I’m amazed how often we deal with our Christian brethren who repeat the same frustrating, straw man claims no matter how many times we correct them—even in the same thread of one of countless Christian forums. Their popular favorites tend to be:
(1) “Evolution claims that everything came from nothing.” or sometimes "Evolution says that nothing exploded to produce everything
(2) “The Theory of Evolution explains how life began.”
(3) “Nobody ever saw a bacteria evolve into a non-bacteria.”
(4) “No cat ever gave birth to a dog.”
(5) “There is no evidence for evolution. It is just a bunch of guesses.”
(6) “Evolution isn’t science. It’s just a religion.”
(7) “The only reason some Christians believe in evolution is because they want to be respected by scientists/atheists/secularists/seeker-churches.”
Even more maddening is the popular combinations of nonsense in an illogical progression of disjointed declarations, such as:
“Evolution is a fairytale for adults” and “Nobody ever observed evolution happening”, yet minutes later the same people are saying, “That’s just adaptation. Sure micro-evolution happened. But macro-evolution never happens.” and minutes after that comes “All of the cat kind species developed from a single cat-kind pair on the ark during the first few centuries after they left the ark.” (That favorite of Ken Ham is becoming much more common now that the Ark Encounter is open. Of course, they refuse to call that hyper-speed macro-evolution, even though they claim that all lion, tiger, panther, leopard, cheetah, house cats, bobcats et al evolved in a 200 year period. An entire taxonomic family evolving in a few dozen generations makes real evolution look glacially slow by comparison.)
Is there a point when we should give up on the arguments about the science and deal more forcefully with the ethical issues? At some point it becomes impossible to avoid the fact that origins ministries are feeding well-meaning but gullible people lies which have the appearance of being quite deliberately dishonest. And at times it becomes obvious that some of the devoted followers of some of these origins ministries repeat the reprehensible behavior because they’ve absorbed by example the belief that “All is fair in spiritual warfare.” (I’ve even had Christian brethren try to justify various tactics by saying, “What? You don’t think atheists ever lie about the evidence? You don’t think evilutionists ever quote-mine? Don’t you care that people are dying and going to hell?”)
Even the adults who fall for the “Were you there?” argument have to realize at some point that (1) it is a very dishonest argument, and (2) it is a very illogical argument, and (3) it represents an attitude that turns people against the Gospel.
So, as Francis Schaeffer used to ask, “How should we then live?” Do we interact with our Young Earth Creationist brethren as if it is all a matter of evidence and the science? Or do we also admit, at least to ourselves if not also to our brethren, that there is profound folly and sin at work?
How often do our Christian brethren assume that being deaf and blind to evidence and logic proves their faithfulness to the Lord? Do we identify that sin and folly for what it is? Or do we patently pretend that explaining the evidence and the science one more time will actually get at the heart of the problem? Or do we simply assume our opponent is a lost cause and that we are responding solely for the benefit of third-party observers? (If our opponents were non-believers, it seems easier to give up on them. But when it is our Christian brethren, I wonder about our obligations to rebuke and correct.)
What do you think? Where do we draw the lines?