Thursday, 10 September 2015

The bitter fruits of militant evolution denialism

For a community that claims to revere both the early generation of Christadelphians, and the wisdom of the elders in general, when it comes to the evolution-creation issue, that claim often rings hollow, as the campaign of misrepresentation, character assassination, creation of divisions, and excommunication waged by militant antievolutionists in our community tragically demonstrates.

Whereas John Thomas, Robert Roberts, and C.C. Walker explicitly stated their belief in an ancient Earth, militant evolution denialists follow instead fundamentalist Evangelical Christian teaching on this point, and claim that these early Christadelphians were 'misguided'. While C.C. Walker acknowledged that if the scientific evidence demonstrated that ancient extinct animals were ancestral to modern ones, we would need to change our reading of Genesis, opponents of evolution deny that such evidence even exists.  

Finally, when W.F. Barling pointed out that his fellow believers who found the evidence for evolution compelling were not trouble-makers seeking to convert, but deeply troubled people being intellectually honest, and warned against 'draconian measures', anti-evolutionists do exactly what Barling warned against, and persecute not only those who accept the fact of evolution, but those who do not regard it as a fellowship issue. Some go even further, and dehumanise their fellow believers by refusing even to call them human,  calling them instead 'two legged entities', and 'biological entities'. This is vile and sub-Christian language which is impossible to reconcile with the behaviour by which a follower of Christ should follow, and serves as more evidence to show that the fruits of militant anti-evolutionism in our community are not the fruits of the spirit.

This is not hyperbole, as the following screen caps from the extremist site previously mentioned:

As for the first tirade, all that needs to be said comes from 1 John 4:
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sisterd whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.  The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters.
Calling them 'two legged entities' is behaviour that is impossible to reconcile with these verses. 

As for the claim about belonging to the 'present six day creation about six thousand years ago fellowship', given that no such fellowship exists, and if it did, it would exclude old earth creationists who reject the gap theory, Riggio's words not only marginalise evolutionary creationists, but many old earth creationists as well. It is ironic that the militant anti-evolutionist accuse evolutionary creationists of being divisive, when all the venom, malice, and divisive rhetoric comes not from evolutionary creationists, but overwhelmingly from the militant evolutionary creationists.

Those who seek to destroy the body of Christ by making the denial of one of the best-attested facts in nature a 'doctrine to be rejected' would do well to listen to the wise counsel of W.F. Barling:
What is not generally realized is that this section of our community is not an organized, self-confident group bent on converting the remainder to a new opinion, but a number of perplexed individuals, deeply loyal to the community, desperately anxious not to offend those who do not share their anguish—let alone transfer it to their minds—but who feel that they must be intellectually honest. What they ask of their brethren and sisters is not a change of viewpoint but a change of attitude. None would rejoice more than they if incontestable evidence were finally produced to warrant the most literal acceptance of the opening chapters of Genesis. Meantime, what they seek is not approval but tolerance. If a repudiation of the notion of slow change as God’s method of creation is demanded of them, then their loss to the community is inevitable.  [1] (Emphasis mine)
Our community is facing considerable challenges, with the main threat for the first time in our history coming not from evangelism from other sects of Christianity, but from militant atheism. The last thing we need to be doing is to be kicking own-goals by persecuting, demonising, and excommunicating fellow believers who are doing nothing more than being intellectually honest.


1. Barling W.F. "Letter: The Origin of Man" The Christadelphian (1965) 102:463–464.