If you’re squeamish about discussions of religion and God, read no further! What follows is controversial and much of it not subject to scientific investigation.
In case you’re wondering, I’m a Christian. This simply means I believe I was given life by God, that His son Jesus became a man and died for my sins, and that I will have everlasting life in heaven for believing on this. I strive to live the way God would want me to live, as written in the Holy Bible. I was brought up in the Catholic faith, even attending parochial school in grades 1-8, but I’m Protestant now. I went through an agnostic period between the ages of 19 to about 38—I’m glad I made it through that alive!
I’ve been learning more about paleo eating over the last year since it overlaps a fair amount with low-carb eating. (Paleo-style eating is also referred to as ancestral, Old Stone Age, hunter-gatherer, or the caveman diet.) The Paleolithic Era covers about 1.5 to 2 million years of human evolution, admitting that there probably hasn’t been much genetic change over the last 50,000 years (debatable). The cornerstone of paleo eating is that we should eat the things we are evolutionarily adapted to eat. We’ll be healthier that way. We didn’t have corn chips, soda pop, and candy bars 20,000 years ago, so we shouldn’t be eating them now.
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Various species of animals thrive on certain foods and not others. My horses eat three meals a day – all hay; you and I couldn’t survive on that.
I have a college degree in Zoology, so I was thoroughly indoctrinated in Charles Darwin‘s evolutionary theory, at least the version current in the mid-1970s. Darwin’s theory requires no God, or didn’t include a role for God or gods. How Darwinians answer the question of Creation, I don’t know.
Many proponents of evolutionary theory seem to be atheist or agnostic. Natural selection determines who lives or dies, not the hand of God. Some brands of Christianity, but not all, reject the idea of human evolution in its entirety. They believe God created us just as we are about 6,000 years ago. So can a Christian be a paleo diet advocate?
(I don’t know where Judaism, Islam, and other major religions stand on evolution.)
Human evolution is central to paleo diet theory. A religious person may reject the idea of human evolution; can he nevertheless participate in the modern “paleo community”?
I believe God made us and the universe. There’s no proof – it’s a matter of faith. I don’t know if He made us 6,000 years ago or two million. The bulk of the science speaks clearly against 6,000 years ago.
Our bodies are made to thrive on certain foods and not others. That’s true for all animals. If you find an injured bird in your yard and hope to nurse it back to health, you better find out what it eats naturally and provide it, or you’ll fail. The range of foods humans can thrive on is pretty broad. Whether the optimal way of eating is determined by godless evolutionary processes or by the intelligent design of a Creator doesn’t matter so much if you’re looking at it from a purely nutritional viewpoint.
From an “everlasting life” viewpoint, it matters. Big time.
The paleo guys might be right about the best way to eat. Science continues to accumulate evidence one way or the other.
Christianity and paleo diet theory are not mutually exclusive. A Christian can ignore the possiblity of a million years of evolution, believing instead that God made our bodies in such a way that we’d be healthier eating certain foods and not others. Those foods may be the components of the paleo diet, whatever that is.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Carl Drews has written extensively on Christianity and Evolution, including his essay on Theistic Evolution.
Phil Porvaznik’s article on theistic evolution and the Roman Catholic Church.
Wikipedia: Catholic Church and Evolution.
Can a Christian follow a paleo low-carb diet? at Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog.
A few questions for the atheists. Where did the universe come from? Was it created? By whom or what? What if God exists, and he made us for a reason and wants us to live a certain way?
Consider this excerpt from Walter Isaacson’s book, “Einstein: His Life and Universe”:
One evening in Berlin, [Albert] Einstein and his wife were at a dinner party when a guest expressed a belief in astrology. Einstein ridiculed the notion as pure superstition. Another guest stepped in and similarly disparaged religion. Belief in God, he insisted, was likewise a superstition.
At this point the host tried to silence him by invoking the fact that even Einstein harbored religious beliefs.
“It isn’t possible!” the skeptical guest said, turning to ask Einstein if he was, in fact, religious.
“Yes, you can call it that,” Einstein replied calmly. “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent, I am, in fact, religious.”