What was the Scopes Trial and why was it significant?

Also known as the “Monkey Trials,” the Scopes Trial was a court hearing in 1925 in a small town in Tennessee.  A movie entitled “Inherit the Wind” was based on the trial, but it is not at all an accurate representation of what actually happened.  

Tennessee had passed a law called the Butler Act, and this forbade the teaching of Evolution in public schools.   More specifically, this law forbade the teaching of human evolution.  The American Civil Liberties Union wanted to challenge that law, so they found a newly hired teacher named John Scopes.  Scopes had been substitute teaching biology for only two weeks, and during that time he used a textbook that had a chapter about human evolution.  (An interesting note: There are conflicting sources about John Scopes, some of which say that Scopes did not teach evolution at all during his short stint as a substitute.)   Attorney Clarence Darrow defended John Scopes, and the prosecutor was William Bryant.  During the trial, there was a lot of misinformation, ridicule of the Bible, side issues, and false statements made.  At one point, Clarence Darrow put William Bryant on the stand.  Darrow then drilled Bryant with many questions about the Bible, several of which he could not answer. The trial turned from prosecuting John Scopes to actually debating Creation vs. Evolution.

What we can learn from this trial is that all Christians should understand what they believe and why they believe it.  William Bryant, who was a Christian, was not able to defend the Bible or his beliefs, and although Scopes was found guilty (he was later acquitted on a technicality), Clarence Darrow successfully “won” by making a mockery of the Christian faith.  In the play and movie, “Inherit the Wind,” Christians were poorly misrepresented and much propaganda was used that was contrary to the actual court hearing.  The actual court transcript is available to the public now for all to see it does not coincide with the play.  RTG recommends this article for more information about how erroneous the play and movie were: https://answersingenesis.org/scopes-trial/inherit-the-wind/

It is important for us to defend our faith and understand our doctrine.  It is also a biblical mandate (1 Peter 3:15).  Unfortunately, many churches do not promote the teaching of apologetics.  That should not stop the Christian from personally seeking the truth.  Why not start learning today?  There are several websites to help Christians defend their faith.