By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.
When asked if “God used evolution to create people," 73% of pastors disagreed - 64% said they strongly disagreed - compared to 12% who said they agree.
Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.
A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure, arguing that it is rooted in the Bible. Scientists say the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.
The Southern Baptist Convention survey, which queried 1,000 American Protestant pastors, also found that 74% believe the biblical Adam and Eve were literal people.
“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, in a report on LifeWay’s site. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”
The phone survey was conducted in May 2011, sampling ministers from randomly selected Protestant churches. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent, LifeWay said.
A 2010 Gallup poll found that 40% of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, versus 54% who said humans developed over millions of years.
over 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone and there are far more planets than stars.
no doubt there must be life somewhere out there and based on our newness, they had a jump on technology.
Can you imagine a bunch of aliens coming here about 2,000 years ago, one saying to the other 'Do you want to play a jesus joke here too?
Where is the evidence of evolution today? We are all born human, animal or other being and will not change until we die. Is this evolution some unknown far-out idea that's happening without one's knowledge? There is far greater, and more, evidence of Creation and the resulting Earth. A person cannot "kind of" believe in the Bible. Either you accept it and God, or reject it and
accept the consequences when you die.
wow it doesn't happen before your eyes so it's not real.
"God works in mysterious ways," and in the long term, not your short lifetime. If you can't believe God's ability to make and let the world evolve as it has over billions and billions of years, your "magic wand" Creationism is just proof of your weak faith and need for simplistic answers. How would YOU explain nuclear power plants to uneducated populations who could barely count the number of goats they had and had probably never even been down the road to the next village 10 miles away??? The world is a big place, the universe is even bigger, and God (whatever name you give Him) is so far beyond poor human understanding (despite about 5,000 years of His trying to give us a few clues) that you can't limit His power to YOUR feable understanding. Gallileo had trouble trying to tell the Pope the Earth was not flat and that the Sun did not rotate around the Earth. 350yrs later Rome finally admitted he was right....but that he was still guilty of not going through proper channels (Vatican "experts" who were still debating is a Woman could have a soul!). You give God little credit!!!!!!!
How about giving God credit for creating evolution and tell those stupid pastors to shut up?. They are ignorant to the extreme!
Another commenter who has absolutely no idea what biological evolution is, insisting that he knows it's not true. Thanks for your expertise.
how do you make the leap from a creator to a being that judges "sin"?
First, you need to know what a species is. To learn this, read "What is a Species, and What is Not," by the late Ernst Mayr;
Next, I have compiled a list of dozens of observed speciation events- the emergence of new species from old.
"The Emergence of New Species"
Evolution on Earth, like gravity, is always happening.
The answer is somewhere in the middle. Preachers who deny science are just as deluded as scientist who deny that all things originate with God. Preachers and scientist have a lot in common although they do seem to believe so. I can imagine God looking at all and laughing himself into a holy frenzy.
Who taught you that the plural of 'scientist' is 'scientist'?
Preacher – preachers
Scientist – scientists
Scientists examine hard evidence (and draw suppositions which may or may not be proved...sooner or later). But even they admit that they have no clue as to where the initial "spark of life" came from......of Who is behind the whole thing. Your "shazam" explanation is like explaining to your kid that the milk in the fridge comes out of the bottle or carton the dairy put it in. (Hint: it is a little more complicated than that!)
"Preachers and scientist[s] have a lot in common although they do seem to believe so." I think you meant"...they do NOT seem..."
My typing is off today too: Galileo, not Gallileo....mea culpa!
voice of reason: how does someone make the leap from a creator to a "god"?
And in terms of evolution, guess what Christ followers: there is tons of evidence. The reason you have a tail bone is because you used to have a tail. It doesn't change anything if we came from a monkey, a tree, a rock ..... it doesn't change the Biblical teaching that we are made for relationship with God and others. It doesn't change the many spiritual lessons contained in the Bible. There is NO evidence for young earth creationism. Zero. I have no problem believing God is within all things (no dualism) and that however we were created God (spirit) was alongside in all ways. So many of you (Christ followers posting who believe young earth creationism etc.) would be the same ones calling for Galileo's death years ago.... and we all know who turned out to be right in that one....
There are still people that believe the earth is flat. It think they are the Flat Earther Society.
Ok – listen. The ancient Hebrews (Genesis has several authors) didn't care a fig (or a date) for empirical science and didn't write Genesis as science or historical fact. They wrote it as a faithful understanding that God was intertwined with human life and creation and all things. They (and Christians) believed God was revealing spiritual (emphasis: spiritual) truth that we are most whole when in a relationship with God and others through love. They never, ever intended Genesis to be taken literally and did not write it literally. This isn't opinion – it is fact based on any scholar who has actually taken time (especially Jews) to understand the writings of the Bible alongside the other surviving texts. It's the stupid pastors who promote young earth creationism and a literal reading of Scripture ..... and then people trust them without any basis. So tired of Christ followers having their heads so far up their behinds.....
Fundamentalists (Christians, Muslims, whatever) give simplistic "absolutes" to simple people. It is SOOO reassuring to know that YOU are right and everyone else is wrong....and no need to ask questions or even think....which explains a lot if you look at the populations following Fundamentalist charlatans. How many angels can stand on the head of a pin: a burning theological question from the Middle Ages-the Vatican has the exact count....but they can't (or, rather, won't) tell you how many of their priests are pedophiles (DADT) or how many victims they have made over the centuries. There is a reason Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox, etc. priests (can) get married....it cuts down on the Acts Against Nature of an artificial, irrational sub-society. It also makes marriage counseling a lot more credible.
Evolution is a false theory. It is false in the way that both proponents and opponents imagined the implications and as a general scientific theory. We didn't evolve from Chimpanzees and this was proven by the recent Ardi discovery. However, evolution is not based on this feat and we likely share an unknown, yet to be discovered common ancestor. At a more general level, evolution is an inductive theory that provides no deduction for how it actually works. In other words, Darwin never really proved his idea to the satisfaction of scientific standards that were in place hundreds of years ago. In fact, we should not be throwing evolution into any legitimate debate about creative origins. Biological systems were not created fully formed, but developed through intricate complex adaptive processes. These complex adaptive processes are made possible through a set of abstract computation rules that govern the fundamental elements of the system. Key point: the rules and elements were in place before the adaptive processes were able to drive a system in negative or positive directions. Conventional evolution only treats the combination of the elements and processes that are driven in the positive direction and does not explain the micro science. Therefore, at the point of creation, a creative being, (Hence God), spun both the elements and computations rules into place. We are still a live audience to the unfolding of God's creation, but yet we fail to see beyond the end of our own noses.
You are right .... you are most likely closely related to great apes.
The monkey and hominids (humans) diverged about 6-10 million years ago.
The rest of what you say is garbage espoused by the Intelligent Design and other schools of thought that have been debunked for years.
@ bumper, "Evolution is a false theory."
Empty assertions are not evidence.
bumper, "We didn't evolve from Chimpanzees"
No one except ignorant and/or dishonest creationists ever have said humans evolved from chimps.
bumper, "we likely share an unknown, yet to be discovered common ancestor."
Yes. That is likely true. It is called Evolution.
bumper, "Darwin never really proved his idea to the satisfaction of scientific standards"
The merging of population genetics and evolutionary theory in the 1930s responded to the final 19th century objections to Evolutionary Biology.
bumper, "Key point: the rules and elements were in place before the adaptive processes were able to drive a system in negative or positive directions."
These "rules" are called chemistry, and evolution.
The rest of your comment was nonsense.
A legitimate debate about your invisible friend is OK and science has no place in a legimate debate I think you've explained your position well
Let's see...do you appeal to a preacher's authority in any of the following situations?
-when you have a toothache.
-when you're being audited by the IRS.
-when you've been arrested and accused of a felony.
-when you want to remove a wall from your house and need to determine if it is load-bearing.
-when you wish confirmation that the dose of potent anti-coagulant drug you are taking is appropriate.
No? Then why the HE.LL would you care what a preacher has to say about biology or physics? Seriously! Come on folks!
I would add;
Your car won't start.
Your drains are clogged.
If your plumber or auto mechanic burn candles on the job, get new ones.
Does it really matter how old the earth is? I think not! Now what did the researchers expect to get in results after contacting ministers, half and half is about right. Time in the Bible is very much different than that of the secular world. What might take 1000 years in the Bible could be a million years, it just works out that way.
Let's see, the Bible doesn't teach about how to make a printing press, which would have been very useful for getting the word out. The Bible doesn't teach how to make a battery, which isn't too hard. The Bible doesn't teach how to make steel, which would be useful, and was being done elsewhere at leasts hundreads of years B.C. The Bible doesn't teach how to make an hourglass (9th Century), again would have been easy and useful. Nothing about simple chemistry (for example – sulphuric acid 2nd Century). Or – if we argue against technology and materials – what about a pure mental construct like Calculus – extremely useful. Or simple Newtonian physics? OK – point being. The Bible is NOT a book that teaches science. So why do we think it would teach biology, geology, planetary physics, astronomy, molecular biology, genetics, etc.?
Ouch it takes a Ph.D. from M.I.T to conclude that. Thank you
Now, how can you explain the Bible which says faith is the assurance of that which cannot be seen. By faith we understand the universe was formed by command so that what is seen was not made by what was visible.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so. If Christ were here today there is one thing he would not be...a Christian."
The ones that do believe in evolution... how? I mean, how can they believe in both Genesis and evolution? Surely they haven't thought things through if they don't see anything contradictory there. Then I suppose, you have to be willfully ignorant to be religious in the first place, and completely sure your particular religion and deity is the right one, so maybe it makes sense.
@Scott, Genesis is a very complex, and often rewritten, and edited book that was assembled from multiple sources. If you read it in an English translation- ignorant of the great cultural, and linguistic differences between the ancient texts and the modern English- then it is you that has no understanding of the meaning of Genesis. You are "willfully ignorant." I recommend reading some of the relevant books from my shelf;
1992 "The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible" The Anchor Bible Reference Library New York: ABRL/Doubleday
1984 "Reading the Old Testament: an Introduction" Mahwah N.J.: The Paulist Press
Bodine, Walter R., (Ed.)
1992 "Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew." Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns
Brotzman, Ellis R.
1994 "Old Testament textural criticism: a practical introduction." Grand Rapids: Baker Academic
Cross, Frank Moore
1973 "Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel." Boston: Harvard University Press
1965 "Psalms I, 1-50: Introduction, Translation and Notes" New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday
(Dahood's three volumes on the Psalms are essential reading for any serious Bible student, but the first is particularly relevant to Genesis).
2000 "Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Revised" Oxford: Oxford University Press
Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 "The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts" New York: The Free Press
Friedman, Richard Elliott
1987 Who Wrote the Bible? New York:Harper and Row (Paperback Edition)
1976 "The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion" New Haven: Yale University Press
Jewish Publication Society
2004 “The Jewish Study Bible: TANAKA translation” Oxford University Press.
Kramer, Samuel Noah
1972 "Sumerian Mythology: A study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millenium B.C." OP 1961 New York: University of Pennsylvania Press/ Harper.
1992 "Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000-586 B.C.E." The Anchor Bible Reference Library NewYork: ABRL/Doubleday
2002 "Writings from the Ancient World Vol. 10: Ritual and Cult at Ugarit" Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature
Parker, Simon B. (Editor)
1997 "Ugarit Narrative Poetry Translated by Mark S. Smith, Simon B. Parker, Edward L Greenstein, Theodore J. Lewis, David Marcus, Vol. 9 Writings from the Ancient World" Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature
1992 "Before Writing Volume I: From counting to cuneiform" Austin: University of Texas Press
2006/2008 “The Challenge of Creation: Judaism’s Encounter with Science, Cosmology and Evolution” New York: Zoo Torah and Yashar Books (An orthodox Rabbi)
Smith, Mark S.
2002 “The Early History of God 2nd ed.” Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing
2003 “The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts” Oxford University Press.
Sparks, Kenton L.
2005 “Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible” Peabody PA: Hendrickson Publishers
Speiser, E. A.
1962 "Genesis: Introduction, Translation and Notes" New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday
2001 "Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Vol. II: The Asserian, Babylonian and Persian Periods (732-332 B.C.E.)" The Anchor Bible Reference Library New York: ABRL/Doubleday
Walton, John H.
2006 “Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament” Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press
2001 "The Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches” New York: Continuum Press
news flash: 73% of pastors choose to be stupid.
I think we are all born ignorant, and many people prefer to remain that way. "Stupid" technically meant a biological injury making learning difficult, or impossible. I don't object to "stupid" people. I do object to willfully ignorant people. I particularly oppose people who attempt to promote ignorance as if it were holy. Those people are not "stupid, they are evil.
Evolution doesn't claim God doesn't exist. It's simply the technicalities of 'how'. Nobody knows what caused the big bang, but if you believe in one truly almighty power, wouldn't that be how he'd do it? In one single move create all of time and the universe? Evolution matches Genesis. It was the 'stork' story for cavemen thousands of years ago who thought the Earth was flat and couldn't understand things. Now we can. I would argue that a true believer would LOVE to study science and see up close and personal just how impressive God's work is. What better way is there to appreciate it than that? Doctors are even better. Not only do they study it, but they work to preserve it, and seek ways to perpetuate it. Don't let a bunch of Zealots tell you you're supposed to let God do everything for you. He gave you hands, eyes, brains and mouths. USE THEM.
