Recently, I have spent a great deal of time running through the internet conversation about the origins of life. One of the things I wanted to point out is how much arrogant, ignorant Christians aren’t helping the situation.
OK, that sounded a little harsh, but images like this make me roll my eyes and want to scream. You can check it out on this website for Christian phone backgrounds (lots of cool pictures there btw). This is a classic case of playing to your base while alienating everyone else. Stuff like this bugs me because it turns off more people to the gospel and the truth than brings them in. Can you honestly believe that anyone is going to see this and change their opinion? The only opinion that will change is their opinion of Christians, not science.
It also expresses one of the fundamental gripes I have of Christians being wrong about what they are screaming about. No one is claiming that people came from monkeys. No one is even claiming that people evolved from apes (which are much closer to us than monkeys). The scientific claim is that apes and humans had a common ancestor and genetic mutations created humans and the other great apes. This is also the answer to the question “Why aren’t monkey’s still evolving into humans?” which gets thrown around anytime people are talking about this stuff.
As Christians we need to be educated about what is really being taught because railing against stuff that isn’t real just makes us look foolish.
Somehow we have to figure out how to be a body of faith that stands on principles, without being arrogant and stupid while we do it. Any shirt that tries to convince someone of something isn’t helping us get there. Trust me on this one.
I guess I have been back into it since Sunday night, but I think I am ready for my lesson tonight. I have spent a great deal of time browsing the online communities of creationists and evolutionist. Here are some things that I have seen that have nothing to do with the debate.
I will believe you more if you have a prettier website. It has nothing at all to do with the quality of the information, but if you have a good web designer I trust your information more.
My favorite part of the Intelligent Design side of things are the people who contend that it could have been designed by Aliens rather than God. It is just fun to read their stuff.
Isn’t it funny that two different groups of people can have radically different ideas and both claim to be taking the Bible literally?
Smugness in an argument is an immediate turn off for me, even though I think I do it often.
One example of smugness is when Young Earth people make comics to make fun of all the assumptions you have to make to believe in evolution. Sure it may be true, but it is playing to your base, not helping change anyone’s mind.
As a video editor I have no problem with the distance of stars and the speed of light even from a young universe perspective. God could have very easily created the universe and then fast forward it a bit to the place where it looked cool and then kept on creating, (sort of like with creating a grown up Adam). This isn’t creating something false, it is making sure that we could see the vastness of his creation. (Without it there would be no starlight)
I do think that holding to an exact 6,000 year timeline is being a little dogmatic.
I also think that God didn’t write a science book or a history book when he wrote the Bible. There is science and history in the Bible, but the Bible is ultimately the story of God and the way he interacts with us. It is supreme arrogance to worry so much about our origins and forget that the story is about the creator and not the creation.
The problem with the internet is that it allows me to vehemently defend positions that I have held for all of three days and even have sources to back me up. This morning as I was writing down my final outline for my youth lesson today I just kept coming back to the other side of the intelligent design discussion, the side that holds to an older earth idea, but still a creator of man and a full belief in the inaccuracy of the Bible.
I think today, like the true Creationism Agnostic that I am, that I am really feeling like a believer in a middle ground between the young earth and old earth people. Let me make some totally uniformed bullet points that I will never be able to defend later, but represent where I am at this moment as I continue to research, pray about, and generally ruminate on this subject.
I can fully believe that if God made Adam as a full grown man that he could have made the earth as already old.
I believe in a universal flood, and that catastrophe of all catastrophes had a profound effect on the earth.
In looking at the rest of the Hebrew scriptures I see many places where genealogies are problematic at best when it come to determining years. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is wrong, just that it isn’t real concerned with exact dates, but rather a retelling of major events.
I still have a problem with a millions of years life cycle of dinos and other things that happened before the fall. I see the fall as a world breaking event.
As such the death of thousands of created creatures (such as dinosaurs) would not be possible before Adam and sin
So I am now espousing a totally non-informed, opinion that I am calling the Middle Earth Creationism theory. (Which probably more accurately should be called the Adult Earth Creationism Theory, but I like the Tolkien sound of my way) This theory says that God created the world and that he made it in 6 days, but that we have no way of knowing when that time line happened so the time from Adam could have been 50,000 years or more. So the earth is both old and young.
See that at least makes my brain stop hurting for a while, but tune in tomorrow when I am sure to have a new theory partially cooked up from my own brain and partially misinformed by books and the internet. (Sometimes there is too much information in this information age).
Disclaimer: Just so no one yells at me about teaching this when I don’t even know what I believe, from the beginning (last week) I have been teaching that there are 3 major theories (evolution, old-earth creation, and young-earth creation) and trying to present the arguments that the two creation camps make. So tonight I will be doing the same.
Is the earth 6,000 years old or over 4 billion? That is the question that has been dominating my study time this week. It is at the heart of any discussion of evolution or creation. In many ways the Bible only works if you take it literally and evolution only works if you have billions of years for things to evolve. So the age of the earth is at the heart of this debate.
And since it is so essential you can find people from all spectrum of science and religion with all manners of agendas and quite varied levels of craziness trying to defend their ideas of the origins of the world. I have been trying to wade through it all to find some real scholarship that at least acknowledges its bias even if it isn’t without bias.
In my readings I have discovered lots of new things (like a reason for your appendix) and have been trying to distill it all down into a few hour long lessons. The biggest struggle is to try to present information that some people are thirsty to hear, but others don’t care about, in a manner that isn’t intolerably boring. I don’t think I have found the balance yet, but maybe before tomorrow night I will.
Is it wrong that I am a 35 (nearly 36) year-old youth minister and I really have never given any thought to what I believe when it comes to the whole creation/evolution thing. Well that isn’t entirely true. I have thought about it, and always just sort of believed what the Bible said, but I have never really given much thought to how that account is reconciled to the science that is out there.
I always have had sort of a half-way theory about how the flood messed up the fossil record and I how carbon dating must be wrong. From time to time I have espoused theories such as the “God days are longer” to explain way the age of the earth and even argued that since God created a full grown man why couldn’t he have created an already old earth.
But all of these were not really based on scholarship or study, just on my own assumptions and picking up bits and pieces of information here and there.
This week we are kicking off a youth study about just this topic, however, and it has me scrambling trying to find the best scholarship and at the same time figure out what I believe.
Because when it comes right down to it, everyone must make a choice about what they believe happened at the beginning of time. You must make a choice because you weren’t there, and no one was there (with the exception of God of course). Then based on what you believe you will shape the data that you see to meet what you already believe, because the origins of life is where science and myth meet up.
I thought I was ready to go for my first lesson tomorrow night, but in trying to do some fact checking found out that some of the things I was going to teach was a little out of date and some of it just couldn’t line up with the rest of what I teach about God, sin, and salvation. So this little study on evolution has exploded into a 6 hour marathon of reading, searching, and praying trying to figure out the best way to present the truth found in the Bible to a generation of students who have been told that everything that we will reading tomorrow is wrong.
I could continue, but now it is after 2 and even though I want to keep reading and writing I have to go to bed. More soon.