Jump to content


Photo

A strong argument against creation evangelism


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Ken Gilmore

Ken Gilmore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,808 posts
  • LocationBrisbane, Australia

Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:27 AM

Making your faith contingent on aspects of the natural world that are easily refuted increased the risk that your faith will crumble. The developmental biologist and militant atheist PZ Myers runs a regular section where readers write in with their reasons for unbelief. Here's one of the latest by a reader, Libby Anne, who blogs at Patheos:

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.

And then I went to college, where my young earth creationist views were challenged. I responded by fighting back. I argued with both students and professors, sure that I had some sort of truth they were missing. I brought out every argument I had, and went back to my creationist resources for more. As time went by, though, I found my arguments effectively refuted by arguments and information I had never been exposed to before. To my utter shock, it seemed that the evidence actually fell on the side of evolution and against young earth creationism. After nearly a year of fighting, I conceded defeat.

As I accepted evolution, 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? But on the other hand, how could I give it up? My entire life centered on Christ and I found my entire value in what I meant to Jesus. Without my relationship with God, my life was nothing.

Desperate to hold onto my faith, I turned away from evangelicalism and fundamentalism and toward more hierarchical and liturgical traditions, especially for Catholicism, searching desperately for absolute truth, for some way to salvage what I had left of the Bible. My fascination with these older religious traditions was accompanied by a fascination in understanding where the Bible come from, who wrote it and why. Reading scholarly work on this subject fascinated, and I saw the Bible unfolding in new and marvelous ways before my eyes as what had before been a simplistic and two-dimensional fundamentalist/evangelical understanding of the Bible deepened. At first, my reading of the the history of the Bible and of the early church fathers led me to find solace in more liberal Christianity, but this solace was short lived.

The more I read about where the Bible came from, the more human the book appeared. Its errors, its contradictions, and its eccentricities suddenly appeared very, very human. Yet I felt that I was being pulled in two, for I was both losing my grip with the divine and becoming incredibly fascinated with the very human development of the very human book that is the Bible. I finally felt like I was understanding things that had always puzzled me. Finally, finally, the Bible made complete and total sense. I felt that I was being forced to choose between holding onto the divine and the beauty of total understanding.

Around this time I read the God Delusion, and things became even more complicated. Dawkins put questions to me that I had never even thought of asking. I realized that the entire center of Christianity rested on human sacrifice, that the Trinity was not “a mystery” but rather simply something that made no sense, and that the very idea of a hell was barbaric. I suddenly saw the God of the Old Testament as a maniacal tyrant and I realized that mankind’s greatest moral achievements – such as valuing gender and racial equality and castigating human slavery – came from man, not God. My world was spinning, and I hardly new what to do.

For about a month, I called a moratorium on all questions of religion. I needed a time out, not time to think so much as simply time to be. At the end of the month, I turned again to questions of religion and realized that my faith had simply slipped away. It was gone. And you know what? I was still there. Life had gone on, and it had not lost its meaning and purpose. I still saw beauty, I still valued love, and I still had goals and dreams. And so, I closed the door on the first two decades of my life and stepped forward into the unknown, excited for what would come next.

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.

The mechanism by which God brought about the diversity of life we see should never be made a first principle. Knowing who created the world, and why it was created is of far more importance than how it was made. As the early Christadelphian Robert Roberts would have put it, herein lies the difference between true principles, and uncertain details.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#2 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 29 April 2012 - 07:56 AM

^^ A sobering post.

I realized that mankind’s greatest moral achievements – such as valuing gender and racial equality and castigating human slavery – came from man, not God.


Insofar as they came from man, they usually came from men inspired by the virtues of Christianity.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#3 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:42 AM

Apropos of nothing, I found this little gem at Hoffman's blog today:

[quotename="Lexa"]Here’s a little fact about Myers that has been buried. He was on a tenure-track position with the biology department at Temple University from 1993-2000. He ended up in Minnesota only because he didn’t even bother applying for tenure at Temple. Why? During his seven years there, he published ONE paper. That one paper he published back in 1998 was his last paper he ever published. In other words, Myers is a failed research scientist who spends his time blogging about atheism and religion instead of doing scientific research.[/quote]

:newspaper:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#4 Fortigurn

Fortigurn

    Moderator

  • Admin
  • 34,729 posts

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:01 AM

Goodness, that would go down well at his blog. :D

#5 Ken Gilmore

Ken Gilmore

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,808 posts
  • LocationBrisbane, Australia

Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:59 AM

It's previously been raised. The Horde didn't lose faith. Myers is competent developmental biologist who has carved out a niche at his current home. Like Dawkins, his main claim to fame now is his atheism - the fact he's mainly based at Freethought Blogs (which boasts Richard Carrier as one of its bloggers) shows that his atheism is as important a blogging item as his science.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” - Galileo Galilei

#6 Evangelion

Evangelion

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • 24,344 posts
  • LocationAdelaide, South Australia

Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:13 AM

Oh well, it's amusing at any rate.

:popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#7 The Budster

The Budster

    Lambda

  • Christadelphian
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2,158 posts

Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:06 AM

It's previously been raised. The Horde didn't lose faith. Myers is competent developmental biologist who has carved out a niche at his current home...

What's the niche? Teaching?

Ah, how I miss academia--and the war between the researchers and the teachers! One crusty old curmudgeon (who was a favorite teacher of mine) asked my thesis advisor, "Do you realize that students are paying for your research?" My advisor replied, "Do you realize that students are paying for your no research?"

Good times.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users