First published in:
Prayer News, 1999
(Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom)
Growing up in a Christian home, attending church regularly, and receiving Christian education my whole life served to make me an agnostic who was pretty knowledgeable of the Christian faith. Christianity seemed to be a hoax of some nature. I couldn’t understand the motive for dreaming it up, but it certainly didn’t appear to carry much truth with it. Seeing that atheism is a strong belief in the non-existence of any gods at all, I knew that atheism required more faith than I had. I didn’t want to accept atheism out of laziness, and so, agnosticism would do for me until I found more answers.
I moved away from home, to be a car salesman. I was living on my own, and stopped attending church. Church seemed to be where one would go after accepting Christianity as truth, it just wasn’t the place you would go to find truth.
After two years of selling cars, I realized I wished to further my education. My choice as to which school I would attend was made for me when I acted on wishful thinking, and followed my ex-girlfriend to the Christian college she was to attend.
A couple of months after being at this private school, I realized that if anyone can defend Christianity with any supporting evidences or philosophical truths, it would be the well-educated people heading the institution. Christianity was then worth another chance, as perhaps these people could provide the answers I needed to hear and just couldn’t find before. Whether I received good answers or bad answers, I realized asking the questions would either lead me to truth, or totally eliminate what still remained a possibility in my mind.
What were my questions? The Bible clearly indicates that the earth is young, and that death and decay have been imposed on a once perfect world through the sin of man. How then does Christianity deal with the ‘fact’ of evolution? If death existed long before man ever came about, and this is required in evolution, then man cannot really be held accountable for it, and any ‘redemption plan’ offered to counter-attack such horror, is merely a joke. Evolution being true makes Jesus’ life, and more importantly His death, absolutely meaningless. This was my problem with Christianity, and this is what I was to bring to the educational leaders at this Christian institution.
I started out by asking my biology professor. Knowing he was a Christian, and that he was obviously well educated, I figured perhaps he could explain to me how he makes sense of this. He explained to me that there is an evolutionary community, and that there is an extremist group that calls themselves ‘Creation scientists’. He said that they were both extremes of the same spectrum, and that to remain at peace with both sides we need to compromise with both, and be ‘theistic evolutionists’. I asked him my questions concerning the Bible, thinking that if Scripture was truth it should be capable of presenting itself as such. He pretty much responded to that by telling me that I needed to have faith, believe in Jesus, and stop asking questions like that. Well, by doing this, he pretty much looked at my problem and told me that I didn’t have a problem. I had already figured on my own that ‘theistic-evolution’ is a total oxymoron, and so talking to him was certain to bring me no closer to any truth.
I then went to the campus pastor. Perhaps he could make sense of my issues. I was pretty much presented with all the same rhetoric, and discouraged from asking such questions, as they only show me to be of weak faith. This wasn’t a joke to me, I admitted to not having any faith in a ‘truth’ which seemed so foundationless.
My final attempt to find truth at this campus was a visit to the physical science professor. I was told that he held a degree from a top university, and that he was also a reverend. Of course it seemed that if anyone could bring the two together to make sense, it would be this man. I asked him if evolution had any negative effects on the Bible’s layout of the redemption plan through Christ. The response I received, as I remember it, was: ‘You are getting that from Romans 5:12, where it is said ‘as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin’. It is important for you to understand that ‘death’ as mentioned in this passage, is not referring to man’s physical death, but rather it refers to the spherical death of man’s spiritual being.’ This was probably the most abstract piece of drivel anyone had given me yet in my search for truth! Why would he wish to defend a passage in Romans, when I actually had Gen. 3:17 in mind, where God says ‘cursed be the ground because of you...’? This Genesis passage does not mention man’s spiritual existence, but directly attributes the decay of the entire earth to Adam’s sin. Truth was not to be found in that professor’s office.
Atheism started looking like more of an educated conclusion to me now. I had felt as though I had given this all enough consideration and work to where I didn’t feel atheism would be an act of laziness anymore. While considering this, I looked back at the discussion I had had with my biology professor. He mentioned creationists, and this kind of tickled my mind a bit because I recalled hearing my father say something about them. What was there to this other ‘extreme’ on this spectrum the biology prof. spoke of? I had not heard any of these professors actually speak on behalf of creationism yet. My dad had recently been buying a great deal of literature and video tapes on the subject of ‘creationism’, and looking into it seemed like the last straw in my search for someone who could adequately defend Christianity’s crumbling position.
I began by watching the tapes my father possessed, a series featuring Mr Ken Ham. His first few tapes mainly pointed out the importance of creationism, which I didn’t really need to watch, as I was seemingly a poster child for the points he was making. Christian indoctrination without the apologetics of creationism and Bible literalism will only produce a confused agnostic, an atheist, or a Christian who is forced to rest on blind faith and a marred interpretation of Scripture. So where was I to find the answer to my question: How does Christianity deal with the fact of evolution? I learned that my problem was not with Christianity, or with science. My problem was at the tail end of my very question, where I wondered about ‘the fact of evolution’. I now was given different questions: what is factual about evolution in the first place? Where is the empirical evidence leading us to accept it as a fact? My true search for truth had now become a bit tilted from what it previously was. The creationists had figured out how to make the Bible stop contradicting itself, but could they hold up with observations in nature?
I looked into all of this, the Bible no longer was the source of my problem, now it was time to turn to nature for some answers. The Bible does indicate that we should be able to see the Creator in His Creation, and I knew that if this was true, I would find Him. I started out volleying back and forth, performing my own little case studies on various aspects of science to see how evolution and creationism stood up to each other. While doing this, I emailed Dr Sarfati of Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization. He helped me when I first started volleying, and showed me that ‘Creationists often appeal to the facts of science to support their view. Evolutionists often appeal to philosophical assumptions from outside science.’ Knowing this helped to fine tune my ‘balogna detector’, which he also helped me to develop, so I could better know what to accept as truth, and what I should question right from the start.
To this day, when some aspect of science makes me wonder, AiG can usually help. Science does still get me to wonder at times, about certain little things, but whether or not God exists is something I haven’t questioned since I first realized Christianity was truth. My faith now is solid, and far from blind. I am able to say this thanks to Dr Sarfati’s efforts with me, and the creationist resources my father generously obtained for me.
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