Challenges to evangelical Christianity from biology

Here are some research areas or findings from modern biology, or at least statements widely believed, that challenge claims associated with evangelical Christian theology.

They need a serious response. I don’t give that here, I just list them as forcefully as I can with minimal research. I hope a few will find this interesting, and even see why further research on related things could be a worthwhile use of my time. Let me know what you think 🙂 I don’t have all of the answers. Most people don’t need to think much about most of these things, but I hope you’ll agree that some people do need to think about each of them, if we are to make sense of the world.

1) Adam & Eve, as progenitors of the human race, didn’t exist.

2) Intersex people show that Christian sexual norms, based on a sexual dichotomy, are unworkable. Conservative Christians passionately denounce reassignment surgery for transgender people but it seems quietly support it for intersex people.

3) Cognitive science of religion shows that religion is a natural rather than supernatural phenomenon and destroys the ‘common consent’ argument for belief in God.

4) Studying patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and related conditions which are sometimes interpreted by subjects in religious ways, undermines the supposedly ‘spiritual’ nature of many religious experiences.

5) A large proportion of human pregnancies end prematurely in spontaneous abortion. What happened to the sanctity of life?

6) There was no global flood c. 5000 years ago. Bonus: The numbers given for Israelites exiting Egypt at the time of the Exodus seem impossible and do not receive archaeological support.

7) There is no clinical evidence for the efficacy of petitionary prayer.

8) The popularity of IVF in Christian circles, given standard practices in the field, raises grave ethical challenges. Are conservative Christians anything near consistent in this area?

9) Death, disease, decay, and weeds precede the origin of humans.

10) Animals feel pain, adding to the problem of suffering. Yet, it is said that God cares about animals.

Have I missed anything?

Human_Embryo_-_Approximately_8_weeks_estimated_gestational_age

Note that I don’t see any of these as particularly serious objections to trusting in Jesus, some of them are probably empirically false, and you’d struggle to move from any of them to the claim that naturalism is probably true. I’m not saying that science shows that God doesn’t exist or that the gospel is false – I am saying I understand why many scientists, psychologists, medics etc. struggle to take Christianity seriously, particularly in some of its evangelical forms. Many arguments used by atheists are dumb, but some get close to real questions about what it means to be human in this world.

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