Popular literature was first introduced to the idea in Gaston Leroux's eerie novel The Phantom of the Opera, where the ghostly antagonist Erik’s lair featured a mirrored room built to trap his enemies. My own personal introduction to a house of mirrors was when I watched the famous 1973 movie, Enter the Dragon. In one of the most classic ending sequences in action film history, star Bruce Lee resolves his confusion in pinpointing his adversary by smashing mirrors one by one until he can locate and defeat the villain. This circumstance has been repeated in dozens of films and TV shows now, as the excitement of dueling images in a confusing and frantic environment makes for intense drama indeed.
The World of Make-Believe
The effect of observing a misshapen image of yourself can be unnerving because it may take you into what’s known as the “uncanny valley.” It is characterized by a negative emotional response that occurs when we observe a humanoid visage that is very realistic but not quite human. As a matter of fact, rather than something that is an obvious caricature of a person, the more realistic it is, the more unnerving it can be. It’s as if we know when something is just not real, even though it is attempting to mimic truth very closely.
Similarly, many believers are finding that the world we currently live in seems increasingly distorted and out of place to what it once was. Some things appear similar but appallingly strange in other ways. Many Christians realize something is drastically wrong, especially older believers, who’ve seen an incredibly negative change in culture during their lifetime. In particular, the church doesn’t seem to affect our culture very much anymore, but the culture sure does seem to be affecting the church an awful lot, from without and within. And if you have a feeling of an impending conflict or sense that perhaps there’s some kind of culture war coming, you’re a little late to the game, I’m afraid. The battle is already here.
The Reality War
What we are now experiencing could be termed as a “reality war.” It’s as if different people are experiencing separate realities, using the same words but different dictionaries. Take the word gender for example: a word that was completely inoffensive to bring up in conversation up until a few years ago but is now loaded with explosive social connotations and possible severe repercussions even for mentioning.
Why is it that when I was growing up, the number of genders was common knowledge and not even a discussion, and yet today a Google search will bring you a first-page list of articles with the number one result declaring that there are 64, including one with a description that says,
A gender identity used by people who experience having a gender that can’t be described using existing language due to its complex and unique nature.
What does that even mean? I guess it can’t actually “mean” anything until we invent language that can describe it—but it’s supposed to be “real” regardless.
Why is it that up until a few decades ago, when someone mentioned the word marriage there was a consensus as to what that meant, the number of people involved in that institution, and the number of genders that would automatically be represented by the mere definition of it?
Why is it that for much of the past 1,800 years, the meaning of Christmas and its acceptance in the West was celebrated, and yet today even saying “Merry Christmas” AT CHRISTMAS TIME is considered offensive by many! Why are we changing the traditional greeting to “Happy Holidays” while governments are forcing the removal of nativity scenes from public spaces?
Why are people willing to chain themselves to trees to prevent their destruction (because they are “living beings”) but also are willing to support a radical agenda to murder children inside and out of their mother’s wombs, even when science has shown they are destroying a human life, not a “clump of cells”? Isn’t it just common sense?
No, because what people called “common sense” years ago no longer applies. Common sense only makes sense when there is a commonality of thought among the people in a society.
How Did We Get Here?
For a while now the church has been like a punch-drunk fighter, constantly taking it on the chin, swinging wildly at a target that’s always slipping and hitting back even harder. Why is that? Are the enemy’s forces better equipped, or do Christians just not understand where the battle is focused? I would say, for the most part, both.
Christianity and the moral and ethical ethos that emanated from what the Bible plainly says were once the plumbline of what Western society was framed on. However, that unity has been dissolved to the point where it is only vaguely familiar to those who remember it and practically foreign to the younger generations who never experienced it. At one time, the unifying concept in the West was the Creator God of the Bible. Today the unifying mythos is Darwinian evolution.
Secularists took over the public education system long ago, which allowed them to endlessly duplicate themselves by producing an army of young people imprinted with the exact same meta-narrative, or big picture of so-called reality. And they have reinforced that narrative by imparting several concepts that can be easily taught and repeated. Among the most popular are
- The universe was the result of the big bang.
- Life came from a warm, soupy pond.
- Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and evolved into birds.
- Rock layers and the fossils within them were laid down over millions of years.
- We evolved from apelike ancestors.
- This means science proves evolution, and God doesn’t exist.
