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Investigating the science behind Creationism

Earth from spaceMartin Kentish was keen to find out how his belief in the Bible fitted with his understanding of evolution. Here he outlines his research and the findings that led him to believe in the truth of a Young Earth.  

Here’s the rub. Before I became a Christian I believed everything I was told about evolution. All those things were definite ‘facts’ because everyone I knew seemed to believe them. Even after becoming a Christian, I didn’t think the ‘New Earth Creationists’ had a scientific left to stand on. I was wrong.
Evolution or creation? Old Earth or New Earth? To answer the questions I did what many people do in trying to fit what I read in the Bible into the evolutionary worldview I previously held. For example, the 7 days of Creation weren’t days at all, but some period of time that really meant millions of years. I had become a Theistic Evolutionist trying to fit the Bible into science which I used to believe was true.
As I grew in my awareness of God, I couldn’t help but think if He said ‘days’ in the Bible and referred to morning and evening, then He probably meant days as we know them. The more I grew in my awareness of God, the more I doubted what I was previously told from an evolutionary view.
What really kicked off the search was a very simple view I held which was that if something ‘appeared’ to be designed, then it probably was. I was acutely aware that I might be trying to fit my Christian worldview into scientific data, but kept going back to let the scientific data speak for itself.
Then courtesy of a dear friend, Eric Hopley, my eyes were open to a chap called Dr Grady McMurtry. He is a very clever chap - an evolutionary specialist - but became a Christian at 27 which presented him with the same problem. Rather than leave his brain behind and simply reiterate ‘God did it’, he stood up to the challenge with a determination and brain the size of a planet to look at the facts.
And here is what was revealed to me as if a light was turned on. We’re told the Earth is old because it has to be if evolution is true. And we are told the Earth is old because all the evidence we hear tells us it is old.
So what is that evidence? Fossils? Rocks? Radiometric dating? Yes, all of them and several more. If any of these three are true, I would agree: the Earth is old and I still have the problem of fitting the Biblical account of creation into the scientific worldview.
When I started looking into these three, I was shocked to discover some massive problems with the assumptions of age. Age is really important. For a start, fossils have to happen quickly, else the life that is about to be fossilised decays naturally and won’t produce a fossil. Therefore, fossils themselves are no indication of age.
Rock Strata in PipeSecondly, rocks and their strata that I assumed was evidence of millions of years, can easily be formed quickly. In fact, by examining their shape and line, they are far more likely to have been produced quickly than over millions of years.
Lastly radiometric dating which was conveniently difficult to understand in the beginning is easily proven to yield completely mad results in the lab.
Now even if someone like me who does not have a PhD in any of the above can understand very simply the obvious errors in the methods and ‘facts’ that we have been repeatedly told, why can’t all Christians?
The simple answer is this: most Christians have left their brains behind and never engaged with the Scientists. Secondly, many who have engaged with the scientific worldview have unknowingly embraced a worldview which is contrary to the evidence in the Bible.
What was so exciting is the more I looked at the Bible, and then the scientific evidence, the more the Young Earth view seemed true. Fossils had to be created quickly, so therefore did the rocks around them. A worldwide catastrophic flood that lead to the evidence we see seemed to be a much better explanation than the evolutionary one. And that is exactly what we see in the Bible.
Reading Romans 1:20-23: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities -his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles”.

Now this says to me that you don’t need to have a massive brain to see that God created everything.  Nor is it difficult to see why ‘wise’ people go stupid to deny the existence of God. When we look at ‘Mr Evolution’, Charles Darwin, one of the key reasons (encouragements, incentives) of publishing Origins was to deny the existence of a Divine Creator. It removed God from the equation. I can’t help but feel that the motive for pursuing the evolutionary worldview is not so much about doing ‘good science’ but about doing science that removes God from the equation.
So I would say to anyone who is reading this and thinking I am a mad ‘Young Earth Creationist’ to forget the labels you want to give me and look at the evidence yourself. And if right now you are steaming under the collar with rage because everything I have said undermines what you have accepted, here’s three questions to take away and find out the answers yourself: 

  1. What are the best conditions for fossils to be made?
  2. Can rock strata be created quickly?
  3. Is radiometric dating infallible?
So look into these, baring in mind the underlying worldview of the person who is presenting you with the ‘facts’. It is an interesting journey and I hope those who embark upon the discovery of the facts will not feel the conflict between believing in Genesis and the evidence there is out there.

Photo (middle): Stratas of rock, in a modern pipe. Not formed by millions of years!

Martin Kentish is a Norwich-based marketing analyst and entrepreneur.  He is the Founder of Free Range People, a company that has successfully developed feedback systems for organisations such as McDonalds, Tesco, John Lewis and the Royal Navy.  He is a member of King’s Community Church, Norwich.

The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norwich and Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users. 
We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here. 

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Timothy Reeves 23/04/2013 21:25
I’ve got some quotes here from an ex-fundie that may be of interest to you James! See below:

>>>I was raised on the line between fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity. I was homeschooled, and nearly every subject was related to God and the Bible. History was His story and our science textbooks were all creationists. My parents were great fans of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis and I was taught to use “creation apologetics.” In other words, when you evangelize someone you start by showing them the truth of young earth creationism, and after that they will have to concede the truth of the Bible and convert to Christianity. I read everything Ken Ham wrote, attended conferences put on by Answers in Genesis, and even visited the Creation Museum. I was taught that we know the Bible is true because young earth creationism is true. As Answers in Genesis so often trumpets, I learned that the foundation of the Bible was a literal Genesis.<<<<

This person then relates how she went to college and …..

>>>As time went by I found my arguments effectively refuted by arguments and information I had never been exposed to before.<<<<

This resulted in collapse of her faith:

>>>>I watched everything I had ever known crumble at my feet. I had been taught that the truth of the Bible rested on young earth creationism. Now that that foundation was gone, I had no idea what to do with the Bible. How could I trust it? How could I believe in it? How could I interpret it?<<<

And here’s her conclusion:

>>>>I would like to point out that by teaching their children that their faith rests on young earth creationism, fundamentalist and evangelical parents create an Achilles heel in their children. If they grow up to find that young earth creationism is wrong, they have to completely evaluate everything they believe about the Bible, God, and Christianity. In trying to buttress their children’s faith, these parents build into it a fundamental flaw. Who I am today is a product of that flaw.<<<<

Interesting, eh?
James Knight 24/04/2013 20:32
Thanks for that Tim. I found some testimonies from people who have gone on to be people I can call friends. They are ex-YECs who now help others who are suffering by being stuck in a fundie milieu. Here are some of their stories...

My YEC upbringing was partly from parents, but mostly from a strict Independent Fundamentalist Bus-driving Missionary-sending Praise-God-For-The-Inspired-KJV Baptist series of churches and in-home teaching. I grew up with ICR's material and periodicals in the home and the church showing "Footprints in Stone" on a regular basis - a really big deal since going to the movies or having a TV was a sin. This was "God's" view contrasted with the atheistic/worldly view. And it wasn't until I heard a local Christian radio show interview Hugh Ross on his recent publication of "Creation and Time" in 1994 that I realized that there were OTHER views of creation and that not all Christians believed in the ICR/AIG party line.

I never really got into my reaction to finding out that the YEC position was bogus. I never blamed God. And I never blamed my parents. I got angry at the AIGs and ICRs of the world for being so deceptive (repeating things they knew to be false) and at pastors that were dogmatic about things that the Bible was vague about and who were unable to grow in their understanding of things. I saw it as based on pride and it resulted in me questioning and challenging everything that Christian leaders said and not just blindly accepting them as sources of truth. So I saw it as a good thing. It taught me to trust God, not men. And that is why I laugh now when I bring up some Bible reference to address a YEC claim and see them run to and quote AIG in response. It all comes down to your trusted source of truth.

James Knight 24/04/2013 20:32
Raised Catholic I entered into a fundamentalist/yec type organization that was fear generated (I had always thought myself a "christian" because I believed that Jesus was the son of God) At a Young Life camp, I was informed that I wasn't a christian and could possibly go to hell unless I said the sinners prayer. That was all news to me but I did it out of fear. I think my family thought i went nuts and in a way I kind of did. I continued this journey into college with another organization. I was already damaged goods and their theology appealed to my existing shame-based good/bad, right/wrong, black/white mentality. Then my brother died. My alcoholism took off and due to my fundamentalists beliefs I no longer felt deserving of grace because my "works" were off. It took me many years to overcome the self-loathing and belief that I was disgusting in Gods eyes (luke-warm, i would be spit out, etc, etc) and truly accept Grace. It wasn't science that gave me the most problem as I was never really a student of science but rather some of the literal interpretation of scripture and the understanding of what grace really is. It took me 3 times the number of years I spent in a fundamental organization to heal from some of the false theology I believe I was being taught.

