365 days of heresy: God of Evolution turns 1

Happy birthday to us. (Man, that is a cute chimp.)

Well, we made it a year.

365 days ago, I sallied forth to start a blog that would add a voice to the decades-long fight over creationism and evolution that was unique, consistent and just a bit cheeky.

My goal was to show that the extremists (from both the young-earth and new atheism camps) who say mainstream science and biblical Christianity cannot coexist are dead wrong.

But I also wanted to create a community, in which Christians who accept evolution — who, in the evangelical world, often feel like and sometimes are the only people in their churches who think the way they do — could feel supported, encouraged and maybe have a laugh or two.

I was a little impulsive, I admit. I’ve made mistakes over the past year. But in spite of all that, the support that you’ve offered has been nothing short of amazing.

So, check this out:

Site Stats ‹ God of Evolution — WordPress

That’s the all-time hit counter for God of Evolution from our WordPress server, as calculated this morning. Which means, in just a little over a year on the ol’ Interwebs, we’ve managed to garner close to a quarter of a million views. Sure, that’s not much in the grand scheme of things, and there is no shortage of blogs (which confront such weighty topics as things overheard on the subway or funny pictures of kitties) that could claim far more.

But, for a part-time blog about a niche (and decidedly minority) view, that’s not too shabby for a first year. Add to that a combined following of close to 2,000 people through our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blog subscriptions, and I think it’s safe to say GOE’s first was a very, very good year.

The site has also begun, in recent months, to garner the notice of other, more established media outlets. Just this year, GOE and I have been featured in The BioLogos Forum, The Dish, Religion News Service, the Daily Kos, Charisma News, Science Recorder, numerous blogs and a number of newspapers, including The Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Not to mention Portland Monthly, the news and general interest magazine in my own home city, which has featured us not once, but twice. The latest is the naming of GOE as No. 53 of the “100 Reasons to Love Portland”:

Portland Monthly feature

Of course, we’ve attracted some less-than-positive attention as well. My work here has gotten me labeled a “heretic,” “moral relativist,” “false teacher,” “servant of Satan,” “misguided Christian,” “compromising Christian,” “coward,” “secular high priest,” and even, “goat.” Of course, my personal favorite, so far, has been “a lost reprobate with no hope.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m sort of asking for it. I started GOE with the tagline “Theology with Attitude,” and I think I’ve been pretty true to that promise, often provoking the ire of the young-earth creationists who seem to be the primary philosophical opponents of this site, but also, occasionally, offending even those who agree with me that there need be no conflict between Christianity and evolution.

I’ve taken such input to heart and, the past couple months, I’ve made a concerted effort to dial down the biting-bordering-on-caustic tone that some felt was coming to characterize my earlier posts — without sacrificing the humor and gentle sarcasm that is our trademark here. With a solemn, heavy heart, I renounced my habit of applying silly nicknames to our Christian brothers Ken Ham and Ray Comfort (after realizing that their ideas, for the most part, are silly enough as to make any nicknames superfluous).

I still agree with the poet T.S. Eliot that “Humor is also a way of saying something serious,” but I’ve come to believe that mockery for mockery’s sake simply isn’t helpful to our cause.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and a big question. First, I want to thank you all for your support of this project. This year has far surpassed my wildest expectations, and having never spent a dime on advertising, I know I have nothing but you and your shares and word-of-mouth support to thank for it. So, thank you.

And the big question, and I’d like to hear from as many people as possible: What would you like to see, or see more of, from GOE in year two?

I am so looking forward to continuing this journey with all of you, and I can’t wait to see what our great God has in store for us next.

Tyler Francke

  • Congratulations on a successful year.

  • Larry Bunce

    Thank you for starting this blog, and continued success in the coming years. I believe that we need more people to stand up for a middle ground from a conviction that the middle ground is correct, rather than to adopt the middle ground as a compromise or from an inability to decide. That position does leave one open to attacks from both extremes, but in the long run the middle ground has always prevailed.
    I have been thinking that GOE seemed to spend more energy attacking creationism than on building a case for theistic evolution, but I see you addressed that issue in your comments today.
    Congratulations on your first year!

    • Thanks, Larry! I still see a role for us in responding to young-earth creationists like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort. They present themselves to the public as emissaries of Christianity, and yet they preach an unbiblical gospel that says one must accept their unscientific ideas in order to be faithful to Christ and scripture. I see no value for the kingdom of God in letting such harmful, toxic nonsense go unaddressed. But we will still strive to treat them with respect, despite our deep disagreements with the work they do and the ways in which they do it.

      • ashleyhr

        When you look at it, in essence the YEC tactic is to say things loudly boldly and repeatedly. Not to present a case so much as to proclaim that everybody else is unbiblical and thus wrong.

        • Pretty much. They are less about building something as they are about tearing everyone else down, whether they be “compromising Christians” or “atheists” (which are apparently the only two options outside of YECism, as far as they’re concerned).

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I really like the 5 or 6 main models idea in order to contrast it with the 2 models idea that both extremes use. See Denis L. the 5 or Gerald Rau for 6. These latter present a spectrum of options instead of just the mortal combat model of atheistic evolution versus YEC.

  • sammy4231

    I just found your site while looking for a pic of a Discovery Institute book. You have a catchy title, and a great message. Have another excellent year. 😀

    • Thanks, Sammy! I appreciate it, and hope you found what you were looking for!

  • Preston Garrison

    Congratulations on your first year. One comment on format. On the individual posts, it seems that the date they were posted isn’t to be found (although it is on the front page.) It would be nice for the date to be present in case someone links directly to an individual post.

    • Hey, thanks Preston! Good suggestion. I’ll see what I can do!

  • Jordan Peiffer

    Happy Anniverary, GoE! I’m glad to hear you’ve had such success, as I’ve very much enjoyed this blog myself. I also look forward to the future of this blog, and frankly I’m also glad to hear you’ve made a point to downplay the attitude. 😉 I think it will help you have more success in reaching out to the anti-evolution evangelical community.

    As for what I’d like to see more of, I’d love to see more articles arguing against the atheistic standpoint of “faith and science don’t mix”, as I think you’ve pretty thoroughly argued against Young-Earth Creationism. Other than that, I suppose you might consider taking a look at what I personally think is the very heart, scripturally speaking, of the issue here, for evangelicals: The geneaologies. The Bible has a clear geneaological link between Adam and Noah, including a run of years, and then again between Noah and Abraham. I can sympathize with the difficulty many have in seeing those as anything other than literal history. If we believe the Bible is authoritative, then what else can they be? And really, if it weren’t for them, I doubt that evangelicals would have nearly as much of a problem with evolution. But, there they are. God evidently considers them important.

    Although, that one’s quite a toughie. But I really liked what BioLogos had to say about it.

    • Hey Jordan! Thanks so much for the comment and the suggestions. I do plan to discuss the genealogies at some point (though I agree, Jim Stump and BioLogos had a very good take on it). I’m also working on a post addressing every mention of Adam in the Bible. All I need is time 🙂

      • Jordan Peiffer

        Sure, Tyler! Hey, glad to hear it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on that part of Scripture, and the mentions of Adam, too. 🙂

  • llevvi

    Congratulations man! Your blog played an important roll in my life helping understand better how Science and Bible should be faced. I am probably the unique christian in my social circles who believe there is no conflict between Evolution and Bible, but I don’t care much about this since I have realized it really doesn’t matter when we talk about christian daily life; However when someone tries to say that there is that conflict I know how to take a stand.
    I still want to translate your posts to Portuguese, and now more than ever I understand how big and important are the contents you’ve written here, but let’s talk about it later.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us during this time!

    • Hey Leandro! Thanks so much for your comment and for your support of the site. I, too, still want to share this site with Portuguese audiences. I’m so sorry I’ve been so busy over the past couple months with my book and new job (and now, baby!!). But, yes, let’s talk about it later, please! Thanks again!

  • HC

    Congratulations! Let me just say I love your blog and I’ve been following it since I found it.
    Also, I’m glad you’ve changed the tone a little. Personally, I’ve never been in any communities that evolution has been a big issue for, but I understand why you might be frustrated with YEC. 😉 However, I’m glad that you’ve managed to tone down your “bitter-bordering-on-caustic” tone. Your blog has only improved as it went on!
    Your responding to almost every comment in a thoughtful way has also drawn me to your blog. It also encouraged to occasionally post a comment even though I rarely post anonymous comments anywhere on the internet.
    Because of your common sense, wonderful humor and friendly tone, this blog has been one of few I still follow. A year or so ago I started researching evolution after my mom gave me “The Language of God” and I had a YEC biology book.I found your blog then and I still follow your blog and the Biologos Blog. I appreciate both, though in a very different way. 🙂
    This is just my “thank you” for many blog posts that I have greatly enjoyed!

    • Wow, thanks, HC! I can’t tell you how much that all means to me. I’m so glad this blog has been an encouragement to you, and I really appreciate you being part of it!

  • Paul Bruggink

    Belated congratulations on surviving your first year. I suspect that one of the reasons you have been successful is that, unlike many bloggers, you actually respond to a majority of the comments. Good for you.

    Re “What would you like to see, or see more of, from GOE in year two?,” it would be helpful to me to have a better idea of how to respond to YEC arguments, like “You’re putting science ahead of the Bible,” or “Christianity requires a literal Adam and a literal Fall.”

