This is part of a series of posts I am doing about common attitudes one comes across on some progressive Christian, ex Christian, or spiritual abuse blogs – ones that I get very tired of seeing.
YEC – Young Earth Creationism
The YEC subject is one that comes up sometimes on progressive Christian, ex Christian, or spiritual abuse sites.
I find it strange that some bloggers, the ones who are still Christian, are very concerned with Christian youth leaving the faith over doubts pertaining to evolution, old age of the earth v. young earth, and so forth, and yet, they feel the way to counter this situation is to go out of their way to lambast YEC views, or people who defend the YEC position, such as Ken Ham (link to Answers in Genesis site, where Ham is a contributor).
If you wish to critique YEC beliefs on your forum, group, or blog, that is fine with me.
It’s not the criticism of YEC ideas that disturbs me. It is the manner in which it is done, but most of all, that those who hold the view – the people themselves – are often trampled under foot, unproven accusations are made against them or their motives and character, or negative things are assumed, of their mindset. They are impugned at every opportunity, and it’s unmerited.
Sometimes the bloggers, and/or their members who reject YEC will make condescending, insulting comments referring to people who believe in Young Earth Creationism as being “anti science.”
This would be like a YEC advocate insisting that all TEs (theistic evolutionists) and OEAs (Old Earth Agers) are “Anti Bible,” “Anti Christianity” or “Anti Jesus.”
I’m guessing if a YEC such as Ken Ham were to refer to OEAs as being “Anti Bible” or “Anti Jesus” in one of his speeches, blog posts, or books, for not agreeing with YEC or for being TE/OAE, this would merit him a long, sternly-written blog post, or one filled with ridicule, by some of the YEC-bashers.
Here I am, thinking about leaving the Christian faith myself (for many reasons I shall not go over here), but my views are still in line with orthodox views about things about the faith, including a literal understanding and interpretation of the biblical creation account in Genesis – that each day mentioned is a literal, 24 hour day, not that each day is somehow really millions of years.
Understand that I am not interested in defending YEC or getting into scientific debates.
I have never felt that a person has to believe that the earth is 6,000 years old to “be saved.” Near as I can tell, a person placing saving faith in Jesus Christ (and Christ gets all the credit for salvation; not the person for making the choice or the choice itself), gets a person saved. Your salvation does not depend on your attitude of how old the earth is.
I’ve had Christian friends who were theistic evolutionists, and while I did not share their views, I was not interested in converting them to YEC.
I had one long distance Christian friend who believed the earth was millions of years old, and he repeatedly tried to get me to debate the topic with him (this was about 12, 13 or more years ago), despite the fact I told him over and over I had no interest in debating it, and that he was welcome to believe how ever he wanted.
As far back as the late 1990s, I have seen online posts and articles discussing how Christians who adhere to a literal six day creation account have been harassed over it, lost jobs, or instructors have marked down college student papers grade-wise over it.
The regular discrimination, in secular life, and even among Christians, against people who believe the world was created in six days got to the point where Ben Stein made a movie documenting some of the discrimination against YECs and IDs (Intelligent Design proponents) in the film Expelled. You can learn more about that movie at these sites:
The TV and movie personality takes on Darwinism and evolution in a new documentary about Intelligent Design—and academic freedom.
Again, I am not interested in debating how old the earth is.
My concern is that people who believe in YEC, or who do not agree with old earth age or macro evolution, are being harassed, sometimes fired from jobs, over simply holding one or more of those views – and that is not right or defensible.
Yet, I am supposed to believe that it is the YECs who are harassing non-YECs, that the YECs are the intolerant bigots? I don’t think so.
The situation is quite the opposite: YECs (and/or IDs) are being mocked, insulted, flamed online, and being fired from jobs over this – more so than any token example you can toss at me of a Christian college who reprimands or fires a pro evolutionist instructor for being pro evolutionist. I’d say that YECs, and those who believe in ID (Intelligent Design) get hit with more discrimination far more often than non-YECs.