And we see these ideas championed by secular leaders like the famous Oxford Professor and author Dr. Richard Dawkins, who said,
[W]e live in a universe which has ‘…no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.1
And these ideas are echoed by his American allies “across the pond,” like vociferous atheist Professor P.Z. Myers:
First, there is no moral law: the universe is a nasty, heartless place where most things wouldn’t mind killing you if you let them. No one is compelled to be nice; you or anyone could go on a murder spree, and all that is stopping you is your self-interest . . . .2
And this is why we are experiencing what we are in culture today. We are in the uncanny valley of a society built upon Christian values and yet skewed by anti-Christian value propositions. We can see the remnants of Christianity in our countries, but they have been eaten away by the acidic effects of the atheistic worldview, founded in Darwinism. As atheist Daniel Dennet explained, regarding the concept of a “universal acid” in his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,
Little did I realize that in a few years I would encounter an idea -- Darwin's idea -- bearing an unmistakable likeness to universal acid: it eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways.3
And so, we now walk through a house of mirrors, catching a shaky, distorted view of reality, because in the minds of millions of people in our culture, the starting premise for all of existence is based on the story of evolution—something completely fictitious.
How Do We Fight Back?
Christians need to take the time to get equipped and be able to show others the weakness of the evolutionary storytelling they have bought into, often starting by demonstrating what they think of as science is in fact different to what the story of evolution is.
The Grand Illusion of “Science”
The creation/evolution debate is often portrayed as a “science vs. faith” type of argument. “Science is where we do experiments and see with our own eyes”, someone might say, while “Faith in God is something you can’t see or test at all.” However, when people think of science, they’re usually picturing what’s called “operational” science. This science is based on repeatable, observable experiments like (dropping a coin over and over) showing how gravity works, heating up water to see what temperature it boils, etc.
The “scientific method” is what gives us the technology we have today. Computers, cell phones, medicines, etc. all come from repeatable experimentation, with results that can be shared and repeated with others. Assuming the conditions are the same, so are the results. However, there is another type of science called historical science that deals with the past. This is similar to the science we see being used when we watch a CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) type show on TV.
In this case investigators come upon a crime scene and observe several facts or clues that they can apply scientific tests upon. They may analyze a hair follicle or a blood sample on a scrap of cloth and try and match it to a person suspected to have been at the scene of the crime, for example.
Because they weren’t there at the time the crime occurred, investigators try to figure out what happened by piecing the clues together logically to see if they can determine what actually took place. But because they didn’t observe it happen directly and they can’t repeat the event like a lab experiment, they can’t “prove” what happened in a similar way that you can demonstrate that gravity exists.
Unfortunately, people are occasionally wrongfully convicted of a crime, which means the investigators interpreted the clues incorrectly. This is because, unlike operational science, the investigators are dealing with the past and must develop a story they believe fits the facts rather than make undeniable direct observations. They must accept that their explanation of the facts is reasonable and correct with a certain measure of “faith.” But sometime later someone may uncover new evidence that provides a more convincing story.
Historical science is the type of science used in the creation/evolution debate, as famous evolutionists Ernst Meyer openly admitted when he said the following:
Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.4
Notice his admission that explaining supposed evolutionary history is actually creating a “historical narrative,” so it’s about making up a story of what supposedly happened in the past, not absolute fact. Because we weren’t there to observe either creation or evolution, neither group of investigators can repeat the experiment and must rely on clues and scientific experiments in the present to try and validate their version of the origins story.
Asking Questions to Unlock Minds
Jesus was obviously the master of asking piercing questions to “tell” his listeners what they needed to hear. Following his example, we should also ask questions to our family and friends that we want to influence for Christ by tearing down the stronghold of “deep time” and evolutionary teaching they have been exposed to. For example,
- If the universe, made of matter, space, time and energy was created by the big bang’s sudden appearance of space, time, matter, and energy, how did the universe come to have those properties?
- If life came from a warm pond, doesn’t that mean the law of science saying life has only ever been observed to come from life been broken? Why would we believe it if we’ve never seen it?
- If dinosaurs lived supposedly millions of years ago, why has soft, unfossilized tissue like blood vessels and collagen been found in dinosaur fossils several times now?
- If rock layers form slowly over millions of years, then why do we often find upright trees several meters tall extending through hundreds of rock layers? How could a tree have stood straight for thousands, let alone millions of years, as rock formed around it?
- If we evolved from apelike ancestors, how come we only ever seem to find either ape or human fossils, and the links are still missing?
- And if science supposedly proves evolution, shouldn’t there be repeatable, observable examples of one kind of creature turning into another kind of creature to confirm that? Or is it a faith-based belief?
Shattering people’s understanding of the world with “gentleness and respect” as 1 Peter 3:15 says to do can be difficult, but may start them to see life in a different way. But in order to do this effectively, believers must get equipped, build their confidence, and start sharing with those in their sphere of influence with renewed focus and purpose. In doing so, instead of looking in life’s mirror and seeing themselves as an evolved animal, by God’s grace they may begin to see their true image, one created in the image of the creator God.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)