The Bible and the dismissive attitude:A question

I ran into a YEC who told me “I don’t have a clue” about science even though I was science teacher.

He says “you don’t know a thing” about the latest science which proves young-earth. He is highly dismissive and says “I am a doctor”…he’s a dentist.

I have visited this guy in his house in the past and he just has this “angry and dismissive” button internally when it comes to the science issue.

Before he was a Christian, he was a committed evolutionist and a drug user. As a dentist.

So I think he associates evolution with his past life.

I meet angry Christians who don’t know how to do peacemaking. Or don’t want to.

He says ICR is on the cutting edge of science. That’s fine with me if he wants to believe that. I think it is a delusion but it’s harmless as an idea to me. Does a YEC position actually do any harm?
As a committed EC but also as a historian of science and a guy looking for friends as a single man in a city, I am mixed up as to what Biblical commands are relevant here.



YECism is what turned Bart Ehrman into an atheist/agnostic, just as it turns thousands, maybe tens of thousands of university students into atheists every year without fail. In my university years it was the leading cause of loss of faith and the reason was simple: none of those students from YEC churches had been given a foundation in Christ, they were given a foundation where they believed that if there was even one flaw or error in the Bible then it was all false.

From my perspective YECism is deadly because it ignores the truth that the scriptures were written in ancient languages in forms of ancient literature to ancient people speaking on their terms, and crosses the line into idolatry because it demands that the Old Testament be treated as though it was the equivalent of a friend’s great-grandfather’s diary of events he lived through and reported objectively – and thereby demands that God conform in the past to the expectations of uneducated modern readers.

BTW, if ICR is on the cutting edge of anything, it’s cutting up both science and the scriptures to dumb them down and fit ignorance and superstition, science because it blatantly refuses to do actual science and the scriptures because of the treatment I described above and thereby misses almost everything that the opening story in Genesis was intended to say.


I bet this often happens with people who become Christians later in life, especially on the more conservative end – maybe there is some unresolved guilt or shame that is being handled by “doing a 180” in certain beliefs. One of my former pastors once remarked that he’s known some people to enter pastoral ministry in order to “do penance,” and that if that’s the case, he thought it was better for them to get out of it until they can reconcile whatever is in their past that’s driving them.

I’m sure it’s very difficult for a new Christian to navigate “dying to self” and figuring out which things truly need to be left behind and which can still be a part of a Christian’s life, just perhaps viewed differently than before. I guess all any of us can hope for is that we’ll move more toward love and grace than away from them, but the lines between man-made rules and principles rooted in love can be blurry.


It effectively contradicts the heart of the petitioner in the first request in the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be your name…”, “I want you to be famous”, “I am interested in your renown.”

When YECism makes a mockery of the faith (and in practice actually ejects many young people already in churches and turns others away), yes, it does harm. There are numbers of faithful and modest YECs who quietly worship without making a stir, but they can be and many have been sucked into participating in the militant noise that is so obnoxious and public.

Augustine always comes to mind in this regard:


A Lutheran pastoral theology professor I got to know maintained that there should be special monasteries, that people like the above could be weeded out and sent to a monastery and stay there till they had their heads on straight.

= - = + = - = + = - = + = - =

I’m not sure I see the reasoning here.

Also, Ἁγιασθήτω doesn’t suggest fame or renown, especially as fame is understood today; the closest it comes would be for the Name to be honored and respected and recognized as in a category all its own, utterly apart from all others.

Augustine’s point bears repeating often!:

1 Like

Does YECism bring scorn or renown to God’s name among unbelievers? It is frequently so closely identified as being one of the tenets of the faith integral to it, certainly by YECs themselves, that outsiders buy into it as well.

The only legitimate mockery of the faith is for the offense of the cross.

1 Like

It’s not believing in a young earth in and of itself that does harm. It’s the falsehood, sloppy thinking, anti-intellectualism, wilful ignorance and hostility to science that goes into supporting such a view.

