Our title mentions two news items. The first is from Scientific American: Evolution Education in the U.S. Is Getting Better. It was written by Glenn Branch and Ann Reid. As many of you know, Branch is deputy director and Reid is executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).
Although that article is new, you’ve read the news before. Back in June we wrote Great Success for Evolution Education. That was about an article in Nature that Reid had written about the same survey of public high school biology teachers. One quick excerpt:
Results published on 10 June show that the proportion of US secondary-school biology teachers who present creationism as a scientifically valid alternative to evolution fell from 32% in 2007 to 18% in 2019. And the amount of class time devoted to human evolution shot up by almost 90%.
So what’s the other news item that may be related? Ah, that’s in a different kind of publication. While NCSE gets their news in Nature and Scientific American, this other item is at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Hambo’s article is Distressing “State of Theology” Results Released.
You already know the news about public education from NCSE, and you can click over to Scientific American to read the latest article by Branch. But for your weekend entertainment, here are some excerpts from Hambo’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Every two years, Ligonier Ministries releases a new survey titled the “State of Theology,” [Link omitted.] and the 2020 results were published this week. And they are shocking, to put it mildly. [Gasp!] Now the survey was of the American population as a whole, but the results could be filtered for those who are considered “evangelical.”
We’ll skip over Hambo’s definition of “evangelical.” Then he says:
Survey respondents were asked whether they agreed (strongly or somewhat), disagreed (strongly or somewhat), or weren’t sure about a variety of statements. Here’s how those who are considered evangelicals responded to the following statements regarding basic beliefs about the person and work of the Godhead — prepare to be shocked by almost all of these:
Hambo then presents a long list of shocking results, including:
• 32% agree: Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.
• 46% agree: God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
• 54% disagree: Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.
Hambo is deeply distressed by these results. He tells us:
For those who are familiar with the Bible and the most basic tenets of theology, these results are shocking and show that many who are considered “evangelical” are far from it. They believe outright heresy [Egad, herasy!] when it comes to the person of Jesus Christ, his work on the cross, and the person of the Holy Spirit!
This is serious stuff! Hambo describes other results of the survey, and he finds them equally distressing. He says:
Personally, I believe such studies show a phenomenal failure of the modern church. Couple all this with the fact the younger generations are leaving the church in droves!
Skipping a bit more, he then asks why this is happening:
The terrible trends regarding evangelicals’ beliefs continue the downward slide each year. Why? After all, here in America, Christians have greater access to churches, Christian teaching ministries, Christian colleges and seminaries, Christian resources, Christian programming, and the Bible itself than any other nation on earth. So why are we seeing such ignorance regarding the Bible and basic biblical beliefs?
Then he speculates that parents and preachers may be falling down on the job, and he offers all kinds of advice, including the purchase of books sold at AIG’s online bookstore.
But there’s one thing that Hambo doesn’t mention — and that’s the job being done in the public schools. If you read Hambo’s mournful post along with the news from Glenn Branch and Ann Reid, you may see some kind of connection. But which is cause and which is effect? That’s something we’ll leave for your speculation, dear reader.
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