What Some Religious People Don’t Want You To Know | State Of Grace | Refinery29


In your field of work, solve it right now for us, how did we get here? I’m the wrong guy to ask that. Oh, man. Okay, well, wrap it up, guys. Where did we come from and how did we get here? Humans have been debating the origins of the universe since, well, forever. Norse mythology says that the first humans were made out of driftwood found by the gods. The Ethiopian creation story tells of a creator god named Waaq, who created mountains by raining fire on the earth for seven years. And the Christian Bible says God created light on day one, plants and sea on day three, birds and sea animals on day five. Humans came next, and on the seventh day, he rested. Relatable. However, since the 1880s, the scientific community has proven the theory of evolution as a reliable model for how life on earth was and continues to be created. Evolution says that human lineage diverged from apes at least 7 million years ago. So a little different than fish on day five. Personally, I’ve never had an issue accepting evolution as fact, despite being a Christian. However, some people feel differently, really differently. The majority of Americans believe that science and religion are often in conflict. So, I want to look at what fuels this ongoing debate? Does believing in science somehow compromise a person’s faith? And does believing in God prevent someone from engaging in science? Full disclosure, I’ve failed science class multiple times. I mean, I can say this, but these are definitely gay birds. So in preparation for this episode, I needed a crash course in some of the terms being tossed around in this debate. Maybe I’ll start off with a basic. Oh no. What is creationism? Creationism is the belief that the creation story in the Bible is real in that there were six 24 hour days, and we got land animals, sea animals, humans, birds. And then on the seventh day, God rested. He was like, no more. I’m exhausted. And that is creationism. Willie, if you’re gonna get up go around. What’s Darwinism? Darwinism is the belief that we all evolved through natural selection and survival of the fittest. We’re talking about your ancestors. Do you have anything to say? Safe to say I pretty much know all the terms now, so it’s time to talk to some real experts. One of the coolest things here is that sometimes when the dinosaurs went down in the mud, you’d get impressions of their skin. So we know… Oh, that’s insane. What! You know what their skin looked like. Oh, I just got chills, that’s so weird. These are actual imprints of dinosaur skin with a magnifying glass. No! That’s how they know they’re lizard-y type things. Yeah. This is Dr. Jody Martin, the Associate Vice President, Research & Curator of Crustacea here at the museum. What is your view on evolution? It’s a study of how life diversifies over time. It’s a very broad, overreaching part of the biological sciences. And more so than that, it’s really the framework that unites biology. Have you spoken with people who are scientists who also believe in creationism? And how has that conversation gone? I’ve not really run into somebody who is a really active, practicing, publishing scientist who is also a young earth creationist. They have been told, “This is what you should believe.” They have read, “This is what you should believe.” What they are scared about is evolution and anything that to them would threaten their faith. So when did the clash between science and religion in the United States really begin? Time for a State of Grace lightning round. Pre-Industrial Revolution, it was easy to view the world as timeless, eternal, and unchanging. Nobody had phones. There was no promise of tomorrow, and people were living in the now. But the 1800s were all about exploration and scientific discovery, baby. And the gag of the season came when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species and introduced the theory of evolution to the world. The response from the Christian community was largely not great. Darwin’s theory directly contradicted church teachings on creation and challenged God’s sovereignty. So around the turn of the 20th century, a guy named William Jennings Bryan launched a full-fledged crusade against evolution. This famously led to the Scopes Trial, in which a Tennessee teacher, John Scopes, broke what was then state law by teaching evolution in a public school. Scopes lost the ruling, but public opinion turned quickly in favor of evolution. Since then, the evolution versus creationism debate has returned to trial numerous times. The common denominator in all these cases is that teaching evolution somehow undermines the power of God. Despite the legal rulings and scientific evidence supporting evolution, 40% of Americans still believe in creationism. It’s really hard for me to wrap my mind around that statistic, so it’s time to put a face to the numbers. My name is William James Herath. But my friends call me Willie. Yay. You can call me Willie. You gestured to me I’m taking that as– okay good. That’s right. You’re my friend. Willie is a husband, father, evangelist, and author of the book What is Evolution? Which argues that there is no scientifically agreed-upon definition of evolution, making it unlawful to be taught in public schools. I believe that the deep questions in life are extremely important. And one of the biggest ones is how did we get here? How did we get here? Yes. How did we get here? You gotta answer it, I don’t know! What do you think, man? Well, pop culture said that evolution is true and I went to college. I’m no dummy. So I just kind of thought that maybe God kind of used evolution. Until I started getting questions from a lot of my students. So I thought, I need to go on a quest. I need to start reading about this and trying to figure out what it is. I discovered that it is completely undefined, unscientific, and unlawful to be taught in public schools. But there are definitions online, like in preparations for this episode I found many definitions for evolution. Right. Oh, there’s totally definitions for evolution, but they conflict. Every time I would study evolution it’s almost an explanation of saying, “Hey listen, this is how everything came into being in the absence of a creator god.” And so I wasn’t seeing that symmetry that I was hoping for. I was hoping God was in control of this evolutionary fact. But then I started realizing that no, there is no room for God in evolution. It is natural selection. Right? It’s not supernatural selection. Although that would be amazing. That would be cool. That’d be like, unicorns. Evolution can’t tell us how species emerge into existence. Evolution can’t tell us what the origin of life is. Evolution can’t tell us how the universe came into existence. And the only thing that makes sense is that there is something outside of this situation. So what does it look like when a biblical account of human history is treated with greater reverence than scientific discovery? Right now, we are headed to the Creation and Earth History Museum and it is dedicated to the biblical account of earth, science, and history. They asked that we not film and bring cameras, which of course we’re going to respect. It’s weird. It feels a bit like a spy mission. Definitely a difference between our welcome at the Natural History Museum versus this. I am really excited to go, look around, see what sort of information they have to offer. I have no idea what to expect. Ooh. That was… That was a thing. I have a lot to process. I really appreciated the transparency of the museum. You know, you walk in and you immediately know that this is a biblically-based perspective, a literal biblical interpretation of a story of creation. So we got the flood, the Tower of Babel, Adam and Eve, the six-day creation, and it’s all presented there. So in that sense, it’s nice that it’s transparent. You kind of know immediately what you’re getting into. They really hammer home that evolution is not consistent with a Christian belief system. It felt very fear-based, and it was very much about disproving evolution. And I didn’t get the sense, when we were going through the Natural History Museum, at any point in time did they even bring up the creation story. Why would they? They don’t need to because their theory holds up to inspection. Do you think it’s possible to be a Christian and also believe in evolution? I think that it’s possible because I did it. I was a Christian that believed in evolution. I think it is in conflict with Proverbs 13:5 that says that the righteous hate what’s false. Ironically, this same verse might be said by a Christian explaining the validity of evolution. How do you make sense of the creation story in Christianity and then also evolution? A way to rephrase that question is, “Do I interpret the Bible literally?” Yes. And I don’t. Okay. Most theologians don’t. Your faith, your nationality, your gender, your race, this is kind of who you are. Science is more of what you do. So what’s at stake when science and religion are pit against each other? Both sides of the argument seem to clash in the classroom, so I guess it’s time to go back to school. Do you remember learning about evolution? When evolution was brought up, it was either to mock it or to call it evil. But there was never much information given about it. I visited the classroom of Dr. Donna Nofziger, a molecular biologist and Associate Professor of Biology here at Pepperdine University. When did you really start learning about what evolution is? It really was on my own that I started diving deep because I knew I wanted to be a scientist. I said, “Okay, I’m not going to be fearful anymore.” I started reading books and reading books and reading books. But I did it all in secret. Whoa. Because I thought I was a bad Christian. I still remember sitting on the couch and coming to the point in all this study and just feeling the weight of evidence. The evidence I did not want to accept, frankly. It was so overwhelming. What was some of the evidence that stuck out to you? I remember coming to this realization that in order for evolution, this theory of evolution, not to be true or have it to be fraudulent, chemists would have to be wrong, physicists would have to be wrong, biologists would have to be wrong. All these people in disciplines for decades, and decades, and decades, they all have to be wrong. I just remember everything just clicking into place. And then I waited for my faith. And then I would say, oh, I’m still a Christian. I still love Jesus. One of the mottos at my university is “The truth has nothing to fear from inspection.” Once I accepted and started understanding evolution, I understand God’s love for his creation a lot more. I understand grace a lot more. I understand the awesomeness of God’s power a lot more. It is profound and beautiful. Yeah, I feel like you’re blowing my mind right now. So, how did we all get to be on this rock flying through space and what does it all mean? Science offers a lot of explanations and evidence about our creation, but the belief in a divine creator is really an unknown variable. I grew up in a Presbyterian home. I’m a practicing Christian today. I’ve never seen any reason for an incompatibility between science and faith. The boundaries drawn between God and science, or some combination of the two will look different from person to person. But when we allow this debate to shut down conversations, we limit our potential to understand each other and this flying rock we’re on a little more deeply. Thank you for watching Refinery29. For more videos, click here, and to subscribe, click here.




Comments
  1. I believe in God and that all good things are of God, and that includes science. I believe evolution should be taught in schools; it doesn't need to be something offensive to religious people. However, schools need to keep up on scientific discoveries. High schools have been teaching outdated material on evolution, when there have been so much more advances in that field of study.

  2. I think it's fully possible to believe in both! I do believe that God created the world and everything in it, and I believe that creatures and things change over time. Do I believe that humans were originally apes? No. But I know survival of the fittest and natural selection is a thing, and God is fully capable of making things be able to change and adapt to their surroundings, ya know? I've also wondered if the 7 days in the creation story were what we call days – for all I know, each "day" could have been what we call several thousand years. I believe that God is outside of and in control of time, so it's fully possible that He could let things evolve between each day.

  3. There is literally so much evidence for evolution.. that guy has obviously only done research that supports his own beliefs…

  4. Strange, evolution has never been an issue with me or any of my Christian friends that I know of…. The big bang theory is a completely different story.

  5. what makes more sense? sky daddy poofing random things everywhere or people evolving from
    other people and earlier and less domestic people

  6. I really enjoyed this piece. I am a Christian and I was hesitant to watch this video because I thought it would be attacking my faith. I couldn't have been more wrong. Grace was thoughtful, respectful and asked really good questions. This is by far my favorite video on Refinery 29. Please let Grace do more interviews and address more controversial topics.

  7. I don't think the two theories are incompatible. I believe in creationism. I don't believe in the randomness of the Big Bang Theory. Moreover, theories are merely scientific guesses, not fact. Ultimately, a personal relationship with God is paramount to understanding the purpose of life.

  8. Evolution just doesnt make sense😂😂😂😂😂😂 how will we come from apes at some point and no longer now. Has "evolution" stopped?

  9. You Americans are so strange…making this about some kinda different cultural views when evolution vs. creationism is only about truth vs. ignorance..

  10. some of the people that believe in it just seem dumb. I just don't believe in a magic Man in the sky. I've never seen anyone prove things with religion, all I get is "well look at the Bible"

  11. Maybe they'll never discover what really happened and what is the truth… I think this war against each belief is totally unnecessary. We need to learn how to respect each other's opinions!

  12. only in USA…I wanted to write more, but then I figured it only makes sense for a country that started the anti-vax movement, flat earth society, climate change deniers oh and pro-life. It seems to be the culture there, the freedom to an opinion is valued higher than decency and truth.

  13. As a Christian I’ve always considered science as discovering and exploring Gods creation. Not disregarding it. Even some evolutionist like Jeffrey Schwartz and Dr. Orgel (see article below) admit evolution can’t be proven. It’s basically a pieced together theory. Either way, we’ll all get the chance to ask God to his face one day, so there’s that.

    https://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_scientificcaseagainstevolution/

  14. The last statement in the video is the absolute truth… We have to have these conversations comfortably and openly in order to engage and never to feel attacked

  15. It's okay to believe that God's creations are so much more complex than those in the past understood. It's not that hard of a concept to wrap your head around. Science is the exploration of God's amazingness..not a fight against it.

  16. Christianity isn’t the only faith/religion. This video only highlights science and Christianity. There are many religions such as Islam where science and faith don’t contradict

  17. Ricky Gervais had a nice way of putting it, in terms of religion and science. If you remove all books, everything we know about science and everything we know about religion, in 2000 years, science will give us the exact same answers. But all we know about religion will be completely different. Science is fact, opinions are not. And religion is an opinion. If there was something called God, we all would worship the same God, and not 4,200 different opinions of that God. (I will say that I'm a "religion freak" cause I love reading about it. Religion in Old Egypt is my favorite so far. Maybe it's because I don't understand how you can believe in something that's not there, and maybe I'll get the surprise of a lifetime when I die :') )

  18. A good follow up to this is Intelligent Design. There’s a list of ID Scientists, many of whom are Astronomers, if not scientists that deal with the macro/bigger picture of life.

  19. As someone who is working through deconstruction faith wise and is majoring in environmental science, this is so good! It offten feels like people belive my commitment for one undermines my commitment to the other.

  20. Great video Grace. Your history has really allowed you to open these questions with sensitivity and grace. Cant wait to see what else you have in store.

  21. My grandfather was a passionate Catholic and a physics and astronomy professor. There was never a conflict between science and religion for him, and I listened to many lectures of just how much sense could be made by putting the two together.

  22. As a Christian I believe God created everything in 6 days…but not 6 "24 hour" days. God's time is measured differently. Each of those days could have been thousands of years in our time, which explains evolution. He didn't just "make a lion" he introduced the basics needed to create life forms and they evolved. Like us trying to terraform another planet into a livable place. When you learn about the big bang and Planck time this correlates. See here for more info: https://www.quora.com/What-happened-earlier-than-the-Planck-time
    Also check out Michio Kaku explaining the big bang and Planck time.

  23. Science and religion can coexist only if they avoid each other, because the two are too contradictory to interact without stirring up debate and revealing the truth that many people fail to understand and are too scared to address: that maybe we shouldn’t be believing in what a tribe of prosecuted people in the desert thought about the world over 20 centuries ago, when human civilization was still so young and mistaken about so many things. We stopped bloodletting, why not stop creationism?

  24. I love you Grace, but macro evolution is bullshit. Micro evolution (aka what happened on the Galapagos Islands) is the only aspect of evolution that has scientific backing. It doesn't matter what your religion is, you shouldn't rely on dated scientific theories for your facts. We did not come from apes, people.

  25. 5:53…. just because there is a consensus on something does not mean it’s true and viceversa. Why should we teach creationism, then, when so many thousands of belief systems exist that say opposing things?

  26. My only hope for humanity after reading this comment section is that someday we’ll stop believing in religion. Maybe then there will be some progress for civilization

  27. I am not from America and we’re taught the evolution theory in school, which I think is the right way. I am religious but for me, I think that religion and science explain different things: religion is more like why did things happen (and everyone has their own answers since they believe in different things & religion which I think is fine) and science is more like how did things happen. Science is really really important.

  28. I think one important thing to keep in mind is that evolution does not explain how life came to be; it explains how populations change over time. The origin of life is still a debated subject. Did it happen in a puddle, the deep sea, in bedrock, etc? But I cannot understand how you cannot accept evolution as fact, when there is so much evidence.

  29. Christianity is so threatened by facts different than their beliefs. Fear-based … That’s all about religion.

  30. How am I supposed to believe a version in a book when there are so many different stories of how we came to earth. All of the stories have to do with the same gd. Doesn't make sense. Evolution, when researched, makes the most sense because it is simply proven.

  31. I’ve been so incredibly impressed by the non bias of these documentaries. Thank you so much for making them I’ve really learned a lot

  32. I think everybody should lean to whatever explanation or theory of life feels right to them. It isn't right to force anyone to 'believe' only in religion or science, both are interesting and worth knowing. I tried to be part of my Catholic community several times but it always felt wrong for me and since I'm agnostic I feel better; free. But that's my choice and I don't need anyone else to have it too in order for me to feel better about life; it isn't my place to make other people's personal choices.

  33. I would choose a different title . I like that Grace seems to do genuine research from multiple perspectives on an issue. As a Christian I do believe in science, take medicine, and use modern conveniences. However the question of where did life itself and universe come from is not answered by science. (At least not yet) I would need to do in depth research to understand and know all the ins and outs of the theory of evolution.

  34. A correction, the Christian bible came from the Jewish bible. So it’s actually the Jewish bible, aka the Torah, states the 7 days of creation.

  35. How can you believe in the Bible when you don't believe the first thing it says? God told us loud and clear that he created the heavens and the earth. You can't be a picky choosy Christian and only want to believe only the things in the Bible that you want to hear. That's just not how it works.

  36. Thanks for this piece that is, once again, asking good questions and remaining open to other perspectives. I appreciate that Grace continues to make pieces like this.

  37. Great video Grace. My reply to the evangelist would be that one of the recurring themes in Proverbs is to "Get wisdom, get insight". Is it not God who has blessed scientists with the knowledge, insight and talents to discover and implement the things in nature which we now rely on. Taking that in to full context is then not a refusal of God to allow these advances to be found.

  38. 5:57 it doesn’t seem logical to argue that evolution isn’t valid because it’s “undefined” and lacks a consensus when there’s like 4,200 religions in the world and almost every one of them have their own creation story.

  39. I appreciated that either side was presented respectfully. Thank you Grace! I personally feel like science and faith are compatible and that there is just going to be areas we will never truly understand. One thing I'd like to mention is that the religious (not all but a subsection of Christianity) argument that creation was seven 24 hr days is incorrect. Our understanding of time and God's timing is very different (at least what I understand and believe it to be from what I was taught). The verses that explains this is: 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4 – "a day is as a thousand years to the Lord". I hope this gives a little insight. I feel like Grace and I could have the most deep, mind blowing conversation about this. 🙂

  40. The funny thing is that Catholicism generally doesn't demonize evolution. So not all Christian religions I guess. It makes sense though because Catholicism doesn't take the bible literally so there's room for evolution

  41. If I may add my own little comment- at this present moment both religious and scientific communities consist of and are subject to the communicative and political flaws of humans, as well as a huge range of intellectual and experiential understanding- all of which are limited and flawed in some way by the individual human mind. I believe it is dangerous and groundless to claim a complete and flawless understanding of either the natural world or of God. Until such time as a functional time machine is created, don't we have to simply choose what to believe about the world and accept that we have no way of proving to everyone (to everyone's satisfaction) it's infallibility?

  42. Religion is a personal matter it should never be part of politics and any other fact base matter. It’s so important for religious people to make the Bible stories true. So if god didn’t create men you are just another mammal. Religious people need to be special and chosen by god. So of course they have to be against evolution. This is a dangerous path.

  43. Love Grace, her wife and those adorable dogs!!!
    Grace's ability to ask difficult questions without ruffling feathers is flawless ❤
    I personally don't believe in God/devil or heaven/hell but I respect others journeys and beliefs.

  44. I saw a move through the LDS church that had Adam and Eve looking like GQ and Victoria Secret models. If that was the case, I got cheated. I don't believe we looked like apes either. I don't think about this stuff. I am here, I will live, and eventually I will die.

  45. If you really want to delve into the topic of reason and faith and can they coexist, I suggest reading St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologa. Even in the fifth century, the relationship between logic and faith was celebrated. I think the emergence of Evangelicalism disallowed that concept to take shape.

  46. The Christian God might not abide by our concept of time, creationism and science could work together in the way that maybe each day could be millions of years and evolution worked through that?

  47. I'm surprised you didn't bring up old earth creationism, and gap theory. They're lesser known theories within more scholarly christian circles.

  48. I think the question is why must you disprove one to believe in the other? Faith is a personal relationship with your creator not the whole world arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong. At the end of the day who cares if you believe in God or evolution? Those are personal choices and there aren’t any right or wrong answers.

  49. This is the most dishonest statement ever ( believe in science).
    Science is not about believing, science is about hipótesis, experiments , and proof, facts!

    Now all you stupid mother f&&##n religious imbeciles can go on believing in what ever the fuck your little cricket mind wants.😬

  50. Christian and science lover here: God created science to lead us to him. The more I learned about evolution, the more it cemented the idea of intelligent design to me. Animals evolve to release stress hormones through their eyes? Boom, crying as a natural coping mechanism. Making a Self-sustaining population was part of Gods intelligent design for free will, and evolution is one more piece of the puzzle to understanding Gods design.

  51. There is no contradiction – spirituality & science, they are one , as per folks like Einstein , Sir Isaac Newton …and many others. There’s only a conflict if you take texts like “the Bible” literally . In the end, believe and practice what is right for you .

  52. Nope. I’ve met so many religious people who are SO ignorant when it comes to science and their “beliefs” which to me is a whole lot of brainwashing crap over the decades and centuries!
    All they do is deny the truth and facts to back it up, they literally shake their head and ignore what you’re trying to prove and back up and say “Nope, nope, nope… and NOPE!”

  53. Grace, you are amazing! I had such a fun time filming with you. We talked for hours and I feel like we could talk many more.

    Much love & Godspeed,
    Willie

  54. Grace is awesome as usual. Really great episode.
    I do have some trouble sympathizing with people who reject evolution because “it conflicts with their faith”, when the bible itself is conflictive. Not to enter into a lot of detail here, but in a world where presbyterians, protestants, evangelicals, catholics, methodists exist side by side, maybe we should acknowledge the book isn’t so spot on and that it can be interpreted multiple ways.

  55. isn't evolution the change in a species (or other thing) over a period of time? so wouldn't that definition i just gave "not conflict" as the guy said? i'm confused as to what he meant

  56. Actually there's no proof of Darwinian theory of evolution. I'm Muslim and we have no problem with evolution but many evolutionists disagree with Darwinian theory of evolution

    And from everything I know there has been no contradiction between science and what Islam teaches.

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