Pretending young earth makes sense, for fear the alternative ‘would be forfeiting my faith’

I know I have some unusual Christian beliefs.

For example, I believe that cellular biologist Ken Miller and NIH director Francis Collins have a better handle on science than street preacher Ray Comfort and whoever this guy was.

I also believe that C.S. Lewis — probably the most beloved and well-regarded Christian apologist, writer, academic and lay theologian of the past century — had a more reliable view of Genesis than noted fear-mongerer and propagandist Ken Ham.

Crazy, I know. So, understandably, I get my fair share of hate mail. But I also get a lot of supportive messages, from people who have been touched by the stories on this site, and just by knowing that they’re not alone in their conviction that there must be some way to reconcile the truth of God’s word with the truth of God’s work in creation — without simply ignoring one or the other.

These messages — which, for the record, I do receive more regularly than the other kind — make it all worth it. I got one just last night that I wanted to share.

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I wonder how many of you have been through this same thing? Have felt like you have to choose between being true to your faith or using your brain? Between trusting your heart or opening your eyes? I know I’ve been there.

But that’s why sites like GOE and the Clergy Letter Project and the Facebook group CCNS are so important, not because we’re such brilliant, witty, charming gents (though we are), but because of the community they represent.

There is power in our numbers, and there is power in the truth we claim, that honest science does not equate with atheism, and that an honest reading of the Bible does not point to a small, shallow and ultimately false view of creation. We say God is much, much bigger than the box folks like Ken Ham would try and shove him into. There is power in that, and there is hope, too, hope for people like our letter writer above.

Let’s share that good news today, and pray it brings those around us closer to the best news, the news about Jesus, which is all that really matters in the end, anyway.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • Dylan Gorman

    Very well said Tyler.

  • Biblical literalism puzzles me. The objection is obvious; scripture disagrees with itself, from Genesis 1 vs 2 through the four Gospels’ divergent descriptions of the empty tomb. How do literalists cope?

    • I think there are many biblical literalists out there who rarely, if ever, actually read the Bible beyond what they hear on Sunday mornings. They don’t even idolize the Bible; they idolize what they think the Bible says.

    • myklc

      Cognitive dissonance. A set of flawed assumptions (literally true and inerrant in all things) leads to a belief that, even though ‘I’ can’t figure it out, it has to work out the way ‘I’ believe it must.
      Tie that to a mistaken belief that to believe the book to be anything other than absolutely inerrant means you’re going to hell, and you arrive at the recipe.
      #NOTE# I may have over-simplified the issue.

  • D. Humeston

    You have been very important to my faith Tyler! I still have people looking at my bumper sticker and scratching their heads…..

  • Johan Swart

    Ken Miller is not exactly a great model for Christian faith, he continues to distort and misrepresent the views of his opponents, and he has been wrong on many of his supposed “proofs”, also Francis Collins based an argument for evolution on pure ignorance, the supposed non-function of DNA, which Collins could not attribute to design so he decided to attribute this to unguided chance processes.

    Finally, the problem here is the false dichotomy, we do not have to pick between an unguided process which did not have us in mind (evolution properly understood, as defended by Ken Miller), and 6 day 24 hour creation roughly 6000 years ago.

    There is a perfectly reasonable position in the middle, teleology, design.

  • ashleyhr

    “Faith and science don’t have to be at odds with one another”. Seems like the writer does not buy or does not buy any more the repeated claims of YEC leaders like Ham that they love ‘science’ (rather than loving faith which is their real love).
    (Though as a former evangelical Christian I feel that Genesis ought to be scientific, even allowing for the time in which it was written.)