March 2, 2009
Judging by church attendance, it seems the British have lost their religion. Although 71 percent of Brits identify themselves as Christians, only 10 percent go to church weekly. Only one in four attends church even once a year.
But something funny is going on among Her Majesty’s citizenry. I’ve just read an astonishing article by Associated Press writer Raphael Satter. It’s titled “UK marks Darwin’s 200th birthday with pride [and] humor.”
Satter described the 600 parties and events organized worldwide in Darwin’s honor on his birthday this month. Some were nuttier than others. For one, a zoo in Bristol offered free entry to anyone wearing a beard—real or fake. Visitors to London’s Natural History Museum were invited to try some pea soup made from Mrs. Darwin’s recipe.
As Satter noted, Charles Darwin, whose influence is deeply felt almost 130 years after his death, “enjoys a special place of pride in Britain.” At least, he does among the elite.
But Satter—clearly a good reporter—thought to examine just how influential Darwin is among rank-and-file Brits. What he found was that, according to a recent poll commissioned by the think tank Theos, “only 37 percent of people in the UK believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution is ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’” Moreover, 51 percent “say that Intelligent Design is either definitely or probably true.”
In other words, the majority of British public rejects Darwinism. And this from a population that, for the most part, no longer darkens the doors of their churches.
We really should not be surprised. The truth is that humans bear the imago Dei—we are made in the image of God and are designed to long for Him.
By contrast, Darwinism supposes an entirely naturalistic worldview or religion. For many people, Darwinian evolution provides answers to the fundamental worldview questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Does life have any meaning and purpose? Darwinism’s answers are clear: We came from chance collisions of atoms; there is no purpose to life, no life after death, no objective moral law.
This is why the issue of Darwinism versus intelligent design continues to be such a fierce battleground. The debate is not just about fossils or genetic mutations. Our theory of origins determines our identity, our values, our sense of meaning.
And this is why—after a century and a half of having Darwinian evolution rammed down their throats by their professors and the media—people still say they believe in God, and that He created heaven and earth. This is one of those cases where intuitive human understanding and reason itself are more reliable than scientific theory.
And our non-churchgoing friends in Britain are proof that scientific theory cannot ultimately eradicate what’s written on the human heart. That’s something worth celebrating as we teach our nearer neighbors about the Christian worldview, and how well—unlike Darwinism—it answers the basic questions, not only of our origins, but of life and meaning.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.