RE: Report on the YEC seminar in Durango, 9-2003

From: Josh Bembenek (
Date: Mon Sep 22 2003 - 09:33:42 EDT

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    >By doing what they are doing, they make themselves out to be infallible
    >interpretors of the Bible and refuse to believe that they could possibly be
    >wrong. That means, they are making the same mistake Adam made--believing
    >themselves to be like God--infallible. When I was a YEC, I was guilty of
    >that sin as well. That doesn't mean they aren't christians, they are(and
    >this inclusion is something as you saw the other day is not extended to the
    >likes of me by them).

    Glenn, no one who believes something would tell you that what they believe
    is untrue. How highly they regard their interpretation is another issue.
    And you never answered: what if, despite all of this, they were right?
    Empiricism, and "what is observed" could be biased despite your claim that
    it is not.

    >They can not possibly be correct because what they say violates all
    >observational data. One simply can't be correct and violate what we see. If
    >I say that pigs can fly, do you grant that I might be correct? Such a
    >granting wouldn't be showing an open mind but an empty one. We can't do
    >with people who deny all they see. We simply can't grant that they might
    >right because they can't be, unless you claim that nothing we see is true,
    >in which case not even the words we see on the pages of the Bible would be

    -Well, Christ walked on water, turned water into wine and rose from the
    dead. Adam was purported to be an adult when God created him, there's no
    record of his childhood. This is as impossible as pigs flying- heck in
    Joshua the sun stopped moving in the sky. There may be perfectly natural
    explanations for these events, but somehow the God I know purports to be
    capable of acting above limits of repeatable scientific observations. Who
    said (Pascal?) what we believe is above reason, not un/reasonable? It may
    not be aesthetically pleasing for God to create a universe with light in
    transit to earth such that we can see stars billions of light years away
    without them actually being that old IN YOUR MIND, but that doesn't make it
    impossible. And following with the conclusion of my argument, I would much
    rather see a faithful christian living a life filled with God's spirit than
    him accepting the implications of modern science and accepting old earth/TE.
      If you are being actively led by the spirit, my guess is that you have a
    better chance of finding ultimate truth, than if not. Believing my magic
    bullet arguments may pursuade you of my belief, but that isn't nearly as
    beneficial as being a spirit-filled Christian.

    >Would you also allow for people like Gerardus de Bouw to express his belief
    >that christians compromise the integrity of the Bible when it comes to
    >heliocentricity? His credo reads:

    -I think the same approach applies to Gerardus as to Ken Ham. Being a
    spirit filled Christian is the top priority. The way I see it, if YEC and
    heliocentricity is wrong, which is what I believe, then those who believe it
    with great passion require excessive effort to persuade otherwise. In fact,
    a sign of uncritical thinking is to believe what you want to believe. If
    someone wants to believe something, then you will never change their mind,
    and this I have personal experience of coming out of Mormonism. No logic
    can refute the Mormon doctrine to a follower due to the passion and amount
    of desire to believe its true. My mother has told me that she would rather
    go to Hell than not believe mormonism. That, my friend, is an impossible
    battle. I think praying for God to work in ways that I cannot do as an
    imperfect fallible and limited human is the only productive method of moving
    forward at that point.

    >Your belief in heliocentricity undermines Biblical authority according to
    >him. And in the past there were those who believed that if you held people
    >lived at the earth's antipodes(the other side of the earth) you couldn't be
    >christian. When should we call our brothers to account for not facing up to

    -Sure, but I think we should follow the instruction of 2Timothy 2:23-26.
    Gentle Instruction and Kindness being key here. I made the same point to
    our Pastor and he understood where I was coming from, but looking at Jesus,
    how do we reconcile him calling people "brood of vipers" etc.? I tend to
    think that airing on the side of tenativeness going around using my beliefs
    and position on controversial subjects to thump others is better for you,
    and for him.

    >If you won't grant Gerardus the same freedom you grant YECs, why not?

    -Gerardus can call me a heretic and devil worshipper all he wants. I'll
    pray to God that he's wrong and that if so, God will move in his heart to
    change him. But in addition to that, I've got other battles to fight. If I
    ever meet him, I would try out some gentle instruction and kindness on him,
    and hope for God to lead him to repentance. This assumes of course, that
    he's wrong :-)

    >If people hadn't taken an aggressive approach with me, I would never have
    >been forced to face the data. I would still be a YEC. While I didn't
    >let them know that I listened, and I argued strongly against their
    >positions, and they thought they were wasting their time, they were making
    >an impact on me.

    -Aggressive gentle instruction? I guess it's possible, but let's be clear
    on our goal which is not to lump all creationists into some kind of stupid
    bag and belabor the point that they are purposely trying to distort all
    reality to justify their interpretation of the bible.

    >Even if that violates what is clearly visible in the world? If you came to
    >me and said, like Gerardus de Bouw, the earth doesn't rotate around its
    >axis, I would tell you your religion is worthless. We have no right to tie
    >God's word to falsified views of what is out there. To claim something
    >'God's word teaches that there are no lizards,' would be to tie his
    >infallible word to falsehood. What a sinful thing to do. That is what the
    >YECs do.

    -Again, compared to living a life of the spirit-filled Christian, no amount
    of scientific misunderstanding can outweigh the value of that. There are
    beautiful and amazing truths that science reveals to us, but none of them
    can compare in any way to the experience of God's spirit permeating your
    life. Let's see, an accurate understanding of God's creation, or an active
    relationship with the Creator of the universe... easy choice here.

    >Do you grant that the Christian Scientists may be correct, that is, that
    >we see might be mere illusion?

    -I grant that this is their opinion and would strongly disagree with them.
    If I ever meet one I will spend some time trying to talk some sense into
    them. But God can do alot better job of leading someone to repentance than
    I can, this is a guaruntee.

    >And that is what the YECs have done. I can't tell you whether or not my
    >interpretation of Scripture is true or not. Their interpretation of
    >Scripture may actually be the intended on. But if it is, it has huge
    >implications for the authority of scripture. If Scripture actually does
    >require the violation of all we see, then Scripture pays a high price--it
    >simply false.

    -This I don't believe. If there is a God who accurately inspired the
    accounts of the bible (axiom one) and created all of nature (axiom two) then
    there should be a perfect reconciliation between the two data sets. If God
    inspired the bible to say that the earth is young, then we simply cannot
    understand why nature isn't revealing that same fact to us. It is possible
    that we may never understand why nature doesn't indicate this fact. But
    that isn't the same as us knowing for absolute sure beyond any shadow of any
    doubt that the universe is in fact old. We have a pretty high confidence in
    that fact, but the omphalos (right term here?) argument trumps what science
    can tell us.

    This is because what the YECs want the Bible to say makes it
    >false. I can tell you that the YEC world view is simply, laughably and
    >humiliatingly false. It violates everything one SEES. They violate
    >observation, not interpretation. I can judge them based upon what is seen
    >this world. They are saying things with the logical equivalence of "cats
    >have no wiskers". Do we really want that to be what the Bible says?

    -The only difference is that we can see cats with wiskers. We cannot see
    whether or not God created light in transit to earth.

    >Not if what you say about creation violates everything we see and observe.
    >Our confidence that what the YECs say about the world violates all
    >observations of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and geology is
    >extremely high. They simply have everything of importance wrong! I am
    >confident of that fact.

    -What if someday, they succeed in their effort and create the perfect
    paradigm for understanding all of science in a young earth framework? Just
    like Van Till has no logical error in expecting science to prove abiogenesis
    someday, YECs have no logical error in expecting their "science" to justify
    their interpretation of genesis. It's not there yet, but science cannot
    mandate OEC because of God's capabilities.

    >YEC is so bad it is not even wrong. And you know, they could fix it with
    >one change in their method. They could say 'this is what the Bible says and
    >it all happened miraculously'. No one could dispute them. But they insist
    >upon having observation support their viewpoint, which of course it doesn't
    >and when it doesn't, they claim that everyone else should ignore the
    >contradictory data along with them. And by saying that observation should
    >support their interpretation, when it doesn't, they make the Bible false.
    >They drag the Bible into falsehood.

    -I haven't seen Van Till stressing all the weaknesses of evolutionary theory
    when he advocates his position (not trying to drag Howard into this, simply
    using him to illustrate my point.) Clearly strong difficulties with your
    theory aren't going to be what you present to support your position. And
    some see the fact that they say "it all happened miraculoulsy" in addition
    to trying to refute results from scientific method and trying to acquire
    their own observations is simply covering all the bases and being smart
    about what they are trying to do. I might say it is believing what you want
    to believe. But even the most ardent materialistic atheist can recognize
    that once you allow for a God who can cause the resurrection, the realm of
    possibility increases significantly. You are making the same either/or
    scenario that they make, which isn't necessarily a whole lot more
    responsible, IMO.


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