Does teaching evolution harm Christianity?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Phillip, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. Phillip

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    This is NOT a thread to discuss the accuracy or lack thereof of the theory of evolution. It is to ask EVERYBODY who is allowed to post here their personal thoughts on whether or not teaching evolution causes any harm to the teaching of Christianity.

    I can already hear the evolutionist say that not forcing the Bible to conform to what is assumed to be modern and accurate scientific observation that people will not believe it. I say that this is NOT true and that the teaching of evolution does more harm to the belief of Christianity than it does good. I know there are going to be individual cases where this may not be the case, but I am talking about overall averages.

    Please give reasons for your answers and be as detailed as you wish. We do NOT need long drawn out reams of data attempting to prove what scientists think they observe in proving the theory of evolution.
     
  2. Helen

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    Good start, Phillip, and thank you. My response is an unqualified YES, the teaching of evolution is incredibly damaging to the faith of students. The doubts about the reality of ALL of God's Word persists in many for many years after their schooling is finished.

    I can testify to this from firsthand experience not only in my own life but because of the incredible numbers of people who talk to us after our lectures as well as emails we get and personal discussions we have 'accidently' with people in our lives. The VAST majority of those we come in contact with who are in the position of trying to figure out how the Bible can be true if evolution is true are both excited and grateful to know that the actual data supports the Bible.

    Barry and I also started out as evolutionists (and, by necessity, long-agers) attempting to cram Genesis into man's 'knowledge'. We did not know each other then but God was working with both of us in our respective fields of interest (Barry: geology, physics, astronomy; Helen: biology, genetics, population genetics) and as we each explored the material and data available in these respective fields, each of us found ourselves going through an agonizing time of choosing whether to follow the majority world-view or follow the data itself, which indicated under no uncertain terms that evolution is not only impossible but that this creation is recent.

    So we know the difficulty others face when their childhood faith gets ridiculed by high school and university professors. Creationists are considered ignorant, stupid, deceived and deceiving by these teachers and professors. These students want to make good grades and they want to be accepted. So the tendency is to rationalize their religious faith and give precedence to what they are taught is 'reality' in science.

    And they stay disturbed inside -- something Barry and I experienced ourselves and which we have seen more times than I can possibly count in those we have been in contact with.

    Our goal -- perhaps our main one now, after seeing what we have seen in this area -- is to take every opportunity we can to build up the body of Christ, teaching the data itself and that the Bible can be trusted absolutely to be telling the straightforward truth about the history of the earth whenever it touches that subject.

    The relief we have seen in teens, young adults, older adults -- it's incredible, and quite a reward. But we have talked to so few compared to the numbers who are left in a state of discouraged and confused faith by the teaching of evolution.
     
  3. Bunyon

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    No! Teaching evolution does not harm Christianity. It is only when it is presented as absolute truth and its advocates wont allow a christian perspective in the door that it becomes harmful.
     
  4. Phillip

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    Thank you very much for that testimony Helen. You, of all people, should know the struggle I once faced over "old earth", let alone evolution because you were the one who patiently helped me see the truth right here on this BB. I can somewhat handle an old Earth theory (though I no longer believe it), but evolution was a direct contradictory subject for me and I can attest to the fact that (thank's to my mother for raising me in church) my faith was well grounded and I never even questioned evolution.

    It just didn't fit with the Words of God.
     
  5. Filmproducer

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    I agree with Bunyon, on this. The teaching of evolution is not harmful, in and of itself. It is harmful when it is taught as absolute truth. I went to a Christian school for all of my grade school years so I was only taught creation. When I attended the University of Kentucky it was never "taught" in any of my classes, (the standard biology, chemistry, and geology, as I majored in philosophy and poly sci), that evolution was an absolute truth. There is a reason it is called evolution theory, and it was always referred to as such. Creation "theory" was also "taught".

    I do not know about all public schools, but the elementary school my son attends does not teach evolution as an absolute truth, only a theory.
     
  6. Helen

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    Bunyon, that is exactly what is happening in universities today. Anyone who does not support evolution can be fired, denied tenure, denied sabbaticals. Evolution is taught as absolute truth and heaven help the student who challenges it in most classes. For the most part there is zero tolerance for anything other than long-ages evolution.

    Filmproducer, I'm glad you had the experience you did. It is not common from what my husband and I have seen.
     
  7. Bunyon

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    I understand that Helen, so we see a bad situation in most schools, but it is the situation that is bad not the teaching of a mere theory. I want my children to understand what evolution claims, so they will be informed about this major theory, but I reject it completely.
     
  8. Phillip

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    There is a certain amount of truth coming out here. A person who is not (at least) exposed to the theory of evolution may have their faith shaken upon hearing it the first time; especially like your situation Filmproducer.

    But, then again, this also points to my original question, does teaching the theory harm Christianity. . . based on what you said, this is an example of where it could cause conflict, especilly in a weaker Christian.

    Every time I have been taught evolution, it wasn't a theory, it was factual and "just the way it occurred", and if you don't believe in it, you are just, well........stupid; or at least at risk of flunking biology.
     
  9. Phillip

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    Sorry, I didn't see the last two posts before I made my last post. Bunyon, I get your drift...I think Christian schools should at least expose the children to the theory along with its problems.

    Otherwise, shock in college may be tremendous and possibly heart-rending.
     