My story is a little more emotional and complicated than most I’m sure. My writing style is not as eloquent and articulated than most of the lovely people in here, my thoughts are mixed up and ten miles ahead of me at times, so I will try to explain my change. I was brought up like most believing that the bible is 100% scientific and historical. My friends gave me Kent Hovind DVDs and most of the questions I had, I was directed to AIG. I used the same arguments I have seen posted time and time again by YEC-ist on different FB pages and I used these same arguments when my unbelieving cousins and brother would grill me about my faith. Quite alot of the time things did not make sense to me, but I actually trusted these people that they were giving me the correct information. Last year I lost two very important people in my life...My Nan (a truly amazing woman who brought me up and guided me throughout life. (My best friend) My good friend (I had known from school and an amazing kind human being) and another great friend who I'd only known a short period of time (few years)
Cancer struck my Nan, my good friend saw no other way out in life other than suicide and my recent friend took a massive heart attack while playing with his 14 year old son.

This of course was the start of my questioning and journey. I was very angry and couldn’t get answers to satisfy my broken heart, all I heard was ‘its God will, or the devil attacked’ (like seriously?) I joined some FB pages to see if I could find Christians who could help answer my doubts and confusion. Unfortunately, all I found was a bunch of YEC-ist and their attitudes where so far off what I had read about Jesus that this angered me even more. I understand some atheists are rude, ignorant and some arguments frankly made me laugh... but still, these people are Christians, should we not behave better? I actually started paying attention to the atheists arguments, instead of just ignoring them, I started seeing arguments about the bible not being inherent, arguments about evolution, and then arguments about the historical accuracy of the bible, so I decided to take a look myself. To my horror I couldn’t find any reliable source that proved the exodus happened the way it was described, instead I started seeing evidence actually to the contrary. I had a chat with some friends and they told me I was being silly and give me some DVD to watch. Not satisfied, I then decided to buy ‘Francis Collins book, Language of God’ and this just absolutely disturbed me, I couldn’t finish it! I then went one step farther and bought ‘Misquoting Jesus’ lol (devastated isn’t the word) I was still getting no answers from my friends and Pastor, In fairness to them, I think I made them nervous with my questions and arguments. I searched AIG and tried to argue back with Troy but every time he had an answer that I couldn’t refute. The more I sat on these debate pages and watched the attitudes and arguments from YEC-ist the more annoyed and frustrated I became. I decided it was time actually to face all this head on. I sent emails to Darrell Bock, Dan Wallace, John Oakes, Peter Enns, and finally AIG, clearly AIG never got back to me. The rest were very, very kind and so patient with my elementary questions and they started me on a search for the truth. Troy Avery was so kind during this time, he really felt my pain and frustration and not once did this guy, (who is an unbeliever himself) push me into his position. Instead he was patient, sending me as much Christian Scholars as he could. Providing me with the evidence but never stating it was proof against Gods existence. I went back and read Language of God and then I came back to ‘Jesus', every time I was faced with something difficult I would refocus on Jesus and the dig again. When I eventually decided I know nothing about science, (nor was I any good at understanding it) I decided to have a look at the History.

This has been the biggest challenge for me. I quickly noticed how we have other creation accounts, flood accounts, ancient laws and rituals that all seem so similar to Genesis, yet some of them pre-sate Genesis. Peter Enns really does not receive the credit he is due, but this one man has helped me adapt my theology and understand more about this ancient text. Genesis is book one in a series! Before, I approached Genesis expecting to find a detailed account of history as though it’s a modern textbook, for this to fit I had to be brutally honest with myself and my Children and admit I had to ignore most of the historical and scientific evidence we have. How can I call on the historical method when arguing for the dates of the gospels, the historical Jesus, and Paul’ letters, and then ignore and scoff at the same method that brings us the evidence we have for other sources outside the bible and that provides us with evidence for what has and has not happened in the bible? I’m slowly understanding now that half my life I have missed the ‘message and story’ in the bible. Of course calling it a story is not me saying anything about whether it is historical or fictional. We have plenty of books that are based on true stories yet they use symbols and stories to convey the truth in the story. The characters and circumstances resonate with us because they are mirrors of our story. Walking away from YEC-ism and this literal interpretation has helped me look at Genesis especially, with ancient eyes. Accepting the evidence for science and history has helped me in my journey of understanding ‘who’ God is, and sometimes there is just some things that I will never fully understand in this world (pain and suffering) I have now found a path that says. ‘I don’t know, but I trust you Lord and I have a Faith that one day it will all be made clear’

