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_Whitetigress's avatar

Christians: How do you go about denying evolution?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4354 points ) October 23rd, 2012

I don’t mean to be condescending at all. I’m not saying all Christians don’t believe in evolution.

I went to a funeral last year. A pastor suddenly went off topic and talked about how the dead person is indeed going to heaven and how the pastor refused to believe humans evolved from, “monkeys.”

After that statement, I knew he had no idea how evolution works. For those Christians who understand how evolution works, do you just incorporate the fundamentals of science with your everyday Christian life? Or do you simply turn the cheek to the evidence of evolution?

Please let’s keep it clean & friendly

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42 Answers

Judi's avatar

When I thought more fundamentalist I thought that maybe a biblical day was a circle around the universe.
Now I just figure it is more like a parable.
The truth is, what I believe about it won’t change reality, and it really doesn’t change my relationship with God.

DrBill's avatar

The bible says God created everything, it does not say how. So maybe evolution is how he did it.

JLeslie's avatar

This Q will probably interest you. Not exactly the same as your question, but very related.

Harold's avatar

I have seen no convincing evidence of evolution. I realise that I will get howled down for this, but as a university academic, I know that the peer review process is flawed, and far from perfect. Therefore, the many examples of “science” being proved to be dishonest make me wary of supposed “proofs” for evolution. Evolution is simply counter intuitive and implausible to my way of thinking.

I am currently questioning a lot of things about my belief system, so I could yet be proved wrong. However, it will require some pretty convincing arguments to make me believe in the infallibility of current scientific thought.

Nullo's avatar

There’s abiogenesis, for starters. That’s a sciency hair’s breadth away from the spontaneous generation that Pasteur disproved. I know about the Miller experiment; last I heard, it’s obsolete.
Transitional fossils, or the lack thereof, are popular.
The ID crowd has what they call “irreducible complexity,” a concept that states (more or less) that there are some parts of organisms that could not be built up through random processes, and will probably cite the flagellum as such a part – the “watch in a box.”
I actually think that we have had some natural selection within species, post-Creation, but I don’t see that tying Man to a puddle of goo a zillion years gone.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that God said that He created the heavens and the Earth, and in a pretty short timeframe. My faith in general is based on the things that God has said, so what’s one more? It doesn’t seem likely that an almighty God would spend untold centuries worrying a protein together, then spend millions of years watching it wobble around, dying in droves, until it becomes Man. I call it the faith-first paradigm.

Which is not to say that I don’t think that science can never know the truth. I just think that it’s so caught up in evolution (which, admittedly, looks workable on paper) that they aren’t going to find it any time soon.

If it’s any help to you, there are a lot of atheists who don’t understand how evolution works, either.

And if you want to avoid condescension, don’t say things like, “I don’t mean to be condescending at all. I’m not saying all Christians don’t believe in evolution,” because your words are still saying that people who don’t believe in evolution are silly and that some Christians – the unsilly – do.

@DrBill There’s the six-day restriction; academic evolution takes a lot longer than that.

Shippy's avatar

Because I have experienced God personally.

flutherother's avatar

Evolution is a theory rather than a fact. You don’t have to be a Christian to be sceptical of it.

tups's avatar

It seems to me that many people take religion and science for opposites, which it really doesn’t have to be. It can easily be mixed, just like philosophy can be mixed in or just like any other things can be mixed.
I doubt evolution just like I doubt the Bible and any other explanations for why we are here, where we are from and where we are going.
I don’t believe that any one or any theory can be absolutely certain about any truth. It’s really all about choosing what to believe in, instead of claiming any facts – be it science or religion or anything else.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Stick fingers in ears. Sing lalalalala….

Seek's avatar

For the unlearned, this is what a scientific theory is, and why you sound like an idiot when you say “Evolution is only a theory, hur hur hur!”

When I was a Fundie, I simply ignored the fact that I knew what evolution was and that it made perfect sense, and clicked “I Agree!” to the great User License Agreement that is the Bible.

Eventually I got tired of arguing why the Bible should be right when mountains of evidence disagreed, and said “Y’know what? I need to stop being a moron. The Noah’s Ark story doesn’t make sense. Make peace with it. Dinosaur bones exist. Make peace with it. Fossils exist. Make peace with it. 6,000 years ago there were thriving civilisations that had already invented beer. Make peace with it.” And I did. Science is cool.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Flutherother Gravity is only a theory too and has lot less evidence to support it than evolution but you don’t see many of the religious people throwing themselves off tall buildings.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t understand the nature of God, or his methods. I trust Him.
I accept evolution, but that doesn’t exempt a belief in God.

dabbler's avatar

@Harold “infallibility of current scientific thought” You have that straight.
Anyone who thinks science is infallible is not a scientist. They are members of a science religion.
Science questions everything, but is willing to use the best information available at any given time to explain stuff, and it gets a lot accomplished this way. Science is always willing to correct/advance itself.

