If the Christian community (we'll say evangelical) is so profoundly wrong on origins, how can I trust any other output from that community?

Thank you all for your thoughtful and beneficial responses.

@Jon_Garvey That is a good reminder about culturally or nationally inherited theology. So strange that this took off in the US but not elsewhere. I agree with you on the importance of having an “evangelical” home where there is room for push-back without a reactionary “heretic” branding. I wouldn’t survive in a no-questions-asked environment.

@gbrooks9 Thanks! I am glad it made sense.

@TedDavis Thanks for sharing some of your background. I enjoy reading the blogs here, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your posts. So having never been exposed to YEC until after graduating in physics, what did you believe growing up? Were you just at complete peace about what you learned in science classes? I’d like my children free of baggage like that.

@Christy I think you are making an important point about the blind spots. It’s a struggle to know where to draw the line. For a ridiculously oversimplified example, I wouldn’t trust Hitler to give me moral advice on how to love even my non-Jewish neighbor. His absurdity in one area discredits him in another. Of course what you are saying is more nuanced, and I think true. It’s just a struggle to disentangle sometimes. When is a person theologically discredited, and when are they just someone with a blind spot? You are for sure right that we are all messed up.

@dscottjorgenson Agreed about due diligence. I care less and less about toeing the line on any bulleted lists for what makes a “conservative” or an “evangelical” (or certainly a “fundamentalist”). Over the last few years I have been dropping things in other areas when I don’t think they hold up to scrutiny. This just creates some anxiety once in awhile regarding when to stop dropping.

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Josh, thank you for sharing your thoughts - like Ted, I too resonate strongly with them. I think I’ll even link to your comments in a blog post I am writing about these issues - as long as that is ok by you! Welcome to BioLogos and I hope you find something of a “home” here with other like-minded (and even not likeminded, but nonetheless hopefully friendly) folks.

@DennisVenema Thanks, it helps to know that many resonate. Regarding my comments, feel free! Thanks for the welcome.

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Thank you!

I can understand your dilemma, Josh, since I experienced somewhat the same thing when I left parochial school and began a career in science. First of all, I accepted what most scientists realize: humans can gradually approach The Truth, but they can never capture it completely. Only God can. Scripture can help, and science can help, but each has its limitations. Both can mislead us if misinterpreted, but each can help the other to get the interpretation straight. I’ll give you a very short account of how I worked out what was, for me, a seemingly insoluble problem with evolution. (A more extensive account is on my web site.)

The evidence provided by evolution says that humans descended from primates (ape-like ancestors) over a period of millions of years. But the Bible leads us to believe that God gave humans an immortal soul. Question: How did God decide when, in the gradual evolutionary process, was that to happen? Just exactly when was this animal form worthy of a covenant and soul? A parent primate would still be an animal, but its offspring a human with an eternal soul? There is no gradual change possible from mortal to immortal. Then I read what paleoanthropologists, like Ian Tattersall, were finding about the Great Leap Forward–the sudden transition of Homo sapiens from the rather brute-like behavior of the Neanderthals to a behavior we would be comfortable with now. This GLF apparently did NOT occur through change in DNA, as was the case with previous evolution. It had to be epigenetic and was relatively swift, and carried with it the ability to communicate ideas with symbolic language. [Although we do not as yet know the biological mechanism for the GLF, it shouldn’t be thought of as a “God-of -the Gaps” explanation, because it will almost assuredly be explained biologically in the near future.]

Did this GLF begin with just one couple, which Genesis refers to as Adam & Eve? Possibly, but that is not the important point theologically speaking. We can look upon the GLF as God’s gift to humankind, and the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as a conscience that allowed this ‘elevated’ primate to be freed from the dictates of the often selfish animal behavior. The first recipients of this Original Blessing could, through symbolic language, teach fellow Homo sapiens–perhaps as many as a million (the biblical People of Nod) inhabiting much of Europe, Asia and Africa–how to become truly human. Of course all of Adam & Eve’s descendants inherit the ‘selfish genes’ that impart a predilection to sin, but Jesus’ life shows us the potential each of us has to become co-creators with him.

