Re: Engaging the power of Internet links

From: Todd S. Greene (
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 23:09:26 EDT

  • Next message: Stephen J. Krogh: "RE: Engaging the power of Internet links"

    Hi, John.

    I started my website almost exactly 2 years ago. One of the first pages
    was my Links Page,

    and the very first version of that page had a link to the ASA website on
    it. I have used dozens of links to sites like the ASA website for the
    very purpose of demonstrating to the many Christians who don't realize
    it that the portrayal by many Christians of discussion about creationism
    and evolution as "Christians (meaning young earth creationists) versus
    atheistic conspiracy" is simply not a correct portrayal of the true
    situation. The ASA website (the home page, and links to a specific
    article or two) has always figured prominently on my Links Page.

    Henry Morris was an ASA member way back around the time it first
    started. He left because he couldn't handle the serious criticism of his
    ideas. The ASA has not taken an official position; which means, in turn,
    that young earth creationism is not the official position of the
    organization; which means consideration of other positions, and
    criticism of YEC is allowed. This sets the ASA apart from other
    "conservative" Christian organizations. Try criticizing YEC in the ICR
    and open advocating something like antiquity in your local congregation,
    then stand back and watch the fireworks!

    Another correspondent mentioned the stats and gave a dire prognosis. My
    opinion is just the opposite. I believe that, the (last) decline of
    young earth creationism has already begun, and that after this decline
    YEC will be considered as geocentrism is now. A permanent result of this
    change will be that many of the hermeneutical considerations that are
    being worked on now, appropriate to the realization of the nature of the
    real world with respect to antiquity, and to biological processes, will
    become just another part of the typical "cultural milieu" of evangelical
    Christians - just as hermeneutical changes with regard to the
    geocentrism are now taken totally for granted. I see this, because of at
    least three different observations:

    (1) In denominations where anything other than YEC used to be anathema,
    official governing bodies are considering this specific issue, and are
    taking official positions of toleration of non-YEC views. Granted, there
    is still the "working out" of the internal strife that is going on,
    where, for example, particular congregations of the Christian Reformed
    Church has split over this issue (while this issue was actually part of
    a "plate" of other issues as well, such as women preachers). As you may
    be aware, Howard J. Van Till, a (now retired) professor at
    CRC-affiliated Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, met much
    public expression of criticism by YECs in the CRC over this issue, years
    ago. The situation today is substantially different, and this change is
    going on in other denominations as well.

    I myself was raised in the Church Of Christ. (Also, my father was a
    minister of the COC until his retirement from the ministry in 1990.)
    Even the very conservative COC now has substantial toleration of
    non-YEC views and criticism of YEC positions. Again, there still remains
    a significant contingent of COC preachers and other members expressing
    "exclusivism" on this issue (they preach that Christians who do not
    believe young earth creationism are not pleasing to God, and that anyone
    who publicly criticizes YEC is a "false teacher" who is to be publicly
    condemned as such), but their influence has greatly diminished since
    20 and 30 years ago. I can report to you that among the general COC
    membership, there are a great many for whom the YEC issue is merely

    (2) Others have pointed this out already, that due to whatever
    historical contingents of our cultural evolution that made YEC such a
    strong temptation to so many, its great popularity has been a mostly
    U.S. phenomenon. It was a reaction against some post-World War II
    social threads (not the least, I believe, which was some of the rampant
    political socialism and flirtation with communism among some
    "liberals"), and evolution and everything associated with it (geology,
    astronomy, anything at all) was seen as part of this mixture of evil.
    And this was despite the fact that many of the "fathers" of evangelical
    Christianity had long since "made peace" with antiquity and had also
    proceeded substantially, along with non-evangelicals, toward "making
    peace" with the idea of biological evolution. What was part of a
    reaction took on its own power in its way of thinking and looking at
    theology (God's Word is Truth; scientific theories about the world
    are merely the "fallible wisdom of man"). To look at things in a more
    complex way simply became a part of the problem rather than a more
    accurate way to look at things. (Why would God make His Word too
    difficult for people to understand in a straightforward manner?)

    (3) The rise of the internet has seen a great increase in the ease by
    which relevant information can be accessed. Granted, there is also a
    great amount of bad information that can be accessed, but, really, this
    is no change in what existed before, it's just that the internet has
    made all information easier to access. It was pointed out that YECs
    "outgun" non-YEC sites on the web, but I disagree. While of sites that
    specifically discuss creationism issues, sites with a YEC orientation
    predominate, we can certainly say that of sites that cover information
    relevant to creationism, YEC is quite dwarfed. For example, we wouldn't
    consider The Hubble Space Telescope site

    to be a creationism-related website. However, the site clearly contains
    information relevant to creationism issues, and that information clearly
    contradicts YEC, with respect to the antiquity issue - and it is the
    antiquity issue alone that blows YEC-based theology and hermeneutics out
    of the water.

    There are other miscellaneous observations, such as, for example, the
    YEC claim, made for at least a few decades now that evolution (and by
    extension, antiquity) is "about to overthrown" by some kind of
    revolution in science. I don't know what time-scale YECs have
    specifically had in mind on that one, but George McCready Price was
    making that claim, and the claim has been used quite steadily since
    then. (For example, it was used, with no apparent embarrassment, by Paul
    Nelson and John Mark Reynolds in *Three Views on Creation and Evolution*
    just a couple of years ago.) I hate to be the one to break the "news,"
    but the "revolution" is going the other way, and it's occurring in the
    conservative Christian community!

    Truth cannot contradict truth. And that's something that the controversy
    over young earth creationism cannot change. SN1987A sits there, a direct
    observation of an event that occurred about 168,000 years in the past.

       "SN1987A and The Antiquity of the Universe"

    This kind of direct observational material is kind of hard to dispute.
    Indeed, all YECs have ever offered in trying to explicate their position
    in the face of these kinds of observations is: (1) their own human
    speculation, very pure, completely unadulterated by any substantiating
    empirical information, or (2) almost the entire universe is a truly
    cosmic illusion (a la Gosse, the "apparent age" concept). Of course,
    since neither of these positions is stated anywhere in the Bible, young
    earth creationists have thereby demonstrated the inherent fallacy of
    their own philosophical position.

    Now, look at that, John. I got all that just from talking about my
    placing a link to ASA's site on my Links Page a couple of years ago!
    Keep up the good work!

    Todd S. Greene

    ###### John Burgeson, 4/2/01 17:57 EDT ######

    The placing of a link on the web sites of ASA members pointing to the
    ASA web site. (I've done this; have you?)


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