I’m still confused at times, I’m still learning, I still get frustrated when I see YEC-ists proclaim that they’re the only ones that are correct and everyone else is heretics, I still have a load of emotional baggage that was attached to my YEC-ist interpretation...but this group and the blogs in this group help people like myself so much. I see a comment and I have a little ‘Aha’ moments.

James Knight 24/04/2013 20:33
My little journey away from fundamentalism was one that I don't recommend for anyone else. Not because of the outcome, but the course my path took.

I was raised in Midland, Tx in the Church of Christ. So fundamental, they don't allow instrumental music in the church. I was taught that not only was the bible the perfect word of God, it was also a perfect history of the nation of Israel.

Growing up, I had a friend that was raised as an Atheist. Being the evangelical type, I took upon myself to gather all the evidence from archaeology and that of historians about one of the biblical accounts as way of breaking him in slowly. I chose the Exodus account. As I dug deeper into the scholarship concerning the Exodus account, I wasn't just shocked... I was appalled. I went thru moments of denial, to extreme anger. Anger first at the ridiculous claims of the historians. I found answers that provided temporary relief, but I couldn't shake the what I had learned. If the story of the Exodus wasn't accurate, what other stories had issues? If more had issues, how could I still see the bible as being the perfect word of God?

I struggled alone for more than a decade, always hiding my doubts and thoughts from family and friends. Keeping my own personal problems locked away from the world. I dove deeper into the social aspects of the church. I worked as a volunteer assistant to the church choir for a little over two years even. I couldn't ask nor share my questions with the people I knew and loved. I had tried that early on. I was dismissed in a way, told I was reading the bible wrong. I was aimed in the direction of the story of "Doubting Thomas". The idea with this was to show that doubt was in and of itself, sinful.

To this very day, I don't know what "title" to label myself with. I know this much for certain. If it were not for the fears of the literalistic, fundamentalist theology of my youth, I would not have hidden myself away in the manner that I did. It is not wrong to question. How else can you expect to learn if you feel you already have all the answers. To quote Socrates, "Wisest is he who knows he does not know". The expansion of knowledge always begins with a question.

As a young boy, I never thought much about Genesis, Adam and Eve, etc. I enjoyed reading books on dinosaurs and accepted that they lived many millions of years ago. However, evolution held no meaning for me. I learnt that we had adapted - we had big brains, and this was why we didn't have good eyesight like a hawk, or reflexes like a cat. This did not translate for me to us actually coming from animals, though.
I believed that Adam and Eve were real people, and I accepted that God created in six days, because the Children's Bible that I had and Sunday school always framed Adam and Eve as real people. I accepted it as truth, but I did not truly relate it to ‘history’ until I became a YEC.

I first discovered Young-Earth creationism in my second or third year in high school, when I found a magazine inside a biology classroom. This magazine was an issue of ‘Answers’, which is published by the YEC organisation Answers in Genesis. After I looked through it and a couple of other issues, I was converted to YE creationism. I was enthralled by the idea that stuff in nature could corroborate with the details in Genesis so closely, and I did not so much think as subconsciously believe, the 'truth' (as presented by AiG) of it. I became a passionate YEC warrior and railed at the idea of Genesis or Adam and Eve being allegorical. I employed most of AiG's standard arguments and did some creative thinking whenever these arguments were challenged.

Eventually, things changed. I had written a letter to my weekend paper in defense of creationism (there had been an argument between a creationist and an evolutionist the previous couple of weekends, mostly comprised of thinly veiled mudslinging). The creationist was impressed with my presentation, and sent me a book called ‘The Handbook of Evolution’, which was to be a gift to assist me in future public letters and defense of creationism in general. This YEC book purports to be "a powerful book - which is unanswerable" (quoted straight from the back cover - I still have it :P). Even then, I recognised that the book employed strawmen arguments, but I felt that I could use the bits which I believed were correct to destroy the arguments of theistic evolutionists once and for all. Hence I went and posted the first chapter as a thread in the discussion group.
What an unmitigated disaster that turned out to be! Not only did my debating opponents NOT convert to YE creationism, they ripped the material to pieces. I was shocked and deeply disappointed at the unfavourable results.
Because the book failed to meet my expectations so spectacularly, I began to reconsider my position. I decided to look at the Genesis creation story literally - that is, as the words that were printed on the page. I did not refer to anyone to help me "understand" the passage. Taken literally, the Bible has two creation accounts – no ifs, ands or buts about it. From this experience I understood that our interpretation of it comes from the outside, not the Bible.
After this, for several weeks to a month or two, give or take, I still identified as a creationist, but no longer did I think in black and white about the whole issue. As I read and learnt more about evolution and understood that evolution makes no comment whatsoever on the existence of God/ the supernatural, I came to find that I essentially had no problem with it, but I was still somewhat reserved on the issue of a timeline of billions of years. At this period, I was prepared to accept a timeline that went back a million or two years, and I thought that it was possible, even probable, that today’s modern species all originated on the order of a hundred thousand years. I still had some creationist influence in my thoughts – I held a notion that God created all the basal lineages of today’s organisms and let it evolve from there.
As time went by, that notion disappeared in favour of common descent. I was now an evolutionist in all but name and accepted the biological evidence for it. I no longer had to feel that I was in the minority for what I believed was right; the overwhelming evidence for evolution convinced me that creationism’s arguments were poor and did not explain the existence and diversity of today’s species, and intelligent design was not a viable alternative since it does not explain how things came to be, just simply invoking a designer and leaving it at that.
Since the time I have accepted evolution, I have looked at the natural world in a different light. It is an awesome thing to think that our natural history is intimately grounded in the earth and our kinship with other animals is evident in our bodies and theirs. Since we evolved and did not appear in a puff of smoke onto the scene 10,000 years ago, so to speak, it is clear that we have a specific place in the world’s ecology and we are as much of the wild as any deer, wolf or leopard.
For me, I have not suffered a crisis of faith as a result of falling away from YEC.To be sure, I had some doubt, and I abandoned the idea of biblical inerrancy as I learned more about the context of Genesis, but at no stage have I questioned why I should keep to the Christian faith. The reason for this is that my life background has led me to the conclusion that there is a God. For me, God exists independently of people's ideas of Him.

I identify myself as a Christian because I believe in the wisdom and teachings of the religion - that one must love one's neighbour as oneself, etc. For me, the teachings are relevant and true. I accept that the medium that the Christian message comes in - the Bible - was created by fallible men who wrote from the perspective of their culture and time period. Thus it shouldn't be surprising to find that the scriptures are not perfect. The wisdom comes from God, but the scriptures are a human creation - they were written down by men - and thereby imperfect, as the men themselves were imperfect.

I have become more liberal in my theology, because I have now recognised that I can be wrong about things, and am more open to the views of others as a result.

James Knight 24/04/2013 20:34
My move to accepting scientific views of the universe and evolution was secondary to and later than my general apostasy from faith.

Growing up I was told over and over that there simply wasn't any evidence for evolution or an old earth. Evolution was a just-so story that seemed plausible to those rejecting God, and that's the only reason anyone believed it. Nobody ever told me differently, so I basically believed it. I never really got sucked into consuming the Morris/Ham/Hovind propaganda.

I did check the "evidences for evolution" section in my college biology textbook out of curiosity. It was a very short section without much detail. It listed physical homology, embryonic homology, genetic trees and the sorting of the fossil record. I saw no problem with the first two, thought the third was false (I think I had been exposed to Hovind making much of variations in chromosome number and overall size of genomes that doesn't fit a tree, and not knowing much about it, I thought that debunked the argument). The fourth made me really pause and I spent a day or two trying to find YEC explanations for the geologic column and perfectly sorted fossils. I never found anything, but I assumed there was an answer out there that made sense, because otherwise so many smart people would certainly never accept YEC.

It was only after I was well on the way to completely losing my Christian faith years later that I read a book by Josh McDowell called Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity. I read it sort of hoping to be re-convinced of my Christian faith.

The book was a total joke. It started with vague stories about people having spotted the remains of Noah's Ark on Mt. Ararat, and then devoted about two-thirds of its pages to trying to debunk evolution and an old earth. Even as naive as I was on the subject, I clearly saw that every single argument was attacking a straw man, committing egregious errors of logic, and/or totally misrepresenting the facts. I started to wonder if it took such obviously bad arguments to attack evolution, maybe there was more to it than I realized. I started really researching and everything clicked in my brain rather quickly. I came to see there was overwhelming evidence for an old universe, an old earth and biological evolution.

I was told after being born again that studying the Bible would strengthen my walk with Christ. Up until that point, you couldn't have told me that the Bible wasn't the living word of God. You could talk to me about evolution and the deep ages of time, but I would always compare what science says to what the Bible says.

But in the end, it was the study of the Bible and it's history which started my move away from Christianity or, more precisely, Theism. I say this because I still live by the lessons learned while I was a Christian... namely love your neighbor as yourself.

My study of the Bible, Christianity, and the history of both led me to studying other religions. Why was Christianity the only way to God? What I came to realize is that Christianity wasn't the only religion to make this claim. There are other holy books which claim to be the divine word of God. The only way to discover which is correct was to examine and test evidence... which no one had.

This led me to the possibility that no religion was correct, and that no deities existed. Thus my apostasy was completed. Now i know this sounds analytical, and it is. But during this process, I was dealing with a tremendous guilt.

I was feeling guilty for letting the influence of man separate me from God. I prayed, pleading with God to strengthen me. But all that was happening was a loss of connection. This all took place over three years. At the end of it, I became the angry little atheist a small handful of you have ever seen. Since that time, I've managed to shed my anger at what I now see as a non-entity.

The consequences of my change has been a loss of many old friendships, the foundation of others, and the saving of 10% of my income for other purposes. I have found that many theists, when confronted by an atheist think that we simply have denied God. They seldom stop to put themselves in our shoes.

Great question, I just saw it and look forward to reading other's stories. For myself, I was never a YEC but I was raised in a pretty legalist, literalist church of Christ family and was uncomfortable with science. I loved science fiction - particularly atheist authors like Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein, but for years I felt I had to keep both sides separate. I remember asking a question in church class one Sunday, don't remember the question but I remember the answer: "There are some questions we just shouldn't ask". I am no rebel and pretty much shut up after then.

This changed when our church brought in John Clayton, an ex-Atheist who started the "Does God Exist?" foundation, to talk about Old Earth theology and scientific principles, and how they reconciled with scripture. It was a purely concordist talk, but I was enthralled! Talking about scientific matters that I loved in church, and here was someone telling me that was ok. I was a sponge and really took what he was saying to heart. He was a big part of my building faith, and I am convinced that I would have had serious troubles if he hadn't come along.

Of course, I no longer accept OEC or concordism, and I view much of his "proofs" as erroneous thinking now. The key is that I did not stop learning or being open, and continue to grow and learn even into my 40's. I've decided to let God guide me on my journey. I still hold a fond place in my heart for OEC theology. Perhaps there is a place for it and YEC and us in God's kingdom; we may not agree, but God is not looking for perfect understanding. He is looking to guide us to the truth, and sometimes that requires baby steps.

In answering your question on whether we, former YEC folk, found a lack of grace amongst fellow YEC folk, I would have to say, first and foremost, that it is my perspective, that YEC perspective is sometimes so greatly defended by it s adherents, due to a over all sense of fear. At least in my experience, I was taught to fear science, philosophy, and/or the gaining of other-wordly knowledge that was not strictly Bible taught/based (whatever that looks like). It was in the attempts to fend off doubt and confusion, that I was told that studying such topics, from a non Christian source, could lead to eventual unraveling of my faith. This perspective deposited alot of fear into me and gave me a sense that IF I chose to study such fields, I would authomatically loose my convictions. It is a "all or nothing" perspective...You either swallow this box of theology whole, or nothing. After long periods of grappeling intellectually, I came to the conclusion that any conviction worth having would hold up under any intellectual scrutiny. This being said, that I was bound to YEC through fear of loosing my faith and/or not being a "true" Christian, did lead to perspectives held by me and others, to greatly diminish the "lens of grace" that I was to have, as a Christian, for other believers and nonbelievers, alike. It is my opinion that anything driven by fear and that which attempts to bound by fear, automatically begins to color and distinguish people as "other" and a almost paranoia expounds in being suspicious of other s authenticity. When your handed a very tightly knit theology, such as one exemplified by YEC, it is taught that if you pull ONE thread away (such as a literal genesis account) the rest of the theology must be thrown out, as well. When you live under this assumption, it is only natural that you treat "others" that do not hold this tightly knit theology, not as deserving of grace, first and foremost, but as highly suspicious and almost bordering on the verge of heretical.

I was brought up in the Assemblies of God church in my early years. My parents were missionaries to the Philippines, where I was born, but we left when I was a baby. My grandfather (who is such a loving, beautiful old man) pastored an A of G church in L.A., and my dad was an assistant pastor. I think many of the people there would be considered fundamentalists, but they were really loving. Still, there was an emphasis by some Sunday school teachers on Hell, which scared the tar out of me. I went up for every altar call. My relationship with God was real, but complicated. When I was very young, I had some cool experiences in which I feel he clearly showed me how much he loved me, and I wanted so much to bless his heart. Then, the more I "learned", the more it seemed to me that I had to work really hard to please God. I started to develop anxiety issues about it (that weren't helped by medications I had to take for an illness--they fueled the anxious feelings) and no one seemed to understand.

Timothy V Reeves (Guest) 25/04/2013 21:55
Thanks very much for that resource James. I think the spiritual duress some of these people were under is palpable. The sort of fundamentalism we are hearing about here effectively reintroduces religious bondage by the back door - inculcating fear of displeasing God is a way of manipulating people. The concept of freedom of conscience is completely unknown to these people; they aim to bring conscience back into bondage. Having had some experience researching religious cults I have to say that there are many commonalities and the cultic precursors are manifest - in particular, the tendency to control people by reestablishing spiritual guilt comes out very strongly in these testimonies.

As a lasting example of such attempts to control by attacking the conscience let me repeat again what the fundamentalist Andrew Holland has said:

>>>>The historical parts of the Bible, such as Genesis, should be taken at face value, otherwise it is tantamount to calling God a liar!<<<<

Now there’s someone who believes in the divine authority of his opinions, and he wants us to know it!

Andrew Holland (Guest) 13/10/2016 12:27
Interesting! I have just read the comment made by Timothy Reeves three years ago, where he quoted something I said in my debate with James Knight. I stand by that quote, not because I want people to come into bondage, but because it is true. I don't think that one has to believe this to be a Christian, but I do believe that one becomes stronger in their faith if they can trust the Bible as the word of God. I do not believe in the "divine authority of my opinions", but I do believe in the divine authority of God'a Word - the Bible.
new york (Guest) 14/09/2018 07:40
i am glad to read.
Timothy V Reeves (Guest) 14/07/2019 18:48
At a Science and Faith in Norfolk event Professor Denis Alexander, a biologist from Cambridge University, stated during his lecture that he believed the Bible to be the inspired word of God from cover to cover. And yet he does not (along with the vast majority of Christians in Science) believe the cosmos to be a mere 6000 year sold as does Andrew Holland.

It follows then that one doesn’t have go along with Andrew Holland’s literalist opinions before one qualifies as “Trusting the Bible as the Word of God” for clearly someone like Denis Alexander also trusts the Bible as the Word of God and its divine authority.

Naturally there are going to be differing opinions here but it is clear that Andrew Holland stands by his opinionated and repugnant insinuation that Christians like Denis Alexander are effectively calling God a liar and therefore blaspheming.

We bootstrap meaning into scripture according to our prior beliefs and that is what Andrew Holland has done, except he has raised his reading and therefore his opinions to the level of divine authority and is completely unaware of it. He is epistemically arrogant enough to accuse the vast majority of Christian academics of something that looks like a charge of blasphemy. Unlike him I wouldn’t be so presumptuous to label his opinions as blasphemy, but rather they represent a complete breakdown of self-criticism.

Timothy Reeves 14/07/2019 18:59
Some relevant links:

Christians in Science
Denis Alexander at Norwich Cathedral

Denis Alexander at Norwich Catherdral

The next logical step for fundamentalist literalism: flat earhism

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