Alienating ourselves from Culture

by Navy Christian

Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, 1925

Clarence Darrow, a famous Chicago lawyer, and William Jennings Bryan, defender of Fundamentalism, have a friendly chat in a courtroom during the Scopes evolution trial. Darrow defended John T. Scopes, a biology teacher, who decided to test the new Tenessee law banning the teaching of evolution. Bryan took the stand for the prosecution as a bible expert. The trial in 1925 ended in conviction of Scopes. ca. 1925 Dayton, Tennessee, USA

As I write this post, I’m in the middle of researching the Scopes Monkey Trial, wherein a Tennessee school teacher by the name of John Thomas Scopes violated the Butler Act of 1925 and taught evolution in his local high school. As some of you know from your high school history, this was the modern equivalent of Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church.

The entire thing was a sham. The ACLU wanted a test case to run up to the Supreme Court and the fundamentalists wanted to prove that they were more powerful than the liberals of the time.

Quick side note: This is a theme reoccurring today. Replaced by evangelicals, the religious establishment is still trying to prove it is more powerful than liberal ideology. In fact, if you go back to the New Testament, Jesus ran into the same problem when he tried to talk to the Pharisees and Sadducees of his day. Any time a religious sect is in power, they try to stay in power. This is very frustrating for the following reason: The possibility of even some form of evolution “poisoning” the evangelical establishment will result in the most vehement response. Instead of taking the time to effectively evaluate the information, like William Jennings Bryan, they lash out and attack.

Normally, I don’t get involved in this issue. I avoid most Facebook debates like the plague. It’s just not worth it. I’d rather debate in person anyway because I can manage the situation better. I wish William Jennings Bryan had done the same thing. The Scopes Monkey Trial was the historical predecessor of modern Facebook debates. It was all yelling and arguing without a single forward idea made.

It did manage to do one thing…it alienated fundamentalists from American society. Now, granted, fundamentalists had been heading this way for a long time and most believed God wanted them alienated from society. However, instead of having a method of working themselves into a conversation with society, which could have led to the gospel witness, fundamentalists torched any possibility.

My hope through this journey is that, in addition to discovering some answers about how the creation account differs and matches reality, we can bridge the gap between society and the gospel, to introduce the former to the latter. To that end, it will never be my desire to alienate myself from society and culture.

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