, but it is not Christianity.”

123rf.com/Karam Miri

Targeting students

Biologos’ second series seems aimed more at students, and is a small study (certainly too small to be useful as anything except use as several anecdotes) about how students’ views on evolution changed as they took evolutionary courses. The few students in the sample went from mainly biblical creationists to theistic evolutionists after being exposed to evolution in college. The series explores various aspects of their shift on origins, including its effect on their faith and their relationship with their parents.

The angst of some of these students, some of whom even now have not been able to discuss their belief in evolution with their parents, is one of the saddest parts of the series. But the blame is subtly aimed at the parents, whose views are too ‘rigid’ to accommodate evolution. The creation of this newfound parent/child tension, and the personal angst of trying to “pick up the pieces” of a “shattered” worldview (to use one of the students’ own terms), is apparently acceptable ‘collateral damage’.

Atheistic evolutionists use but don’t respect theistic evolutionists

The message of these two articles is clear: Evolution is true, and Christians should act pre-emptively to make sure that their children are aware of it, and that their faith incorporates a God who used evolution. But these articles don’t tell the truth. CMI and many other BC organizations can testify to heart-breaking reality that for many church-going teens and college students, exposure to evolution puts them on the slippery slope to unbelief. Just ask arguably the world’s leading spokesman for evolution, Richard Dawkins, on what it was that caused him to reject the Christian faith. This video clip indicates that even arch atheists like Dawkins think that the ‘sophisticated theologians’ who blend evolution and the Bible are “deluded”. In an earlier interview Dawkins also 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!”

In a debate with the very same Francis Collins, who said that Adam and Eve were never real people, Dawkins said:

“I think that’s [referring to theistic evolution] 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.”1

So, of course, by advocating this strategy, BioLogos is actually on the side of the atheists, even if they are not consciously promoting atheism. It seems ironic that the world’s leading atheists can see that this type of Christianity is no Christianity at all, but Biologos themselves apparently cannot see (or dare admit to?) the hypocrisy. That should tell us something about ‘how’ Christian they are!

Helping the atheists along

For instance, Eugenie Scott of America’s National Center for Science Education, an atheist humanist, gives a more detailed strategy for combating creation in her two-part ‘Dealing with Antievolutionism’ which includes having students ask their pastors what their faith has to say about evolution:

“A teacher in Minnesota told me that he had good luck sending his students out at the beginning of the semester to interview their pastors and priests about evolution. They came back somewhat astonished, "Hey! Evolution is OK!" Even when there was diversity in opinion, with some religious leaders accepting evolution as compatible with their theology and others rejecting it, it was educational for the students to find out for themselves that there was no single Christian perspective on evolution.”2

No wonder she is also reported to have 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!”3

Note how that while they play the ‘God could have used evolution’ card to make their students more comfortable with rejecting creation, their ultimate aim is to make atheists out of them. Perhaps they should just save themselves the trouble and simply donate to BioLogos!

A wake-up call for parents

Parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education—and part of this has been the privilege and responsibility of bringing children up with the worldview and culture of their parents. But many public (government) school teachers and university professors view the young minds coming into their classrooms as clay to be molded with a worldview totally foreign to the parents of these students (who are, incidentally, often funding this indoctrination of their own children).

English professor Bill Savage chillingly illustrates this mindset:

“The children of the red states will seek a higher education, and that education will very often happen in blue states or blue islands in red states. For the foreseeable future, loyal dittoheads will continue to drop off their children at the dorms. After a teary-eyed hug, Mom and Dad will drive their SUV off toward the nearest gas station, leaving their beloved progeny behind. And then they are all mine.”4

The sad thing is, this strategy is working. The percentages vary according to who is doing the research and which denominations are being studied, but young people are overwhelmingly leaving the Church when they leave home—and many of them will never return.

Evolution isn’t the entire problem—and perhaps the acceptance of evolution is simply another symptom of the Bible’s perceived irrelevance in their lives and lack of authority. But for many students, evolution is what makes them start questioning the Bible’s authority. And if the Bible isn’t right when it talks about the world’s history, why should it be trusted when it tells us about spiritual things that we can’t see this side of eternity (cf. John 3:12).

Inoculate your children against evolutionary indoctrination

The answer is not necessarily to pull out of the schools and the universities. Christian anti-intellectualism has never been the answer or provided a solution that has ultimately strengthened the Church. Rather, parents should inoculate their children against evolutionary indoctrination by teaching them how to defend their faith. With a little home instruction on these issues (regardless of where one’s children are educated), children can be taught how to think on issues such as origins, so they will not be misled during higher education. Our Parents’ Corner is a good place to start. Or simply invest in a few children’s resources from our webstore and spend time with your children/grandchildren helping them work through the issues.

References

  1. Cray, D. God vs. science, Time 5 November 2006, time.com, last accessed 23 August 2012. Return to text.
  2. Scott, E. Dealing with antievolutionism, ucmp.berkeley.edu, last accessed 23 August 2012. Return to text.
  3. 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.
  4. Savage, B., Lessons learned, The Stranger, 9–15 June 2005, thestranger.com, last accessed 23 August 2012. Note: ‘red states’ means ‘politically conservative’ and ‘blue states’ means ‘politically liberal’. ‘Dittoheads’ are the conservative fans of a popular American talk radio host. While Savage’s comments are in the context of political indoctrination, the same dynamic is at work with evolutionary indoctrination. Return to text.

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