Please Stop Lying in Jesus’ Name

Please Stop Lying in Jesus’ Name March 19, 2014

Hemant Mehta shared some images that it is horrifying to think that a public school science teacher gave to children. The content, scientifically speaking, is absolute garbage. But even worse and more disturbing than that, in my opinion, are the false religious claims. Look at this image:

Let’s work through those lies one by one, shall we?

1. If the brain was formed by evolution, allegedly we cannot know anything for certain. The study of the brain and of human reasoning shows that we are prone to self deception. That is a verifiable fact, regardless of where you think the brain came from. On an evolutionary scenario, having brains that completely mislead us about reality would present a survival disadvantage, and so there is good reason to think that evolution would and did provide us with brains that give a picture of the world around us that is not completely inaccurate. But many religious believers would emphasize that we as human beings do not have an ultimate, God’s-eye perspective and so should not be dogmatically confident in our own judgments. And young-earth creationists claim that the things we can study through science actually lead us to the wrong conclusions. And so this claim about evolution is bogus.

2. Your life is a meaningless accident. This too is nonsense. Many children are conceived by accident, and live meaningful lives. There is a combination of law and randomness to the way genetic material works to turn a fertilized egg into a human being. If you can’t cope with natural processes in the world, then your life may be meaningless, but few would agree. Again, this claim is very obviously false.

3. No basis for morals. Morals do evolve. We can trace some of those changes over the course of the Biblical literature. Jesus’ teaching (and that of many others) about the need to ground morality in empathy, and thus to treat others as we would be treated, works just as well for beings who are the result of evolution. This moral objection to evolution is a red herring.

4. No law?! There are laws, and there is exploitation, and that has nothing to do with evolution. This one isn’t merely false, it is bizarre.

5. No love, only hormones? Hormones are real. Brain processes are real. If you cannot treat love seriously because of these things, your problems are with science in general – biology, neuroscience, and chemistry – and not with evolution.

6. No purpose – only survival. This is bunk. Our ability to love, to make music, to find and give value to people and things are observable realities, which have no connection with evolution. And our quest to survive is also an observable reality, one that is reflected in the Bible.

7. Chance and chaos are the ultimate realities? Says who? This could be said about physics, and chemistry, and weather, and just about anything. It once again could be an objection against science in general – it certainly isn’t specifically about evolution. But nothing about our scientific understanding of the world requires this view.

The image misses the mark seven out of seven times. In ways that are blatantly obvious.

And so the real enemy of faith and meaning turns out not to be evolution, nor science, but people who lie and spread nonsense in the name of Jesus.

Oh how I wish they would stop.

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