For Whom the Bell Tolls

Christian Collaboration in the De-Christianized West

by Calvin Smith on May 9, 2022
Featured in Calvin Smith Blog
Share:

For Whom the Bell Tolls

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne’s (considered the founder of the metaphysical poets) classic poem was meant to remind us of the interconnectedness between all of humanity—that the actions and influence of one person affect others. Hence its first line—No man is an island.

A master of the literary device known as a conceit (defined as an unconventional, logically complex, intellectual metaphor or analogy), his ending remarks remind us of King Solomon’s own in the book of Ecclesiastes—that no matter what actions we or others take, they all move us towards an ultimate conclusion—death.

However, unlike Donne’s poem, “the Preacher” in Ecclesiastes further summarizes what man should then do (because of that ultimate fate awaiting them) throughout his life—and why.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14—emphasis added)

Of course, because the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), our eternal destiny rests solely upon whether we have truly put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Good “deeds” cannot provide us with salvific security; however that doesn’t mean our actions have no importance whatsoever—because they do affect and influence others.

Everyone Is Being Influenced

Christians understand they are to be “salt and light” to those around us whenever possible. And activity involving gospel proclamation—telling others about their need for Christ—is among the most important deeds we could do, because it’s the most important message for people to hear.

But Christian influence is not the only one in culture. Many different religious and political groups, worldview factions, and ideologies permeate the air—penetrating deep into the psyche of those living within that cultural milieu. And people can be more disposed to hearing the gospel message—or made more hostile to it—depending on how they have been influenced previously.

Check the Fruit on the Tree

Unfortunately, one of the greatest influences on the majority of people in the West today are the fully secular, state-run educational centers to which most young people are subjected.

The effect they have produced from among the broad base of evangelical Christianity has been downright rotten in the last several decades—70% of young people raised in Christian homes that attended state-run schools withered away from the faith of their parents by age 18.

And the massive fallout among former professing adult leaders (pastors, authors, seminary professors, worship leaders, etc.) who have “deconstructed” their faith is quite demoralizing to see, as well. Of course, many of them also participated in secular education, where the seeds of their later apostasy were likely sown.

It seems as if the Christian influence of our forefathers in our culture has been poisoned to a great degree, with weeds of doubt and rocky hearts inhabiting the soil into which we attempt to plant gospel seeds.

What Are Schools Teaching?

Ministries such as Answers in Genesis have been warning Christians for years that humanist and atheist groups understand that they need only teach one overarching concept to undermine all aspects of biblical truths—the story of evolution and millions of years. Virtually every secular school teaches evolution as fact.

The concept of “millions of years” provides the needed time for evolution to be logically viable, while simultaneously establishing the idea that the Bible doesn’t have to be taken at face value. After all, if the story of a six-day creation can be dismissed as not literal, why not dismiss other portions of Scripture as well?

Once biblical authority is, through the acceptance of secular science, no longer absolute, many professing Christians dive headlong into a belief in theistic evolution (God used evolution to “create”).

However, after accepting evolution, many consistent thinkers eventually conclude they no longer needed God—and apostatize! After all, if there is a supposed naturalistic way to account for everything we see and experience, who needs God to explain anything?

Evolution then becomes a secular substitute for the creator God of the Bible—undermining and replacing the very foundation of western society—an influential concept indeed.

Christian Collaboration

Bible skeptics rightly see Darwinism as a powerful weapon to undermine the gospel, and they also understand that using naïve and undiscerning clergy is an extremely effective way to achieve their anti-God agenda. As a matter of fact, evolution has been so effective in converting people to atheism that skeptics boldly promote their use of compromising Christians to assist in accomplishing their goals!

For example, an article on the anti-Christian website, Skeptic.com, listed “105 Ways to Promote Skeptical Activism,” in which they state,

Make allies. Be cooperative . . . . We need help. Build bridges. Work with religious groups. (Our best allies for defending evolution are members of the mainstream clergy groups.)1

Did you catch that? According to Bible skeptics, theistic evolutionists are their “best allies” for promoting atheism! Whether they realize it or not, Christians who’ve accepted evolutionary ideas and promote them (even passively) are collaborating with unbelievers and exerting their influence in the church to promote the foundational belief of all atheists (the story of evolution).

Is it any wonder that compromising churches are bleeding out their young people (particularly the intelligent ones) at catastrophic rates?

Bible Skeptics Love Their Theistic Evolutionary Allies

Atheists understand the value of allies within the church and are quick to welcome Christians into an evolutionary worldview because they know where it eventually leads. As atheist Bill Provine once said,

One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.2

Examples of this strategy abound. An example is militant atheist Eugenie Scott when she said,

I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!3

(Note the not-so-lightly dripping sarcasm for her evolutionary promoters with their “backward collars.” They’ll use you—but won’t respect you.)

Here’s another example: After mocking two professing Christians (who hold to the idea that God used evolution to create) in his review of their books, atheist Jerry Coyne admits that having Christians promote theistic evolution is advantageous to his cause.

This disharmony [between science and religion] is a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious.

Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel.

