Friday, November 17, 2006

Darwin and Religion

Darwin’s Deadly Legacy

D. James Kennedy and Coral Ridge Ministry produced a program called Darwin’s Deadly Legacy. I haven’t seen it yet, but from the reports it links Darwin and Hitler. It seems that Kennedy doesn’t know history, but he also is less than conversant with the confessional documents of reformed congregations. (For those of you not conversant with the different strands of Christianity, there are several branches of denominations that arose during the Reformation, the Reformed Churches and the Lutheran Churches are two of the more widely spread. All Presbyterian churches are considered part of the Reformed branch)

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has as part of their constitution a Book of Confession containing a document from one part of the church in Germany. It’s the Barmen Declaration and was written during WWII. A minority group set up their own congregational structure in opposition to some stances supporting Hitler that were taken by the state supported churches. It is clear from the documents that the majority of Christians supported Hitler.

This claim that Darwin’s work led to Hitler is willful ignorance, not just bigotry. The sad truth is that Christians of all denominations supported Hitler. The shining example of a few, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, doesn’t mean that it was Darwin’s legacy that led to Hitler. Christians have a history that includes conversion via the sword, slanders against Jews, and persecutions too numerous to list. To blame Darwin for what is historically a Christian activity is just plain wrong.

The Barmen Declaration and the whole of the Book of Confessions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) can be found at I don’t believe Kennedy is part of this particular denomination, but as it is my own.

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