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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Why Creationists are Treated Like Red-headed Step Children by Christians [pt. 3]

In the last two posts (here and here) I have been exploring the reasons why young earth creationists [YEC] are disdained, slimed, ridiculed, mocked and treated as the proverbial red-headed stepchild by the vast majority of those in the Christian community.

Young earth creationists are those individuals who believe the historical narrative of Genesis teaches that God created the world and all that is contained therein during 6 days as we understand the word day. In other words, in 6, 24 hour days, God created the earth, the plants, the sun, moon and stars, animals and man in a week's time. They are called young earth creationists because they use the Genesis narrative as the starting point of all existence here on earth, and by calculating the genealogical lists provided in scripture, the Bible clearly indicates that the world, humanity, society, and culture has only been around for about 6,000 years - this figure being greatly opposed to the consensus of secular science of 4.2 billion.

So why exactly are YEC disparaged by their beliefs by the majority of Christians in the contemporary Christian church? That is the question I have been exploring. I noted last time that I believe there are three key reasons, the first of which is that the majority of Christians opposed to YEC hold to the philosophy of evidentialism pertaining to apologetics and evangelism. There are two final reasons I have noted:

Young earth detractors have a disdain for American fundamental Christianity and are ashamed of the public behavior often displayed by fundamentalist Christians in America during the last century. My intention is not to paint all fundamentalists as being kooky. I would consider myself to be an historic fundamentalist, and I will wear that title with pride. However, I understand historic fundamentalism, what I believe to be the historic Christian faith, to be separated from fundamentalism as a political movement in American culture. Way back in June of this year I wrote of this distinction in a series of articles critiquing the values of a group of liberals who believe the values of fundamentalism are an aberration departing from the historic Christian faith. Such a notion is woefully misinformed. Yet, I do not want to excuse American fundamentalism of presenting a Christian faith to the world that appears foolish and irrational. I cringe when I hear Christian believers make ignorant comments against something non-Christian. Once during a Christmas get together with some family, one of my cousins expressed his dislike for creationism. In his limited worldview, he thought of creationists as being small minded and anti-intellectual, similar to Hugh Ross's feelings even though my cousin was coming from a non-Christian point of view. I didn't get in on the entire conversation, but how does his grandmother, my aunt, respond to his evolutionary convictions? By saying "no grandchild of mine is going to believe in that evolution junk." What compelling argumentation.

Because YEC are fundamental in belief, they are identified with the narrow minded mentality of uneducated, hayseed fundamentalism that only reacts emotionally, and swings widely at its opponents. The contemporary Christian community does not wish to be perceived by the world as supporting these attitudes, so they will express embarrassment over what creationists believe and teach and basically do their best to distance themselves from them.

Then finally, YEC are dismissed and ignored because many in the Christian community desire the secular world to accept Christianity as reasonable. Naturalistic evolution has so brain washed the world into believing billions of years of history has passed on the earth, that the idea of a world only 6,000 years old and dinosaurs living along side men is too outrageous and fanciful. Who could believe such ridiculous nonsense? Can you believe that YEC quack thinks dinosaurs and men lived together? How can I take Christianity as being reasonable if I have to believe in such stupid things? Thus, in order to make Christianity more palatable, believers marginalize YEC by holding them at arms length and categorize them as a camp of eccentrics.

Last year I exchanged some emails with a Ross supporter who appealed to this line of reasoning as why he rejected YEC. In his mind, young earth proponents jeopardize the gospel by believing in such unbelievable stuff that cuts against known science. His claim is of course fraudulent, but it is an appeal straight from the Hugh Ross handbook, none the less. I had to remind him that Christianity is founded on one unimaginable, unbelievable reality: the resurrection of Christ. The truth of the matter is that any scientist who rejects Christianity because of what YEC teaches with regards to the age of the earth, etc., is also going to reject Christianity because of the resurrection. In the unbelieving scientist skeptic's mind, a man raising from the dead just after three days is as incredible as believing the world is 6,000 years old and dinosaurs lived with men. In order to make Christianity reasonable to the skeptical world, a person will have to remove all the miracles of the Lord. To take that approach just to save face with the secular world only endangers one's faith.

Those are the three key reasons why I think Christians reject young earth creationism. None of them have any merit, but still Christians will sadly think along those lines and not consider the viability of what creationists teach. Of course, that goes back to what we consider is our authority. Is it the Bible, or man-made ideas brought to bear upon the Bible?

I am currently re-teaching a lecture series on progressive creationism and old earth arguments leveled against young earth arguments. It can be listened to here for those interested.

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