Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Howard J. Van Till <hvantill@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Tue Apr 20 2004 - 08:51:01 EDT

On 4/19/04 11:03 PM, "Glenn Morton" <glennmorton@entouch.net> wrote:

> I have spent a life time getting yes or no answers to life's important
> questions, such as: Is there commercial oil in this well? Yes/No. Or
> Will we make our $50 million back? Y/N Was the geologic structure
> mapped correctly? Y/N Maybe because of that, I believe in truth or
> falsity more than most. There is rarely a middle ground for me.

Glenn,

I would call those "Life's simpler questions" -- those questions that can be
answered straightforwardly by appeal to empirical observation &
measurement." Life's more important (metaphysical and theological) questions
are much more difficult to answer, so that uncertainty and incompleteness
must be tolerated. I ³know² much less with certainty now than I did in
earlier years, and Iım very comfortable with that.

> And I
> don't see anyone doing to science what is done in religion, so when I am
> watching the explanations for why the story shouldn't be read as it
> sounds, I get the feeling that there is a wee bit of sleight of hand
> going on.

No, not sleight of hand. I see it as more like a candid recognition that
some questions cannot be decided ³either A or B² on simple appeal to
empirical data, including appeal to a canonical text as if a written text
had the same epistemological status as empirical reality.

> If God has little control over what gets into the books in the first
> place, and has little control over the canon, then I would submit I see
> no reason to trust what they say with regards to salvation.

Perhaps youıre right. Perhaps we must give up a dependency on external
authority and dare to take ownership of conclusions reached by our best
rational efforts. For better or worse, thatıs where I now feel comfortable.
Giving up the (guilt-driven) feeling of responsibility to defend
propositions that contradicted my best rational efforts is a huge relief!

> If as you say you see no reason to
> believe this form of inspiration, then I see nothing but the hand of man
> and at that point, no reason to worship what the hand of man writes.

Agreed. I believe that I am stuck with the responsibility of evaluating
everything that is written or spoken, including every word of the
historically-crafted biblical canon. I worship nothing that has been written
or spoken. I do, however, stand in awe of the experience of the Sacred ‹
whether in a Christian worship service, or in the watching of a sunset over
Lake Michigan, or in the hug of a grandchild.
 
>> Now, as I have said before, I treasure the biblical text for what it
> can tell me about the beliefs and practices of the
>> ancient Hebrews and the early Christian community, but I see no warrant
> whatsoever for this concept of biblical
>> inspiration. Maybe that's why I can no longer speak effectively to
> YEC's. What I want to say to them would be tuned out as
>> heresy. What they want to hear from me would require me to compromise
> my integrity.
>
> I think there is truth in what you say. One should know his strengths
> and weaknesses. But it isn't about telling them what they want
> necessarily. It is about having some common basis to speak together and
> have a communication. If they won't listen, then what is the point?

If they wonıt listen, Iıll shake the dust off of my keyboard and move on.

>> [As an aside, let me add that several years ago I left the Christian
> Reformed Church and joined a congregation that
>> describes itself as an "independent, liberal church." I am happy to
> wear the label "liberal Christian," although I prefer
>> the label "progressive Christian." :) ]
>
> Here is to my progressive friend!

Thanks, Glenn. Thatıs a toast to treasure!

Howard
Received on Tue Apr 20 08:51:33 2004

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