Saturday, February 7, 2009

Darwin, Lincoln, and Racism

Posted by PicasaIn just two days we will observe the 200th birthdays of two men who, both, unarguably, shaped history forever. Both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on February 9, 1809. Both are still remembered today. But one inconvenient truth seems to have been covered up today.

We know about both men, certainly. Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president. He is credited with ending the horrible practice of human slavery in the United States. He had to have had the hardest presidency, ever, presiding when the country was engaged in a bitter civil war. From all accounts, he had a difficult marriage as well. But he also had a very strong faith in God, which is, what no doubt, sustained him during those difficult years. Charles Darwin, by all accounts, started out his life having some sort of faith in God. But when his beloved daughter, Annie, died he blamed God and eventually became an atheist. He would go on to publish "On the Origin of the Species" which introduced his theory of the beginning of humankind - what we call "evolution" today.

Since 2009 also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's book, many celebrations are being planned throughout the world to honor Darwin this year. Evolution is taught as fact in schools in many countries around the world and as a equitable theory in others. Those who dare to present the supposition of an "intelligent designer" are ridiculed, harassed, and even fired from teaching positions. Never mind the fact that it actually takes more faith to believe in evolution than Creation! Facts like that don't seem to matter to those intent on removing any traces of God from our schools and nations.

What I find interesting is this: our country has come a long way since its slavery days. Lincoln himself wrote that "...all men are created equal..." but it took a lot of struggle and more than 100 more years for that to become a true reality. As a white person, I can't really speak for the black, but from my observations, they appear to have the same opportunities now that any of us have. In fact, when the subject of racism comes up, I don't really hear it from whites, but rather, from non-whites. White people seem to trip all over themselves, trying to point out that they aren't prejudiced. In fact, during this most recent presidential election I can't tell you the number of times I heard white people offer a criticism of the Democratic candidate, but felt they had to preface it with, "Now, I'm not a racist, but..." Shouldn't we be beyond skin color today?

Our schools have bent over backwards to promote anti-racist, multi-culturalistic teachings. And that's fine. I'm not a big fan of multi-culturalism, actually, but I can save that for another post. Obviously, we need to teach children, though, that skin color doesn't matter. We see many minorities heading corporations, having high ranking government jobs, and now, being the leader of the Super Power of the world. It doesn't make me bat an eye and I'm sure I am speaking for most people who would agree.

These same school, corporations, and civic groups will be promoting and celebrating Charles Darwin in 2009. But Charles Darwin was a racist. In fact, the subtitle of "On the Origin of the Species" was "The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." And in his later work entitled "The Descent of Man" Darwin called those with dark skin "degraded" and wrote that he would rather be descended from a monkey than such a "savage."*

Never mind your convictions about Creationism vs evolution. We can save that for another debate. My question today is simply this: should we be celebrating the life of a man who obviously held such extreme racist beliefs? Perhaps we should be putting our energies and time into observing the life and works of a man who honored both God and ALL men by his life's work. Something to think about this February 9th...

This information was taken from Vol 16 of 1:1 Answers Update, a publication of Answers in Genesis.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post. I learned a lot that I did not already know. As a teacher I always struggled with the thought of having to teach evolution and was thankful that I never had to (different age group). i aprreciate your insight on this subject. :)