Re: [asa] YEC social dynamics

From: Bill Hamilton <>
Date: Tue Sep 05 2006 - 09:26:41 EDT

--- Randy Isaac <> wrote:

> This ongoing discussion about the various outlandish claims touted and
> believed by AIG and other YEC'ers has led me to wonder more about the
> psychology and group dynamics of the whole business. Back in the 60's when
> I was a YEC, and I presume it is still the case, part of the whole paradigm
> was the "they vs us" perspective. Growing up in an isolated Christian
> community that tended to shun "the world" it was easy to believe the story
> that the world was characterized by Galations 5:19-21. Lying was an
> expected characteristic of "the flesh" and it made sense that the world
> would flaunt an untrue objection to every aspect of the creation story.
> Meanwhile, the "fruit of the Spirit" crowd would never tell a lie.

This is still true. Among those who are very interested in the
Creation/evolution issue there is a strong tendency to complain about how
legitimate creationist science will not be published because of the
naturalistic biases of the journals. I go to a fairly large suburban church
mainly populated by professionals. There is very little discussion of
Creation/evolution issues, but when they ddo come up the outspoken people are
very much on the YEC side. The pastor is an old-earther, but he is adamant that
the genetic code would never permit evolution. And he graduated from the
University of Michigan in engineering, so he oughta know :-)
> Hence, every shred of evidence or logical argument presented against
> creationism was surely a lie but well covered up while every argument for
> creationism was surely correct and all objections were evidence of "the big
> lie."
> One of the biggest hurdles I faced in turning away from YEC was coming to
> terms with whether such a large cross-section of the "spiritual" folks could
> be so mistaken and could perpetrate such a web of inaccuracies. As Burgy
> points out, "they really do believe it." And they believe it's a grand play
> in the "church" vs "the world" scenario. Scientific evidence and logic have
> little impact in such a worldview.
A big part of the dynamic that drives this is that the people who are
propagating YEC are believing Christians. Some are pastors, many are Sunday
School teachers. They are authorities, and authorities are to be trusted. A
second factor is the "I'm not an expert" syndrome. The person in the pews is
not an expert in Biblical interpretation, generally doesn't read Greek and
Hebrew, and so relies on pastors and teachers for an understanding. A simple
interpretation that doesn't require extensive interpretation has a powerful
pull on many "nonexperts".

I believe there are just a few ways to deal with this situation

1. Build relationship with YECs and convince them you are a Christian. This can
take a long time and much patience.

2. Seek out the recent college grads in your congregation and let them know
they're not alone if they accept evolution and/or an old earth.

3. Establish a dialog with the pastor and remind him that Christianity is not
about the age of the earth if creationism creeps into his sermons.

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
248.652.4148 (home) 248.821.8156 (mobile)
"...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31

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Received on Tue Sep 5 09:27:15 2006

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