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My money's on Mendel...

Inevitably, I would have to post about evolution. Evolution is a fascinating science and one that has given me more than a few headaches over the years considering how many tests I've had to study for and papers I've had to write about this topic. Throw in lessons I've taught on Darwin, reading Origin of the Species, and specials I've watched on can say that I may as well have minored in evolution.

And, believe it or not, I still believe in God.

That's why I don't get this wave of "militant atheist/humanist" crowd that spends more time making blasphemous images on photoshop to support their "humanist" cause than any reasonable atheist ever does. I say reasonable atheist because I actually know and am friends with quite a few "reasonable atheists" that simply don't believe in God.

Reasonable atheist-  (noun) people who simply don't believe in a higher being of any sorts. They are reasonable because they respect people's religions and do not waste their lives trying to disprove or offend religious folk.

I am friends with a few atheists who are actually great people. They respect me as well as my beliefs...and I appreciate it. They also don't waste their time attempting to refute God's existence 24/7. In short, I generally don't have a problem with them. After all, Tolkien was good friends with C.S. Lewis back when Lewis was an atheist (before becoming one of the most influential Christians in the modern world)....and Tolkien was just about one of the coolest Catholics of all time.

Now militant atheists, those I can't stand.

Militant atheist- (noun) One with beliefs similar to atheists. However, these people, for some reason, find the need to attack other religions in order to make themselves feel better about their own beliefs. In my opinion, they must harbor some form of insecurity (kind of like those bullies on the playground that are actually very sensitive and easily hurt on the inside).  It is my firm belief that beneath those layers of anti-religious sentiment, there must be some warm, fuzzy and extremely vulnerable/troubled heart that must be prayed for.

Militant atheists, for some reason, tend to bring up Darwin and evolution far too often without really being able to contribute any of their own thinking into the argument. Oftentimes, they shoot themselves in the foot when they encounter people like me who believe in God, actually studied evolution, and read Darwin's book.

Regardless of what they try to tell you, Darwin didn't prove anything. In fact, his entire book is a theory that is based on OBSERVATIONS. The real proof began with, you guessed it, Gregor Mendel. Gregor Mendel was a very gifted individual who spent years laboring over a bunch of pea plants...painstakingly pollinating plants with certain traits to breed them with plants that had a certain trait in order to study how inheritance of different characteristics worked. He carefully took note of the characteristics that were passed down from plant generation to plant generation (pea color, flower color, plant height, etc). He wrote down his results and compiled a pretty amazing collection of data....Data that would one day help explain or inspire research that would later show how evolution works.

Here's the kicker....Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk. He was Catholic! He BELIEVED IN GOD even though he was among the first people begin to understand how evolution could work. I'm not trying to be hard on Darwin here...You got to give him credit for publishing some pretty radical stuff considering how some ideas dominated the science world at  the time (Lamarckism, etc). Also, he was able to come up with some pretty reasonable explanations about what he had seen in his travels. However, the fact remains that the true science behind evolution, in my opinion, started with Mendel...who gets tossed aside by many "militant atheist fools."

Militant atheist fools - (noun) uninformed, angsty fools...mostly teens or early 20s... who decide to be atheists so they don't have to get up Sunday mornings to go to church. Deluded by some prominent and uber-cranky atheist's book, they rebel against all organized religion by anonymously trolling blogs, facebook, and youtube threads.

Next time you meet one of these annoying militant atheists who try to use evolution to refute God...try bringing up Mendel just to see them writhe. If they try quoting a prominent atheist as their source of information...make them draw a Punnett Square to explain how things are inherited. If they attempt to make a mockery of Genesis...bring out the big guns and have them draw a tri-hybrid cross Punnett Square to determine the chances that Eve was tempted by an albino serpent vs a striped one.

 If they, somehow, are able to do this...make them explain how evolution works. Don't let them get off easy by saying "well, a mutation happens and then..."

No. They got to give you a lot more than that. Be sure they understand that they are now a sweating PhD candidate and you are their thesis advisor. (Just make sure to read up on your biology first!) Have them give you a 30 minute presentation on the central dogma of biology (DNA to RNA to Protein), inheritance, reproduction, polymorphisms....the whole deal. If anyone is going to use evolution to argue God's existence, they'd better be able to explain it thoroughly before they have the right to even dare to argue religion with you.

As with any argument, there are two sides of it. Therefore, be prepared to not only defend but understand your faith. This may also take some reading time as well as courage... They will throw misinterpreted bible quotes at you. They will try the 6000 years vs. billions of years argument (because they assume all people are fundamentalist Christians for some reason). Etc. Etc. Etc.

Be prepared! However, if all else fails, just walk away and keep praying for them. You won't always come across reasonable people...even if they claim to value "reason."

Pax Vobiscum

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