Anyone else new to EC and wish they could "undo" years of teaching their kids?


(Christy Hemphill) #1

Continuing the discussion from Introductions Thread (Come say hi.):

@MCampbell Melissa asked:
Can I ask if anyone else is “new” to evolution thinking? I’d like to ask if you struggled with the transformation of thought? I felt so overwhelmingly guilty for having taught my kids incorrectly for so many years–I asked their forgiveness, naturally they forgave me, but it’s a struggle to “undo” all that teaching. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Anyway, if anyone is interested in my other “stories”, I’d be glad to share–the one from YEC to evolution is a whopper too. @Homeschool_Forum


(Christy Hemphill) #2

@MCampbell

Please do share more of your story. Was it the dinosaur-loving kid that pushed you over the edge?

If it’s any comfort, lots of people who grew up being taught YEC stuff don’t harbor any resentment against their parents or teachers. People do the best they can with what they have. There is no shame in the fact that you trusted Christian leaders and ministries that promoted incorrect information.


#3

I love to hear stories too about how people came to change their minds/hearts on this issue, because we can learn a lot from each other, and it’s interesting to see where different stories are similar and different. I’m also pretty new to EC thought, but got lucky in that I got into EC right about the time I started homeschooling, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have to go back and unteach something else later! I guess that’s one of the scary things about homeschooling (and parenting in general).


(Melissa) #4

@Christy

It wasn’t my dino loving daughter that pushed me over the edge, lol. I taught her what I had “learned” that dinosaurs lived with humans, and we were pretty ok with that explanation. We just last year visited the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum after my husband returned from a deployment. So, all this is very new to me and my family. My kids seem to be taking it in stride, although my 17 year old is really upset about the possibility that Adam and Eve may not have literally existed. It’s really hard to explain to them the things I’m learning, but I try to emphasize that we have to understand the Bible from who, when, and where it was written and not try to read into it from today’s perspective. We’re still working on it. My journey was actually a series of other events in my life that led me to question Christianity and God as a whole.

I had a very personal and quite devastating situation happen to me in 2012, which, honestly, I turned my back on God during a period of about 2 years. I was drawn back, naturally, as we all know God doesn’t let us go so easily. Then in 2017, my grandmother had a heart attack. She came to live with us for the last 3 months of her life and I was honored and blessed to take care of her until she passed away. However, at that time, because of various cliches concerning death, etc, plus the events from 2012. I started questioning the Bible, God, etc. Although, honestly, if I look back through my notes in my bible, I’ve been questioning things for over 20 years, I have always just set those questions aside because I felt I wasn’t “in tune” enough to understand, and I relied on the “more faithful” to lead me. But after 2012 and again in 2017, I felt like something wasn’t right overall and I wanted to figure out where Christianity “went wrong”. I started with looking into life after death, then into the history of Jewish thinking, which led me here and there. I came back to those ideas later, but as I searched I came upon a book called “The Divine Dance” by Richard Rohr and another book called “the Language of God” by Francis Collins. I was reading them simultaneously. They both made statements about evolution at about the same time during my reading of them. It really shocked me, but I followed some other resources listed in Collins’ book, and after reading in several places concluded it had to be correct. I did quite a bit of reading at asa3.org. Of course, my main problem was ok, if evolution is true what about Genesis? I studied for over 20 years the Ken Ham, AiG, IRC version of creation and the Bible so my mind was really messed up thinking about evolution. So, then I moved on to reading “Coming to Peace with Science” by Darrel Falk. That furthered my belief that evolution was absolutely true. I’m currently reading (or attempting to read) another book called “Belief in God in the age of Science” and “Questions about Truth” by John Polkinghorne, but he’s really difficult for this pea brain to understand.

At one point, I realized I needed to share this information with my family. I sat and shook uncontrollably and cried as I told my husband, then a few weeks later gathered my daughters together and told them all at once. They didn’t seem to be to upset at first, but here and there questions have come up that I try to answer. I keep telling them that I spent over 20 years learning the other side, and now I’m just beginning to learn this side, so it might take a while for me to “figure it out”.


(Christy Hemphill) #5

Hugs to you! I hope you give yourself lots of grace because none of us has it all figured out. But we can trust God’s mind-blowing peace to guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7) We’re here for you if you ever want to bounce your questions off people who have walked a similar road.


(Kathryn Applegate) #6

@MCampbell, I’m so happy you are here! Thank you for sharing your story. My heart aches for the anguish you described in telling your family about your change of view. There are so many people in our community who can identify with that. You have selected some great books to read–Falk and Collins were transformative for me, also, and Polkinghorne is worth the effort. God bless you, dear sister.


(Melissa) #7

I still need to tell other significant people in my life. I hate being “afraid” to do it. My girls have attended a Classical education tutoring school for several years and they have a trip to Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter planned for the end of the year trip. I explained to the main tutor why we won’t be going. She was very accepting and we exchanged ideas back and forth a bit. I also told the youth pastor at the church we were attending, and he was kind enough to say there was “leniency” in understanding Genesis. I still need to talk to my mother, I want to tell her in person. I have told another person whom I’ve known for almost 25 years–he’s the father of my oldest daughter. He’s not taking it so well and we’ve had a very long discourse about it. He wanted to use the recently discovered blood in T-Rex bones as support for YEC, but I linked him to the interview with Mary Schweitzer at asa3.org. I haven’t heard back yet. It’s a difficult place to be, but for myself, I feel so much more free and open to God now. So much more excited about the world and the discoveries thereof, even if I don’t understand all the theories about quarks and relativity. I feel more “in tune” with God’s creation, more understanding of human nature, and just more alive for some reason. Is that weird?


#8

Good luck as you navigate the relational aspects here! I think that can be one of the hardest parts of any change of view. I haven’t told my mother yet either, and it will be hard because she’s the one who spent 18 years teaching me everything (including YEC). Is this a topic that you think it’s best to directly address to some people in person (or does it depend on the person)? I’m still not sure the right way to go about it. I keep readying myself for it to “just come up” in conversation, but that might not be the right way. I’m just afraid that if I bring it up intentionally, I’ll get too defensive.


(Christy Hemphill) #9

Not to mention that the topic often brings out a fight or flight response in other people and they get really defensive, even if you are trying so hard to communicate that you aren’t judging them or asking them to change. It’s hard to put yourself in a position where you know what you are saying could be perceived as really threatening to another person.


#10

That’s very true, and maybe that’s what I’m actually afraid of – those of us who are working through this have at least had time to work through the change, while our relatives have not. I can remember having at least one non-gracious response to a friend accepting evolution in the past, so maybe I’m just afraid that others will be like me. :wink:


(Chris Falter) #11

Many evolutionary creationists believe that God did fashion a covenant with a literal Adam and Eve, whom He selected from out of the Homo Sapiens community–just as He later chose Abraham out of Ur. I myself lean in that direction, although my confidence level is quite low, and I do not quibble with ECs who feel otherwise.

I am sure that the BioLogos site has some resources on this issue, but I will have to let others supply links.


(Christy Hemphill) #12

It’s a common question, which has lots of links.

:slight_smile:


(Melissa) #13

For me, I feel like I need to up front and direct with my mother. Other people in my life I think it will be the “as it comes up” approach. For example, the home school group in our area is planning a trip to the Creation Museum, etc. and I felt obliged to tell the lead tutor that we wouldn’t be going and why. She was very gracious and we’ve exchanged ideas about the “controversy”. One person (you may have read in my other reply elsewhere) I openly and quite directly told via email. He was rather shocked and astounded, but we have a very good working relationship and he said, “You tend to go off on tangents every so often since I’ve known you. It’s your journey so make the best of it.” However, we have exchanged much, much more information via email since that comment. So, for me, I think it’s a person by person decision on how, when, where to explain my new understanding. For my kids, it was direct and I felt an almost immediate need to tell them. For my mom, I will probably plan a quiet dinner out somewhere and hope that the atmosphere is conducive to a private conversation. We had dinner recently but it was on Valentine’s day and the restaurant was very crowded so I didn’t really get an opportunity to talk to her about it. I did, however, recently give her the Passion translation of the Bible and am hoping some of the information in there eases her into thinking more openly about scripture since it has lots of cultural references that help with understanding. She loves it so far and says it’s been very helpful during her small group discussions. Good luck to you @elle I hope it goes well.


#14

Thank you, and I hope it goes well for you too! I can definitely see how telling your immediate family directly (those you see most often) is important, especially with your children being old enough to have that kind of conversation. I’m glad they seemed to handle it well!


(Mark Twombly) #15

Thanks to all for your contributions.

It seems what is largely missing from this discussion is clarity on how you teach the Scriptures, specifically Genesis, to your children. The lack of engagement on this is quite telling.

It is possible, and I think common, for someone who leans YEC to teach it faithfully without teaching that people lived with dinosaurs or that the earth is 6,000 years old, for the simple reason that the Bible doesn’t explicitly teach these things. Desiring to be faithful to God’s word, we don’t want to say more - or less - than what the Bible says.

What is admittedly more challenging is trying to teach that New Testament authors were real people who spoke of Adam and Noah who weren’t (according to many EC’s), and at what point in the narrative the many named people stop becoming allegorical and start to become real.


(A.M. Wolfe) #16

I love this book and recommend it often! Glad to see it helping others as well.

This seems wise to me, and if your experience is anything like mine, it may not come up all that often. My immediate family and closest friends know my views on these things, and of course I’m quite open on the Forum here (with a sort of pseudonym) but otherwise I hold my cards close to my chest, and sometimes allow myself to “smile and nod” even when I disagree. Lots of people will make snap judgments about you if they find out about your views without knowing your journey and without reading what you’ve read. It’s okay to keep some personal boundaries and only share in places where you feel it’s safe for you to do so!

Thanks for sharing your journey here! It’s encouraging to hear!


(Mervin Bitikofer) #17

Good points.

One thing the Bible is explicit about is truthfulness (and God’s truthfulness). So those who want to attend to creation to make sure they aren’t bearing false witness about something can (rightly, I think) appeal to that as a direct imperative to not dismiss the testimony that springs from nature.

But isn’t this preoccupation (imposition, really) to plow through the middle of all scriptures with our modern worship of physical ‘fact-hood’? As such we set ourselves above scriptures as fact-checkers (skeptics) or fact-verifiers (believers) instead of just accepting that they are truth in the necessary form, so that we can then begin our real engagement with it.


(Simone) #18

Not weird. I feel the same way. Still frustrated with not understanding doctrine, but EC has opened my heart to a new wonder. I remember when I first embraced EC… it was while I was deep in thought (about all the books I’d been reading, Francis Collins etc.) while driving in the country. I was overwhelmed with wonder and awe. God is so much bigger in EC. YEC seemed to put him in a box.


(Simone) #19

It’s been a tricky thing to figure out. I just remember that the whole reason I started looking into EC in the first place was just the fact I came across one other Christian who believed it. I had never ever come across another Christian who took EC seriously. Not one! I didn’t know it was an option. That was enough for me. So maybe a subtle approach isn’t a bad idea… I tend to avoid direct conversations because it can get defensive quickly, but I post about books I read or articles I come across (like on BioLogos) and that sends a message. If they want to know more, they know where to go.


#20

Yeah, I’ve avoided direct conversations so far too. But it’s good that you’re finding ways to “put it out there” without being confrontational. Maybe there are others who need the same thing you did – just to see that someone else can accept evolution and be a Christian too. :slight_smile: