Author Milt Marcy traces the historical development of Bible-hostile science. He ties it in with the later decline of Christian observance, and basic morality, especially in the last several decades. He sees a progression: spiritual faith, courage, liberty, abundance, and leisure, eventually and successively give way to selfishness, complacency, dependency, weakness, and finally bondage.
The quotations from leading uniformitarian and evolutionary scientists alone make this book worthwhile. One shortcoming of this work is its overuse of general online references instead of specific published ones.
There are two fundamental approaches to the origins of the old-earth, evolutionary view. One view is that the thinkers of 2–3 centuries ago were generally convinced Christians, who humbly bowed before the scientific evidence, and thus reluctantly abandoned belief in a recent, six-day creation.
The other view is that those who did so possessed a prior hostility to Scripture, and then fitted the evidence to their preconceptions. This work decisively supports the latter view in considerable detail.
The originally Christian-based Scottish enlightenment
Marcy recounts how Scotland, ever since the Reformation, had become a bastion of widespread learning. This was animated by, but was hardly limited to, Bible teaching. In 1640, a law mandated a national system of education for all. Soon, Scotland became Europe’s first modern literate society. By 1750, virtually every town in Scotland had a lending library. Soon thereafter, Scots became leaders in many different academic disciplines.
One can think of economist Adam Smith, scientist James Watt, poet Robert Burns, and many others.
The Bible was the textbook used to teach children to read, in Scotland, between at least 1561 and 1800. In fact, the church in Scotland was in charge of education until 1872. In the USA, the Bible was also used as a textbook until nearly 1700, when the New England Primer became the standard. However, even this was very Bible based, as it included a catechism that taught about sin, salvation, obedience to parents, etc. Bible stories were used to teach the alphabet. Author Marcy asks, “Can you imagine that in school today?” (p. 27).
The incremental deviation to infideldom
In the 18th and 19th centuries, so-called natural theology became popular in Scotland, in part because of God-hostile French influence. God was increasingly de-emphasized, and made increasingly remote. Hostility to the Bible gradually emerged. Often, it was covert or disguised as relatively innocent ‘anti-clericalism’. Deism was an amorphous term that encompassed varying degrees of departure from traditional theism. It effectively became a halfway house between theism and atheism.
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