There was quite a bit of reaction to my comic the other day. I suppose that I should just get out of the comic business, but that darn iPad is just too inviting to draw out some fun stuff here and there.

Here is the first one I posted two days ago:

It is funny, but when I first created this and showed it to some people at the Credo House they had the same initial thoughts as I did: “Creationists are going to get mad!” Why? because I put a caption at the bottom which said “Are the really THAT different.” 

My point was to demonstrate how evolutionists and special creationists both believe some very bizarre stuff. It was not to legitimize snakes talking or random mutation from a single-celled organism into a multi-celled organism with a voice box.

Neither was this to say that this is a Christian/Atheism issue. Far from it. Atheism has nothing to do with evolution as evolution does not speak to ultimate beginnings. In fact, if evolution happened, it simply gives a different (and substantial) line of evidence for a Creator. In other words, the irrationality of atheism has nothing to do with the bizarre claims of evolution. 

Unfortunately, people quickly interpreted this through a different grid. I am saddened how this type of stuff gets picked up by atheists as if it has to do with them. Let me be plain and clear: though I do not accept evolution, the debate about evolution is not a Christian vs. atheism debate. In fact, one could say that to be a rational evolutionist, the evolution debate must be seen as an in-house (theism) debate.

However, I need to clarify what the comic was intended to communicate. To do this, I offer this parallel comic:

The point, once again, is not the evidence for either. It is how we are programmed to accept bizarre ideals in one area and reject them outright in another. Christian creationists need to be careful that they don’t make fun at evolution just as they don’t make fun of the idea of a snake talking. Is either really too hard for God? As well, if a snake did literally talk, big deal. Maybe evolution happened and a snake talked. Who knows. In this sense, they are not THAT different. Both are “other worldly”, non-intuitive, and outside of our everyday experience.

It takes quite a bit of pride to speak with too much assurance about any of these things. Most importantly, the world is filled with bizarre things. Just because it does not fit without our “normality” does not make it untenable.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    25 replies to "Snake Talk and Evolution Comic: Some Clarifications"

    • Dr Michael

      With all due respect CMP, what have you been smoking? 🙂

      Modern day atheism is totally dependent on evolution to support it, hence the term “New Atheism”. Granted, many “Christians” hold to a theistic evolution, but you seem to be trying to level the field with evolution and creation here. The difference in your cartoon is that the preacher is reading from God’s Word, as opposed to the evolutionist reading from man’s word.

      And it’s not an issue of different programming either. We are only “programmed” to believe in God (Romans 1:18ff.), but many suppress this truth in their sin and turn to idols, atheism being idolatry of self.

      Of course, having your ThM, you know all this, which is even more puzzling why you would say “It takes quite a bit of pride to speak with too much assurance about any of these things.”

      That sounds more like Rob Bell and the postmodernist than the C Michael Patton I usually read here.

    • Brad

      The post is one of an apologetic perspective without worldview supposition.

      In other words, brilliant work once again, Mikey!

      If we can’t be reasonable in our faith to unbelievers, what is the purpose of living on the fallen earth with them?!

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      I like the first, original cartoon better.

    • curt

      Our judgement of the ‘bizarreness’ of an idea has little to do with its truthfulness. This is why the point must come back to the evidence.
      Which is more bizarre – a flat earth or a spherical earth? Many ancients would have judged a spherical earth as bizarre, but in our space age we have abundant evidence to conclude the opposite.
      Science has shown this world to be radically bizarre as judged by our everyday common sense. Our brains aren’t wired to understand relativity or quantum mechanics – but the evidence has demonstrated the accuracy of these ideas.

      Add a couple examples to your religious and scientific scenarios:
      * “… and the angel Moroni gave the golden plates to the prophet.”
      * “… and so space and time are not fixed but relative to ones inertial reference frame.”
      How would the relative ‘bizarreness’ of each reflect on its truthfulness? It is impossible to answer without going to the evidence for/against each idea.

    • Saskia

      I agree with Curt…

    • James S

      The only real difference is quite a significant one –
      God revealed in the bible the one (snake talking) and didnt reveal anything in the bible about the other.

      Thats the only issue here.
      It’s all that matters.

      Believing something that God said in the bible is not believing something bizarre.
      It would be more bizarre to NOT believe something that God revealed in the bible.

      You need to have your priorities straight. You need to have your understanding of God’s Authority and Wisdom straight.

    • hoverfrog`

      I feel that you’ve missed the point entirely. When presented with a question it is the task of an honest enquirer to examine the question and propose solutions. The question is: “Why are there so many species on Earth?”

      Creationists say that God created them. An answer devoid of evidence to support it.

      Scientists look at DNA, cell structure, body structure, similarities between species, fossil evidence, and a whole host of other disciplines. They use this evidence to conclude that evolution is, in fact, true.

      The talking snake is unrelated to evolution. It is part of Christian mythology and is not supposed to be taken literally. Its OK to mock those who do. That a serpent spoke isn’t the important point, the lesson that Christians are supposed to glean is.

      A monkey being your grandpa is a straw man misrepresentation of the evolutionary position. it ridicules without attempting to understand the position of those discussing science.

