The struggle of leaving Young Earth Creationism and a plea to Biologos

Hi! I’ve lurked around here for years, but never made an account or posted. So I’ll try to be succinct.

Over the past 10 years since Bible college I’ve been slowly leaving YEC. To the point where now I wouldn’t consider my beliefs YEC, but something closer to evolutionary creation. So here I am in my 30s, working a dead end job, but
none the less totally enjoying viewing God’s creation through new, more serious lenses. However…

The Struggle: I’ve been learning and relearning. Hearing facts and seeing new discoveries for the first time. It’s all quite exciting. For me, the learning bit has not been the struggle.

It’s the double whammy of hiding (avoiding the issue) my personal journey from most of my friends and family and the constant stream of “evidences”, cliches and platitudes from YEC. This experience, I realize, is common and it is closely tied with Christian fundamentalism and even political partisanship. It’s clear many millennials and others have been digging out of fundamentalism and looking for balance, while maintaining orthodoxy. At least that is my goal.

Here’s the root issue for me (closely tied with my “plea to Biologos”). YEC has created an infrastructure of “facts” and responses. Sometimes literally in book form. Disproving this x or proving y. The stream of content is breathtaking and it has fully saturated some circles of evangelical Christianity. It’s very difficult to wade through because there’s an “answer” for everything.

My plea is simply for Biologos to release a book or podcast series with the express interest of countering the claims of YEC. And aggressively while still being kind. I don’t mean vaguely dancing around the issue or teaching evolution. I mean here’s a claim made by YEC and here’s why and how it’s wrong. Claim after claim dismantling of YEC organized in book or at the very least podcast form.

I can appreciate that not every Christian has grown up YEC, but for those who have it’s my experience that the journey out is quite messy. So much misinformation and even lies. We need more literature directly combating YEC. There’s not near enough out there to help the Christian wade through this journey. Specifically dealing with YEC’s counterfactuals. Hugh Ross’s “A Matter of Days” is awfully lonely when it comes to a more direct approach in dealing with YEC. So certainly, the brilliant and kind people at Biologos should be doing the same.

(Sorry! Not so succinct) :slight_smile:

20 Likes

Welcome, and blessings on your journey (not totally unlike mine)!

There is certainly enough content here for a book, and one thread can concentrate on a particular aspect, but to present an organized overview and then detailed answers in book form is perhaps something needing to be done. Of course YECs have their pat answers to each question, mostly shallow answers. Someone else may know of a book that’s already out there.
 


(Certainly more succinct than many OPs that deserve a tl;dr! ; - )

3 Likes

Welcome to the forum! (or at least, welcome out of lurkdom!)

A lot of what you say resonates with me, as I’ve been in the process of deconstructing YEC and related beliefs for a while now, and juggling the double-edged sword of the loneliness of being different from my community with the joy of, as you say,

I remember when I first came to BioLogos and was looking for something similar to what you’re talking about, though I wasn’t sure whether I’d find it in book form. I wanted something that clearly explained “The BioLogos view” and why it was right and AIG’s was wrong.

It was strange for me to find out that there was no one, complete, overarching “BioLogos view” on all the particulars of the faith and science “debate” in the first place. There was no one telling me what the “true” view was – just what the body of scientific evidence was currently showing, and several different ways that theologians and faith-based leaders have made sense of scripture in its ancient context (which include plenty of variations).

I had become accustomed to receiving an “answer” for everything, which I could then parrot back to “defend” my faith with, so part of the journey for me was learning to let go of needing to trust so much in “answers” or in having the one right view of everything, or one particular organization telling me what to think. Not saying that’s what you’re doing, but that might be partly why BioLogos has sought a different communication style than certain YEC organizations.

But I agree that the “YEC industrial complex” is showing up in a lot of places – I homeschool my kids but generally stay away from any science materials labeled as “Christian” for that reason.

For some YEC claims, the best comeback is just science, but since so many Christians feel they do not have permission to take an open-minded posture toward science in the first place, it may be that the most effective “answer book” is a view of Genesis in its ancient context, like John Walton’s “Lost World” series. Once that bridge is crossed, the science can be explored on its own. But I can see how it would be helpful to have specific scientific claims all addressed together, because people coming out of YEC do tend to have the same kinds of hang-ups and misunderstandings that they’re trying to unlearn, so we kind of need a different starting point than most people.

