– Marco Brasil, staff
The ible says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” But not everyone believes this story of creation to be true. Different cultures have their own creation stories but what about people who don’t believe we were created by a divine being?
Buddhists would say that we should not be asking questions about our origins or why we exist. Instead, they would say that we should instead turn our focus to reaching enlightenment and showing compassion for each other.
Then there are atheists, who tend to believe in evolution. This requires no faith as it is based on science. Many people choose to display their faith in creation by having a fish sticker on their car, which is a symbol of Christianity. In response to this, there are cars which have stickers of fish with legs.
Dr. Andrew Atkinson, a religion professor at Laurier Brantford clarifies, “There are 3 positions in Christianity when it comes to the creation or origin story. There is Atheism which tries to debunk the questions of Christianity. There are Christian fundamentalists who insist that the ible should be read and interpreted literally. Then there is a gray zone. This would be Christian evolutionists who believe in a mixture of evolution and religious creation.”
One big controversy surrounding this debate revolves around public education. Some countries forbid their teachers to even discuss evolution whereas some others demand that only evolutionary biology is allowed to be taught. Many areas of the United States as well as some Islamic countries do not teach evolution as part of their science programs. This has gone so far that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to teach creation stories in public stories.
In reference to the debate about whether it should be taught in school, Dr. Atkinson says, “Stephen Jay Gould says that science and religion are a non-overlapping magisterial. I think if the explanation of existence is being taught as a science then it should bracket all totalizing religious perspectives, which includes the Christian creation story.”
Creation stories may be passed down orally or in written form such as the ible. They may differ in terms of who or what divine entity created the world and everything in it. They can also differ in how exactly things are created or in what order they were created. The Iroquois people for example, believe that humankind was first given life on Turtle Island, the back of a giant sea turtle. However, the creation of the world in seven days by God is arguably the most accepted and well-known creation story. It is often referenced in pop culture and art such as the famous painting “The Creation of Adam” by .
Charles Darwin was going into the Anglican priesthood when he became troubled and started thinking about natural selection and evolution where he encountered opposition from Christians. The theory of evolution as we know it now was originally proposed by Darwin in his book “The Origin of Species.” Darwin’s theory was based on natural selection. It proposed that as the world changed, different species would adapt in order to survive. It is commonly known as the evolution of man from monkeys. The theory of evolution is also widely accepted. It is referenced in pop culture just as much as creation stories.
There are various different theories of evolution. One common theory of evolution is referred to as the “Out of Africa” theory. This theory revolves around the idea that Homo sapiens migrated from Africa and replaced Homo erectus and Neanderthals. This led to Homo sapiens being the only race of humans. Another theory is that humans share a common ancestor as chimpanzees which existed around 5 million years ago. Other species of humans evolved but went extinct. These theories can be related but not everyone agrees with both parts of it.
When asked about the future of the creation versus evolution debate, Dr. Atkinson says, “I think it will continue. Science can’t answer all the questions that are put forward by religion. There is no way we can get a final knowledge about why or how we exist. We can’t see beyond the ig ang.”