Re: Kurt Wise on the creation crisis in Christian colleges

From: <pcjones5@comcast.net>
Date: Thu Feb 02 2006 - 14:19:35 EST

Obtaining stats on this would be an interesting research project. My assessment on young evangelical parents accepting an older earth view is based solely on personal interactions and online communications, including some home school parents. I'm curious as to how much the stats would vary geographically.

I agree with you that some Christian parents feel forced to subscribe to a YEC view and obligated to oppose evolution. I blame in part the news media for identifying only two players in the origins debate: atheistic evolution and YEC. I blame pop-theology authors/radio talk shows/websites/organizations for enforcing this sentiment. And I blame the Academic Gap for alienating lay people (the Academic Gap is multi-faceted).

As you mentioned, there are parents who have gone out and researched origins, and done so by extending beyond pop-theology sources. But of those I know personally, I found a common theme among their motives for doing so: they had an internal conflict between their understanding of science and the universe, and their understanding of Genesis. They sought answers to resolve that conflict. Because things just didn't add up in their minds, the conspiracy theories and propaganda in YEC materials had not convinced them to ignore everything else on the subject. For those who have asked me for recommended materials, I have pointed them to ASA article links, as well as books by ASA members.

I also blame the assumption that the sole crux of the origins debate is interpretation of scientific data. The biblical hermeneutical dilemma is completely skipped by the media, and mishandled by the pop-theology folk.

Recently, I did a public astronomy observing event for the local home schoolers network for viewing Mars and the moon. Most of the 120+ people present that evening do not know me, nor know anything of my position on origins. One of the dads pulled me aside later that night and asked me if I had heard of a certain organization (a well-known YEC group). Before I could answer, he started in on the science aspect. I could tell he was planning to witness to me, but I found it curious that he started with a discussion on science (he probably chose this approach since I was some stranger with a couple of telescopes). I quickly shifted the discussion to biblical hermeneutics, and explained what I consider to be a deeper theological interpretation of Genesis 1 (Gen serving as a response to neighboring cosmologies). He admitted that he had never heard of such an interpretation.

The problem here is people can be duped into believing that science has an evil agenda, and that it contributes to moral degradation, while not getting a fair hearing on literary genre issues within Genesis 1.

-Phil

 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
> *Correction: younger evangelical parents today DO seem to be more
> accommodating to an old earth mentality.*
> **
> I'm not so sure about this. It would make an interesting study.
> Anecdotally, in my experience as a young-ish (not so young anymore!)
> evangelical parent of three school-aged kids, there are pockets of young
> evangelical parents who've thought about and studied these things for
> themselves, perhaps in evangelical Christian liberal arts colleges or
> elsewhere, and who quietly shy away from YEC'ism. But there are also large
> groups of young evangelical parents who buy whole-heartedly into the
> Christian School and/or Homeschool movements and who are solidly YEC. Many
> evangelical parents are told that it's irresponsible to send their kids to
> public schools, and they believe it. Many of them invest themselves deeply
> in the culture of separation that Christian schools and homeschooling tend
> to thrive on, which includes YEC'ism as a major component. To them,
> Darwinism is one of the pillars of the corrupt outside society from which
> they believe they are morally obliged to shield their children (the other
> being Moral Relativism, with the two combining to produce things like
> "Liberal" politics).
>
> I think it's critically important to understand YEC'ism in the milieu of
> this defensive subculture. The whole worldview hangs together -- simple
> moral certainties, basic libertarian politics, an authoritative and
> easy-to-understand Bible, a "golden age" view of history, and insulation
> from a corrupt world -- and it provides an enormous sense of security and
> community to those who hold it. This worldview has become intertwined with
> a "Christian" worldview in popular evangelicalism like kudzu in a cypress
> stand. The challenge isn't only to show why YEC is wrong. The biggest
> challenge is to peel away all this growth without appearing to chop down the
> trees.

attached mail follows:


Correction: younger evangelical parents today DO seem to be more accommodating to an old earth mentality.
 
I'm not so sure about this.  It would make an interesting study.  Anecdotally, in my experience as a young-ish (not so young anymore!) evangelical parent of three school-aged kids, there are pockets of young evangelical parents who've thought about and studied these things for themselves, perhaps in evangelical Christian liberal arts colleges or elsewhere, and who quietly shy away from YEC'ism.  But there are also large groups of young evangelical parents who buy whole-heartedly into the Christian School and/or Homeschool movements and who are solidly YEC.  Many evangelical parents are told that it's irresponsible to send their kids to public schools, and they believe it.  Many of them invest themselves deeply in the culture of separation that Christian schools and homeschooling tend to thrive on, which includes YEC'ism as a major component.  To them, Darwinism is one of the pillars of the corrupt outside society from which they believe they are morally obliged to shield their children (the other being Moral Relativism, with the two combining to produce things like "Liberal" politics). 
 
I think it's critically important to understand YEC'ism in the milieu of this defensive subculture.  The whole worldview hangs together -- simple moral certainties, basic libertarian politics, an authoritative and easy-to-understand Bible, a "golden age" view of history, and insulation from a corrupt world -- and it provides an enormous sense of security and community to those who hold it.  This worldview has become intertwined with a "Christian" worldview in popular evangelicalism like kudzu in a cypress stand.  The challenge isn't only to show why YEC is wrong.  The biggest challenge is to peel away all this growth without appearing to chop down the trees.


On 2/2/06, pcjones5@comcast.net <pcjones5@comcast.net> wrote:
> Correction: younger evangelical parents today DO seem to be more accommodating to an old earth mentality.
>
>
>  -------------- Original message ----------------------
> From: pcjones5@comcast.net
> > Interesting read. This further confirms the Academic Gap that exists between the
> > academic/scholarly realm and the pulpit. The author of this article theorizes
> > that the trend for incoming young earth believing students will only increase.
> > I'm not sure I agree with that prediction. Younger evangelical parents today
> > don't seem to be more accommodating to an old earth mentality.
> >
> > -Phil
> >
> >
> > > --- Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net > wrote:
> > >
> > > You might find the AiG article by Kurt Wise, "Creation crisis in Christian
> > > colleges," of interest:
> > > http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0131colleges.asp.
> >
>
>
>
 
Received on Thu Feb 2 14:20:20 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Feb 02 2006 - 14:20:20 EST