RE: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Glenn Morton <glennmorton@entouch.net>
Date: Sat Apr 17 2004 - 11:21:48 EDT

Hi Bob,

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Schneider [mailto:rjschn39@bellsouth.net]
> Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 3:55 AM
> To: Glenn Morton; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: YEC Destroying Faith
>
>
> Glenn, it's the YEC logic that doesn't work. Read my essay,
> "Does the Bible Teach Science?"
> http://www.berea.edu/SpecialProject/scienceandfaith/essay03.asp.
>
> Bob

I would view it exactly opposite. Your logic doesn't work.

First off, you are making a mistake which is made quite commonly in
these issues of failiing to take into account that your listener might
not accept your assumptions. The YEC does agree with the ASA statement
"We accept the divine inspiration, the trustworthiness, and the
authority of the Bible on matters of faith and conduct." But they also
have other assumptions which you implicitly assume don't exist.

YECs don't necessarily isolate Christianity from the other world
religions. By this I mean the ultimate question of which religion is
true. The Both/And thinking you are advocating would lead, logically to
all religions being true in some form or another. IF (an assumption)
God ONLY acted in writing the bible according to the ASA statement,
that is, it is true only on matters of faith and conduct, leaves God
open to produce the most jibberish-infested document from a scientific
point of view and then we are supposed to accept it as metaphysically
true. This is the
earth-on-the-back-of-an-elephant-on-the-back-of-a-turtle-swimming-in-the
-cosmic-ocean syndrome. It is what the scientifically minded from an
eastern upbringing must face when they go into science. Their sacred
documents claim the turtle in the sea scenario is true. But (here goes
some either or thinking) it isn't true. It is false.

To the YEC, to islamic antievolutionists and to the Hindu fundamentalist
(Forbidden Archaeology by Cremo and Thompson) it is important that their
sacred document have historical truth (not scientific truth as that dead
red herring always wants to claim). Cremo and Thompson argue for the
existence of manking way back in the geologic time. A current thing
going on it Islamic fundamentalist circles is the claim that the Koran
and other documents are up to snuff with modern medicine and thus that
shows that Allah inspired the Koran. YECs focus on the creation for the
same reason.

Now, this is where I think you really go astray in your chain of logic.
You assume the Bible is theologically true only. But if that is the
case, how does one tell or test that it is THEOLOGICALLY true? One
can't. All one can do is believe. But the Islamicist and the Hindu also
believes their view respectively. And who is to determine which of
these different religions (indeed if any) are true? You do it by making
an assumption -- that it is the Bible. You have no basis for saying that
except your belief--your faith. But as the old preacher said, you can
believe all you want that drinking iodine won't hurt you, in the end, it
will.

Then you go argue against the YECs as if they accept your assumption,
concluding (rightly as deduced from YOUR assumptions) that they are
wrong (a nasty form of either/or thinking on your part, I might observe.
You can't be consistent with a Both/and type of thinking and
simultaneously claim the YECs are wrong, Bob). But the YECs don't share
your assumption. You are arguing against them using the rules of
monopoly when they are using the rules of Chutes and Ladders. It was
this type of argumentation that always makes me cringe in evangelical
presentation. The Christian says to the non-christian. Jesus is the
son of God therefore you should logically conclude that accepting him
will give salvation. The non-christian thinks: 'There is no son of God,
therefore I see no reason to accept'. This illustrates what you are
doing. You accept your assumptions and have interwoven them so deeply
into your world view, that you can't see that others have a whole
different set of assumption. And by ignoring that fact, your agument
does NOT have the logical force you think it does.

A couple of comments on your web article. You wrote:

>He insisted "in common with the whole Church, that this infallible
Bible must be
>interpreted by science," a proposition he considered "all but
self-evident" (cited in Noll).
>Hodge used the Copernican revolution, the very issue Galileo dealt
with, as the classic
>example of this view: "For five thousand years [sic] the Church
understood the Bible to
>teach that the earth stood still in space, and that the sun and stars
revolved around it.
>Science has demonstrated that this is not true.

Here Bob, you are engaging in classical either/or thinking. Why can't
it be that Both the sun and stars revolve around it and the earth stands
still? Don't give me relativity because parallax measurments clearly
distinguish between the two states. But when yesterday you told me to
stop doing either or thinking, here is a perfect example of you doing
it. Physician, heal thyself.

You then inconsistently chide the YECs by saying in your web article:

> But the question and the "all or
>nothing" thinking that lies behind it are simply wrong-headed."

You need to live by your own rule and quit thinking that both Copernican
and Ptolemy are wrong (course you did last night when you said as much.)
What I see is logical inconsistency in your position here. I would point
you to one of my favorite philosophers, G. E. Moore. Basically he held
the view that if one can't live consistently with his philosophy then it
is wrong. To think as Berkeley did, that matter is a projection of the
Mind, and then to live by it means one can jump in front of automobiles.
Afterall, matter is just a projection of the mind.

You wrote:

>Thus, as meaningful a model as the ancient Near Eastern peoples had
constructed to
>account for the phenomena they observed in the heavens and upon the
earth, it was
>bound to be superceded, just as every subsequent model of the universe
has been
>replaced or significantly modified, to the present day. It is here that
our contemporary
>understanding of scientific truth joins hands with the principle of
accommodation. The
>ancient biblical model needs to be understood as a time-bound
conception of human
>knowledge and understanding that provided a context for the sacred
writers' revelations
>about God, and not as a timeless statement about the nature of the
universe.

Why do we have to limit this to science? This gets to the heart of your
assumptions about theology. You limit, BY ASSUMPTION, the damage of your
methodology. You allow science to be jibberish, but you know that if you
allow theology to be jibberish, you have a problem. Thus you assume the
problem out of existence and claim that the YECs ought to follow your
path. If science can be superceded, why not theology? Why shouldn't
Theology be superceded-Judaism superceded by Christianity. Chrisitanity
superceded by Islam? Islam superceded by Bahai? And if this is the
case, if you answer in the affirmative, then Pilate's question comes to
mind here. 'What is truth?'

>If "the purpose of the Book is to point to Jesus Christ, not just the
historical person, but
>the ever-present living Word of God" (Seely), as theologians have
taught for centuries,
>then one's belief in the Bible needs to be based on the message of
faith and salvation in
>Christ that it proclaims and the effect those words of truth have on
one's life.

Another statement with lots of implicit assumptions. If God wanted to
point to Jesus, why did he use such scientific jibberish as the basis
upon which to base that arrow (the Bible) pointing to Jesus? Why does
one's belief in the Bible need to be based on the message of faith and
salvation? After all Islam says the same thing--believe that God is
one and Mohammed is his prophet and you will be a muslim. That is all
that is required to become a muslim. In what way does your belief
differ from that of an islamicist?

So, Bob, I see nothing here that shows that you even begin to understand
YEC, YECism, or what is driving them. They are driven by a desire to
have a true religion, not one based merely on fideism.
Received on Sat Apr 17 11:22:59 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Apr 17 2004 - 11:23:00 EDT