We’ve almost arrived at a position now that if one questions an old earth age or theistic evolution, some Christians will assume one is not a real Christian – not a real, scientifically astute, or educated Christian. Really, times have changed.
I see a bit of pressure on some sites that to be a believer in Jesus, it means one would naturally see that one cannot possibly believe in a literal, six day creation – this view is implied. You won’t be told that “The Gospel = believe in a zillion year old earth,” but it’s there. Only an idiot who believes in a literal interpretation could possibly believe otherwise – is another assumption.
In light of the changing times, and that YECs face more discrimination than non-YECs ever will or do, I find it highly suspect and ridiculous when such blogs go on and on to depict Young Earth Creationists as being a bunch of heartless, mustache-twirling, legalistic villains, who browbeat poor, beleaguered, spiritually confused 20 year old college students.
My point of this post is to bring to light the double standards on this issue, how some YECs are mistreated on blogs, and all the more ironic, on blogs that expose abusive preachers, and the like.
Why is it considered wrong by some for preachers to abuse church members but at the same time, they feel, perfectly acceptable for Christians with forums, sites, Facebook groups or blogs, to be abusive, rude, dismissive, or harsh towards YECs?
In all my years of reading Christian apologetic literature, sometimes which included age of the earth debates (though I am by no means an expert on any of this), did I ever see a YEC (including Ken Ham) argue that if one rejects YEC that one is a Non Christian.
I’ve not yet seen a single YEC equate YEC to the Gospel.
I am not saying one cannot find one or two YEC flakes online who have made the claim on some obscure backwater forum, but I’ve not seen it from Ken Ham or most of the content I have seen from well known sources in the debates.
Most YECs would not agree with the premise that
- The Gospel = 1. believe in Jesus 2. believe that the earth is 6,000 years old.
However, YECs are often portrayed as teaching or believing that very thing.
If you wish to question YEC views, that is really swell – but to erect strawmans like that is not honest.
Ken Ham does not say he is humanity’s savior and that you must worship him to be saved, so far as I am aware.
Nor have I ever seen Ham state that a person must be YEC to receive salvation.
What I have seen from Ham, and similar YECs, is an argument that if a person does not take Genesis, and other portions of the Bible that mention the creation, at face value – which would lead one to accept the days mentioned as being 24 hour periods, not as long stretches of time – why should someone reading the Resurrection accounts take those at face value?
Why not assume that aspects of the Jesus story are allegorical?
Couldn’t a refusal to take the Creation Story in a literal manner cause some people to become confused about the rest of the Bible, and assume all the rest of it is nothing but allegory or an exaggeration in areas?
I think that those concerns are totally valid. I can see how a person, if choosing to reject a literal understanding of portions of Genesis, may then go on to question everything else in the Bible, including the Resurrection of Christ.
That is a fair point to make; it is not insisting that a person has to accept YEC to “be saved.” It is not equating YEC to The Gospel itself. And I find it very dishonest for anyone to keep portraying it as though it is the same thing.
See, I think it’s views such as this one which cause people to doubt the Bible and the faith, not YEC:
- September 2, 2014. by Leonard Blair.
- Award-winning Christian musician Michael Gungor of the musical collective Gungor, who recently rattled the Christian world when he argued that the Bible should not be read literally, took his arguments a little further last month when he said Jesus could have been wrong about the creation story, or might have lied about it to fit in with popular culture.
- …. Gungor argued, however, that it is possible that even Jesus, limited by His human form, could have been wrong about the creation story.
- [Gungor said], “And even if He [Jesus Christ] was wrong, even if He did believe that Noah was a historical person, or Adam was a historical person, and ended up being wrong, I don’t understand how that even would deny the divinity of Christ. The whole idea of the divinity of Christ being fully human and fully God, that God lowered Himself to become a human being with a human brain, in a human culture with human language and human needs and human limitations,” he explained.
