The Contradictory Nature of atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project
While we’re on friendly terms, Joel Watts is no Biblical Creationist, nor is he particularly a fan of Creation Sunday or CreationLetter.com. Joel affirms evolution and long ages, but balks at the unBiblical concept that humans evolved from apes or ape-like ancestors. Interestingly, he won’t add his name to atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project.
Recently, he made a point that I’ve considered from time to time, but never got around to putting into a post. To set this up properly, we must first take a look at the final section of the Clergy Letter, which reads:
“We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.” (emphasis in Joel Watts’ post, What Does the Clergy Letter Project Really Say?)
While I don’t agree with everything Joel has to say in this particular post (especially his point about clergy who aren’t scientifically trained not being able to comment on science. His point would only follow from the example he provides only if it were a foundational scientific truth that demons caused mental depression – which isn’t the case at all!), I appalud him for recognizing the foundational inconsistency of the Clergy Letter Project’s entire premise:
“Odd that the clergy who can affirm, as clergy, a ‘foundational scientific truth’ end the letter by asking that science remains science and that religion remain religion.”
Admittedly, I’m quoting him as something of a hostile witness, but the question remains: If religion and science are to truly remain separate, how can they comment upon one another, much less endorse the other? The implied premise of the Clergy Letter is NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria, popularized by the late evolutionist SDr Stephan Jay Gould), that science and religion are two separate but equal magisteria commenting on wholly separate realms of inquiry. But if one truly supposes this to be true, how can we expect the clergyman to comment outside of his magisteria with any authority? Logically, if NOMA were true (and thankfully it isn’t), we couldn’t. Thus, every clergy signature on this atheist-founded Clergy Letter, designed to dupe school boards into believing there is no contradiction between evolution and the Christian religion, is a contradiction of the Clergy Letter’s foundational premise. (This should come as no surprise to those of us who have read Dr Jason Lisle’s wonderful resource Discerning Truth: Exposing Errors in Evolutionary Arguments: once I read this book, I couldn’t help but realize that nearly every evolutionist argument is based on a logical fallacy!)
The Biblical Creationist has no problem on this wise, for Jesus refuted this false dichotomy in John 3:12, asking, “If I tell you of earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of spiritual things?” In other words, what the Bible claims about earthly things (like Creation, the Flood, Babel, the Resurrection) has a bearing on the veracity of the spritual things it teaches (the Gospel, doctrine, morality). The Biblically consistent view makes the idea that “religion is religion and science is science and never the twain shall meet” completely foreign to Christianity.
While every clergy signature is a contradiction of the entire premise of the atheist-founded Clergy Letter, every clergyman who affixes his name to the Bible-affirming Creation Letter does so with logical and doctrinal consistency. After all, the Bible affirms that the Word of God is true from the very beginning! [Psalm 119:160]
If you haven’t added your name to the Creation Letter, prayerfully consider doing so today!
-Rev Tony Breeden