"Evolution doesn't claim God doesn't exist. It's simply the technicalities of 'how'. "
The problem is it doesn't agree with the beginning of how God created earth. Evolution does not equal creationism. Since you don't believe the bible as a whole, you are not a true Christian.
Yes, yes, yes and yes again. I don't know what ministers participated in this
survey,but mine did not. He's a Methodist.
"Evolution matches Genesis."
No, it does not. Genesis says day and night were created BEFORE the sun. Any fool with a brain can see that's wrong. Science dictates that the sun came first (obviously). Genesis says the earth was created in 6 to 7 days and that there were also talking snakes. Evolution says the earth took billions of years to create the earth and it says nothing about a talking snake.
Okay, the world was created 6,000 years ago, with all the stratigraphy, cartwheeling galaxies and radioactive decay that helps keep your computers running, already in place and appearing as though it had been in existence for 13-14 billion years. Which creationist can argue that the world and everything you see was not created two seconds before the oldest person on Earth? Everything can just pop into existence with the results of a pre-existing condition already ticking away. Magic is great that way.
The more we learn about the universe, the more we define our ingorance. We search for confirmation of the "God" particle and may well find later a smaller, more important one. We see the wonders upon wonders and find depths unplumbable and things, as yet, unfathomable. And we say that we can learn it all and fathom it all, and yet we are fools. Well did David say, " ...the fool hath said in his heart, 'There is no God'...".
First of all the world is older than 6,000 years old and we really dont know how old it is. In Genesis in the bible In the beginning is the dateless past. It could billions or trillions of years. God created the world and everything else through Jesus Christ. Im not here to argue about how old the world is but know this Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. So you dont have to bow down now but at the end of your life you will bow in the next life. So make the right choice and give your life to Jesus Christ.
Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Simple, the egg. It's easily mutated to what ever God wants it to be.
Actually, it is a combination of evolution and the "Special Event" of the big brain theory some 50,000 years ago. Science and Archaeology are proving there was indeed civilization before 6,000 years ago. Does everyone who believes in the written historical record comprising the Bible (Old Testament) think that earlier written records of ancient Sumer (all predecessors of the Biblical tales) are just fiction? If you have faith in one you most certainly should have faith in the other. Gods walked among men, provided Man with what makes him different than any other animal on this planet (reasoning) through genetic engineering (as we do today), and granted Man terrestrial time in Nippur where Terah, the Biblical patriarch Abraham's father, was high priest in 3700 BCE. Many ancient clay tablets recently found from those days need to be established as our real history!
I want that mug.
So why are archelogists finding the remains of our ancestors who were short, hairier and didn't walk like us. They didn't find any remains of those 15ft giants that the bible said existed, they never found any remains of salt water fish in the middle of continents (as if the world was filled with water at one time), they never found any Egyptian remains in the Red Sea (when it was supposedly killed them when it wasn't split after the Jews supposedly walked past it spilt), they never found the 10 commandments, they never found any remains of Noah's Arc, etc.... I guess that's what the phrase means ignorance is bliss. Does it really make your life much better when you have an imaginary friend that wants to teach children wrong history? Eventually our descendents are going to wonder what was wrong with society for believing in nonsense. It's embarassing for us nonbelievers to be put in the same light.
Speaking to some of your points, they have found crustaceans and fish on top of mountains. Speaking to the Egyptians in the Red Sea, first of all, the Red Sea is huge and it would take a long time to find 4,000 year old evidence that would most likely be buried. Second, many people think the original translation was incorrect and it was referring to the Reed Sea, which was found to have evidence of what seemed to be battle on it. It has since recessed but evidence points to it being deeper in the past.
As to the 10 commandments, they are in the Ark of the Covenant which was stolen or maybe even destroyed when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem somewhere around 500BC.
Finally, why would you expect a 6,000 year old WOODEN boat to not have decayed and been destroyed by now by the elements and nature like termites, etc. The fact that you expect a wooden boat to survive for 6,000 years seems rather laughable.
DanM, what the heck are you talking about?!?!?!
@DanM You're right, why would anyone expect a wooden boat built by an alcoholic elderly man that's a football field long and filled with animals that he gather from all over the world (never mind those penguins, Noah, just get the bald eagles) to still be around 6,000 years later?
firs of all they have found giant remains and the bones and axles of a chariot wheel in the red sea for your information. They have found bones in the red sea and Noah's ark on Mount ararat.
I'll bet you have a real receipt for when you bought the Brooklyn Bridge too, don't you?
Even more to the point; there is no geological evidence of a global flood, biological evidence of a genetic bottleneck 4000 years ago(Genesis), or archaeological evidence of hundreds of thousands of people and livestock wandering around the Sinai for 40 years.
On the latter point see:
Finkelstein, Israel, Neil Silberman
2001 T"he Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts" New York: The Free Press
1992 Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000-586 B.C.E. The Anchor Bible Reference Library NewYork: ABRL/Doubleday
Awesome. I was just asked by a colleague to lecture on the relationship between science and religion in his Comparative Religions class. To all who have posted, thanks for the food for thought.
Let me suggest that you look over, "Philosophy/Liberal Studies 333: Evolution and Creation"
A lot of good material.
Thank you! I will.
This is precisely why, I do not want another Christian conservative president
Belief is fine, but if you are going to believe the same thing, regardless of the facts you are presented with, then that is no longer a virtue. Faith is a virtue, but blind faith is not.
Evolution is scientific fact, we see it everywhere. Cells adapt to the cold, we can go to the Galapagos and see evolution in abundant form across many species. We have a match on Chimp DNA that is 98%.
The Bible has been proven wrong again and again, it is parable, it is not fact. The Earth is not only a few thousand years old, The Earth is not the center of the universe, creation did not occur in 7 days, etc etc. We know this from fossils, carbon dating, and the way we watch other galaxies form across the universe.
Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a supreme being, and it never will. These are matters of faith, evolution is a matter of fact and science and to say otherwise is absolutely ignorant. Even the Catholics have adopted and understand evolution, astronomy, the fact that Christ was not born on Dec 25th, etc.
Some people's minds are so small they are incapable of intellectually exploring anything. If they
cannot have something explained to them all wrapped up in a silver box with a pink bow
ribbon on top they can't handle it. They're called ideologues.....like the ones who denounced
(and sometimes burned at the stake) anyone who said such strange things as "the earth is round,
not flat", and "the earth revolves around the sun." They were predecessors of the seventy three
percent who chimed in on the non-evolution side in this survey.
Just a couple quick questions for all those creationists out there:
1. Who did Adam and Eve’s children marry?
2. Have you ever had a flu shot?
1. The Bible says Adam and Eve had many children. They married their sisters. This would have taken you all of 2 minutes to learn by reading the first couple chapters of Genesis.
DanM: "The Bible says Adam and Eve had many children. They married their sisters. This would have taken you all of 2 minutes to learn by reading the first couple chapters of Genesis."
Oh, so creationists condone and promote incest? Gotcha, thanks for clearing that up.
His point isn't just about the "icky" incest but why we have evolved to feel icky about it...we need genetic variation. Long ago people realized that the more closely realted to someone you are the more likely the children yoou'd have would have something wrong with them. The idea that two of any animal is enough to propigate is without merit. Any species that comes down to two is extinct. In fact many species, like the wolf, needs thousands to not be considered extinct-in-waiting. Inbreeding results in decreasing mental and physical viability becuase mutations that are harmful become too prevelant in the population. But I guess a book written by people who wondered what the sky, stars and moon were, not to mention what was beyond the edge of the world, is better to inform our minds than science. Whatever.
MRQ – Actually, anti-incest is an "instinct" built into many animals. And by instinct, I mean it is genetically "programmed." And by that I mean that those animals that "accidentally" had a mutation that acted in such a way as to discourage incest had more healthy offspring, which, (depending on the gene) had a greater likelihood of also having the gene. Which again expressed itself by discouraging them from incest, which again resulting in them having offspring which was statistically more likely to survive than those that did engage in incest – and thus more survive, etc. etc. etc. And – not just one mutation – but many – and so those individuals would mate producing offspring with more than one gene with effects that decrease probability of incest. Viola. Evolution via natural selection. For humans I saw recent research about pheremones and – without getting into details (which I forget) – not only was revealing how and why they work, but also showed why they tend not to work between people that have very similar DNA (i.e., genetic relatives). Please read The Panda's Thumb or any of the of the many other great essays by Stephen Jay Gould explaining evolution. You will be glad you did. The truth will set you free John 8:32 :-)
Interested in knowing exactly where you were going with the flu shot? Not sure how a person's immune system adapting to a virus (in most cases a dead virus) is going to prove evolution. Afterall, that immunity is not passed on to offspring, since does not express itself in our genes. But I am guessing you had something else in mind.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.