Some two decades before Robert Bellah and his colleagues wrote the seminal 1985 book Habits of the Heart, which improved the public conversation about religion and society in the United States, Bellah penned a provocative essay called “Religious Evolution.” He has finally returned to that ambitious theme.
In high school I was taught that the Earth is about 10,000 years old. But I also learned the basics of evolution from my evangelical teachers. School administrators knew that students taking Advanced Placement biology exams and heading off to state universities needed to understand secular scientific reasoning, if only to combat it properly.
Forty percent of Americans favor teaching "creation science" instead of evolution in public schools. Fully 68 percent would like to see creationism taught alongside evolution. Given those figures, the decision by the Kansas Board of Education in August to downgrade the teaching of evolution should not come as a shock.
In the days before the Kansas School Board's August decision to strip the teaching of evolution from state science standards, the presidents of the Kansas university system issued a statement. "The simple fact is," they said, "people can believe both in God and in evolution."