Only in America?

Is it just in America that people seriously question the doctrine of Darwinism? Are antievolutionary forces in America nothing more than, as one newspaper put it, "Southern buffoons laughably out of step with the march of knowledge"? That's often how our science and media elites present the controversy over the teaching of the theory of evolution. They paint it as an issue that's as American as apple pie?one that more sophisticated, progressive countries are above having to deal with. But if you open a newspaper in the Netherlands, what do you find? A simmering dispute over the teaching of evolution. It proves that debates over Darwinism don't just blow up in America's Bible Belt. They break out anyplace Christians take their faith seriously. The Dutch ministry of education is currently embroiled in a battle over whether its national science exams should include material on evolution. On one side of the ring are concerned theists. On the other, a determined Darwinist lobby. Frankly, it shouldn't surprise either Christians or media elites that controversies erupt over Darwinism. Christians, whether they're from Amarillo or Amsterdam, don't oppose Darwinism because they're antiscience. They oppose it because they understand that Darwinism sets itself up as a rival world view to Christianity. Perhaps no one understands this better than Daniel Dennett. Dennett is a philosopher at Tufts University. He's written a book called Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Dennett describes with admirable but frightening honesty what Darwinism implies for Christianity. If you really understand Darwinism, Dennett says, in particular, its blind, automatic mechanism of natural selection, you'll understand that God is dead. Why? Because there's nothing for Him to do. According to Dennett, everything from the birth of the cosmos to the dawning of the human mind was the result of mindless natural forces. As Dennett puts it: "God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether." He argues that natural selection not only built our bodies, but molded our minds as well, including our ideas. And among those ideas is the concept of God. So if only natural forces exist, as Darwinism teaches, then God is merely a figment of our evolutionary imagination. We just dreamed Him up. Darwinism turns the very word God into a meaningless concept, one destined to pass away with the advance of science. Compare that view with the biblical picture of God. Scripture teaches that God is the Creator who spoke the universe into existence. The Bible paints a picture of God as the ULTIMATE reality. "From Him and through Him and to Him are all things," as the apostle Paul puts it. That's why the controversy over evolution is far more than a limited scientific squabble over fossils and mutations. And that's something Christians have to remember, especially when our local school boards are choosing their science curricula. As Dutch Christians have lately been teaching us, Darwinism isn't just a silly American squabble, conducted by Bible-toting buffoons. It's an argument about the very nature of God Himself. Is God a figment of our evolutionary imagination?


Chuck Colson



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