Perhaps one of the most interesting intellectual trends within the church over the last two hundred years has been the rejection of modern intellectual thought by replacing it with an incoherent model. That is not to say that rejecting or accepting contemporary trends has not been a part of the church's life over the last two thousand years. Augustine and Aquinas are incredibly important in Christian self-understanding, because they provide us with systems that bring together the way the world thinks and the way the church thinks, without compromising the essential core of Christianity. Our faith has been one over the last two thousand years that can accept other truth, because the divine truth that we have received will fit with the truth that we discover through the senses God has granted us. What is strange and fascinating about this particular trend is not that it happened, but the ferocity with which it happened and continues to carry on. To understand that, we really ought to begin at the beginning. First, we really ought to understand that Creationism is an American phenomenon. There were a few English theologians and pastors that opposed Darwinian Evolution when it first arrived on their shores, but their opposition was largely on minutiae, rather than on the theory as a whole. They often turned out to be correct on the minutiae after further investigation, and the theory was reformed to reflect this new knowledge. But in America, the reaction was quite different. There are several important factors that can explain this. First, America remained under the influence of Reedian Common Sense Philosophy, which was Americanized and democratized into saying that basically what seems to make the most sense is simply true, and if something is not obvious, then it ought not to be considered true (this point I greatly oversimplify, but if I were to expand, this post would be far too long). This view was dominant in American society, and deeply influences even today the thinking of fundamentalists when they discuss science. This confusion is illustrated by a classic fundamentalist comeback, which states that evolution is only "a theory," which they claim means it is not a sufficient base from which to establish truth (which simply illustrates that they do not understand the way in which a scientist utilizes the word "theory"). Common Sense Philosophy says that truth will be obvious and will coalesce with other truths, so science and the Bible ought affirm one another. Since evolution is only a theory, and the Bible is truth, then the Bible must win. But the view that the two do not coalesce arises out of the second American phenomenon, Biblical literalism. Literalism was not a legitimate way to read the Scriptures until (unfortunately) the rise of the idea of individual responsibility for salvation. As a Baptist, I believe that this has always been at the core of our faith. But a renewed emphasis on this idea came about largely through the work of early Baptists, who were quick to distribute the Bible to as many as could read it. Although literacy grew, the complexities of theology did not, and so how to reconcile the Bible with itself became a very difficult topic indeed. In part due to Common Sense Philosophy, in part due to the pragmatic necessity, and in part in fear of the new teaching of evolution, many pastors advocated an as-literal-as-possible approach. This view is relatively new on the scene, beginning to be popularly utilized only in 1860, which I call the birth of Creationism. There are several other uniquely American phenomenon that also contribute to the rise of this view, such as the difficulty of spreading ideas across such a massive land that could not be easily traversed, the lack of education among settlers as they moved west, a rejection of German theological understandings after the Franco-Prussian War, and many other minor factors. I have largely left individual names out of this discussion, for fear that they will only detract from a larger understanding of the phenomenon. I have used a number of books as my sources for this, but the bulk of this particular lens of understanding comes from Warsden's "Fundamentalism and American Culture." I hope that this quick and dirty exposition of the birth of the Creationist movement will help spread a little bit of light on this discussion. If you have any questions, please let me know, and I would be happy to answer.