Evolution Weekend in Churches—An Atheist’s Fizzle

This weekend is “Evolution Weekend” or so proclaims atheist Michael Zimmerman. This atheist has been working with certain clergy to influence church and culture to believe evolution and millions of years. But is this project really that successful? Who are these pastors who have joined with an atheist?

According to Wikipedia (sometimes you have to take it with a grain of salt), “Michael Zimmerman (born 1953) is an American biologist and Vice President for Academic Affairs / Provost at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He previously served in a number of academic and administrative positions including Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis and Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh for 14 years. Before moving to Wisconsin, Zimmerman spent 12 years at Oberlin College as a professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that he worked at The College of William and Mary as well as Hampshire College.”

Zimmerman’s involvement in the creation vs. evolution controversy goes back to the 1980s. He was writing against creationists while working with a group called “Ohio Center for Science Education” and editing their newsletter. The National Center for Science Education (headed up by atheist Eugenie Scott) awarded Zimmerman their “Friend of Darwin Award” in 2007. He currently writes for the left-leaning Huffington Post website (where we often read articles that vehemently attack those who take God’s Word as written). Zimmerman lists the evolutionist and liberal BioLogos  as a website of interest along with NCSE and other pro-evolution organizations.

Let’s read what Michael Zimmerman claims about himself in his own words; he states, “In fact, I too am an atheist. And I’ve been one for 40-years but what I think is important is that we recognize that people can believe what they want, that there are lots of different kinds of worldviews, there are lots of questions that are asked. Science, as powerful as it is, can only answer a subset of the questions that are of critical importance to humans” (Conversations with Christian and Atheist Activists: Michael Zimmerman).

Zimmerman started what he called “The Clergy Letter Project.” He states the following on this page:

For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith.

In the fall of 2004, I worked with clergy throughout Wisconsin to prepare a statement in support of teaching evolution. We were called to action by a series of anti-evolution policies passed by the school board in Grantsburg, WI. The response was overwhelming. In a few weeks, nearly 200 clergy signed the statement, which we sent to the Grantsburg school board on December 16, 2004. Additionally, groups of educators and scientists sent letters to the Grantsburg School Board and to the Superintendent of Schools protesting these policies. In response to all of this attention, as well as the efforts of others, the Grantsburg School Board retracted their policies.

The outpouring of support from clergy around the country encouraged me to make this a nationwide project. If you want to read more about it or join us in sharing this important  perspective, click here.  Encourage your clergy to consider signing the statement and please feel free to link to these webpages.

The Clergy Letter Project has also sponsored annual Evolution Weekend events.  These events provide an opportunity for congregations around the world to come together, in the way each feels most comfortable, to discuss the compatibility of religion and science.  By doing so, we are educating thousands and elevating the world-wide discussion of this important topic. If your congregation would like to participate in an Evolution Weekend event, please contact me.

Most recently, The Clergy Letter Project has created a data base of scientists interested in working with clergy members to answer questions about all aspects of evolution. To view this growing list, click here (If you are a scientist and would like to be added to our data base, please send me a note.)

Sincerely,

Michael Zimmerman

Founder and Executive Director

The Clergy Letter Project   

The Clergy Letter Project is cosponsoring a website with the “Center for Inquiry Austin” (a secular humanist organization) to promote evolution in Texas schools.

But who really are these clergy who sign this letter? Is the project really successful in this atheist’s attempt to infiltrate the church with his anti-God beliefs? Well, the majority of those signing the “Christian Clergy Letter” are from liberal denominations that include an inordinate number of female pastors and churches of secular humanism (Universalist, for example).

The Clergy Letter Project resulted in an annual event to promote evolution in churches. It was originally called “Evolution Sunday” (2006 and 2007), but in 2008, it was changed to “Evolution Weekend” to accommodate Jewish congregations and those churches that meet on Saturday.