One particular concern that I have about this is its capacity to sow confusion about how science actually works in people who are affected by it. The one thing that young earthists need to understand is that there are a whole lot of rules undergirding just about every area of science and engineering, as well as other areas such as commerce and finance, and if you’re promoting bad arguments that disregard these rules, there’s a very real risk that people who buy into your teaching will end up considering the logical fallacies and lowering of standards in your arguments as perfectly legitimate forms of reasoning, viewing important standards of professionalism and rigour as “overthinking” or “unbelief,” taking those attitudes into the workplace, and end up doing massive damage to their careers as a result.

Another danger is its capacity to encourage people to buy into just about every conspiracy theory under the sun. If you’re teaching people that the entire scientific community has been systematically lying about evolution and the age of the earth in a tightly coordinated manner over the course of two hundred years, it’s only to be expected that they’ll also start falling hook, line and sinker for every other conspiracy theory under the sun. After all, for scientists to produce the vast swathes of evidence for evolution and an ancient earth that we already have, they’d need to be doing so in a tightly coordinated manner encompassing hundreds of thousands of individuals over a period of nearly two hundred years at a cost of trillions of dollars—without so much as a peep about it appearing on places such as Wikileaks. If that kind of conspiracy really was going on then it’s difficult if not impossible to think of one that couldn’t be.


Not to mention doing actual and deadly damage to others if they become engineers or responsible for operating and caring for complex equipment. Using that sort of flawed thinking, having obtained the habit of disregarding the continuity of logic or willfully ignoring the measuring precepts and precision needed in our modern and technological society, how can it sometime not. There are probably those, though, who may be decent engineers but at the same time YECs who use their diplomas as validation of their [not so] critical thinking with respect to understanding evolution, not to mention the age of the earth and the cosmos. Maybe not so many petroleum or aerospace engineers though.


And by extension to the Incarnation. This is one reason I love Orthodox theology: if it isn’t about Christ, it isn’t actually theology in the Eastern view! From the Orthodox perspective, YECism isn’t even wrong because it isn’t theology in the first place (I try to remind myself of that when I get so frustrated with the deeply uninformed and irrational and deceptive nature of all YEC positions and arguments).

It’s also why I love this hymn:

1 Like

I would add hostility to the scriptures: YECism rests on a foundation of scientific materialism because it demands that God have conformed to the proposition that only things that are 100% scientifically accurate can be true. This is not a definition that can be found in the scriptures, nor is it compatible with them, and since it is the foundation of YECism, YECism is deeply unbiblical.

It also sows confusion in how reading the Bible works! Reading it as YECers do, as though it was the equivalent of a friend’s great-grandfather’s diary of events he experienced and about which he reported objectively is flat out wrong – it has to be read as the ancient literature it is, from the perspective of the worldview of each particular writer. Reading with a YEC perspective throws out most of the message of Genesis 1 because it refuses to recognize that the first Creation story is two kinds of literature (that we know of) at once and has three distinct messages.

1 Like

(Descants don’t hurt. ; - )

1 Like

In my experience there are two types of people. Those who accept evolution and those who don’t. I believe all of them, every single one of them that rejects it does not actually understand it. I don’t think they understand it, and reject it. Then there are those who accept it. Most people who accept it, including atheists, often don’t really understand. They don’t actually know much about science and would faith a 12th grade class on it. I talk to atheists all the time who know about just as much about evolution as a young earth creationist and they just say they accept it, and they do, and it’s by faith. It’s by faith because they can’t tell you anything about it.

So there is a good chance this ex druggie dentist probably knew very little about the science involved in evolution.

I think it was Garrison Keillor who once remarked that “this world needs more sinners and fewer saints” … because it’s the sinners who approach life with atonement in mind. One can get caught up critiquing the sloppy definitions or incorrect theology embedded in that quick, bumper-sticker thought, but there is a very real and valid truth revealed in it.

I recently heard a take on John 9 that really connected for me about the former blind man and his religious interrogators. On one side of that you have people who know their bible. They already have all the answers they need. On the other side is a man whose response to them is “I don’t know!” … or “all I do know is I was blind, but now I see. …and I find that curious!” Of those two parties it’s the former who completely miss Christ. And the latter (the one who didn’t have any answers) is the one who ends up falling at Jesus’ feet and worshipping.

