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God versus Gorilla

By , Springfield, VA
As the late bell rings, students quickly scurry to their seats patiently awaiting the much anticipated celebration of Darwin Day. That’s right. You guessed it. It’s February 12, 2009 at my high school which means, Darwin’s discovery of evolution will be celebrated today during Mr. Mensh’s Biology class. Oh the glory, we say. Just another one of those “this scientist innovated the new world and shaped who we are today” movie. But, much to our surprise, this movie does exactly that, and much more. Now, what is evolution, you ask? Evolution is the process in which something changes into a different form (Evolution).

Looking back, for many of us, freshman year of high school is when we were first exposed to Darwin’s theory of evolution. We were callous, immature high school pupils that were just watching the movie because we had no other choice. We still maintained our strong faithful values. We certainly were not going to let some “film” brainwash our young, sculpted minds.

Whether you’re a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, or any other believer of a God, we high-schoolers did not really delve into the whole “evolution versus creationism” controversy. Until now. In fact, some of us believed in the creation, which is the belief that all life on earth was created by a higher being (Creation).

Now, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Remember when we were watching the Darwin movie? Many of us were shifting in our seats uncomfortably, biting our finger nails, or furiously running our shaking hands through our hair. We were nervous, to say the least. How-could-we-have-let-ourselves-glue-our-eyes-to-the-screen-that-contradicts-God’s-word?! We told ourselves ‘I believe in the Bible. Or, I believe in the Torah. Or, I believe in the Quran. And, nothing else. God’s word is law. I will not be brainwashed by this silly movie.’ But, as the movie progressed, we realized that maybe the whole “evolution thing” really existed. Maybe, just maybe, the evolving of mankind could have occurred. *Gasp!* Yeah, I said it. Maybe it is possible for the beliefs of creationism and evolution to coexist. But, can it truly be? Is it possible to maintain your strong faithful values while still believing in evolution? Apparently so.

In fact, a recent study showed that on average, 38% of Americans believe in theistic evolution, or the belief that man has evolved over the years, but God has guided the process (2004 Polls). So, there has already been a group of followers for this particular belief. It just goes to show that these people are not allowing their religion to interfere with their scientific beliefs. And, nor should we, says Barry Mensh, a Jewish follower and Biology teacher at my high school “I think you can absolutely believe in both. I’ve never seen a conflict between [creationism and evolution]. There is support for evolution. And, when you talk about creationism, I still think there are things out there that you can’t explain. Maybe God did create everything but left everything to natural selection” (Mensh).

Well, many of you smart pumpkins out there will say ‘of course Mr. Mensh believes in evolution! He is in fact, the man who exposed the film.’ Not necessarily. It wasn’t until Mr. Mensh reached his college years that he truly began to believe in the evidence behind evolution “I really first got interested in the evolution and began to understand the evidence about it in college. We talked about Darwin, and then I just saw how much information there was about it, and everything just fit” (Mensh). So, does your religious affiliation determine your beliefs towards evolution? Apparently not. At least, not to Mr. Mensh. Although, another science teacher believes in the much the same thing.

Richard Priest, (and no, he’s not a priest; although his father is) a Christian follower, the Emerge and Fellowship of Christian Athletes Sponsor at my high school, and Chemistry teacher says “As a scientist, I think there is enough data out there to support evolution. And, I don’t have any problem with that as a Christian at all. I think that the scientific community certainly would agree that evolution plays a part in the development for the earth it is today. Now, what was God’s role in that? Many questions cannot be answered by science. And, that’s why a lot of these questions are answered by faith” (Priest). So, despite the fact that both Mr. Mensh and Dr. Priest are both faithful in their own religion, they do not allow their scientific viewpoints to interfere with their religion. They argue that it is possible to believe in both evolution and creation without drifting away from your religion.

Still not convinced with this whole “evolution” thing? Well, neither was I, until good ‘ole Pope Benedict XVI, the Head of the Catholic Church, delivered a vital speech discussing the evolution and creationism controversy, he says “I see a very bitter debate between so-called creationism and evolutionism, presented as if they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator cannot consider evolution and those who affirm evolution must exclude God. This juxtaposition is an absurdity, because there are many scientific proofs supporting evolution as a reality, which we must recognize and which enrich our understanding of life” (Pope Benedict XVI). Those were some powerful words from the Pope; he really spoke out to all people in the world, regardless of your religious background. He realized that hey, you can be the ideal, perfect follower of God, and still believe in evolution. There is no sin in that. And people should not tarnish their viewpoints towards science because of their religious faith. Let your mind flow. If that means believing in evolution while still believing in God, heck! Why not? You should do just that.

Even Francis Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project, the Head of the National Institutes of Health, and an Evangelical Christian, believes in both evolution and creationism “I see no conflict in what the Bible tells me about God and what science tells me about nature. I do not find the wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to suggest a scientific textbook but a powerful and poetic description of God's intentions in creating the universe. If God, who is all powerful and who is not limited by space and time, chose to use the mechanism of evolution to create you and me, who are we to say that wasn't an absolutely elegant plan?” (Pinker). He argues that science and religion can coexist, and become one belief. He believes it is certainly possible to believe in evolution while still maintaining your religious beliefs. And, I think that’s what us freshman learned that early morning on Darwin’s birthday. For many of us, we changed that day. While watching that video about Darwin’s theory of evolution, we discovered the ample amount of evidence behind evolution. And, when the information is given to you like that; you can’t help but linger at these thoughts. That day, we did not break away or rebel against our religion; instead, we explored a new scientific mindset, a viewpoint. And you know what? It kind of felt good. So, for all you faithful, goodie-two-shoes out there, do not be afraid to step away from your religion and experience a new mindset, a new belief. It is certainly possible to maintain your faith while mixing in a little scientific evidence. So, hop on the bandwagon! And, start believing.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Lilliterra said...
Sept. 5, 2010 at 9:00 pm
I absolutely disagree with this article. I certainly will not "hop on the bandwagon". Evolution and Biblical creation are not compatible. The Bible teaches that the earth was created in six days. Evolution is a deceptive "science", if it is a science at all.
fictionlover10 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm
I totally agree with the theistic evolution idea. Thanks for writing this! I'm definitely in the 38% of Americans, and maybe this will help raise the number even higher.
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