Jerry Falwell has written an article in - where else? - the WorldNetDaily, entitled How Satan and Darwin Undermined the Church. Quoting Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, Falwell takes the position that things have gone to hell, so to speak, in America because of evolution:
He diagramed how bygone theologians began to accept evolutionary thought. Initially, they said they could accept the conclusion that the earth must be millions of years old. They concluded that this was all right that doesn't affect the Bible in any way. But they had to subsequently reinterpret the six days of creation. So they placed millions of years or long ages between the days of creation. So the day-age theory came about, and then the gap theory, which placed millions of years between the first two verses of Genesis. And then theologians, now on an uncontrollable slippery slope, concluded that Darwinian evolution could be combined with biblical teaching.
When we compromise the ultimate truth of the Bible, chaos is the ultimate outcome.
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)
These church leaders who allowed the notion of evolution to be combined with biblical teachings actually unlocked the door to undermine biblical authority, Mr. Ham said.
And the rest, as they say, is history. The astonishing thing to me is that people actually say things like that with a straight face.
What can a fundamentalist Christian do, but deny evolution, and indeed all of science? If you hold unwaveringly to the literal text of the Bible, everything that biology, geology, physics and any other form of rational inquiry tells you, tells you that you are wrong.
If you don't fight it, you stand atop a slippery slope, which at the bottom is atheism. Every concession to science leads a bit further down. Every stop along the way is an arbitrary choice. What aspect of faith should one hold on to?
Being an atheist, I can no longer imagine how distressing it is to be in motion, anywhere along the way down. And yet, I have no sympathy people like Rev. Falwell, who won't even acknowledge that the slope exists.
I think Falwell does acknowledge that there is a slippery slope from any concession to a non-literal reading of the bible to atheism; I, however, do not. And I say this despite the fact that I left Christianity myself largely as a result of my studies in this area. I simply know too many sincere and intelligent non-literalist Christians to accept that there is a simple slope leading from fundamentalism to atheism, or that this is a simple two-headed coin and those are the only two sides. There are too many potential stopping points in between those two extremes to draw the issue that simplistically. The automatic equation of evolution and atheism is pretty much destroyed by the existence of people like Ken Miller, Howard Van Till, Glenn Morton, Keith Miller, Steve Schimmrich, and literally millions of others.
All I can say to Falwell's article is: Holy Shit keep that guy away from normal people.
"I simply know too many sincere and intelligent non-literalist Christians to accept that there is a simple slope leading from fundamentalism to atheism, or that this is a simple two-headed coin and those are the only two sides."
I had meant to imply several such stops along the way. If I failed to get the across, my apologies.