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Is it possible to be a Christian and treat people like this?

This does not look like ministry to me (photo by angeralert.com).

April 11, 2014

“You are not only a coward but a non-believer as well.”

It may not quite be at the level of a vibranium shield, but my skin is a lot thicker than it used to be. When you start a blog that promotes something as insanely unorthodox as the idea that the author of Genesis 1-3 might have (like most other biblical authors) made use of a metaphor here and there, you come to expect that some fundamentalists are going to call Father Merrin and start reaching for the holy water.

It’s unfortunate — and, often, perplexing — but you learn to get used to it.

Even so, there are times I receive emailed messages like the one quoted above, and it hits like a punch in the gut. I know I should just ignore such trollishness. Usually I can. But not always.

Now, it would be easy to paint this as an “us vs. them” thing, the “us” meaning those of us who think evolution is good science and the literal-ish reading of Genesis is bad hermeneutics, and the “them” being anyone who disagrees. But I don’t want to do that, mainly because it would be exceptionally counterproductive to the ultimate goal of making evolution a less contentious issue in the evangelical conversation, but also because it simply isn’t true. Read on

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  • Christian parents: Love your children, treasure them and, by all means, teach them what you believe. But don't brainwash.

    ‘Leaving Fundamentalism’ guest post: Take a lesson from the kids

    April 7, 2014

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    This post, written by Tyler Francke, was originally published by Jonny Scaramanga on his blog Leaving Fundamentalism, which is dedicated to examining the effects of fundamentalist culture, especially Accelerated Christian Education (ACE).

    The piece details my wife’s experiences growing up at a small ACE school in Oregon.

    It’s not typical (though probably far more common in Accelerated Christian Education schools) that your principal is also your church pastor, but such was the case at the small private school in Oregon that my wife attended from preschool through twelfth grade.

    Based on her experience, I wouldn’t recommend it. Giving a single man (always a man at ACE schools, of course) such broad and absolute authority over impressionable children’s intellectual, spiritual and moral development just seems like an obviously bad idea.

    She could tell you horror stories. One of the pastor/principal’s favorite exercises on Wednesday morning chapel services was to call the students up on stage and “separate the sheep from the goats.”

    In the original parable that inspired this grim practice, Jesus spoke about how he would judge the nations at his second coming, separating those who lived righteously and gave to the needy from those who were wicked and ignored the poor and suffering. Read on

  • What we have long dreaded has now come to pass.

    Worldwide evolution conspiracy: The young-earth creationists were right all along

    April 1, 2014

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    Today is a dark day for God of Evolution. For almost a year now, we have been dedicated to the ideal that Christianity can be compatible with the theory of evolution. In that endeavor, we have often had to confront the spectre of young-earth creationism that seems to have American evangelicalism so thoroughly within its grasp, and in so doing, we have often encountered a deep distrust of the scientific community that borders on a conspiracy theory.

    This makes sense, because, logically, the only way one can reconcile two seemingly conflicting precepts (1. The oft-repeated claim that there is no evidence for evolution; that, actually, all the evidence points to creationism, and 2. The fact that evolution is, nevertheless, overwhelmingly embraced by virtually every single scientist employed or trained in a relevant field of inquiry) is by positing a vast, anti-God conspiracy.

    A related claim is that Charles Darwin, who (working concurrently but independently with another scientist, Alfred Russel Wallace) first proposed the idea of evolution by natural selection, conceived of his theory entirely as a means by which faith in God could be undermined.

    We have always scoffed at such conspiracy theories in the past.
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  • Ken Ham and Russell Crowe's Noah may have more in common than you thought. (Photo by Paramount Pictures.)

    The ‘prophet complex’: Does Ken Ham have more in common with Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ than he thinks?

    March 31, 2014

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    Editor’s note: The following is a guest review of Paramount Pictures’ “Noah,” a film adaptation of the flood account in Genesis that has garnered all sorts of attention from the evangelical community and the public at large (much of it negative, at least in the case of the former). I asked our reviewer, Warren Collier, to specifically take into account and respond to the — in my opinion — rather over-the-top criticism leveled at the new movie by Ken Ham. Fair warning: This review contains spoilers.

    I think the release of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” comes at a serendipitous time. Recently, there’s been an influx of Christian-ish movies such as “Son of God,” “Heaven is for Real,” and “God’s Not Dead”. Also, Bill Nye’s recent debate with Ken Ham hurled young-earth creationism — and their belief in a historical flood — into the public eye for a brief time. So it comes as no shock to me that both secular and religious circles are all abuzz about this movie.

    When I first heard about “Noah,” I assumed that YEC spokespeople like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort would be, at least, a little excited. For those who believe Noah’s flood really happened, why wouldn’t you want to see a modern day retelling of “history” in full Hollywood cinematic glory? So imagine my surprise when I learned that Ken Ham has blasted Aronofsky’s film as “anti-biblical.” I had plans to watch the film anyway, but knowing the movie got Ham more fried than overcooked bacon really got me interested. Read on