Re: [asa] YEC social dynamics

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Sep 05 2006 - 08:15:47 EDT

I can't answer this big question, but maybe some aspects of it are
perspective, humility, and patience.

Perspective: can anyone name any time in church history when a large
segment of the church *didn't* believe lots of things that were utter
nonsense? YECism is a real problem, but such problems have always been
with us, and they always will, until Christ returns and the Kingdom
comes in
fullness. It's part of the nature of the Church as an instution
composed of
imperfect human beings constrained by culture, language, history and
And YECism isn't nearly the most pressing problem the Church faces
Triumphalist politics are equally a problem; but even more so, greed,
commercialism, apathy, pornography and sexual immorality corrode the
from its lowest levels to its highest. But neither YECism nor any of
other very real problems will destroy the Church; not even the gates
of hell
will prevail against the Church.

Humility: It's so easy to think that we've finally got this thing all
figured out. But a few hundred years from now (if the Lord doesn't
return sooner), just about everything we're saying today about faith and
science will be a matter of historical curiosity. None of us has it all
figured out. I'd daresay that even the best of us -- even the Keiths
Georges and Teds among us -- are probably only half right half of the
because the universe, and God, are just so much bigger than we can
comprehend. So, we have some ways of approaching these things that are
better than YECism, but we shouldn't think we're "there" yet.
Sometimes I
imagine that when I
stand before the Lord someday, I'll get "aha" answers to the few nagging
questions that don't fit into my preferred framework for how faith/
questions should get resolved, and everything will just "click". But
when I
really think about it, it's more likely that I'll fall in my face in
awe at
how unimaginably far beyond me the truth of some of these things were
my brief lifetime.

Patience: Two thousand years of difficult, twisting, up-and-down church
history -- and thousands of years of equally difficult, twisting,
up-and-down redemptive history before that -- should remind us that
in His
dealings with His people, as with His dealings in creation, God works
according to His own timing. YECism won't go away in our lifetimes;
probably, it will only get stronger in coming years. But it will one
day go
away, because it isn't true. As I see it, our calling isn't to "defeat"
YECism. Our calling is to be faithful to the truth as God enables us to
understand it, to love His people even when they chase after old wive's
tales, to remember our own weakness before His majesty, and to trust
Him to
achieve His purposes in His timing.

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
> ------------------------------
> Now you can have a huge leap forward in email:* get the new Yahoo!
> Mail.*<*
> try_beta?.intl=ca>

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Sep 7 02:09:13 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Sep 07 2006 - 02:09:13 EDT