The naturalism of the evolutionist and faith-based religion.
There are two major polarizing worldviews that confront daily living: Naturalism of the evolutionist and faith-based religion.
Can they be harmonized?
Can evolution offer an acceptable answer to the questions of the origins of organic life, the development of human self-awareness, a guiding conscience with a language to express it, the innate belief in a superior being, and a highly advanced reasoning power?
Can the Bible, a three-thousand-year-old book, contend with the accepted theory of atheistic evolution? Can it explain the universe, the fossil records, and the view that organisms change over time as a result of physical or behavioral traits?
Both evolution and Christianity have difficult issues to come to grips with if their worldview is to have logic, a proper amount of trust/faith, and a theory incorporating established facts.
Evolution and Science’s role in man’s development
Evolution is generally accepted as a scientific theory and must be answered by scientific evidence. However, evolution is more fundamentally the result of the worldview of naturalism (that all life can be explained by natural causes). Some naturalists fear that if the biblical worldview were accepted, women would be sent back to the kitchen, gays returned to the closet, transgenders publicly flogged, and abortionists sent to prisons.1
A basic issue is: what one believes about mankind’s origin greatly influences his/her worldview: Who are we? Where have we come from? Why are we here? How should we behave? Where are we going?
Evolutionists admit that they struggle to account for the most interesting human universals including moral codes, religion, races, language, and music (plus others). Some speculate that perhaps it can be explained by “direct adaptations or, like making fire, merely by-products of a complex brain that evolved behavioral flexibility to take care of its body.” 2
Naturalism and Christianity
If a thinking God created humans, then the Christian believes the worldview is set forth in the Bible. If naturalism is true, then religion is wishful thinking and mankind can live by his own personally constructed worldview. Of course, childhood education and family values may put some shackles on the non-religious’ freedoms.
Once naturalism is accepted, some form of evolution is an inevitable corollary. Evolution is popular not because of conclusive scientific evidence, but because it fits the popular view of naturalism. The conversation about evolution is not a discussion just about scientific facts versus faith, but worldview versus worldview.
Christians should not dismiss evolution just because it is a naturalistic philosophy. It raises questions and challenges that must be confronted. Sound thinking is required.
Naturalism finds its support from two primary observations. It observes the absence of empirical. evidence for the existence of God. No one has seen Him. Claims of God in images in clouds or on a piece of toast is notempirical evidence nor honest faith.
Natural disasters that claim thousands of lives. The ruthless slaughter of school children or Mosque worshippers could not be the actions of a personal caring God.
Natural explanations dismiss Christians’ claims of miracles both in the Bible and in the modern world.
The Christian View
The Christian takes exception to the naturalistic worldview. Behind the wonders of the universe, the mystery of its order, and the majesty of its expanse is a divine, thinking personal Being. The skeptic Charles Krauthammer once said,
“… you’ve got to explain the existence of the universe, and to assume it invented itself or created itself is rather odd.”
The sophistication of the human body and the computer-like mind that is aware of its being, can contemplate the past, and plan for the future can best be explained by the existence of a personal and thinking God.
How can the great “divide” between the worldviews of Darwinism vs Religion be resolved? It probably can’t, but the evidence must be weighed in order for the legitimacy of individual worldviews to stand the test of faith and facts.
Featured Image: The Chiesa di Santo Stefano, Venice, Italy - Image by Jacquie Kubin for @CommDigiNews Charles Darwin, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron (1868) In the Public Domain https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Darwin_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron_2.jpg