The Evolution of Mothers Day OR Cheesy Anti-Scientific Christian-ese

So what do you think?  If you read this blog on a regular occasion, you probably know what I think :-)  The sign is clever and quite honoring to moms, but the attack on science makes Christians look anti-intellectual.  Its time to move beyond this debate and allow the Scriptures to form an accurate worldview free from our preconceived notions about truth.  For more on Evolution and the Bible, click here.

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  • Anonymous

    Oh how we need to realize that our cute-sy slams completely turn off those who might be open Jesus. We are constantly making it not an option for people to even explore since we tell them from the get go they must believe a long list of non-essentials.

  • http://www.fatherhoodetc.com David Ozab

    I’m waiting for the atheist billboard in response to this sign. Something along the lines of “If God is such an intelligent designer, why didn’t he give mothers three arms?” Both sides enjoy knocking down their respective straw men, after all.

  • http://igneousquill.com Adam Gonnerman

    Lame.

  • Jesse Caron

    I see how someone could feel like it’s an attack on science, and that it might be off-putting but I just think it’s a joke and should be read as a joke.

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt

      Jesse… I agree that it is a joke… quite funny in fact. But it says to nonChristians that you have to lose your brains to step into the church. And is says to us who think the earth is actually billions of years old and who believe God made it happen… “quit making us all look ridiculous!”

      • Jesse

        I hear what you’re saying, I don’t disagree that this could be harmful but I don’t really feel like it’s worth it to worry much about what someone might think. People are going to use all kinds of excuses to reject Jesus and I’m not saying we just accept that but at the certain point you just have to know your representing Jesus, do the best you can and not worry about what people think.

        • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt

          Jesse, I get what your saying as well, but the unfortunate reality is that many people reject God because of the false polarity between God and evolution. this is a missional issue. I don’t want to put any unneeded hindrance between a person and Jesus. Signs like this, like: anti-evolution rallies, Creation science, Expelled movie, etc are countering the gospel’s effectiveness. Thats a big deal to me. Check out: http://biologos.org

          • Chuck Bryan

            Sorry, Jesse. You are voted off the intellectual island because you only saw this as a joke. Bad form, my friend!

            Intelligent design is for the feeble minded who cannot think for themselves. It assumes a 7 day creation which is preposterous when the mountains of evidence from pro-evolution atheists have absolutely proved otherwise. How can an intellectual Christian who walks by working it out in their brain continue without submitting to the obvious winner of the cosmic conversation? Faith in the fact that God killed the first sacrifice to cover the first sin is insane! Scientists can beat that idea with two hands tied behind their back!

  • Wendy

    It’s the kind of sign that turns intelligent seekers off Christianity.

  • Paul Hunton

    “crap!” Is my reaction. It makes Christians look like morons. It might as well say “If gravity is real, how did Jesus ‘rise’ from the grave.”

    • http://thepangeablog.com Kurt

      Paul!!!!!!!! I am literally laughing out loud because of your gravity comment!!!!!!! Starbucks on lookers may judge me, but whatever! haha

  • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

    Maybe it needs to be countered with another sign on another church: “Rational Thought Spoken Here.”

  • Anonymous

    If Christians wanted to be respected for telling the truth, a sign like this destroys all potential. A sign like this does not communicate humility, but rather arrogance and ignorance. Christians need to be willing to wrestle with their faith and their concept of God, rather dismiss truth because it doesn’t fit their paradigm. When we listen to the truth of non-believers, then we open the door to their hearts to listen to the truth we have.

    As a mom, I feel rather insulted by such a sign. It implies that I need three arms and that neither evolution nor God created me to be the way I need to be. The sign is more a sad commentary on the warped social expectations people have of women, and in particular mothers.

  • Chuck Bryan

    Brothers and sisters:

    Non-essentials. Lame. Straw man. Morons. Irrational thought. Arrogance. Ignorance. Lost brains. Ridiculous.

    Theses are the descriptions you have used to describe my brothers and sisters in Christ! Why have you used such language? Because the pharisees of this world might show signs of intellectual curiosity to faith in Christ and allegedly be turned off by a joke on a sign? I think we put too much stock in the assumed frailty of a powerful God! The world will call us fools no matter what we say or do. And if we appear too much like the world, watering down the bible and truth so as not to offend these seekers, who I have little doubt bring more harm to the body of Christ than actual true belief, then we will be removed from affecting the world in a true and meaningful way. So I would side with this misguided jokester over a bag of intellectuals who cast stones, all the while pretending there is a conversation going on.

    I am also completely sure that a 3 armed woman is not required to love someone properly and is very much outside the scope of the concept in the first place.

    I will continue to pray for Kurt and his friends as I continue to pray for my attitude towards others. May you all find God’s love and truth overwhelming to the point that it affects those around you for Christ and his kingdom.

    • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

      With respect, @30816c43256f840974f34eb1b90d849b:disqus : Missing. The. Point.

      I don’t hear Kurt or any of the others saying that Christians who still believe in a six-day creation and a young earth have to abandon those beliefs in order to remain faithful believers. The point is that they need to abandon the demand that anyone else who comes to Jesus must adopt these (to them, and to many of us) “lame” or “anti-intellectual” beliefs as a condition of discipleship. Jesus said “he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” I don’t think he had his fingers crossed behind his back so he could insert a silent exception “provided that they believe in a six-day creation no more than 8,000 years ago.”

      The question is not one of “watering down” the gospel to make it palatable to the unbelieving world. It’s a question of separating the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ from all the other peripheral baggage with which we, the church, have laden it. “Creationism” (I put it in quotes to refer to the entirety of the doctrine, not merely the belief that God is the ultimate source of what is) is only one small part of that baggage, but it’s a significant stumbling block to many–including some I have known–who otherwise find Jesus attractive.

      • Chuck Bryan

        Brother Dan,

        Where do I start? I guess with your initial comment: With respect. I am at a loss as to why you start with that and end the sentence disrespectfully. What is even more interesting is that this is what this whole thread is about: respect. What is missing in all of this is the respect to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Respect for the bible and its contents is under judgment here and, therefore also, disrespected.

        Of course you don’t hear Kurt or anyone else saying that they must abandon their unintellectual belief in a seven-day creation. First, it is made plain through the statements made here, that those are foolish, ignorant people. Second, when original sin, which is plainly detailed in the bible, so that even young children may understand the power, grace and righteousness of God, is cast off by “intellectuals” in favor of those who might be peeking into the door of the church, is wrong. Certainly, I have no reason to shovel creation down a new believer’s throat the moment they walk in the door. But if the bible is full of fairy tales, maybe we chose the wrong religion? Yes, Mr. Martin, the watering down of key scripture, such as the first death in creation at God’s own hand, is not only relevant but if we don’t believe it, we are doing a disservice to the very seekers we are trying to attract. If I walked into a Buddhist temple and they told me in the first chapter of their book that, well, seven days may actually be a billion years, then I drop the book and don’t come back.

        Creation is not baggage but foundational. If it is a stumbling block to some that apparently were assuming there was a wide gate to enter into God’s kingdom. I think the true stumbling block is accepting everything just to get rear ends into seats in a church. Of course, this is why pastors who believe in evolution won’t even say it in the pulpit, further proof of their watering effect on the congregations…

        Prayer will continue that we all may discover more deeply the God of the bible rather than the god of this world, with all of his confusion.

        • Chuck Bryan

          Sorry…if it is a stumbling block, then they are probably not true seekers. Train derailment repaired.

          • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

            Well, Chuck, obviously we see pretty different definitions for the message of the gospel. I see the message that Jesus offers healing to a broken and defeated world, and freedom to those enslaved by his mortal enemies. I think you would agree that this is at least part of the gospel, yes?

            But as I read the scriptures, who we acknowledge as Lord and King matters a whole lot more than whether we accept a series of “doctrines.” Remember that in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees had their “doctrines” down to a T and completely missed the *person* of Jesus Christ when he showed up. Tragically I see this same error in far too many churches today.

