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I was wrong: BioLogos promotes Jesus, not evolution

For a while some of my readers (especially Sigmund) have been trying to convince me that BioLogos—the organization founded by NIH director Francis Collins, and funded by Templeton to the tune of over two million dollars—was designed to promote the acceptance not of evolution, but of Jesus. I resisted this interpretation, probably because I didn’t think that even Christians could be that duplicitous, but now I see I was in error. A post this week by Darrel Falk, the president of BioLogos, has convinced me that I was wrong and the readers were right.

To be sure, I had good reasons: I was going by the funding statements of Templeton and the mission statement of BioLogos, both of which implied that pushing evolution was a big priority. Here’s how Templeton describes its $2,028,238 grant to BioLogos, which expires next February:

These grants support the launch of the BioLogos Foundation with the creation of a website and a series of workshops on the compatibility of theism and evolutionary science. The website will serve as a forum for Francis Collins and other expert consultants to address common questions about the relationship between faith and science. The invitation-only workshops will bring scientists and evangelical leaders together to seek a theology more accepting of science, specifically evolutionary biology. These projects will allow the BioLogos Foundation to build a reputation as a source of sympathetic, authoritative, and accessible thought on matters of science and faith.

And here’s BioLogos‘s own description of its mission:

The BioLogos Foundation is a group of Christians, many of whom are professional scientists, biblical scholars, philosophers, theologians, pastors, and educators, who are concerned about the long history of disharmony between the findings of science and large sectors of the Christian faith. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We also believe that evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation. Founded by Dr. Francis Collins, BioLogos addresses the escalating culture war between science and faith, promoting dialog and exploring the harmony between the two. We are committed to helping the church – and students, in particular – develop worldviews that embrace both of these complex belief structures, and that allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully.

But Falk’s new essay on the BioLogos site, “The Crutch,” clearly shows that the main goal of BioLogos is not to convince evangelical Christians that faith and evolution are compatible so that they’ll accept evolution, but so that they don’t reject Jesus.

Falk’s piece is poorly written, but its import is clear. The “crutch” to which he refers is the perceived incompatibility between science and faith. This crutch is used by atheists or dissatisfied Christians as an excuse to live wantonly and immorally, for if evolution is true, then you have to reject Jesus:

It is true that “belief in evolution” is used by some to prop up their desire to live life their way and not God’s. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, they are looking for an excuse to become—as the serpent put it to Eve—“like God,” and to be masters of their own fate. The perception that evolution is incompatible with Christianity does provide many with what seems to be the perfect excuse. They do indeed use that excuse to prop up their non-Christian lifestyle. However, the crutch they use to support their rejection of the Christian life is not belief in evolution itself, but rather that Christianity and evolution are incompatible. That is the crutch.

The curious thing is what Falk sees as the source of this crutch. Accommodationists like Chris Mooney, Nick Matzke, Michael Ruse and their ilk always fault atheists for arguing that people have to make a choice between science and faith. That, they say, is guaranteed to make religious people reject science. (To be sure, I’ve never said that people have to make that choice, but have pointed out that the incompatibility causes cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy.) Falk, however—and there’s some truth in his claim—says that this choice is forced on people not by atheists, but by Christians:

Where does this crutch come from, however? Who manufactures this crutch? If the crutch is simply the proposition that evolution and real Christianity are incompatible, where did that idea come from? Did it not come from us? Many Christians have been telling non-believers that belief in evolution is inconsistent with real Christianity. So if non-believers are looking for an excuse to justify their apostate lifestyle—and they are—Christians have played right into their hand, by passing them the crutch they are seeking. If evolution is true, they hear many Christians say, theology falls apart. If evolution is true, they hear many Christians say, the Bible is untrustworthy. Many evangelical Christians have poured their financial resources into the construction of organizations dedicated to building crutches for non-believers. I think that selling the principle that if evolution is true Christianity fails, is profoundly harmful. Heaven forbid that we Christians should be creating the very crutch that non-believers long to have, but I think that is precisely what we are doing. All of science makes it abundantly clear that evolution has taken place. People everywhere are looking for crutches that will allow them to follow in Eve’s footsteps. And what do we Christians do? We pass them a crutch. Unwittingly, it is almost as though we give them license to conclude: “If evolution is true, God’s Word is a lie, and I am free to do anything I want.” God help us!

Falk then paints a scenario in which young evangelicals, faith propped up by their crutch, limp off to college and learn that the crutch is rotten: evolution is true! OMG! What happens? They abandon Jesus and, inspired by Satan, become wanton, drunken fornicators, generally living in a way that will guarantee admission to hell:

Read on



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