I don’t have any interest in the literalisms of YEC. But I also don’t have any interest in imposing the view that life is a mechanical process devoid of meaning. Though I’m agnostic I think there is something real and important which has given rise to God belief, but I don’t think it is something omnipowerful in the way YECs and anti theists conceive of Him. If God matters at all it is because He is a living presence in your life, not because He can extend your life beyond the grave or work miracles on your behalf. If the God that has been articulated in religions seems a little overblown it is probably because in fact faith is much easier to lose than to maintain. I personally have always found the idea of anything ‘supernatural’ to be intellectually repugnant. But then the concept of God arose when it was harder to articulate a way that God can be something that arises in and with you.
I’m sorry it did. As you said, other people being wrong should not be a factor, but on the other hand, I don’t see how God can be judged for that, either.
I can’t characterize believing in God as a leap of faith. That makes it sound like an uninformed guess, choosing blindly, but it’s not – there is evidence. There is not scientific or deductive proof, of course, but there is reason to believe God does not want those.
I wrote the attached as an aid to folks like you who are searching for God. The link is to the first of a five-part piece covering the basics of Christian belief, but not necessarily the traditional Christianity you may have been exposed to. The fourth of these is “Scientific Evidence for God”, which may be of particular interest to you. Christianity in the Age of ‘Whatever?’ – A Pilgrim’s Search (saludovencedores.com)
Obviously I’m no expert, but I’m fairly sure that God gave us freewill according to the bible. I would imagine that covers things like YEC.
Isn’t it reasonable to expect that all sincere Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit? It doesn’t seem reasonable to deny that’s the case with YECs, or with non-science-denying Christians. Why would the Spirit work in such conflicting ways between these two groups? It’s hard to understand.
I remember Darrel Falk and Todd Charles Wood puzzling over this, in their video chat associated with The Fool and he Heretic. Rob Barrett asks in the book, “Could asking for forgiveness when we’ve offended a brother be mysteriously linked to resolving the controversy over evolution? That just might be crazy enough to be exactly what the Holy Spirit would do.”
It was for me, just initially. The reasons to believe didn’t get me all the way there. There was a gap still to be crossed between accepting it as possible and actually believing it. There were fears, like the one in the subject line. And there was also a gap between that as an intellectual position, and opening my heart to God, surrendering and being born again.
For me all that was crossed by saying a prayer, in fake it til you make it style. Once you’re standing on the other side of the gap, you’re there and you’re not faking it. All those reasons are so much more powerful when experienced rather than just thought about. It’s a bit like starting a car. It won’t fire without being cranked by a starter motor. But once it’s firing on all cylinders, it’s self-sustaining, and the starter motor can be shut off. You can drive a car that’s run out of gas, using just the starter motor, but it doesn’t go well or far.
True Christians are God’s children – that is not an empty analogy, it’s the archetype, the original. So as biological children have various degrees of obedience, motivation and applied effort and self-discipline, as well as understanding, Christians are different from each other. We are not all stamped with the same cookie cutter, and the degree of attention paid and objects of attention are factors, too. It is also possible to have a more close relationship or a more distant one, depending.
Yeah and this is one of the answers to the Problem of Evil. But the difference is, evildoers generally don’t do evil while feeling they are doing God’s work through the indwelling of and filling of the Spirit.
Both YECs and anti-YECs seem to genuinely feel that they are doing God’s work by taking that position. So, either, the Spirit strangely finds it profitable to drive with the handbrake on, or those feelings are unreliable or even delusional.
Yes. Mere feelings are not to be trusted (nor is their defective thinking). There are innocents who are misled, however.
Perhaps the answer is that both groups may think they are doing God’s work when in reality they aren’t.
OK, but aren’t we also supposed to assured by Scripture that all those who have come to Jesus are saved (e.g. Matthew 11:28-39) and the Spirit indwells them (Romans 8:9) and testifies to them (Romans 8:16)? Does the Spirit’s testimony to us not manifest as feelings? And even the feelings aside, if we can see and hear and trust by word and by consequent deeds that YECs and non-YECs alike truly believe on Jesus and have repented, then can’t we be assured that the Spirit indwells them?
Perhaps this comes down to the difference between indwelling and filling by the Spirit, the latter only being an offer/commandment (Eph 5:18), not a guarantee. Is one or other or both of our two competing groups not actually filled by the Spirit, even though they genuinely strive to do so? Is there a way to tell which?
I think we need to keep in mind that most YECs (at least in my experience) believe what they believe because they haven’t been taught differently and they assume in good faith, YEC is the default Christian view. Most are not out there vociferously opposing scientists or ostracizing their fellow believers over disputes about origins. There is a small minority that makes money off of peddling nonsense and I think it’s fair to question their Christian character. But that isn’t most people at all.
Yes, I apologise if I seemed to be questioning the Christian character (or by extension the morality) of most YECs.
On the contrary, it is because I can see that they are sincere and good Christians who I love, that it is prompting me to doubt my faith. Clearly God is at work in their lives, and yet, He seems to lead them to a position that is so clearly factually wrong and which does so much harm to the evangelical mission Scripture tells us God commands us to be on. “The Lord works in mysterious ways” does speak to me but I’m having a real tough time with this particular mystery.
