January 25, 2005

Defending a Biblical View in School

Dear Mr. Edwards,   

I am a summit graduate from session 3 of this past summer!! I and a friend of mine who also attended Summit are enrolled in an anthropology class at our high school co-taught by two extremely liberal and Darwin-believing teachers. We are currently reading Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by Carl Sagan. I assume that you are familiar with this book. I am a firm believer in creation, so there’s no problem there, however it is a little hard to swallow the evolution/Darwin/big bang theories that they’re stuffing down our throats, telling us that we are basically small-minded to not at least consider the possibility of the earth existing for millions of years and the fact that we COULD HAVE evolved from lesser beings, aside from the fact that humans today are possibly only a step on the way to the “real” human or superhuman. Although Sagan admits that not everything in the process of the evolution of our earth is known to man, his underlying excuse is that with the gaining of technology, we have much less of a need to rely on a god of some sort as a security blanket for what we don’t understand and cannot explain. I guess my question is how do I challenge this idea in class in a respectful way while not giving an argument based on my beliefs, but instead on facts that prove my beliefs? I would greatly appreciate some advice or ideas! Thanks anyways!   

God bless, Amy

Hi Amy,

Thanks for writing. I recommend that you raise the issue of Sagan’s philosophy, or worldview, that leads to his conclusions. If you recall the illustration of how a fruit tree parallels worldview thinking, then you will want to expose the religious roots from which Sagan is expressing his remarks.

For example, when Sagan says at the beginning of his book, Cosmos, “The universe is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be,” he is telling us about his worldview. His opening statement is not scientifically grounded, but a philosophical starting point for building his worldview. Based on his naturalistic assumption (nature is all there is), he obviously finds no place for God as Creator and hence, he has no option but to assume that man somehow has “evolved” from lower life forms. He is locked in to this conclusion by his religiously held belief in naturalism.

With this worldview background in mind, you are now ready to be “salt and light” in your class. Here is my suggested three-point approach in your situation:

  1. Start by quoting Sagan’s opening statement in Cosmos and ask your teacher if it is possible that Sagan’s metaphysical assumption has any bearing on how he interprets the fossil record? If your teacher is honest, he has to admit it does.
  2. Next, point out that, based on his expressed worldview bias, Sagan is unwilling to consider any other interpretation of the data, such as the possibility that God may have done some creating. In fact, Sagan has ruled out the existence of God before he even comes to the facts of science. Mention to your teacher and to your fellow students that this seems a little biased and narrow-minded.
  3. Politely suggest that in our multicultural society, it seems that a plurality of views should be presented on controversial subjects such as the origin of mankind. Otherwise, this would be indoctrination, not education.

By the way, don’t become side-tracked with the age of the earth. That is not the main issue as it relates to your class discussion. In fact, evangelical Christians are divided over the issue. For example, a biblical explanation of an “old” earth is addressed by Hugh Ross, and Ken Ham offers rebuttals found at Answers in Genesis. While the correct interpretation of Genesis 1 can be an important discussion for Christians to discuss among themselves, when it comes to talking with non-believers in a public setting it’s best to focus on the broader worldview issues.

The important point to raise in your anthropology class is why the worldview of naturalism is dominating the class and why your teacher is complicit in advancing a naturalistic agenda by either denigrating or disallowing a theistic understanding of the facts.

As you engage this line of thinking, don’t allow your teachers to turn it into a ” religion vs. science” debate. It’s not. It’s a religion vs. religion discussion. Whose religious interpretation of reality will dominate how we interpret what we see in the world around us-naturalism or theism?

You may also want to cite some of the consequences of naturalism. For instance, you can explain how it leads to a counter-intuitive view of psychology. (Counter-intuitive means that it is contrary to what we sense to be the true case.) For example, the recent “science” of evolutionary psychology claims that evolution explains the development not only of the human body but also of human behavior. In their book, The Natural History of Rape, authors Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer advance the startling thesis that rape is an evolutionary adaptation-a strategy for maximizing reproductive success. Just like “the leopard’s spots and the giraffe’s elongated neck,” rape is “a natural, biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage.”[1] Nancy Pearcey goes on to explain that

Thornhill insisted . . .  that since evolution is true, it MUST also be true that ‘Every feature of every living thing, including human beings, has an underlying evolutionary background. That’s not a debatable matter.’ Accept evolution, and the reasoning is axiomatic. This explains why other proponents of evolutionary psychology have “discovered” an evolutionary advantage in jealousy, depression, and even infanticide.”[2]

Rape, jealousy, infanticide . . .  part of our evolutionary heritage! This really goes against the grain of how most people feel and think about these issues. Plus, it implies that depression is “hard-wired” into a person’s psyche. This means that humans are genetically determined and there is no freedom to make personal choices.

On the other hand, a biblical worldview explains that rape and infanticide really are objectively wrong and are not how God created us to behave. And because men and women are free moral agents, they are accountable for their sinful choices.

To sum up, recall what we said to you at the Summit, as a Christian in a secular educational environment YOU MUST DO YOUR HOMEWORK TWICE. This means reading your assigned work and then researching a biblical view on the subject. I’d recommend the following books to help you better understand what you are facing and how to respond with grace and wisdom:

  • Reason In the Balance, by Phillip Johnson (Johnson nails the whole issue of how naturalism as a worldview has taken over education, especially in science, and has become the established religious view allowed in the classroom.)
  • Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism, by David A. Noebel (This book includes over 40 quotes from Secular Humanists revealing that theirs is a religious worldview.)
  • Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth by Jonathan Wells (This book gives you the latest scientific facts revealing the weaknesses of the traditional arguments for Darwinian evolution.)

I hope these resources will better equip you to take on the entrenched secular establishment at your school. Oh, and don’t worry about winning over your teachers. They most likely won’t budge from their worldview. But at least you can alert the students in your class that Christian theism as the only viable alternative to blind faith in naturalism.

I wish you the best in your efforts to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:16) at your school.

Yours in Christ,
Chuck Edwards

  1. Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, A Natural History of Rape (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001) as quoted in Nancy Pearcey, “Darwin’s Dirty Secret,” World (March 13, 2000).
  2. Pearcey, “Darwin’s Dirty Secret.”

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  • February 15, 2012 // 03:07 pm //  # 
    Bill Wynn's avatar Bill Wynn

    Chuck: Actually, the age of the earth IS the main problem.  Anthropologically speaking, our ancestors were either pre-Flood or post-Flood.  Most of the fossil record could be considered to have been due to the Gen. 6-8 Flood. And it would appear that Gen. 1-11 is a plausible history leading up to Abraham.  Amy states that she is a “believer in Creation” but is this Christian-speak, or does she really put her faith in the authority of this part of the Bible that explains foundational concepts?  Since evolutionism requires eons of time, lets eliminate the time, and reduce history to, say, 6000 years.  If the Word implies that the Flood was 4400 years ago and Abraham lived 4000 years ago, then we need to take a stand on such Biblical authority.  If this is true history, our biblical worldview will allow us to interpret observational science better.  If we switch to historical science (i.e. speculation) and accept the dogma of millions of years, have we not stepped into another worldview that conflicts with what God has said?  Was it not our ancestor Eve that made the mistake of discounting God’s Word?

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