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Last week, the well-known atheist blogger PZ Myers posted a guest blog on his site from a mother who explained how she taught humans are animals to her young son. The mother worked with her son on a project using magazine clippings of animals to create a poster that showed how animals could be grouped. At the top of the poster was a human baby.
Sometime after completing the project, her son asked, “Mommy, are we animals?” To which the mother replied, “Yes.” Then the young boy said, “But, Mommy, we seem . . . different.” Out of the mouths of babes! She goes on to discuss how she was apparently brought up in a Christian home and taught that humans were different and special to God. Then she states the following:
What does science tell us? [So man’s ideas are the authority, not God.] Well, for starters science in no way confirms the Genesis account. Science tells us that we are very tiny life forms in a very, very big universe. . . .How does knowing that I am a living thing, here and alive, and have a temporary place in the natural world (which is not in any way supreme to animals) give meaning, purpose, and hope in life? It doesn’t! If she really believes that God does not exist and when we die, that’s it, then why bother trying to convince people she’s right?
How are we to go about the 80 or so years we have on this planet knowing how tiny and inconsequential we are? The answer is that we are not insignificant. We are living things! You, reader, are the product of millions of years of gradual, inching evolution. Every cell in your body is a triumph of nature. You are incredible because you are here and you are alive. It is not necessary to believe in a deity or that as humans we have something supernatural within us that separates us from other animals. Our significance is our place in the natural world, and the fact that that place is only temporary.
She decided to illustrate to her son that humans are animals by taking him to the zoo. She writes:
My overly-cautious little one looked on as I stood inches away from a chimpanzee, separated only by a pane of glass. The chimpanzee put his hand up to the glass. I held mine up to meet his. His eyes met mine and we considered one another. In absolute awe (and yes, a little choked up), I looked back at my tiny son as if to say, "See. Not so different."How sad! I’m choked up, too, but not for the same reason. I wonder what this mother would think if her son grew up and murdered someone. I’m sure she would be horrified. But if the Bible isn’t true and humans are animals, then she wouldn’t have a basis for saying what her son did was wrong, because after all, he’s just an animal, and morality doesn’t apply to animals.
The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve (the ancestors of the entire human race) were created separate from the animals (Genesis 1:26). Humans are different and special because they are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). I pray that this mother realizes the truth before it is too late for her and her son. Children are always full of questions, and it's important to give them answers beginning with the foundation of God's Word. Some of my favorite resources are the Answers Books for Kids. They offer answers to questions like this young boy had at a level that parents and children will appreciate. I hope you’ll check it out.