By: Dr. Jerry Bergman
A new book titled Life After Christendom by NASA scientist Craig Davis has attempted to explain the reasons for fall of Christianity in the West. One factor he explored was so-called “higher criticism”, the scholarly trend to look for reasons to question the validity of the Bible and the existence of God.
One good example of this is Julies Wellhausen (1844-1918), who conducted a “scientific study” of the Bible by applying the theory of evolution to the Bible. He believed that the Bible evolved from a lower to a higher level of complexity.
His supporters believed that he was enormously successful in his goal of reducing the credibility of the Bible and, as a professor of theology, his ideas have influenced thousands of students, both then and today.
A large number of theology professors today have accepted evolution and, at some level, have consequently rejected the Adam and Eve account as historical fact.
Wellhausen’s critics, of which there were many, have discerned major gaps in his reasoning, but unless one is willing to deeply explore both sides of the question, one will not discern the many problems with his reasoning.
College students often learn only the one side and are rarely exposed to the many major problems with Wellhausen’s views.
Wide acceptance of certain non-Christian ideas has also taken its toll on the church. To use Sweden as a typical example, even though 80% of Swedes were “members” of the Church of Sweden, only 4% attended church weekly.
Although 15% of the Swedish population believed in the personal God of the Bible, 17% believed in the Hindu idea of reincarnation.
Both spiritual apathy and theological ignorance are plaguing today’s church, which is one major reason for its decline.
After reviewing every plausible reason for the demise of Christendom, Davis showed that Darwinism was one of the chief reasons for the public loss of belief in Christianity and God.
The decline in religious conviction in the West can be traced back to the publication of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859.
Before Darwin, the vast majority of persons in the West, including naturalists, were creationists. After Darwin, non-belief has grown until, among well-educated scientists, the vast majority are functional atheists.
A functional atheist may not self-label as an atheist, but, nevertheless, lives his life as if there is no God.
For example, for the past two centuries the nation of Netherlands has collected very good historical statistics on the religious beliefs of its people.
In 1859, not a single person in the country’s poll identified as having no religion, or of being an atheist.
In 1879, the number declaring themselves as atheists was only 0.3%, but since then this number has made a steady increase until today the majority of Dutch list themselves as atheists.
This is understandable because the main reason most people say they believe in God is due to the wonder and beauty of the natural world, including animal life, the beauty of plants, and the complexity of design.
Charles Darwin, realizing this fact, once stated that his goal was to “murder God”, meaning to cause people to reject Him.
To do this he had to come up with another explanation to explain the existence and design of the natural world.
This was intentionally done by him and others in order to strategically destroy the primary reason people believe in God.
This alternative secular explanation for the origin of the creation that Darwin and his disciples promoted was evolution, often called Darwinism.
Evolution of life, according to modern naturalists, works by genetic mutations producing genetic variety, then the superior varieties are supposedly preserved by natural selection, a process called ‘survival of the fittest.’
In short, everything evolves, life, the Earth, the stars, the Sun and even matter itself. If Darwin could visit the West today, he would be amazed at how successful he was, far beyond his wildest dreams.
As Craig Davis has documented in his book, Life After Christendom, the propagation of the Darwinist worldview in our educational enterprises has been a leading reason why God has been driven out of Western society.
Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,800 publications in 12 languages and 60 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries.