I have so far made only 3 posts on this blog, and this is only the fourth one, but the experience has been great! It is no different from what I have been facing all my life. I started the first public presentation sometimes around 1971 after I read “Bible and Modern Science” by Henry M. Morris.
This was basically a time for exploration for me because I took almost 14 years of study and exploration to move from a kind of agnosticism to full belief in Bible and creation. Thus in those days I would study a given topic, present it in an apologetic manner and interact with people, allow my stand to be questioned, and would then spend much time in reflection to make my stand objective. What surprised me most during these years of exploration was the way people hostile to Bible reacted.
As a student of science, I expected people to react rationally. More so if they claimed (which most of the evolutionists and critics did) to represent the rational side of the argument. However, I invariably received two kinds of responses. The first one was from the audience that came with an inquiring attitude. They would sometimes keep asking questions for hours, and I would be delighted to interact with them because this would give me an opportunity to think through areas that I had not thought of before. It would also help me to look rationally at many subjects that had not crossed my mind.
The second type of response came from people who had already decided that evolution explains it all – any kind of evolution, be it naturalistic or theistic. To my surprise – who was an inquirer on my way to discovery – these people would rabidly attack my presentation rather than ask questions. Of course, I knew that they were opposed to my outlook (an agnostic who was on his way to theistic outlook), but what I never expected, or never felt comfortable with, was the simple and plain hostility – totally contrary to the rational behavior that I expected from them.
One of the typical incidents took place in a place called Vidisha in MP (India). At that time I was into the second round of research (in fundamental physics, at that time) towards my PhD in physics. I had a one-day program among college students where I spoke about Bible, science, and evolution. I told them that I was only an explorer, and that I strongly felt that a theistic framework was able to offer a satisfactory explanation of the origin and purpose of human life.
Students asked numerous questions and I gave them theistic answers that all of them appreciated. Since I had gone through all these questions and doubts myself during the previous years of my quest, most of the answers came easy to me. At the end of the day a student representative thanked me for two things. First, for my clear and concise communication, and second for my honest admission that I myself was a seeker inching towards a theistic framework.
The meeting was about to close with prayer when a professor who worked in this secular college jumped up from his seat, shot to the stage, and simply grabbed the mike without asking for permission. Then in a fit of rage he jumped up and down for the next ten minutes as through he had some kind of a possession. All what he kept shouting was “Students did not need so much information from you. All they needed was just a bit of enlightenment”.
The program was organized by students, and these were times of “student power” in India. So a (presumably) non Christian student and a representative of the student-union stood up, politely told the professor that he was wrong in his assertion that “Students did not need so much information from you. All they needed was just a bit of enlightenment”. He said these things are to be decided by the students, and with equal politeness asked the professor to allow the meeting to proceed as per schedule. The professor immediately realized that this was a warning from the entire student body, and sensing their mood he quit the stage in a hurry. The students were very apologetic about this incident, and told me later that this man, a devoted theistic evolutionist, was hostile to anything that could be labeled as Christian apologetics.
Over the years I have spoken in numerous conferences. I found that without exception, people who are devoted to the evolutionary viewpoint of life often become disruptive as soon as the apologist seems to have delivered a powerful presentation. There have only been few occasions when they did not become hostile or when they did not oppose reason. Something seems touch a raw nerve when theistic truths are defended in a rational manner.
[Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a physicist, with expertise inter alia in Quantum-nuclear Physics, and has worked extensively on the inner quark-structure of Protons and Neutrons. He has also specialized in Christian Apologetics, Biblical Archeology, and several other fields]