Fw: draft of letter to James Dobson about evolution/creation debate

Don Munro (don@asa3.org)
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 10:35:41 -0500

Dear Listservers,

This letter is self-explanatory. I think that Wendy would like you
to inform her if you are a scientist and would be willing to attach
your signature to the document.

Blessings,
Don Munro

-----Original Message-----
From: Wendee Holtcamp <wendee@greendzn.com>
To: asa@asa3.org <asa@asa3.org>
Date: Monday, November 15, 1999 3:44 PM
Subject: draft of letter to James Dobson about evolution/creation
debate

Dear ASA,

After hearing a radio show broadcast on James Dobson's Focus on the
Family
with Phillip Johnson, author of "Darwin on Trial" (and other books)
I
drafted a letter expressing my concern, using scriptural points to
discuss
why I thought the whole creationism vs evolution debate sidetracks
Christians and non-Christians alike from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have
a list of several Christians who are also scientists, professors,
and
science students who are going to co-sign the letter.

I am enclosing the letter below in hopes that you might be willing
to pass
it around ASA to see if other scientists agree and are willing to
co-sign.
After I get a list compiled of scientists & Christians, I will
postal mail
it around for actual signatures.

I look forward to your reply. Perhaps you can post my letter to the
ASA
listserv, or at least put in a request for people who might be
interested in
signing to email me at wendee@greendzn.com. I am not currently
subscribed to
the ASA list.

Best regards,

Wendee Holtcamp
-----------------------
COVER LETTER FROM ME ONLY
Dear Dr. Dobson,

Let me start by saying I enjoy your radio show and have truly
enjoyed
several of the personal testimonies that you have played, including
Carol
Anderson, Mark Anderson, and Guy Doud. In fact, Guy Doud's "With
Love to
Hurting Teens" convinced me to not accept a full-time job that would
have
taken me away from my two preschoolers. His message also inspired me
to seek
out a part-time high school biology teaching position, in order to
be a
positive influence in student's lives.

I am writing today because of a recent Focus on the Family radio
show with
Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial. Listening to Johnson
gave me a
deep concern about his dissemination of false information, and
leading
Christians astray.

Johnson claimed that matter could not come together on its own, but
in the
same sentence said that God can do anything, including use the
mechanism of
(macro) evolution if He so chose. Johnson's claim that
macro-evolution has
no scientific evidence to support it is simply false.

I am including a separate letter signed by myself and other
Christians who
are scientists or science students.

Why not invite a guest to Focus on the Family who can speak wisely
about
evolutionary theory and is a dedicated Christian? It does not need
to be a
debate or shouting match between Christians that have different
understandings of the creation account. There is an excellent
organization
called American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). On their front page it
explains their purpose: " The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA)
is a
fellowship of men and women of science and disciplines that can
relate to
science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a
commitment to
integrity in the practice of science. ASA was founded in 1941 and
has grown
significantly since that time."

I would welcome your reply to my letter.

In Christ's love,

Wendee Holtcamp

ATTACHED CO-SIGNED LETTER

Dear Dr. Dobson,

What valid science reveals about God's creation must not be feared
simply
because we don't understand it, or because it doesn't fit what we,
as human
beings, think God is saying through Scripture.

The creation-evolution debate has become a vitriolic feud that
diverts the
attention of Christians and non-Christians alike away from the
gospel – the
"good news" of what Jesus did for us through his death and
resurrection. We
could spend every moment teaching only what Jesus taught and still
not yet
reach all the people of the world that need to hear about the
miraculous
love of the Lord!

Evangelizing creation, and claiming that belief in a literal
creation is
necessary to be a "true" Christian, focuses salvation on theology
and human
interpretation, rather than on Jesus and the gift of grace. To the
Galatians
Paul writes, "Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a
gospel
other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally
condemned!" (Gal
1:8)

A person does not have to believe that the world was created in
seven days,
or that theistic evolution is impossible, to be a fully devoted,
born-again
follower of Jesus Christ (theistic evolution meaning that God may
have used
the mechanism of evolution to create biotic life).

The critical part of the creation account is that God is behind the
creation
of the world and everything in it. Only two pages of the Bible focus
on
creation. That leaves some 1,945 pages (depending on your Bible
version) on
teachings about life, faith, love, people, sin, betrayal,
deliverance,
morality, justice, prayer, family, and other important matters. We
must keep
this in perspective.

Jesus often corrected the religious leaders of his day's
interpretation of
the law and prophets (eg. clean and unclean food, Mt 15:1-20, the
Sabbath,
Mt 12:1-14). In trying to understand scripture, we must ask God to
reveal
truth, and not assume that our initial understanding will ultimately
prove
correct. God may never reveal to a given individual the full truth
behind
many bible passages, because we are mere man, our life but a blink
of an
eye. "Lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5) scripture
instructs
us.

As Christians, and particularly as Christian leaders, we must hold
ourselves
to a very high level of truth and accountability for what we teach
and say.
Very few non-scientists remotely comprehend evolutionary theory and
the
scientific literature supporting it. One should not promote or
attack what
one does not understand. Many Christians have jumped on the
anti-evolution
bandwagon without the remotest comprehension of what evolution
really means.
People are opposed to it because they don't like the "idea" of it,
just as
people thought a sun-centered universe was absolutely opposed to the
Bible
in Galileo's time.

As Christians, we must be humble and non-judgmental. In Romans
10:13, Paul
states "Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another.
Instead make
up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your
brother's
way." Preaching a literal creation is a major stumbling block to
belief for
many scientists.

Spending time fighting against the scientific theory of evolution is
a waste
of precious time – no matter what one thinks about the theory.
"Don't have
anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know
they
produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead
he must
be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (2 Timothy 2:24)
and
"avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and
quarrels
about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a
divisive
person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have
nothing to do
with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he
is
self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11). Even if one believes evolution is
incorrect or even heretical, it does not detract from the gospel in
any way.

Christian leaders must focus on the Great Commission. Let scientists
study
God's creation and science will reveal what it will. Never will
Christians
have anything to fear from truth revealed through science. Fighting
against
science will only propel our world back literally into the dark
ages, when
information and truth were feared, and hidden from the common folk.
Science
and religion answer completely different questions. Science helps
reveal how
things happen and religion explains why. Let us keep the realms
separate.
Galileo once wrote "God wrote two books: the first is the bible… and
the
second is the book of nature, which allows humans to observe and
experience
nature and to answer questions about the universe."

Attached are signatures of other Christians who are also scientists.
We all
are deeply concerned about the shunning of evolution by many
Christians, and
of Christian leaders evangelizing creationism instead of the gospel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wendee Holtcamp -- wendee@greendzn.com -- http://www.greendzn.com
Environment/Travel/Science Writer -- Poet --
Photographer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But the child's sob curses deeper in the silence than the
strong man in his wrath. -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning