It’s a sad day when an article that essentially says “evolution is supported by the evidence” is a cause for celebration. But when it comes from Rachel Held Evans, a Christian who was taught that Darwin was wrong, we should be happy, right?
This idea [that evolution is false] was perpetuated at my Christian college, where one of the science professors liked to tell the story of how, as a sophomore in high school, he had dreams of becoming a scientist but could not reconcile the theory of evolution with the creation account found in Genesis. So one night, he took a pair of scissors and a newly purchased Bible and began cutting out every verse he believed would have to be removed to believe in evolution. By the time he was finished, he said he couldn’t even lift the Bible without it falling apart. That was when he decided, “Either Scripture was true and evolution was wrong, or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible.”
The message to me and my classmates was clear: We had to choose — Christianity or evolution, faith or science, Darwin or the Bible. We could not embrace both.
I went on accepting this dichotomy without question until my late 20s, when my desire to have a more examined faith led me to look into the scientific evidence for myself.
It was overwhelming.
From the fossil record and DNA sequences, to ice rings and biodiversity, I found the evidence supporting evolutionary theory to be remarkably compelling and reasonable. This was not a far-fetched proposition concocted by God-haters to undermine the Bible. It was a cohesive, multifaceted scientific theory that consistently made testable predictions, many of which had led to breakthroughs in medicine and technology. I couldn’t just dismiss it as bogus; my intellectual integrity would not allow it.
Ok, so I’m still not happy.
I’m a fan of Rachel and I think her article is fantastic… for all the Christian readers who think she’s too accepting of science. Her book sounds great, too (though I haven’t read it yet). I sincerely wish more Christians thought like her.
But her professor was right.
Ultimately, you do have to choose between “scripture and evolution.” In the battle between faith and science, faith will lose every round. Sure, you can push a god into some corner where he has a negligible effect on evolution (“He started the process and then nature took over!”) but it’s just pushing a round peg into a square hole. Try all you want, but saying that science and religion are compatible is being disingenuous to both.
Something’s gotta give in both cases. Can miracles overthrow scientific facts? Has any “evidence” for a god ever withstood scientific scrutiny? The answer to both questions is “No.”
So if you want to “believe” in both, what are you giving up in the process? It’s intellectually dishonest to think faith and science can both be true.
And it gets tougher to read after that, because Rachel’s trying not to burn any bridges:
Now, let me stop right here to clarify that the point of this article is not to advocate a certain view of origins. I have great respect and love for my brothers and sisters in Christ who interpret the data differently, or who feel compelled by their particular interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 to hold a young earth perspective.
It’s fine that this article isn’t a defense of evolution. And it’s perfectly fine (and admirable) to respect and love people you disagree with.
But why is it so hard to just say outright that those Christians are wrong?
Look! Even I can do it. They’re wrong.
I can go even further: They deny the facts and they trust the Bible literally at their own peril.
I’m getting more and more frustrated by atheists (and some Christians) who think we should let people slide when they are so obviously wrong.
It’s one thing if it’s some harmless false belief, but scientific integrity is a big deal.
The Christians who believe in anything-but-evolution are ruining science education in this country. We’re all worse off because of their ignorance.
We need to call them out on it.