For an album that is supposed to deal with the fundamentals of the Christian faith, it is surprising to find an episode about the topic of evolution. That’s not exactly a core doctrine. But is that what the episode is really about? According to the Official Guide, this episode’s theme is actually about “dealing with authority, [and] standing up for your faith.” That definitely makes more sense and fits into the album’s framework, but it seems a little too similar to the episode A Worker Approved in which Robyn has to defend her faith in the classroom. How is this episode different? The episode’s title, Choices, makes the theme of the show a little clearer still. Apparently it is all about a moral dilemma. What is the dilemma? Lucy, probably Odyssey’s smartest student, doesn’t believe in evolution because of her Christianity, therefore she can’t write a report where it will appear that she does endorse evolution. But choosing not to do the school assignment will get her a failing grade in the class. That’s definitely a problem, but as we hear in the end, it’s a problem that could have easily been solved if Lucy had been honest with her teacher from the start.
According to Chris, Lucy’s science teacher likes to show a lot of movies in his class, which already makes me slightly biased against him. I’m fine with having videos shown once in a while in class, but I do not appreciate it when teachers start relying on them a lot. If I could just sit back and watch a video, why is the teacher even there and why am did I even come to class? What’s funny about the videos that Mr. Winthrop shows is that while they claim to have the most recent scientific findings, they sound so antiquated—like the tapes they were recorded on are disintegrating. This shows how unconcerned the school is with providing updated and accurate information to its students. Or maybe they’re simply underfunded. As for Mr. Winthrop, he seems like a nice guy but he confuses me because he doesn’t appear to be a very good judge of character. He knows that his student Lucy is hard worker. She has the highest overall grades in the school district after all. And yet, Mr. Winthrop assumes Lucy doesn’t want to write on evolution for the newspaper because she’s lazy and wants to get out of doing a school assignment. I don’t understand how he could make that assumption given that Lucy has already proven her dedication to school.
I think Lucy’s father made the right choice when he let her decide for herself what to do. This issue is a matter of Lucy’s conscience, so only she knows for sure how she feels. Or does she? Lucy has such a kneejerk reaction towards the topic of evolution that she can’t seem to think straight. Maybe that’s why she isn’t honest with her teacher. Lucy’s stressed-out mind takes her down the rabbit hole to all kinds of possibilities and soon she’s imagining everybody pressuring her to write the report and even Whit yelling, “Anybody who doesn’t know how to make right decisions has no place at Whit’s End!” Christians needs to be careful not to imagine themselves as victims when it isn’t the case. That doesn’t mean Christians aren’t sometimes persecuted, but playing the victim when that isn’t what’s happening devalues instances of actual persecution. On this particular occasion, Lucy imagines herself as a victim of outside pressures, but in reality no one had any intention of suffocating her religious freedom. In the end Lucy makes the right decision, the one we knew she would make all along, and chooses not to violate what she believes is right.
The compromise between Mr. Winthrop and Lucy is for Lucy to write a “Christian perspective on evolution.” That seems rather broad, considering there are many different Christian perspectives on evolution. Is this episode meant to teach an opinion on evolution one way or the other? I don’t know. It’s hard to say. As I understand it, Focus on the Family’s official view is anti-evolution, but they also believe there is room for disagreement on this issue. Lucy says, “I’m a Christian. I don’t believe in evolution.” That could be interpreted in different ways. That could mean she thinks to be a Christian automatically means you must disbelieve in evolution, or it could mean that while it is her personal belief that evolution doesn’t fit into her Christian faith, she wouldn’t have a problem with other Christians believing in it. When I listen to this episode I’m tempted to lean towards the personal approach. Whit says that if you go against what you believe is right, it’s a sin. But he also says that sometimes there is a fine line between right and wrong, and what’s right for some people may be wrong for others. It all depends on someone’s conscience. This episode seems a bit muddled, probably because moral dilemmas themselves can get muddled. In the end it turns out to be just a good episode, not an outstanding one. Compared to others, this episode takes a lot more effort to figure out exactly what it’s really about and what it’s trying to say. It gets 3 out of 5 stars.