Sunday, April 19, 2009
Evolution Vs. Creationism. The Battle of Faith over Reason.
Samuel is the son of the Reverend Teal of the United Brethren, a small congregation of Christians who believe the Bible is to be understood literally. Chase is an agnostic and son of Dr. and Kim Kofferd. Doctor Kofferd is an emergency room doctor at Cloverdale’s All Saints Hospital.
“Mr. Chappel,” Samuel said with his head bowed and chin nearly touching his chest. “I take exception to everything you’re saying. I do not believe in evolution. I believe in the Bible. I believe men did not evolve from apes. I believe the world was created in seven days because with God all things are possible. I believe that man is created in God’s image. I feel there are others in this class that believe as I do and I think our beliefs should be respected.”
With that Samuel sat down. He raised his head and looked at his teacher. His eyes held him firmly in their gaze.
Mr. Chappel stopped the lesson. He knew there was risk in teaching evolution but the national curriculum required it and he agreed.
“Does anyone else feel that way?” he questioned the class.
The room was deathly quiet. Then Chase rose to his feet and turned toward Samuel.
“Sam,” he said quietly. His tone in his voice was serious, “Karl Marx said that religion was the opium of the masses. Like opium, religion dulls your senses and destroys one’s reasoning ability. I see the effect it has on you. Look at you, a boy with a modern education who believes that everything you see around you, this planet and the universe itself was created in seven days! Think about it. What you’re saying is a fairy tale people like your father have taught as truth for the past two thousand years. There is no observable evidence for anything you preach. You expect everyone to believe it on faith. You want them to shut off their reasoning and follow you blindly. Where does that lead? Think about it! I’ll believe in God when you prove his existence to me.
Many in this room are believers and some are not. I rise today to speak for those that are not. We will not sit by and watch our education become trivialized and diluted by nonsense. Nonsense supported by faith alone.”
The room was silent. Chase sat down. Samuel stood.
“Chase, God loves you and wants you to know the....”
“Stop,” Chase interrupted. “Don’t use the word truth. Don’t do it!”
Both boys were on their feet staring at each other. The classroom was charged with emotion.
“Boys,” Mr. Chappel said as he stood and walked to the center of the classroom. “I propose a debate on the topic both Samuel and Chase so eloquently started this morning. Let us once again, as they did so long ago, debate the merits of creationism and evolution. Do you both accept my invitation to debate?”
Chase was the first to accept. Samuel considered the invitation and its implications. If he said no then creationism would be thought of as the loser by default. If he said yes then where was the evidence he needed for a debate besides relying completely on faith. He wondered what his father would say. After weighing all options Samuel agreed.
Samuel’s father helped him prepare. Chase did his preparation alone. Word of the debate spread throughout the Shire. Hundreds are now in line for the few remaining tickets. It is a debate not soon to be forgotten in the Confederacy of Dunces. But in the end, many wonder if anyone will be swayed. Most believe the truth lies somewhere in the center. Most believe in God and most see the merits of evolution. Most believe that God knows all truth and our duty is to use logic, faith and reasoning to find that truth using the evidence He placed around us. Most believe that at the end of the day science and religion will blend into one, and then all will see the true grandeur of the one called God.