Should a Christian live in fear that evolution could be true? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The new atheism doesn’t really seem to be doing much anymore, but if there’s anything I really remember from them, other than how weak and pathetic the arguments were, it’s to not speak where you don’t know. If these guys are this embarrassing when it comes to Christianity and philosophy and such, do I want to make the same mistake? Do I want to speak about science when I haven’t properly studied science?
To that end, I started rethinking a lot of things. I started pondering how much of my worldview in Christianity depended on science and asked if that needed to be the case. In the end, I even came to realize there was no need to argue against evolution. This was a shift for me since normally I think many of us when we come to the faith seem to automatically think it’s either evolution or Christianity.
I also thought that there seems to be a problem if all of our best arguments for theism depend on modern science. Are we really going to say that before the age of science, theists had no good grounds for believing in God? The greatest philosophers in Christianity history lived before the age of modern science. Why did they believe?
Largely, I have gone with the Thomistic arguments. None of them depend on modern science and I can pull the rug out from under some opponents when I tell them I will grant evolution to them, which sometimes is often their favorite defeater. Sadly, many Christians think the same way as I encountered one yesterday telling me that if we grant evolution, aren’t we undermining some of the best arguments for theism?
That’s only if we have a God of the Gaps mentality, which is really a problem. Are we saying that God’s only job is just working with the pre-existing matter and universe that we have to make creatures? If so, we don’t have the God of Christianity, but we have the demiurge of Plato. God isn’t someone who holds all of existence in His hand, but rather someone who just works with the existence that we have.
Furthermore, this is marrying our theism and/or Christianity to the modern science. So let’s suppose your best argument for the existence of God is the complexity of life and how did life come about naturally? What happens if one day science does find a naturalistic pathway including the origin of life? If you are consistent, then you will have to say your best argument for theism is undermined and your theism will be in danger. You will also give your opponent more grounds for their atheism.
This is not to say there are no scientific arguments for God’s existence or that the design arguments are entirely worthless. It is saying that you should not make your theism or Christianity dependent on them. This is especially the case if you don’t understand the science and wind up arguing something that you don’t understand, which will be disastrous when you meet someone who knows what they’re talking about. As has been said
“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”
Who said this? It wasn’t a modern writer commenting on the “warfare between science and religion.” It was Augustine said around 400 A.D. or so. The claim is old, but the information is just as relevant today as it was then.
If you are a Christian who knows science well and wants to argue against evolution after reading both sides, have at it. If not, I really urge you to stay out of this field. Please don’t be like the new atheists. Stick to what you know.