Throwing the Bible Under the Bus

Giberson and Collins reveal their true understanding of biblical inspiration when they locate it, not in the authorship of the text at all, but in the modern act of reading the text.

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Evolution and the Empty Nest Syndrome

Michael Shermer publishes Skeptic magazine, teaches at Claremont Graduate University, and writes a regular column for Scientific American. He is an ardent defender of evolutionary theory and a well-known critic of all supernatural claims. In today’s edition of USA Today, Shermer writes about the “empty nest syndrome” — the difficulty many parents face when their offspring go off to college.

While this has always been a difficult time for parents, in recent years many parents seem to be having a more difficult time than usual. Some colleges report that parents have to be told to go home. One college reported about a mother who slept in her daughter’s dorm room for a couple of nights until the girl’s roommate complained to school authorities.

Shermer has now experienced the “empty nest syndrome” for himself, as his daughter began her college studies just over a month ago. He clearly misses his daughter. And yet, how does he explain this experience?

He writes: “Why does it hurt so bad? Science has an answer: We are social mammals who experience deep attachment to our fellow friends and family, an evolutionary throwback to our Paleolithic hunter-gatherer days of living in small bands.”

You read that right. Shermer reduces the love of a parent for a child to “an evolutionary throwback.” He adds to this a physiological theory:

We parents can’t help feeling this way, and neuroscience explains why. Addictive chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin surge through the brain and body during positive social interactions (especially touch). This causes us to feel closer to one another. Between parents and offspring, it cements a bond so solid that it is broken only under the most unusual (and usually pathological) circumstances.

He concludes with words that can hardly be described as sentimental. “Each of us parents makes one small contribution to the evolutionary imperative of life’s continuity from one generation to the next,” he suggests.

Rarely is the sterility and bleakness of the evolutionary worldview displayed with such candor. The love of a parent for a child is reduced to an evolutionary factor that works through a physiological process of chemical interactions in the brain.

If evolution is true, it must explain everything. Michael Shermer’s article demonstrates just how unsatisfying that explanation is.

Science and Religion Aren’t Friends?

Are science and Christianity friends? The answer to that is an emphatic yes, for any true science will be perfectly compatible with the truths we know by God’s revelation. But this science is not naturalistic, while modern science usually is.

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Evolution: When Atheists and Baptists Agree?

Writing at “On Faith,” a joint project of The Washington Post and Newsweek, Rachel Held Evans calls for me to stop arguing against evolution and get with the program. She takes particular aim at this statement I made at the 2010 Ligonier Ministries National Conference: “The theory of evolution is incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ even as it is in direct conflict with any faithful reading of the Scriptures.”

Evans, author of Evolving in Monkey Town, a memoir about growing up in Dayton, Tennessee, scolds me for presenting the theory of evolution as inherently contradictory to Scripture. Furthermore, she insists that the net effect of my opposition to evolution will be an exodus of evangelical young people who will believe me when I insist that this contraction is irreconcilable. She accuses me of presenting a “false dichotomy.”

She writes further:

Mohler would be wise to consider the words of St. Augustine, who, (centuries before anyone had heard of common descent), said this of his interpretation of Genesis: “In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.”

There are few figures so influential in my own thinking as Augustine, and his wise counsel about allowing the plain texts of Scripture to interpret the more obscure is inherently healthy. But it is Rachel Held Evans who must bear the responsibility to explain how any acceptance of evolution can avoid “prejudice to the faith we have received.”

Her glib and superficial endorsement of evolution and its reconciliation with Christianity is all too common and all too irresponsible. If she is going to quote Augustine, she should deal with the consequences. How are we to reconcile the absence of an historical Adam, for example, with Paul’s very clear and unambiguous affirmation of Adam’s headship and its centrality to the gospel? The age of the earth is not the central question, though it is an unavoidable and important question.

Most of those who urge a reconciliation of evolution and the Christian faith do so at the most superficial level, without ever acknowledging the near-total transformation of Christian theology that must result if serious minds ask the serious questions and do the serious work of actually thinking seriously.

The impact of evolution on the Christian gospel cannot be reduced to “both an old earth and a loving God.” That just does not represent intellectual honesty. Those who think responsibly about these questions must deal directly with the theological implications — something totally missing from Rachel Held Evans’ article.

She is frustrated that atheists and Baptists (to use her terminology) agree that evolution and Christianity are incompatible. She may be frustrated, but on this score the atheists and the biblical Christians are both correct, and both understand what is at stake.

I May Be a Baptist, But I Am Not A Moron, Says Evolutionist

Writing at, Chris Mooney responds to my critique of his essay in Monday’s USA Today. After citing my criticism of his argument that a vague “spirituality” will bridge the divide between science and religion, he reasserts his thesis: “That’s the power of spirituality. Religious or otherwise, it gets you outside the structure of an established church, and lets you decide what matters, and what has meaning. For some traditional religious leaders, I’m sure that’s a very scary prospect. For scientists, it’s the opposite. It meshes perfectly with their individuality.”

Well, neither side is buying his argument. The naturalistic scientists want nothing to do with what they see as a pandering to superstition, and those with any genuine theological convictions want nothing to do with a vacuous “spirituality.”

Interestingly, evolutionary scientist Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True, has written a response to Mooney from his own perspective. In a lengthy essay, he rejects Mooney’s argument as unhelpful:

Scientists are not automatons.  Just like other people, we have emotions and feelings, and sometimes these are connected with our work.  If you want to call that “spirituality,” so be it.  But I don’t see how recognizing that both scientists and religious people feel emotions about their work or faith can heal the breach between them.  That breach is irreparable: it comes from the very different and irreconcilable methods that science and faith use to find truth—combined with the fact that science hasn’t buttressed the “truths” of faith nor has faith produced truths convergent with those of science.  Science is at war with faith because it shows that religious “truths” are bunk, and the faithful realize this.

In other words, mere “spirituality” will not heal the breach between naturalism and theism. Coyne cites my own critique of Mooney’s proposal as evidence that both sides in the argument see that Mooney’s emperor wears no clothes.

In a rather interesting section, he writes:

Mohler may be a Baptist, but he’s not a moron.  He knows that Mooney’s “spirituality” is just science dressed in faith’s clothing, and is still a threat. Mohler isn’t buying it, and neither will other religious people who oppose science.

So I am a Baptist but not a moron? Well, I will file that under awkward compliments.

No Need for God? Stephen Hawking Defies Divine Creation

Professor Stephen Hawking is a remarkable human being. His courage and tenacity are an inspiration to all. His work on the theory of gravity has changed the way the field of physics is taught. But, when he crosses that border from science to theology, his worldview leads him into abject disaster.

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