RE: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Dr. Blake Nelson <>
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 21:09:21 EDT

--- Glenn Morton <> wrote:
> > I'm not sure whether you categorize me as a
> "liberal":
> > I don't.
> I wasn't referring to anyone in particular. What I
> was thinking of when
> I wrote that is the numerous times I have heard
> people say about such
> situations, when a YEC is having trouble, that what
> they should do is
> believe that the Bible is
> 1. allegorical
> 2. non-historical
> 3. a poem which teaches us deep truths
> 4. it is a myth
> Etc etc
> The thing people who suggest such things don't
> realize is that they are
> effectively helping that person to atheism. Given
> their epistemology
> that the Bible must have historical truth, if one
> tells them "come on be
> a christian but you don't have to believe it has
> historical truth," what
> that person is doing is telling them that their
> worst case scenario has
> just occurred! The bible ISN"T true. That merely
> makes the crisis
> worse.

Then it appears there are lots of ways to make such a
crisis worse. Different parts of the canon are not
"true" in lots of ways one might try to read (or read
into) them. But I think as George and Paul and others
have amply pointed out the question that the YEC in
crisis has is not one about "truth", but a particular
position that the person insists a particular text in
the bible must comport with. That is myopic, at best.
 The text is what the text is. The reader, ideally,
earnestly tries to figure out what the text is and
means rather than insisting a priori that it is X or
means Y and if it doesn't then it's not "true".

> > One of the things that was helpful in my own case
> is
> > the fact that while the
> > Missouri Synod does reject evolution & insist on a
> more or
> > less "literal" interpretation
> > of early Genesis, it has always held - with the
> Lutheran
> > tradition in general - that the
> > gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of
> justification is
> > the core of Christian faith. So while dropping the
> idea that
> > Genesis is accurate history & accepting evolution
> may be
> > difficult for a person in that tradition, one
> needn't feel
> > that the Christian faith
> > itself is being abandoned. If you've got to grow
> up as a
> > YEC, have the good fortune to
> > do it in a church that at least has its priorities
> straight.
> > Of course that doesn't
> > help someone in crisis right now in a church that
> doesn't
> > have its priorities straight
> > & thinks, e.g.(with Ken Ham), that Genesis is the
> foundation
> > of Christianity.
> I would agree with you here, personally. But the
> YECs simply won't.

*Shrug*. Then, perhaps, we have a problem bigger than
their scientific viewpoint. I am hard pressed to
determine what specifically is "christian" in Genesis
*without* the understanding of Jesus of Nazareth's
life, death and resurrection to inform it.

> And
> neither will those in the midst of a YEC generated
> crisis. They will
> look at that and do exactly as I have done with you
> over the years and
> ask
> 1. So God didn't know what happened at the time of
> creation and thus
> told us a fairy tale?
> 2. So God doesn't have the power to communicate
> actual scientific truth
> (something I would apply to my friend Paul Seeley's
> views)
> 3. God tells us not to bear false witness but He is
> allowed to do it?

And, of course, lots of people think these are red
herrings, based on a selective desire to interpret
some things one way and some things another way. If
the person cannot at least see what their epistemic
perspective is and how it genuinely differs with
different perspectives -- please note that those
questions are so loaded and bogged down in assumptions
that if the person uttering them does understand the
alternate epistemic perspectives, they are displaying
that they have absolutely no desire to accept them as
viable alternatives -- then what is the point of the
discussion? Under such circumstances, I am not
sanguine that concordism will be an effective
methadone to get them off of YEC and to something more
stable. We have had ample examples pass through this
list to more than suggest that Paul Seeley's take on
concordism as the halfway house from YEC to atheism is
sadly too often the case. Indeed, concordists often
don't agree on what texts are supposed to be in accord
with nor the manner in which "concordance" is

> On and on. MY point is not to get back into that
> merry-go-round you and
> I have had, but to try to make people here
> understand how ineffectual
> the help is that is often offered.

And so what is the effectual help? Until someone can
see the epistemic hole that they have dug and
recognize -- not agree with, mind you -- but recognize
the epistemic position of another (and let me
reiterate those baited questions show no empathy for
nor understanding of other perspectives), how can one
provide effectual help? Is telling a person what they
want to hear effectual? Sorry, the solution
implicitly on offer here escapes my deductive

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Received on Thu Apr 15 21:09:49 2004

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