If you have been reading through this series, you will have come to understand that defending the faith entails more than argument, evidence, and reason. This is not how God intended for the faith to be transmitted from one generation to the next. It was his intention that this happen through healthy, intact families. Importantly, this was established before Man rebelled against Him, and just as importantly, this intention was sustained after the rebellion, re-affirmed in the last book of the Old Testament, then again by Jesus himself, and then Paul, too.
The relational context for transmitting the faith is often overlooked when talking about apologetics, but that is a big mistake. One of the chief ideological obstacles to the faith, I have argued in this series, is Darwinism. This, too, is often overlooked. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that many Christians have sought to accommodate Darwinism and integrate it somehow into the Christian worldview, and overlooked or refused to acknowledge, how contrary to Christianity and its transmission that Darwinism is.
If we’re talking about how God made the family as his mechanism for creating ‘godly offspring’ but you believe that we emerged from toe-sludge, even if part of God’s grand plan, your worldview contains elements that are like oil and water to each other. It’s going to be hard to reconcile. Not surprisingly, the trend has been such that when someone realizes the disconnect between these two ideas and recognizes that something has to ‘give,’ it has been the Biblical plan that has been dispensed with.
Daniel Dennett says that Darwinism is like a ‘universal acid.’ He’s right about that, although he is oblivious to the fact that a universal acid eats through itself, which is exactly what Darwinism does. It also eats through marriage and the family.
Now, there have always been people who objected to God’s plan for the family. One doesn’t need Darwinism for that.
For example, the Marxists recognized very early that if they wanted to transform society, they would first have to transform the family (ie, destroy it). It is so obviously true, its a modern mystery that so few recognize it today. At any rate, Marx gleefully owned up to the charge, crying out: “Abolition of the family!”
That was in 1848, before Darwin published his Origin of the Species (1859).
But prior to Darwin, such sentiments were admittedly in the realm of one’s personal opinion. Subjectively speaking, one might chafe at the constrictions of monogamous marriage, but one doesn’t have an objective basis for shredding the ‘traditional family.’ But Darwin put the rebellion on the (supposedly) firm ground of rock hard, truth–it was science, baby, science. SCIENCE!
No wonder that both Marx and Engels were delighted by Darwin’s theory. As Marx put it: “Darwin’s work is most important and suits my purpose in that it provides a basis in natural science for the historical class struggle…” (this site is a fascinating corroboration of the points I’m making in this essay.)
It ought to be no surprise to anyone that the first people to implement ‘no-fault divorce’ were the Bolsheviks. (The Bolsheviks were communists, in case ya didn’t know. See my other essays in this series for more on the impact of ‘no fault divorce’ on the transmission of the faith.)
Understanding exactly how Darwinism ate through marriage and the family requires more writing than I’m willing to do right now, but suffice it to say that when the animal kingdom exhibits so many different kinds of reproduction, its hard to think there is anything uniquely special about monogamy and so on. The ‘old’ model had its evolutionary utility, of course, or else it would have never arisen, but now that we understand the processes involved (so the argument goes), we can tweak it or ignore it however we like. Certainly, there is nothing particularly sacred about the ‘old’ model.
Not coincidentally, attacks on the fabric of society itself followed, too. Why think there is anything special about a culture built on monogamous, heterosexual families? Why not structure ourselves along the lines of the honey bee? Getting a bunch of worker bees to serve the elites is obviously a viable evolutionary model, as moral and proper as any other. And so on.
So, just as it was the case that the Bolsheviks moved rapidly to undermine ‘traditional marriage’, socialists and progressives at the turn of the 20th century, equally emboldened by the blank slate won for them by Darwin, started thinking earnestly about just what kind of society ‘the smart people’ ought to build, now that the SCIENCE was in hand to do so. And they did not just think–they acted. The American Law Institute was instrumental in crafting the model ‘no fault’ divorce laws that were enacted in the US in the 70s, and it was loaded with people thinking (and acting) in these terms.
The problem here is that so much of what I’m saying is going to be new to 98% of my readers… even Christian readers… and therefore unbelievable. How can it really be the case that the anti-revival (the rise of non-Christians from 5% of America’s population to 25% in just thirty years) can be tracked back to ideologies that thrived more than 150 years ago and were implemented by people we’ve never even heard about, a scant 100 years ago?
And yet it is precisely the case.
Because it will strike many readers as so unbelievable, its really best that you go out and learn it for yourself. You won’t believe me, but maybe you’ll believe your own eyes.
Some places to start: the Fabians, such as George Bernard Shaw… yes, the playwright! … who wrote in 1908:
It must be obvious to everybody that before we can begin to breed the human race with a view to its improvement we shall have to go further in the direction of political revolution than the most extreme Socialist at present advocates in public.
It is evident we need an entire abolition of property and marriage as we understand it, almost as a preliminary step. I do not see any way out of that.
See how it is all connected for Shaw? Darwin… re-structuring society… abolition of property and marriage–as a preliminary step. He also advocated for murder by the state. What a guy, that playwright!
Other names you might want to look at include Sydney and Beatrice Webb (also Fabians), Julian Huxley, Margaret Sanger, The Rockefellers (starting with John D. the 3rd), William Draper Lewis, the founder of the ALI, and so on.
