This weekend, atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman is once again encouraging churches to preach Darwin from their pulpits. He claims that his Clergy Letter Project, signed by over 12,000 members of predominantly liberal clergy, shows that evolution and Christianity are compatible so long as we define religious truth as dealing with doctrine and morality and scientific truth as dealing with facts.
The problem with his entire Letter is that it relies on the fallacy of the fact/value distinction. Jesus asked Nicodemus in John 3:12: If I tell you of earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” Christianity doesn’t just make claims in a vacuum. Our doctrines, principles and moral claims are connected to historical facts. For example, our doctrines of salvation and future resurrection are based on the notion that Jesus Christ was historically and physically crucified, buried and resurrected by God as prophesied by Scripture. You cannot divorce the two. The doctrine of marriage as being between one man and one woman finds its foundation in Genesis 1 and 2, which Jesus quoted in regard to marriage.
So we cannot copartmentalize our faith and our science. Neither can we accept the all-natural assertions of science over the supernatural revelation of God’s Word, because if we get consistent in this policy of letting science chained to pure naturalism trump the revelation of Scripture, we will find ourselves with a curious book of stories that no one really believes, for all-natural science denies that men rise from the dead, that virgins conceive, that the weather can be controlled at a spoken command, etc. In reality, all that science chained to pure naturalism can do is to provide all-natural answers which may or may not be true and are certainly false where supernatural agency was involved. It has no way to determine whether God did anything, since supernatural agency is ruled out as a possible answer from the outset… but it pretends that any all-natural answer they come up with negates the possibility that God did it instead.
Atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman may claim that Christianity and evolution are compatible, but other atheists beg to differ.
Dr. Robert Stephens, founder of Darwin Day and a man whose own faith was eroded by evolutionary dogma, stated in an interview that:
“…It is clear, that an understanding of evolution destroys the myth of Adam and Eve, thereby also destroying the need for the myth of, God having to send his only begotten son to redeem mankind from their sin.”
Compare this to the estimate of atheist Frank Zindler:
“The most devastating thing though that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a Savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.” –[Frank Zindler, debate with William Craig, Atheism vs Christianity video, Zondervan, 1996.]
Or G. Richard Bozarth:
“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” — quoted from The American Atheist, September 1978, p. 30.
American Atheists weighed in similarly:
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t believe in the fable of Adam and Eve and the talking snake. You probably think it’s a story, created out of ignorance, to explain the origin of life. You probably don’t believe that Adam literally ate a fruit, resulting in God expelling him and Eve out of the idyllic Garden of Eden.
In other words, you know that’s a myth.
Right so far? So if Adam and Eve and the Talking Snake are myths, then Original Sin is also a myth, right? Well, think about it…
- Jesus’ major purpose was to save mankind from Original Sin.
- Original Sin makes believers unworthy of salvation, but you get it anyway, so you should be grateful for being saved (from that which does not exist)
- Without Original Sin, the marketing that all people are sinners and therefore need to accept Jesus falls moot.
All we are asking is that you take what you know into serious consideration, even if it means taking a hard look at all you’ve been taught for your whole life. No Adam and Eve means no need for a savior. It also means that the Bible cannot be trusted as a source of unambiguous, literal truth. It is completely unreliable, because it all begins with a myth, and builds on that as a basis. No Fall of Man means no need for atonement and no need for a redeemer. You know it.”
John Shuck, a Presbyterian pastor, Clergy Letter signer and Evolution Sunday supporter [he calls it Darwinmas and says it’s his favorite holiday] says much the same:
“Rather than the Bible being a word from God, perfect in every way, to us, we see it as a work of human beings reflecting about God and themselves. The authority of the Bible and the authority of the church’s beliefs that are based on a pre-critical reading of the Bible are therefore challenged. The Theory of Evolution challenged the pre-critical understanding of the Bible’s story. The biblical narrative of creation, human fall into sin, the story of redemption in Christ, and future hope in the holy city is no longer seen by many of us as a literal account of what happened or what will happen. It is a narrative of an ancient people trying to understand their place in the whole thing.”
And in case you’re wondering, that Tennessee pastor doesn’t believe in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, a requirement of true saving faith per Romans 10:9… so he isn’t even a Christian! Barry Lynn, spokesman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, is also a Clergy Letter signer who can’t affirm the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, in an April 5, 2010 Culture Shocks interview with Robin Meyers, author of the heretical Saving Jesus from the Church, Barry Lynn states:
”Certainly the earliest writer of anything about Jesus’ life never even mentioned the Resurrection which you wouldn’t think would be kind of a hard thing to admit if it happened: to say he lived, he died and by the way he rose again. Those are later additions to the Gospel.”
Michael Dowd, also a Clergy letter signer and Evolution Weekend participant, sums up the Good News thus:
“Anything supposedly supernatural is, by definition, unnatural. And most people find unnatural relatively uninspiring when they really stop and think about it. I mean, does this sound like Good News to you? …
An unnatural king who occasionally engages in unnatural acts sends his unnatural son to Earth in an unnatural way. He’s born an unnatural birth, lives an unnatural life, performs unnatural deeds, and is killed and unnaturally rises from the dead in order to redeem humanity from an unnatural curse brought about by an unnaturally talking snake. After 40 days of unnatural appearances he unnaturally zooms off to heaven to return to his unnatural father, sit on an unnatural throne, and unnaturally judge the living and the dead. If you profess to believe in all this unnatural activity, you and your fellow believers get to spend an unnaturally long time in an unnaturally boring paradise while everyone else suffers a torturous hell forever.”
As a point of irony, he quotes Thomas Aquinas in the same sermon as noting “A mistake about Creation will necessarily result in a mistake about God.” Well, Dowd doesn’t believe that God is a person, but rather a personification of Nature:
“Evidence from a wide range of disciplines, from cognitive neuroscience to anthropology to crosscultural study of the world’s myths and religions, all support the claim that God is a divine personification, not a person. More, there is no counter-evidence. This fact alone makes sense of the hundreds of competing stories around the world as to what God supposedly said or did. “God” is a mythic name for Reality in all its sublime fullness.”
Does the witness of Zimmerman’s fellow atheists and even signers of his Clergy Letter Project promote the idea that Christianity and evolution are compatible? Well, no.
So what possible motive could Zimmerman, an atheist who admittedly can’t get his “head around how people can believe in a deity,” have for promoting the Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend, if evolution is so demonstrably erosive to traditional Christianity? Here’s the answer, from an interview with Jeff Nall for HumanistNetworkNews.org [Jan 3, 2007]:
“When the American public is forced to believe or forced to choose between science and religion, theyre going to choose religion every time. ” [emphasis mine].