I am posting today about a dangerous teaching that is passing itself off as science, when in fact it is an anti-religious philosophy that has the potential to undermine the moral foundations of our society.
I am referring, of course, to Intelligent Design.
Let me begin with the many ways in which it is antithetical to Biblical morality, before moving on to address the ways in which it is opposed to key American values as well. We may as well begin with the ten commandments. The first two commandments warn against the worship of other gods and the making of idols. The intelligent design movement is guilty of breaking both of these.
Very few Christians are tempted to make golden calves and bow before them. There is a general agreement that the idols that tempt us most today are wealth, fame, power, and other such things that can take God’s place in our lives. This is in keeping with other Biblical teachings, such as that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” But most proponents of Intelligent Design proclaim an alternative message, that evolution is the root of all evil. This is not surprising. So many in our society seek a justification for greed, and both Christianity and science often get hijacked to this end. Christianity is regularly hijacked to distract and comfort Americans with regard to their most common sin. But to build a multi-million dollar museum promoting ideas that are neither scientific nor scriptural, when so many in our world face a daily struggle to find enough food and clean drinking water to survive, is not merely un-Christian. It is antithetical to every Biblical principle of morality.
Indeed, to jump to another commandment for a moment, proponents of Intelligent Design are complicit in murder in several ways. By taking funds away that could (if people were emphasizing what the Bible says) be used to help the needy, they cause the deaths of many hungry people. Second, by opposing science, which has helped prevent and treat countless diseases, they are causing the deaths of still more people. If we added to this anger, which is identified in the Sermon on the Mount as a form of murder, we could find still more evidence on their blogs and in other contexts.
Returning to the second commandment, proponents of Intelligent Design also commit idolatry by suggesting that only their narrow, impoverished view of a Designer is an adequate view of God. That God could work through natural causes (as the Bible often says God did), that God could (to use the famous pool table analogy) pot all the balls in one shot rather than needing to do each individually, is adamantly denied. Replacing the God about whom St. Augustine said “If you understand it, it isn’t God” with their flawed human reasoning is certainly a form of idolatry as well.
More than this, some proponents of Intelligent Design actually mock the Biblical creation stories. Denyse O’Leary, in a recent blog entry, made fun of people who believe that “mud-to-mind” is compatible with their faith. Genesis 2 says precisely that, that God made human beings from ‘dirt’. Unless you believe God literally has hands and did a lot of molding, squeezing, bending and pressing, then the question of how God did so remains open. But O’Leary shows the same disdain for the Bible that she does for science and for polite and informative discourse.
Returning to the ten commandments, the recent Dover trial showed clear evidence of how they are willing to bear false witness and take God’s name in vain in order to do so. They also presumably covet the status evolution has as a reputable scientific theory, but are unwilling to do all the hard work evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, geneticists and other mainstream scientists did which led to evolution having that status.
This leads me to conclude with their opposition to a key American value. Intelligent Design is opposed to the American ethic of hard work. Scientists have worked hard to contribute to our knowledge and our well-being, our health and our standard of living and our comfort. Instead of being appreciated, they are denigrated, by people who do no such hard work themselves and make no such contribution to our society. Hard workers do not deserve to be demonized and denigrated by those who covet their position in this way.
If you are a Christian, take a good hard look at Intelligent Design and ask “What Would Jesus Do?” Can you imagine Jesus being here today and going around talking about Intelligent Design?
It is appalling that so many American Christians support a movement that is, in general, characterized by principles that are opposed to those of both Christianity and America.