(EXCLUSIVE TO CHALCEDON)
Why are Americans fighting so hard over the teaching of evolution in their schools? “What’s at stake here is a clash of worldviews. It’s much more than just a dispute over scientific facts. More and more, science is pointing toward the existence of God. And it’s going to change everything.”
So said Lee Strobel, author of The Case for a Creator (Zondervan, 2004) and host of the cable television show, Faith Under Fire, in a special interview for Chalcedon.
Strobel’s unique credentials lend weight to his comments. He is a former legal affairs editor for the Chicago Tribune, holds degrees in law and journalism, and is a best-selling author. On top of that, he is a former atheist who is now a teaching pastor at two churches, Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and Saddleback Valley Community Church in Orange County, California. He won Gold Medallion Awards for two of his books, The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, and has appeared as a guest on many Christian TV and radio shows.
Strobel, born in 1952, went to school at a time when there was no controversy over evolution. In The Case for a Creator, he recalls, “My teacher explained that life originated millions of years ago when chemicals randomly reacted with each other in a warm ocean on prehistoric Earth.”
“That’s how we were taught,” he said. “No one questioned it. I certainly didn’t.”
As anyone can see from today’s headlines, schools today are in an uproar over such teaching. Tumultuous school board meetings, lawsuits, prime-time news coverage — what happened to upset the applecart?
“A series of scientific discoveries in the last 50 years has challenged Darwinist dogma,” Strobel said. “These discoveries — in fields like cosmology, physics, and biochemistry — have revealed new data pointing to an intelligent design of the universe.
“Recently, 300 eminent scientists, holding degrees from top institutions like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Rutgers, Princeton, Cambridge, etc., signed what they called ‘a scientific dissent from Darwinism.’ Of course, some of them were pretty well blistered by their colleagues in the scientific establishment. But it’s really hard to attack them because of their credentials.”
Strobel’s books chronicle his personal growth from atheist to believer (“I now believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God,” he said); but the “Intelligent Design” movement among scientists is part of something that may come to affect everyone in America, if not the world.
The big story, he said, is not the impending demise of Darwinism.
“I personally get more excited about the affirmative, positive scientific evidence that points toward the existence of God,” he said.
Meanwhile, why all the fighting?
“Whenever scientific paradigms have shifted in a radical way,” Strobel said, “a new theory must arise and establish itself before most people will abandon the old paradigm — even if it’s been discredited. So we see people clinging to Darwinism. The more holes that get poked in it, the harder they fight to shore it up.”
The Case for a Creator, available in most Christian bookstores and elsewhere, details the many scientific discoveries that undermine Darwinism and support belief in a Creator. Strobel applied his award-winning reporter’s skills to lay out his case logically and succinctly, in ordinary language, supported by interviews with many leading scientists.
Although he strongly supports the Intelligent Design movement, Strobel is aware of its limitations.
“Science can only take us so far,” he said. “Intelligent Design can’t tell us everything about God, so don’t stop with just the scientific evidence.
“I believe the evidence shows an involvement of the Creator in His creation that is ongoing. But we also need to look at the historical evidence — especially the historical evidence for Jesus Christ, His life, His death, and the fact of His resurrection — to get a more complete picture.”
Strobel has presented that evidence in The Case for Christ (1998), which he recommended as companion reading with The Case for a Creator.
“Ultimately, the truth that’s important in reaching unbelievers is that God created everything from nothing,” he said, “and created man in His own image. We use both science and history to make that case.”
And the Winner is …?
“You don’t need the Bible,” Strobel wrote in The Case for a Creator, “if you have The Origin of Species [by Charles Darwin].”
By postulating the origin of life by random, natural processes, and the evolution of species by natural selection and random mutation events, Strobel explained, Darwin and his followers did away, philosophically, with God.
“You can trace back a lot of evils to Darwinism,” he said. “Look at the history of the 20th century — Nazi Germany, communism, eugenics, abortion, moral relativism. They all rest on the foundation laid by Darwin.
“But that foundation is crumbling. The momentum is on the side of belief in a Creator.
“Personally, I want the kids in our schools to be taught more evolution, not less. I want to see them taught all the evidence — including the evidence that contradicts and undermines Darwinism. We should encourage students to follow the evidence wherever it leads. And I think it leads, more and more, to God.”