I’ve been going to the same church, on the same street, fellowshipping with the same congregation every Sunday for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I attended Sunday school and grew up there, achieving a sort of responsibility to take care of the younger kids. I sing in the church choir and I’ve gotten better and better as a tenor as the years go by. And through that time I had never once doubted that God, yes capital G, existed. But recently I’ve had some doubts misgivings really, like asking myself if I truly believed in a heaven or was it just nothingness after death. Every time those thoughts pop into my head, I try to shut it out because I can’t believe there’s just nothing to life. That experience reminded me of when I made an amateur paper on the subject of creation and it’s connected to the theory of evolution. This act of synthesis made me think harder about what I learned in school because I believe a lot of what science tells us except for the evolution and big bang part and that belief/disbelief was precisely what the traditionalists and the modernists battled over in the 1920s.
Before the 1920’s religion in America never really changed Catholics, Jews, and Orthodox Catholics are always in the background while Protestants dominating the field. However during the 1920s religion began to change when Protestants experienced their first major hit, “denominational giving dropped” and there was a serious decline in the foreign-missions/missionary field (Baughman). Unsurprisingly, at the same time, the Theory of Evolution was being introduced to the public and integrated into schools in the scientific community. Religious communities pushed against this which started the battle between the traditionalists and the modernists.
This battle is represented best in The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes court trial of 1925, more commonly known as the Scopes Trial. During this trial, a high school teacher named John Scopes was accused of breaking Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it illegal to teach the theory of evolution. After 9 days of back and forth, Scopes was found guilty and forced to $100 about $1,300 today. The Tennessee Supreme Court later confirmed the constitutionality of the law but reversed Scopes verdict.
It’s almost hard to believe these fights ended up in court. Even though it’s a constant struggle I find the battle quite honestly, boring and frankly, it’s infuriating mostly because they used to coexist peacefully. But now their relationship is becoming like a fight between a strict parent and a rebellious child. In the end, however, it can all fall to one simple idea Pascal’s Wager: If you believe in god and he eats you got to heaven, but if he doesn’t then nothing happens, but if you don’t believe in god and he doesn’t exist, nothing again and if he does exist you burn in hell. So it’s better to believe in God just in case and Atheism is a dismal existence, so why not try this Christianity thing out. This philosophy is called pragmatism, even though it’s not my belief, it still works unless you’re fine and already had some sort of revelation or have a connection to god, capital g in most cases. But for other people, including atheists and scientists, why does disproving something that gives comfort to others during dark times give them some sort of sick kick? I think it has to do with wanting to be right to have a straight, undeniable answer to life but life itself isn’t black and white. So why do we expect the reason for it to be?
Going back to my amateur paper connecting the Big Bang and evolution to creation as I believe it was smart of me at the time, however today that the paper wouldn’t matter because people will be people, with all our twisted and disgusting actions and beliefs we try to hide. Even though we use words such as humane or inhumane it’s just a delusion, a narcissistic one at that, but that’s a topic for another day.
Getting back on topic, I can’t give the scopes trial, religion in the 1920s, or even religion, in general, a rating because I don’t think it deserves one not because it’s bad or not even good. It has its ups and downs, especially in today’s society that was primarily caused by the scopes trial and some other turbulence of the age and past. To appease people I would say 2.5/5 stars or a 5/10 because it’s in the middle. I can’t live without religion, not for any reason I can explain as with so many other people this is mainly why it’s shown in a bad light, but then again religion, in general, has been the foundation of various cultures since before written language. So you can give it a rating if you want, but to me, it’s too enigmatic and frivolous despite its importance and rampant debate.
During the 1920s, the Scopes Trial served as a catalyst for one of the greatest battles in recent history, positioning Christian theologians and believers against researchers and other scientists. This historic bout would later define the power balance between religion and science.d This ripple effect is still felt in society today.
Since the integration of the theory of evolution in schools during the 1920s, faith–especially among Christians–has decreased as a result. The artist believes that science has executed groundbreaking discoveries with its advancements in medicine and technology, however, he feels that science has gotten too much of a shackle on society. That hold then leads to a sort of persecution of the faithful and their beliefs. Because of this, he feels that things were best when Christianity and science were on an even playing field.
The artist utilizes wooden mannequins dressed in black and white felt to symbolize Christian and scientist garments. He also uses different-sized mannequins to show the difference in power over time. He showed this advancement of time through technology. He used light (from a torch to a flashlight) to showcase man’s journey through enlightenment.