Learn about Life in the 1920s

War and the economic depression caused many to turn to God and others to turn away from him. Major efforts were made to spread christianity in the heathen nations and communism emerged as a force opposing christianity. Evolution challenged Creationism.

Cemetery Crosses

Religion and Religious Faith challenged by Evolutionists

The Lambeth proposals, which were promulgated by a conference of Anglican and Episcopal bishops from all over the world in August, 1920, provided, in brief, for a reunion of the churches on the basis that priests of the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches would be accepted as priests of the Anglican Church if their own communions would reciprocate, while it was asked of the Protestant Churches that they would allow their ministers to submit to reordination by Anglican or Episcopal bishops. Meetings were held during the 1920's to try and further the cause, but acceptance of ordination authority was a major stumbling block.

Scientific discoveries and theories flourished causing doubt on the biblical version of events. Educational institutions promoted scientific learning based only on facts causing some to label them as "incubators of agnosticism". The debate between science and religion see-sawed backwards and forwards throughout the nineteen-twenties. 1929 saw a lot of books published defending religious beliefs, practices, and ethics.

Atheism was pitched against religion in the Scopes Trial, (The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes) which was commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial. In 1925, John Scopes, a high school teacher, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.

Although Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, the verdict was overturned on technicalities. The trial attracted intense national publicity, after big-name lawyers agreed to represent each side. William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate for the Democrats, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes.

The case was seen as both a theological contest and a trial on whether modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy should be taught in schools.