Until my senior year of high school, I had always planned to become an astronomer. That obviously didn’t happen, but I have always been fascinated with the created world. Homeschooling two boys who had all of the usual fascination with animals, bugs, dirt, fire and anything gross and/or big has further heightened my appreciation for natural science. Having been raised Catholic, I was thankfully spared the ridiculous idea that one couldn’t been both a faithful Christian and accept reality. I believe that this issue is so destructive to our faith and witness that it goes well over the edge from “one of the weird but fairly harmless things some Christians believe” to “evidence that Satan is trying to bring the church down from the inside”. But you know, jmo.
Interestingly, the set of details which religious people are most likely to insist aren’t there – evolution – points us to those spiritual truths which are pretty much completely lacking in most people’s theology as well. Like growth. Like getting down to tiny details. Like knowing that survival relies on adapability and that life is moved forward by mutations, not preseved by purity.
Many Christians have bought into the idea that if evolution is true, it discredits God as creator and our special place in the universe. Which is absurd. If evolution is true, it is because God made it true. Who are we to tell God how he may and may not create his own universe and the creatures who bear his image? Who are we to deny the evidence of God’s own creation by insisting, “well, I read your book and as I understood it, it says you did it this way – not the way that your creation points to you making it.” Doesn’t that just sound ridiculous? It’s our understanding of scripture that is flawed, not the testimony of creation!
Listen in as I discuss the problems with teaching kids literal creationism or “Intelligent Design” with an atheist. You’ll be mesmerized by the melodious sound of my voice!
Even if you are absolutely certain that biblical creationism is scientific fact, I think it would be foolish not to consider for a moment what would happen if your child, presented with the evidence which has been uniformly accepted by mainstream science, begins to question the veracity of creationist science. Are you setting your child up to experience a crisis, not only of trust in a particular set of beliefs about how God created the world, but in his or her faith in Christianity, the bible and God altogether? If you are educating your child to think that biblical creationism is the only acceptable opinion for a Christian to hold, then odds are pretty good that you are sowing the seeds of their spiritual destruction.
My opinions about the theological viability of creationist interpretations aren’t something I’m shy about. I truly believe that it’s demonic. Whether you understand that to be a metaphor for our ability to create and perpetuate evil or as satan whispering in your ear, the answer is the same; it is demonic. It feeds on lies. It depends on (and obviously encourages) fear. It is driven by profit posing as prophet. These organizations (and just like corporations aren’t actually people, neither are organizations) are shrieking banshees in the marketplace sent by our enemies to deform and discredit us.
The first thing I tell my kids is that God is always willing to meet us where we are. He doesn’t wait for us to get it all together or have a good grasp of life to reach out and reveal himself to us.
Much of the thinking which underpins today’s objections to evolution would not have made any sense at all to the ancient Hebrews. Their understanding of their text hardly allowed, much less required what we in our modern thought process view as a literal understanding of the creation story.
The insistence of IDer’s that some cells are just too complex to have come about through natural processes has always reminded me of the false, but funny story of the guy at the patent office who wanted to close shop in the mid 1800′s because there was nothing more to invent. Just as the man in the story was doomed by his short-sightedness to be proven wrong by the next invention to come along, IDer’s are doomed to be disproven by scientific discoveries. It’s just never a good idea to base an idea on what we don’t know rather than on what we do know.
One of the things which people often do not realize is that evolution is not nearly as random or unintelligent as it is sometimes portrayed. For example, we know that there are genetic sequences which can cause similar but different outcomes in different animals, depending on how it is tweaked.