1 Like

Thank you – I love that story for the way it shows “the foolish things” shaming “the wise,” but hadn’t thought about it in a while. The religious leaders kept trying to get him to explain what happened in a way that fit into their understanding of “biblical,” and he wouldn’t. That seems to be a common thread in the NT, and yet I have been too eager to copy the religious leaders’ example at times.

1 Like

Romans 14 (Bible Gateway NIV)

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.


YEC would certainly be a stumbling block, and has been for many. As @St.Roymond mentions above, many have left the faith when faced with mountains of scientific evidence that falsify YEC.

At a minimum, it a church does teach YEC it might be helpful to also teach that YEC is not required. They could be a Christian and accept evolution if they wanted. That would certainly remove a stumbling block.

1 Like

You have it backward.

Evolution is a stumbling block for YECs’ faith.

The method of creation does not affect The Gospel. But Evolution affects certain views of the Bible. Knock that out and you can kill the foundations of the faith. Leave it alone? Hmm.

I do not think that ethics is part of science.

Although I accept that being blind to science is technically falsehood, there comes a point where you have to weigh out the pros and cons of pursuing it. Just as some enterprises are not economically viable due to other financial pressure, so insisting on evolution is not necessarily helpful to a Biblical Christian.

The same principle applies to other disputes be it transubstantiation, or Original Sin. or even the food problems of Romans 14. Sometimes you have to just let it lie.


Yes, I do: YECism refuses to allow the scriptures to speak as what they were written to be, instead imposing a tenet taken from scientific materialism.

And citing Bible passages to anyone dishonest or uninformed enough to mistreat the scriptures as YECism requires is pointless – they’ve already shown they put their modern philosophy above the inspired writers.

Making stuff up about other people is not an argument.

Why is it that YECers almost never actually listen to anyone else, they just see disagreement and trot out the same talking points whether relevant or not?

Then facts are going to be a stumbling block because evolution is based on facts.

Not only that, but geology would seem to be yet another stumbling block. The mountains of evidence for an old Earth are going to be hard to dismiss.

What we have seen is YEC’s who are sheltered from facts. When they are exposed to those facts at the university level they have a crisis of faith because they had been taught that these facts, if they existed, prove the Bible to be false. This is why groups like Answers in Genesis condition their followers to ignore facts.

Taking science classes is going to expose students to the facts they had been protected from in the church as part of YEC.

1 Like

Of the hundreds of YECers I’ve asked to explain the theory of evolution, not one has understood it, and that includes a lot of university students. I never quite grasped it until I was doing student teaching and had to teach a sequence on evolution, and there were two delightful games included in the material that helped clarify it immensely: one used ordinary card decks and dice, the other used wooden squares with letters on them like from a Scrabble game; both had the chance of mutations, though the game with letters was more fascinating because the very simple rules of what was kept and what was discarded in the ‘reproduction’ process and what was preserved occasionally produced actual words (one rule was that any sequence of letters easily pronounced got retained) – which the rules weren’t designed to do even though they resulted in that.
And when it “clicked” in my brain, I suddenly understood why the largest group of those in our informal intelligent design club who had concluded there must be a Designer were those who had studied biology and thus evolution: it is such an elegant system for bringing forth new things it can be shocking in its beauty.

Ditto that. [I’m assuming that “faith” just before “12th” is supposed to be “fail”.] I think you’re over-optimistic, even; I’d say most non-science majors I knew would have failed a 9th grade general science exam, and if asked to describe scientific reasoning (without parroting the standard textbook attempt at a definition) would stammer for a bit then give up.

By faith and usually on the basis of argument from expertise – those who are experts say it’s correct, so they believe it.
Which BTW explains why so many YECers use the term “evolutionist” and act as though accepting the theory of evolution is a religion: they see so, so many people who affirm evolution doing so because that’s what their instructors have told them, and that matches how their belief structure works.

I’m going to have to ask my dentist about the evolution of teeth at my next appointment. :nerd_face: