Today’s post represents a departure from the norm. It’s a “reason to be cautious” in sharing reasons for faith in Christ. A number of Christians are promoting evangelist Ray Comfort’s new DVD, Evolution vs. God. Although the video contains some valid content, its questionable treatment of science and scientists—with an attack mindset and a goal to make scientists look stupid—causes me to advise extreme caution. Bluntly, I see this video as counter to our evangelistic mission. I cannot think of one biblical example where Jesus ridiculed nonbelievers who held erroneous views—although he harshly rebuked the religious leaders who were supposed to guide people toward Him.
Evolution vs. God, a new DVD from Christian evangelist Ray Comfort that claims to “debunk evolution,” releases this Wednesday, August 7. The DVD’s Facebook page tells viewers who accept evolution to “prepare to have your faith shaken.” Hearing considerable buzz in the Christian community about this video, I decided to watch it and offer some comments. I was looking for two specific things: (1) does the film persuasively debunk evolution? and (2) does it present an accurate portrayal of the scientific community, specifically of those who embrace evolution? Unfortunately, Evolution vs. God does neither. In fact, it may well damage Christian outreach to scientists.
Imagine visiting some of the world’s most prestigious universities, interviewing top evolutionary scientists, atheists, and holding their feet to the fire until it’s clear that there is no evidence for Darwinian evolution, that it’s not scientific.
Thus begins the promotional trailer for Evolution vs. God. The film promises to discredit Darwinian evolution in a way that persuades even evolutionary scientists at the most prestigious universities. The film shows Comfort, the founder of Living Waters, talking with various people about the evidence for evolution (these clips fill about 25 minutes of screen time).
Given the trailer’s claim, I expected to hear responses from some top scientists. Instead nearly 75 percent of the interviews are with students in various majors. Only four of the interviewees are university faculty members (two from UCLA and one each from USC and the University of Minnesota, Morris). Often the students fumble over Comfort’s cunning questions, and yet a number of articulate answers did emerge. The faculty members provide far more detailed and thorough answers. However, Comfort dismisses any reply that fails to meet his contrived criteria.
Based on the interviews shown, Comfort’s questioning raises no real doubts in the mind of the scientists, and I saw little to indicate that those students who lacked clear answers change their mind based on the interview questions. In my perspective, the video does an ineffective job of “debunking” evolution.
The interviews with the scientists appear to present an accurate, but incomplete, perspective of their views. However, the overall video creates a distorted impression of evolution and evolutionists, especially due to the inclusion of the students’ less articulate answers. Thus, the film seems to lead to the conclusion that those who believe in evolution:
- cannot articulate the theory in any understandable fashion;
- do so based on little to no evidence;
- accept evolution only so they can follow their animal instincts without accountability;
- actively deceive others into believing evolution; and
- do science simply by dreaming things up.
This portrayal, while it may hold true for some individuals, is far from an accurate depiction of the majority of scientists. For example, if item three were true, then we could not account for the fact that some mature, Bible-believing Christians such as Francis Collins, Darrell Falk, and Deborah Haarsma also believe in some form of evolution. Make no mistake, I disagree with these fellow Christians about evolution. However, what I know of them and of their character gives me no reason to associate them with this depiction.
A Glaring Problem
The biggest intellectual issue I have with Evolution vs. God lies in its definition of faith. It seems that Comfort’s main intention is to show that just as Christians have faith in God, so scientists have faith in evolution—with no observable evidence to buttress this belief. This is far from an accurate depiction of biblical faith.
Christians define faith as reasonable trust in a demonstrably reliable authority. Ultimately, God is that authority. We know of His reliability through His two revelations—Scripture and creation. Science is one of the main tools we use to understand His creation and to demonstrate His trustworthiness.
The Bottom Line
In Matthew 7:12, Jesus commands His followers, “[T]reat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” It’s the classic Golden Rule. Atheists could easily produce a similar video making Christians look stupid. If, as a Christian, you would find such a video objectionable, then please do not promote Evolution vs. God.