The Creationist Crisis

Recently my brother had a DNA test done to see what our nationality/ethnicity breakdown is. As it turned out, the DNA evidence totally refuted all the family stories we heard growing up, stories we told to ourselves and to others over the years.

As he has been interested in genealogical research for years, my brother participates on websites devoted to it. When he announced the results of his DNA test, and what that means for the conflicting story the records tell, he encountered some anger, and some flat-out denial of the clear DNA evidence. Our relatives knew their family stories, and they were not about to change them, no matter what the scientific evidence showed. Better to mistrust science.

I get it. Our stories are how we know who we are, they also tell us why we are here, and what we’re supposed to do with ourselves while we are.

This same thing is happening on a wide scale. Marilynne Robinson, in a discussion with Marcelo Gleiser says, “contemporary science” is making discoveries “as profound as Galileo ever was, or Copernicus.” She marvels at “the idea that we can know things that absolutely revolutionize previous models of the universe we inhabit.” This is equally true if we are looking out at the vast universe, or in at the tiniest structures we have yet found.

Last month Bill Nye came to my town to debate creationist Ken Ham. The debate went as expected, and the two men went home. The next day I printed out a news article about a previous debate the two men had at Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky. In my composition classes, we annotated the article and discussed it in class.

I teach at Central Virginia Community College; across a narrow valley is Liberty University, the creationist Evangelical school where the debate took place. Not a small percentage of my students that morning, or any morning, have some affiliation with Liberty—the ones who don’t, for the most part agree with them on matters of science and history. So I was not surprised at the vehemence and outrage shown in response to Bill Nye’s assertions.

This is so because the students believe, as they have been taught, that you cannot be a Christian without being a young-earth creationist, a belief expressed by Ham himself in the debate. When both men were asked what it would take to make them change their minds, Nye said it would take evidence, and Ham responded, “I’m a Christian.” It is, however, not only a mistake to insist that a Christian must believe in young-earth creationism; it is fatal.

The scientific evidence has long been plenty to justify abandoning a literal reading of the early chapters of Genesis. Genetic research has rendered it unavoidable. An amazing number of Christians deny this, but not all do, and not all see it as a threat to their faith.

In the BioLogos Forum blog “Ham on Nye: Our Take,” Fellow of Biology Dennis Venema, is clear about what genetic research means. “For example,” he writes, “why do humans, as placental mammals, have the defective, fragmentary remains of [a] gene for making egg yolk in our genome exactly where one would predict it to be based on examining the genomes of egg-laying organisms?”

He asks rhetorically, “Why is it that we share many mutations in this defective gene with other placental mammals, to say nothing of the many other defective genes with the same pattern of shared mutations?”

This evidence means young-earth creationism is headed for the dustbins of history, to take its place alongside Aristotle and Ptolemy’s geocentric universe, and a literal hell in the center of the earth, and countless other beliefs Christians once held inviolable and essential to true faith.

That doesn’t mean the stories are useless and must be abandoned however—far from it.

In the conversation with Marilynne Robinson, Marcelo Gleiser notes, “Everything is in transformation at all times.” History is a series of rethinking our myths in light of new discoveries.

The enemy is not knowledge. Knowledge, like everything living, shifts and evolves. In order to live gracefully with it, we must remain supple and adroit. Gleiser stresses that this does not mean being “pious toward science” because “when you adopt the idea that there is only one way of knowing a thing, then you are robbing humanity of its value.”

Robinson goes on to say these creation myths “anticipate modern cosmology.” They are “the expression of the intuition of cosmology among ancient people.” Gleiser agrees: “All the scientific models, the theories that cosmologists used to explain the universe reproduced mythic ideas. There was a universe that was cyclical, like the dancing of Shiva…the Big Bang was prefigured by creation myths.”

Logos and Mythos can work together. The enemy is not science; the enemy is rigidity and fear.

This post was made possible through the support of a grant from The BioLogos Foundation’s Evolution and Christian Faith program. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BioLogos.

Vic Sizemore earned his MFA in fiction from Seattle Pacific University in 2009. His short stories are published or forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Connecticut Review, Portland Review, Blue Mesa Review, Sou’wester, Silk Road Review, Atticus Review, PANK Magazine Fiction Fix, Vol.1 Brooklyn, Conclave, and elsewhere. Excerpts from his novel The Calling are published in Connecticut Review, Portland Review, Prick of the Spindle, Burrow Press Review, Rock & Sling, and Relief. His fiction has won the New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction, and been nominated for Best American Nonrequired Reading and a Pushcart Prize. You can find Vic at http://vicsizemore.wordpress.com/.

Art Used: Dan Lacey, Bill Nye / Ken Ham Pancakes Vs Bacon & Eggs Debate Painting , 8 by 10 print on canvas. 2014.

About Vic Sizemore

Vic Sizemore earned his MFA in fiction from Seattle Pacific University in 2009. His short stories are published or forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Southern Humanities Review, Connecticut Review, Portland Review, Blue Mesa Review, Sou’wester, Silk Road Review, Atticus Review, PANK Magazine Fiction Fix, Vol.1 Brooklyn, Conclave, and elsewhere. Excerpts from his novel The Calling are published in Connecticut Review, Portland Review, Prick of the Spindle, Burrow Press Review, Rock & Sling, and Relief. His fiction has won the New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction, and been nominated for Best American Nonrequired Reading and a Pushcart Prize. You can find Vic at http://vicsizemore.wordpress.com/.

  • Jerry Ross

    What’s so dangerous about teaching kids both sides of the story? Like why not let kids decide if the earth is flat or spherical, or whether diseases are cause by germs or demons. No matter how dumb the controversy is, I say teach both sides!

    /poe’s law ;)

    credit: http://controversy.wearscience.com

    • Nofun

      There are not 2 sides. If you tell children creationism is science you are lying to them no matter how much you believe it yourself.

      • Zeke

        Umm, please turn on your sarcasm detector….

    • Lark62

      Would you go to a heart surgeon who was taught that heart disease is caused by demon possession, or one that has studied the heart scientifically? If you live in a seismic zone, or in the shadow of a volcano, would you want the scientists studying earthquakes and volcanoes to believe that geologic events are caused by out-of-wedlock “relationships”?

      Science matters. Teaching our children the nature of scientific inquiry matters. Teaching our children the difference between evidence and belief matters. Creationism has no scientific basis. Presenting it as though it does will harm the education of our children.

  • Sue Marie

    Read Emanuel Swedenborg’s writings. This incredibly intelligent, 18th-century Christian mystic and scientist proved how we can be both Christians and rational scientists.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Maury_and_Baty/ RLBaty

    From the article:

    - “She marvels at ‘the idea that we can know

    - things that absolutely revolutionize previous

    - models of the universe we inhabit’.”

    In that context, it is not hard to work up a certain skepticism towards the “present” scientific state of affairs and that plays into the hands of young-earth creation-science promoters.

    Just wait for tomorrow’s revolution which will obsolete what some accepted today and will show that nothing is more than a few thousand years old.

    So they remain hopeful, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.

  • Michael Snow

    Thankfully, Ken Ham, though he gets all the publicity, is in a minority of Christians. But I do not believe it correct to claim that Ham believes that ” you cannot be a Christian without being a young-earth creationist,”

    One big problem for those of Ham’s persuasion is that they do not honor their own rules of interpretation when it comes to the first two verses of Genesis. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/creation-young-earth-ham-nye-genesis-one/

  • verysimple

    Mr Evolutionist, Please tell me
    How did life begin from nothing?
    We understand that species of finches adapt and change within their species, but they never became anything else other than a bird!
    Is life intelligently designed?

    • TM Gerber

      Didn’t you read? Evolution takes millions of years. You’d have to live that long to observe the change from species to species.

      • Steen

        There are documented cases of witnessing a change from one generation to the next, which was great enough to qualify as formation of a new species.

