People aren’t dumping faith. They’re reconciling creationism and evolution in a way that suggests how we can bridge other polarizing divides, including the current health care impasse.
Fundamentalists are vowing to make a last stand for God in Dayton, Tenn., on July 14 when a new statue will be installed on the courthouse lawn. Going up alongside a likeness of William Jennings Bryan is a depiction of Clarence Darrow, Bryan’s pro-evolution adversary in Dayton’s historic Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.
The creationist organizing the protests is threatening to bring in a militia to thwart installation of the Darrow statue, which she calls an insult to God and Christians. It will take a lot more than that, though, to stop Americans’ growing acceptance of evolution and apparent shift away from the strict creationist view of the origin of the species.
New polling data show that for the first time in a long time there’s a notable decline in the percentage of Americans — including Christians — who hold to the “young earth” creationist view that humankind was created in its present form in the past 10,000 years, evolution playing no part.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in May, the portion of the American public taking this position now stands at 38%, a new low in Gallup’s periodic surveys. Fifty-seven percent accept the validity of the scientific consensus that human beings evolved from less advanced forms of life over millions of years.
Has atheism taken over so thoroughly? No, and that’s why this apparent break in the creationism-vs.-evolution stalemate is significant and even instructive to those in search of creative solutions to our other intractable public arguments.
As the new poll reveals, the biggest factor in the shift is a jump in the number of Christians who are reconciling faith and evolution. They are coming to see evolution as their God’s way of creating life on Earth and continuing to shape it today.
“Science doesn’t have to drive people away from faith,” says Deborah Haarsma, president of an organization called BioLogos that promotes harmony between science and Christian faith.
It’s endlessly frustrating to secular and religious liberals, but the creationist view has held strong sway in this…