RE: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth

From: James Patterson <>
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 23:51:39 EDT

John: Your bias with regard to anything RTB or Hugh Ross says is well
known.if there is any arrogance anywhere, it is yours. I have never seen or
heard arrogance from Hugh Ross, and don't believe you have either. Do you
think your personal attacks are helpful? See point 2 below.


As to this thread:

1. Ken Ham is being true to form.

2. I agree with previous authors that the division amongst camps and
the general origins debate may help accelerate the exodus. However, I think
it's clear that youth see division and lack of unity and use that as yet
another reason to leave. There are many other reasons, however. They all
sense the moral law written on their hearts, and sense that atheism is
wrong. They all sense that the politics of religion, and the division of the
origins debate are wrong, and get even more confused. Then the world
provides the impetus to be diverted into any number of other possible
answers that lack the fulfillment of Christ.and off they go. The most
critical juncture is college. Easily convinced of whatever, and free to
follow, and chagrined by the conflict in the church.

3. I see this every day in my work as in emergency psychiatry. It's
been happening more and more since the 60s..and it's accelerating. We've had
three generations now. See this PPT:

The breakdown in the values of our society are overwhelming.




From: [] On
Behalf Of John Walley
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 7:23 PM
To: Schwarzwald;
Subject: Re: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth


Incredibly, YEC's are not the only ones to fall to the tempation of this
prideful self-delusion. When Dr. Ross visited FL a few years ago, he was
interviewed by a local paper and made the comparison with Paul's statement
that if the resurrection wasn't true then the gospel wasn't true, by saying
that if the RTB Testable Creation Model wasn't true then the gospel wasn't


I couldn't believe the arrogance of that and we took them to task on it on
the apologists list but the response given was that he really didn't say
that although that is exactly what the article printed him having said.





From: Schwarzwald <>
Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2009 11:46:57 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth

Heya Dave,

I've seen that claim from some YECs (If a YEC interpretation of Genesis is
wrong, then the whole bible is wrong!), and I consider it not only
incorrect, but tremendously harmful. I also happen to think that addressing
that view is the single most important goal in the entire inter-Christian
origins debate. In other words: Whether or not an individual or congregation
is YEC should be a secondary concern to their accepting that YEC simply is
not the only rational and valid option. I've also encountered some who think
that if humans are "just apes" then someone God doesn't exist, or doesn't
love us, etc. That view is a strange one, and yet another that deserves a
thoughtful response.

Either way, I'm simply trying to point out that the reason for circling the
wagons around a YEC position strikes me as multifaceted, and does not reduce
to a single naive theological viewpoint. There really seems to be a greater
fear of what accepting "evolution" inevitably leads to spiritually and
intellectually - and that on a certain level, it's hard to fault them for
making that association. My worry is that there's a tendency among many non-
and ex-YECs to react to YECism by simply pounding on "You're wrong, wrong,
wrong! about science!" when there are other dimensions to the issue, and the
science (While in my view correct, or at least closer to the truth) isn't or
shouldn't be the main focus besides. As you've noted, they think that if
evolution is true, then that implies something necessarily degrading about
humanity - that should be argued against. They think that if evolution is
true, then a panoply of negative views are either justified or necessitated
- that should be argued against.

I'd also agree with Richard Blinne that "de-politicizing" faith is
important. Though I'd also stress that "de-politicizing" (not that he
implied otherwise) does not simply mean "moving left", but disentangling the
Church from partisan politics. I'd also add that there are many cases where
I agree with the "religious right" on a specific issue, but strongly
disagree with their approach or even rationale on such issues. But questions
of politics and approach is a larger, thornier question on the whole anyway.

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 9:03 AM, Dave Wallace <>

Schwarzwald wrote:

And take a look at the survey Ted linked to here. Notice that the concern
isn't just that accepting an old earth (and I would assume evolution by
extension) leads to young Christians leaving the church, but just what their
social lives and outlooks on the world become as well. So I think it's a big
mistake to think YECs and people like Ham are totally motivated by a simple
theological difference of opinion. The perceived spiritual repercussions and
effects of accepting evolution - even if the link is a contingent rather
than a necessary one - is also a motivating factor, and not so simple to
write off.


It seems to me that part of the motivation is typical YECs belief that if
any part of the Bible is not literally true then the whole reliability of
scripture unravels. I read Francis Schaeffers "Genisus in Space and Time"
quite a few years ago. Although Schaeffer took the view of scripture above
he still found room for an old earth and a number of other options, as best
I recall.
Another issue for many YECs is that they have a horror of being descended
from what they see as a banana eating jungle monkeys.

In the survey it referenced conservative evangelical churches. I wonder how
many of them were actually fundamentalists who years ago often rejected the
label of evangelical. My experience was that such churches often
absolutized what imo was clearly relative, frequently limited the
application of Christianity to church meetings and Sunday and pretended to a
perfection they did not live up to and were highly anti intellectual. After
university my wife and I came close to packing it in with Christianity as
what I describe above was frequently what we had been exposed to. I found
Schaeffer's critique of fundies very much too the point and reading his (and
his associates) books and visiting L'abri was the start of turning things
around. IVCF and their books was also a huge help both in high school and
university. In 1966 a year or so after finishing my masters in applied
math we moved to New Jersey where I was employed by RCA. We bought a
distressed house in a new subdivision next to a negro family. We ended up
attending a liberal church as most of the more conservative churches
enthusiastically supported missionaries to the African benighted, but had NO
negros in the congregation and I could not stomach such organizations. Many
similar churches exist today and I expect their young people have left at a
very young age, even though they are forced to attend church till they leave
Although my father was not YEC, the church's we attended were. Thankfully as
part of a survival strategy, I had learned to keep some of my thoughts and
beliefs to my self when I attended "Christian" boarding schools
(kindergarten thro grade 11) so I just ignored the YEC part of their
propaganda. At boarding school we were frequently forced to attend what in
essence was a Sunday school held in the afternoon. I found that experience
highly destructive as we were patronized, talked down to, fed pabulum and on
and on. It does not surprise me that those who attended many Sunday
schools are the first to leave as I expect they have already mentally and
emotionally left by the end of elementary school. Fortunately, at least in
Africa we were taken to a service Not run by people from the boarding school
where the preaching was much better as the minister as it happened to be
was a seminary trained Presbyterian. We also attended Sunday school there
which was not destructive.
Thus overall I think that an old earth view while it may be the proximate
cause of someone leaving is often only the straw that breaks the camel's


Being picayune over that is what is turning people from Christianity - not
any one particular idea about origins. This is what Chuck Swindoll calls
"peanut butter Christians" in his book The Grace Awakening.

As I don't read Swindoll I have no idea what he means by "peanut butter
Christians". I admit my lack of enthusiasm for Swindoll could well be a
cultural reaction and others might find him helpful. I much prefer writers
like Martin Lloyd Jones, CS Lewis, Carl Henry, Packer, Stott or Francis
Dave W



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Received on Thu Aug 6 23:52:45 2009

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