Creationism, Coming to Life in Suburbia

John E. Rylander (
Tue, 5 Oct 1999 10:27:06 -0500

There's a front-page article in the Washington Post today about YECs/YECSs.

It's more of a commendably charitable observation than an analysis, and I've
no idea why it's front page, but I thought I'd post the URL and an excerpt

The very sad thing I note is that they don't even go into the many different
versions of creationism -- e.g., evolutionary, theistic ID, progressive,
etc. Also, superficially anyway it appears that instead of "evangelical",
they mean "fundamentalist"; YEC is characteristic not of evangelical
believers, but fundamentalists.

These are very misleading conflations that both YECs and atheists like --
both have a strong interest in identifying YEC with Christianity. As
neither, and as one interested in precise language (especially on such an
important issue), I find it unfortunate.


Creationism, Coming to Life in Suburbia

Creationists cry foul over their image, saying they are largely upwardly
mobile and educated.



Evangelicals today are an almost exact cross section of America: 42 percent
live in suburbs, and more than a third are college-educated and earn more
than $50,000 a year.

Life in upscale suburbia hasn't eroded their faith, as many sociologists
predicted it would. Instead, it's produced a kind of culture shock, often
hardening their beliefs. These days, religious epiphanies are sparked by
what was supposed to cure them: too much "progress" in schools, too many
malls and too much politics.

Joe Smith began his life split between science and God. Every day after
school, he and his brother rode their bikes to the local limestone quarry to
dig up fossils and look them up in their guidebooks. Joe knew what he read
in those books didn't agree with what he learned in Sunday school. But back
then it didn't much matter. His parents went to church, like most families,
but not more than most.

At 14, at a vacation Bible school, Smith accepted Jesus Christ as his
personal savior. But those were just words, evangelical jargon he didn't
really comprehend until after Vietnam. Soldiering had scraped up bad
habits -- drinking and smoking -- and when he returned to Kansas, Smith
suddenly found himself with an 11-month-old baby he'd seen only once, no
job, and a terror he wouldn't know where he fit in. "That's when I made a
choice," he recalled.

"Evolution is just somebody's nice theory and doesn't impact my life," he
said. "But if you become a Christian and believe in God's creation that
changes everything, everything in your daily life."

Believe that, Bonnie Smith explained, and it means that modern life is not a
pointless progression from school to work to a pile of ashes. It means
somebody loves you, watches over you, picks out a mission for you and for
the rest of his creatures. It means, simply, that you have a reason to get
out of bed every morning.

Like many neo-creationists, Joe Smith considers himself a scientist, and he
defends his position on what he sees as scientific grounds. Evolutionists
can't prove fossils are 4 million years old, he said, the way Copernicus and
Kepler proved the earth revolves around the sun. And carbon dating isn't
accurate, he argued.

Smith also has seen the photos of a dinosaur track in Texas with a human
footprint inside it -- proof, he believes, that dinosaurs and human beings
lived at the same time. He accepts that evolutionists can show mutations and
abnormalities within a species, but maintains they cannot prove that one
species mutates into another.

"You prove yours and we'll prove ours," he said. "In the end it comes down
to who do you trust. We know who wrote the Bible. Now compare him to whoever
wrote this or that scientific paper."