Teaching Evolution to Students of Faith: An Interview with Sara Brownell and Elizabeth Barnes

(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/kathryn-applegate-endless-forms-most-beautiful/teaching-evolution-to-students-of-faith-an-interview-with-sara-brownell-and-elizabeth-barnes

(Stephen ) #2

Linked article from the Biologos page https://www.lifescied.org/doi/10.1187/cbe.17-04-0062
A quick look at the figures.
56.25% of the instructors raised as religious are now atheist/agnostic.
A full 40.25% of the total sample from religious backgrounds are now full atheist.
Only 3.125% went from agnostic to ‘other’ (what ever that means).
No one moved from agnostic/atheist to religious.
Only 21.875% how were brought up religious remain religious. Nearly 4 in 5 are dropping their faith.
Even Sara, one of the interviewees said she moved from a religious to non-religious background continuing the pattern.
I have no idea how Biologos can see this as nothing except a complete disaster for religious faith. I remember Deborah Haarsma called this poll (https://biologos.org/blogs/deborah-haarsma-the-presidents-notebook/new-gallup-poll-shows-significant-gains-for-biologos-view) a triumph for TE/EC. The problem is that the guided evolution view would include ID’ers, progressive creationists and a majority of OEC. The percentage accepting this view is even lower than it was 20 years ago and the same as 36 years ago, despite the millions poured into the ‘Biologos view’. Even worse the unguided evolution view has more than doubled over 36 years with a smaller drop in YEC.
But Biologos is only really interested in the promotion of evolution, as Jeffrey Scholls (sp) told me in Oxford years ago. The aim of Biologos is to promote evolution to believers and not to engage in a defence or promotion of faith (Harris Manchester College Oxford when he gave a lecture with Michael Murray - forgot the year).

(Christy Hemphill) #3

I think this probably needs to be contextualized. Maybe @JeffSchloss will chime in, but here is my take on it.

It seems to me that BioLogos main target audience is people who are already Christians and who are at some kind of crisis point feeling that they have to choose between the faith claims of their upbringing and scientific realities they already accept. In other words, those people in the survey you cite who are raised religious, but on the road to agnosticism or atheism. BioLogos wants to help them find a path to reconcile faith with the scientific facts they already accept. It is not a major concern to “convert” YEC, OEC, or ID folks to the BioLogos perspective, though there is interest in helping those believers accept it as a valid, faithful, Christian perspective among others. BioLogos is not a place where people go to debate theism versus atheism or to argue about whether God exists or whether the Bible is true or not. If atheists on our discussion forum are happy being atheists, fine. So, in that respect, it is not focused on “defending the faith.” The employees, featured authors, speakers’ bureau and people who consider themselves part of the BioLogos network speak for the most part as Christians to other Christians, and in that context, it is mainstream scientific consensus that needs defenders, not Christian faith claims that everyone in the conversation already agrees on.

That doesn’t mean BioLogos is all about promoting science and doesn’t care about promoting Christianity. A huge goal is to edify Christians through the contemplation of God’s work in creation and redemption. Maybe you’ve missed some of the excellent posts on the Resurrection and Worship which can be found with a simple topic search at biologos.org

(Phil) #4

I agree with what Christy said, and as she said much better than I could will leave it at that, but would like to comment a bit on one statement you made:

I think that many here would agree with that statement on some level, as it does show how the church ill prepares students for what they will face when they get out of the bubble, and in fact to a great extent sets them up for leaving the faith by teaching them that their faith is dependent on the truth of an arbitrary man-made interpretation that lacks substance. When based on sand, they are washed away in the storm. The answer is not more sand. Hopefully, Biologos can help with that issue.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #5

Hi Stephen,

Welcome to the Forum.

You know, I’ve heard this sort of insinuation before, that millions of dollars are going into promoting BioLogos. And yes, of course, any major organization working over several years is going to have a cumulative operating budget that figures in the millions of dollars. But the way this is worded sounds kind of sinister, as if some cabal of rich liberals is pushing a nefarious progressive agenda onto an unsuspecting Church.

I have literally zero idea of the budgets of these organizations, but I would be willing to make a small wager with you that many more “millions” are being “poured into” the “Ken Ham view.” Dollar for dollar, all things considered, I suspect that BioLogos is actually doing a pretty good job promoting harmony over conflict in the science-faith conversation.

Just a thought, brother.


(Christy Hemphill) #7

2 posts were split to a new topic: Evolution is a faith because common ancestry doesn’t add up

(Robin) #8

Thanks for explaining, Christy!! Well said on your part, and also it gives me a better sense of what I see and read on this site. Blessings — and everyone enjoy your weekend!! I hope your weather is as nice as it is where I am…