“Do we believe the truth of the Word?”
“Do we curse the man who denies the Word?”
“Do we cast this sinner out of our midst?”
“Do we call down hell-fire on the man who has sinned against the Word?”
“Let him feel the terror of Thy sword! For all eternity, let his soul writhe in anguish and damnation.”
My reactions to these lines-spoken in the terrible anti-Christian movie Inherit the Wind (1960 and other remakes)-still ring in my ears to this day. I remember watching this film in my high school English class. I recall feeling pity for Bert Cates (teacher John Scopes) and having a disdain for “Christians.” During the scenes featuring the horribly portrayed “Christians,” I remember thinking, “That's exactly how Christians act.” Later, talking with one of my classmates, I declared: “I can't stand Christians; I hate Christians.”
To me, Inherit the Wind had represented a documentation of the triumph of “science” over religion. You see, because of my upbringing, I inherited a prejudice towards Bible-believing Christians. Because of how they were depicted in the movie, my prejudice was only fueled-and justified.
This prejudice against Christians continued through high school and in my first year of college. My thinking was, “why would anyone want to believe an outdated book, written by men, that was disproved by science?” In addition, I saw Christians as judgmental, ignorant and intolerant … or so I thought.
My first year of college was a breaking point for me. While I believed there was a God, I hated Him. I wanted nothing to do with Him, for even though I was a “good” person, I had experienced pain and suffering. Why did I have to suffer? In fact, why was the entire world such a horrible place full of war, starving children, murderers, child molesters, disease and cancer?
If evolution was true, the Bible had to be false; the contradiction was easy to see.I knew the Bible was a myth; in addition, in school I was always taught that evolution was true and thus Genesis was a fable. So, if evolution was true, the Bible had to be false; the contradiction was easy to see.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family, went to church and even attended a Catholic high school. However, I thought that “science” (i.e., belief in evolution) was logical, but that faith in the God of the Bible was illogical. I loved science, and it just fueled my prejudice against God, His Word and His people.
One summer, my best friend invited me to a week-long Christian youth camp. I, of course, refused. But, he persisted. Finally, he told me, “Look, all we'll do is play basketball, plus there will be a lot of girls there.” After hearing this I accepted; I could put up with a few Bible verses as long as I was able to play basketball and meet some girls.
Little did I know what God had in store for me; He was about to smash my prejudice.
Throughout the week I sat in an auditorium with 1,200 other teenagers and watched them worship God. It made me think, “Maybe there is something to this.” Wednesday morning I was with my small group, but I hated it. “Not the Bible again; why does anyone believe these old fairy tales?” I said to myself.
The leader started the lesson with several questions, including:
- “Would you read a Bible verse for $1?”
- “Would you tell someone about Jesus for $100?”
I quickly and enthusiastically replied “YES!” to all the questions. The leader then followed with this, “If you said 'yes' to any of these questions, you love money more than God.”
For some reason that hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew my answers weren't right; I knew I had to get “right” with God. The next night I repented and gave my life over to Christ as Lord and Savior, and was baptized. Life was good … for awhile.
The question kept coming at me: “I'm a Christian now, but why are bad things still happening to me?”
Even though I was saved, I still believed in evolution and struggled with the veracity of Scripture. To me the Bible was still just a book of stories, but these stories were at least good for moral lessons. Perhaps God even used evolution to create, I thought. Earlier, I knew these two things contradicted each other, but now I was trying to combine them. I had become a “theistic evolutionist.”
Then, one morning in Sunday school, my youth minister decided to do a study on the book of Genesis. As we studied the various scientific discoveries that supported Scripture, I became filled with joy knowing that science actually supported the Bible and didn't contradict it. My eyes were opened to the truth of Scripture and, yes, the lie of evolution. One of the websites I found was this website, Answers in Genesis. Unfortunately, my youth minister told us that the days of creation could have been literal 24-hour days or long periods of time; he didn't know. So, I had now become a day-age creationist.
I decided, however, to do more research. As I searched for the truth, God used AiG to open my eyes and build my faith-I found the answers I was looking for. I learned to take a stand on the authority of Scripture. I learned that the days of creation were six literal 24-hour days. I had become a young-earth creationist. Little did I know that five years later, God would allow me to work with the very ministry that He used to increase my faith.
As Christians, it is important to have answers. In fact, we're commanded to in 1 Peter 3:15. The divs have turned. Because I now answer emails, letters and phone calls in the Answers Correspondence Department here at AiG, I now experience the prejudice that I once held against Christians.
Unfortunately, Inherit the Wind is still being used in history, science and English classrooms all across America (and probably in some other Western nations as well). Many young people's prejudice against Christianity is being fueled and justified by this work of fiction. Here at AiG, we will continue to combat the lies with the truth of Scripture. This is why I recommend the eye-opening DVD and booklet Inherently Wind: A Hollywood History of the Scopes Trial. Get them for your student or teacher, and let the truth be known.