  10. Bunyon

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    "I think Christian schools should at least expose the children to the theory along with its problems. "---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes of course, and public schools should too. But that is the major problem. They leave the problems of the theory out. To teach it honestly, one would have to teach its strength and weaknesses. I am in a scientific profession and my reading of the theory tells me that there is no reason to take it as anything but a theory, and a weak one at that. The biggest problem is the resistience to legitiamte counter arguments if they even suspect it is a christian making the argument. Did you read about that one school system that voted the school board out because they were going to introduce inteligent design. That is our major problem now. They will not let christians present their interpretation in the public schools. This is bigotry and it makes us second class citizens.
     
  11. Filmproducer

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    I still agree with Bunyon. It is a theory and it is not harmful to Christianity, unless it is taught as absolute truth. In my situation I was not necessarily "shaken" up upon having to learn about evolution theory, but I see how it might be a problem for a weak Christian if it is not taught as theory but absolute truth. I also want my children to be exposed to evolution theory as well as creation. This is really the only way they can logically refute evolution when necessary. I must admit that since I was never exposed to evolutionary theory growing up, I was ill prepared to debate it tenets in college. (At least not without a little studying ;) )

    I am also surprised at the colleges and universities you guys are talking about. I know that evolution was the "preferred" theory in some of my classes, but no one was ever criticized for asking about creation theory, and it was acknowledged that evolution could not be proven and was only a theory. it is just odd to me that an institution of higher learning would accept, as truth, something that is not proven, nor can be proven. Can you name some of these places? It is not that I don't believe you, I am just a little curious.
     
  12. Filmproducer

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    Sorry must have been typing my previous post when you posted this. I agree with you on this 100%.
     
  13. Filmproducer

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    I think my biggest problem with some Christian schools today is that they are not "honest" with the students. I was once told by a teacher, (in grade school), that evolution was wrong and it was not taught because there is no proof. Technically creation is a theory also, although we know it to be truth. Any "proof", on either side, is subjective. I think it should be taught that creation is also considered, by "outsiders", as theory, but we, as Christians, hold it to be true because of our faith in God.
     
  14. Brother Ian

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    I would qualify the question with it depends on how it is taught. I think everyone agrees that if it is taught as truth, then evolution is problematic. If it is qualified as a theory then it might be okay. I think that what happens is that evolution is taught as fact and creation is never mentioned.

    In Christian schools, it should be taught as a theory if only to expose the kids to what they may face in their school careers.

    We teach about cults to expose their error, we should do the same with evolution. I think many Christians know creation is true but are not prepared or equipped to defend it.
     
  15. Gold Dragon

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    I know you all disagree with me but evolution should be taught as truth. It is clearly and solidly defended scientifically. What shouldn't be taught in churches is that evolution contradicts with the bible. That is what shakes people's faith when a false dichotomy is presented.

    Feel free to disagree with evolution and consider it false. Feel free to believe in YEC and consider it true. Create false dichotomies and you shake people's faith.

    Those who teach evolution should also not create the false dichotomy that it contradicts the bible. Certain interpretations of genesis like YEC sure, but not the bible. And most teachers who are knowledgeable about evolution and sources on the internet knowledgeable about evolution do not make this claim.

     
  16. hamricba

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    Care to point us to a thread or two where Helen made this most clear? I'd be interested in studying it...
     
  17. cojosh

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    The problem with Evolution(macro/biological) is that it is considered to be either a scientific fact or theory, when it is neither. How anyone, Christian or not, could place it into the scientific realm is beyond me! It doesn't follow the scientific method. Before a theory can become a fact it must be observed, tested and consistent. It is impossible to test or observe because it supposively takes millions of years to take place. If it can't be proven then anyone that believes it has to do it by faith. Just like I believe in the creation. It is by faith. I can't prove it, I can't test it. It is faith-based, not proof-based. Science ought to be proof-based. Evolution is a religion based on faith. The faith is that there is no Creator, yet the theory has become a god. There is nothing scientific about this theory. It is an untruth that has been cloaked in science to fool the minds of mankind. I do not believe it should be taught in schools, because I believe in the separation in church and state. See how sneaky Satan is. There is a religion be taught in our public schools under the title of Science. It is the religion of "Atheism".

    I believe that any untruth is an enemy of the True God. Therefore, it is an enemy of God's People. Anytime, a child is introduced to this "theory" in a supportive manner, the person of Christ is lessened(so YES it does harm Christianitiy). Should we tell our children that this teaching exists? Yes, by all means. We need to equip them with the tools to take on such false teachings as this one. Let them know that it is a feeble RELIGION for a lost world that needs to be rescued by the Jesus Christ.
     
  18. Phillip

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    Care to point us to a thread or two where Helen made this most clear? I'd be interested in studying it... </font>[/QUOTE]I doubt this information is available. If I am not mistaken, Helen and I were debating this subject several years ago. Probably when I first signed up in 2001. A LOT of information changed hands at that time and it would be very difficult to locate our old discussions, if they even exist.

    We had some real knock-down, drag-outs, but Helen never gave up on me and when I finally did see the truth it was a celebration for all of us.
     
  19. Phillip

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    Amen! [​IMG]
     
  20. Bunyon

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    "I know you all disagree with me but evolution should be taught as truth."-----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why would any educator ever push a theory as turth. That is plain dishonest.
     

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