A life devoted to nonsense

To his credit, Albert Mohler recognizes the intractable conflict between evolutionary theory and Genesis: They cannot both be true. To his discredit, he lacks the wherewithal to surrender the nonsense.

From the beginning of this conflict, there have been those who have attempted some form of accommodation with Darwinism. In its most common form, this amounts to some version of “theistic evolution” – the idea that the evolutionary process is guided by God in order to accomplish his divine purposes.

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If evolution is true, then the entire narrative of the Bible has to be revised and reinterpreted. The evolutionary account is not only incompatible with any historical affirmation of Genesis – it is also incompatible with the claim that all humanity is descended from Adam and the claim that in Adam all humanity fell into sin and guilt. The Bible’s account of the Fall and its consequences is utterly incompatible with evolutionary theory. The third chapter of Genesis is as problematic for evolutionary theory as the first two.

Precisely so. Without The Fall there is no Original Sin, and without Original Sin there is no point to the blood sacrifice of Jesus. In that case, what happened on the cross is not Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for humanity’s innate wickedeness, but merely the cruel and messy death of a rabble-rouser &#0151 and Christianity has no more on offer than a woefully inadequate ethical system that rests its influence on the degradation of other human beings.

Whatever else may be said about him, Mohler has reasoned his way to the inescapable choice: Believe one, or believe the other &#0151 you cannot have both.

The naturalistic evolutionists are now pressing their case in moral as well as intellectual terms. Increasingly, they are arguing that a refusal to accept evolution represents a thought crime of sorts. They are using all the tools and arguments at their disposal to discredit any denial of evolution and to marginalize voices who question the dogma of Darwinism.

I’d like to meet the people who are saying that, because it is very near to my own thinking and the argument of the essay by William Clifford that I re-published here, The Ethics of Belief.

To think or not to think is a moral question: It is the beginning of morality. And without a deliberate, affirmative answer to that question, one might as well be a dumb farm animal.

Let me be more particular: When a preacher stands in his pulpit and bellows that he doesn’t care what science and evidence have to say about a question, because he relies on the Bible and it says something else … yes, that is immoral conduct, and he is summoning his congregation to immoral conduct.

We see the fruits of that choice against thought, that immoral choice, all around us. We see children entering adulthood with handicapped minds, deliberately poisoned against reason and science and doomed to a life of dissatisfying drudgework. We see a life of dissatisfying marriages, because Christian teachings are jealous of, and hostile to, the mutual loyalty and shared ambitions that make a marriage. We see lives on the margins of civil society, because the cultish aspects of Christian thought teach that anybody not in the club are … other, and to be regarded with suspicion.

Mohler’s Christianity has made the world a poorer and meaner-spirited place, and one can hardly do better than Nietzsche’s furious declaration that it is an ‘imperishable blemish’ on the human race.

Think first. Believe later.

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