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Should creationism be taught in schools?

A bill making its way through the legislative process would allow public school teachers to introduce alternate theories to touchy topics like the theory of evolution and global warming, among others.

Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, said a constituent told him a teacher had been questioned after bringing up the theory of creationism,  according to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

“I just don’t want my teachers punished in any form or fashion for bringing creationism into the debate. Lots of us believe in creationism,” Formby said. “To say that creationism as a theory is any less valuable than any other theory that nobody can scientifically prove I just think is being close-minded.”

Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven,  is a co-author of the bill.

Some Christian teachers have long struggled to teach the theory of evolution — that all life is descended from a common ancestor. For some, it’s incompatible with a divine creator. So, they have either skipped over those lessons or told students that this is a scientific theory they personally do not agree with.

Creationism as a theory has gained popularity lately, but “intelligent design” was the phrase that was used when I was in high school. And I remember my teacher simply telling us: “Evolution is the accepted theory of how humans came to be. It doesn’t mean it’s correct, but y’all need to learn it.”

So we learned it. And it didn’t negatively impact my faith one bit. I was taught in church that God created the world. How he chose to do that wasn’t discussed, other than “he spoke and it existed.”

That was enough for me as a child and still is. But that doesn’t mean I turn a blind eye to science.

The problem that most religious folks have run into is that the Bible is lacking in the science department. It’s difficult to take what’s in the Bible and apply the scientific method to it. That method — making observations, then doing experiments to prove or disprove a theory — just doesn’t fit with most scripture.

And that’s OK. The Bible was not written to be a science book. It’s simply the story of God’s people, and his message of hope for the world. It doesn’t need to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. But some Christians would like it to neatly wrap up all the unknowns in the world — spiritual and scientific.

If it could it would “prove” the Bible is what it claims to be. But God doesn’t seem to be in the “proof” business. He values faith. Thomas needed proof of a risen Christ to believe, but Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Creationism is largely a religious view, not a scientific one. Yes, I’m aware of the idea of “creation science” but that’s simply an attempt to scientifically prove the Bible is accurate, and the Bible just wasn’t written that way. Again, it’s not a science book.

Should teachers be allowed to introduce creationism in the classroom? Sure, but only in the context that it belongs in — the religious. Science and religion can co-exist — and did for centuries — but using one to justify the other may not be wise.

 

Luke Horton is the publisher of The Daily Leader.