        There are also the example of ring-species, where we can see each step of the change from one species to the next, while all are still existing, just in different locations. An excellent example is the European Herring Gull and Lesser Black-Backed Gull

    • Steen

      How life began is the field of abiogenesis, not evolution.
      And while you are at it, displaying a breathtaking ignorance of what evolution is, please explain how your description of “adaptation” is not evolution? It seems very clear that you don’t actually have a clue about what evolution actually is?
      To argue against something you don’t even know what is, that makes you look foolish, and by extension, makes you and your friend look like ignorant yahoos.
      But perhaps, we should start with you telling us what evolution actually is, per your knowledge of the subject

    • Nofun

      Define life. Define nothing. In Quantum mechanics things come from nothing all the time. Evolution is the theory of speciation not abiogenesis.

      If you are going to challenge evolution you need to name your designer and know their methods then compare both mechanisms against the evidence. Creationism will never be science.

  • Paul

    “This is so because the students believe, as they have been taught, that you cannot be a Christian without being a young-earth creationist, a belief expressed by Ham himself in the debate.”

    I’m not sure where Mr. Sizemore got this from, but it wasn’t from the debate nor is it from the Answers in Genesis website.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/about/faith

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v11/n4/christian

    “When both men were asked what it would take to make them change their minds, Nye said it would take evidence, and Ham responded, “I’m a Christian.” It is, however, not only a mistake to insist that a Christian must believe in young-earth creationism; it is fatal.”
    The insistence in believing in young-earth creationism is a biblical authority issue, not a salvation issue. See links above.

    • Vic

      “I am a Christian,” was his response–the implication was clear: if you are a Christian, there’s no other way you can believe. But, okay, how about I modify Christian with “good”? Then, let’s hold the website’s view of biblical authority up against the scientific evidence, because Biblical literalism is the real problem here after all, isn’t it?

      • Paul

        I didn’t get that impression when Ken Ham said “I am a Christian.” Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis have stated that you can be a Christian and believe in evolution since it’s not a salvation issue. What one believes about how the world came into existence is not what makes one a Christian. But what Ken Ham has stated before is that it comes down to a Biblical authority issue. If you interpret Genesis as figurative, that cause problems with what the Bible says elsewhere (example: Romans 5:12 says that death is a result of sin, but if evolution is true then death existed before Adam and Eve existed). Ken Ham stated that you have to read the Bible “naturally” which Bill Nye misinterpreted as meaning that Ken Ham picks and chooses what he wants to believe. By “naturallly”, Ken Ham meant he reads the Bible in context. What is the style of writing? Historical narrative, parable, poetic, figurative, etc.
        “Biblical literalism”, as you call it, isn’t the issue. It’s one’s worldview – which I think was the most important point Ken Ham brought up in the dabate. A person’s worldview is going to affect how one interprets the scientific evidence. If one has a naturalistic worldview, then God is never even going to be considered.
        So back to this statement:

        “When both men were asked what it would take to make them change their minds, Nye said it would take evidence, and Ham responded, “I’m a Christian.”

        Ken is responding from a Christian worldview. There wouldn’t be any evidence that could prove that God does not exist. In the context of a Christian worldview, all the scientifice evidence points to God’s existence. That’s what I think Ken Ham meant by that.

        • Vic

          You will have to define “Christian Worldview” because the good people at BioLogos, as well as many others who accept the scientific evidence, appear to be quite serious about their Christian faith. Ham’s view of biblical inerrancy, and his subsequent insistence on interpreting it literally in matters of science and history is indeed the issue.

          • Paul

            “Ham’s view of biblical inerrancy, and his subsequent insistence on interpreting it literally…”
            What do you mean by “literally”?

            As I stated in my previous post, Ken Ham said in the debate the he reads the Bible “naturally” and I explained what he meant by that.

          • Vic

            I read the explanation in your previous post, and, believe me, I am familiar with the historical-grammatical method of interpreting scripture. It seems like you are playing semantic games. You know what I mean by literally: Ham insists on a literal six-day creation some six-thousand years ago: 24-hour day 1, light and dark; 24-hour day 2, sea and sky; 24-hour day 3, plants; etc.

            As for reading a passage naturally: the creation sequence in Genesis has the characteristics of ancient Hebrew poetry–parallel structure, for instance. Is it natural to read the passage as THE authoritative scientific and historical statement on origins against which all subsequent research must be measured?

            “Ken is responding from a Christian worldview.”

            How are you defining “Christian worldview”?

          • Paul

            So by “Biblical literalist” you mean that it only refers to Genesis 1?
            Of course the days in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days. If they weren’t, you’d have problems with Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:17, as well as other verses. So, yes, it is natural to read Genesis 1 as literal 24-hour days.
            By “Chritian worldview” I mean a worldview where the God of the Bible is the creator of the universe, sent His son Jesus to die for our sins, the Bible is the word of God, etc. Like I said, when Ken Ham responded with “I’m a Christian”, I think he means that there is no scientific or historical evidence that would contradict the Christian worldview.

        • Andrew Shewmaker

          I don’t think that the death referred to in Romans 5:12 necessarily means physical death, does it? After all, the life that Jesus gives first and foremost is spiritual life. Of course, other parts of the Bible talk about renewed physical life at some point in the future, but we should not make the same mistake as Nicodemus when he misunderstood the nature of the rebirth that Jesus was telling him about.

          I don’t buy the assertion that all of Genesis is historical narrative prose. The first creation account feels poetic to me. And it’s true. Most importantly, it expresses the might, the wisdom, and the goodness of God. Does it matter whether light was created before or after the sources of light? No, because God is the source. And if you were Almighty God, how would you explain your ineffable work to people who still understand almost nothing, relatively speaking?

          Biblical literalism, often expressed as an unreasonable belief in one’s own understanding of the Bible, is a problem. It’s hubris, not humility.

  • Robert Fox

    I strongly disagree with your conclusions. Genetics, if anything, is showing a much greater constancy with the Biblical account and showing the hollowness of Darwinian Evolution. Just like any of these issues, you have to look at assumptions being used. For some reason, people tend to accept assumptions used by Evolutionist and then believe their conclusions. In reality, much of their basis is based on assumptions that are not valid.

    A key element of Evolutionary theory requires beneficial mutation to occur over time to get from “goo to you” to get new information introduced to life on earth with change to gradually follow. But studies today show that mutations overwhelmingly have an adverse effect. The less common beneficial mutations usually result in having adverse subsequent results. Yet, beneficial mutation is a fundamental aspect of Evolution – but has little supporting it from actual studies. Evolutionist can pick certain items and conclude Evolution is try – but if their assumptions are wrong, their conclusions won’t be valid.

    This is a reoccurring problem with Evolution. If you look at the fundamentals of the theory, such as beneficial mutations, fossils record, transitional links…etc., there are major holes in the evidence that supports it. Bill Nye, during the debate gave one example of a transitional form that was discovered – and he sounded confident when giving it. For many in the audience, that was enough for them to hear someone in science confirming a tenant of Evolution so it must be true. But that example has been refuted by other scientists in the field with published articles.

    At the end of the day, one can’t 100% prove either a biblical view of creation or evolutionary origins of our planet – simple put, none of us were there. But, Evolution has gaping holes in even its most basic components of its theory that in many ways, it really does take more faith to believe in evolution. The biblical view of creation (in six literal days) is a story which doesn’t change and represent a more consistent picture of origins when critically looking at the assumptions used and evidence obtained.

    • disqus_VddXqMLlnM

      “But studies today show that mutations overwhelmingly have an adverse effect.”

      No they don’t. The vast majority of mutations are neutral. Do you have links to any of these supposed studies?

      “At the end of the day, one can’t 100% prove either a biblical view of creation or evolutionary origins of our planet – simple put, none of us were there.”

      You could say that about almost all of recorded history. But I doubt you would do that.

    • Nofun

      Human chromosome 2 is absolute evidence of our link to our chimps etc. It can’t be denied.

    • Nemo

      I am not a biologist, so I’m not qualified to speak on the subject of mutations. But what, exactly, are these gaps in the fossil record? We have dozens of transitional fossils in the human family tree alone, with multiple copies of most of the hominid species discovered. But let me guess: you think a transitional fossil should be a chimera between two or more extant species (like a crocoduck).
      You are quite right: nobody can prove it either way. Science doesn’t deal with proofs (mathematics does), it deals with evidence. Your claim that we can’t know because we weren’t there, however, is simply wrong. We can determine past events with a considerable degree of accuracy. That’s why forensic science can trump alleged eye witness testimony in court.
      Really? Young Earth Creationism is consistent in that they will disregard any evidence which doesn’t fit their conclusion. This isn’t a strawman; every single creationist group has a mission statement declaring that very thing.
      We assume that radioactive decay rates don’t suddenly change after 3000 years (creationists accept that they work for that long, since they have proven accurate for the wealth of objects of known age we have since that time) because there is no known mechanism by which it could change which doesn’t result in our world looking very different than it does now. We assume the speed of light doesn’t change as it would need to for Jason Lisle’s models because even he has admitted that doing that would change fundamental constants of the universe which would render the fusion reactions of the sun unworkable. By contrast, many of the assumptions that creationists use in their dating methods are demonstrably wrong. Notable among these are human population, comets, and a receding moon.

      • Robert Fox

        “Dozens of transitional fossils” – If living things had really evolved from other kinds of creatures, then there would have been many, many intermediate or transitional forms, with halfway structures. However, if different kinds had been created separately, the fossil record should show creatures appearing abruptly and fully formed – which it overwhelmingly does. I think it is embarrassing to Evolutionist when they claim a new transitional creature has been found – and these discoveries are rare but they make the news anyways.

        Look at actual statements made by evolutionist. Starting with Charles Darwin – he was worried that the fossil record did not show what his theory predicted:

        “Why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the
        theory.”

        Is it any different today? The late Dr Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, wrote a book, Evolution. In reply to a questioner who asked why he had not included any pictures of transitional forms, he wrote:

        “I fully agree with your comments about the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them … . I will lay it on the line—there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”

        You won’t read or hear many of these quotes by Evolutionist in public. But if you dig into the assumptions they use and how they gloss over actual evidence, you find there foundation to be lacking. Some are honest in their own personal writings and books. For example, the renowned evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

        “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.3

        Another statement –

        “I regard the failure to find a clear ‘vector of progress’ in life’s
        history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record”

        Sunderland points out:

        “It of course would be no puzzle at all if he [Gould] had not decided before he examined the evidence that common-ancestry evolution was a fact, ‘like apples falling from a tree,’ and that we can only permit ourselves to discuss possible mechanisms to explain that assumed fact.”

        The gaps are huge –

        Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon— one of the ‘oldest’ (by
        evolutionary reckoning) fossil bats. It was found in the Messel oil shale pit near Darmstadt, Germany, and is ‘dated’ between 48 and 54 million years old. It clearly had fully developed wings, and its inner ear had the same construction as those of modern bats, showing that it had full sonar equipment.

        Teaching about Evolution avoids discussing the vast gulf between non-living matter and the first living cell, single-celled and multicelled creatures, and invertebrates and vertebrates. The gaps between these groups should be enough to show that molecules-to-man evolution is without foundation.

        There are many other examples of different organisms appearing abruptly and fully formed in the fossil record. For example, the first bats, pterosaurs, and birds were fully fledged flyers. The photograph to the right shows that bats have always
        been bats.

        Turtles are a well designed and specialized group of reptiles, with a distinctive shell protecting the body’s vital organs. However, evolutionists admit ‘Intermediates between turtles and cotylosaurs, the primitive reptiles from which [evolutionists
        believe] turtles probably sprang, are entirely lacking.’ They can’t
        plead an incomplete fossil record because ‘turtles leave more and better fossil remains than do other vertebrates.’ The ‘oldest known sea turtle’ was a fully formed turtle, not at all transitional. It had a fully developed system for excreting salt, without which a marine reptile would quickly dehydrate. This is shown by skull cavities which would have held large salt-excreting glands around the eyes.

        All 32 mammal orders appear abruptly and fully formed in the fossil record. The evolutionist paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson wrote in 1944:

        “The earliest and most primitive members of every order already have the basic ordinal characters, and in no case is an approximately continuous series from one order to another known. In most cases the break is so sharp and the gap so large that the origin of the order is speculative and much disputed.”

        There is little to overturn that today!

        • Nemo

          “There is no God” – The Bible.
          This is what dishonest quote mining looks like. Now please stop it. You are right, there weren’t many fossils in Darwin’s day. Evolutionary biology has progressed a long way since then, and Darwin even went on in the very next passage to explain why there was a lack of fossils. The Stephen Jay Gould quote mine is a common creationist one, and he was trying to explain a different model for evolution, not reject the theory outright as you are trying to.
          The conditions for fossilization are rare. The overwhelming majority of every species that ever lived is now extinct. As such, the fossil record is not going to reflect everything that ever lived, but rather a small fraction. So there will always be gaps in the fossil record. As for the evolution of birds, we have a number of fossils which have characteristics of both birds and dinosaurs. Velociraptor, those small predatory dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, had feathers, and numerous other dinosaurs did as well. Oviraptors, who had partial wings, have been found sitting on nests, with wings likely being used as warmth.

        • Rob Derrick

          90% of the above post (Robert Fox) is plagiarized verbatim from Jonathan Sarfatti. (the reference to the “photo on the right” was kind of a dead giveaway)

          Honestly, if you wish to be taken seriously, you must never ever cut-n-paste the words of another and pass them off as your own. That is a Huge credibility deficit. Besides which, how can I possibly challenge you as misquoting Colin Patterson if you won’t even know where you got the quote from, since you didn’t, but rather stole the whole thing from someone else in the first place. ;^) Jus’ sayin’.

          • Dany

            Nothing wrong in quoting the truth, Nobody ‘owns’ the truth.

          • Rob Derrick

            “Thou shalt not steal.” That is in quotations because I did not say it. I have it on good authority that God said it. The implication, in my opinion, is that theft is a sin. Plagiarism is theft. It has been profound failure of the followers of God down through the ages that the end justifies the means, and thus the sin is forgiven by God if the
            result leads to the glory of God. Even Martin Luther said, “What harm would it do, if a man told a good lie for the sake of the Christian church….a lie of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” So, sure, theft is ok in the pursuit of truth. And lying. Maybe it is even ok to kill in the pursuit of truth. Why not, if in the end, God and the truth are glorified. Morality is then just a moveable feast.

            However, as Saint Augustine noted, when a Christian lies, cheats, steals, and speaks nonsense, the face that this Christian portrays to the non-believer does far more harm than good, because the non-believer then judges the
            gospel of Salvation by the character of the Christian.
            So, what is more important to you — proclaiming the gospel of Salvation of Jesus Christ, or disproving evolution by every means possible, granting yourself dispensations for sins you find necessary to achieve that goal.
            So, quoting the truth is great. Not attributing it is theft. Theft is a sin. Rationalizing sin is the cancer in the heart of faith.

            PS: the plagiarized quote is full of lies. And not even “good” ones by Luther’s standard, But what would be the point of disputing them, since it is more than probable that the original poster would not even understand them enough to offer an informed defense.

          • catfish45

            religion = adult fairy tales for those who have never grwon up.

  • VoN

    I didn’t realize a simple DNA test would spark such a thought provoking piece that has lead to such a vibrant debate over biblical literalism, darwinism, intelligent design, abiogenesis, and Chromosome 2. For the record, I simply posted a response to a story about an ancestor several generations back, noting that it could not be correct based on the DNA results. Within days, a story that had been posted for years was flooded with responses from angry distant relatives claiming that I was lying, that the DNA results weren’t correct, directing me to multiple other sources that I should try to “confirm” the veracity of the story, and more then a couple of attacks on my veracity. I was astonished at vitriol and skepticism at my simple attempt to notify distant relatives that the long-standing family stories may be wrong. Se la vie, I’m more apt to side with the DNA, especially when it showed a 0% chance that the stories were correct.

  • Zeke

    This is so because the students believe, as they have been taught, that you cannot be a Christian without being a young-earth creationist

    Sure they can; there’s just no good reason left to call yourself a Christian then. At least these students and Ham are honest about it.

