Why do so many Christians fall for Creationist “Apologetics?” Like the mathematical improbability of Evolution being one example. I am sure there are others. It makes me sad. It gives the impression that Christians can’t be smart or go where the evidence points.And should just believe everything Creationist organizations like AIG dish out. Why is this line of thinking so prevalent?
I would say because AIG and others reinforce beliefs that many Christians were raised on. I personally have never met anyone who was “converted” to YEC by these groups.
Like pretty much everything in biology and plane crashes, it is probably multi-factoral.
- People like to be part of “the club” and in many areas the club is YECism. Whether you believe it or not, you accept it as part of the creed.
- To many, their theology pushes them that way. If you see the Bible as primal, it changes how you view nature as you see it as corrupted and unreliable. If on the other hand your theology sees nature as reflecting the nature of God, then it is reliable and your observations can be trusted.
- Secondary gain. We all get secondary gain from things, and perhaps that drives our sin nature. Some of the secondary gain is the praise and confirmation of our friends and neighbors feeding our ego., some is the the warm fuzzy we feel when we think we are right and justified, some is actually monetary and out front and obvious.
- People like certainty, and the black and white way of thinking is certainly a lot easier.
I am sure I have missed a bunch also, but am just talking off the top of my head.
None of these things is unique to any group, and we have to be aware of those things in our own life and how they shape our world, confessing those things that are sinful, and accepting forgiveness.
We are all susceptible to confirmation bias, so we shouldn’t judge them too harshly. Before they are exposed to creationism they are often already distrustful of scientists and the “elite”. We see the same type of attitude among people who deny anthropogenic climate change and the anti-vaxxer crowd. I really don’t think it is a matter of intelligence since many of the creationists I talk to seem to be pretty smart people. The issue is the underlying psychology where people can talk themselves into believing in comfortable conclusions that they like, even in the face of contradictory evidence. They will even invent conspiracies in order to ease the dissonance that contradictory evidence creates.
I have debated in the evolution v. creationism arena for long enough that I find my interests slowly moving towards understanding the psychology that leads to positions like creationism, flat earthism, moon landing conspiracies, and anti-vax conspiracies. If you look at it from a more dispassionate position it is very interesting how otherwise intelligent and well meaning people can talk themselves into adopting beliefs that are demonstrably false.
I will add that I do see a difference between faith and conspiracy theorists. Faith is a belief held in the absence of evidence. In the case of YEC’s and the other groups, it is often a belief held in the presence of contradictory evidence. These are two very different things, IMHO.
To echo what some others have said, it’s not always a matter of “falling for” it – I was raised with it. It was just a part of my faith like anything else, and I didn’t see any reason to separate it out. In my early years I wouldn’t have questioned YEC any more than I would have questioned what color the sky was or why we go to sleep every night – it just “was.” In fact, I wouldn’t have used the term “YEC” at all, because it was not a separate idea to me like it is now.
Also, apologetics are often taught during the teenage years as a way to keep kids out of “trouble,” assuming they will encounter those views soon (or already have). We do the same things with drugs, sex, alcohol, law-breaking, and other ideologies, trying to give teens a “bigger picture” view of things that might seem appealing before you understand the potential dangers.
I’m not defending YEC propaganda, I’m just saying it didn’t really stand out for me and others who were raised with it, because we all received similar “warnings” about all kinds of things (which I’m sure people outside the church do too, just in different ways), so it didn’t seem any different.
Thank you for this post, it’s very respectable, insightful, and I appreciate it. I now have a better understanding of how to articulate some of this stuff.