Though I believe far more are helped by EC I’ve noticed more saying it’s led them to atheism

Though I’ve only seen it once or twice in here I have seen it mentioned about a dozen times in the last year of younger ex Christians 20-30s mentioning they went from YEC to EC to Atheism. That at first understanding these better interpretations on creation and so on led them to being more harmonized with scientific consensus and then as time went they became more comfortable with a imperfect Bible and hyperbole and within a few years found themselves basically offering naturalistic excuses for every single miracle mentioned in the Bible including the birth and resurrection. That as they slowly begin to deconstruct and rebuild, it got to a point where they realized nothing happens and there is no proof and the sources of proof are explained away and they just kind of fall out of fellowship with no one really except online to discuss these matters and within a year later just don’t see why they should believe anymore.

I was really glad to hear in the latest podcast the woman advocating for a return to fellowship in person at your local congregation. Which I find very important as well. I stopped going to church for only about a month. Then it went to we met with the most elderly in the building and the bulk of the congregation was outside in their cars and the rest in their cars. I’m not 100% certain how it works but they had something hooked up to an tv thst broadcasted a signal that you could tune into with your radio in the AM stations to hear the pastor live talk. No video just audio. A few months later it was the congregation set outside at picnic tables in small groups while the evangelist preached and eventually everyone moved back into the congregation mostly spaced out and now no one is spaced out.

But the focus is not just meeting up but what do others who land within EC and general naturalistic theology lean on for support thst Yahweh and his son Jesus exists?

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With that said I still believe YEC is the driving force of
Christians giving up their faith. For every ex EC I’ve met there had been dozens and dozens more who gave up because of YEC. But I am Irving a increase of Ex ECs. ( evolutionary creationist or whatever term you prefer ).

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Another really important set of questions!

  1. Church In Person:
    Any fellowship, and then particularly in person, with folks in my congregation became really important to me, when we were first dealing with covid in the U.S. As a joyful introvert, I spent enormous amounts of energy to stay in contact with people for well over a year. Our church was able to reopen in June 2020, and I was able to make our church library materials available then as well. We took all kinds of precautions, attempting to make church a safe place for as many as possible. It felt wonderful — for a short time. Then I learned more about views different from mine about precautions we were taking. Within the congregation (which includes elders and deacons) concern for legal rights and the right to follow pseudoscience often trumped concern that people with health concerns be able to worship together in their own church. So there were conflicting messages: we love each other in the Lord; we should be fellowshipping in person; our “rights” are more important than other people’s well-being; isn’t it wonderful to all be together again; enter at your own risk.
    We have left after many years. The last two years were the culmination of many doubts about staying.
    Right now we are going to a church we really like, where there is a service requiring masks, so there is at least some consistancy of message: if you have health concerns and recongize the need for physical fellowship in the church, we will make that possible. I feel like I can breathe at church again, that I’m not about to have a nervous break-down every time I enter the church. I think I have a much better understanding of how people can feel truely alienated within their own church or faith. I’m grateful there is a place I can be right now to regroup, even if we’re strangers.

  2. My experience with YEC & EC
    I was first exposed to YEC with a video (I think) that was shown (I think) on a Wednesday night at church when (I think) I was in high-school. (I think it was in one of the classrooms, not the sanctuary, which makes SOME difference in our churches.) I think it was Henry Morris stuff, and he was describing the evolutionary process as a giraffe stretching its neck to be able to reach the food that was available. My 10th grade biology class was enough to help me say, “Well, that’s not how it works at all. He’s lying.” I was done with YEC then and there at about 18. And I was blissfully able to (mostly) ignore it for decades. About 15 years ago, I started hearing more about it again. Nasty weed. And now, like stink bugs, sea lampries and zebra muscles, it’s an invasive species running rampant, changing the spiritual ecosystem.
    I would love to be able not to care about it at all. But when the proponants tie its belief to the Gospel, making YEC or ID or OEC belief a theological essential, I can’t ignore it any more.
    For me, contact with EC Christians has been beautiful and refreshing. Again, I can breathe. I don’t have to worry about every word coming out of my mouth being seen as heresy, or “compromised” (read: heresy). But my faith was never tied to any pseudoscientific origins story in the first place. And I think that makes an enormous difference. It has also forced/allowed me to recognize there are tensions I can’t resolve and don’t have to. I’m not looking for a system that “explains it all” with mathematical rationality.

  3. YEC setting the groundwork for deconstruction
    I recognize that there are quite a few people “here” who seek a cohesive system of understanding the world, which uses only one set of epistimological tools. And I see that matters of faith are a real struggle for them, although they express it differently. I wonder if the struggle is stemming from an underlying assumption that science and faith can both be investigated and understood using the same set of tools. All of the origins-based teachings I’m familiar with attempt to say the same thing. For someone trained with the assumptions that faith and science MUST be a unified system that is explored using the same set of tools, even EC, with the assumption of two very different ways of knowing, will fall apart. When one is attempting to engage with a faith, which includes the supernatural, but do it materialistically the pieces just won’t fit, or they have to change shape.

  4. Possible Deconstruction Data Source
    Pew is the only (trustworthy) organization I am familiar with that is doing research on matters of faith. THere may be others, but I”m not aware of them. They have some articles related to faith and evolution in the U.S. here: Evolution - Research and data from the Pew Research Center.

I think it’s important to remember that “here” in this forum, and in other similar fora, it’s a pretty concentrated population that doesn’t represent the greater whole outside. People concentrate themselves in places like this for a reason. So, numbers here will be skewed. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there is research going on, that is gathering just the kind of information you’re asking about.

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As you imply in your first post, a lot of ex-EC people were YEC first. I think in a lot of cases it’s the YEC worldview that first lays the framework for rejecting the Bible if it doesn’t measure up to science, even if many of the thought leaders then try very hard to skew the science in their favor.

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I went from gap theory creationism through TE and ID to vague EC. Now I find that a meaningless paradox. If anything, infinite eternal nature is grounded by God (deism) and He incarnates when appropriate (theism). And all is well for all as always in the transcendent.

I agree it is YEC views which are the most corrosive toward faith. From my perspective as someone who has tried discussion forums organized by atheists, the angry atheists and anti-theists are almost universally those who reject the YEC views they formerly held. One gets the impression they look for opportunities to justify leaving the faith. The anger and rudeness seem motivated by a need to justify and defend that rejection. It clearly leaves a scar. In such an environment having a neutral discussion on the positive aspects of faith or even just why it had been selected for so heavily for so long.

As indignant as they often become about having “atheism” defined by believers, it doesn’t stop them from insisting any believer who shows up must defend the YEC brand of Christianity which they’ve rejected.

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Are ya willing to explore that opinion amicably in this thread?

In principle, yes. But the truth is I don’t hold my opinions based on any of the sources whose interpretation is disputed by the two sides. So I really don’t have much more than my own intellectual revulsion toward YEC to share and no interest in arguing against positions held on the basis of a tribal/familial inheritance.

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  1. I really feel the vast majority who leave the faith do not care about the age of the earth, or evolution. They may come to conclusion of an old earth or the validity of evolution based on the evidence once they no longer reject it due to their previous training, but it is secondary, not primary.
  2. We see something like 80% of youth who were previously active in the church, leave after graduation. I would almost bet that a higher percentage of those who do not go to college, be it state or Bible, are among those who leave. Look around, many churches have pretty good college programs, but few have many kids in high school graduate career programs, though there are a few.
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Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights, Mark. I’ve never talked with these folks, but I know they’re out there.

YEC leaves scars wherever it takes hold, I think. There are probably plenty here like me, who still have their faith but are tired of that side-eyed look from decent people at church who have been hood-winked by this stuff. “Hmmm. Always thought she was ok, but from what she’s saying about Genesis/Dinasours/genetics/evolution/text-books/dragons/KH/age of the earth/whatever, I’m just not so sure about her salvation. Is she a heretic after all?”
and
“I just don’t know how anyone can be a Christian and believe Genesis 1 is not historic.”

Yeah, there’s a lot of thoughtless, friendly fire. Lots of collateral damage. I doesn’t surprise me at all that some people who have lost their faith, because it was ill-founded in YEC to begin with, are really angry. They have been condemned from all sides, and if their belief was dear to them to begin with, it’s got to feel like their hearts have been amputated.

The destruction is real and multi-faceted.
For those of us still in the faith, it’s pretty clear satan has found another effective strategy for tearing the church apart.

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I think it’s naive to assume that science was THE MAIN THING on people’s deconstruction trajectory. People who grow up YEC also tend to grow up with a lot of other fundamentalist baggage. The exvangelical pipeline is full of people who are disillusioned with the expression of Christianity they have been immersed in on multiple levels. They have often been spiritually, emotionally, or sexually abused by church people. They are disillusioned about the response not just to science but to race, gender, and politics. They are seeing hypocrisy and failure everywhere they look. Let’s not blame “EC” for people’s deconversions, when the damage to their soul is multi-faceted and deep.

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My interest in whether or not YEC views are the most corrosive toward faith is “academic”, at least until I come up with a better word for describing my interest.

  • Their views (i.e. the views of YEC-cers) do not corrode my faith, and would not have, even when I was a teenager living in my Missouri Synod-Lutheran Preacher’s house.
  • And then, that was certainly not a YEC household.
  • Also, I was not born into the family; I was brought into it, voluntarily, at the age of 12; and I left to join the Navy when I was 18 (not to escape my family, but to follow friends who had joined a few months before me.)
  • And, contrary to the imagination of a couple of silly people who know nothing about me, I haven’t been a regular member of a religious group or church congregation since about 1976. I haven’t been to a church since the memorial service following my father’s death in 2015. And unlike my three brothers, on-line church services don’t do anything for me.
  • Is my faith now “corroded”? Only someone who doesn’t know me might think so. Personally, I know it’s stronger than it’s ever been in my life. That’s because of the “gratitude” that I have: for what I have received in life and for what I have now.
  • There was, however, a brief period (roughly 3 months) when I was 8 years old, that I spent as a “fattening up” project in a Southern Baptist preacher’s home. Sundays and Wednesday Evenings in church, family prayers on our knees every evening before bed; and informal behavioral training that I’m sure would have sucked the life out of me and motivated an attempt to escape. But fortunately, as I said, that only lasted about three months, and once back home, I recovered quickly.
  • Back, when I was a member of a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Community in San Francisco, roughly around 1975, one of my boon companions shared this with me: "Free men do not rebel." As far as I know, my friend came up with it “on the spot” during our conversation. I believed it was true then and will be true forever.
  • So, if you agree that free persons do not rebel, do you think a free YEC’s views could corrode his or her views? I think not, and can’t imagine how they could. On the other hand, I do believe–even if the YEC swears it’ll never happen–that a free YEC’s views (i.e. theology) can change, and that their faith can grow.
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YEC lays this framework, as many within it would like, usually of a binary system that is difficult to break from. Some times people need more time and grace to deconstruct their baggage, but the church often seems impatient for the congregants to get it right. Instead of an atmosphere of safe questioning where we trust God is faithful while we try to figure things out and learn at different paces, faith is painted more as an urgent need to just believe and obey rules.

It’s also interesting that common rhetoric in conservative America has been looking to the past when apparently we were largely a Christian nation with all these Judeo Christian values. When I was younger, a lot of people did go to church. BUT they were just nominal Christians, or there was something wrong with what they believed and just nobody was really getting it right except our church. So maybe this progression from YEC to EC to atheism is one pattern that people who are increasingly being honest with themselves are taking. Because if they were practicing those Christian values, we’d (churches I’ve been part of and I) find something wrong with their faith anyway.

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I’m basing it off of what I hear. It’s always stems back to science answering all the questions they have and the ones it does not has no need for Christ to fill it. I’ve yet to met someone who left YEC and became EC leave the faith because of gender issues since the majority of those who seem to fall into EC accepts the general gender and social issues. It’s that they simply don’t see God as anything other than a metaphor anymore.

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I think the imposition of binaries is a really important feature leading to this disaster.

And this is part of that (false) binary assumption. Particularly for highly analytical thinkers, who process the world through data in ways I cannot, being taught a faith that is built on fake “scientific” assumptions is a recipe for disaster. Because the pseudoscience, which was treated as proof of the faith, is demonstrably false, the faith itself must be as well.

What is more, while YEC talks about some accounts of miracles, as if they are open to scientific scrutiny (for example, Jonah’s whale/fish and Job’s monsters (Sorry, Martin. I’m not done with these texts yet.)) arguing about taxonomy and other nonsense, while switching on other topics such as creation. The youthful analytical thinker will confidently clutch to his/her memorized lists and canned arguments (with much approval from his/her well-wishers) misled into believing these are proofs, but eventually, if they keep analyzing, this kind of bait and switch will be challenged enough to be exposed.

In the end, what is this person left with, except doubt or disbelief?

As frustrated as I have become with fundamentalism, at least it’s satisfied without explanation (God said it; I believe it; that settles it.). It’s not great, but there IS a possiblity of discussion — slowly over long periods of time. But when you add to this the belief that science DOES prove the Biblical texts and gives you support for what you believe, that lie, if dismantled, leaves a person empty-handed.

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Just to be clear I’m not talking about someone who is angry at God, hurt by the church or anything dramatic. Just people that begin at YEC and then became open to the Bible being non literal and then beginning to recognize even the stories written in a way that appears to be read literally but is full of hyperbolic speech that eventually leads them to things like heavy natural theology where they no longer believe that the miracles are real, that they virgin birth was real or that the resurrection was real. The Bible slowly goes from being real to less real and it eventually becomes essentially a giant metaphor devoid of anything supernatural. They are in a community of mostly people who accept same sex, reject the modern purity movement, are anti slavery and ect…. They enjoy church and have many church friends just no longer believes in the supernatural at all and thinks it’s all metaphorical and philosophical and decided that there is really no reason to believe it and so ofer years they begin to externally voice they just don’t believe it and eventually end up in atheism. Not angry atheism that hates Christianity. Just the belief that there is just simply nothing literal in the entire Bible including an actual god.

Since I’m in a similar boat and have these discussions with people it comes up and especially on Facebook and other random threads. There are millions and millions of people with similar ideas about Christianity as we find in BioLogos and other similar groups. For me personally I have zero scientific reason to believe in God. I have seen prayer answered for sure very few times in my life in a way I just don’t think it’s coincidence. None of it necessarily supernaturally charged up. No magical healings, resurrections and so on which is fine because I’m a biblical cessationist and so I don’t expect it. But it does mean I also don’t have the supernatural or miraculous things to lean on. Christians in general , even in here , are no better or worse than a decent person from any other faith or non faith. There is nothing historical to look back on to say this was for sure a god involvement here. I choose to believe in God really because of 2 events in my life that just seemed to coincidental to have just happened and neither one again is necessarily supernatural and based off of other very unlikely to be coincidental events I hear from others could just have simply been something extremely unlikely but not impossible and can’t be verified as carried out by a god.

Now I’m not particularly struggling with my belief in God becsuse as mentioned I just simply believe he’s real despite having no real reason to outside of those two events. But despite that, the faith is just there. I can’t really imagine ever not believing in God becsuse I don’t expect anything from him. I don’t think he’s not involved in his creation just that he’s not not involved with it in a crazy supernatural way.

But I have meet a increasingly growing number of people , more in the last two years than ever in my whole life who over the span of 5–10 years have slowly moved into atheism because the Bible slowly just became one giant non literal metaphor.

So that’s why I asked my question. Within natural theology where so much is turned from the supernatural into a metaphor what are the ways y’all encourage disciples 5-10 years in to not just move into atheism.

25 posts were split to a new topic: Arguing about cessationism

That looks like a sentence fragment to me… care to finish that thought?

They are not entirely to blame when their church and friends have all equated Christianity with YEC…

I would rather just rephrase it. I’m doing most posting on my phone now as my demon possessed laptop has turned against me. So now in addition to garden variety typos and unwelcome spell check corrections I have lapses caused by slow speed texting. How about I put it this way:

In such an environment it is impossible to have a calm discussion on the positive aspects of faith or even just why it had been selected for so heavily for so long.

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A fascinating read which did clear up some confusion about who this fellow might be. Appreciate you sharing the back story.

I’m especially surprised to learn you have not sought out a congregation and seem not to desire one. I can certainly relate. But while I don’t describe myself as any kind of Christian I’m pretty sure (but please do correct me if wrong) you do claim that descriptor. But I do have very strong faith in something greater than my own opinion which informs all my opinions - even my opinion of how best to describe its place in the world and how that connects to me. I’ve concluded that the connection between Christian belief and my own just is easier to see from my side of the divide. So I count Christians as Allie’s and brothers regardless. But I have any wish to congregate even though I obviously enjoy conversing, especially with others who recognize their own insufficiency and dependence on something greater. Plus I value my solitude a bit more even than these conversations.

Certainly YEC belief doesn’t corrode my faith but it does leave me dumbfounded and doubtful that I can learn much by way of conversation with such. Just too little common ground. But I don’t dismiss its value as a means of feeling connected to what is greater. But what a price they pay in terms of fitting their views with the general contemporary culture.

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

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