I just watched the 1960 film Inherit the Wind, directed by Stanley Kramer based on a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. The story is the fictionalization of the 1925 “Scopes monkey trial” that pitted Darwin’s Theory of Evolution against The Bible. The final scene was the payoff for James Strickling.
In that scene, Spencer Tracy, playing the attorney who defended the teacher jailed for teaching evolution to his students, picked up Darwin’s book in one hand and picked up The Bible in the other. A moment pause, he held them out as though to weigh them. Then he slapped both books together and slipped them into his briefcase.
“The point the authors were trying to make is that science and faith do not have to be mutually exclusive for those who value both,” said Strickling, author of a book I recently read entitled Man and His Planet.
As far as reads go, it’s actually better than most in this category. The refreshing part is that Strickling spends more time with his pure philosophical view than with point-on-point biblical references.
“I don’t believe that scientists should try to use science to invalidate faith for those who believe, and neither should believers use faith to cancel out science. If you study both closely enough, you’ll discover like I did that there are elements of both that actually support the other,” he says. “Both Darwinists and Creationists treat their points of view as dogma, which is not to be conjoined with any other belief system.”
Strickling’s challenge is relevant to logical and rational discussion. Darwinists and Creationists need to lower their guards just long enough to see that Darwinism and evolution are not the same thing and Creationism is not necessarily biblical.
Unfortunately, Strickling can’t resist rolling out “proof” that Biblical dogma actually supports his own; ‘ad hoc’ apologetics and tiresome contradictions. Nevertheless, I applaud his effort and on the main thrust of his argument that one must read with an open mind. When you do, you will find that the Bible appears to compliment many aspects scientific theory. For instance, I have always found that description of God’s creation of the universe and the generally accepted theory of “big bang” appear to describe the same event. But there I go with my own quasi-science, quasi-theological theory.
I most certainly agree with Strickling that there ought to be more acceptance on both sides of the ‘creation’ discussion, if only to defuse the controversy and allow people to accept faith and science on their separate terms. There is no more need to demonize science than there is to impugn God or faith. And we certainly do not need more “objective interpretation” – that just sounds like more deconstructionism.
Faith stands on its own merit and Jesus Christ doesn’t need validation from an imaginative philosophers armed with new revelations. As I tell my Sunday School kids, God has reason enough for all things; Darwin can take care of himself. -HP