A number of years ago, I happened to notice a book on my parent’s bookshelf: Why I Believe, written in 1980 by D. James Kennedy (the televangelist who founded and then grew his Florida church into a megachurch and television program: “The Coral Ridge Hour”). Now, I was curious to see what he would say, but I’m left with one piece of advice for theists: you should more throughly checkout the basis for belief, because obviously, some of you have accepted a lot of flimsy evidence as support for your beliefs. No doubt, Kennedy thought he’d come in and put together a cognizant argument in defense of the Christian faith, driving fear and embarrassment into the hearts of the unbelievers. Instead, he made Christian beliefs look weak. What always amazes me, though, is how often poor Christian apologetic books get good ratings – on Amazon, 10 of the 18 reviewers gave it 5 stars, and one reviewer actually starts his review with “”Why I Believe” is a masterpiece of Christian apologetics.” (Christians: you look weak-minded when you give this book five stars).
One small chapter is titled: “Why I believe in Creation”, and is mostly composed quote mining, the unlikelihood of abiogenesis, the idea that Nazism was a natural outgrowth of evolutionary theory, Karl Marx asked Darwin to write the introduction to Das Kapital, the Cambrian explosion, etc. He begins the chapter:
We live in a time when there are only two religions competing for the minds, hearts and loyalties of intelligent Western man. The future of this world will be determined, humanly speaking, by intelligent Western man. One of those religions is Christianity; the other religion is evolution.
More idiotic “evolution is a religion” crap. Yup, it’s a “religion”, just like solar-centrism and atomic theory are religions. Apparently, if some people believe an idea, and he disagrees with it, but is incapable of actually convincing them otherwise, then it is “a religion”. How else to explain their unwillingness to “deconvert” from evolution?
Anyone who does not realize that evolution is a religion does not know much about evolution.
Funny, it seems like the people who know the least about evolution are the most willing to brand it a religion.
It is a religion that is passionately held to by its devotees.
There seems to be a hidden variable here that Kennedy seems blissfully unaware of: evidence. Scientific theories, like atomic theory, the theory of relativity, and the theory of evolution, have evidence to support them. If you are blissfully unaware of that evidence, you will perceive scientists as being irrationally devoted to their ideas.
Listen to what some well-known evolutionists, all highly placed scientists in the world, have to say. Professor Louis T. More, one of the most vocal evolutionists: “The more one studies paleontology [the fossil record], the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone.”
Professor Louis T More: a Physicist, dean at the University of Cincinnati, an advocate of Lamarkianism (and against Darwinian evolution) wrote this in 1925 – and there’s a lot of new information discovered since 1925. He was not liked by either the evolutionists or the creationists. My guess is that he was trying to tear down ideas of Darwinian evolution in an attempt to build up his own Lamarkian views. (Link)
Professor D.M.S. Watson, a famous evolutionist, made the remarkable observation that evolution itself is a theory universally accepted, “not because it has been observed to occur or can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the alternative – special creation – is clearly incredible” To the reprobate mind, the unregenerate mind, creation is incredible because it requires belief in a creator, and that is totally unacceptable to such men as these.
The date on that quote? 1929. A lot has been discovered since then. What Watson says, earlier in the same article: “Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or is supported by logically coherent arguments, but because it does fit all the facts of taxonomy, of paleontology, and geographical distribution, and because no alternative explanation is credible. Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable…” (Link) In other words, he says (in 1929) that the idea of natural selection as the mechanism behind evolution was questionable, but calls evolution a “fact” because it fits the facts of “taxonomy, of paleontology, and geographical distribution”.
A famous British evolutionist, Sir Arthur Keith, is just as frank in his admission. He says, “Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it because the only alternative is special creation which is unthinkable.”
