Devolution Redefined

In my Year 10 exam, one of the optional questions (which I took from a previous GCSE exam paper) was “‘Christian teachings about family life are not relevant in the 21st century.’ Do you agree? Give reasons to support your answer and show that you have thought about different points of view.”

As I was marking papers I came across one of the most unique answers from someone in one of my top sets. Exactly as it is written:

I do think that Christian teachings about family life are not relevant in the 21st century because people have moved on from doing what people think is right . More and more people are getting into the situation for them to have to abort their babies and more children are forming their own opinions quicker.

Christians whole believe system is based upon God, but now in the 21st century we have theories that we were made from matter and anti-matter and there are theories and evidence that we developed and evolutionerised from apes and monkeys, not from Adam and Eve.

In school, teachers are now teaching us these theories and are showing evidence of fossils, and so the opposition is overwhelming for Christians to teach at this stage in time.

I have to say that I have never before seen the argument that Christian teaching about family life – that husbands and wives should love and respect each other, that children should honour and obey parents, that older family members should be cared for – is irrelevant because of the fossil record and theories about it which suggest that we were “evolutionerised.”

Apart from the bit about being made from matter and anti-matter, I have to say I found this to be a very perceptive answer. When people reject the Creator God and believe they are indistinct from, and merely exist on a continuum with, animals, they have no reason to love and respect. In fact, they end up treating their own worse than many animals would treat theirs.

She is also right that even though I’ve never felt overwhelmed, many students have been brainwashed with the idea that science has somehow disproved the existence of God. I see this on a daily basis. When I attempt to discuss it with the rationally in terms of evidence and argument, they don’t want to know. All they do is shout louder that the world was created by science. (Yes, I know that is nonsensical, even for someone who believes in atheistic evolution, but it is actually what they say.) The few who don’t say this, still operate off the plane of reality by saying that science has explained everything.

Sadly the truth was given many, many years ago: “The fool says in his heart there is no God.”

Advertisements

15 Responses to Devolution Redefined

  1. Joe says:

    It is unfortunate that you misrepresent atheists and science in your blog. There is no evidence that evolution or atheism has any effect on moral behavior.

    The reason why Christian teachings about family life are not relevant is because family life in the 21st century is different than it was in the middle ages. To think that it should be the same when the world has changed so much seems slightly bizarre.

    If you would like to have a dialog with an atheist and learn the truth about us. I am available. 😉

  2. Dan says:

    Indeed – well said again Joe.

    David, if you would like an atheist’s viewpoint feel free to ask me as well! I know plenty of others, and not one of them has lost the capacity to “love and respect.” Try to learn a little smidgen of what or whom you talk about next time, please.

    And on a related note – why is it that I hear more about (in the news) people killing others in the name of God, than because there is no God? Awfully ironic, isn’t it?

  3. Dave says:

    Joe, I’m not sure what the Middle Ages has to do with it. Biblical teaching on family life was set out between 3800 and 1950 years ago. Either the principles expounded are of timeless value or they are not.

    You don’t expand upon the reasons why the differences in family life (which have really only substantially changed in the last century) mean you should no longer honour your parents, be faithful to your spouse, etc.

    I have dialogued with atheists in the past (even if most of the ones I teach are only interested in monologues) and I am happy to do so now or in the future.

    Dan, I did not say that all atheists have lost the capacity to love and respect. However, in post-Christian cultures, and particularly in the UK, there is a palpable loss of love and respect which has contributed to the breakdown of the family as a foundation of society.

    The reason you here about people killing in the name of God is because radical Islamists are very much in the news. However, if you take a view of the past century, you will see that most of the killing was entirely unrelated to religion – two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Shoah, the Ukrainian genocide, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese civil war, and the list could go on.

  4. Dan says:

    Dave,
    Okay – and one could argue nostalgically for a better society, perhaps. Yet the correlation between social downturns and atheism is a rather unsubstantiated and baseless conclusion. There are dozens of reasons as to why there is upheaval in our times, just as there were many reasons behind the many tumultuous times in human history, and blaming them baselessly on atheism is poorly thought out.

    As for murder in God’s name – no, I was referring to domestic murder here in the States. Granted, most of those murderous individuals are classified as mentally ill, and that is not religion’s fault per se. But still, for every murderer that says he/she did their crime because there was no God, I’ll show you 10 more that committed murder because they were ordered so by God and/or they were obeying God’s law.

  5. Pingback: Sarx » Creation

  6. Joe says:

    “Joe, I’m not sure what the Middle Ages has to do with it. Biblical teaching on family life was set out between 3800 and 1950 years ago. Either the principles expounded are of timeless value or they are not.”
    They are not timeless. Isn’t that what I implied? There are many things that have changed in the last 200 years or so that have antiquated many of the so called “family values”.
    “You don’t expand upon the reasons why the differences in family life (which have really only substantially changed in the last century) mean you should no longer honour your parents, be faithful to your spouse, etc.”
    Nor did I claim they did. You should honor your parents if they deserve it. Don’t honor it if they mistreat you, lie to you, etc. That hasn’t changed, really, just become societally understood to be true.

