One of the reasons I became an atheist and continue to feel so strongly about it is because I don’t like fence-sitting. There are times and situations in life that call for indecision – you don’t know enough about the subject at hand or there simply isn’t enough reliable information to go on. When it comes to most things however, you need to decide what you believe and then take that decision to its logical conclusion. It is a matter or integrity and morality with me and although I try not to be judgemental, I don’t have a lot of respect for that type of behaviour. I know a lot of people who don’t “really believe” in the church but who stay, serve their ward and baptize their kids. Inauthentic and deceitful are the nicest nice terms I can think of to describe that.
When applying the same approach to science and evolution I can’t help but become frustrated and the new washed down version of Christian-Evolution. I have heard this argument made by many Catholics (mostly because that’s what the Dope Pope has suggested happened) and more recently, by Mormons. (The church used to be staunchly anti-evolution but in the face of overwhelming evidence, seems to be softening on this point as of late.) So the story goes something like this: “Sure, evolution happened, but it was God who orchestrated it. Why wouldn’t He, in his infinite wisdom, use natural laws to create and expand life?” It’s a great approach since it allows for the obvious evidence of evolution while holding tightly to the paradoxical theory of creation. (Its biggest flaw from a strictly religious standpoint is that it allows for a non-literal interpretation of Genesis…) Its biggest flaw from a general perspective is that it’s stupid.
This kind of approach shows a huge misunderstanding of evolution and how it all works. Evolution is built on a foundation of random mutation (along with drift, natural selection etc.). There was no goal to evolution, no end point. Had one or two minute things gone differently, humans wouldn’t exist and another species would be taking our place in the hierarchy of life. Religious people cannot, no matter how much they protest to, believe in two mutually exclusive theories. They would have to believe that humans are not chosen, special, created in God’s image or the ultimate purpose for the world. It would throw any religion into turmoil to suggest that we are loved merely because we are the end result of a random experiment as opposed to being created with purpose. Working backwards it is easy to see why some people would assume we are the natural and obvious result of a long line of ancestors. Then, you retroactively apply the theory of evolution and voila!…it was all leading to us. The most divine of creatures. Except that evolution isn’t finished yet – not even close. And like I already said, we ended up here by beating out our competitors in the race of life – no more, and no less.
Religious people fight atheism fiercely because they are afraid of what it represents. They are afraid of being un-important and without purpose. They are terrified that they are alone in a universe that has no stake in their individual life. What they don`t yet realize, is that by embracing the Christian evolutionist stance they are accepting the very things they claim to reject. Welcome to the dark side.