      They are not equivalent.

    • John B

      I wish I had IPad… Good comic keep them coming if it spurs that much talk then it’s getting people to think….

    • Ed Kratz

      By bizarre, I don’t mean “did not happen.” The resurrection of Christ is bizarre, but it happened. A donkey talking is bizarre, but I believe it happened. A sea parting is bizarre, but I believe it happened. Evolution is bizarre, but it could have been the means that God used to create man (though I doubt it—at least the way most scientists look at it—their perspective is simply too limited to make such positive truth claims).

      In other words, “bizarre” is not a criteria upon which we can make initial judgments. The entirety of existence is bizarre, yet real.

    • Lee

      Both may be strange when the very general idea of the idea is given, but are different when you look at the evidence.

      Maybe both sound like myths, but only one has evidence and a theory of the process behind it.

      Maybe a snake did talk, but there is no reason to think it to be true, and since the story doesn’t fully make sense without mental gymnastics and redefining words in unlikely ways, it is more likely a myth than the other.

    • Robert Hagedorn

      Pet stores don’t sell live snakes that speak human language. And grocery stores don’t sell knowledge of good and evil fruit. So does this mean the story of Adam and Eve is nonsense, or is there meaning beyond their disobedience? Do a search: The First Scandal.

    • Philip

      I think you all miss the point. There is context to both of the stories in the cartoon.

      Macro-evolution supposedly happened again and again, all over the world in very similar ways. So yes, it is very far fetched, but it is supposed to have been very common place.

      Whereas, the story of creation was completely supernatural. A talking snake: sure! The damned thing was possessed by the Devil. This was no ordinary snake. Is it far fetched? Sure. Did it happen? Yes.

      I would venture to say the beginning of the universe is a pretty far fetched happening, but it happened nonetheless.

      In short you are comparing the natural to the supernatural…apples to Fords. They’re not even in the same ballpark. That’s why I find the first cartoon sarcastically funny and the second insensitive but reasonable. I don’t like either, however.

      You make an interesting point about how we treat one another. I have done my due diligence in study and found evolution improbable.

    • phantom

      I think the comparison would be more valid if you substituted the resurrection of Christ, or the Bible as God’s word, or the existence of God, for the talking snake. Perfectly orthodox Christians disagree about whether the snake story is to be taken literally as history or not; the valid question is instead whether the story teaches accurate theological truths about a God who actually exists. Then the question becomes: Why, in the face of the evidence, do some people refuse to accept the existence of God; and in comparison Why, in the face of the evidence (sorry CMP 🙂 ), do other people refuse to accept the common ancestry of life; and why do people in both camps continue to ridicule one another.

    • hoverfrog

      CMP “The resurrection of Christ is bizarre, but it happened. A donkey talking is bizarre, but I believe it happened. A sea parting is bizarre, but I believe it happened. Evolution is bizarre.”

      The issue here is quite simple. I don’t believe that anything in the bible actually happened. The books are full of myths. that isn’t to denigrate their value to believers, it is merely stating the proper context for the stories.

      A) If someone actually believes in the myths as factual events then it is a simple matter for them to produce the historical and scientific evidence in support of their assertion.

      B) If someone believes in the science of evolution then it is a simple matter to produce the scientific evidence in support of their assertion.

      You can do B in abundance. You cannot do A.

    • Anselm

      I have to ask what is up with Parchment and Pen bashing evolutionist lately? What happened to well thought through reasoned arguments were both sides are presented irenically? Why is folk-theology wrong but pseudo-science supported?

      Not all, nor are most, evolutionists, atheists. Nor is evolution a subjective “belief.” (Sorry I know this is hard to hear, and some are already ready to say “no it’s not!” but it really is the truth and a well documented one at that) Rather it is an objective measurable, observable (yes observable), natural process. Thomas Huxley said, “Science is organized common sense where many a beautiful theory was killed by an ugly fact.”

    • Ed Kratz

      Anselm,

      I don’t know of any post on P&P that has mocked evolution. I don’t believe in it and have studied it. Not opposed to it, but your statements are a bit overstated and unhelpful.

      Anyway, this cartoon does nothing but bash the hypocracy of both Creationist (who believe that evolution is too silly to have occured) and Evolutionist reject prima facie the idea of a snake talking.

      Again, like the post said, Evolution has nothing to do with atheism. In fact, if evolution happened, there is simply another line of evidence for God. It is not a Evolution vs. Theism thing.

    • Anselm

      Michael,
      You have good theology and I generally enjoy your post. I personally owe much to you. I do understand the intention of the cartoon. So let me show what I mean by “bash” (not mock). Your statement that evolutionist “believe” in “bizarre” stuff is a “bash.” Yes its bizarre, but we don’t “believe in” evolution. We believe in God, and know about evolution. To call evolution a mere belief is a polemic because you are equating it with something subjective like a snake talking. This is a misunderstanding of science. Again you state “… with the bizarre claims of evolution.” Key word being “claims.” As if these are just subjective ideas. You have studied theology but you have a clear a-priori when it comes to science. When only creationist blog (to the best of knowledge) on your site it does seem that “bashing” is going on. I would encourage you to give a theistic evolutionist equal space on your show and blog. One far more eloquent than myself.