Now let’s look at some statistics since 2006 concerning the number of congregations that participated in this evolution promoting weekend:

  • 2006 Evolution Sunday—462 congregations
  • 2007 Evolution Sunday—618 congregations
  • 2008 Evolution Weekend—841 congregations
  • 2009 Evolution Weekend—1049 congregations
  • 2010 Evolution Weekend—861 congregations
  • 2011 Evolution Weekend—652 congregations
  • 2012 Evolution Weekend—554 congregations (as of the writing of this blog post)

It must be discouraging for this atheist and his liberal clergy friends to see a major downward trend in participation since 2009. He’s lost almost 50% of participating congregations since the 2009 Darwin celebrations.

Now consider the following list of the primary denominations and organizations participating in Evolution Weekend (these numbers are subject to change):

  • Unitarian Universalist (79)
  • United Church of Christ  (74)
  • Episcopal (58)
  • Lutheran (58—mainly ELCA)
  • Methodist (52—virtually all United Methodist)
  • Presbyterian (45—mainly PC-USA)
  • Jewish (43)
  • Baptist (9—American Baptist for the most part)
  • Unity Church (7)
  • Friends (6—Quaker)
  • Metropolitan Community  (3—homosexual churches)
  • Gnostic Churches (2)
  • Muslim (1)

Other interesting participants include the following:

  • Suncoast Hospice (What kind of message do you give dying people based on evolution?)
  • Gardenia Center—“Bringing the metaphysical community together”
  • Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
  • Center for Spiritual Living Long Island
  • Osher Institute for Life Long Learning
  • Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (Nashville Chapter)
  • Machar—The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism, D.C.
  • Officers of Avalon (“We seek to provide a community and network for Pagan first responders and to serve as a voice for them.”)
  • Religious Science of Greater Milwaukee

Now what do you notice about these churches and organizations? They are mostly either very liberal theologically or well known anti-Christian organizations. Not surprising at all is that the leaders of these Institutions would decide to yoke with an atheist! (It is also interesting to note that Crooked Creek Baptist Church of Indianapolis gives mention of Dr. James McGrath—anti-creation blogger and ardent AiG opponent at Butler University whom I have written about a number of times. I gather this may mean McGrath will either preach or teach a class on evolution this weekend.)

Now, after looking at the list of churches above that are part of this Evolution Weekend project, consider the following statistics from 2000 reported by the Association of Religion Data Archives concerning the number of churches in the USA:

  • Baptist: 62,649
  • Lutheran: 18,327
  • Methodist/Wesleyan: 38,535
  • Orthodox: 2,039
  • Presbyterian: 13,952
  • Reformed: 1,764

Here are the individual denominations:

  • Southern Baptist: 41,514 (included in 62,649 Baptists above)
  • Catholic: 21,791
  • Churches of Christ: 13,027
  • Assemblies of God: 11,880
  • Mormon: 11,515
  • Episcopal: 7,314
  • United Church of Christ: 5,863

This source claimed that there were 268,240 congregations in the USA, including Buddhist, Hindi, Muslim, Mormons, Zoroastrians, etc.

So what does this mean? As would be expected, a small number of very liberal churches and a number of secular humanist organizations are promoting “Evolution Weekend.”  But, by far the majority of churches in the USA have nothing to do with this atheist-founded project.

So, we do praise the Lord that this atheist’s efforts to infiltrate the church have largely failed!

But, the church needs to be warned about the spiritual battle that is going on around us. And sadly, even though Zimmerman’s “Evolution Weekend” is a fizzle (though the secular media often make out that it is a major impacting project), much of the church has already been infiltrated by those who compromise evolution and millions of years with the Bible. In one sense, many churches have an “Evolution and/or Millions of years Weekend” every weekend as they don’t take the stand they should on the authority of the Word of God.

Let’s pray that Christian leaders will stand up and be counted in this nation for their stand on the authority of God’s Word beginning in Genesis.

And let’s pray that churches who do preach the Word of God as they should would never yoke themselves with an unbeliever like Zimmerman.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

By the way, on Saturday morning in our News to Note web articles, we will look at “Evolution Weekend” even further.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken