Re: [asa] dialog with YEC brethern

From: Roger G. Olson <>
Date: Wed Sep 06 2006 - 20:43:29 EDT

I, too, in some sense am involved in this ministry. I teach at an RC
college which has a "core" program including two courses on "Humanity in
the Universe", which is basically a course about the various
-- Cosmic, Biological, and Cultural in particular. (N.B. that chemical
evolution or "abiogenesis" should also be included).

My experience has been that students (97% in the 19-21 yo range) don't
care to engage at all in the origins issue. This frustrates me. I'm
aware that more than a few of these students come from Fundy-mentalist
backgrounds and do believe implicitly the YEC propagandist screed,
but are
unwilling to talk about their beliefs in an open forum. Bear in mind
street talk about me is that I'm a pretty congenial and cool prof who
isn't intimidating and overly judgmental. The evidence for this is my
"core" sections are oversubscribed (could mean I'm just an easy

Maybe this is consistent with my views as an undergraduate in geology in
the early 70s. What's scary is that I don't even remember what my views
were back then! Either I was able to compartmentalize the faith/science
areas or I was an omphalist of some sort. I dunno. This sounds
dumb, as
it is. I do know that I would have bristled if someone had
questioned my

So what to do? It's a real mess. YEC is nonsense. The only YEC who
here insults the faith of all TEs/YECs via his bibliomancy. Many YECs
I've talked with on TheologyWeb or in real life stake their faith on
nonsense instead of the redemptive act of God through the Logos Christ.

I feel like throwing up my hands since I'm old tired and bored with the
whole thing. I concur with F. Schiller "Mit der Dummheit kaempfen die
Goetter selbst vergebens."

God's Peace,


> I think Bill, Merv, Iain, et al. are right. Yet I think Roger makes a
> good
> point about being clear in our position (as individuals if not as an
> organization). There's a time and place for both approaches, and
> there's
> a
> question of culpability in how we employ each.
> Folks like Bill, Merv, Iain and myself are involved in work and
> ministry
> with other believers who are at widely varying places in their
> understanding
> of the faith. We work in churches and organizations where much of the
> leadership perhaps has been sympathetic to YEC for many years.
> Most of
> these people we work and minister with aren't culpable concerning
> their
> beliefs. They aren't trained scientists who should know better.
> They're
> regular people trying to live faithfully to the Gospel in a "wicked
> and
> perverse generation." Calling their YEC beliefs "crap" won't move
> them
> any
> closer to a more balanced view of faith/science issues, nor will it
> serve
> the many other purposes we *do* hold in common with them. It will
> only
> cause division. This isn't a reaction of fear, it's a response of
> wisdom.
> (We could say the same about lots of other divisive questions --
> say, the
> nature of the "end times," the continuance of so-called "sign" gifts,
> infant
> baptism, conservative politics, etc.)
> OTOH, there are places where clear and direct language probably is
> a good
> thing. I think Roger is right that the evangelical academic
> community,
> including academic theologians at the seminaries who think about these
> things, should be bolder to speak with a bit more authority. That
> kind of
> authoritative voice helps as it filters down to the "everyday"
> community.

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Received on Sat Sep 9 13:44:59 2006

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