            I’m not going to rehash the creation-vs-evolution arguments here…they have been addressed elsewhere. Where I disagree with you fundamentally is *not* whether creation happened one way or another, on one time frame or another. I disagree that anybody has to assent to *any* particular view of creation, in order to encounter the salvation of, and subject themselves to the lordship of, Jesus Christ. The error is not in the doctrine of cosmology, it’s in making any doctrine of cosmology a condition of following Jesus. It is Jesus, not the Bible, who is our Lord.

          • Chuck Bryan

            Dan,

            Respect: I have called this thread out for the disrespect that they are showing. No one addresses it. I assume it is because they believe that being disrespectful is an acceptable trait and/or right of intellectuals. I see it every day in society and assume that most of the commenters on this thread believe that it is acceptable too. It is a sad commentary on the state of our society. I don’t see disrespect as a part of the gospel message. Continuing to call believers who believe in the Genesis account of seven days of creation as “lame” and “anti-intellectual” further perpetuates the disrespectful attitude of this thread. While you claim that “lame” (apparently the new title for those allegedly below the intelligence of the commenters on this thread) believers are turning seekers away from desiring Jesus, I submit that while your approach may throw the doors open wide, you have to throw out truths in the bible to do so. The bible is not doctrine. It is the foundation for the doctrine of many different churches and even some false belief systems. Unfortunately the doctrine of some churches today comes from books outside of the Word of God. When you ask a question of the leadership of a church, they hand you a book by some guy instead of pointing you to a place in the bible to find the answers. There are some who listen to the teachings of those who have been warped by the world’s view of what a church should be rather than the church shaping the world. Isn’t that where Israel went wrong too? I don’t think Jesus had to preach about the creation account because it was accepted by his society as true. There is no reason for the gospel account to beat the drum of something that was obviously accepted as fact and not broken like it is in society today. Pharisees missed out on the person of Jesus because they worried about their rules, regulations and stature in society, not the facts of scripture that were accepted by all Israelites. In a way, I see the “intellectuals” as being more concerned with proving believers wrong and accepting beliefs of non-believers as closer to a Pharisee-type attitude.

            The reason Jesus came was to save us from our sins; our own prideful, selfish ways. He did not come to fix the world (yet). And who are these “mortal enemies”? I assume you wrote this accidentally? God subjugated the world to death as a punishment for the original sin of Adam. I’m not sure we see the same gospel message at all, really. God loves everyone in the world but it is up to us to accept him. I believe that is all of him, not just the stuff I want to pick and choose off the shelf. I don’t place conditions on accepting God. Take it up with Him. I will continue to not “water down” the bible. I do not want to be held accountable for others who accepted parts of the bible and believed that the gospel message can be customized to their own liking.

            Again, if the “relevant”, “intellectual” crowd will continue to be disrespectful towards other believers then I look at what they say as irrelevant and non-intellectual. I’m sure that the seekers will see through the facade of faith through intellectualism and find a lack of truth to stand firm on. I pray for God to have mercy on our selfish thoughts and hope for truth to win our hearts in the end. Love is only relevant through the lens of truth.

            “Lame” Chuck: out.

          • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

            Well, Chuck, I’m not entirely sure where to go with this. I hear you saying that unless I acknowledge the credibility of your Creation belief (which I actually think comes from a MISreading of Genesis and fails in several respects to properly engage the Biblical text itself)…I say again, if you mean by “respect” that I have to acknowledge this is correct, then I’m afraid we’re on the opposite side of an unbridgeable chasm. You state that “Unfortunately the doctrine of some churches today comes from books
            outside of the Word of God.” I could not agree more, but I maintain that many of the doctrines insisted upon by so-called “fundamentalist” churches are precisely this sort of extra-biblical doctrine. Rigid creationism is one such; your statement that “God subjugated the world to death” as a result of Adam’s sin is another.

            These are not “intellectual” questions. You are frustrated by the extent to which the doctrines you hear Kurt, me, and others espouse seem (to you) to come from books outside the Bible. It’s a fair criticism, and I would encourage you to challenge us to produce the Scriptural basis for our claims when we don’t. I would, however, ask the same respect toward your own doctrines. With relation to creation, I’m sure you’ve read this before, but several points in Genesis lead Kurt, me, and others to conclude FROM THE TEXT ITSELF that the writer(s) must not have intended those accounts to be read literally in the first place. A couple example points:

            1) “Days” our now defined by us to be the time from sunrise to sunrise, produced by the earth rotating within the sun’s illumination. This kind of “day” could not have existed before the fourth “day” of creation (Gen 1:14-19). Therefore, the contention that the “days” of creation were the 24-hour periods we now call “days” requires assumptions not required by the text.

            2) The order of creation differs wildly between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Gen. 1, the creation of man is the capstone of creation, and takes place on “day” 6, and both male and female are created together. In Gen. 2, 5-7, God creates man (but not woman) before any of the bushes or plants (created on day 3 in Gen. 1). Woman was not created until some period later–we don’t know how long, but long enough for Adam to conduct an inventory with God of all the animals yet created.

            These stories are “contradictory” only if they are intended to be taken literally. If each is intended, rather, to teach us different lessons about God, humanity, and the relationship between them, then we can let each text speak for itself without forcing on it a Western post-Renaissance “science” analysis to which it was never intended to speak. I would argue, as I know Kurt does, that to insist on a literal reading of seven-day creation, to say nothing of the age of the universe to which the Bible does not speak at all, is to impose onto the Biblical text an extra-Biblical interpretation neither God nor the human writers ever intended.

            This is not intellectualism. It is respectfully engaging with the text of the Scripture itself, on its own terms.

            It is a separate (though still legitimate) question as to whether the insistence on one or another cosmological interpretation is a barrier to unbelievers. I consider it to be an issue, because I’ve seen it be one. And precisely because of my interpretation of the Biblical text described above, I see it is tragic that some Christians’ insistence on a doctrine I maintain is not Biblical, is also a barrier to entry into the Kingdom for some people.

            I hope that this explanation comes across for what it is…my attempt to respectfully explain to you why I’m so frustrated with Creationists and the barriers they throw into the path of some potential Christians.

            Peace!

            Dan

          • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

            I should summarize that while atheists may say American fundamentalist Creationism is untenable because science tells them so, I maintain it’s untenable because it’s based upon bad Biblical hermaneutics…in other words, we come to a similar position of objecting to fundamentalist Creationism for entirely different reasons and on the strength of completely separate authorities.

            Now having done so, I do in fact entertain a scientific approach to cosmology; nevertheless, it’s not science that first tells me Creationism is wrong, it’s the Bible.

          • Chuck Bryan

            Dan:

            You give me much to think about but as I have seen in so many blog threads before, some people who reply to a comment completely ignore the original intent of the comment in the first place. I listed the disrespectful comments I saw and no one addressed them at all.

            While I find your interpretation interesting, it presupposes that the texts were written with a foreknowledge of entirely different scientific common knowledge. I cannot explain everything I read in the bible and how on one day the events of Genesis 2 takes place. Was there 1000 hours based upon a slower rotation of the earth in the first few days? However, Genesis 1 is very explicit in describing a day in the precise terms of evening and morning the basic understanding of a day. Is God allowing people to be lied to in the first chapter of the bible? Where is the Jewish oral or written traditions that back up Adam and Eve as anything other than directly created by God’s own hand? Were they the first to sin after billions of years of creatures on the earth? I think ignoring the significance of the first death by God’s hand to cover the shame of original sin, especially when the New Testament emphasis on the difference between Adam being one man and Jesus paying for sin as one man, is nothing less than sad.

            I am having a very difficult time reconciling your comments here. I don’t buy that you respectfully engaged the text and came up with evolution on your own, which is what your comments suggest to me. Couple that with the fact that you have ignored my original intent of commenting in the first place and I now have to assume that you are just being condescending, continuing the path of disrespect, you truly believe that you are rightfully an anointed teacher of the bible who is not accountable to who he teaches or you are completely ignorant of what I am trying to say. The original comments were disrespectful to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. That was the basis of my original comment, which is ironic since it appears that the concept of original sin has missed its mark here as well…

          • http://nailtothedoor.blogspot.com Dan Martin

            Well, Chuck, let me try to address a couple of your comments directly. First the issue of “respect.” I thought you were calling me out for using the term “with respect” in my first comment to you. If in fact you were referring to the comments of others on this blog, I will let them speak–or not–for themselves with no commentary from me. But if you are implying that *I* am disrespecting you unless I acknowledge the rightness of your doctrine then you’ve painted me in a corner. I can treat you as a brother in Christ; I can believe that you’re doing your level best to honor him, and I can honor that in you. To me, that’s respect. But I can’t agree with your doctrine, and if you consider that disrespect then I simply, though regretfully, accept that.

            Second, I don’t claim that my interpretation of Gen. 1 & 2 leads me to believe in evolution. It *does* lead me to believe that whatever lesson Genesis is teaching, it’s not literal science. Having concluded that, I can evaluate evolution, and for that matter, the creation stories of the Norsemen, on their own merits without having to concern myself with whether or not they contradict Genesis which, as I shall describe below, are teaching a decidedly un-scientific (but vastly more important) lesson.

            I think a lot of the “anti-intellectual” vitriol directed against Creationism is by people who feel they are being asked by the Creationist to abandon their own reason…their own brains. It’s not intended (at least not always) as disrespect for the Creationist per se (well, if it’s Christopher Hitchens it is, but many others not so much). It’s more a demand that the Creationist not completely dismiss the reason and science these people have already explored. They do often feel like Christians have set up for them a dichotomous choice between “faith” and their own reason. I find that regrettable because the way I see faith, it does not demand an abandonment of reason. Abandonment of the world’s values, yes…and that’s even harder. But not an abjuration of the the rational faculties.

            But that aside, to your specific comments. You point out that Gen. 1 describes evening and morning “specifically.” What, specifically, do those terms mean before the sun and moon even existed? I don’t know. Neither do you. It is an assumption–perhaps valid, but in no way required by the text–that this “evening and morning” are anything like what we now see those terms to mean. I see it as a poetic conceit of what is obviously the larger poem that is the Gen 1 creation tale…one whose purpose is not to lay out a scientific chronology of creation, but rather to lay down the marker that all those things we see around us–and perhaps more importantly, all those things the ancients invested with mythical and sometimes divine power–are in fact created by Yahweh. So in answer to your question, no, Gen. 1 is not “lying” to God’s people…however, many of God’s people since the time Genesis 1 was written have lied, or at least been monstrously deceived, about the message Genesis 1 was written to convey…a message that is as far from scientific “fact” as the notions of sin and redemption…that is to say on a different plane altogether. The message isn’t about mechanism at all: it’s about source, and more importantly, authority…Lordship.

            And I think you’re inserting far too much extrabiblical doctrine into God’s clothing of the naked Adam & Eve when you speak of the “significance of the first death by God’s hand to cover the shame of original sin.” Nowhere in the entire bible is this action by God invested with any redemptive or atoning or sacrificial or other meaning. This is entirely a superimposition of the penal-substitutionary doctrine that death must follow sin, onto an account that nowhere countenances that theory. You have to presuppose PSA to even begin to hypothesize that argument…in no way can it be derived from the plain text.

            Original sin is a vastly more complex topic: one which has also been twisted beyond all recognition by those who have superimposed a complex PSA doctrine upon many biblical texts that are in fact telling different stories entirely. As you no doubt have guessed by now, I disavow the classic PSA model of atonement in favor of a Christus Victor model that is far less obsessed with sin and far more interested in God’s loving redemption of a world that has been enslaved by his enemies. But now we’re going miles afield from the original post. I recognize that one of the most visceral objections to evolution by many Christians is that evolution and original sin of the Adam-as-federal-head model, are mutually incompatible (and they are). My only answer to that is that, unless as you read 1 Cor. 15:22 to defend universalism, you cannot form a basis for original sin that requires genetic or lineal descendents. If all die because of Adam, then all will be saved because of Christ, and you aren’t allowed to have different kinds of “all” because the text doesn’t.

            If on the other hand, according to Rom. 5:12 “…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (my emphasis, obviously), then “original sin” isn’t the point. “Universal sin,” the fact that we all screw up repeatedly and inevitably on our own, is more like it. And this isn’t because of Adam, it’s because of our own stubbornness. And that can be true whether we evolved or were created as homo sapiens.


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