@Lightlyseared “Gravity is only a theory” really ?
I’m pretty sure gravity is a known phenomenon, a fact, an undisputed part of consensus reality, that science cannot completely explain.

DrBill's avatar

@Nullo
I agree that evolution is more than a six day process, but a day is long enough to mix the primordial ooze to get the process started.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@dabbler evolution is a known phenomena too, the difference is we have a very good idea how evolution works. Gravity we have no clue how it actually does what it does. We just know stuff fall when you drop it and bigger stuff seems to have more of it.

dabbler's avatar

@Lightlyseared Agreed we have little clue how gravity works. But I’d contend that gravity is not a theory but that there are theories about what gravity is and how it works.
Perhaps just a semantic difference.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think scientists really fucked up when they decided to call things theories. They really should have settled on another word because it just confuses people that know nothing about science and makes them think its the same as a normal theory.

JLeslie's avatar

@uberbatman I agree. Why don’t they change it?

tom_g's avatar

@uberbatman – True. But do you think that adopting an entirely different word would make any difference? I suspect that the intentional misuse of “theory” would be replaced by something else. Anyone who can use a computer should be scientifically literate enough to know what a scientific theory is. The continued misuse of this term in discussions (like this one) is not a mistake due to the word’s two context-dependent meanings. It’s a tactic used by people who are either being dishonest with us or themselves.

Buttonstc's avatar

I have no need to deny evolution. The Pastor whom you quote was, in all liklehood a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) who takes the Bible very literally and believes that age of the Earth is less than 10,000 yrs old rather than the millions or billions required for evolution. Therefore, evolution is false, etc. etc.

To me the entire YEC approach is untenable and fraught with illogic. Obviously, I accept the fact of a very old Earth.

But accepting evolution does not require me to therefore accept that there is no creator.

Why is it so impossible in the minds of some that evolution could be a process ordained by the creator?

For some reason, the prevailing assumption nowadays is that evolution = atheism. Well, I don’t buy it.

For me there just isn’t the incompatibility between my belief in God and evolution, regardless of who thinks there should be. It really is as simple as that.

And just in case this question is prompted by genuine inquiry rather than just trying to stir up a hornets nest, here’s a link where you can find writings by plenty of others who feel no need to deny science in order to have spiritual beliefs.

www.biologos.org

flutherother's avatar

It isn’t a question of semantics or of dishonesty. Scientific theories are never the final explanation of phenomena and finding a new word to replace the word ‘theory’ isn’t going to change that.

Luiveton's avatar

If we did evolve from Apes, (Chimpanzees right?) then why does whatever species we evolved from still exist? I’m not asking that question as a challenge b t w, I really don’t understand why.

I think many people believe in certain aspects of evolution without knowing it. Maybe they don’t believe the well-known part of us existing as a result of monkeys evolving. However I don’t think the theory ever specifically stated such, it merely suggested that our species, and other Ape-species have a common ancestor -which is believable. What many people might believe in is the concept of natural selection.

But since the whole concept of Evolution is classified as a theory, and not a fact, people are bound to disagree on one another’s view. It’s just our way of life.

I hope one day we’d evolve enough not to.

tom_g's avatar

I’m terrified right now. Seriously.

glacial's avatar

@Luiveton Your post is very confusing. You suggest that humans evolved from chimpanzees (we didn’t), and then say that it’s more believable to say that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor (we did). Why can you not accept your own position?

Please learn what the word “theory” means. It does not mean the same thing in science as it does in casual conversation. This is an important distinction, made so because it is thrown around with so much weight in anti-evolution circles. In science, you would never say “it’s just a theory”. A theory is a thing to respect. A theory is a thing with a vast body of evidence behind it.

Finally, the way you have used the word “evolve” in your last statement implies that you don’t understand what it means. Humans will still be humans if they stop disagreeing with each other. There is no genetic component to wisdom. ;)

_Whitetigress's avatar

@Harold You stated, “I have seen no convincing evidence of evolution.” I’m curious as to what you know about evolution, or think you know.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Thank you! It really annoys me when people use the word “theory” as if it’s synonymous with “opinion” or “hypothesis” – evolution and gravity are scientific theories, meaning they’re about as close to fact as one can get in science. And to those arguing that there is no real “proof” of evolution, there’s a whole lot more proof of that than there is proof of God.

I’m not saying I don’t believe in God, but the beauty of religion is that religious people don’t need proof, they just rely on faith. Therefore, anything that contradicts those beliefs are invalid, regardless of the endless research support it has. Show me some valid research proving the existence of God, and then you may have an argument, but until then…

One can believe in God and science at the same time (arguably). And it bugs me when people make ignorant comments about evolution being simplified down to the misguided, “we were once monkeys” belief. If you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, please refrain from acting as if you do.

I mean, these people would rather believe that a man built an ark big enough to carry two of every single species of animal on earth or that a man parted a sea or that a virgin was impregnated and gave birth to God’s son or that God created the world in 7 (make that 6) days just because the Bible says so than believe in something that is supported by a multitude of research. Like I said, the beauty of religion…no logic required.

