I’ve been reminded of this fact while watching leftist coverage of Fox’s series “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey.” With each body-blow to young-earth creationism,lefty writers cheer like WWE fans watching a compilation of John Cena highlights. Here’s Mother Jones, for example:
To be a Young Earth creationist is to hold a truly unique place in the history of wrongness. These religious ideologues don’t just deny human evolution; their belief in a universe that is only a few thousand years old commits them to an enormity of other errors, including many beliefs that fly in the face of modern physics.
Last night’s episode of Cosmos, devoted to explaining the nature of space, time, and the speed of light, presented a stunning case in point. For as host Neil deGrasse Tyson explained, if creationists were right about the extreme youth of the universe, then we wouldn’t even be able to see the vast majority of the stars in the sky. The Hubble Space Telescope? Not a very worthwhile investment.
As a lifelong Evangelical (actually, I grew up in a quite fundamentalist church before leaving after college ultimately to join a Reformed denomination), I look at this obsession as a symbol of leftist ignorance of Evangelical culture. Yes, if you ask most Evangelicals what they believe about the age of the earth and the origin of the universe, they’re going to side with the more literal interpretation of the Genesis story. But I would describe this as a “soft” or low-priority belief. Whether the Earth is a few thousand years old or several billion isn’t fundamental to their understanding of the Bible, the world, or their faith. It’s simply their default position.
I’ve never been a young-earth creationist, and I have not once encountered serious push-back or anger from fellow Christians, just curiosity. It’s something to talk about once we’ve exhausted, say, our analysis of why the Southeastern Conference is the finest college football conference in the land (but really, can that topic ever be exhausted?) To be sure, a small number of Christians fiercely and zealously defend the young-earth position, but their influence is vastly overstated by secular journalists who need them more than the church does. In fact, in 45 years of life I can remember exactly one in-pulpit presentation of the young-earth position. By contrast, I can remember countless statements to the effect that a position on the age of the earth isn’t an indispensable element of the Christian faith.
One suspects that the Left hopes to find the magic scientific bullet that will cripple faith and expose the faithful as fools. If they hope to accomplish this, I suggest they change topics. I can think of few better (short) expressions of overall Evangelical belief about the creation than Mike Huckabee’s response when asked about evolution in a CNN debate in the 2008 election cycle. (Really CNN? A question about evolution in a presidential debate?) Watch his response and ask yourself whether the show “Cosmos” or any other triumphant discussion of the speed of light or any other scientific proof of the earth’s age is ultimately relevant to a Christian’s faith in his Creator: