“I recently heard a newscaster say that creationism had no scientific merit and shouldn’t be taught in schools, how would you respond?”
As a Christian, I believe (by faith and reason) that the biblical account of creation is true. Attached to the question of human origin are many other important questions concerning purpose, morality, and the dignity of human life. These value questions cannot be answered by science, but our children desperately need these questions answered in a positive way. At the founding of our country, there was a national consensus concerning Christianity. Back then “separation of church and state” meant the government would not support one Christian denomination over another. It did not mean, however, that the government would be against or intolerant of Christianity. The national consensus was still firm when public schools were founded, which is why the Bible was among the first text books used and biblical creation was taught without any debate.
But that’s all changed. We no longer have a national consensus. Separation of church and state has now been defined as–no religious point of view will be tolerated in governmental institutions, including its schools. Religion along with its accompanying moral values has been consigned to the dark and dusty national attack. What caused this change?
The new reigning emperor in our government and in our schools is naturalism. Naturalism is a philosophical position founded by the philosopher Spinoza in the late 1600’s with its basic premise being that there are no supernatural interventions in the world. David Hume (1711-1776) formulated Spinoza’s philosophy into scientific law and his friend James Hutton (1726-1797) applied this antisupernaturalism to Geology. This philosophy (not proved by the scientific method) has been reigning on the throne of science for over two centuries.
Because naturalism is assumed by science and in many cases aggressively taught in our government schools, especially at the university level, it has now replaced Christianity as the dominant worldview in the public life of America. Naturalism is put forth as a neutral (non-religious) position, but it’s really just atheism all dressed up. It doesn’t tolerate the idea that God created or is active in His creation. This is not neutrality–it’s a philosophical and religious point of view.
Because of the current definition of the separation of church and state and a lack of any national consensus concerning a biblical worldview, I don’t think that the Genesis account of creation will be taught in our public schools anytime soon. But intelligent design is a viable alternative since it doesn’t rely upon the Bible or name a specific designer.
All worldviews are not neutral on the question of the existence of God; either God exists or he doesn’t. Therefore I believe the evidence for atheistic evolution and the evidence for an intelligent designer should be taught side by side in our public schools. The coveted neutrality would be shown in a fair presentation of both sides.
If many scientists really believe that evolution is indisputable, then they should trust that the evidence for it will bear it out. I’m constantly amazed at how upset some in the scientific community can get over this issue. It makes me wonder if deep down inside they’re afraid that their current reigning emperor has no clothes.
Dr. Billy Elkins is the pastor of Trinity Church of Chickasha, OK. He is a graduate of Chickasha High School, has a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, FT. Worth, TX, and a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He and his wife Crystal have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and one Granddaughter. Billy enjoys time with his family, gardening, and reading alongside his dog, Luther.