Leaving fundamentalist faith and the compatibility of Christianity and evolution (spin-off)


#1

Don’t be afraid of losing a fundmentalist faith. Think of finding a sensible a reasonable one. I have been a Christian and a scientist for most of my adult life. I gave up on fundementalism and never looked back. Don’t let anyone make you think that gaining a Christian -Evolutionist faith is a road to atheism and clinging to fundamentalism is then only anchor. Fundamentalism is more dangerous to faith than a reasonable faith that takes into account moderm discoveries
Blessings on your journey!


Scared of losing my faith
(Joe Palcsak) #2

Implicit in your brief post are several bad assumptions. Let me focus on three of them:

  1. Christianity and (the grand claims of ) evolution are compatible. The short answer: they are not

  2. "Dont let anyone make you think that gaining a Christian-evolutionist faith is a road to atheism"
    For goodness sake, that very fear was the entire reason the young lady reached out in the first place. And for what it’s worth, I and many many others can bear personal witness to the fact that, yes it does.

  3. Fundamentalism and reasonable faith are not compatible. What a wickedly dangerous claim! If fundamentalism means believing that 2 Timothy 3: 16 is true ( a fine definition of fundamentalism, if you ask me ), you are saying that reasonable faith is not compatible with the Word of God.

Do not take His name (Christian) in vain!

p.s. modern discoveries have revealed how very much beyond the reach of purely natural processes life really is. Modern discoveries testify that life requires a Creator. Praise God!


(Peaceful Science) #3

Hello @deliberateresult.

@cosmicscotus may or may not be right about fundamentalism, but your definition of fundamentalist faith is just wrong.

For example, I am not a fundamentalist, and I entirely believe “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (II Tim 3:16)

Do you know the history of Fundamentalism? Have you heard of the Five Fundamentals? Are you a Fundamentalist yourself?

We’ve been on this rodeo before. Clearly, my version of Christianity rooted in Jesus is compatible with evolution. Your version, which emphasizes ID, is not. I can agree that your understanding is not compatible with evolution. Can you at least agree that (1) I am a Christian and (2) I affirm evolution, and (2) I see them as compatible?

If you can acknowledge that self-evident truth, than you must acknowledge that at least some forms of Jesus-centered Christianity are compatible with evolution. If you cannot acknowledge the obvious, please explain to me why I am not a follower of Jesus according to the standards laid out in Scripture. If you cannot do this, please stop making such absurd claims.

Do you think I am on the road to atheism? Why?

Is Tim Keller on the road to atheism? How about NT Wright (the writer of the The Resurrection of the Son of God)? Or John Ortberg? Or almost every Christian professor I know? Or Andy Crouch?


(Jay Nelsestuen) #4

The five fundamentals:

  1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
  2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
  3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
  4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
  5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).

I pulled these off of some website or other. But to be a fundamentalist at one point in history meant believing all of these. I am of the opinion that one can believe all these things and still be an evolutionary creationist. I personally believe these things.

However, the word “fundamentalist,” in modern parlance, refers rather to that strain of Christianity which is often inhabited by Baptists and even some Presbyterian groups where legalism, King James Onlyism, and non-Lordship salvation rule the day. These churches are almost always young earth, and (with the exception of the Presbyterians) dispensational in their hermeneutic. Kent Hovind is an excellent example of a fundamentalist, in modern terms. In some cases, “fundamentalist” can be used in a pejorative sense by those who aren’t fundamentalists. I think this is a misuse of the word. As I said, one can be a true fundamentalist (a la J. Gresham Machen and others) and not be a “fundamentalist” (a la Kent Hovind).

Anyway. Just thought I’d offer some context.


(Chris Falter) #5

Exactly. The definition of fundamentalism has certainly morphed over the past 100 years. The term has taken on a sociological meaning rather than a doctrinal meaning, such that scholars speak of Islamic fundamentalism, even though Islamic fundamentalists would vehemently dispute all five of the points that J. Gresham Machen propounded.

The sociological definition of fundamentalism has to do with a rejection of modern adaptations in a long-standing religion or school of thought. The Ultra-Orthodox movement within Judaism would be a kind of fundamentalism, and Answers in Genesis would be a form of Christian fundamentalism.

But there are other ambiguous terms in this discussion as well, like inerrancy. The Chicago Statement advocates a view of Scriptural inerrancy which is extremely similar to the traditional Islamic view of Quranic inerrancy–i.e., that every word choice must be true in every possible sense. If a sura says that the moon was split in two, then by golly if you had been standing outside and looking up on the right night, you would have observed it rending itself in two. Interpreting the moon splitting passage as poetry or allegory would be a category error in this Islamic view of inerracy. Likewise, the Chicago Statement view of inerrancy says that if the Bible says reation happened during six mornings and evenings, then by golly God’s work was finished after exactly 144 hours.

The view of inerrancy that I subscribe to is often described as infallibility. This doctrine states that the Bible cannot fail in the proclamation of what God inspired it for: to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness. And to animate the conscience (“able to split the soul from the spirit, the joints from the marrow.”)

Some folks consider my stance as near-equivalent to the Chicago Statement, and others consider my view to be dangerous heresy. When I read the Scriptures that speak of how God will judge, though, I don’t think He is going to put the infallibilists on his right hand and the inerrantists on His left, or vice-versa. He is going to examine first and foremost our trust in Christ. He will also examine our works: he state of our hearts, the fervor of our work, and the love that we have lived by His power.

Conclusion: we need to be careful about how we define these terms as we speak to one another on these forums.


(George Brooks) #6

@deliberateresult

I think you have gotten yourself confused, yes? You write as though you are conversing in a room of Atheists. BioLogos supporters also testify that in the case of our own planet, the Bible makes it clear that life requires a Creator.

You’ll be more careful in your next posting, yes?


(Jay Nelsestuen) #7

To be perfectly honest with you (and if anyone that I know ends up seeing this, it’ll be quite the scandal), I don’t tend to use the word “inerrancy.” It’s become too much of a buzz word. For example, Dr. Jeanson at the debate yesterday mentioned that there is no “affirmation of inerrancy” on the BioLogos website, as if such an affirmation is a requirement to be at all trustworthy. Words like “inerrancy” define who is in and who is out.

As for the concept, however: I don’t have too many qualms. It’s a relatively recent word. I prefer confessional language like the “authority and infallibility of the Scriptures,” which practically describes the same thing but with perhaps a bit more nuance. What is meant by “without error”? What qualifies as an error? Etc. I wrote in my journal at one point that I don’t really care to use the word, so long as I’m pretty much defending the concept, i.e. that the Bible is correct in what it means by what it says. If what the Bible means to communicate by saying that the earth was created over the span of six days is that God is the creator, but not how he created, then great; “inerrancy” doesn’t die.

I suppose that the CSBI statement assumes YECism. Meh. I like what it has to say for the most part, but it’s true that it’s a bit lacking in some respects, in my humble opinion.


(George Brooks) #8

@AdCaelumEo

I salute your fortitude!

As soon as you read Job’s description of snow and hail being stored in warehouses in Heaven, how could anyone claim inerrancy?


(Jay Nelsestuen) #9

If one were to understand Job’s words as poetic rather than scientific (after all, the Bible is not a book of science, right?), then there is no “error.” After all, one of my favorite modern worship songs uses the same imagery:

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night

Obviously, these are not scientific descriptions of God’s great works within the natural world, but poetic expressions. I rather like the images they conjure up. Quite wonderful. :slight_smile:


(George Brooks) #10

@AdCaelumEo

I don’t believe there is a way to determine when something is poetic truth vs. poetic fiction…


(Hugh Farey) #11

I also think it is possible to be a Christian but not a Fundamentalist. I suspect that most Christians, including myself, fall into this category. The Virgin Birth in particular seems an odd little detail to get hung up on. And as for the road to atheism, I think most Scientists are on it. But roads have two directions, and many of them are walking in the other direction…


#12

The big problem of the Science vs Genesis debate is view that is some way the text of Genesis is some infallble word from God, that makes of it in some way a kind of history of what happened in the creation of the earth.

I constantlly take the bible as an inspired Word in many ways but not in relation to ancient history. I think we need to have space for view kinds of cultural beliefs about God that changed with time and in whcih people took mythical and legendary stories to illustrate the ultimimately unknowable God who gradually is made known in relationships with people. God makes allowances for human limitations in knowledge.We cannot read Gensis without seeing the writers view of an earth under a dome of the heavens. Well that is what the world looks like from our looking up from the ground. Yet we know that is not true. We know (from Copernicus onwards) that the earth revolves around our sun that is one of billions in our galaxy, and the lights in the sky are other suns billions of light years away. (Unless some-one is going to contest that).

Once we lose the neccessity of holding some kind of “infallible” view of scripture in such matters there is no problem for a evolutionary view of creation. If I was told I had to believe in such infallibility in order to be a Christian I would leave any church that taught it Thankfully as with others on Biologos,I know I can be a faithful disciple of Jesus and have an evoilutionary viriw of the world and also a devepmental understanding about the way that God spoke to the biblcial writers.


(Jon Garvey) #13

I suggest you steer clear of The Ryme of the Antient Marriner then.


#14

You can always dance around the issue and claim that it doesn’t really say what it says. It’s a favorite tactic.


(Jon Garvey) #15

That’s a quote from Ken Ham, isn’t it? Didn’t know you were a fan.


#16

No, these words are my own. Not Ham fan.


(Jon Garvey) #17

That’s interesting then: The difference between you and Ham isn’t the argument (the meaning of the Bible is plain and literal, and people try to wriggle out of it). But his conclusion is that the plain reading proves science erroneous, and yours is that the plain reading proves the Bible erroneous.


(George Brooks) #18

@Jon_Garvey

Duly noted!


#19

Bollocks. You somehow misunderstand me. Does Jesus really walk around with a sword sticking out of his mouth?


(George Brooks) #20

@beaglelady

Wait, wait … I don’t get this…

John 15:1

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”

And I thought he was just saying he was super flexible…