Christian Fanaticism and Science

The Slippery Slope of Misinformation


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I ’ve often tried to figure out how on earth we got into the mess we are in now, with the right to a safe and legal abortion gone, with the right to prevent pregnancy being under attack, with transgender children not being safe or supported in their own communities, with trying to survive in Red America while on the Blue Team.

The picture of how this happened began to come into clearer focus when I began searching for homeschool science materials. Now, I never planned to homeschool, I was homeschooled in parts of my childhood and it was used as a way to abuse me by having nobody to reach out to about my abuse. I wasn’t allowed to learn certain things which is another reason they homeschooled.

Then things blew up in my face and I was stuck at the beginning of the 2021–22 school year a week before school started scrambling around trying to gather curriculum so I could do this well. I have one child who is as resistant to education as anti-vaxxers are to the idea of people getting a vaccine for anything at all, one who is “meh” about the whole being educated thing. Being transgender in middle school in Mississippi is just miserable and she was bullied so badly (by students and staff), that she’s years behind and I have to catch her up. At the same time, I don’t want to rush it, I need to her learn what she needs to know.

My blonde-haired, blue-eyed youngest girl is what I call my “nerd encyclopedia.” She loves to learn, and I’m determined to give the kids the best education I can get them. I looked at all the curriculum choices and got the best I thought that I could on limited funds. I was all set and ready to go, with the exception of science. What was the issue with science?

I couldn’t find science curriculum that wasn’t a Christian fundamentalist curriculum teaching young earth creation. I mean, what the actual fuck? Science curriculums teaching religion rather than science. I’m a Christian, and the crappy excuses for what passes as “science” curriculum in the name of Christianity is rather vulgar.

Here I am staring at books like Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, or Biology: The Study of Life from a Christian Worldview brought to you by MasterBooks Curriculum, or the not-so-fabulous Enjoying God’s World 2 by Abeka. There are other options also from Bob Jones University, ACE, and more, all trying to outdo each other for the most godly sounding stupid name. At least they are up front about it, you can tell by the name of the book.

I highly resent the obvious attempt to make young earth creation the dominant belief despite it being debunked by, you know, actual science, and then protending that it’s a belief necessary to have in order to be a Christian. I don’t see young earth creation in the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed, therefore not something that is considered necessary to Christian faith and practice.

It took me almost an entire school year to find something secular that works for us. Science and math are my weak areas and so I want to take great care to make sure my kids learn those subjects properly despite my own lack of education in those areas, which is why I’m insistent on finding the right curricula.

My youngest loves science, and art, and most other nerdy things, and there’s no way in hell she’d take a book teaching young earth creation seriously. In fact, when we discussed why it was hard to find the right thing, she said to ask her grandma because grandma had homeschooled and I told her that grandma used relgious resources that taught the earth was created in six literal days about 6,000 years ago, her first response to laugh, and her second response was to give me an incredulous look, get all serious and quietly ask: “didn’t they teach science when grandma was a little girl?”

This is how these people gain traction. They take a ridiculous, dogmatic, ignorant position on something scientific that can be proven over and over again, to not be true, pretend that it’s a major issue and that kids are losing their faith for not believing it, and writing entire “science” texts based on it.

They sell these books to even nominal Christian homeschooling parents who decide not to care if that view is seen as a legitimate view in the materials they order. They convince those who might be on the fence or who don’t know better that this is absolutely an essential belief, and they have sold the idea.

Once the idea is sold, and people begin to see it as a legitimate scientific theory, they are half-way down that slippery slope and picking up traction as they go. This is one of the ways Christian fundamentalism begins to take over the country.



MaryClare StFrancis, M.A. (she/her)

I write nonfiction essays about a variety of topics, as well as memoir pieces.