    • Dominick

      Interesting on how the response sounds to the chords being struck at the comic… I get the point your making, without taking offense. But how dare you compare evolution with the silly notions and mythological stories of the Bible! And the audacity to compare God’s truth with the lies of evolution!

      Lighten up people- bizarre does not equal untrue. Nature is full of bizarre and strange things… take us silly bickering humans, for instance.

    • Tim

      How about if we switch the first characters bible story with “And then the evil intergalactic lord Xenu banished the ghosts to earth” and the evolution comment with “And the baby grows inside the womens womb for 9 months”

      Are they really THAT different?

      I hope that can help clarify why so many people face palmed after reading the original strip. If your point was just to say that “some religious mythologys are strange, and so are some things in real life” then ok,
      But whats the point? No one disagrees, and its no impediment to anyone who wants to mock the bizarre aspects of religious tales.

      The message clearly seems to be the common religious argument that “Well, I think Science takes faith too so dont laugh at me” but in comic strip form.
      If that wasn’t your intention… well go study other comic strips and try to figure out a better way of getting your message across.

    • James S

      “Maybe a snake did talk, but there is no reason to think it be true”

      God stating it in the bible through His prophet is not reason to think it be true? Is God a liar? We know that God is not a liar. He does not lie ever.

      I’ll tell you what is unreal. That anyone could apostacize so far to think that any of the bible is myth.
      God help you, but it’s likely too late.

      But fear not, you at least have the approval of men, and isn’t that really what’s most important to all of you who agree together that any of the bible is myth?
      But I’d love to be present when youns all try to explain this to Jesus.

    • Daniel Collins

      Michael,

      I get your point. You’re right in that we sometimes accept bizarre things as truth simply because that’s what we’ve been told.

      What you’re missing is the these two “bizarre” facts are very different in nature. To understand the difference, consider another extremely bizarre fact of relativity: the faster your velocity, the slower time will pass. In my mind, that is the king of all bizarre facts because human beings can only think of time in linear terms.

      The unique thing about relativity (and evolution) is that we only believe because a there is solid scientific evidence. Scientists postulate, if relativity (or evolution) is true, then we should see X,Y, and Z when we make observations. Turns out we do see X,Y, and Z, so we start believing the bizarre fact.

      In the case of a talking snake, you might make the postulation, if snakes talked, then we should be able to observe them talking (we don’t). Your bizarre fact is only believed because of religious…

    • Zach

      To Tim:
      I know this discussion is probably over by now, but I just have to ask: How is the comment “And the baby grows inside the womens womb for 9 months” specifically related to evolution? Babies growing inside a woman’s womb has nothing at all to do with evolutionary theory. It is a scientific statement that can be proven by observation. Nothing more.

      Another thought: Someone mentioned that evolution is observable. I would like to point out that we need to clarify what “evolution” is. If you mean that we can observe small changes in characteristics (like beak size or fur color) from generation to generation of the same species, you are absolutely right!

      However, the theory of evolution proposes that one species can evolve into another species (not just a small change in one or two characteristics!). I have yet to hear of anyone observing this nor could anyone observe this since the theory itself states that millions of years are needed for these changes to occur (how convenient!). To say that the entire theory of evolution (from a single cell to a complex organism) is observable is simply not true!

      Finally, someone commented in the last post that the theory of evolution is more likely (than Creation, I assume) and then proceeded to state that it is proven. I would like to know which one is true. Is it more likely, or is it proven (which would mean it is absolutely true). I cringe it is stated that the evolutionary THEORY is fact simply because it is “more likely” or “plausible.” Plenty of evidence is cited, but rarely is it discussed whether that same evidence could support creation (or intelligent design if you like that name better).

    • Austin

      Sure it’s easy to criticize a talking snake. The straw-man arguments are always easier to criticize than the actual positions of those who hold them; that’s why we create them.

      In fact, the Hebrew word for “serpent” used in Genesis 3 is “Nachash,” which means “Shining one.” The serpent was, very truly, Satan himself, in his state as a fallen angel. He was pleasing to the eye and as such, coupled with his questioning of God’s word, was successful in deceiving Eve.

      He was successful because he presented himself as a more attractive alternative to God’s word. He appealed to Eve’s pride. He in effect said, “Look how beautiful I am, look how much sense I make, look how clean and precise I am, look how logical I am. Of course I offer a better alternative for you than God’s clumsy word. After all, you can touch me, you can follow me, you can *know* me. Isn’t that better than some empty words that God supposedly said? Don’t believe the myth that ‘God said.’ Surely that’s foolishness. Follow me instead.”

      Satan was by no means a talking snake. He was (and is) the incarnation of Hell itself and has been extraordinarily successful in appealing to our pride to blind us to God’s word.

      “Hath God [really] said?” Satan is still asking us that very question today. Anybody that scoffs at a “talking snake” is listening to and following that very same snake.

    • Daniel

      Why does one have to be a theist in order to be a rational evolutionist?

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