Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why the Great Debate is Life and Death

For many of you, the question of how we all got here is an uncomfortable conversation, but it's as serious as life and death.

I grew up in a Christian home, raised by parents who cared deeply that I build my worldview on a solid Christian foundation.

My father was probably the single biggest influence on my core convictions. When I opened moral discussions, he gave me his full attention, his whole mind bent toward the truth, toward challenging me, and making sure that I not only saw it,  but saw why it was truth, and just as importantly, why it mattered.

Why it matters for us

That's the point that so many Christians fail at articulating, even when they understand the truth. Why they fail is a subject for another post. Here I am concerned with demonstrating precisely why It matters.

The truth I am referring to is a simple one, an obvious one to those of us who are of the Judeo-Christian faith. The world didn't come about through an unguided process of natural selection. Life did not begin as a few strands of nucleic acids floating about in the primordial ooze.

Life was created by an intelligent force--we call that force, that Designer, God.

And (this is where the uncomfortable bit comes in), God did not use a "guided' process of evolution to bring us into existence.

Some of you would rather not go this far--what would be the point? If we all agree there's a God, and the story of salvation is true, then that's really all we need to grow together as a God-fearing community, and all we need to communicate to new believers.

Let them keep their belief in evolution--after all, there's a scientific consensus that evolution is true. Perhaps you yourself, as a Christian, Catholic, or Jew, believe it. All the textbooks say it, all the PBS broadcasts say it... who argues for Creationism now days?


No. You see, there is an underlying principle of evolutionary theory that some would rather leave hidden beneath the sweeping explanation for life and the universe.

When you look closely, it's quite easy to pull the rug out from underneath a Christian who has built his explanation of the world on evolution, and I don't have to pull a single shred of empirical evidence to do it.

If he really is a Christian, you will ask him when Death entered the world, and he will say "when sin entered the world".

When you ask him when Sin entered the world, he will say "at the fall of Man".

When you ask him how Man fell, he will say "When Eve ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil".

Now before I make my point, don't misunderstand me--this is not an argument for a" literal" interpretation of Genesis. That is irrelevant--if you believe it to be an allegory, that's all fine and good.

Now if death entered the world when Man disobeyed God, when he sinned, then death did not in fact enter the world until after human beings came to exist.

The entire premise of evolution is based on death. On billions of generations of life forms falling and rising according to natural selection. But how can death precede God's relationship to man?

That is the most straightforward and simple way to debunk "guided evolution". Many Christians cling to it because it is so very convenient. It fits with pop culture--it let's you fit in.

If you are swayed one direction or another by convenience, Christianity is not right for you. It is the very opposite of convenience.

Why it matters for the world

Now there's the matter of why the question of how life originated is important to argue outside the Judeo-Christian community.

Consider the fact that every day, millions of students are taught in school that evolution is the Answer. The unguided process of natural selection can explain all you see before you. It is in their textbooks, it is in pop culture, it is pervasive and hegemonic in every classroom from elementary school to post-graduate courses.

Even if you grew up in a religious home, but are lukewarm on the matter yourself, the teaching of evolution as the answer is bound to influence your perspective. Couple that with the secular influences of popular culture, and the break-away from your "traditional" upbringing is all too easy.

All your questions are answered. There need not be any lingering doubts about "why this" and "why
that", because the evolutionary theory is not only all-inclusive (or so it is touted), but on top of that, you don't have to look over your shoulder whenever you make a morally questionable decision, since there is no meddlesome God to interfere with your personal choices. You don't need God, because evolution tells you that everything is possible without at God.

But if you are one of those spiritual people, it's okay if you want to hold onto that feeling that there's a higher power, and a greater meaning--but that is your personal belief, not a cornerstone of your worldview, and doesn't have anything to do with your scientific conclusions about how we all got here.

The fact that evolution presents itself as a grand answer to life's biggest questions of Why are we here, and How did we get here, is exactly why the Great Debate matters. God is no longer the Answer by default. He hasn't been for over a century.

Some people take the Great Debate to mean one party arguing that he has proof that evolution is the answer, and the other party arguing that he has proof of a Creator.

Perhaps there are some debates that happen that way, but by and large, that is not the case. The goal of the Creationist (or the proponent of Intelligent Design) in the Great Debate is not to prove God's existence, for he knows that by faith.

The imperative of the Creationist is to disprove evolution, and there is a vast repository of scientific evidence to support his case.* For by disproving evolution, he leaves only one answer, and that is an intelligent designer.

It is far easier for non-believers to come to an understanding about life, sin, death, and salvation if they know, due to the woeful inadequacies of evolutionary theory, that there is a Designer behind this universe.

Some believers would rather we ditch the Great Debate, removing it from the public scene. It is divisive, they say, unnecessary, and takes attention away from "the real issues".

How terribly misguided they are. To them I ask, are you really so blinded by your mainstream aspirations of mutual goals and peace among ideologies that you have forgotten why you chose to follow Christ? Have you forgotten that standing up for the truth is a Biblical imperative, and that choosing silence only lets more of God's loved ones fall into darkness?

I am not saying that there isn't a wrong way to go about arguing against evolution. There certainly are more effective ways and less effective ways, and an argument appropriate for one occasion may not be so for another.

What I am saying is that the Truth about how the universe came to be is a matter of life and death. It is not an optional piece of understanding. It is not supplemental knowledge, or acceptable differences of belief among denominations. It isn't a course of study for the over-zealous.

It is life and death. We have no righteous choice but to treat it as such.

*I encourage you to dig into the wealth of credible scientific resources that exists on this debate, even if you aren't scientifically minded. Creation.com is a decent place to start. 

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