Re: [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Sun Oct 26 2008 - 09:55:22 EDT

Don't you think that there is also a fortress mentality in play here for
many, ...a defending of the faith? For so many, the curiosity, doubt and
skepticism that serves us so well in growing and maturing in other
aspects of life has been framed in church life as a threatening to our
faith. In my experience, there are many who will not chance to read,
hear or consider anything which is at variance from whatever form or
orthodoxy they have adopted or grown up with, regarding it as a
temptation and therefore a threat. For them, it matter of good
stewardship and spiritual maturity to be able deflect such threats
without them leaving any marks. It registers as sad to me, but that is
my perspective and certainly not theirs. On the other hand, it suggests
that there is indeed a certain hazard involved when we pick away at an
important part of another's worldview, and we may want to do so (or
not!) carefully and respectfully. That does not mean we need to cede
anything, just be respectful.

On the other hand, there are situations where the choice of response
might be context sensitive, as is the case where something larger is at
stake like attempts to extend beliefs and practices into the school
system. But in these cases, the argument is generally before a third
party, a different proposition.

JimA [Friend of ASA]

Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> George said:
> “I see the YEC antiscience position as religious hubris and not unlike
> that found in the Pharisees.”
> As a former YEC, I strongly disagree. I think the first problem is
> that science is very deep, and the vast population is scientifically
> illiterate (for example, in chemistry, DNA, cosmology, etc.).
> Therefore, the plain and literal interpretation of Genesis seems quite
> reasonable to the masses. The only reason for not taking it literally,
> and the gospel attached to that interpretation, is because of modern
> science. Therefore, science is the key, and the mover that will move
> people away from YEC. Arguing Biblical interpretation will do nothing,
> because without the science, God could still have done it that way.
> What’s really important is the evidence from science saying it
> couldn’t have happened the YEC way.
> Could God have created Adam and Eve 6,000 years ago? Of course! That
> is, until you look at the scientific evidence, then it is “of course not!”
> Tell the YEC “I used to believe as you do, until I saw the scientific
> evidence.” Then they will say “Like what?” or “what about XYZ?” Now
> you have your learning moment all primed. Be patient. And when being
> accused of being a heretic, don’t react, but act (play Obama, not
> McCain, cool as a cucumber). Remind them of other Christians who came
> to the same conclusion as yourself- people they may recognize and
> honor- such as CS Lewis. Some fundamentalists think CS Lewis was a
> devil because of his theology, but I’m assuming your church isn’t that
> fundamentalist… very likely, few are that fundamentalist, and they
> self-destruct or implode when they get too big, I think.
> …Bernie
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* []
> *On Behalf Of *George Cooper
> *Sent:* Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:45 AM
> *To:* ASA
> *Subject:* [asa] Advice for conversing with YECs
> [This is a bit long, but time will not allow me another shot at this.]
> Many statements have been accurately given that epitomize the heart of
> the problem.
> Ian: On another occasion one YEC pastor told me "if I believed, as you do
> that the world is billions of years old, then I would leave the faith
> and become an atheist". It didn't give me much incentive to go on and
> try and persuade him the earth was billions of years old!
> Yep, notice there is no hint that their interpretation involves
> interpretation. They are quite comfortable taking the more exciting
> zealous warrior position of defending God’s Word (no matter what the
> evidence or alternate interpretation; "a day is a day is a day". To
> not accept a 24 hour day period will bring, quoting Ken Ham in his
> video, “the collapse of Christianity”. [Ham's statement was very
> annoying and it speaks very poorly of the leader of Christianity,
> Christ Himself.]
> I see the YEC antiscience position as religious hubris and not unlike
> that found in the Pharisees. This is not a condemnation on YEC
> individuals that I am making, however. My YEC friends and fellow
> church members are truly wonderful folks that, indeed, do wonderful
> things for others, and I take pleasure in working with them in any
> project. Wisely, we simply avoid this area of contention. [Guess to
> whom I can do my venting? :)]
> It also makes some sense that some of the more faithful (no sarcasm
> meant) could be more susceptible to adopting positions that are strong
> literal views. The most direct and simplistic reading of Genesis does
> favor their position, given that all scientific evidence be deemed
> unfit to allow any sway to this literal interpretation. Adding science
> to the mix is like adding oil to holy water.
> Ian said: I was accused of being "incompetent" at one point, for
> example. There are certain people on the list who seem to froth at the
> mouth at the sight of a YEC, and who think it's perfectly acceptable
> to indulge in ad hominem attacks.
> This is unfortunate and ad hominems can come from both camps as both
> are convinced the other is wrong and damaging to their belief.
> Murray said: My only suggestion is to find out what reasons the person
> concerned has - from their own perspective - for holding to a YEC
> position.
> Good advice. This makes you a listener who is showing respect for
> other's views. Respect begets respect. "...before honor comes
> humility." (Proverbs 15:33 NAS).
> Moorad said: We are inundated with people who profess the Christian
> faith and are doing all sorts of damage by bearing a false witness and
> so driving people away from the Lord. Those who take Genesis literally
> ought to be the least of our worries.
> As a science forum, it should not be the least of our worries, though
> you are right in keeping our focus on more spiritual aspects of our
> faith. Yet, anything that demonstrates the Bible should not be
> believed has enormous consequences if left unchecked. The Bible should
> be in accord with scientific “fact”, especially when science supports
> itself with many lines of evidence that brings these into an elegant
> confluence that is so powerful. When someone is seeking the Truth,
> Biblical concordance with science could make our witness so much more
> effective if these seekers are affected by scientific evidence. If
> this could be found in one or more literal interpretations, so much
> the better, though I admire TE views, too. [This is why I hope
> scientists will consider M-Genesis’ claims and tackle them in the
> “back room” to see if it has merit.]
> Mike said: If he is not interested in looking at any evidence, then
> you need to either agree to disagree or agree to look at the evidence.
> Perhaps you should gently inform him that you have looked at the
> evidence, and if there was good evidence for YEC, you, as a fellow
> Christian, would gladly embrace it.
> Nicely said.
> One bit of evidence that you may wish to point out is found in
> comparing two of the same Biblical genealogies. In Ezra 7 we find nine
> generations from Aaron to Amariah. Yet, in 1 Chronicles 6, there are
> fifteen generations; six more than in Ezra. This alone opens the door
> to the idea that many more generations may exist where we don’t have
> an account. Thus, the idea that “6000” years is cast in stone, now has
> a crack. They may suggest you are the one cracked, but you are at
> least arguing from scripture and you are being literal, too. That
> isn't suppose to happen.
> Dennis said: Alas, he has said that he does not want to read “anything
> from my side” of the debate because he already knows that it will be
> in conflict with Scripture.
> Yep, that’s it in a nutshell. Interpretation is no longer considered
> applicable. They have the pure version, and you don’t. At least you
> won’t be placed under house arrest, like Galileo was.
> Coope

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Received on Sun Oct 26 09:55:57 2008

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