Is interest about the science-and-faith issue declining among people under 30? A guess

In all of my research into the creation-evolution controversy, as a minority male I have noticed it basically involves people of European ancestry in the center of the battle.

It is a battle between the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

I have a talk to Indian young people about all this and I was straining to make it relevant to them.

A Millenial pastor….a white man….told me his generation has moved on from the topic.

Barna did a survey about why young people are leaving the church. They feel Christians are antiscience and are tired of the creation-evolution controversy.

In 20 years I will be 73 if I am alive. I have spent 30 years paying attention to this controversy. I haven’t seen a single minority person involved at a leadership level in creationist organizations like ICR or the Discovery Institute. And few women.

I think as the country turns into a majority minority nation, those interested in the tension between the Reformation and the Enlightenment will be more in the background culturally, on the periphery(?)



I think you are right about young people not being as concerned, for better or worse. For better perhaps because they see evolution as a done deal, and the have relegated the young earthers to the same category as flat earthers and moon landing deniers. For worse perhaps because they have abandoned the religious beliefs of their seniors along with it, perhaps as a direct consequence of linking religion and science denial.

On the other hand, I am encouraged that the younger generation seems more concerned with social justice, creation care, and corporate responsibility.

In a sense, I think that the lack of concern about evolution and faith within many churches is actually a positive thing, as they then more appropriately focus on Jesus. So, maybe it is progress.


Yes, but don’t you think a huge part of this is that other demographics often feel they have more pressing issues to work on? It’s kind of a Maslows Hierarchy thing. I feel this myself as a Christian woman. It’s really hard to care about round 47 on the meaning of yom in Genesis when the church is kind of a mess for women and they are being actively hurt because of bad theology and corrupt leadership.

I don’t think it’s so much a tension between the Reformation and the Enlightenment as it’s white men have privilege and free time to invest in those topics and in fighting over stuff that isn’t really affecting where most people live.


Your observation points to cultural differences. It also tells that the evolution-creation debate is fundamentally a cultural issue. The YEC-type interpretations are rising from a cultural context, rather than from the biblical scriptures themselves. Some interpretations are lifted up as a sign of belonging to the ‘correct’ group (culture).

I also think that @Christy was correct when she wrote

I don’t think it’s so much a tension between the Reformation and the Enlightenment as it’s white men have privilege and free time to invest in those topics and in fighting over stuff that isn’t really affecting where most people live.

The situation bears some resemblance to medieval Europe in the sense that the ‘ordinary’ people did not care much about philosophical debates but those having the possibility and dedication could spend much of their life in debates about theological questions that were not important for the core message of Christianity. After the minority involved in the debates decided that something was ‘the truth’, it was told to ‘ordinary’ people as a matter that you had to accept to be a faithful servant of the church. Hindsight has shown that those details were mostly not very relevant to Christian belief or even wrong conclusions.

The differences between the young and older generations also show that there is happening a major(?) cultural break. The young generation lives in a very different world than the older generations lived, or even those who were young 20 years ago. The major source of information is social media and the attitudes reflect more global trends in the social media, or in ‘bubbles’ within the social media, than local culture. The evolution-creation debate is just a minor detail in the revolutionary cultural break.


My experience has been the exact opposite in some ways. Where I live there are more black people than white people. Some of the congregations I randomly attend, though small, out of 50+ people 4-10 may be white. Often this issue comes up. Just a few months ago I drove several hours to visit friends at a congregation called ICoC and they had a guest speaker and he is a black man and he gave a class on why young earth creationism was true. I also saw this man give a class once back in Portland at another congregation of the same denomination on this same issue. Douglas Jacoby, though white, is also part of this denomination though he’s mainly in Atlanta and he is Harvard grad and accepts evolution and writes books on theology. He’s mentioned this question comes up quite a bit all around the world. I’m not Indian, but I go to lots of events and have several friends from the local creek Indians and some accept evolution and some don’t. But what is mostly preoccupying their free time is syncretism and decolonization. Twiss is a part of the Lakota Brule tribe. Not creek. But his work id heavily debated within Native American groups.

I don’t listen to a lot of music. Never been that big into it though I sometimes want to listen to it. I often listen to a hip hop artist named Lecrae. He’s a black rapper and has been doing it for a while. He wrote a lot about his battle with evolution and white washed Christianity. I’m not even certain he accepts evolution. The black driven podcast, Jude3 Project , brings up this subject of science and faith on and off.

I think the main issue is this. Not very many people are actually that interested in theology or science. They may enjoy little articles on it, but if you go ask people on the street randomly most will not have read a theology book in the last 5 years. Most younger people looking at this subject probably primarily do so in college. Not to many high schoolers or people outside of college is really picking up books period to be honest unless in the classroom.

Also as others have mentioned. Right now many African Americans , especially younger people were raised up in mostly white dominated areas and are more focused on decolonization of their faith. Even in mobile some of the churches I’ve been despite the whole congregation almost being black, they have a white jesus picture even though they know he’s not white, they often seem to think he was more white looking than he was black. I have even asked a pastor once and he said the fact is that everyone is use to white Jesus and so it’s less of a problem than a brown Jesus. They literally have a white Jesus so that if white people show up it’s less of a potential issue. Just like many kids were raised up to believe in Santa, as a white mythological man, tons are brought up with white Jesus and the pastor does not want to cause a odd awkward conversation where white kids see black Jesus. It sounds fake but it’s literally something they discuss. Black parents have told me they tell their kids don’t tell white kids jesus is not white because it causes problems.

I appreciate the optimism but do you think young people have all carefully vetted the arguments for and against evolution? I don’t think most have the time, desire or expertise (scientifically or theologically speaking to seriously engage with the appropriate literature).

I’d say there is an intellectual relativism spreading around as well. You have your beliefs and I have mine. Many people don’t clearly distinguish between opinion and beliefs that can be falsified.


That’s been well spread for a long time [and spreading since Nietzsche]. Coming of age in the 1960s, ‘there are no absolutes’ (absolutely ; - ) was thoroughly permeating.

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No, like most things, people tend to accept as true those things they hear over and over. Kids who grow up homeschooled and in YEC leaning churches are going to believe YEC, those who do not will believe something else. Only later in life do we tend to study what is important to us and make rational choices based on those studies. Few young people outside of science professions care enough about evolution to bother with it,

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I am a teacher in a Christian school and only the student’s whose families/communities nurture the conflict really care (or, let’s be honest, are forced into care).

Christy’s perspective rings true in my experience (and data support this too). Adjacent to YEC is often Conservative politics, the youth of many Western countries (and others) see climate change, healthcare, and many aspects of life as higher needs than continuing the privilege of this conflict. Young people watch us closely at times. If we preach dogmatic things and tye them to salvation, what happens what the tether is broken? If we preach anti-science and in adjacent opinions and activities, merely follow contemporary politics, they read what we are really saying.

I have many awesome, talented, and respected colleagues at my school. Some of them want to share their perspective on science from a YEC/Modern NA conservative viewpoint, and then they complain that they lose respect. f someone is raging about grammatical historical method and literalism, but then does not apply loving thy neighbour as theyself in their politics or honest weights and measures, it falls pretty flat.

Climate change, healthcare, and scientific process (which impact most things) make large differences in people’s lives.

Many churches now themselves present variation on doctrine for YEC and some other matters. I, myself in my Christian school teaching role, present a variety of faith perspectives and teach the science behind those theories as grade appropriate and in step with my province’s curriculum. I am glad to see that basically all of my students have learned about different Christian perspectives on the role of science.


This is an important topic and lack of interest among young people whether true or not should not be an excuse for not adressing the tenso=ion between faith and science. Research from Pew, Barna and perhaps others has shown that the tension between the church and science is claimed by drop outs from the youth as one reason for their dropping out. In my opinion the church needs to accept the evidence that the universe and the earth were created and the origin of man took place over time.
The church can preach and teach thie evidence knowing that evidence based creation and the origin of man does not change the basic Christian theology that Adam brought sin into the world and Jesus provided forgiveness for sin, something YEC and OEC advocates can agree on.
Still, one cannot ignore the evidence that OEC is correct. The evidence is irrefutable. To do so in the eyes of many makes the church look like it is out of tiuch with reality. How can one honestly witness to someone who has seen the science, accepted it and wants to accept Jesus when the church presents him/her a YEC picture of creation?
For those who will declare that this makes Genesis errant it doesn’t. Genesis 1 and 2 are more correctly interpreted using the evidence from science without changing one word in Genesis and still maintain inherency.
The scientific evidence concerning creation and the origen of man tells us how God created and the Bible tells us that God did.
As for those who try to bring race into the picture let’s teach the truth. We all descend from Africa 200 thousand years ago and migrated around the world 50 thousand years ago. And as far as the participation in the discussion all are open to these controversies. Just do like the rest of us and speak up.
As far as teaching in the church and Christian schools, yes, teach all viewpoints and let people make up their own minds. But if the OEC and YEC views are presented make sure the evidence for both is presented. Do not limit the discussion at at there are just two views. In clude the evidence.
Lastly, we can agree that Jesus is our savior and we can all share eternity with God through faith in Jesus, who by the way is also supprted with evidence.

I remember being asked by some parents to evaluate some home-school materials and being rather amazed at how the section on geology was totally deficient in terms of evidence. I told them so, and recommended a book for teens on geology – it taught with history as the framework, which to me is the way to go for Christians kids whose parents lean YEC. When they were a bit worried it would tell their kids the earth was millions of years old, I pointed out that the first verse of Genesis is not part of any of the days, so the planet could be billions of years old and not contradict Genesis.


Good for you. We need to teach evidential truth as well as scriptural truth.

Your observation does match my experience in talking with talking to college students about faith and science. For most non-Christian young people I talk to, their main problem with Christianity usually has something to do with the problem of evil or simply not seeing a need for God in their lives. Most of them are fine with the idea of science and faith being reconcilable. The few people under 30 I know who do see science and faith as being in conflict are mostly people who grew up as young earth creationists and are usually people who come from a European background. I still think it is valuable to engage young people about science and faith to show the relevance the Christian faith has for issues like genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, or climate change which require ethical consideration.


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