I Was the 16-Year-Old Godfather of “Answers in Genesis”


Joel Edmund Anderson shares the Bible-thumping, fire-breathing, foaming-at-the-mouth Bible paper he wrote as a young teenage mutant ninja militant zealous Evangelical.Wowzer! It’s to introduce a new series of his on Ken Ham’s Already Compromised. So here it is:

I Was the 16-Year-Old Godfather of “Answers in Genesis”

(Phil) #2

It is interesting how we change with age and maturity. I sort of wonder what the 70 year old Joel will think of his present writing in 30 years or so. I wish I had written down my thoughts more as I aged, as it is really a little difficult to remember exactly what I thought except for a few turning points.
I do not remember so much of a remarkable change in belief but rather an growth and evolution of my understanding that hopefully continues on to this day at age 64, though there were a few aha moments scattered in.


We are fortunate that we get to reach an age where our thoughts and faith mature.

(Laura) #4

To this author’s credit, his paper made it to the whole second paragraph before he brought up Hitler.

I do agree with @jpm though, how interesting it is how our views change over time. I have to wonder how social media is affecting how we view that. Now I can just skip back 10 years ago on facebook and scroll through the things I posted that were important to me. I’m just really really glad facebook hadn’t been invented yet when I was in high school.

(Christy Hemphill) #5

When in doubt, you can always blame Fuller Seminary. Or just California in general.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #6

Ironically, having lived in Massachusetts and California, I find California a lot more full of Christianity than MA was. In MA, they didn’t even have K-Love! And I think I knew maybe one YEC Christian. California doesn’t deserve its sterling reputation of godlessness…


It’s the 3rd largest state in the country, and so is bound to have some variety in religious outlooks. There are even fundies in California.

(Dennis Venema) #8

This reminds me - rather painfully - of the anti-evolution screed I wrote as a 4th-year biology major for an upper-level seminar course. I no longer have a copy of it, but I know it was written in a similar style.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #9

Oh, believe me, I know…


Denis Lamoureux was once a passionate anti-evolutionist after converting from atheism. He gave up YECism after studying theology, long before his PhD in evolution.

(David Heddle) #11

When I look at my blog posts from 10 or more years ago I throw up a little in my mouth. The whole internet should have a shelf life. Or at least a half life.


I would like to say this didn’t surprise me, but it was still stunning to see someone admit to it:

“When I wrote my book, The Heresy of Ham, one of the things I noted was that, as strange as it may sound, arguing for a young earth (or a historical Adam, or an actual worldwide flood 4,000 years ago) is actually not the real concern for YECism. The real focus is that of “fighting the culture war.” Thus, a literal-historical reading of Genesis 1-11 is really just the weapon used to fight that larger culture war.”

It makes a lot of sense, and is what I have suspected all along. Creationist sites have made this all too obvious, such as all of the personal and religious attacks on Darwin, Dawkins, and other evolution supporters. For example, this recent article over at Evolution News & Science Today tries to claim that Darwin and Dawkins have caused an increase in a belief in witchcraft. Why would an organization who professes to be non-religious and focused on science take it’s time to to write and publish such articles?

(Brad Kramer) #13

I would go as far as to say that the origins debate is about the present, not the past.


The NYTimes may think this is a recent resurgence of occultism but I have heard these pronouncements for many years. I did follow the link over to the DI report “Darwin’s Corrosive Idea” and I was not impressed. The basic assumption appears to be that all atheists and agnostics have “lost their faith” and this was due to evolution for the most part.

Why would you think EN is non-religious? In the About section it has, “It also covers the impact of science on culture,” with culture being the code word for religion.

(Phil) #15

Good points. I was thinking of how they are retreating within the castle walls to defend their beliefs, and recalled that the battle from the castle is one of the common motifs in the cartoons they publish.

(Laura) #16

I agree, and those cartoons certainly shaped my view of YEC. For me (and many others) it was a system in which everything tied together – one thing (evolution) helped to explain another (family break-up, “removal of 10 commandments,” etc.), and made it very easy to find a slam-dunk “culprit” for whatever we thought was wrong with the world (or this country specifically). And when you think there’s one simple thing that has helped cause all of that evil, it makes it really easy to channel all your anger at it without thinking critically.


I do think it is religious, but the Discovery Institute et al. try to pretend as if they are not religiously motivated.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #18

While we (along with the original author, Joel) can all enjoy careening down the “how terrible we all were” path together, I’ll sound a slightly different note by saying I saw a range of things in his high school screed that did not all provoke vicarious embarrassment in me.

Rather than lifting specific sentences out after my once through, I’ll just base this on general impressions. One particular scriptural verse was brought to my mind (which I don’t believe was explicitly mentioned by Joel’s younger self) and that was: “zeal for your house will consume me.” We can all reflect on who it was to which that Old Testament chestnut was applied – just after he went on his table-flipping spree. One could be given cause to wonder then: would a sixty year old Jesus be embarrassed by his former 30 year old self? I think Joel’s early passions in and of themselves are commendable, but simply failed to coalesce around any kind of commendable creed. It was instead sucked into the politics and anti-scientific -isms of the day where it got swallowed and digested for later regurgitated embarrassments. [sorry – that imagery may have been over the top!] I think one contrast is this: Jesus’ rant was directed at the religious power-wielders of his day and ended up getting him crucified. Rants against the establishment today tend to attract cheering populist audiences, and get us funds for theme parks and museums.

Instead of admiring the pile of shame, I find myself looking admiringly at the bits of convicted passion and wondering if/how those have survived and serve the older, and presumably wiser Mr. Anderson today.

(Christy Hemphill) #19

My favorite ENV headline of the week:
"Was Hitler a Creationist? Sure, Just Like Darwin"
Linking Nazis and Darwin is a thing, evidently. Everybody’s doing it.

(Phil) #20

True, much as an older Paul retained the zeal and commitment of his younger self