Creationism Goes Global: Actually it’s Always Been Global

Creationism Goes Global: Actually it’s Always Been Global

You might be excused for thinking that the creationism movement is largely a product of American religious and political discourse. The Scopes trial, current debates about science education, and even the debate about global warming in American public discourse all register to some degree or another the influence of American creationists. However, recent developments make it clear that even among majority Christian nations, creationism is quietly making a comeback beyond the borders of the United States.

Residents of the UK now have their own creationist museum, and while it is nowhere near the size of the two biggest creationist museums in the United States (the Creation Museum just south of Cincinnati, OH and The Institute for Creation Research in Santee, CA), it demonstrates the growing influence of creationism in Anglophone political and social discourse. This development should come as no surprise. Many of the most important ideas that lead to the birth of creationism originated in the UK. John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) was a member of the Plymouth Brethren and an evangelist from London with Irish roots. His theory of biblical interpretation, known as Dispensationalism, in which world history moves through distinct ages, each one of which is ushered in through a new act of God, forms the bedrock of the conservative Christian philosophy of history that motivates many creationists.

The influence of creationism beyond the borders of the United States is noteworthy in part because while the cultural influence of creationism might be growing, its standing in the scientific community remains extremely low. The very idea that there is a continuing debate between the Darwinian theory of evolution and “scientific creationism” is rejected by many scientists, so it is somewhat surprising to find creationism on the rise in a country where Darwin is revered as a national hero and his face adorns the £10 note. The growing list of creationism museums around the world highlights to this cultural phenomenon and speaks to the growing influence of biblical literalism in conservative Christian circles throughout the world.

Read the BBC article on the Expo Creation Museum in the UK.

Read a Washington Times article on the movement to teach creationism in British schools.

Leave a Reply