An essay posted both at Alternet and Salon this week; I’m a High School Atheist Going to Christian School That Uses a Curriculum Written by Fundamentalists; both posts subtitled the article “If teaching ‘God’s point of view’ requires blatant mistruths, maybe it’s time to rethink God’s point of view”.
It’s about an high school student in a southern state being taught something called ACE, Accelerated Christian Education, who comes to discover that this curriculum is not exactly fair in its representation of the science of evolution.
It was only when I started to think about it that I realized there is a whole scientific community backing up this theory of evolution. I realized it would take a massive conspiracy on the part of the scientific community to cover up the idea that maybe evolution wasn’t airtight. This is no problem for ACE. From what I can tell, they think there is a massive conspiracy to disprove God with the theory of evolution. The problem with that should be plainly obvious. To say that evolution disproves God is fundamentally wrong. It says nothing of the sort.
With an open mind, I began a simple Google search to find the evidence [http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_01] behind the theory of evolution. Imagine my genuine surprise when I found a mountain of it. I had always been led to believe, not just by ACE, but also by organizations like Answers In Genesis, that the fossil record disproved evolution. It doesn’t. Not only did I find fossil evidence, I found DNA and vestigial evidence as well. I found out that there is no denial of science among evolutionary biologists.
Needless to say, my opinion of Accelerated Christian Education only deteriorated from that point on. All it takes is one broken egg to realize they are all spoiled. Being too young to understand what was going on at the time (as I suspect most ACE students are), I didn’t realize the complete demonization of the word “socialism.” I didn’t understand that ethically, they should not have been feeding me the type of right-wing propaganda [http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/how-ace-promotes-right-wing-propaganda/] that seems so obvious now.
When taking such concerns to the principal, the principal responds, “Tyler, how do you feel about Jesus?” – which sorta misses the point entirely, and, of course, exposes the religious agenda of science-denial.
It’s not that the people around me identify with my criticisms and have rational answers for them. Rather, they misunderstand why I believe what I do and they are only concerned with my (in their opinion) inevitable conversion to Christianity. It seems to me they take for granted that when someone has without bias considered Christianity against its alternatives, that individual will then turn to Christianity and never look back. This is a somewhat ironic phenomenon that is not uniquely Christian, but is rather inherent to any religious belief. Of course, you see the problem. If every religion thinks it is the only one that makes perfect sense, it’s going to be extremely difficult to determine which religion is telling the truth, if any of them.
This is just one of a number of criticisms I have of Christianity, or of any religious faith, for that matter. It declares itself the only true religion, and then tries to demonstrate exactly why this is the case. The other way around would be infinitely more convincing to me. Yet I feel like the people around me will not hear my criticisms, no matter how persuasive I try to be. I think the reason for this is that questioning is seen as sin, at least by most Christians. They think, “If Satan has you doubting, he’s got you right where he wants you,” and subsequently try to eradicate all thought of skepticism.