Early followers of Christianity began to use the symbol of the fish (Ichthys) to identify themselves to fellow believers. It was safer than the cross which became too easily identifiable and made easy targets of early Christians. The fish was an obvious choice as it became a pictorial symbol that emerged from ‘Ichthys’, the ancient Greek letters for the word fish. Also, the fish was important symbolically if we consider the many ways a fish has been represented in early Christian history. Who can forget the story of how Jesus met his disciples Andrew and Peter as they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. He called out to them to drop their nets and said, “Follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1:17) Evangelizing is part of the Christian doctrine where we are either the fish to be saved or the fishermen sent out to preach the word of God. There is also the famous story of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000. A young boy handed over his humble lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fish. In turn, Jesus converted the food so he was able to feed the 5,000 people who had followed him to hear his sermon and be healed. This is one of the most recognizable miracles that Jesus showed the world and the fish became a symbol of God’s bounty and power. Finally, I know that many Christians are baptized in water because it represents not only our death, burial, and resurrection but also mimics the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
In recent years, this symbol of the fish was appropriated by those who opposed Christianity and they added the words ‘Darwin’ or feet to show evolution and therefore refute Christianity. A quick search on the internet came up with numerous images that had a bigger ichthys with the word ‘truth’ swallowing a smaller ichthys with the word ‘Darwin’ on it and vice versa. There is a whole battle going on in the evolutionary world that I was not even aware of until I listened to this lecture. While numerous studies conducted among various branches of Christianity show that a surprising number of believers tend to have little to no conflict with scientific claims, the one area they do disagree with science on is the origin of man.
In America during the 1920s, there was a very popular opinion that Darwinism corrupted people’s morals. In fact, a powerful politician and presidential hopeful, William Jennings Bryan, led the anti-Darwin movement. He argued that World War I was the result of evolution theory and Darwinism tainting or warping the minds of Germans. Therefore, believing or even teaching evolution became synonymous with unleashing uncontrollable animalistic behavior, and a whole host of other dangerous social issues like abortion, racism, and relativism.
This division exists today and you only have to check Youtube or Ted Talk to watch scientists in serious debate with anti-evolutionists. I make no judgment here, for everyone has the right to believe what they want. But it really makes for fascinating watching.