What is important to understand is that I am not laying out a conspiracy theory. These people merely followed through on the things that they believed. Likewise, people today.
So, if you believe that people are mere animals who have lately ascended from pond sludge, you will regard both your fellow man, and yourself, with the dignity that you tend to ascribe to pond sludge.
Why get worked up about one pile of pond sludge proposing easy dissolution of a pair of sludge-piles? Why think there is anything special about the fact that one sludge-bag has one kind of genitalia and another has a different kind? Evolution produces all kinds of ways of reproducing, why consider the human animal’s traditional mechanism as worth retaining? And if certain sludge-sacks seems to be making the pond into a cess pool, what’s the real harm if you just eradicate them? At the very least, disposing of the already disposable who are suffering or might suffer, or would be suffering if only they considered their situation more objectively, is just a matter of course.
You don’t need a conspiracy. All you need is one guy or gal to come along who feels particularly strongly about one of these points and have enough people who basically agree with them shrug their shoulders. What they are proposing is ‘no big deal.’
And to them, its ‘no big deal’ because it follows rationally from Darwinism, which they have been assured is ABSOLUTE FACT.
Christianity proclaims that humans are made in the image of God, and therefore have intrinsic dignity; human relations are not to be trifled with–especially those that were built by God himself; people are not, by nature, disposable–they are, by nature, broken, but this was not how it started, and it is not how it will end; we are not disposable, but we are redeemed. Any society that tends to view people in such terms will generate a culture that tends to affirm those values.
The implications of Darwinism stand opposed to all of that. If you want to know what kind of society is generated by people who take such a line, a study of countries that did just that in the 20th century will give you a solid clue. Or you can just look around, because we are presently engaged in constructing just such a society.
So, in a previous essay I made mention of the startling fact that the rise of the ‘religious nones’ started abruptly in the early 1990s. I proposed and defended the theory that this was explained by the fact that this is when the children raised under the ‘no fault divorce’ paradigm themselves came of age.
I left the faith, albeit briefly, right about that same time–the winter of 1992-93. At the time, the thing that really ‘got’ me were so-called ‘contradictions’ in the Bible. Despite 12 years of Christian education, this was the first time I had read the Bible for myself. When one reads the Bible for themselves, and has half a brain, there are undeniably difficult things to make sense of, especially if you had not been prepared somehow to deal with them. I was not prepared.
For years, I put a lot of stock in the fact that my Christian education let me down. The charge is not without merit. There is no question in my mind that Christian schools and churches do not do near enough to prepare people for the challenges raised in the wider world. But remember what I said in an earlier installment: a church only has access to someone for 2-4 hours a week at best. A school only has access to someone for 30-40 hours a week.* The people with the most access to someone are the parents.
My parents were divorced when I was about 8 years old. There were plenty of bitter moments that came after that. I have nothing but scorn and derision for the people who blithely talk about the dissolution of marriages as though they do not inflict a great deal of harm on all the parties involved. Growing up in that context, and then as a teacher interacting with dozens of children who grew up the same way I did, I know that such easy talk is itself the talk of children… childish words coming from adult mouths.
Was this divorce instrumental in facilitating my own unbelief?
Yes, but not necessarily for what it did, but rather what it did not do. My parents, despite having ‘access’ to me for many more hours than my (Christian) school, did not make up the difference by grounding me thoroughly in the facts of the Christian faith. I’m not saying we didn’t have good conversations. But we never talked about Bible contradictions, that’s for sure! The whole context of a full decade of my early life was composed of wrestling with issues and problems that were, at the time, more pressing. So, when I finally got around to getting my own legs underneath me, the ‘ground’ as Christians perceive it was wobbly, to put it mildly.
In the end, it is evident to me that you have need to have everything working together, and if you put all your emphasis on one thing and not the other, you risk losing souls by the bushel. The churches and Christian schools have to tackling serious topics in a robust manner, prepping the young for a world that is hostile to the faith. The parents have to be doing the same–and the endeavor ideally shouldn’t be undercut by the fact that the parents don’t even live with each other, or hate each other, etc.
What needs to come out of this ‘all hands on deck’ upbringing is not just the absolute conviction that Christianity is a FACT, but the same grounding for that conviction that is given to them regarding Darwinism. So long as Christianity is regarded as merely a ‘religious’ matter, it will always get run over by Darwinism, which is presented as SCIENCE.**
When that happens, people just act, well, naturally. You tell them they are animals and it is PROVED don’t be surprised when they act like animals and turn their nose up at claims that they perceive are DISPROVED.
And don’t be surprised when young Christians put up a tepid defense when the situation presents itself in these terms, and they too, act, well, naturally.
I am available to present on these topics at length. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* I am well aware of the unspoken ‘big’ issue reflected in that remark, but its not the purpose of my series, so it will have to wait for another day.
** In truth, Darwinism contains more religion than Christianity does, and Christianity bears more directly on science than Darwinism does. But we teach Darwinism in the SCIENCE CLASS! Christianity does not get taught in the public schools, and when it gets taught at church, its presented as cute cartoons, and garnished with heaps of entertainment, because obviously the only way anyone will take it seriously for very long is to make them think it’s ‘fun.’