Anyway, I ought to bow out for a bit and quit hijacking the thread.
Maybe it’s comforting and maybe it’s disturbing to realize that Christians in every cultural and historical context have major blind spots, but God manages to work through the church despite its failings. In historical and global perspective American Christians are super materialistic and idolize their comfort. Many Christians around the world participate in racist and sexist systems. There are a lot of things that are worse than clinging to a misguided insistence on an overly literal interpretation of Genesis.
Those are legitimate questions, so I didn’t think you were really hijacking the thread. But our thinking and mistaken pursuits can grieve the Holy Spirit, so I think your ‘leading’ characterization is misplaced
Hi Kaylynn, I had to read your initial post several times before thinking I had got to the essence of what you are saying. Maybe I have not got to that essence; if not, I am sure you will tell me.
Your depression appears to be existentially-based. Your perception of whether or not you perceive God is at work in the world, or even exists, determines whether or not you are depressed.
My answer, for myself as much as for you, may seem counter-intuitive; but let me explain. To begin with, narrow your perception to the Gospels. Old Testament stories have been “theologised” for centuries. By this I mean that stories from the ancient past were constantly reviewed to be the carrier of theology. How much of fact remains after such a long process? The Samaritans, who were the remnant of the northern kingdom of Israel, even maintained that the people of Judah, (that is, the Jews), made up much of the Old Testament when they were in the Exile in Babylon. Go first to the Gospels, which were written within decades of the events they describe, and used source material that was even closer to the events than the completed Gospels themselves.
The next step - the counter-intuitive one - is to free yourself from the need to decide “what actually happened”. Failure to free oneself from this need led 19th Century Liberalism, (a theological movement at the end of the 19th century), to decide that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection could not have happened. After all, at the end of the 19th century, everybody knew that was true, right? The problem was that “what everybody knows to be true” changes with each passing century. In Nicholas Copernicus’ time, everybody knew that the Earth could not be in motion, 'cos we’d all fall off, right? Wrong!
Most of our assumptions about what actually happened, or happens, tell us as much about ourselves and our generation, as it does about real, objective truth. We have a tendency to believe that when it comes to knowing things, we have actually “arrived”. At the end of the 19th century this view was held with a high degree of arrogance. This arrogance was soon blown away at the beginning of the 20th century with Einstein’s theories of relativity and developments in quantum physics. Nevertheless, there are still some fine 19th century minds in the life of the Christian churches.
But I digress. The counter-intuitive thing: Let’s approach this question as historians. The lesson we have learned from the arrogance of 19th century liberalism is that historians cannot tell you “what actually happened”. They can only tell you what people at the time believed had happened, and this takes a great weight off our shoulders. People at the time believed that Jesus performed miracles and that he was literally raised from the dead. Now we won’t have to be constantly trying to hammer our square peg into their round hole - trying to twist the Biblical Greek into some kind of forced interpretation that would suit our mind-set, or declaring everything a metaphor when only some things are, or seeing the lost ending of Mark’s Gospel as an indication that the resurrection never literally happened.
You may be cynical, but try it for 5 minutes to see if it relieves existential angst. As for mystery, it seems to occur as much in science as in the Christian Faith. Think about time. At the center of our galaxy there is a super-massive black hole in which time comes to an end. That means that the end of time occurs spatially alongside the process of time. Is such an end of time somehow related to the eschatology of the New Testament? Mind blowing stuff really.
What you’re saying most definitely makes sense to me. I actually just saw a video earlier today that pointed out that in the OT there’s a much larger emphasis placed on the supernatural and miracles as well as God directly interacting with humans.
While those things are certainly in the New Testament they’re not nearly as common. In regards to miracles, the video I watched mentioned how many of the miracles in the NT are more down to Earth and plausible. It also said that Jesus’ resurrection, which (correct me if I’m wrong) is easily the miracle with the most evidence of course takes place in the NT.
20 posts were split to a new topic: Which explanation is better? Intelligent Design or Natural Processes
I think there are also YECs who genuinely find evolution very threatening to their faith - and indeed it does throw up a lot of difficult questions that many of us who accept the evidence for evolution struggle with continually. Questions like - if man evolved from animals, how can he be responsible for the ‘fall’ in a world in which suffering and death already existed?. If Genesis 1 and 2 are not divinely inspired, when does divine inspiration begin - with the Tower of Babel?, with the flood?, with Sodom and Gammorah? People who find it difficult to cope with uncertainty find in the YEC position a secure anchor for their faith.
Hi Kaylynn, I’d like to suggest that your depression, since it is life-long, may be biological rather than existential, in which case, faith may not cure it though it may help in other ways. My experience of depression is that I always try to find a reason for it, but those reasons disappear the minute my brain chemistry changes and the depression lifts.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be seeking truth - that is surely one of the most important things we can do in this life and, if the Bible is truly God’s self-revelation, then a great deal hangs on whether or not we believe and obey. But there are Christians who still struggle with depression so if you come to faith, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t completely cure your depression.