God of Evolution on Bad Christian

The guys of the Bad Christian podcast.

Bad Christian, if you’ve never heard of it, is a very cool group comprised of two members of the band Emery, Matt Carter and Toby Morrell, and a pastor, Joey Svendsen.

They do a lot of stuff in the realms of faith, culture and music, including a weekly podcast, which they invited me to join them on last month. I love that they’re not afraid to take on and topics that are too often “off limits” on other religious programs (or that can be discussed only from the one, pre-approved perspective).

Just in the past few months, their guests have included an atheist college professor, Michael Gungor (he of the “drifting from biblical orthodoxy” fame), Jay Bakker, a gay Christian and his pastor and a former porn star.

Needless to say, I’ve been a fan of Bad Christian for some time, so I was thrilled when I heard from Toby that they were interested in having me on. I had never done a podcast before, so I was pretty nervous, but the guys were gracious and welcoming and promised not to try to make me look stupid if I extended them the same courtesy. We had a good time.

Though I, of course, felt like we could have gone much deeper with the topic if we had more time, it was a blast and a great group of guys to have the dialogue with.

For the record, I didn’t know until after the program aired this week that I’d be sharing the episode with a discussion of Brett Favre’s genitalia, but whatever. That’s Bad Christian. Please check it out, and let me know what you all think.

So far, the only response I’ve really seen was that the interview was great, only I was “too polite.”

I suppose the young-earthers who are always complaining in the comments about how vicious and bloodthirsty I am would beg to differ.

Update: Also, see this fair and even-handed write-up about my chat with Bad Christian by The Christian Post.

Tyler Francke is the founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached here.

  • Larry Bunce

    The Bad Christian website appears to be in the tradition of Billy Sunday and others of a century ago, that were known as ‘robust Christians.’ The idea was to refute the popular image of religion’s being for women and mild-mannered men. Billy Sunday had been a pro baseball player before he got religion and became an evangelist. He would make points by sliding into base across the stage, both providing entertainment and letting men in the audience know that one didn’t have to be a namby-pamby in order to be Chrisian.

    You held up well in the discussion, and didn’t seem to be nervous, as you said you were. That is a sign of a pro at speaking. Johnny Carson always seemed to have an easy command of his audience during his opening monologue on the Tonight Show, but one night when he had a heart surgeon as a guest, he was wearing a portable EKG during the monologue. When the doctor looked at the readings afterwards, Johnny’s heart rate had been 150 bpm.

    As for evolution of the eye, the stages between light- sensitive spots and complex human eyes are found in existing species. Each stage gives its possessor an advantage over being blind, and the more primitive form of eyes work well enough for the creatures that have them.

    Feathers evolved for warmth on dinosaurs before they were used for flight. There seems to be no agreement as to whether flight developed when creatures darted gliding down tree branches, or started running and jumping into the air. Hollow bones would not be required for primitive gliders, but would provide an advantage once creatures took to the air. Hollow bones still can have plenty of strength, since the outside of a beam carries most of the stress,

    Flightless birds may not be a good example of bird evolution, since most flightless birds had ancestors that flew, then lost the ability when they entered environments where flight did not confer an advantage.

    It is good to see a new post on GoE. It was getting hard to find new replies among the 87 on the July entry.

  • Larry Bunce

    The Bad Christian website appears to be in the tradition of Billy Sunday and others of a century ago, that were known as ‘robust Christians.’ The idea was to counter the popular image of religion as being for women and mild-mannered men. Billy Sunday had been a pro baseball player before he got religion and became an evangelist. He would make points by sliding into base across the stage, both providing entertainment and letting men in the audience know that one didn’t have to be a namby-pamby in order to be Christian.

    You held up well in the discussion, and didn’t seem to be nervous, as you said you were. That is a sign of a pro at speaking. Johnny Carson always seemed to have an easy command of his audience during his opening monologue on the Tonight Show, but one night when he had a heart surgeon as a guest, he was wearing a portable EKG during the monologue. When the doctor looked at the readings afterwards, Johnny’s heart rate had been 150 bpm.

    As for evolution of the eye, the stages between light- sensitive spots and complex human eyes are found in existing species. Each stage gives its possessor an advantage over being blind, and the more primitive form of eyes work well enough for the creatures that have them.

    Feathers evolved for warmth on dinosaurs before they were used for flight. There seems to be no agreement as to whether flight developed when creatures started gliding down from tree branches, or started running and jumping into the air. Hollow bones would not be required for primitive gliders, but would provide an advantage once creatures took to the air. Hollow bones still can have plenty of strength, since the outside of a beam carries most of the stress,

    Flightless birds may not be a good example of bird evolution, since most flightless birds had ancestors that flew, then lost the ability when they entered environments where flight did not confer an advantage.

    It is good to see a new post on GoE. It was getting hard to find new replies among the 87 on the July entry.

    • Thanks, Larry! I really appreciate the support 🙂 (And thanks for re-posting the comment!)

  • Thanks for posting this! I’ve subscribed and will listen tonight on my run 🙂

    • Cool! Thank you so much! Let us know what you think!

  • Joe Richardson

    I am a young man whoused to be a strict young-earth-believing Christian, then later became an old-earth-believing Christian who still retained other conservative views such as anti-queerness and anti-abortion type stuff, then began to let go of some of those ideas, and at last arrived where I am right now, doubting the faith.

