Why do Some Christians Reject Evolution?

I don’t want to debate the empirical matters of the theory of evolution. I’m neither a geneticist nor a biologist, so I gave that up ages ago. But it is my impression that most Christians who disagree with evolution do so on a basis that has nothing to do with the actual scientific merit of the theory anyway.

So why do some Christians reject the theory?

I think most would say that evolution is contrary to the first chapter of Genesis. But while I disagree with this sentiment, I won’t address it here (maybe another post).

What I want to do is discuss another possible reason, one that has cropped up in a few conversations. That is: some Christians think that the philosophical theories/statements founded on, and related to, evolution are synonymous with the theory itself. This appears to me to be absurd, very much throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The theory of evolution is a scientific theory, not in itself philosophical (though I suppose it depends on how broad your definition of ‘philosophy’ is). You may as well reject the theory of relativity for philosophical reasons! So some Christians may have rejected the theory of evolution needlessly.

I think it may be helpful for all of us to understand, and make clear in our conversations, when and where we make the journey from science to philosophy.

My view on this is a work in progress, as it were; so I welcome your thoughts and comments. By all means disagree! But let me know, and expect a little discussion.


3 Responses to Why do Some Christians Reject Evolution?

  1. gfish says:

    Many Christians reject evolution for one of two reasons:

    1. They believe that evolution is like a gateway drug into atheism. Science teachers start talking about evolution, next thing you know, kids are running around with Harris and Dawkins under their arms, praying to Charles Darwin or whatever they think atheists do when they’re being atheists.

    2. They’re told that it directly contradicts the literal interpretation of the Bible and anything that does that is wrong. Except the ones a pastor says are ok to violate because of a random quote here or there.

  2. dholman says:

    Some I am sure reject evolution for very “knee jerk” reactions. However, this does not apply to everyone. Many scientist reject “macro-evolution.” It has particular problems amng physicist. For a better understanding of why Christians reject atheism I suggest you look up http://www.doesgodexist.org (written by John Clayton, a former science teacher), and the webiste of an organization named “Apologetis Press.” This will give you a good start on the scientific reason for rejecting the theory of evolution.

  3. mattsj says:

    Thanks for the comments gfish and dholman. I have to say initially that I do understand why many Christians reject Atheism (proper noun?), as I’ve done the same!

    You make an interesting point about ‘slippery slope’ mentality. Perhaps a few more stages in the slope would make those Christians seem a little less silly: evolution compromises their interpretation of Genesis 1, which *arguably* compromises the rest of Genesis (or at least 1-3). (I don’t agree). And so they feel that a large chunk of their faith would be undermined, hence the possibility of doubt, and Atheism later.

    That kind of covers your second point, gfish. But I must say I don’t appreciate your last sentence, as it is a bit arbitrary here (and unfair).

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