I am stressed out living in Dallas.It seems like every evangelical church I go to a new battle is being waged against evolution.
I was thinking to stick with evangelicals, but I let their attitudes drive me crazy!
Sometimes I regret having become a historian of this controversy. It is like being a historian of the Civil War during the time of segregation. In the South, there are always reminders of the past battles. In the case of evolution, in Arkansas as recently as 1981. Louisiana too.
Several “apologetics” (really “antievolution”) organizations exist here, and they have an active network in many evangelical churches, including the megachurches.
I just need to detox from the culture wars over science and I don’t know how to do it.
Antievolutionist X will come to speak at my church, or Y will show up in the media at night while I am trying to sleep. Then Z will come to a megachurch here and do a huge conference attracting scores of people.
Then A will partner with the seminaries.
I know what you are thinking.
Become a Catholic, or move out of the South(?)
But seriously, what would you do to turn it all off? Avoid going to conferences in your church? Keep waiting till you find a church that won’t do such conferences?
Antievolution attitudes are just widespread here.
Thank you for your thoughts for a very tired and burnt-out man.
Josh, I think you are in the hotbed of it, aren’t you? I’d like to say, “Come to Michigan!” (our old state slogan), which I think anyone should do anyway. But it’s a bit ask, and the culture war is here as well. I don’t think the volume is anywhere as loud, but it’s here. Terry’s suggestion might be the best place to start.
I don’t know what Presbyterian churches are like in Dallas. I’ve been going to a PCA church for almost 2 years, largely because of CW and YEC in the independent Baptist church I went to for over 2 decades. Many/Most at this church are probably YEC, but the church holds to the Regulative Principle, which at least keeps the stuff out of worship service. (Unless the text for the week includes some key YEC verses; then it could come up.)
I’ve not been to an Episcopal church before, but there is a great breadth among them from theologically conservative to very liberally. You might find one where you feel comfortable.
The culture war and YEC infect most everything anymore. It’s hard to turn down the noise enough to actually worship. This is not what we want for the church or ourselves.
Merv, after 21 years, trying to do this in a much less hostile environment than @jbabraham88 is in, I know how exhausting, depressing and eroding it is to the psyche as well as faith. It didn’t take long after we moved to the area that I felt like we were missionaries in our own church. I see no reason to believe that we were part of any kind of meaningful change in the church, except to encourage a very few (less than 10 people) who saw the problem as well. Most of them are gone, too.
When it’s time to leave, it’s time to leave. There is only so much a single individual can take for so long. Most of us understand our faith to be both communal and individual. When the community is self-destructive, one person can’t go it all alone.
It’s ok to be idealistic, see oneself as a faithful remnant. But that can’t last forever without becoming pride rather than faith. That isn’t better than corruption by political power.
Sometimes leaving is a way of surviving with one’s faith in tact. It’s ok to leave.
At some point in modern history TEists will accept the reality YECism is ancient…its far older than TEism.
You have concocted a conspiracy that is of your own delusion…this isnt a war between Christians, its a war against secularism and the naivity that says what we see around us has not been completely corrupted by sin.
Whether individuals want to accept the biblical fact or not, as a christian one simply cannot explain away the theme of the bible…the wages of sin is death and our redemption was made possible by the physical death of christ on the cross.
Sin enterring this world and bringing death with it is not an allegory. That death warning in genesis was certainly physical as proven by Christ on the cross and its just as physical as the second coming will be.
The point is, the mainstay doctrine of Teism is a fabricated theology (genesis being an allegory)…its completely false.
I would be more worried about that than young earth evangelicals. If you are seeking a seat where its comfortable and your theology isnt being challenged…you probably need to change world views. It sounds to me like your theology is being shot to pieces when its tested anyway.
It can definitely get tiring. I live in south Alabama and so the bulk here are also anti evolution. For me the easiest way was actually to be very open about my stance and bring up evolution in general. Then when someone wants to argue, I just don’t most of the time. I tell them I’ve had this argument a thousand times and then I give them some suggestions in books if they want to read them. Most of them now realize it and don’t really pop back up. You just decide to not get offended. Sit around sometimes and imagine a scenario where someone wants to debate, and you just imagine yourself with a friendly slap on their shoulder and telling them perhaps another day so what’s your favorite verse?
Ultimately what helps is finding a church where you think the people are good and active in the community and a church where the people seem to love and operate as a family. Some churches are like that and some are like a lot of strangers who meet up once a week. Get to know the people in your church.
I will go out to brunch with the men at the church. Some of the poorer elderly at the church who can’t afford help I’ll visit once a month or so and cut the grass, or get some others from the church to change out the tires or fix screen doors whose hinges are broke and so on. When talking with the people there I will just do my best to be friend. Take the new American horror story that just came out. Once a week me and a few others from the church that like the show are going to watch it together. One of them has this outdoor kitchen with this tv there. Turns out that all of us there had a schedule where we are off at 9-10pm and so we are planning on meeting up at 11pm each week and watching an episode. This morning I’m going on a short hike with a woman from church who has heard we have parrot pitcher plants. She’s just a hobbyist like me who enjoys hiking and looking at nature. So I told her I know where some are and we are going to go look at them soon. Y’all can also do something like everyone goes to the animal shelter and do volunteer work for 1-2 hours. Most of them desperately needs someone who can just take dogs outside for 20-30 minutes and pet and play with them.
Just be active with being part of the community and it’s easier to look past things you don’t like. If a congregation is hateful, and won’t let it go, decide if it’s the congregation as a whole or just 1-2 people. Then decide if you want to try at another.
I tend to have the attitude that I am fine with whatever others in the church want to believe, and only call them out on it if they grossly misrepresent something. Otherwise, they know I accept evolution and are mostly fine with it. I have invited any who want to talk about it to have a cup of coffee and do so, just to move the conversation out of the church. Interestingly, no one has taken me up on the offer. If Adam were a member, I suspect we would have coffee often. Or I would. Adam, I suspect you would have orange juice.
Plus the reality is that as we learn more the theories we have gets more fine tuned. Each generation, more and more accepts evolution. As more time goes by evolution is less used synonymously with atheism and understood to be something any faith can accept. I imagine in a few more generations things like young earth creationism will be about as common or convincing as a flat earth.
Yes, well, I was trying to avoid confronting the underlying issue of faith and science as it was not the prime concern. This thread is more about finding a home and sanctuary from extremists than defining the place of evolution in faith. There is enough of that elsewhere.
Christianity is very good at being dogmatic over which ever flavour of Christianity is being followed. The point here is to find a place to fit in with rather than be forced to conform to something that makes them uncomfortable. Switching from one dogma to another will not accomplish this.
It’s tough though when it is more or less coming from the pulpit and is a constant drumbeat. I would never be able to stay in a church that insisted on teaching “tithing” or the imminent pre-tribulation rapture nonsense.
Not to say that these sorts of churches don’t have their uses. But it’s definitely possible to outgrow them and move on in your own journey as the Spirit leads you.
I was just pointing out that luckily for Christians being born 60 years from now, evolution probably won’t be that big of an issue if it’s even an issue at all. I’m sure new things will arise, but I think science will be less of an issue than philosophical outlooks in the future. Or social practices. It will be more about different outlooks on life and less so about accepting basic science.
The church I go to has almost completely different views than me.
About 10% accepts evolution.
About 10% adheres to conditional immortality.
About 40% are preterist.
About 1% affirms the LGB community.
About 10% believes that fictional stories played a major role in the bigke.
About 5% believes that the Bible is not inerrant.
About 20% hold to liberal and progressive views.
About 30% thinks that horror films and celebrating Halloween is ok and not satanic.
But when it comes to how one is saved we are about 99% in agreement with each other. When it comes to cessationism it’s about 99%. When it comes to the belief that’s it’s ok to believe what I believe and it’s not an automatic one way trip to hell it’s about 95%.
@jbabraham88 You mentioned culture war. It’s often on my mind, too. While I was eating lunch I noticed the Culture Care newsletter in my email inbox. This won’t solve your problem, but maybe will be an encouragement. Makoto Fujimura is an artist, who is a Christian, and who has been thinking about, writing about and resisting culture war with his concept of culture care. I find much of his work restorative and reviving. You can find the most recent newsletter here, if you are interested. ANd you can find a great deal of admiration for him in Liam’s wonderful thread:
In my church there are three meme bees holding to three views.
Eternal Conscious Torment.
Some believe that hell is still a place that exists.
Some believes that hell has ceased.
Some believes he’ll never existed.
The only ones that believes that hades has been cast into the lake of fire already are preterist who believes it’s just symbolism. Pure symbolism.
I’m my church that’s just me and one other guy.
I don’t think anything in revelation is literal. I think it’s all symbolic. Some of the symbolism plays into the Roman Empire. Some of the symbolism plays into this revolving door of good and bad times.
I don’t think heaven or hell is a literal place. I think hell is the state of being dead and heaven is a state of belong alive. I have no idea if we are alive spiritually after we die physically. I also don’t care. It’s just not
Important to me. I don’t care if Jesus literally resurrected physically, or if he was given eternal life through the word which is always being proclaimed or if there was some sort of actual ghostly state that exists outside of this dimension.
The spiritual and supernatural aspects of Christianity is meaningless to me.