    You should certainly be faithful to your spouse if you promise to do so. That does not include your actions before that promise or anything you don’t promise or that your spouse does not require. Nor is marriage a social necessity to have children or have sexual relations. There is nothing wrong with this as long as we are talking about consenting adults and children who are not abandoned or neglected.

    “I have dialogued with atheists in the past (even if most of the ones I teach are only interested in monologues) and I am happy to do so now or in the future.”
    That is good to hear. I am interested in positive dialog. I notice you didn’t inquire into how I thought you were misrepresenting atheism or science. Do you not care?

  7. Dave says:

    To say that certain family values have become antiquated assumes that the relevant changes in society which militate against those values are good. There are certainly many people who do not accept that some of the changes in values that have been adopted are good.
    You make a statement of values, though you don’t explain why you think these things are appropriate. On a practical level, the open, valueless sexuality you propose has demonstrated that biblical values in these area still relevant. The sexual revolution as brought us amazing levels of disease and infertility and has resulted in children being abandoned (by at least one parent) and neglected. I see this every day as a teacher, just as I saw it every day when I practiced family law.
    Only about 5% of cohabitations last 10 years or more. Cohabiting relationships are four times more likely to break down than marriages, even when children are involved. Half of children born of cohabiting couples sees the parents separate before the child reaches its fifth birthday, compared with one in four children born in wedlock. Children are twice as likely to lose touch with their fathers if their parents had not married than if they had.
    I thought you were explaining how you think I had misrepresented atheism and/or science. Feel free to expand further.

  8. Joe says:

    No, I never was explaining that because you never asked.

    I don’t believe I supported the abandonment of children either. I think you’d find that many of the negative situations you are referring to are children who were conceived accidentally. I wasn’t talking about that either.

  9. Dave says:

    I never said you supported the abandonment of children. I’m not even suggesting the majority or even a significant minority of atheists support the abandonment of children. My point is that when you remove the family values propounded by Christianity – when they are viewed as no longer relevant and outdated – the abadonment of children and the other consequences I mentioned above are the natural result, as borne out by the data.

    It is when “outdated” family values are discarded that children are seen as accidents and inconveniences.

  10. Joe says:

    My point is that those are the consequences of unwanted children, not unconventional families.

    “It is when “outdated” family values are discarded that children are seen as accidents and inconveniences.”
    Only if those values are replaced by no value at all. As long as people value their children and their responsibilities they do not have to stick to the rigid classical “family values” in order to successfully raise a family.

  11. Dave says:

    It is not so much that those values are replaced, but rather some are kept in a cafeteria-style humanism. Inasmuch as they value their children and their responsibilities (or believe that they do, in fact, have certain responsibilities, even if they have shed the epistemological basis for that belief) they have stuck to what you call “classical” or what I might call “biblical” values. But here you even acknowledge that they must do these things in order to successfully raise a family.

    The issues then become 1) whether these two factor are the only two factors in successfully raising a family; and 2) what actually comprises a successfully raised family. It is from these issues that the questions concerning the ramifications of “unconventional” families must be raised.

  12. Joe says:

    Cafeteria style it exactly how it should be. We should keep the values that are correct and modify or replace those that are too restrictive, impractical, or don’t work.

    It is not valuing those things that lead to healthy families that is the problem. Identifying those things is the challenge. It is not necessarily just the two things I mentioned. That was just an example.

    The truth is none of these issues are cut and dried. You can point to an increased divorce rate as being bad, and frivolous marriage and divorce certainly is bad. But some of those divorces were the removal of children or spouses from abusive relationships. Which means those divorces and single parents are net positives!

  13. Dave says:

    It would not be reasonable to suggest that the small portion divorces due to abusive relationships justifies the development of no-fault divorce. There are occasions when divorce is the only alternative. It is not that divorce is a positive, but merely a lesser of two evils.

    If we are going to replace values that are too restrictive, what basis do we use to determine what constitutes too restrictive? Your values are still ultimately hedonistic.

    Identifying those things that lead to healthy families is not a challenge unless you assume pleasure is the greatest good.

  14. Joe says:

    It is a challenge. Assuming we know the answer ahead of time would make it more of a challenge.

    My values are not hedonistic, because I don’t value hedonism. I think you must have a low opinion of humanity if you believe that they cannot determine their own values and priorities and stick to them without descending to hedonistic chaos.

    The majority of humanity desires a stable and sane society and is willing to sacrifice their short term gratification to maintain it. That human value is what makes modern law and order possible.

  15. Mary says:

    “The majority of humanity desires a stable and sane society and is willing to sacrifice their short term gratification to maintain it. That human value is what makes modern law and order possible.”

    Oh Joe. What planet do you live on anyway? Do you see law and order anywhere on this earth or true and lasting peace in any place? This that you describe is so not a human value. The human heart is full of all sorts of evil, wickedness, deceit, lies, hatred and enmity toward our fellow humans and toward God and those who do not recognize it in themselves will sooner or later have a sorrowful awakening. I prayerfully ask that the eyes of your heart be opened sooner rather than later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: