A few points for anyone following this thread...
Firstly, I would like to outline some of the key reasons that 'literalist bible believing Christians' oppose any other explanation about creation than that in Genesis.
1. Soteriological implications. In other words, if Genesis is incorrect, there is no accounting for sin and the resultant curse that befell humankind. As Paul states in Romans 5, there is a direct relationship between what Christ accomplishes for those who are 'saved' and between the fallout for the rest of humankind as a result of what Adam did. No literal 'original sin', no literal 'saving grace'.
2. The dignity and infalibility of Christ, held very dear by 'literalist bible believing Christians', is clearly called into question if we assert that Genesis as literal history is incorrect since Christ refers to it as being dependable. What else that Christ said can be relied upon if he was wrong about that? After all, these Christians assert, he was involved in creating and so was around to observe it!
Creationists critiques of science need to be met with scientific arguements and as such they could easilly fall within a science class's jurisdiction. For example, evolution as natural selection is observable and anyone who denies that might as well deny their own nose. Creationists, or anyone else, should have no problem with this being taught as scientific fact along with gravity and the rest. However, evolution as 'molecules to humans' [ie. part of "the creationist's quest for inconstancies in gene theory"] cannot be so easilly demonstrated and the public are often treated to what would elsewhere be considered quite fanciful accounts of how specific organs developed over time (so slow you cant see it) or instantly (so quick you missed it). Proponents of 'molecules to humans' evolution have, to many creationist's minds, yet to explain how new genetic information is successfully introduced by mutations that in any case leave the resultant organism sterile. I realise that this is not at all the place for a right old-chestnut whambang to-and-fro about creation/evolution and I hope this post does not spark anything like that off. My intention is to help people appreciate some of the finer points of the arguements :-)
On the broader educational issue, I absolutely agree that we need to teach our children to think critically, about their own as well as other's beliefs - including challenging scientific orthodoxy which many a creationist has done over the last century - indeed they will have been bettered for the experience. I used to teach Religious Education (compulsory subject here in the UK) and the current phenomenological approach to teaching this subject lacked teeth - trying to take a 'liberal framework to non-liberal world views' (Andrew Wright, 1993, Religious Education in the Secondary School: Prospects for Religious Literacy) - arguing over 'truth claims' was seen as counter to the doctrines of tolerance and ambiguity. Thus students sort of knew what a diva lamp looked like, perhaps knew that the cross was something Christians thought important, but all of this was shallow titilation when the key questions as to the 'meaning and truth' of these are squeezed too thinly or not addressed at all.
(thoughts and comments welcomed off-board if you are reluctant to perpetuate this direction of this thread - firstname.lastname@example.org )
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>>> email@example.com 30/12/2005 19:02:07 >>> I guess I think much of the energy spent on this debate would be better directed at teaching our children to think critically. History tells us that a good portion of even the most scientific theories will be undermined by new methods and discoveries. While this issue taps into emotion more than most, bringing creationism into the science classroom exposes it to scrutiny that it might otherwise escape. Why are we unwilling to directly approach this with our students? Those (like me) who were raised on a diet of fundamental Christianity would be forced to face the fact that our God works through evolutionary processes - and that this does not run contrary to Christian doctrine. Deb
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