Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Evolution of an Evolutionist

Let me tell you briefly how I became an evolutionist. I'd be delighted to hear brief stories from you about your experiences as well.

I started off as a creationist, as fundamentalist as they come. This lasted through my undergraduate days as a biology major. But I gave up these beliefs for two reasons. First, I kept learning more science. I found out that the creationists I had believed were wrong: there is lots of evidence for evolution, from DNA to fossils. Second, and this may surprise you--I kept reading the Bible. And I finally realized that a literalistic interpretation of the Bible just didn't work. So I would encourage creationists to do as I did--read the Bible for yourself, don't just believe what preachers tell you about the Bible. This may very well lead you, as it did me, to a figurative (literary) interpretation.

My evolution was partly gradualistic, and partly punctuated equilibrium. I gave up creationism in stages (gradualism). But there were certain memorable points in time when I had important insights about both religion and science (punk eek). I'll tell you about them sometime.

I have always been a great lover of nature. Hiking in the mountains and riding my bike in the country inspired me when I was young. At first, my admiration was framed in a creationist praise of a Creator who made everything exactly as it was. But I gradually realized that, if God made it exactly as it was and without the ability to evolve, then the world was not built to last. If life does not evolve, it will come to a crashing demise when the environment changes, as it always does. To a fundamentalist, this is no problem: they believe that any minute now Jesus will come back and destroy the world, including nature. I always had trouble with this, even in my fundy days. But I realized that, without accepting evolution, I had to see the natural world as NOT BUILT TO LAST. This seemed to me to be an insult to God.

More later. Let me know what your experiences have been.


  1. My conversion story is similar to yours - the more I learned about the Bible and biology, the less I believed in a compassionate god. Biblical inconsistency; the problem of suffering; a spiteful, misogynistic and genocidal god and the evil that has been done by the 'faithful': all contributed to a weakening faith. Learning about and understanding evolution and recognizing the inefficacy of prayer were final nails in the coffin.

  2. A beautiful post. And one I'd like to send to people who think you can't be inspired by the Bible if you don't take it literally....