I asked him if he was religious, and he answered that he was.
- True, a single cell contains a machinery that is incredibly complex. The components and the way they interact are high in number, and we don't know them all. It is indeed hard to imagine how such a thing could evolve, but this is mission impossible; difficult should be a walk in the park.
- No evolutionary biologists (in their right mind) are saying that it happened by accident. However, we can understand what is meant when creationists phrase it like that. Random chance does have a lot to do with evolution, and that can be construed to mean 'accident' (even though that word carries a negative connotation, which, in the case of life, I find hard to accept). However, and of course, natural selection is anything but chance - more like the exact opposite, in fact - and no evolutionary biologists (in their right mind) contests that natural selection is an important evolutionary mechanism (though it is discussed how important relative to other mechanisms, like genetic drift or developmental bias). What creationists might mean is that the component of chance, with or without natural selection to weed out the negative, un(re)productive results, they do not accept.
- Thus, it takes a huger amount of faith, the creationists think, to accept evolution rather than creationism. Creationism is in a sense not complex. If one refrains from asking questions about the nature of the creator, then it is pretty simple to say "God did it". The irony here is that accepting evolutionary hypotheses does not require faith at all, but is based on evidence (which is largely the antithesis of faith). Religious faith is in spite of the evidence, while science always follows the evidence. The evidence may not be complete, and so we must withhold judgment until more evidence is in. And that is the status on the question of the origin of the cell. It is not the status of so many other questions about the origin of organic life, where we have so much evidence for evolution that it takes faith only the religious can muster to deny it.