Paul said in the New Testament that if Christ was not raised from the dead – and he seems to have meant literally raised – then your faith is in vain.
So, point out the supposed flaws in YEC all day long on your groups, blogs, and forums if you feel so compelled, but please remember a few things.
-1. YECs (and IDs) are attacked, flamed, and ridiculed regularly in secular and Christian environments. To depict all Non YECs as being victims all or most of the time (and, at that, supposedly at the hands of pro-YECs) is not honest or accurate.
-2. YECs are not “anti science” or uneducated hicks, any more than Non-YECs are necessarily “Anti Gospel,” “Anti Bible” or “Anti Jesus.”
-3a. Unless you have very specific quotes from well known YEC advocates stating unequivocally that one must be YEC to be saved, I would definitely cut back on the “YECs have made YEC into a Gospel level subject” claim.
And it would have to be on a regular basis.
You might be able to point to one YEC crackpot from a tract that is 25 years old who makes the claim, for all I know – but every YEC person I’ve seen thus far, and out of the YEC literature I’ve ever read in about 15 or 20 years, I have so far not seen the “YEC is the Gospel” equivocation made.
If the majority of YECs, from the lay persons to the prominent representatives of the view, were saying one must be YEC to be saved in every, or most, sermons, blogs, or books, your complaint would have some merit. Otherwise, no.
I have never seen “YEC = Gospel” perspective being regularly promoted by YECs themselves.
Even if it were so, that does not disprove the idea itself (that the earth was created in six, literal days).
– 3b. Be assured that even should you be able to find such an explicit quote from a YEC leader, the majority of YECs would not agree that YEC = Gospel, or Gospel = YEC.
You’d be correct to call out the one kook on this topic, but to paint all YECs with that broad brush would not be fair or honest.
-4. Remember that some of your readers are hurting, doubting the faith, have been hurt by churches and Christians, and may leave the Christian faith AND some of them are conservative and still agree with YEC, or are not hostile to YEC.
Please don’t be so insistent on treating the disaffected 20 year old, liberal-ish, YEC-doubting college kids (or former home schooled ones) as delicate flowers, that you are, in the process, stomping on, ridiculing, or alienating those who believe in YEC, or who are not wholly on board with OAE or TE.
You may be helping the agnostic kids from Christian homes, who are doubting the faith over science and evolution, but you are also, by supporting them doggedly by ripping on YEC or YEC advocates, helping to drive away other disaffected folks away from the faith who don’t meet your primary demographic of concern.
I’m not talking about reserved, fair, level headed criticism of YEC views, which I could live with – but the repeated depiction of YEC proponents themselves as being backwards hillbillies or as cruel, heartless legalists who are supposedly scaring kids away from the faith.
There is also an attitude on the YEC-critical blogs and forums that science has spoken once for all on these matters, or that the science is settled, period.
Some OAEs and TEs can be very dogmatic themselves at times, but they correct YECs for supposedly being dogmatic.
Given how many frauds and mistakes the scientific community has made in centuries past, I’d not be so prideful as to assume my position is air-tight forever and all time (see some of the links at the bottom of this post for some examples and links about similar topics).
I would not put all my trust in science or assume scientists X hundreds years from now will feel the same way about the age of the earth, or much of anything else.
Just remember not all who struggle with the faith, or problems in life, who are reading your material, are 20 year old, agnostic, evolution-loving kids.
You have people reading your site, group, or blog who are middle aged conservatives with conservative values, who are debating in themselves whether Christianity is true or not, and soul searching if they should remain Christians or not, and they are not all sold on macro evolution, or a zillion year old earth.
Perhaps bear that in mind when writing future posts about YEC or other topics that get similar treatment, such as homosexuality and homosexual marriage and tread more carefully.
You can of course write whatever you want on your blog or forum, but if you claim to care about all who have been wounded by abusive churches or Christian lay persons, I would hope you would give some equal weight to folks who don’t share all your views on every subject.
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Edit. Additional material, on other people’s sites: