August 2018 – “It was very clear that my religion was the issue; I have a dozen notarized affidavits from colleagues that say I was terminated because of my religious beliefs,” Dr. Jerry Bergman (photo below) told AFA Journal. In 1979, Bergman was denied tenure at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he had taught for seven years. “The creation issue came up, the abortion issue came up, a number of things to do with my Christian beliefs came up.”
Freedom for the ideologically qualified
That was only one of three times Bergman has experienced the same type of discrimination. “I’ve had three full-time academic positions, and the same thing happened all three times,” he said.
However, with 7 graduate degrees, over 1,000 publications, and 40 years of university teaching experience, he is well qualified in a variety of fields. With Bowling Green, he felt his case was clear enough to file a lawsuit. However, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university.
“I called and talked to a Christian law intern at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and he told me the judges did not even read my case but gave it to a law student and basically told him to write a decision in favor of the university,” Bergman explained. “I wasn’t accused of teaching creation, although it is clear the college objected to my personal beliefs. The court ruled that I ‘falsely claimed to have credentials in psychology,’ which is ludicrous because when I applied at Bowling Green they said I was most qualified for the psychology teaching position.”
In the academic world, hostility against Christian convictions is quite upfront, as many studies have pointed out, including those by secular researchers. (See “Colleges: Anti-diversity and pro-exclusion,” AFAJ, 7/18.)
“I’ve written seven books that document hundreds of cases similar to mine,” Bergman pointed out. “Two of them are Slaughter the Dissidents and Silencing the Darwin Skeptics. The pattern is very clear in all these cases. Number one, they don’t have a reason to terminate someone – and number two, they come up with what they feel are valid reasons.”
Billions of mistakes or one big mistake
The biblical Christian worldview encompasses beliefs that contradict the foundations of a secular worldview. Namely, biblical creation undermines the theory of evolution that permeates much of secular thought.
“I wrote a book called Evolution is a Doorway to Atheism, and I show how important evolution is in leading one to atheism,” Bergman said. “The main concern Darwin had was how do you murder God? Those were his words. Well, you murder God by destroying the reason people believe in God. Creation demands a Creator. And so Darwin came up with another creator to replace God – and that was natural selection.
“In the 1920s and 30s, they came up with mutations as a way to explain genetic variety. So in other words, evolution says we are the result of billions of mistakes – and if you think about this as the method that produced our marvelously well-designed bodies as well as the bodies of plants and animals, you realize that is ridiculous.”
Many scientists, including those in the top league of their fields, recognize that classical Darwinian theory is indeed inadequate. But questioning Darwinian evolution is met with firm resistance.
“Evolution is the ethos of the scientific community,” Bergman said. “It is simply assumed to be true, and they don’t try to prove it, but uncritically repeat the belief.”
Although the ideological role of evolution in upholding a godless, secular worldview is integral, it contributes little substance to the practical world of science.
“I wrote another book called Science is a Doorway to Christianity,” Bergman explained. “I used to be an atheist and got along pretty well with those in the atheist movement. As I did more and more research, I realized science does not support evolution. In fact, the evidence against evolution is overwhelming. A little knowledge allows one to believe in the evolutionary worldview, but more knowledge causes one to believe that evolution does not explain our existence.”
For freedom and faith
Bergman’s exploration and advocacy of creation truths eventually led him to Institute for Creation Research, where he began working as research associate earlier this year.
“ICR’s main orientation is to show the evidence used to defend the evolutionary worldview is not viable and that science can lead one to Christianity,” Bergman explained.
Integrity in holding to biblical truths in the academic realm has led ICR into the fire. ICR has no hesitation conjoining science and faith, and its noteworthy contributions include Acts and Facts monthly magazine, Days of Praise daily devotion, and countless research papers and books published by top scientists and academics.
Those scholars defend creation and biblical worldview in conferences around the country, lead Association of Christian Schools International continuing education courses, and teach undergraduate and graduate level studies at ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics in Dallas, Texas.
Launched in 2009, ICR-SOBA offers two worldview and creation certificate programs; an Associate’s of Christian Education; a Bachelor’s of Christian Education; and a Master’s of Christian Education. However, the school is not accredited by the regional accrediting agency governing the state of Texas – the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Instead, ICR-SOBA has chosen to exercise its First Amendment right, as a predominantly religious education school, to be exempt from accreditation requirements. This decision followed a long legal battle with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. However, ICR forgoes accreditation by choice – holding to academic freedom rather than bowing to academic politics.
“ICR prefers to use its available academic freedoms to stand faithful to its understanding of the truths about God and His creation, as those truths are authoritatively taught in the Holy Bible,” its website reads. “ICR’s strategic mission-related reasons include academic freedom and ICR’s longstanding commitment to young-earth biblical creation.”
ICR’s distinctive philosophy of maintaining academic freedom in matters of faith has been built through the trials that many of its faculty and directors have faced throughout their academic careers.
“During my own education at Wake Forest University, I experienced a severe drop in GPA when I disclosed that I was a Bible-believing Christian,” said Jim Johnson, chief academic officer of ICR-SOBA. “However, the persecution that I experienced did not stop me from becoming a happy witness for my wonderful Creator-God.”
Beyond top-tier academics, ICR prepares people to discredit anti-Christian ideologies through biblical apologetics.
“Our culture is heavily secularized, with evolutionary ideas being a foundation of much of the ideology controlling it,” Jeff Tomkins, ICR director of life sciences, told AFAJ. “Christians need to be able to counter evolutionary propaganda with an accurate understanding of Scripture and science.”
“Secular institutions in both private and public sectors frequently persecute and discriminate against Bible-believing creationists,” Jim Johnson told AFAJ.
Fortunately, there are organizations that work to halt that tide of antagonism. Gateways for Better Education (gogateways.org) instructs Christians on their religious rights and academic freedoms. (See article here.)
In addition, First Liberty Institute (firstliberty.org) and Liberty Counsel (lc.org) help people exercise and protect their academic freedom when confronted with bias and legal challenges.
Learn more about Institute for Creation Research at icr.org or call 800-337-0375.