A conference hosted by a creationist ministry to help Christians defend their faith against evolution drew over 4,500 people during its opening evening on Sunday.
Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, which hosted the three-day "Answers for Darwin" conference, told the crowd in the opening session that America is becoming less of a Christian nation everyday and that it is due in part to the influence of Darwinism.
He cited statistics by research firm The Barna Group, showing that at least 60 percent of students raised in church-going homes who attend public schools will walk away from church.
Referring to the culture war, Ham said there are increasing pervasive attacks in America, including abortion and the removal of the Bible, prayer and creation from public schools.
"What is wrong?" he asked the audience at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. "I suggest to you the foundation is being taken out of this nation that was once here and we see the structure collapsing."
Ham compared Christianity to a building, which without a foundation would collapse. For Christianity, that foundation is the authority of the Bible, he contended.
But the evolutionary theory proposed by Charles Darwin has helped to undermine biblical authority by challenging the account of creation in Genesis, according to Ham, who believes in the literal interpretation of the six-day creation story in Genesis.
"When you take out Genesis 1-11, it's like taking out the foundation to a building and you would expect it to collapse," he explained.
Ham noted the widespread negative influence of Darwinism.
Darwinism has been used to support racism and by Hitler to justify his actions, Ham claimed.
In Finland, the theory was cited by a student who shot a number of students and said it was a way of putting back to play natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Ham said that if children are taught about natural selection and natural processes, they are being taught in effect that they are just an animal.
"Is that ethically relevant?" he asked rhetorically.
The Young Earth Creationist urged the participants at the free event to not lose biblical authority, starting with what they teach their kids at home.
Many people in their homes have "imposed Christianity from the top-down on our kids but most of them go to schools where they give them a foundation to rebuild the structure," he explained.
He said it was important that Christians raise their children to be able to give answers to a secular world and speak with authority.
Following Ham's address, the crowd also listened to talks by Dr. Andrew Snelling, a scientist with Answers in Genesis who holds a Ph.D. in geology, and Liberty University professor Dr. David DeWitt, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
The "Answers for Darwin" conference, which runs until Wednesday, is being held in response to the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of his fundamental work The Origin of Species. Answers in Genesis hosted a similar conference in California earlier this month.