Many of you have probably seen the news that came out this week of a study that seems to confirm that all life on earth evolved from a common single-cell ancestor. Nowadays, I read an article like that and my reaction is to smile, think about how cool science is, and marvel at our place in the vast, interconnected web of life on earth. The linked, related article at the bottom of this report, though, made me remember a time when I would have reacted very differently.
In the fall of 2004, I was sitting in a dentist's office. I had been re-baptized four or five months prior and I was attempting to regain faith in an institution that had severely maligned me, but that I still believed I was supposed to be a part of. (Part of a longer story, which you can read here.) My neighbor at the time, a fellow church member, had a phobia of driving and had never gotten a driver's license. Her daughter had a dentist's appointment and as part of trying to prove my Christlikeness and regain my testimony, I had given them a ride. In the waiting room, I came across an issue of National Geographic with the cover story titled "Was Darwin Wrong?"
I'd been raised in a church that tells its members they are "duty bound" to accept the biblical account of creation. This was reinforced by my mother's explanation of science's need to "catch up" with scripture. I picked up the article expecting to find out that Darwin was wrong, because, you know, scripture is always right and sooner or later those silly scientists come around and figure that out.
Instead, the article laid out Darwin's case and all the overwhelming evidence supporting it. Reading that well over a hundred years of research was still backing up Darwin was shocking to me.
A major support beam in an already-rickety scaffolding had just been knocked out of place. You mean Mom was wrong? Wow. What else was she wrong about?