Re: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith?

From: Carol or John Burgeson <>
Date: Mon Aug 22 2005 - 12:11:11 EDT

Iain wrote, "I've a friend who was once a creationist, but now no longer
so, and
accepts evolution. However, she says that now, as an evolutionist,
she finds it harder to persevere in her faith, as evolution "somehow
weakens God" in her mind.

How would people on the list approach this and encourage said person
to persevere and not to lose faith?"

I'm just now reading Michael Ruse's new book and constructing a review
for PERSPECTIVES. Here is an early (very early) draft. I may be of help.


Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2005. 288 pages, notes,
bibliography, index. Hardcover; $25.95. ISBN 0-674-01687-4.

Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University, a
prolific and well respected writer of books on evolution, takes on the
philosophic struggles between the scientific establishment, the
Creationists of our modern times, and the "religious evolutionists" (such
as Richard Dawkins) who preach incessantly the message that science is
the only path to realistic thinking and that all religious thinking is a
sham. He argues that both evolutionism (the religion) and creationism
have common roots in the Enlightenment, when the "crisis of faith"
emerged so strongly. He points out what should be obvious (but are not,
at least until he discusses them) similarities in creationist and
evolutionist arguments.

Ruse positions his arguments in an eschatological framework, arguing that
evolutionists think in terms of postmillennial thought, creationists in
terms of premillenial. But it is not so much biblical issues being
argued, as much as moral ones; the two sides expect their adherents to
behave quite differently. Ruse treats the subject historically, from
early 18th century days, spending much time on late 20th century
thinkers, Wilson, Dawkins, Gould, Morris (Simon), Behe and Dembski. He
treats with acerbic wit the underlying religious commitments of
evolutionists, arguing that those most hostile to religion are in many
ways fundamentalists of another kind.

One example from the book (page 202) will illustrate the above. Ruse
writes: "As we would expect, academic evolutionists deny any religious
associations in their field -- after all, they are scientists who have
only recently dragged themselves up to full professional status, and
would just as soon forget evolution's checkered past." He then quotes
Dawkins (form The Humanist, 57, 1 (1997), who wrote that faith is one of
the world's great evils, that science has many of religion's virtues and
none of its vices; that religious faith "not only lacks evidence, its
independence from evidence is its pride and joy ... ." Ruse then skewers
Dawkins, Wilson (and others) as he demonstrates (convincingly IMHO) the
innate religiosity of many evolutionists. On pages 212-3 he writes, "The
real issue is whether some evolutionists use the supposed progressiveness
of evolutionary theory to promote social and ethical programs. And indeed
they do. ... " [evolutionism] continues to function as a kind of secular

The book, while written "sharply," is not at all polemical. Ruse writes
clearly, to the point, and in a manner which is understandable to the
informed non-scientist. Highly recommended, it has "keeper" status in my
own library. It should be read along with Eugenie C. Scott's recent book,
EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM. Neither author is a Christian, but unlike many
non-Christian writers, both appear to understand Christianity reasonably
well and treat it with respect.
Received on Mon Aug 22 15:05:39 2005

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