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A Christian-Centered Creation Debate

Veena Thomas

In the beginning nothing existed except for water, darkness, and Bumba, the great god. Bumba had a stomach ache one day and, in pain, vomited up the sun. The sun evaporated some of the water, leaving behind dry land. But Bumba was still in pain. He next vomited the moon, stars, the leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and even men, including Yoko Lima, who was white like Bumba.

Or so the Boshongo, a Bantu tribe of Central Africa, would have you believe. Yet the Boshongo are not nearly as represented in this country as are Christians. They do not lobby state school boards in order to have the curriculum and standards changed to fit their needs and to promote their ideology. No one has asked the Kansas school boards to give “Bumba Science” equal class time as “Evolutionary Science” and “Creationist Science.”

There’s a Chinese creation myth, which says that in the beginning there was a huge egg filled with ying-yang, chaos, and a being named Phan Ku. Phan Ku escaped from this egg as a giant, and separated all the ying-yang into opposites. He then used a chisel and hammer to create the mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys, and the sun, stars, and the moon. He died 18,000 years later, and the fleas in his hair became human beings.

Does this mean that according to this myth, we have all evolved from fleas? No one has petitioned any of the schools to teach this version of evolution. I can see why. Those horrified by the idea that human beings have evolved from monkeys could not possibly handle the idea that we have descended from fleas from the hair of a being 18,000 years old.

Perhaps all of these creation myths sound ridiculous to you. Most of the creation myths, whether it be the Bumba myth, or a myth that says we were all molded from clay earth, do not get much respect or attention. Then why is it that the Christian creation myth is not regarded in the same way as the rest?

If Genesis and the Christian myth of creation had been written by a primitive society deep in the rainforests or something, would we give it the same respect that many do now? Would people want to teach it in schools then? Would people write angrily in its defense? Little if any evidence has actually been supplied in defense of creationism. Most evidence given is not so much in favor of creationism as it is revealing gaps in what we know regarding evolution. What we do not yet know about evolution is used to promote the existence of a creator. If this is the case, it should be in favor of any creator, whether it be Bumba or Phan Ku or God.

Creationism in this country as most see it is an exclusively Christian concept. The creationism myth most commonly referred to comes straight from the Bible. What about those people not Christian? There is absolutely no reason to force a Christian viewpoint down everyone’s throat. If you are going to expose someone to the viewpoint of one religion, in the name of letting them have all the information to decide for themselves, then you should expose them to all religions, all stories.

But this should not be done in the name of science. Science and myth each have a time and a place to be taught. The job of school is to teach what we know to be true, or what is widely accepted to be true. Evolution falls under that category. Creationism does not. School can and should teach what laws and theories can be presented with substantial evidence.

Not everything presented in school is known for certain. Take history: each side in a war has its own justifications, its own side of the story. Yet religious explanations of events should be kept out of the schools at all costs.

Imagine the following scenario. A friend of mine became very frustrated with creationists’ attempts to impose their viewpoints on others. He came up with his own parodied theory of why objects stay on the ground. Some people might think that gravity is responsible for everything falling downward. But in reality, he said, it’s just that God grabs an object as soon as it is released into free space, and moves it really quickly towards the ground. Then God, being all powerful, simply holds down all of the objects on the ground simultaneously and makes sure that they do not float away.

Absurd, isn’t it? Yet what makes this theory less plausible than the idea that God created the universe? Where does the difference lie? Why don’t people believe in the alternative gravitational theory if they believe in creationism?

It’s because religion is a touchy subject to so many. Science operates on a system of evidence and proof, while religion consists of blind faith. Whether it is blind faith in creationism, or in Bumba, faith has no place in the public schools.