Anyway, TL;DNR version: That could be a useful resource, as long as it doesn’t fall into the same trap as certain YEC organizations and tell people what to think or inflaming “us vs. them” conflict, rather than offering multiple approaches.

You’ve probably already seen it, but just in case (and for anyone else lurking) BioLogos offers a page of recommended books for those who want to go deeper on a particular subject:

Also, one of the participants here, JammyCakes, has a blog series that makes the case for why AIG’s “ten best evidences for a young earth” don’t work: AIG’s ten best evidences – How old is the earth?

11 Likes

So sorry for your difficulty with friends. Most of us have had a similar path, if it is any consolation. This post will probably accumulate a lot of references to resources, of which there are many. I think JammyCakes has a blog that addresses a lot of the issues.
Will write more later

5 Likes

Thank you! I have explored his blog some in the past and it is helpful.

2 Likes

An Anti-YEC book? “Brave New World that hath such folk in it.”

4 Likes

This is so true. The YEC perspective is quite different, at least in the AIG world.

The problem is that it is a closed system, and while they are able to give answers that are internally consistent within their bubble, what we find is that it breaks down when you look at the broader world. AIG is totally dependent philosophically and financially on a 6000 year old world, and any variance to that is an existential threat, explaining their vigorous response. It is a big universe outside that bubble, and we have a even bigger God who created and sustains it. As God taught Job, who are we to think we have all the answers.

9 Likes

It’s a good point you make about “feeling the need for certainty and needing answers”. If I’m being honest that tendency cultivated by YEC and fundamentalism is definitely there with me. I would still say, especially in the Christian circles, there should be more direct interaction and dismantling of YEC. I think some Christians take for granted how difficult it is to work your way out of YEC, fundamentalism, etc

4 Likes

I’m not sure. I remember at the Biologos meeting in Houston, one of the speakers spoke of how difficult it was to be a scientist in her church, what with so many invested in the conflict narrative, while a work also having some pushback about Christianity, although frankly much less of a problem. There were a lot of teary eyes as it struck a common chord.
I think we all have had that struggle if like me we are part of a traditional evangelical church. It has improved a lot in my church, but is still an issue at times. Personally, as I grew older and ceased worrying about what others thought and expressed my thoughts openly and honestly, I have found most people really do not care and accept you as you are. There will be some who have imbibed the Kool-Aid to the extent that they may reject you, but I find they are fewer than you might think.

6 Likes

I have an idea where you’re coming from there too. And Laura’s observation is a good one about slowly working one’s way free of the need for quick pre-made answers. Meanwhile, though, even while we recognize the need to cultivate a different attitude than YECs so often display, I will confess that even after years of awareness of that on my own part, I still sometimes want to know … “okay - so where does this one go off the rails?” And I don’t think that’s a bad practice to keep within reach at least. It does help to engage them where they’re at and hopefully help them to embark on their own thoughtful and reflective journey of faith as well.

4 Likes

XD :grin:    

2 Likes

My pastor is fine with it, although most in the congregation would not be.

1 Like

I think the organization wants to be known as pro-science and pro-creation more than anti-YEC, so there has actually been an effort to avoid looking like all BioLogos does is argue with YEC groups.

Joel Duff interacts directly with lots of YEC claims and resources on his blog Naturalis Historia.

I believe he also does a podcast or YouTube thing regularly now too.

You might also benefit from a Facebook group called Answers to Answers in Genesis. People regularly share info there that directly deals with AIG propaganda.

It is hard feeling bombarded, but there is a lot of support out there if you know where to find it.

9 Likes

Not disagreeing with anything you’re saying. But listening to Biologos podcasts there’s a common theme among the guests of “not being overly religious” or “parents not pressing the issue of religion and science” etc. I believe there may have been one guest who was formerly YEC but they didn’t get into it and it wasn’t the subject of the pod.

So a lot times I’m left saying to myself, “who are these conservative Christian parents who allowed questions and weren’t utterly hostile to evolution?” Haha

Again I don’t expect to be catered too and I’m not oblivious to other experiences. Only suggesting a more direct approach to deal with the claims of YEC. :slight_smile:

5 Likes

Zach is someone who grew up similar to you and interviews people on his YouTube channel about a lot of topics debated in YEC/EC circles. He has interviewed lots of BioLogos contributors if you like the You Tube format.

4 Likes
  • Alternatives:
    • A brief introductory text, no more than 100 pages.
    • Multiple, brief texts written at different levels: roughly 3rd grade and below; 4th to 8th; High School; and College Level.
    • A chapter at a time or by different authors, or both.
  • But it’ll need cartoons/graphics, kind of like:
  • Introductory texts can have cartoon graphics, like this one from “Introduction to Kierkegaard”.

Introduction needs to be written by one or more former YEC-cers who have made it out of the cave and are still alive and sane.

3 Likes

Nice! I’m excited to check out those suggestions. That’s very helpful. :slight_smile:

I understand Biologos aim and it makes total sense. If I were Biologos I wouldn’t want to be known as an anti YEC group either. However, even still, I wish Biologos would enter into the fray once and while. It seems silly to say, but the journey out of YEC is a slog and it takes determination. I think Christians could benefit from more popular resources from Christians.

3 Likes

Welcome. I guess it would be nice for them (Biologos)to focus on it, but in my opinion, what is needed is just simply getting done biology textbooks. There are thousands and thousands of books already in existence that disproves YEC and ID. It’s just pseudoscience and bad reading comprehension.

It sounds like perhaps whatever school you went to really did not dive deeply into evolutionary science. Instead of countering the YEC crap if you learn the actual science then that itself undermines the lies put out by places like AiG and so on.

This really makes it so simple.

The fossil record found within superimposed geological layers. Let’s say everything was made fully formed 6-10k years ago. Then a flood came and wiped out 99.999% of life. We would expect to see one of two things.

  1. The fossils all mixed together in some kind of illogical fashion.

  2. The fossil record stacked by weight, size or something. We would see the biggest on bottom with the smallest on top or vice versa.

But that’s not what we see. We see the fossil record stacked with each species showing divergent traits further and further from basal forms.

So we don’t see primates all mixed up. We don’t see humans showing up before the earliest monkeys. We don’t see humans and dinosaurs. We don’t see birds predating reptiles. We don’t see angiosperms predating the oldest gymnosperms.

If you like podcasts I suggest two different ones in addition to Biologos.

  1. The Bible Project by Tim Mackie. It touches up on how to read the Bible. That’s what YECism is. It’s not even remotely science. No one would have came to their conclusions if the Bible did not exist. It’s pseudoscience. Zero proof of their claims. So Tim touches up on how to better practice biblical hermeneutics. A few hundred podcast episodes I think. I’m not sure. A bunch is there and it’s worth listening to from beginning to end.

  2. The Common Descent podcast. It’s a podcast by two scientists that focuses on evolution primarily through paleontology. Sometimes genetics but mostly it’s tracing something like the evolution of the eye, or it’s tracing something like horses , or mammals and so on. Well worth listening to and going through their episode notes.

I’ll toss in one more. Though it’s primarily focused on the NW of USA it’s practical for all over.

It’s “ The Nick Zentner Geology Podcast “.

Don’t expect to have all your misinformation corrected within a few months. It’s going to take a year plus. Not a user plus to know what you believe, but about a year or more to now why you choose to believe what you do.

2 Likes

Wow! I love the idea. Sounds very entertaining. I definitely Biologos could pull something like this off. Direct and irenic is possible IMO.

1 Like

Biologos is, as a whole, somewhere between resistant to hesitant or slow to enter frays, but there are “rowdys” among the motley crew that were former pirates. Hard to get 'em to keep their hands off a sword or cudgel, too. Teamwork is something that only the “elite” know about. The rest of us are like stray cats, can’t get 'em to go in the same direction till you put food in their bowls and move the bowls real close together. :laughing:

3 Likes

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.