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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
(9:33 AM) | Stephen:
Evolution and Creationism

Alexandra Pelosi's documentary, Friends of God, is quite compelling. Certainly I'm not the first to say that, nor am I close to the first to blog about it. There are a few things, though, that I might highlight about it and try to apply my slightly-less-usual take on them.

There is an excerpt on YouTube right now about the group Answers in Genesis and their traveling ministry that speaks in churches about evolution and creationism. They tend to focus upon children and young adults. I don't want to discuss the merits of their criticism of evolution (hint: it's meritless) or even get into an analysis of the ways in which they abuse the Bible for their own ends.

As a theologian, I am of course concerned with people's souls. When I watch that part of Pelosi's documentary, I get very concerned about the souls of those who present this material. At one point, the presenter puts up a slide that has a photoshopped picture of some ape with vaguely human features meshed into its face and asks "does your grandfather look like this?" Children are told that they have a choice: they can believe in scientists or they can believe in God. They are told that evolution was thought up in order to have a way to look at the world without having to believe in God.

The photoshop of Grandpa Monkey is a deliberate misrepresentation of what the theory of evolution teaches. Well, either the people who put together the presentation know what evolution actually teaches and have chosen to lie about it, or they are so ignorant of evolution that they are lying about their qualifications to speak authoritatively about evolution. Either way they have trapped themselves into a situation in which they deceive people - mostly children - on a regular basis. It's one thing to believe that evolution is not true, it's quite another to misrepresent what evolution says on its most basic level.

This excerpt also highlights how most creationism is a repudiation of "godless" evolution rather than a positive presentation of creationist science. Their interest is not so much in proving creationism as it is in disproving, case by case, the claims of modern science. Of course, without the idea of evolution being godless and anti-Bible there is no need to develop Creation Science. The dichotomy they are creating between scientists and God, while effective at getting children and even young adults to accept their rather fantastical interpretation of Scriptures, is also the seed of rejection, waiting to sprout once they leave the protective custody of their churches and parents and start to engage, on their own, the world of ideas that exists for the rest of us.

By teaching them to base their faith more on a rejection of modern science than an acceptance of a relationship with God, they fail in their responsibility as teachers and leaders within the church. Matthew 18:6 says, "But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea." I'm not going to say that they definitely cause "little ones" to "fall into sin." But the danger is there, both for the people who teach this dreck and for those who listen and believe.

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