Re: [asa] YEC social dynamics

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Sep 05 2006 - 08:21:36 EDT

*Does anyone agree this could be a factor? *

I think an "American" factor definitely is at play, but I'm not sure it's
the one Postman identifies. Fundamentalist Christianity in America is a
populist, anti-institutional movement. That populist, anti-institutional
sentiment has deep American roots. YEC, it seems to me, plays into that
sentiment grandly because it offers an alternative worldview that lets
everyman challenge our modern institutional priesthood: Science.

On 9/5/06, Gregory Arago <> wrote:
> In attempt to open up the question of 'what does it take?' perhaps it
> would help to try internationalizing the discussion and this could shed
> light on what is particular about the phenomenon of YEC belief in the United
> States. There are people from other countries who visit this list, and
> surely many of those who dialogue here have colleagues in other countries.
> Why not ask them, especially scientifically minded or scholarly Christians,
> how YEC beliefs differ in their respective countries, where traditions of
> science and religion discourse are uniquely non-American.
> This suggestion follows from the idea of media ecologist Neil Postman
> (Amer), who, following the work of Marshall McLuhan (Cdn) and Eric Havelock
> (Cdn), claims that the United States in the most literal country
> (nation-state) in the world. That is, the USA is based on the written word (
> e.g. Declarations, Proclamations, legal documentation) more than any other
> country. The written word is a visual phenomena, whereas the spoken word is
> an aural phenomena. Thus, in America the expression 'seeing is believing,'
> turns into reading is supreme.
> Following this logic, it is no wonder that so many American Christians are
> believers in a literal Genesis and YEC. They confuse their theology and
> their science because they read Genesis literally instead of
> properly balancing what should be read literally and what should not be read
> literally.
> Does anyone agree this could be a factor?
> I am sympathetic to Randy's transformation from YEC to whatever he is
> today. Perhaps a church that doesn't put as much emphasis on the Word, but
> on Christian tradition is more welcoming to non-YEC's?
> Otoh, TE compatibility arguments may or may not be acceptable all the
> time. There may be room for TEs to become ECs (evolutionary creationists) or
> non-evolutionary theists (NETs), especially outside of natural
> sciences. But there seems a fine line from what Don says, before
> which 'without reference to God' one cannot understand the world or their
> scholarly/scientific work.
> Gregory
> p.s. was it P. Sorokin's massive work "Social and Cultural Dynamics"
> (1937-1941) that perhaps inspired the thread's title?
> "Those of us who claim to find compatibility between the doctrine of
> creation and an old earth, let alone evolution, are simply turncoats and
> can't be trusted.
> ...
> I rejected YEC intellectually many years before I could reject it
> psychologically and emotionally. Then I had to deal with the
> emotional backlash I felt.
> ...
> But it isn't enough to help the ordinary churchgoer believe that such a
> large segment of the church is caught up in a fantastic tale of science
> fiction. What else does it take?"
> Randy
> ~
> "At the root of the problem seems to be deep discomfort with a world whose
> workings and origins can be largely understood without reference to God. If
> you don't need to explicitly involve God, maybe he doesn't exist. Because
> of this discomfort, the TE kinds of arguments for compatibility between God
> and science are not acceptable. The comforting solution is to assert
> that the scientific view of the world is false." - Don Winterstein
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Received on Tue Sep 5 08:22:14 2006

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