Common Christian myths about the theory of Evolution

Introduction

Before I begin, I would like to make three things very clear. First of all, I am a devout Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, died on the cross of Golgotha as the sinless Lamb of God, and rose from the Grave in order to grant and offer mankind Redemption, Regeneration and Theosis (also called Sanctification) to fallen man. I affirm this Gospel before the world, and publicly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Secondly, I accept that the Theory of Evolution is the best scientific answer to the questions posed by the fossil and genetic records. I believe that it explains the variations of species and the similarities between the genetic codes of the great many animals on the earth quite well.

Third, I do not care if I am correct about the Theory of Evolution. I have no personal stake in the Theory being correct or incorrect. If I were to wake up in the morning and be shown credible, incontrovertible scientific proof that the Fundamentalist and biblical literalist version of scientific history is true, nothing about my personal life or faith would change in the slightest. To be blunt, the question is simply not that important
to me.

What does bother me however, is ignorance of an opposition’s belief. If my Christian Brothers decide that they do not believe in the Theory of Evolution, I don’t particularly care about that. What I care about, is that when they present their reasons why, they use actual fact, proper theology and logical philosophies, rather than urban legends they got in their email Inbox. Believe in what you believe, believe it more strongly than anyone else, but know what you are talking about before you make your attack. This is the  spirit of this post.

For this post, I would like to address the three most common and central myths some fellow Christians hold regarding the Theory. Firstly, that if the Theory of Evolution is True, the Bible is made false. Secondly that The Theory of Evolution states or proves that there is no God. And finally, that the Theory of Evolution devalues human life. I may or may not write similar posts in the future, but for now I feel these are the most important.

Myth #1: If the Theory of Evolution is true, then the Bible is False

This idea arose from the fact that the Theory of Evolution is inconsistent with a literal reading of Genesis 1&2. The Thought goes that if the text of Genesis 1&2 is not (literally) accurate, then the Bible is inaccurate, Christianity is false, and here is no God. There are many logical problems in this line of thought, but I would like to focus on what I believe to be the most important, the confusion of truth and literal truth. A text does not have to be literally true for it to be truthful or inspired. There are many levels of truth, and what we call literal truth is only one of many (some would argue the simplest and most shallow form). Any Christian who has read the Psalms, Old Testament Prophets, the Parables of Christ or the Revelation of John should be aware of allusion, as well as allegorical and Symbolic Truth. For example, there  probably never was a Good Samaritan. It is more likely that Christ constructed a fictional story in order to impart a deeper spiritual truth to His disciples, in this case that God desires and demands that his people love their neighbor, even when their neighbor is a stranger.

The first two chapters of the  Book of Genesis can be read in a similar manner. If read not as a scientific or historical text, but rather as an allegory or creation myth (click the link for the proper definition of myth), we can see several important messages beneath the surface. We owe our existence

and sustenance to the provision and mercy of God. Sin and rebellion separate us from God. We are made in the Image of God. Etc. In this way, the Scripture can be true, while the story is false. In no way does a non literal reading of Genesis make the Scriptures worthless or faulty.

Myth# 2: If Evolution is True, then there is no God.

The problem with this assumption is related to the proper definition of evolution. Many Christians are of the opinion that the Theory of Evolution has something to do with the rise or creation of life in specific and the universe in general. While this is a widely held belief, it is nonetheless inaccurate.

The Theory of Evolution can be defined simply as:

“a theory that the various types of animals and plants have
their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable
differences are due to modifications in successive generations”

It is important to note that the theory is only concerned with Life, and how it changes. The Theory of Evolution says NOTHING about how Life came to be, how matter was generated, and by extension, whether or not there is a God. I reiterate, the only thing the Theory of Evolution covers, is how life changes and adapts to its environment, not how it came to be. The Study of Evolution does not start until there is that first single-celled organism, it does not address where that life came from.

Myth #3: Evolution Devalues Human Life

Ever since Nazi Germany latched onto the idea of Eugenics leading up to and during WWII, many Creationists have used eugenics as an example of the “evils of evolution”. Eugenics is indeed a disgusting ideal, one that should be stamped out amongst humanity like the plague. However, to tie Eugenics to Evolution is unfair. Eugenics is “The study of hereditary improvement of the
human race by controlled selective breeding.” Some eugenics programs
advocated the sterilization of “undesirable” peoples and in some cases forced abortion. Eugenicists do tie their theory of Evolution; however, this does not mean that the Theory of Evolution necessarily leads to this idea by default.

The majority of scientists, laypeople and teachers worldwide who believe in the Theory of Evolution recognize the evils of eugenics. They recognize that the Nazis were disgusting evil people, and that killing or forcibly sterilizing a human being is horrid. Should we judge an entire scientific Theory based on the interpretation of a minority? The idea that species have adapted to their environment over time through the survival and reproduction of those most fit to that same environment in no way forces upon us the idea that we should abandon, sterilize or murder the weak amongst us. In fact, it could be argued that our group mentality, and our desire to care for the weak amongst us, is a result of natural selection and part of our species’ success. Many animals show a group instinct that enables survival of large groups.

