The first of many reasons that Christians should accept evolution as the scientific explanation for how life developed and why it looks the way it does today is simple: It happened.
That’s right. Evolution happened, and it’s continuing to happen all around us. You get a flu shot every year because the virus evolves. Farmers have to change their pesticides periodically, because the pests evolve. Your pet dog is not a wolf that murders you in your sleep because of domestication, which — you guessed it! — relies on the exact same principles as evolution.
Scientifically, the theory of evolution has undergone more rigorous experiments than virtually any other. We understand it better than we understand gravity, for example. Ken Miller, a cellular and molecular biologist who’s well-known in the evolution-creationism debate, says it has been tested hundreds of times in the lab and the field.
“I can’t think of a single scientific theory that has been more controversial than evolution, and when theories are controversial, people devise tests to see if they’re right,” Miller told PBS’ “Nova” in 2007. “Evolution has been tested continuously for almost 150 years and not a single observation, not a single experimental result, has ever emerged in 150 years that contradicts the general outlines of the theory of evolution.”
Yes, scientists are people, and they can make mistakes. But their process — with its layers of peer review and testable, repeatable methods — is a self-correcting one. If the evidence truly didn’t support the theory of evolution, it would have been debunked long ago by an ambitious insider eager to be the next Nicolaus Copernicus (he’s the guy who proved the earth revolves around the sun).
I’m a newspaperman. I generally hold skepticism in high regard. But we’re talking about a process (the scientific method) that has a pretty darn good track record (and you are required to throw away your computer and cellphone immediately if you disagree). Let’s let the scientists do their jobs.
There are many, many reasons we faithful, Bible-believing Christians should accept the theory of evolution, and I think we’re going to have some fun exploring them in the months to come. But I wanted to start this way, because really, the case has been closed for decades. The evidence is out there, and it’s overwhelming; it’s what convinced me when I first started looking at this issue, and that was years ago.
The problem is that Christians often approach evolution exactly the wrong way. They come with all these theological questions as if it’s up to people like me whether evolution happened or not. I freely admit that accepting the theory of evolution brought challenges to my understanding of scripture. At first, it challenged my faith, as did the Newtown school shooting and the Rwandan genocide and a million other atrocities. But that doesn’t mean I could just put my fingers in my ears and pretend like any of them didn’t happen.
We are each entitled to our opinions, but not our own facts. We Christians can’t reach the world for Christ if we’re living in a different world than everyone else. And for far too long now, that’s how many of us have tried to live. Let’s try a different way. Evolution happened, and everyone else knows it. I say it’s about time we got with the program.