Why Do Christians hate Evolution?

So...where did the original article go?

My article, "Why do Christians Hate Evolution?," was an old one. One of the oldest on this blog. And a poor one. In its original form, I wrote as a Christian who was generally annoyed by the inability of my fellow Christians to even talk about evolution without resorting to Jack-Chick-like tactics of making any debate sound like a devlish descent. I made the mistake of going back a few times and reshaping the argument slightly, aggregating concepts and ideas and generally devolving it into something like a "shotgun blast argument": lots of little pellets with no facts and no singular substance. I focused on American Christians and some of the more vocals ones. I summed up people—Christians—and an entire paradigm of thought that is not always solid and smooth—evolution—into what might be called "bite sized packages". Reification is one of the biggest sins of society, and it is always dangerous.

I would occasionally get questions about it, or statements, or complaints. Most, I am glad to say, were very adult, though people tended to bring their own baggage in with it for better or worse. After a random bit of vitriol this morning—November 12, 2014—I once again remembered this older than a decade post, and figured that it was time to reread it, and generally found it lacking and much more prone to something anecdotal, if that, than something worthwhile. I have mostly deleted it. What is below is what a 37-year-old Doug might say instead of 26-or-so-year-old-Doug. Let us just say, there is some difference.

It is also an interesting testament to me, I think, that a 10-11 year old article composed mostly of rambles still proved enough of its central tenet that someone felt the need to look me up online and to say mean things to me. Mean things, people. Bless.

The Updated Version

First, some statistics. According to a 2004 Washington Times, article, Most Americans take Bible stories literally, 61% of Americans take the Bible literally. This, it stands to point out, was only out of a sample population of 1011, which is only about .0003% of the population it claims to represent. And you can see from another poll, Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media, that when it comes to evolution (specifically see page 5), that first poll is not wholly accurate. In this second poll, which seems more rigorous, it finds that about 1/3 of Americans believe in natural section, about 1/4 believe in guided-evolution, and another 1/3 believe in a more literal Biblical intepretation [with, presumably, the remainder abstaining]. This fairly strongly contrasts the idea that 3/5 of Americans take the Bible literally, and leads to what is perhaps the most important thing I can now say with this new version:

Christians do not hate evolution.

Sure, some do. Some really hate it. One lecture I attended early in my college days, with an evolutionary biologist speaking, was disrupted by a Christian student who was quite angry that it was discussed as a given rather than a possibility [humorously, it ended up with a frustrated lecturer hopping up on a table which came down with a bang, a scene from perhaps a Mark Twain story]. With that being said, some Christians hate the Dallas Cowboys. Some hate the president. Some hate recreational marijuana users. Some hate [insert thing that can be hated]. And some Christians consider evolution to be the truth, or at least appreciate it. And there are non-Christians, atheists even, who really dislike it.

Hate, love, or whatever: there is going to a mix of reasons ranging from upbringing to self-image to other factors. There is no one good way to sum it up, and I apologize for ever thinking I could Though, to a degree, I am about to do it again.

I talked to a Catholic acquaintance, recently, about her take on the so-called scientific worldview, and we discussed how she liked evolution but felt it was poor as a explanation. I talked about how I ran with it, but would never consider it a why. It is a method, not a reason.

Part of our conversation was how I feel there is no scientific worldview [hence the above "so-called"]. Neither is there a Christian one. By which I mean there is no one worldview to which all scientists subscribe, and no one worldview that all Christians would cite. There are large swaths that many can agree on, sure, but it is not a monolithic package of all or nothing. And even in individual cases, there is often no singular worldview that a person will embrace for the entirety of their life. Talk to any saved sinner or any lapsed Christian to know this as a truth.

Of all the many, many words in the original versions of this post, the best was "purpose". Because ultimately I think this is what drives us the most when it comes discussions of things like religions versus science. Whether the bad stuff and the really bad stuff and the ok stuff means something. Evolution, the method that is not a reason in itself, has nothing to say for it outside of how previous states relate to present states and maybe how they could relate to future states, but now why any of those states follow one after the other.

Another good word was "arrogance", and I think this tends to tie into purpose. If you think that the answer is one thing, and someone else thinks it is something else, or that there is no chance at an answer, then either they are wrong or somehow there are two answers. When it comes down to purpose, we do not tend to do well with the concept of there being two answers. It seems the most natural thing in the world to stick to our guns while thinking someone else is arrogant and ignorant for sticking to theirs. We do it over little things like favorite soft-drinks, of course we are going to do it over the big-ticket items.

Many, though again not all, who have told me that they are against evolution as a theory feel that it is a sign of arrogance, a sign that we are trying to out-think God by making up a new purpose and,interestingly, even the admittance that it is not a complete answer is part of the infuriating aspect. How dare we even think something as truth if it is only part of the puzzle? That seems like the ultimate arrogance to some with whom I have discussed this, throwing away a Biblical worldview for a half-finished poem.

Wrapping up, I would wager that in the Venn diagram of Scientifically-minded and Christians—because of course you can be both—the criss-cross with Evolution-Agreers would be leaning more to the side of the Scientifically-minded than to the Christians. There are a number of reasons for this: from fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible to something like a general distrust in the education system. Even so, those who believe in evolution, if "believe" is the right word, will range from those who worry about stuff like ecosystems and altruisms and those who worry more about selfish-genes. Just like those who believe in full-on Intelligent Design are not quite in alignment with those who think there have only been a few key nudges. Just like there are those Christians who answer the question of Cain's wife by saying he mated with a sister and there are those who say there were people outside of Eden.

If you ever wonder why a Christian hates evolution, ask them.

In the end, I am a evolution-agreer. Once more keen for selfish-gene, now a tad bit more ecosystem-evolution. I do not really think there are two answers to the question. I am not even sure if there is a question. However, I have no doubt you, whoever you are, have your own answer and your own take on the question. Maybe you hate mine. Maybe not. So it goes.

Written by Doug Bolden

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