I grew up in a home that had Ken Ham materials (My brothers and I were homeschooled until sixth grade). When my brother, a physics major, came home from Taylor U and told my parents that all his godly Evangelical science profs thought Ham sold a bunch of hooey, (and I chimed in that my Wheaton science profs pretty much said the same thing) my father very graciously said something like, “Well, Christians with PhDs in science are probably more qualified than we are to evaluate this kind of stuff. You’re the one studying physics, you need to decide for yourself who you trust.”
My parents still like young earth stuff, but it doesn’t seem to bother them a bit that my brothers and I totally reject it. There was always room in my house for committed Christians to have different viewpoints and still be on the same team. Neither I nor my siblings had any crisis of faith or psychological trauma associated with walking away from YEC.
On the other hand, I personally know many Evangelical families and people who grew up in such families where the lines between “our team” and “their team” are totally non-negotiable. Scientists who subscribe to old earth and the evolutionary model are not on our team, Catholics are not on our team, Democrats are not on our team, environmentalists are not on our team, anyone who is anything other than proudly heterosexual is not on our team, people who listen to NPR are not on our team, etc, etc. And kids are basically thought that no one who is not on our team can be trusted to say anything worthwhile about anything and even listening to them talk is dangerous. Those are the kids that have problems when they go off to college and meet Christians who are “them” not “us.”
AiG’s terrible exegesis and hermeneutics is a problem. But I think an even bigger problem than their wacky ideas is the cult-like insularity that groups like AiG promote. How can you ever learn anything in life if the only people you are allowed to listen to aren’t allowed to challenge your current thinking, because to do so is to prove they aren’t on the right team and are therefore completely untrustworthy?