Should a Christian Study Evolution?

by Navy Christian

I hesitate to even write this post. What if I sound fake? What if I sound like I’m throwing my conservative upbringing aside? What if I’m labeled a heretic and never get to minister in theologically conservative churches again?

Yes, Christians should study evolution. Here’s why: Your kids are in school! My son is in advanced biology. He brought home an assignment a few days ago that detailed a certain aspect of evolution. I talked with him about it, and it became clear that, while he rejected the notion because of what he was taught in church, he was still being fed evolution in the classroom. Our kids may not be able to differentiate the issue enough to know that they actually are the same. Instead of realizing that teachers are trying to tell him his God didn’t create the world, he’s compartmentalizing school and church.

And I don’t know that our church is teaching him this either. Not that it’s really my church’s purpose. I am his father. It is my job. Time to get busy. What I learn over time I will be teaching you.

As an involved father, at least as involved as I can be my navy career notwithstanding, I need to be a part of my children’s learning process. I can’t just say, “Well, it’s not true,” when they bring home an assignment. Why? Because their grade depends on them writing papers and doing projects that support evolutionary theory! So what do I do? I study the issues so I can arm my kids with facts.

Here are a few other reasons we should study evolution:

  1.  Some of it is probably true: I’ll be writing a post in the next few weeks about dating methods
  2. Evolutionary theory can show us how God created the world.
  3. Most importantly, studying evolution and realizing points 1 and 2 can help the conservative church restore humanity to God.

I don’t often agree with the strategy flavor of the week. I don’t think that churches should be marketing themselves (more than simply making themselves known in the community), I don’t think things are really “purpose” driven, or driven in any other way (Gospel, Community, whatever). I think churches should be places where the sick are cared for, the poor are elevated, where women and children are equals, and things like this.

However, after reading some of the book The Next Christians, by Gabe Lyons, I realized an unsettling truth…I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be separate from the world, and from less-conservative (theologically) churches. Lyons calls it restoring the world to a relationship with God, and that’s true. If our faith story starts in a perfect garden, but science doesn’t teach that, then we have an issue. My work on this project seeks to find the truth so we can restore the unbelieving world to a relationship with God.

So we study.

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