This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict . . . .4

The strategy is simple and effective. It’s like getting people to dig their own grave. It is two-fold in its effectiveness, because another benefit (other than the additional promotion of the atheism bedrock) is the intellectual weakening of the Christian worldview. Once they suck Christians into believing in evolution, it’s easy to then attack them on their intellectual inconsistency, making them look foolish.

Consistency Is Key to Intellectual Credibility

The inconsistency embraced by the modern church because of the fear of appearing intellectually deficient by “not believing in modern science” (i.e., evolution), while simultaneously holding to other ideas contained in Scripture that modern science rejects shouts “open season” to Bible skeptics for attacks on the Christian faith as irrational nonsense.

Jerry Coyne (quoted above) did so succinctly in his book review of theistic evolution when he pointed out the following:

Why reject the story of creation and Noah’s Ark because we know that animals evolved, but nevertheless accept the reality of the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, which are equally at odds with science? After all, biological research suggests the impossibility of human females reproducing asexually, or of anyone reawakening three days after death.5

The aggressive atheist Professor Richard Dawkins also does this very well against those Christians who attempt to allegorize the Genesis creation as poetic symbolism.

Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!6

Coyne, as disdainful as he may be towards biblical creationists, at least admits intellectual consistency to them that he does not afford to the theistic evolutionists. All the while coddling, promoting, and encouraging them to continue to advance evolution in the church and society.

Without good cause, Giberson and Miller pick and choose what they believe. At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board.7

As a biblical creationist, I’ll take the backhanded compliment—because the bedrock of logic is the law of non-contradiction—and people that contradict themselves in debates can be made to look foolish and illogical by their opponents.

Attempting to argue that Genesis, as comparable with evolution, is indefensible against an informed opponent, atheists will continue to leverage their unwitting allies for as long as they will allow.

What If I Used to Promote Evolution?

Over the last 20 years, I have noticed that most Christians have unwittingly accepted some portion of the story of evolution (typically the “big bang” and/or the concept of “millions of years”) and have tried to incorporate it into their theology somehow.

This is somewhat understandable, as evolutionary ideas are promoted everywhere as authoritative and scientific in education and culture, they have not recognized it as damaging to the gospel, and most churches have not equipped their congregations with biblical creation apologetics.

I have dialogued with many who’ve attended conferences or accessed creation resources that have come to realize the truth of Genesis as plainly written—and how damaging evolutionary teaching is to the cause of Christ—who feel terrible for having accepted (and perhaps promoted) it previously. However, God’s Word should encourage us.

If we have been inconsistent in the past and have compromised in our belief in God’s Word as trustworthy from the very first verse, we should simply repent and dig in to understand it and represent it clearly to others. God’s Word reminds us,

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

John Donne understood this verse and wrote about it. Apparently, his early life did not glorify the Lord whatsoever, and yet he later walked with Christ despite his former and ongoing sin, knowing that—although the Lord is never pleased when we sin against him, because of Christ’s sacrifice he never despises or forsakes us.

God never treats believers with contempt. Donne related that sentiment well in his poem, “A Hymne to Christ”:

Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face; yet through that maske I know those eyes,
Which though they turn away sometimes,
They never will despise.

Be a Consistent Influencer

No man is (or should be) an “island.”

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. (Proverbs 18:1)

We should be influencing those around us towards the saving message of the cross in as consistent a manner as possible. However, we need to understand that all Christian doctrines (directly or indirectly) are founded in Genesis. And because our enemies understand this—Genesis is the most attacked book of the Bible today.

So, if we want to reach others with the gospel, we should assume that most people will have questions about Genesis and creation/evolution issues. By equipping ourselves with answers in this area, we will be able to help many people move closer to Christ.

Examine Yourself

For those professing Christians who have been exposed to good, solid biblical and scientific arguments in support of God’s Word yet continue to reject biblical authority and promote evolution, perhaps they should simply stop lamenting about the ungodliness and apostasy seen in our world.

After all, we have seen many examples of professing Christians slide down the slippery slope of compromise into full-blown apostasy. Perhaps they should examine themselves as Scripture warns:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Indeed, perhaps the bell tolls for thee . . . .

Footnotes

  1. Daniel Loxton, “105 Ways to Promote Skeptical Activism,” What Do I Do Next? Skeptic, www.skeptic.com/reading_room/what-do-i-do-next
  2. W. B. Provine, “No Free Will.” in Catching up with the Vision, ed. Margaret W Rossiter, (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999), S123.
  3. J. Wells, “A Conversation with Eugenie Scott,” The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery Publishing: Washington, DC, 2006), 175.
  4. Jerry A. Coyne, “Seeing and Believing—The Never-ending Attempt to Reconcile Science and Religion, and Why it Is Doomed to Fail,” The New Republic, February 2009, 14.
  5. Ibid., 11.
  6. Richard Dawkins—The Root of All Evil? directed by Russell Barnes, (2006, BBC broadcast on Channel 4, January 2006), 1 hour, 30 mins. Television.
  7. Coyne, “Seeing and Believing,” 13.

AiG–Canada Updates

Email me with updates from AiG Canada.

Privacy Policy

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390