    • Andrew Shewmaker

      How about this good reason: new spiritual life for me–who was dead according to the natural consequences of my selfish desires–given by a gracious God to me when I was still his enemy?

      The assertion that all Christians must believe in a young-earth isn’t honest–it’s arrogant. What other legalistic requirements would you place upon people?

      • Zeke

        Christians believe that a magic book, authored by God, explains how and why mankind came to be. This book is either right, and the genealogies traced back to Adam show a very young earth, or it isn’t. Deluded and scientifically blind as those like Ham are, at least they own up to what the book says, rather than the mental gymnastics and embarrassing concordism that passes for modern Christianity. So nothing legalistic, just own it.

        What was your old “spiritual life” like? Sounds bad. Drinker? Womanizer? Dope smoker? Porn addict? I have an acquaintance who insists that Allah revealed himself to him years ago, enabling him to quit drinking, and now lives a life of pious sobriety. I think he’s deluded, you probably do too. Why should anyone take your identical claim seriously? You have managed to convince yourself that you are on personal terms with the creator of the universe? And I’m the one that’s arrogant?

        • Steve Greene

          Mormons say the same things. Devout Hindus say the same thing. Religious believers of religion X say the same thing. It’s truly amazing how religious believers, even “progressive” (or “liberal”) Christians cannot seem to comprehend the fact that pragmatic personal benefits (due to changing their behavior away from engaging in self-destructive activities as motivated by following some particular religious precepts) is simply not the same thing, at all, in regard to providing credible empirical evidence of the empirical claims/implications of religious doctrines about things that have nothing to do with reality (precisely because of the lack of credible empirical evidence).

        • Andrew Shewmaker

          I believe it’s a mistake to interpret the Bible as if it was written from a western or scientific perspective. The purpose of Genesis 1, as at least some Christians have historically understood it, was to ponder the greatness of God through the goodness of his creation (see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/10/08/the-earliest-readings-of-genesis-1/). So, I suggest that both young earth creationism and concordism are equally unfounded.

          I own that the Bible was inspired by God–not authored by God. It was authored by fallible humans that did there best to communicate the ideas they were inspired to write down. They were limited by their culture and their personal background, and they sometimes made silly mistakes. None of those limitations or mistakes undermine the message they are delivering–that mankind was intended to be good, but we aren’t good and the consequence of that is spiritual death, but God overcomes evil with good, and God will work with us to do good. Others have said it better.

          My old spiritual life was worse than you might imagine … I was good, and I knew it. But self righteous goodness isn’t good enough. In fact, it makes you a pretty unpleasant person to be around. It’s not my place to judge your acquaintance, but I hope the changes in his life extend past his drinking habits. I hope that someone would take my testimony seriously because I’ve shown altruistic love to them. Sadly, that’s more difficult to do in a discussion forum than in day to day life.

          Have I convinced myself that I’m on personal terms with the creator of the universe? I wish I knew God better. I would say that I aspire to know God’s good character and intentions. I do my best to act accordingly. I sometimes feel pushed to do good things that are not rational or in my own self interest–some actions are good regardless of their outcome. I know God loves me. I sometimes feel that God loves me or that I’ve caused disappointment. I know that any of my successes are no reason to boast about myself. And I know I’m nowhere near achieving the goodness that God intends for me. I have hope in a future when God sets all things right.

  • Hubert Fitts

    You cannot be a Christian without being a believer that the Word was made flesh. Genesis included. Wasn’t Christ at the creation? Indeed, there is no good reason left to call yourself a Christian. Why do so?

    • ThisIsTheEnd

      What amazes me is that the early Christians weren’t uniformly Biblical literalist. So 21st Evangelical Biblical literalists are more ignorant of reality then their religious compatriot 2000 years in the past

  • catfish45

    religiion – adult fairy tales for those who have never grown up.

  • HI

    I don’t know what everyone’s problem is.
    The Bible says right out that “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1). If it is in the Bible then we know that we can trust what it says. DONE. FINISHED. COMPLETE.


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