Need Help With A Debate I'm Having


I’m being challenged by my brother: he’s an atheist, and presents me with a false dilemma: either evolution OR God. He argues that you can’t have it both ways. The “God can use evolution” reply didn’t work: he just laughed at it. What I need is a short and punchy answer, plus a long one that I can further arm myself with.


(James McKay) #2

I’d ask him, what exactly about evolution does he think contradicts the existence of God? And whatever answer he gives, is it actually something that the theory of evolution claims in the first place?

(Lynn Munter) #3

Ask him why he thinks God has to use magic to accomplish His purposes, and then look through the Bible for other examples of places where things had natural causes but were still attributed to God’s will.


Can you give an example of something that had a natural cause but was attributed to God?


Rain is my go to example of a natural process that the Bible says is under the control of God.

(Lynn Munter) #6

I opened it to a few random pages and sure enough, it didn’t take long to find an example. In Genesis 45:5 Joseph tells his brothers that even though they sold him into slavery in Egypt, really it was God sending him before them so that everyone could survive the famine. Earlier in the story it describes the sequence of events without saying God made any particular thing happen. But clearly Joseph attributes the overall results to God.


I like this, but need more clarification. Say if he answers: “it took a long time for man to arrive” do I reply “Is the time factor actually something that the theory of evolution claims in the first place?” Huh? I’m a bit confused.


You are correct; it’s a false dilemma. Many people have no problem in integrating faith and evolution.

He’s wrong. Does he give reasons?

That’s his answer? He sounds rude. How old is he?

Avoid short and punchy stuff. It’s not a boxing match. Perhaps you should study the matter until you really understand it. Try reading “Finding Darwin’s God” by Ken Miller.

(James McKay) #9

Not quite. I’m thinking more of asking him, “How is the time factor supposed to disprove God?”

The reason I said what I said is that most people have a lot of misunderstandings about what the theory of evolution is even about. YECs talk about a cat turning into a dog or a half-eyed, half-legged, half-evolved straggler running around for millions of years unable to find a mate, but there are plenty of misconceptions on the “other side” as well. The belief that evolution somehow contradicts the existence of God is pretty high up the list.


Your brother seems to be rather ignorant of the history of evolutionary theory if he thinks it isn’t compatible with God. Was Darwin himself not a Christian when he first came up with the theory? And was it not many Christians who immediately looked with great appreciation for his findings? If I were in your place, I wouldn’t say “God can use evolution”. That sounds evasive. Simply say “God used evolution”, straight and simple. No ambiguity whatsoever or doubt. Be forceful if you have to and never show hesitation.

If push comes to shove, you could try sending him here to these discussions.

(John Dalton) #11

It sounds like the debate is over. My short and punchy counterpoint would be, you lose :slight_smile: I’d ask though what exactly there is about evolution that is incompatible with belief in God? Isn’t he aware of the large numbers of religious believers who accept evolution? Is he just messing with you in a brotherly way?


Wasn’t Darwin’s faith “challenged” by what he found? Or did he manage to keep both evolution and Christianity?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #13

Ted Davis wrote here at Biologos on this not too long ago. You should read that.

The short answer from that is that it wasn’t so much evolution that shipwrecked Darwin’s faith as it was the doctrine of damnation combined with the loss of so many loved ones – especially his daughter who died young.


Darwin became an atheist because his daughter died and he got caught up with the problem of evil. Evolution isn’t what did it, anyone who wants that demonstrated to them should simply read On the Origins of Species and count how many times Darwin uses God as an argument as he argued “this is how God would have done it, not creationism”.


I’m laughing too. Your brother is correct. People are not stupid. They know what the Bible says and they know so-called theistic evolutionists are having a delusional moment trying to force-fit an evolutionary paradigm onto Scripture. What they are really telling you is “Make up your mind - either be a Christian in the manner your book declares or don’t be. But don’t try and change your book or your God to fit our science and stop messing with our science trying to say your God “nudged this” or “directed that” to get nature to where it is today.”

Another thing your brother is telling you is “If I become a Christian, it will be in the authentic way. At least I am an authentic atheist. But YOU - you are not an authentic Christian.”

I’m still laughing. I hope your brother reads these responses. He didn’t just win the debate. He literally defined the entire culture war today - AND GOT IT RIGHT.


Evolution and taking the Bible as a science text aren’t compatible. Evolution and God are possibly compatible (it does depend on one’s god). You could point out the number of Christian biologists including Kenneth Miller, Francis Collins, and Francisco Ayala. Or even Darwin’s friend the American biologist Asa Gray.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #17

This is sort of the opposite of help.

If you don’t have anything edifying to say, you might consider moving along to the next topic.


What is an authentic atheist? Please give examples. What is a non-authentic atheist? Please give examples.

(Lynn Munter) #19

Hello, @r_speir, do you mind if I ask you a question?

Do you think the Bible teaches us to think of God as ‘that magic guy sitting in the clouds?’

Why or why not?


It seems to me that Spier’s use of the term “authentic Christian” was his way to question people’s faith on here but not outright breach Forum rules