Is it worth it for them?

Most of you are probably familiar with the film “The Matrix”, in which the principal character discovers that he has lived his whole life in a vast computer program. He is presented with a choice, either to accept the world as it really is, or to simply go back and pretend that nothing ever happened.

For the past few years, I have gradually come to appreciate the beauty of evolution. This was not always the case. As I began to be convinced of the evidence around me, it seemed at first to be a cruel and ugly process which I could not easily reconcile with the faith in which I was nurtured. As a child, I had never had to ask such difficult questions that challenged what I thought about what I believed and this made my own personal journey very slow and difficult. Well, old habits die hard - but in my own particular case, I feel deeply that it was worth it.

Now, here’ s my question: Are some people better off not knowing the truth? Most of my family members are young earth creationists, and they’re very comfortable with their faith. I care about them deeply and don’t want to hurt them, but at the same time it grieves me to see them deceived. Is it really worth it? Wouldn’t it be better to let them accept faulty science and leave it at that?

How would you (did you) want to be treated by an “evolutionary-thinking” friend or family member if you were still in your former situation?

Another consideration is: how invested are they in it? Is it a central issue that deeply bothers them or drives them to try to convert the non-like-minded? Or is it just sort of a default thing for them because they’ve never given it much thought? In both cases they may benefit (or not!) from your attempt at persuasion. But it will obviously be much more difficult for you to try if they are in the former category.

I struggle with this also. When a YEC friend brings up something about it (and it is almost always them who bring it up) I tend to agree with whatever part of it I can agree with,(Yes, creation is amazing!) and just let the rest pass unless they wish to press it. My attitude is sort of like Paul I hope. I can eat bacon, but would not eat it in front of someone it offends. On the other hand, I have a bigger problem with ignoring the elephant in the room with young people, who I feel are more likely to lose their faith when confronted with the fact that Santa is not real (figuratively.)

A very short response would be… God loves the truth :slight_smile: . So ultimately, nothing in the truth will harm those who love God.

Maybe it helps to think about future generations of Christians. Particular individuals today might manage to stay within their YEC-bubble. However, some of the future products of that bubble will surely venture out of it (just like you). Every time that happens, such people experience a huge shock and often a faith crisis. So by contributing to breaking the “YEC-bubble” today, you can be of great help to future generations of Christians.

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Yes… SOMETIMES it is best to let sleeping dogs lie … but only if they are part of a special part of your circle…

The other several millions of Young Earth Creationists must face the truth …

I think it depends how old the YEC people are. If they are 70+ and set in their ways I would say to forget it. This is especially true if they are in poor health. But you can certainly tell them what you believe and why you believe it. The elderly tend to be sensitive, and you wouldn’t want to risk turning their lives upside down.

But if the YEC people are younger, by all means open their minds!

My brother is a physics engineer and he was talking to my dad about why young earth was hooey and my dad basically told him he didn’t care. It was simpler and easier to be YEC, and he didn’t have time to read a bunch of books and change his worldview, because in the end, it wouldn’t effect how he lived his daily life at all or make him love God or people more.

My dad is one of the people I respect the most in the world. He is one of the most generous, servant-hearted, radically Jesus-like people I know. And he isn’t a fundamentalist at all. In fact he is the one who got me into NT Wright and Scot McKnight in college and told me to try read at least a couple of CTs books of the year each year, so I blame him for the fact that I ended up here on BioLogos in the first place.

All that to say, I think for some people it really is a non-issue that doesn’t make a difference. What I would advocate for is tolerance of believers who see things differently. If I had a close relative or friend who thought YEC was central to good Christianity, maybe I’d poke that dog a little more. But since my parents and close friends are perfectly happy to coexist with those who have a different take, I’m happy to let the dog sleep.


Christy, I think of my Mom in the same way. I remember coming home from a high school science class all fired up with my new-found knowledge of evolution and anxious to dispel the ignorance of my folks who believed a literal interpretation of Genesis 2. On hearing my spiel, my Mom calmly told me: “Maybe you descended from apes, but I certainly did not.” Looking back on that incident now I am pleased (and rather surprised) that as a smart-assed teenager I had the wisdom to see that, had I been successful in convincing her of the “truth” of evolution, it would not help her lead a happier, holier, and more productive life than the “erroneous” world view she grew up with.

But in the world I grew up in, by learning (through physical chemistry) about how life forms might have arisen and then became more complex and more beautiful (through evolution), spurred on by the changing environments of Mother Earth (through geology), I came to a more loving respect for the Creator who brought it all about. So for my Mom the axiom that applies is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” For the youth of today, however, I believe BioLogos is doing an excellent job, and I am going to try to persuade the adult confirmation leaders in our parish to make it accessible to the young folks studying to receive that sacrament.
Al Leo

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Thanks for your excellent responses!

I certainly want to be sensitive to my parents’ views. Being that they are probably not going to shift their views any time in the near future, they may not have to struggle with this issue as some of my siblings may eventually have to as they come to look at the evidence. I’ll try to open more dialogues with them in the future and hopefully, they may come to understand and appreciate the process of evolution as I do.

If some of them don’t, which I imagine will be the case, we can still find a way to reconcile our faith and nurture healthy relationships. Through all of this, I have learned that I need to be more patient. That’s a lesson worth learning.

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