This myth also unfortunately ignores the great number of religious people who accept the Theory, and hold human life to be the sacred, holy and unique thing that it is. The Roman Catholic Church for example has stated that the Theory of Evolution is no threat to Christian faith and has no objection to the theory, yet has done incredible missionary work throughout the world, giving love and care to human beings as the church is so called. Just because we share physical origins with animals, does not automatically rob us of our soul.

Even most atheists (as shown by their actions) consider killing a chicken and eating it to be very different than doing he same to a human being. Even if they cannot give a logical reason, most people attach special significance to human life. The fact that we are animals in no way indicates that we are merely animals.

Summary

Again, I would like to reiterate that I do not care if the Theory of Evolution is accurate science. I happen to believe it is, but my life and faith would not change in the slightest if I were to be proven wrong. We Christians are taught to be wise as well as gentle, and thus I advise my Christian Brothers to understand Evolution before they attack it. In short, evolution does not say there is no God, it does not mean that the Scriptures are false, and it does not belittle God’s creation in any way. Why is this Theory so evil? Don’t we have more important things to worry about, namely the Gospel of Christ and the care of those in need?

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4 Responses to “Common Christian myths about the theory of Evolution”


  1. 1 I r Weezy June 10, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Yeah those last couple of lines are most important and what many fundies don’t get. That the evolution/creationist argument is a tangent from what the real christian mission is supposed to be. So much time and money is wasted on it.

    One amusing thing is those rapture fans. They think they could go “any time” yet they still want to campaign against evolution being taught in science class? Hehe.

  2. 2 telson June 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    The theory of evolution includes the idea of lower forms of life evolving towards higher forms. Therefore, it is also believed that humans are descendants of some lower forms of life. It has been thought that humans and apes have had the same progenitor, which had animal features, and therefore the researchers try to search for such skeleton findings. Their actions are largely guided by preconceptions and expectations. They suppose that beings like man have been on the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, in spite of the historical evidence showing that the history of the mankind does not reach more than approximately 5,000 years to the past.

    http://koti.phnet.fi/elohim/therehasnotbeenevolutionofman

  3. 3 mathaytaceChristou June 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Actually Evolution does not discuss moving from higher to lower, but rather adaptation to the environment. Generally yes, creatures become more complex over time, but it is not a hard and fast rule that the adaptations are “low to high”.

    Concerning History, History is began at the same moment as writing. Is it impossible that things happened before the advent of the written word?

  4. 4 Joshua Blankenship June 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Very well stated. This reminds me of what Denys Turner, the Cambridge chair of theology, said in his interview with atheist Jonathan Miller on the BBC special “The Atheist Tapes: A Brief History of Unbelief.” He stated that there exists a sort of mirrored opposite philosophical stance with both the Christian fundamentalist and the atheist fundamentalist such as Richard Dawkins. The Christian fundamentalist says that there is a creator, therefore evolution is false. The atheist fundamentalist says that there is too much evidence for evolution, therefore the God hypothesis is false. These are both fallacious positions, since the proof of either (the existence of God or the truth of evolution) cannot necessarily rule out the other. Either camp subscribes heartily to the fallacy of false dilemma, when in reality these philosophies are not in diametric opposition.

    Having said that, I do not agree that the Genesis account is either myth (unless your talking about J.R.R Tolkien’s idea of myth, which is quite confusing) or allegory. I see the Genesis account as merely a different perspective of the origins of the universe and man than that of the perspective of naturalistic science. Remember, man cannot naturally know God, or so the Bible purports, and it makes a lot of sense, considering the naturalistic study of the fourth dimensional space-time universe is most likely the hardest way of studying a being that exists outside of the known dimensions of our observable reality. I mean, this stuff would be necessarily harder to figure out than string theory. Way harder. That’s why divine revelation (e.g. The Bible) was given to mankind to explain the things and perspectives of reality that he could not understand or figure out naturally. The naturalistic explanations of science (the Big Bang, evolution) are tenable studies that this creator gave mankind the ability to figure out himself through the cognitive, reasoning, and mental abilities he endowed with his creation. It would be incredibly redundant of this God to give a book that explained all the scientific descriptions of the origins of the universe and to also give him the cerebral capacity to figure them out.

    And, telson, actually the “historical account” that young earth creationists cite concerning the advent of mankind is about 10,000 – 15,000 years ago. It’s ironically about the same exact time that both evolutionary theory and archaeological record tell us that the then hunter-gatherer race of homo sapiens suddenly blew up into a race of farmers, villages, cities, etc. Which is basically where the bible starts it’s historical record. All this tells us is that language and historical record had to have started when our race became capable of speech and historical chronicling.


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