    • Hey Paul! Yes, responding to the comments has always been important to me, because I appreciate it when other bloggers have actually engaged with me on their sites (and I’ve been a little disappointed when they haven’t). I also always really wanted to build a community through this site, and community doesn’t tend to grow out of one-sided conversations!

      Your idea is a brilliant one. I think it should be a series. I’ve already started jotting down a list of potential posts, along with the two you mention here. Any other suggestions?

      • Paul Bruggink

        I’ll be looking forward to the series. As for additional suggestions, what about how to best deal with comments like the following that have been personally directed to me in various internet discussions with YECs amd OECs:

        “No amount of reinterpretation of genesis can reconcile the Bible with Scientific knowledge.”

        “What it comes down to is if we cannot trust Genesis chapter 1 as it is plainly written then we have no logical reason to trust John chapter 1 either.”

        “If the universe is billions of years old, if the earth is billions or millions of years old, then the Bible is not true and Christianity is false and there is no gospel.”

        “It is not “Science” that disagrees with the Bible, it is Science based on naturalism and uniformitarianism that disagree with the Bible ”

        “The Bible clearly teaches there was no animal death, no suffering at all until after Adam & Eve sinned that is not compatible with billions or millions of years of animal death and disease.”

        “It is clear that there was no death of any animals or people before sin. It’s clear that both animals and people ate fruits and veggies in the beginning before sin. Plants are not alive like animals and people, they were for food, plant death is not actual death, plants are not living creatures.”

        “We were not given permission to eat animals until after the flood of Noah, animals were not even scared of us until then either.”

        “Because Jesus is the last Adam, he is the only one who could and only one that did fix what the 1st Adam messed up.”

        “Either the earth is young and the bible is true or the earth is old and the bible is false.”

        “The six *days* (not day-ages) of creation are cited in exodus in the establishing of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:17).”

        “If you accept the authority of Scripture and the authorship of God, how can you be leaning against a historical interpretation of Adam? Jesus alludes to Adam and Eve and the Genesis creation account at Matthew 19:4-6. Was Jesus mistaken?”

        “I do NOT believe in evolution between species, as there are MASSIVE problems with it scientifically and this is NOT supported by the fossil record.”

        “I am happy to take a gratuitous swipe at theistic evolution, which I regard as a calamitous capitulation to secular humanism. . . .But there is no form of theistic evolution in which God’s Word is not being subjected to a higher secular authority. That is the calamity, in
        my view.”

        “Similarity implies common designer, not common descent.”

        • Thanks, Paul! Sounds like you and I are talking to a lot of the same people 😉 We have responded to a lot of these before, like the vegetarianism thing, Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, and “common design.” But I still think the series is a really good idea. Refreshers are always nice! Thanks!

  • Congratulations, Tyler. I’ve enjoyed our conversations – were every believer like you, we wouldn’t have a problem. Sure, I’ve stated plainly what I think of your beliefs, but while I consider the basis of them to be completely without foundation, I consider your motivations to be honest and empathetic.

    Why call Ham or Comfort brothers? They are frauds and liars, dishonest to the core and driven by fear and greed. To denote them as brothers diminishes your own standing. An atheist behaving as they do would earn my ire as much as those two charlatans do.

    If there is a brotherhood (siblinghood?), let it be with those who agree on the testable parts of our reality. The rest, the untestable, is mere opinion.

    • Thanks, Colin. I have greatly enjoyed our conversations and dialogue as well. I certainly have no plans or desires to change in my criticism of folks like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, wherever I believe such criticism is necessary and justified. My opinion that their work in attempting to “combat” evolution is not only unhelpful, but antithetical, to the Christian faith, has not changed in the slightest.

  • Happy 2 years man; I have kept this caustic tone for years and the Old Earth Ministries are picking up on your rowdy aspects — which is why I think it’s funny because I was doing this for years. YEC biology book? That an oxymoron as sometimes they do carry themselves as a bit cross-eyed but when they saw my photo I did in 2007 they had a stupid-eyed look to them.

    • BrianKeene

      You need decades of therapy.

    • Uncle Ablert

      I had been done Morris when they seen what was I had Keene who had been plagiarisers SanGiovanni small town Chicago heavy metal assholes stifling tabloid purposes Joiliet gyros poe museum I had been known in gothic circles Brian Keene Ray Garton I was sizing up Burke’s package but im not gay unicorns took on lulu createspace i been had done when storms of armageddon was making waves with a hair curler withersin tales of the talisman house of spiders part 16 brian keene my ssn blahhhhaaaahh wherz my medication the wallzs are melting…

      • You’ve been reported would you kindly refrain from chasing around from blog comment to blog comment. I find it creepy.