Josh, can I tell you this scenario is True? No. But I can accept it as closer to the Truth than any other I have encountered. Perhaps it might be something you are searching for. You might want to look on my web site for the more complete evidence in its favor. God bless.
Al Leo

@aleo thanks for the thoughts. I don’t have enough expertise to know the scientific plausibility of a sudden behavior change, but something like that is an interesting possibility to think about. Perhaps that is the way God operated.

Very well stated, Christy!

I found myself having to make that very point so many times with angry undergrads from church backgrounds which were steeped in “creation science”—and they were furious because at a public university they had found themselves face-to-face with science textbooks and even primary sources which basically allowed them to see and understand for themselves that their youth ministries, Sunday Schools, pastors, and parents had (1) taught them definitions of science terms and concepts which were just plain wrong, (2) told them that the bizarre “Same evidence. Different interpretations.” mantra accurately summarized the “difference of opinion”, and (3) filled their heads with a long list of memorable slogans, catchy cliches, fallacious factoids, and mind-numbing mantras which were just plain false (e.g., “There is no observable evidence for evolution”, “the Theory of Evolution is not real science”, “There are no transitional fossil forms”, “Radiometric dating is hopelessly unreliable and based on unprovable guesses.”)

Of course, neither their textbooks nor their professors set out to specifically deal with “creation science” pseudo-science, but the students were sharp enough to figure out the glaring discrepancies. (e.g. “We were told that modern geology strictly follows Uniformitarianism, meaning that geologists ignore everything but very slow processes—but that hasn’t been the case in centuries!”; “It wasn’t just the lies. It was the cherry-picking of the 0.1% while not telling us about the 99.9% of the slam-dunk evidence!”)
Usually these “new or almost ex-YECs” weren’t even my advisees but for a variety of reasons (usually falling into one of three categories that I won’t expand upon here) they seemed to badly need (yet fear) what I began to call their “exit interview” from the Christian faith. Not all of them had made or would ever make such a resolutely final decision, but many clearly wanted to impress upon somebody just how frustrated and disappointed they were in their former spiritual heroes—and some would even tell me outright, “You are my last chance to remain Christian.” Those who had already made their decision (or at least wanted me to think that they had), nevertheless seemed to dare me to “Just try to make excuses for my church and my parents! How can I possibly believe what they taught me about God and the Bible when everything they told me about science was wrong?”

Yes, that is quite a leap (a logical fallacy, in fact) to go from learning that their Christian background had fed them some false information about science to abandoning their Christian faith and identity all together. But for many it was an emotion-driven threat based entirely upon their sense of betrayal–because they felt that their vulnerability as young, naive, trusting children had been violated and even exploited by adults in positions of power over them.

In response to them, Christy’s appeal to grace and common sense was always my Point #1. But probably around 90% of my response to them focused on Point #2: “Your church and parents didn’t set out to deceive you by deliberately teaching what they knew to be false information. Wouldn’t you agree that they sincerely thought they were doing their best for you and teaching you solid science and Biblical hermeneutics? Have you considered the possibility that they were misled by others—and their own lack of adequate information— just as much as you were?”

I usually found that if a student was willing to walk through the steps of (1) “What were their motives?” and (2) “What benefits did they think they were conveying to you?”, they were usually willing to admit that nobody in their local church conspired to teach them knowingly false information. I usually found that they would be softened by: “Yes or No: My parents/pastors/teachers sincerely believed that what they were teaching me was to the glory of God and for my good.”

From there it was usually easy to get them to answer more rationally: “So what would you say was the biggest sin or shortcoming in what they did? What would you say was the biggest ‘crime’ they committed against you?” (Obviously, I used an exaggerated term in order to encourage them to articulate a defense of their parents/pastors and to develop a sense of reasoned proportion.) All but the most hardened would (sheepishly) say, “As teachers of children, they had a responsibility to carefully research and verify what they were teaching, especially if claiming that they had the full authority of God behind it.” In some cases they even added “And they were allowing their opinions and fears about science to be co-mingled with the Gospel as if those opinions were essential to salvation and being a ‘true Christian.’”

If we got that far into the discussion, I could usually get them to think about (1) how/why their parents/pastors had adopted their “creation science” position, and (2) how the unhappy student was actually in an advantaged and even very privileged position (both by accident of the generation and era into which they were born and due to their parents’ love for them) to be able to learn about science at a major university and to so easily find all sorts of helpful and applicable scientific and apologetic material on-line—something their parents/pastors usually hadn’t had in any measure.
If we got that far in our talk, and the student was willing to admit that their parents, pastors, and Sunday School teachers had lovingly taught them what they knew and in the best ways that they could, I would ask the student: "Now that you are having opportunities to learn about science (and how it can integrate with a Biblical theology) in ways that they never had, is it possible that you might have a responsibility to reciprocate to them that favor and blessing by graciously and gently letting them know what you’ve learned from your study of these topics?

Of course, all of those students badly needed time to integrate their new science knowledge with a re-examination of the Biblical hermeneutics of their parents in order to see if the Bible truly requires that one and only set of tradition-bound interpretations. Thankfully, the Internet has made that research assignment far easier (both for me and the student) than it was when I dealt with the same conflicts in the early 1990’s, for example.
As I said, those students usually weren’t my own advisees but as the perceived “token evangelical professor” on a secular university campus, I seemed to them to be the default defender of all that was Christian and “Biblical”, probably because 18 to 22 year olds have such an extreme demand for immediate justice and black/white, no-middle-ground, right/wrong declarations. (Of course, Fundamentalist Christianity has its own totally-right/totally-wrong rigid dichotomy, so you can imagine how all-or-nothing that made many of those ex-YEC students.) Even so, if one could get them started in an empathetic direction—and perhaps even ask them if they had ever changed their opinion on some subject to where they regretted ever having held their former opinion on it—the reachable ones would usually soften. Yet I would also remind them that that initial anger they felt towards their parents/pastors could be channeled for good and to everyone’s benefit if it led to everyone agreeing on the importance of TRUTH and the process of re-examining the available evidence.

That’s just a few thoughts as my mind travels back in time reflectively. I wish I could say I had follow-up opportunities with every such ex-YEC student and knew that everything turned out wonderfully for everyone. Most graduated and moved on without keeping in touch. (I occasionally get a “Remember me?” and get to find out where they are theologically today, but that is rare. Of those few who have updated me, about one-third remained Christians of some sort, one-third called themselves atheists, and one-third didn’t give me clear indications of self-labels.)

In helping those who are making the same journey out of YEC-dom that many of us once did, we do the best we can to step up and use the teachable moments we get with them----and as with the Gospel itself, one person plants, another waters, and another sees the harvest. Yet, it always saddened me to hear so many of those conversations during my open door office hours begin with “I don’t know of anyone else who might be able to understand my situation. Perhaps you can help me?” (Even some of the students who initially projected “I’m now a much more enlightened atheist!” were clearly shaken by a crisis of trust at what they experienced in their Young Earth Creationist and that was probably why they had come to see me.) [1]

I’ve shared these memories in hopes of hearing the experiences of others in helping those who experience “crises of confidence” concerning their Christian heritage and spiritual heroes as they integrate their knowledge of science and scripture. I’ve often wondered if some, the young people from YEC backgrounds especially, leave us with only relatively brief windows of influence and opportunity before their “final” decisions are made and their minds are closed to any sort of intellectual resolution which does not leave them outside the local church entirely. With the Baby-Boomers, we eventually assumed that many would return to the local church (even if not necessarily a vital faith) once they had children of their own, even if they remained angry over the science-denialism of their upbringing within the church. Obviously, we can’t say that about the generations since. That return to the church as young parents certainly doesn’t seem as likely with the Millennials.

Thoughts? Experiences?


FOOTNOTE: [1]: While both Young Earth Creationists and Old Earth Creationists often get lumped together as simply “creationists”, I invariably found a very different set of dynamics and attitudes among the OEC students who came to me to discuss their “eye-opening” experiences with science. Even though most of them had been raised on many of the same anti-evolution myths and slogans as the YECs—and they were often just as theologically fearful of the implications of what they had learned about science at the university—they seemed far less resentful towards their parents/pastors, and they were usually far less “pre-programmed” to think and react in terms of rigid, false-dichotomies. As expected, they were less likely to have been taught “One can’t be a true Christian and believe in the science of X.” Perhaps some ex-OEC readers have experiences to share in this regard.

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@Josh,

I know I’m late to the party here, but I’ve been mulling over your post for several days now and reading the responses that others have given. Your story resonates with my own in so many ways, and I want to thank you for taking the time to share your story here. You are asking all the right questions.

The easy answer here would be that origins is an isolated issue, so even if Evangelicals are wrong about evolution and the age of the earth, we don’t need to question everything else in the process. But, as I think you’ve already figured out, it’s just not that simple. Part of the problem is that Evangelical perspectives on faith and science are bound up in bigger ways of seeing the world (“worldview”). Young-earth creationism in particular is not first and foremost an origins perspective. It’s a total package of answers and explanations about the entire sweep of modern history, which is meant to give Christians a frame to segregate the world into categories and equip them to live faithfully.

Great question. Here’s what I’d say: In my experience, there are a lot of people who are sort of “accidentally” YEC, in that it’s part of their faith tradition or community, and it’s just sort of assumed. I know plenty of wonderful Christians who are YEC and continue to have a big impact in my life. Being YEC does not automatically make someone untrustworthy.

HOWEVER: I have become convinced that Fundamentalism, which is the root perspective behind YEC, is a dangerous and unhelpful way to practice the Christian faith. Fundamentalism is weaponized faith. Its focus is first and foremost on being right, and its faith communities are centered around that. It separates the world into easy categories of right and wrong. Fundamentalism, in my opinion, steamrolls the Bible into an answer book, and thus flattens the Christian life. Evangelicalism was supposed to be a critique of Fundamentalism, but in many ways, it has failed to finish the sentence. Origins is one area where Fundamentalism has absolutely dominated the evangelical conversation. I honestly think Evolutionary Creationism is the first honest and full-throated attempt at a non-Fundamentalist Evangelical perspective on origins.

So there’s no black-and-white answers here, because there’s no easy radar system for Fundamentalism that lets you detect when you’re encountering harmful levels. I’ve had to make some really, really tough decisions in my life to walk away from faith communities that ended up being too toxic. I’m very blessed to be currently attending a wonderful non-Fundamentalistic evangelical church.

The good news for you is that Fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon, and there’s absolutely no need to throw out the whole faith in the process of rejecting it. There are so many wonderful and faithful Christians out there who are non-Fundamentalist, and I would strongly advise reading deeply of books by C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, Tim Keller, N.T. Wright, Roger Olson, and Scot McKnight (Barth is chunky, but all these others are very accessible).

A final, more pastoral thought: The foundation of Christianity is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the testimony of the saints. The authority of the Bible is important, but it’s not the foundation of our faith. When Jesus came, many of his early followers struggled with how to reconcile his teachings with what they knew from their Bible. Nobody expected him; he was a surprise. Our faith is founded on an event with obliterated people’s pre-conceptions of just about everything.

So yeah, evolutionary science is a big surprise. Not many people saw it coming. It forces us to rethink a lot of things, some of which are quite messy. But for me, I see the fingerprints of God all over it. It makes sense to me that God would do things in surprising and messy ways—even in ways that challenge traditional religious ways of thinking. Isn’t that exactly what the Bible’s story is about? Isn’t that exactly like God to do? Fundamentalists have a lot of trouble with a God of surprise, and try to make a faith that can never be surprised by new things. I think this is toxic, and it’s one of the reasons I’m not a fundamentalist.

This has been long-winded. Sorry about that. I hope this conversation has been helpful for you. Please consider us your friends and allies in your journey. We’re rooting for you! Keep asking good questions.

Grace and Peace,
Brad

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[quote=“Josh, post:12, topic:3584”]
I don’t have enough expertise to know the scientific plausibility of a sudden behavior change, but something like that is an interesting possibility to think about
[/quote]@Josh
The Great Leap Forward came as a great surprise to many scientists–a very unpleasant surprise to Richard Dawkins, the most famous of the New Atheists and author of ‘The God Delusion’. In a previous book, ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’, Dawkins presents good evidence for evolution acting in very small steps with no evident direction for all animal and plant life. But for humans, he admitted the evidence supported a great leap and forward direction, as measured by complexity and capability. As an atheist, he was happy to believe humans appeared on earth as an unplanned accident, but as a scientist, he had to (reluctantly) admit humans were special.

I believe you would enjoy reading Ian Tattersall’s books, “Becoming Human” & “Masters of the Planet”. They are non technical, but they provide convincing evidence that the behavior that makes us human–language, art, music, belief in an afterlife–all appeared very suddenly (on an evolutionary timescale) and almost certainly without any change in the Homo sapiens genome. So the pre-scientific image presented by an author of Genesis some 3,000 yrs ago of God forming Adam from clay and breathing the spirit of Life into him contains a great deal of Truth for us to ponder on today.
Al Leo

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@BradKramer

…long winded, but good-winded as spiritual things go.

It’s hard to discern where to draw the line between a toxic level of “being about being right” and what I would call an equally toxic polar opposite: “being all about questions to the point of disallowing any hard or universal answers”. Bible studies tend to clump into those two kinds of polarized versions. It’s a messy and necessary job of discernment to thread one’s way in between.

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@Mr.Molinist, I appreciated reading through your summary of experiences with your students. (Side note: I just want to clarify that I do not feel betrayal or think that those in my life had any malice here. The people in my life were deceived just like me. My tension comes more from asking: what other sincere, honestly, graciously held beliefs are false?) I think the how/why question you mentioned in your post is very important. Thanks for the thoughtful reflection and good advice.

@BradKramer, your assessment of fundamentalism and handbook-ness is a refreshing read. Lots of truth, I think, packed into your post. Thanks for the perspective and the reminder about old, fundamental, non-fundamentalist truths.

@aleo, a sudden appearance of human sophistication would provide some interesting fodder for armchair hypothesizing about God’s possible activities. Human evolution is an interesting topic in general, thanks for the book recommendations.

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Brad, you’re dead right about Fundamentalism which, having never been as strong in the UK, may be the explanation of why the YEC “conflict” is so much more a US problem… but by that token, not one to impose on the rest of the world.

Always alert to “small print” issues, though, can I add the danger that I’ve noticed for “Non-Fundamentalists” to stick the label on others in order to dismiss and marginalise them intellectually? This would (to some) automatically include even thinking YECs and OECs, but is equally easy to lay on anybody one disagrees with. It’s rather too convenient a label unless it’s given a clear context.

One more point (speaking as a biblical conservative but thoroughly non-YEC, and referencing, mainly, N T Wright here). You write:

The authority of the Bible is important, but it’s not the foundation of our faith. When Jesus came, many of his early followers struggled with how to reconcile his teachings with what they knew from their Bible. Nobody expected him; he was a surprise.

As Wright points out at book length, Jesus’s whole ministry arose from his understanding of the truth of the Bible and its application to him. He and the early Church similarly built their case not on the need to downplay or relativise the Scriptures, but to re-interpret them as Jesus did in a new way that was actually, they said, inherent in the original meaning but had been lost by his own generation of Judaism. They fully expected a scripturally-promised Messiah - but had to be re-orientated (from Scripture) in why Jesus was that Messiah.

That seems to me entirely relevant to the Fundamentalist question, and a few others too. But remember that the “testimony of the saints” for 2000 years before skeptical criticism, was that the plenary truth of Scripture (however that was understood at the time) was axiomatic to orthodox and orthopractic Christianity.

Jesus was not a timeless divine figure, but one who came “just at the right time” (prophetically) and who “as of first importance… died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (Paul in Rom. 5; 1 Cor. 15).

If Fundamentalism has become an authoritarian straightjacket, I sense that some American Evangelicalism has, perhaps in reaction, neglected the foundational nature of the concept of revelation. This ranges from the Old Testament conviction of the divine presence in torah (by Jesus’s time held to be equivalent to his shekinah in the Temple), the prophetic word (debar) of Yahweh actually accomplishing what it spoke, and of course the whole Post-Ascension Lordship of Christ through the Pentecost Spirit of prophecy.

It’s as artificaial to separate the Word from his word as it is to separate the President from his speech.

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thanks for the helpful comments.
As you comliment the question as “great”,considering that God and the trinity are concepts not unique to the evangelicals, how would the error in the interpretation of one parameter of their worldview justify questioning other independent parameters that are part of their model but also in others peoples worldviews? Sounds a bit like when I find an error in a physics model that I therefore would have to put chemistry in question.

@marvin, it’s an issue of credibility. If a witness on the stand gives false statements about one thing, then that witness is not considered reliable for anything else they say. This doesn’t at all make everything else they say false (that would be a logical fallacy), it just means that to whatever degree your case depended on or was significantly bolstered by that witness, there’s an issue. Personally, I experience some tension because both the false and the true statements are coming from the same witnesses on the same subject matter (theology, Biblical application, etc.).

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@Josh
It’s great that by honestly sharing this, you have opened up a number of people in this forum in a deeper way, even though some of the posts are longer than normal.

This is how I have begun to see things in regard to the issues of what to believe when it’s clear some things we were taught are off base:

  1. Christians don’t have their act together, generally speaking, any more than non-Christians do. Everyone is deeply flawed. Everyone has handicaps. What ‘advantage’ Christians have is that they admit (or they should) that they are broken sinners. It’s like AA, we are coming to say we admit that we are broken sinners, and that we need to look to God and the community of fellow believers to encourage us to live good, godly lives.
  2. Christianity has become what I would call “Churchianity” for many Christians. They have added rules, traditions, and ways of thinking that are not true Christianity. One of the biggest themes of Jesus’ ministry was rejection of the Pharisaic way of focusing on the superficial and pushing those beliefs on others. We tend to look back on the portrayal of Pharisees as “those people” who were so bad, yet we have a lot of that going on and if we admit it we may have some of that going on inside ourselves.
  3. It’s possible to have too “high” of a view of scripture. If you look at the history of scripture, it was pretty messy. None of the original documents are available and even YEC sites like Answers in Genesis admit that the translations could have flaws. Obviously God could have waited until later in history when communication was more reliable or he could have used more dramatic, miraculously ways to convey clear and flawless scripture. But, it seems that he did not intend to do that and did not want us to make scripture TOO high. After all, he also gave us a personal relationship with him, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  4. A lot of people, including Christians, gravitate towards ‘rules.’ I’m not saying that there aren’t any important rules that God promotes through scripture. But for some Christians, there is a tendency to carry them far beyond what scripture says. That’s because rules are easier for some than a dynamic personal relationship with God. Plus, we often don’t have a clue of what God is telling us. We have to work hard to get close enough to hear God. We tend to allow a lot of voices into our life that interfere with being sensitive enough to hear from God. That may be through TV, the Internet, and the values within them, that seep into our way of thinking. Or it could be some of the people we associate with.
  5. I believe that we need to work at letting God’s voice seep into our thinking. That includes scripture and pastors/teachers and others who say things that resonate in our soul. We need to “test everything, hold on to what is good.” and “think on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure…” In my experience, God can work through many different methods to teach me. And I don’t often learn when things are going good, but it’s through the difficult things and their aftermath that I learn the most. For example, one of the things I learned through a terribly difficult breakup of an engagement was God doesn’t always ‘rescue’ us from pain and grief. He is like any good parent: once the child gets old enough, God gives us ‘tough love’ and pushes us to stand on the two feet he gave us. For me, I also realized that my soul is in a struggle against ‘the dark side.’ We have to use everything within our power to stop feeding the ‘dark side’ (which makes it grow) and feed more God’s side in our life. That includes, eating right, exercising, avoiding bad influences, practicing good psychological health, studying & thinking on good things, helping others, getting/maintaining a healthy ‘support’ group, etc. (To be sure, it requires not over-spiritualizing things that are just plain unhealthy). I have learned a lot through others in my ‘support group’ (which includes a small group, but also my sphere of family and friends). Interestingly, some of those friends are YECers who nevertheless, have so many positive things they have taught me and are among the most loving people I know. I have come to realize that ‘dark side’ that I picked up from years of the world seeping in, have told me that it’s natural to feel superior, hold resentment or anger, to blame others or even to be too hard on myself. But when I go to bed at night, I take ‘an inner look’ and sometimes see that something that doesn’t feel quite right. I talk to God about helping me to see and overcome the dark side influence. For me (and I suspect for others here) it might include a sense of condemnation or superiority that I feel over other Christians because they are not as ‘enlightened’ as I am. But God is slowly helping me to realize that that is wrong and in my own ways, I am just as bad as others. I need to grow in humility, godly character, and loving others (although true love sometimes means ‘tough love’).
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@DougK great insights, thanks for sharing that.

have you ever met someone who is perfect and only speaks the truth. How about Peter?

The argument to discredit Christianity based on those who call themselves Christians is well known but those capable of critical thinking would make a difference here. When Jesus accused the pharisees did that make you question God?

Please do not let worries about some people who do not understand that Theistic Progressive Evolution does not go against the Church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If Benjamin Warfield, former professor of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary were here, he will tell you the same thing. One can be a Conservative Christian and accept BioLogos. It is simple as that. Also, science can change its models of creation should scientific evidence require that. As the Rev. Billy Graham has said: God could have used any means to make the universe. Just have faith.

Charles E. Miller, Jr. BA in German; MA in Religion and Biblical Studies

Post Scriptum: Keep the faith. A new heaven and new earth along with a resurrection body will be worth it!

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I have had (and somewhat still have) this same issue. I moved from a very big town with lots of diverse thinking (Columbus, OH) to a small town with lots of like-minded thinking (Titusville, FL). The problem for me is that I was easily able to find a church in Columbus where my ideas on evolution and other non-gospel issues like politics were accepted but in Titusville, I am now the black sheep. It can be a daily struggle for me to hear conversations at work or church and have to hold my tongue so as not to alienate those who are easily alienated (it seems that those who disagree with me also have a tendency to be offended that I would even dare think differently). :smile:

God has provided a church for me that, thankfully, stays pretty neutral on these kinds of issues from the pulpit. It was a big worry for me that I might have to sit in church every morning and hear the kinds of sermons about “the world” that I heard in my Pentecostal upbringing. God has blessed me (and our community) with pastors who avoid the details of these divisive issues and stick to the overall implications of scripture. Our church is a powerful force in the community and our pastors are some of the most serving people I have ever met. They truly love Jesus and they truly love people. In fact, I started working there as a part time graphic designer and I see it in every interaction I have with them!

What I have learned in the last three years is that God is teaching me restraint and humility. He’s teaching me to look for the best in people even when they are way off base on issues I really hold dear and important. I could definitely drive 30-45 minutes to Orlando and find a church more like my old church (in fact, there is one there that I think is sympathetic to Biologos, but I just can’t seem to find it right now), but I would be missing out on the community and why God has me here serving. Plus, I would have never met those that I’m serving alongside and while we may argue on whether or not this country has too many guns or if Genesis is literal, we both love Jesus and our city and that’s why God has brought us together.

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