Some creationist literature attributes that to Sir Arthur Keith in the forward of the 1959 edition of Origin of Species (apparently taken posthumously, since Keith died in 1955). It’s unclear whether this quote is accurate or not – it seems like a bizarre quote to put in the forward to Origin of the Species. People attempting to track down this quote have been unable to even find a copy of the 1959 edition. (Link)
So, where does that leave us? One quote from the 1920s from a Lamarkian Evolutionist. One quote from the 1920s questioning the validity of natural selection as the mechanism behind evolution, but it made to look like he was questioning the validity of evolution in general. And one posthumous quote that hasn’t been verified.
What would happen if I were to stand up before my congregation and say, “My friends, Christianity is unproved and unprovable, but you still ought to believe it”? They would get up and walk out, and rightly so. But that is the way men accept evolution.
This one surprised me quite a bit. If Kennedy ever did that in his church, no one would walk out. They would declare that they had faith, and would be proud of it. They’d be quoting Bible verses: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17), “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29). Besides, isn’t Pascal’s Wager regularly trotted out by believers to convince people that they should believe in God even though God’s existence isn’t proven? They “ought to believe it” because the consequences of not believing in God and being wrong is eternal damnation, but the consequences of believing in God and being wrong are nothing.
I particularly liked this brief statement in the next paragraph:
Dr. Duane Gish, noted biologist, says, “Evolution is a fairy tale for adults.”
Wow, a “noted biologist”. Kennedy provides no more information about this “Duane Gish” fellow – he just moves on. But, I’ve seen that name before. I just can’t place it. Oh, right, he’s the former vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research. I don’t think Gish is noted for being a biologist. He is known for debating tactics such as the “Gish Gallop“, however. Nice to see that Kennedy can quote people who agree with him.
It goes on like this for another nine pages – touching on Communism, Nazism, an so on. It even includes claims such as:
Evolution is the religion of modern unbelieving man, and it has been the pseudoscientific foundation of every false and anti-Christian “ism” that has come down the pike in the last hundred years.
Or maybe Christians have blamed every bad “ism” on evolutionary theory. It’s particularly funny when Christians try to blame things like socialism on evolutionary theory, since capitalism is the economic equivalent of evolution’s survival of the fittest. No doubt, there are Christian socialists blaming the existence of capitalism on evolutionary theory, and complaining how evolution is the cause of the evils of capitalism. Evolution is the whipping boy, the convenient scapegoat for every problem in the world. You get the feeling that Kennedy would blame the Spanish Inquisition on evolutionists (it’s just “survival of the fittest” applied to a religious context), if it wasn’t for the problem of chronology. Here’s what Kennedy says about the Spanish Inquisition (page 119):
Second, we must remember that Christianity has often been blamed for things that true Christians did not do, and that everyone who professes does not necessarily possess what he professes. For example, perhaps the darkest blotch and accusation that could be brought against Christianity would be the Spanish Inquisition. I would not endeavor to defend it. It was deplorably in the highest degree, a monstrous epic of brutality and barbarity. It was diabolical in its nature.
Was this Christians persecuting non-Christians? It was the very opposite. I am quite convinced that the members of the Inquisitorial Party were not Christians. They lived in the Dark Ages when the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been all but totally forgotten and the faith so perverted that it bore little resemblance to that which had been given by Christ. In many cases the victims of the Inquisition were evangelical Protestant Christians who had come to realize that the historic Gospel of Christ was and who had rejected the papal superstitions of that time. These were the people who were exposed to these tremendous tortures.
I am quite certain that no Christian would ever torture anyone.
See? The Inquisition was the non-Christians persecuting the Christians. Those Catholics claiming to be Christians were actually from the Dark Ages – they time-travelled from 1000 AD into the 1500s to kill the “evangelical protestants” (who time-travelled back from the 1800s and 1900s). Admittedly, the Inquisition did kill about 100 protestants (Link). The Catholic church doesn’t like competition. There are also cases of protestant reformers torturing Christians (e.g. lookup John Calvin and Michael Servetus), and based on the writings of Martin Luther, one gets the feeling that he wouldn’t have a problem with torture or execution (“We are at fault in not slaying [the Jews].”)