Adagio's avatar

I offer this link to an utterly thought-provoking BBC programme I listened to the other night, here is the BBC website written introduction to it:

Few theories could claim to have a more fundamental status than Big Bang Theory. This is now humanity’s best attempt at explaining how we got here: A Theory of Everything. This much is widely known and Big Bang Theory is now one of the most recognisable scientific brands in the world. What’s less well known is that the man who first proposed the theory was not only an accomplished physicist, he was also a Catholic priest. Father Georges Lemaitre wore his clerical collar while teaching physics, and not at Oxford, Cambridge or MIT but at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. It was this unassuming Catholic priest in an academic backwater who has changed the way we look at the origins of the universe. His story also challenges the assumption that science and religion are always in conflict.

It is the last sentence especially that best describes how the programme affected me.

Harold's avatar

@dabbler – I have no disagreement with you.
@_Whitetigress – I probably know more than you suspect. There is not space to write here what I know. I have a son who is an atheist who believes in evolution, and we have had many discussions, without convincing each other. I am NOT of the “evolutionists believe we all came from monkeys” mindset, if that is what you think.

JackieBoy76654501's avatar

“Ultimately, I’ve decided that God said that He created the heavens and the Earth, and in a pretty short timeframe. My faith in general is based on the things that God has said, so what’s one more? It doesn’t seem likely that an almighty God would spend untold centuries worrying a protein together, then spend millions of years watching it wobble around, dying in droves, until it becomes Man. I call it the faith-first paradigm.”

How do you explain all the human fossils we haven’t found? We have a natural record of countless other species living long long ago but no humans.

“Because I have experienced God personally.”

mmmhmmm I believe you. He probably told you “you din’t come frum eneh munkey”

“Evolution is a theory rather than a fact. You don’t have to be a Christian to be sceptical of it.”

You realize that if something is a “theory” it has a lot of supporting evidence right? If you were to say it is just a “hypothesis” you would be lying but you would probably be closer to what I’m assuming you mean. I learned the difference between those two words in 6th grade.

“A scientific theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment” (from wikipedia but come on we all already knew what it meant…... maybe we didn’t)

People who deny evolution usually don’t have, nor do they even particularly wish to have, a GOOD reason for doing so. They are just looking for ANY reason not to believe it. Sometimes it can even be as simple as “I choose to believe in a god so I don’t believe in evolution.” They don’t want to believe it in the first place so any reason is a good reason.

Judi's avatar

@JackieBoy76654501 , If God is the creator of time, why not? I have experienced God personally. What IF a day was a spin around the universe? What IF it’s a parable? Would that change your relationship with God?
My mom used to say, when faced with questions like this, “What does that have to do with my salvation?” Knowing that God used an evoloutionary process to create the earth would not change my relationship at all. I know that God is God and I am not. If I truly trust him, how he did it doesn’t really matter.
Maybe this should have been addressed to the person you quoted. I just can’t find it amongst all the above posts. I thought your first paragraph was YOUR quote.

zevman1's avatar

What would you rather not bilieve and go to hell for eternity or believe and have a chance to go to heaven

El_Cadejo's avatar

@zevman1 Pascal’s Wager. Nice try.

zevman1's avatar

My mother ounce told me that . I had a hard time trying to figure out why i should bilieve or not to bilieve this is why I said that to maybe make it a little better for him…..But if you do not wanna listen to people just do some research crack open a Bible or any other Book that has to do with any religion and just find the one that suits you .

Seek's avatar

@zevman1

Pascal’s Wager has a serious flaw: it fails to take into account that there are several thousand religions you would have to believe and follow simultaneously in order to be “safe”.

I often say that I tried Pascal’s Wager once, but woke up one day and couldn’t decide whether to follow “thou shalt not kill” or “rip out the beating heart of a virgin so the sun will rise tomorrow”.

glacial's avatar

@zevman1 Choosing to believe in god “just in case” doesn’t cut it with the Christian god. If you actually believed that he existed, would you face him and say “I am a Christian because it was the safer of the two options”? How do you think he would respond to that?

The answer nullifies this as a valid reason for belief in the Christian god.

Judi's avatar

As a Christian, my faith burst wide open when I realized that it wasn’t my job to save people from hell. Erasing fear of hell is so freeing.

glacial's avatar

@Judi Indeed! For me, that was one of the greatest side effects of becoming an atheist.

Judi's avatar

For me it made me love And appreciate God all the more.

zevman1's avatar

@glacial
I myself as a small child beilived in it when i was younger but as in now i would do anything for my belief i try to do as the bible tells me every day and fallow gods teaching’s….I was just saying he could try it

zevman1's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr That is why i told him to pick up the bible and see if he agreed with it and if not do other research on other religions

Seek's avatar

Because this Q is still in General, @zevman1, I’d be happy to take this conversation to PM or another question.

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