How will these resources help you? 

Discussions around the Abrahamic accounts of creation and the scientific theory of evolution provide an opportunity in the religion and worldviews classroom to apply different disciplinary approaches to the nature of religious texts, interpretations and processes in a faith. These resources cover teachings and beliefs around creation and evolution. They also touch on themes of religion in education in a secular society, liberal and fundamentalist approach to faith, the historical, theological and sociological disciplines and the perspective of a biologist of faith teaching in a setting where resistance to the theory of evolution is faced head-on. 

Evolution on trial

The Scopes Trial: Did Darwin Kill God?

published by BBC Two, (2009)

In 1925, in Tennessee, USA, a teacher was put on trial for breaking a state law around the teaching of evolution in the classroom. The trial was an international sensation and the first ever to be broadcast on the radio. The Scopes Trial offers an opportunity to apply the historical discipline within the religion and worldview classroom. This pivotal moment in the development of Christian fundamentalism and the relationship between religion and science can illustrate the diversity of views within a faith tradition in interpreting the Genesis account of creation. Teachers can discuss the event and its consequences with a class or re-enact the trial within the classroom. The class could then make their own judgement on the case before knowing the outcome. This would allow students to explore the relationship between creation and evolution, the role of religion in education, how religious texts are translated and interpreted and the role and responsibility of the legal system in societies. 
Overview: The Conflict Between Religion and Evolution

published by Pew Research Center, (2014)

Discussions in the classroom around creation and evolution present an opportunity to apply the sociological discipline. By looking through this summary of opinions around creation and evolution from a US-based research centre, students can explore the differing views and interpretations held within a society on creation and evolution. Students and teachers could then explore further in more depth the various views and surveys via the links provided. 

Darwin grapples with faith and facts

Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin

by Randal Keynes, published by John Murray, (2009), 9781848542020

Students and teachers will be aware of the influence of Darwin’s scientific theories on our understanding of the origins of species and how this may conflict with biblical accounts of creation. However, what this book shows is the human side of the thinker. Darwin grappled for years with the burden of facts that he knew would challenge so many people’s faith, most significantly his own wife’s. He debated with fellow scientists and clergy about the possibility of a being that masterminded evolution: a system which necessitates a great deal of death. For each adaptation that suits a creature to live longer there are infinite adaptations which generate more pain and suffering. This telling of his story also aids the religion and worldview classroom through illustrating the problem of evil and protesting atheism. Darwin’s daughter died after he pleaded with God to save her in exchange for his life’s work: one wonders how the modern world might have been different had Darwin’s plea been answered and thus his work never published.

Teaching evolution – a case study

Why I teach evolution to Muslim students

by Rana Dajani, published by Nature, (2015)

Rana Dajani serves as a living artefact. As a professor of molecular biology at the University of Jordan and a practising Muslim, she sees no conflict between her faith in a creator God and the processes of evolution that she believes we can see all around us. In this article, she illustrates some of the challenges her students have in accepting Darwin's theory of evolution, as they view it as conflicting with their faith. Her example shows the discussion around creation and evolution in a contemporary setting and how it will aid discussions around religion and science more generally, as well as on the importance of critical thinking and reason within the Islamic faith.   

Further Materials

Worlds Apart by Theos Think Tank, published by YouTube, (2022) Watch this video
The One Where The World Is Created by Louisa Jane Smith, published by The RE Podcast, (2022) Listen to this podcast
Evolution and Religion: A Dialogue by Michael Ruse, published by Rowman & Littlefield, (2016), 9781442262065 Find this book
The Pot-Stirrer: Teaching Evolution in the Southeast U.S. by SciFri, published by YouTube, (2015) Watch this video
The Scopes Trial 1925 by Ruth Marx Access this resource
Ruth Marx teaches Religion and Worldviews, is a Consultant for Religious Studies and PSHE, a Farmington Fellowship Scholar and a published blogger on Re:Online.

Text © Ruth Marx, 2023.