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A ninth grade girl from my wife’s youth choir was sitting reading in the church pew before the service was to start. The vicar when passing by asked the girl what she was reading.
“I’m reading this [holding up a copy of Exit Evolution]. “Have you read it?”, she asked. The vicar uttered a most disapproving sound and told her that he was not interested in such crap. And neither did he think she should be.
“But it’s really good, you should read it?” the girl replied.
“No it’s terrible and I would never read it,” the vicar answered angrily.
My wife, who is the organist, was standing just beside the vicar when this exchange of words occurred. One might think that common courtesy should have prevented the good vicar from trashing my book in front of my wife. But no, when encountering critique of evolution the rules of polite discourse are annulled. I think we all know that by now. My wife felt obliged to make a phone call later that Sunday, to comfort the poor choir girl who had been verbally obliterated.
This attitude toward ID is common in the Church of Denmark as a whole. The head of the parish council once told my wife in a polite but disapproving way that what her husband promotes, namely ID, is nothing but creationism, – he had read this “fact” at Wikipedia! My wife has a strong sense that in and around her churches, my ID work is regularly mocked behind her back.
In 2018 a vicar working in the church of Denmark was publicly reprimanded by his bishop, for having written in the parish magazine that evolution is not compatible with Christian moral values. In the public debate that followed, professor of theology Svend Andersen from the University of Århus, made it clear that the vicar’s opinion was not one that had a place within the church of Denmark.
The professor’s view seems to be prevalent among the theological elite, and when the university professors have this view it probably explains why vicars in general hold this view too. Priests preaching in the church of Denmark all went to university, so the church is in effect an extension of the academic world.
I’m not sure why there’s such hostility against ID among Danish theologians. But it appears that being part of the academic world requires offering very, very serious allegiance to Darwin, even in the department of theology. I guess someone told the theologians that evolution is science, so any criticism of evolution must necessarily be unscientific. The threat of being accused of holding an unscientific view at a university probably forces the theology professors and students to keep hailing Darwin.
In the city of Århus, we have a conservative, privately funded Bible college and one would think that ID was welcome in such a place. While that may be true, it sadly doesn’t include the college taking a public stand on the issue. Currently, the college has a student who openly and with the full support of the college promotes theistic evolution. This student has also launched a vicious attack on ID, apparently also with the blessings of the leadership.
The attack includes hours of podcasts aimed at Christian college students, featuring outrageous accusations against ID theoriests. Michael Behe, for instance, is claimed to use tricks to lure people to believe in ID and Douglas Axe’s protein research is claimed to be hopelessly outdated. In his effort to smear ID, the theology student — who unfortunately is very popular among his young fellow Christian students — uses without shame arguments gathered from militant atheists like for instance professor Stefaan Blancke. I find this unbelievably weird and concerning.
To these theologians and students of theology, it seems perfectly logical that God directed an undirected process. It also is obvious to them that considering empirical evidence for intelligent design should by all means be avoided. They agree that God designed life, but if you are able to see evidence for design in nature, you are wrong. And why would theologians at all be interested in evidence for intelligent design in nature? Blind faith after all is the best. You are obviously smarter if you hold the view that random mutation produced a nonrandom result when man was created in the image of God.
I’m sorry but I don’t get it!