An interesting story surrounds the following passage from the first edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Here’s the passage: In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours …
The picture that went viral (in this case think ‘disease’) of the White House splashed in the colors of the rainbow forces us to answer the following question: Can we look at the results of Obama’s time in office as the natural outcome of someone breaking into the White House control room, locking himself in, and messing with all the knobs until the adults come to stop him, or is this who we are now?
Had this recent event happened five years ago we might have suggested stronger locks on the White House doors. But America gave Obama a second term. Does that mean that this is who we are then? It certainly means that this is who we are officially. And to the extent that we can say that Americans are unable or unwilling to overturn the laws that have separated us from God, then I think we have to begin to reconcile ourselves to the reality that this is who we are.
Consider these questions:
Did America officially expel prayer from her classrooms?
Has she officially, for forty five years, upheld the “rights” of women to have abortions?
Has America embraced evolution in its classrooms, media, and entertainment industry, making it its default view of the origins of the universe?
Has America officially legalized, embraced, accepted, and celebrated homosexuality?
The answer to all of these questions is, “Yes!” And this says nothing of our materialism, our lust and wantonness, and our religious pluralism. It also says nothing of our present stance towards Israel.
There are two simple yet profound spiritual principles at work in America. The first is simply this: if you sow to the Spirit, you reap life everlasting. If you sow to the flesh, you reap corruption.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8, NIV (1984 Edition)
This holds true for nations too!
The second is when you choose not to retain the knowledge of God in your heart, God releases you to become reprobate in your thinking and thus your behavior.
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32, NIV (1984 Edition)
The bottom line is this: We have invited God to leave our schools, celebrated the deaths of millions of babies through abortion, accommodated and promoted atheism by embracing evolution, and now the homosexual juggernaut has achieved “normal” status by decree of the Supreme Court. Genuine Bible-believing Christians know that individuals nor nations can so eloquently reject God and not reap terrible consequences.
Poor America! She had so much light and now is entering into just as much darkness!
Future civilizations, if they ever get the chance to progress beyond our present evolutionary foolishness, will look back at this period in history and be embarrassed to call us their ancestors!
By Roger Erdvig and Lynn Swaner
On Tuesday night Ken Ham, prominent creationist (CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum), engaged in public debate with Bill Nye (of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” fame) on the topic of the validity of creationism as an explanation for the origin of the universe. There were not many surprises in the debate– Bill Nye did not “convert” to a belief in creationism, nor did Ken Ham capitulate on his strong stance against evolution.
But really, public debates of this nature are not for the purpose of changing the mindset of the debaters. Rather, debates offer the public the opportunity to listen to two (or more) thoughtful individuals engage in a disciplined, well-reasoned dialogue about an important issue. Observers should come away with a greater understanding of the overall issue and of the opposing viewpoints. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people think of debates only in terms of the angry exchanges on talk radio and television news shows. These spectacles are not true debates. By contrast, last night’s debate was a thoughtful public discourse, and we can applaud both Nye and Ham for being respectful (for the most part) and being willing to debate in the first place. To look for a winner is to miss the point of such a debate (and if we are honest, most people’s opinions on who “won” will most likely be derived from their starting view of evolution versus creation).
So what was the point of the debate, especially if we cannot objectively and decisively declare a winner? We think there are three points.
The first point is that despite what we may have heard or read, the question of origins is still alive and kicking. The debate put this issue smack dab on the front page of CNN.com (which summarized the debate as “Nobody knows” vs. “It’s in the Bible”) and other national media outlets. The debate even received decent international coverage. Both sides may label the other position absurd, outlandish, and/or offensive, but the matter is far from “decided” culturally — according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, about two-thirds of Americans believe in evolution, and one-third believe that humans have always existed in their present form. Despite this reality, public science education accepts and teaches evolution as the only viable (and “established”) way to view origins. The debate brought to the forefront that not only is evolution rejected by a sizeable percentage of the American public, but also that the evolutionary stance of public science education is nothing less than “cultural hegemony.” Ironically, that term comes from the secular humanist playbook: a ruling group in a diverse society manipulates the culture — imposing their worldview until it is regarded as the cultural norm, accepted as natural and positive for everyone in that society — in order to preserve the power and status of the ruling group. So it goes with the evolution steamroller in American education, but for one evening the debate forced our society to be honest about the cultural relevance of the question of origins. The debate reminded us that people not only have the right to ask where humans came from, but also the right to open dialogue on that question.
The second point is that the debate underscored the importance of “worldview.” If you watched the debate, it couldn’t be clearer that what we believe about origins is central to our understanding or “view” of the world, and our place as human beings in it. The debaters themselves recognized this, often using the term “worldview” to describe the opposing position. The Bible itself, in Hebrews 11:3, acknowledges the role of worldview as it relates to origins: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Likewise Paul, when preaching in Acts 17 to Greek philosophers, used creation as his starting point to explain the “Unknown God” of the Athenians; he began by saying that God, “who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth…” (v. 24) is the One who “gives to all life breath, and all things” (v. 25) and “has made from one blood every nation of men” (v. 26). Without this understanding of origins, little else in the Bible (including salvation) makes sense or can be claimed as true — a point upon which both Bill Nye and Ken Ham agreed and demonstrated. Everything hinges on worldview.
A third point of the debate – and another point of agreement among the debaters – is that education is a primary agent of worldview development in children’s lives (we witnessed Ham asserting that public school textbooks deprive children the chance to consider creationism and thereby push a secular worldview, and Nye begging that science education be kept “pure” and “free” from the influence of “religion”). Make no mistake about it — the debate was as much about what our children should be taught about origins as it was about what we believe individually. As educators and parents ourselves, we need to take the cue from Ham and Nye and ask the important question of how our children’s worldviews are developing. We need to scrutinize carefully the primary, educational shapers of that worldview. Specifically, we need to think critically about the type of schooling our children receive, the worldview of the adults who provide the schooling, and the curriculum and materials used in that schooling. The implications for our children’s worldviews — and thereby what they believe, who they are, and what they do — are profound.
Given these three points, here’s our final opinion on the debate last night: We think it was wonderful. Even though a number of the answers were not fully satisfying and seemed rushed, we loved every minute of it — and delightfully, there were over 150 of those minutes. We were with a group of over fifty people who stayed engaged for the full debate, and in this age of sound-bite sermons that must be wrapped up in a half hour lest “you lose the congregation,” it was refreshing to see so many people, young and old, listening to sometimes heady dialogue for that long. We cannot all agree on a decisive winner, but the debate helped us understand the strengths and weaknesses of our own arguments, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of others. It also keeps those issues that matter most — our beliefs about where we come from, which in turn influence who we are and what we do with our lives, and the way we shape those beliefs through education — on the front burner of our culture.
For those reasons, Ken Ham and Bill Nye are to be commended for engaging in this critical conversation, and allowing us to listen in. They have helped to educate all of us.
Roger Erdvig is the Superintendent and Lynn Swaner is the Assistant to the Superintendent for Academics at Smithtown Christian School.
To watch the full debate from Tuesday, February 4, 2014, visit www.debatelive.org.