    Although I am beginning to grow accustomed to these doubts which won’t go away, I still sort of miss being a Christian who also had no problems accepting what the last 150 years or so of scientific inquiry had taught us, and if I were to go back to the faith I would probably disregard some other old conservative views as well (especially anti-queerness). And on top of this I’m the only one in my family with any knowledge of my doubts.

    I just can’t make myself go back, though, because Christianity and its fundamental doctrines don’t really make sense to me anymore; for instance, if I was an archaeologist who was able to scientifically evaluate the idea that Jesus never existed and was made up by the Romans so that they could tell the Jews “Your messiah commands you to pay tribute to Caesar or you’ll burn in the lake of fire for all eternity” or something like that, and convinced most of the public that I was correct, but turned out to be wrong, wouldn’t I have to burn in the lake of fire for all eternity for using the scientific method and making an honest mistake, which is only expected when using the method?

    In addition to all of this, I’m stuck with the secret of my being attracted to cartoon females, and I have most recently developed strong feelings for Queen Elsa of Arendelle from Disney’s animated classic “Frozen.” I am stumped as to why this is the case, but I have heard testimonies from other people who said they have also had these feelings, both physical and emotional, as in my case, and that they grew up with them and have to try to cope with them (probably one reason I seem to have feelings for Elsa; like me, she is stuck with a strange secret and doesn’t know what to do with it).

    I have been reading your blog for a while, Tyler, and admire your work. Do you have any advice on how I should deal with this and whether I should come out to my family about my feelings and thoughts or not?

    • Hey Joe! Thanks for your comments. I can certainly understand your doubts, and I understand struggling with the parts of faith that don’t make sense or don’t seem to comport with reason. I would certainly advise you to, in the proper time, discuss your doubts and your current state of mind with trusted members of your family. Just be honest with them. Hiding who you really are and what doubts you are struggling with, for good reason, is not good for your own wellbeing and probably not good for healthy family relationships either.

      Before you do that, though, consider the matter carefully. I don’t know your family; you do. I know some people who are from families so strict and conservative they honestly believe they would be disowned if they told the truth about their doubts or differences in beliefs. I think that would be a legitimate reason to hold back, at least for a time. So, you have to understand why you’re afraid: Is it just because you’re afraid your family might think of you differently, or you might have to have some awkward conversations you’d rather avoid, or could the consequences be more serious? Whatever you decide, let it be your own decision and for the right reasons.

      Also, it sounds to me like you might just sort of be in a confused place right now. You’re having doubts, but at the same time, part of you maybe wants to believe. I would encourage you to do some soul-searching, maybe even some prayer, and get things settled before you talk to your family. Know what you believe, and why, before getting into a conversation like that.

      Hope this helps in some way. Feel free to email me if I might be able to help any further.

  • Jordan Peiffer

    Hey, that’s cool! I’ll have to listen to that. I hadn’t heard of Bad Christian before. Though they sound maybe a little edgy, I’ll have to check them out. I did read one article of theirs I liked just now.

    Also, not that this following statement is intended to be judgemental in any way, but part of me was happy to hear that someone said you were being “too polite”. Way to go, Tyler! As a strong believer in manners, I am proud of you! LOL

    Cool, man. I’ll give more thoughts if I find the time to listen in.

  • Joe Richardson
  • Joe Richardson

    Thanks, Tyler. Do you think I should also tell them about my feelings for cartoon females?

    • That’s not something I have a lot of experience with, Joe. Again, you know your family. Those kinds of feelings are not something I would think is weird or “wrong” or whatever, but very conservative religious folks don’t have the greatest track record for handling attractions or desires that don’t fit their view of “normal,” especially when expressed by their children or loved ones.

  • Guest

    Well done, Tyler! I hope that he responds to your request. I would be quite surprised if Ham ever changed his views, but I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to hope that he might at least come to the point where he can
    recognize that serious, faithful Christians can differ on the interpretation of Genesis (just like most people have been able to recognize that good Christians can differ about the interpretation of Revelation). Currently, Ham may acknowledge us as Christians, but takes every opportunity to call us “compromising Christians”; I believe that’s a textbook example of what they call “damning with faint praise”, and isn’t much less off-putting than simply being called an unbeliever. “Ok, ok, YES, you’re a Christian…just a BAD one” – Oh, thanks Ken, I appreciate that!

    Now, this is no reflection on you, Tyler, since you weren’t involved in the segment, but I DO agree with Ham that the beginning segment of “Bad Christian” concerning Bret Favre was very disappointing, particularly in light of Ephesians 5:4, where Paul admonishes us to “let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” I just don’t see that such talk is defensible, especially since this is a public proadcast, not just a couple guys shooting the breeze in the locker room. That being said, I also agree with you that Ham was trying to “poison the well”, so to speak, by making a fuss about it.

    • Thanks for your comments! I appreciate the support, and hope Ham takes us up on the offer for dialogue as well. In all honesty, I would be surprised if he did so, as well, but at least we tried! 🙂

      As to your other point, yeah, I can definitely see where you’re coming from there, and I can certainly understand why the segment was off-putting. At the same time, it would have been no trouble at all, and more truthful, for Ham to have said something like, “The first portion of the program contains material I found objectionable, but the actual interview, which starts at about 41 minutes in, did not.” Instead, he tries to poison the well against me.