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More Concerning Stats on the Apparent Effect of Theistic Evolution

From Issue: R&R – Issue 43 #12

As we reported elsewhere1, a 2019 Gallup poll revealed that the number of young Earth creationists in the United States is roughly 40%. More people in America are young Earth creationists than theistic evolutionists (33%), but the number of young Earth creationists is declining. Should Christians be concerned about the teaching of theistic evolution and an old Earth?

For decades, Apologetics Press has documented the dangers of evolutionary thinking being widespread in a society2 and in the Church.3 Indeed, it seems clear that belief in theistic evolution can have a tendency to erode one’s confidence in a straightforward reading of the biblical text, which could affect one’s eternal destiny.4 GALLUP polls have revealed that young Earth creationists tend to be more “religious.”5 
“[T]he most religious Americans are most likely to be [young Earth—JM] creationists.”6 Young Earth creationists, for example, are 42% more likely than theistic evolutionists to attend worship services faithfully.7 Does belief in theistic evolution actually lead to forsaking the worship assemblies? Are the coupling of the two circumstances a result of a separate underlying factor? It is uncertain. However, since the free gift of salvation is contingent upon obedience to God’s instructions (Hebrews 5:9), if it is the case that a person is less likely to obey God’s commands if he accepts theistic evolution, then one’s belief with regard to evolution would become an important decision.

A poll by Pew Research Center, titled “Views about Human Evolution,”8 further highlighted that young Earth creationists are undeniably more likely to be zealous and faithful to the Word of God. The poll found that among theists in the U.S. (over 85% of whom would self-classify as Christian),9 creationists, compared to theistic evolutionists, are much more likely to:

  • believe that their Scripture is the Word of God—and, as such, believe that it should be taken literally;
  • look to their religion to determine right and wrong [62% of theistic evolutionists look to science, philosophy, and “common sense” over Scripture];
  • consider religion to be very important in their lives;
  • pray regularly;
  • participate in prayer/Scripture study groups;
  • regularly read Scripture;
  • believe in absolute morality [65% of theistic evolutionists believe the situation determines right and wrong in many cases, rather than Scripture].

Such results are concerning, to say the least. Why does there appear to be a connection between less zeal for religion and theistic evolution? Is it the case that theistic evolution leads such individuals to become less religious in these ways? Or is it the case that such individuals were already less religious and, subsequently, more easily accepted theistic evolution? Neither option would bode well for theistic evolutionary implications.

Is the connection merely a coincidence that should be disregarded? That suggestion seems unlikely, considering that (1) the trend holds through every one of the categories studied by the pollsters and (2) such a result of theistic evolutionary thinking would be predicted to occur. After all, if a person feels he cannot trust what the Bible says about our origin, why would he study it? Why would he trust it when it tells us about right and wrong? Why would he take it seriously when it says to worship, pray, and study Scripture regularly? If he has accepted evolution, which has naturalistic (as opposed to supernaturalistic) implications, is he more or less likely to view God as being at work in the world today—answering prayers, for instance?

When seeing such statistics that speak to the spiritual state of many of those who have accepted theistic evolution, should it be surprising if they are much more likely than are creationists to ultimately leave their faith behind? After all, faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and the statistics reveal that theistic evolutionists are less interested in studying God’s Word—which will cause their faith to crumble over time. Such statistics highlight the importance of continuing to refute evolution, both biblically and scientifically, and emphasizing the many evidences for biblical Creation.

Endnotes

1 Cf. Jeff Miller (2020), “Latest Stats on Creationists and Evolutionists in the U.S.,” Reason & Revelation, 40[7]:80-83.

2 E.g., Kyle Butt (2008), “Implications of Atheism [Parts 1-2],” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/implications-of-atheism-part-i-911/.

3 E.g., Eric Lyons (2008), “Why Address the Age of the Earth?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/why-address-the-age-of-the-earth-2507/; Kyle Butt (2010), “A Soul’s Salvation Could Hinge On the Earth’s Age,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/a-souls-salvation-could-hinge-on-the-earths-age-3792/; Dave Miller (2004), “The Implications of Rejecting the Literal Days of Genesis 1,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/the-implications-of-rejecting-the-literal-days-of-genesis-1-1200/; Jeff Miller (2022), “Should Christians Accept Evolution and an Old Earth to Win Converts?” Reason & Revelation, 42[4]:38-44.

4 Jeff Miller (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Reason & Revelation, 32[9]:94.

5 While being “religious” does not necessarily mean that a person is right with God (Romans 10:2-3), living one’s life in complete submission to Christ and His will (i.e., living the Christian faith/religion) is a requirement by God (Romans 1:5; 16:26; Acts 6:7; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 16:24; etc.).

6 Frank Newport (2012), “In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins,” GALLUP Politics, June 1, http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx, emp. added.

7 Megan Brenan (2019), “40% of Americans Believe in Creationism,” Gallup News On-line, July 26, https://news.gallup.com/poll/261680/americans-believe-creationism.aspx

8 “Views about Human Evolution” (2014), Pew Research Center, http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/views-about-human-evolution/.

9 “Religious Landscape Study” (2014), Pew Research Center, http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/.

Science vs. Evolution


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