Those Krazy Kids ‘n’ Their Young-Earth Creationism!

A fascinating recent column in Christianity Today can give us a couple of clues to help navigate our educational culture wars.

In her latest “Wrestling with Angels” column, the singer and author Carolyn Arends describes her recent heart-to-heart with her fourteen-year-old son, an ardent young-earth creationist.  No way, her son told her, would he ever want to go to the wrong university, where he would have to “sit in some biology class in a secular school and be told I descended from apes.”

Arends was surprised.  Though she admits she was a “keen young-earth creationist as a teenager,” she had come to agree that the world had been created through “evolutionary processes.”  With a reassuring evolution-friendly quotation from Billy Graham, circa 1964, her son was consoled.

“Maybe you’re not a total heretic,” he conceded.

Two things in this column jumped out at me.  First, it adds more fuel to my growing, but still uncomfortable conviction that the best way to teach evolution might be to push MORE religion in public schools, not less.

As Arends writes, “if I believed that the Bible truly asked me to reject the scientific consensus, it would be the end of the debate.”  Creationists like Arends and her son will not often embrace evolution due to the overwhelming scientific evidence alone.  But they will (or might) accept evolution if they can be convinced that they can accept that overwhelming evidence while being true to their faiths.  If “resistant” students—to borrow Lee Meadows’ term—can be convinced of the theological acceptability of evolution, then the scientific evidence will have much more success.

The second striking point about Arends’ column is its reminder that we Americans can live in parallel universes, where everything looks the same but all the meanings have reversed themselves.  I can’t imagine my daughter will ever go through a young-earth creationist “phase.”  But if we substitute the phrase “anarcho-syndicalism” or “joys of marijuana” for “young-earth creationism” then I can imagine a very similar scenario to Arends’.

As it is, for many Americans, a belief in young-earth creationism is a sensible, even logical conclusion.  Smart young people in Arends’ world may experiment with it the way I expect my daughter might experiment with funny hairdos or goth boyfriends.

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. it adds more fuel to my growing, but still uncomfortable conviction that the best way to teach evolution might be to push MORE religion in public schools, not less.

    -Well said, Adam, but were not public schools in North America founded on Protestant Christian philosophies of education?

    Reply
    • @Jon, They sure were. But I don’t think it would be constitutional for USA schools these days to teach students anything about religious interpretations of evolution/creation. Especially the one argument that really seems to work, which is something along the lines of, “Jesus doesn’t really care if you believe in a young earth. The Bible does not need to be interpreted that way in order to have true Christian faith. You can be a full-bore Bible Christian and still accept the scientific evidence for the evolution of species, including humans.” That kind of line would be effective, IMHO, but utterly unconstitutional.

      Reply
  2. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

    Reply
  1. Rebel with a Cause
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