Author Archive: Nevin

Science and Religion

So, I’ve done a bit of responding to other posts on here, and I thought it was about time I made my first post, on a subject I have a lot of personal interest in. A quick search for keywords such as evolution, creationism, and intelligent design shows that there has not been much discussion (actually, any, as far as I can see) of these subjects on this blog. This does not entirely surprise me, because, in my experience, there is very little discussion amongst the Anabaptist Churches in general on issues having to do with the relationship between science and faith. Conservative Anabaptists (just can’t get away from that term!), for their part, often fall in line with other conservative Christians, in being suspicious of evolution (or “evolutionism”) and embracing a literalistic interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis. Either that, or they don’t make an issue about it at all, one way or the other, and prefer not to discuss it. Liberal Anabaptists, for their part, tend to accept the truth of evolution because they have a liberal enough interpretation of Scripture that it presents no exegetical problem for them to do so, and because they associate creationism with ignorant warmongering racist homophobic fundamentalists. The fact that Jerry Falwell endorsed creationism is good enough reason for many progressive Christians to automatically reject it.

Of course, anti-evolutionism has not always had attached to it the social and economic conservatism we associate with it today. Indeed, in economic terms at least, Darwinism lends itself quite well to a conservative worldview–in fact, it was largely the work of economist Thomas Malthus that first inspired Darwin’s idea of natural selection. And, in fact, it was this association of scientific Darwinism with Social Darwinism that many socially progressive Christians of ages past objected to, and so became anti-evolutionist. William Jennings Bryan, three time Democratic presidential candidate, was a socialist and peace advocate who famously opposed evolution because of what he saw as its social implications. In a stump speech that he gave in revival tents around the country, he referred to Darwinism as propagating a “law of hate” that stood in stark contrast to the “law of love” that Christ taught. (more…)