Evangelizing Evolution to the Family?
Ok, time for a personal story.
My brother’s family is evangelical. I could argue that my sister-in-law is evangelical, my brother is just the average Christian, and his kids are the same, but they go to her church so I’ll just leave it at that. About a year ago (some random holiday, I’m thinking Christmas), I was visiting with my family in my hometown and my nephew, who was about 8 at the time, approached me and asked me if I really believed that the universe was created in a big explosion. I looked up at my brother and his wife with a look of surprise and the guilty look on both their faces gave it all away, this was either planned or the kids had overheard their parents talking about me.
I wish I had sat him down at that point and explained that I accepted the scientific viewpoint on the creation of the universe. I did not. Out of respect for my brother’s choice in raising his children as Christians and small amount of fear of reprisal, if during that explanation I turned their child into an atheist, I instead told him “I don’t think your parents would genuinely be very happy if we had this discussion, whether they believe it or not.” I never actually asked them if his question was coaxed or not, in that situation it appeared to be that way though.
I’m still not sure if I made the right choice in that situation, and unfortunately, it hasn’t come up again since then. The person I am now would definitely have sat him down and explained the big bang theory to best of my ability, and if it expanded to the existence of life, I would have then done the same for the theory of evolution. His parents would not have been happy, but they seemed to want that event to take place, I think. I sincerely regret wussing out on that opportunity, but I think my relationship with my brother’s family is better off here than in that “alternate reality”.
What do you think? Should I have scientificized my nephew? Or did I make the right choice in respecting his family’s faith?