I recently asked readers to submit questions to me they would like me to answer. If you would like to submit a question, please follow the instructions listed here.
ObstacleChick asked, “was evolution taught in the high school you attended?”
I actually attended four high schools in the 1970s:
- Findlay High School, Findlay, Ohio — ninth and first part of tenth grade
- Rincon High School, Tucson, Arizona — last part of tenth grade
- Riverdale High School, Mt. Blanchard, Ohio — first two months of eleventh grade
- Findlay High School, Findlay, Ohio — remainder of eleventh grade
- Dropped out of Bryan High School, Bryan, Ohio — twelfth grade
I took biology in tenth grade. All that I remember about biology class at Rincon High was the labs; specifically dissecting a frog. Biology class at Findlay High dealt with the basics of biology, including evolution.
I was quite the Fundamentalist Baptist during my years at Findlay High School. I remember writing an English paper on the subject, Why I’m a Baptist. I received an A on the paper. My teacher’s only comment was the word interesting, written in red and underlined. In biology class, I was a royal pain in the ass, frequently injecting Biblical young-earth creationism into class discussions. When it came time to take tests, I would give the correct answers to the questions and then write what the Bible had to say on the matter. Here I was, sixteen years old, and my mind had already been ruined by Fundamentalism. As a result, the science I learned in public school didn’t stick. I was an unabashed, full-fledged, Bible-thumping, young-earth creationist. In my mind, every question could be answered with, the BIBLE says ______________.
As a pastor, on several occasions, I went after public school science teachers for teaching Darwinian evolution. When I got wind of church teens being taught evolution, I would march down to the local school and demand their religious beliefs be accommodated and respected. Usually, it was church parents, not students themselves, asking me to do something about evolution being taught. Teachers, not wanting conflict with a local preacher, accommodated my demands, often giving Christian students alternative work to do. In retrospect, I am sure the teens who attended my church were thoroughly embarrassed by being singled out.
In 1989, I started a private school for the children of the families who attended Somerset Baptist Church in Mt. Perry, Ohio. Creation science was taught in every grade. Evolution was only mentioned in passing, more of warning that its teachings were Satanic and contrary to the Word of God.
It was not until my post-Jesus days that I began to seriously study science. While I know a lot more than I did a decade ago, I am still, in every way, an ill-educated novice when it comes to the various scientific disciplines. I must, then, rely on experts to give me answers about this or that matter of science.
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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“It was not until my post-Jesus days that I began to seriously study science. While I know a lot more than I did a decade ago, I am still, in every way, an ill-educated novice when it comes to the various scientific disciplines”
Sigh, me too my brother, me too ?
Bruce, thanks for your explanation! It is interesting that you were taught about evolution but rejected it. I also find it fascinating that parents in your churches asked you to do something about evolution being taught in public schools to their kids. I wonder how many of those kids accepted evolutionary teaching or rejected it.
A related question – where did you get your young earth creationism “rebuttals” to evolution? Did you just use the bible, or were there resources for pastors?
I was a know it Christian in high school and treated the biology teacher with a total lack of respect when he covered evolution. I saw it as a responsibility to God who I was taught supernaturally created everything out of nothing. The me of 2018 is embarrassed by my actions of that time.