I watched the premiere of “Cosmos” last Sunday, and I got to thinking about evolution.
I do not “believe” in evolution. I believe in God. I know evolution and God to be true, but it is not a question of belief to understand science. For instance, I do not say I believe in gravity or centrifugal force. Yet both exist when I need them or not. Yet for some reason we must say I believe in evolution, as if it is truly up for debate. I am certain there are debates still raging in the field of biology, evolutionary science, and other disciplines that are directly impacted by the study of how animals and plants developed over the vast years of travelling around the sun (also, something I don’t believe but know to be true). Yes, there are some Christians who desire to debate this truth, but even Brother Pat Robertson agrees this debate is ridiculous. I do agree that God created what we know as the world along with its physical characteristics that continue to develop, but this piece is not about belief in God, but why the “belief” in evolution is problematic for society.
I have three examples that certainly have other factors, yet I believe they demonstrate a huge problem when society transfers faith upon a scientific reality:
1. Hitler. Or any person or group of people that determines is wise to eliminate people to create a superior race. We are all against this, but believing in evolution fuels such horrors. It is of course not alone in creating the circumstances that permit such evil, but seeing evolution not simply as science but as belief helps to establish such awful thought as legitimate.
2. Perhaps my first example seems too strong, so let me bring in the American Dream. Yes, for many people they believe that wealth is a way to keep score. That is, those with wealth are superior humans, even though teachers, firefighters, and even most doctors are not on the top of this list. The fittest are apparently bankers and celebrities. It is clear in the USA we may say everyone has an equal opportunity (cough NOT), and thus we tolerate that some people go hungry and sleep on the streets, in part because we believe in evolution over the God of justice and mercy.
3. Perhaps you are following me now, and can think of other examples why belief in evolution has influenced humanity. Let us look at a much more specific statistic:
An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies, according to research reviewed by Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatric geneticist at Children's Hospital Boston.[i]
I realize there are many fears at play with the ninety-two percent, and I am not trying to suggest a restriction to their choice, but replacing our religion with science leave us as God, and we are terrible at being divine. This led Jeff Gallagher to pen,
How long will it be before every mother gets such a test [simple test for “healthy” fetus]? How long will it be before aborting a fetus with Down syndrome is the norm (if it’s not already)? And does this mean we’re moving into the realm of designer babies—where eye color, hair color, even intelligence can be ascertained, and if not acceptable, aborted before it’s “too late”? As I said, I’m not one to stand in the way of a woman getting an abortion. That’s an intimate, personal decision that is not without its own pains. But it saddens me to think that, if this becomes the norm, Jacob could be among the last in our society to be born with Down syndrome.[ii]
When I read these words I was moved to tears for all those people who were led to a decision based on fear and this belief there is a perfect human we are all working toward. History and science is pushing us toward this perfect person image, even though as Christians we know and believe the perfect human was born to woman named Mary, and demonstrated his perfection through loving the social other no matter what, and forgave not only his disciples but also those who persecuted him, without violence and retaliation.
Thus I believe in Jesus the Christ and know that evolution is as true as the earth is round.
[ii] Gallagher, Jeffrey M. (2013-09-30). Wilderness Blessings: How Down Syndrome Reconstructed Our Life and Faith (Kindle Locations 3406-3411). Chalice Press. Kindle Edition.