3. Instilling Fear

One of the things that I feel YECists instill in its followers is Fear.  Fear and Doubt of anything that contradicts a 100% literal, factual interpretation of the Bible.  Some may even say a KJV Bible, but that is a topic for another day.

A common idea that is taught among YECists is: “You either believe the Bible as a whole, as 100% true in each and every word, or you can’t place any faith in it whatsoever.”  I see a HUGE problem with this.  YEC aims to build believers up, by affirming to them that they CAN trust the whole Bible to be true, but it does the complete opposite, in my opinion.  Whether YECists realise it or not, this idea actually sets up YEC believers to fall away from the faith altogether when they are faced with evidence which suggests that not everything in the Bible can fit a literal interpretation.  The YEC response to this is actually quite interesting.

YECists know full well that mainstream science does not agree with YEC teaching. To combat this, they produce their own magazines (some of which rival National Geographic in terms of style and look), websites, and other media to get their Message out there.  Seminars, DVDs, books, etc, etc.  I have noticed a common thread running through them.

First off, the main aim of the YECers it to debunk evolution.  I’ve heard statements like “It’s only a theory” when referring to the Theory of Evolution, implying that scientists themselves doubt its veracity.  Another tactic is to point out all the mistakes that scientists have made over the years, bringing one to the ‘logical’ conclusion that in time, evolution will also be proven to be a mistake.  I will address Creationist Claims later.

Another technique YECists like to use is to prove how certain phenomenon that we observe in the world today could have occured over a short period of time.  This is to show that it is not necessary for ‘millions of years’ for these things to take place.

So, presented with these two main ideas – the problems with evolution and how Creation has an ‘answer’ – the seeker is ‘forced’ to accept Young Earth Creationism…and disconnect with mainstream science.

Some examples:

(1) Several homeschooling mums I know in real life have expressed more than once of their fear (yes, that is the word they used) of teaching science.  This fear is not due to feelings of incompetence in teaching the subject matter, but rather not being to find ‘good, Christian, Young Earth Creationist’ Science books.  Conversely, those who have found science books from a YEC point of view have said that they are no longer afraid to teach science.  I have to ask Where does this fear come from? I believe it is largely due to YEC teachings.  Their message is that teaching your children science from an evolutionary point of view heightens their chances of them moving away from the faith later on.  And many Christians believe that.

(2) On the homeschooling forums I am part of, most of the members are YECs.  Not all, but most.  This is not interesting.  What is interesting to me, is that some of the YECs cannot understand how someone can be a Christian and NOT be YEC. (There is that assumption again: a Bible-believing Christian who is well-taught would come to the conclusion of a young earth.)  What takes the cake, however, is that some people come on to the forums questioning Sonlight’s carrying secular science books that mention ‘millions of years ago’.  Did they not read the Reasons NOT to Buy?? Never mind that the pages mentioning ‘millions of years ago’ are never scheduled; they are so upset at even having the book in their homes, that they are considering returning the whole package!

While I myself held similar beliefs, it was very uncomfortable seeing it displayed in others.  In other words, I felt like I catching glimpses of myself in a mirror, and instead of smiling in recognition (“Hey, that’s me!), I was disturbed and appalled (“That’s what I look like?”)

<< 2. Homeschooling | Creation/Evolution Page | 4. Is Young-Earth Creationism ‘Science’? >>

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Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Religion, Young Earth Creationism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The idea that (leading) creationists consider the Bible to be 100% literal is simply false, and one reason I put in another post that your information seems to come more from reading anti-creationist sources.

    Similarly, creationists do not use the “it’s only a theory” argument. In fact, this is in CMI’s list of arguments not to use (http://creation.com/qa#bad_arguments).

    “Their message is that teaching your children science from an evolutionary point of view heightens their chances of them moving away from the faith later on. And many Christians believe that.”

    Well, there is good reason for that, because many people have testified that that is exactly what’s happened to them, including atheists such as Richard Dawkins and former preachers and evangelists such as John Loftus and John Templeton. Okay, not always as children, but it was evolutionary teaching nevertheless.

    “some of the YECs cannot understand how someone can be a Christian and NOT be YEC”

    I’ve encountered such people myself, and pointed out that they are wrong. But, as I covered in an earlier post, this is not the case with the leading creationists. CMI’s Dr. Catchpoole, for example, was an atheist who became a Christian then twelve years later became a creationist. He doesn’t believe that he was not a Christian until he became a creationist.

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  2. Okay, I wrote this post over a year ago, and I realise that some of the information contained in this post needs ‘updating’ to be clearer.

    There is a ‘movement’ within the YEC camp that calls for a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11. An article put out by CMI calls this the ‘litmus test’ for evangelical Christianity.

    I know that CMI lists ‘it’s only a theory’ as an argument that Creationists should not use. And I have addressed this in one (or more) of my later posts.

    I think it is a mistake to teach that evolution and creation ‘must be’ mutually exclusive. It is THIS teaching that I object to and that I believe causes people to walk away from the faith.

    Thank you for pointing out to people that one can be a Christian without being YEC.

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  3. There is a big difference between having a literal understanding of Genesis 1-11 and having a literal understanding of the entire Bible, as your blog article states. The point is that the Bible contains different literary styles (narrative, poetry, etc.), and that not all should be taken literally, but that some, such as narrative, should be. A further point is that Genesis 1-11 is (mostly) narrative. So yes, biblical creationists do claim that Genesis 1-11 should be understood literally, but my objection was to your blanket claim that this literal understanding applied to “the Bible as a whole, as 100% true in each and every word”.

    When I talk about creation and evolution being mutually exclusive, I’m talking about what the Bible teaches, not some other “creation” story. So evolution requires millions of years, but creation (as taught in the Bible) took six days. By any definition, that makes them mutually exclusive. Further, evolution (in the broader sense than just biological evolution) has the sun before the Earth, the sun before plants, and bird life before land life, to mention a few, whereas the Bible has the reverse in each case. You can only reconcile the two by saying that one doesn’t actually mean what it says. Funny how it’s always the Bible and not evolution that this is done to.

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  4. ‘So yes, biblical creationists do claim that Genesis 1-11 should be understood literally, but my objection was to your blanket claim that this literal understanding applied to “the Bible as a whole, as 100% true in each and every word”.’

    I guess you would have to be there to hear the person who said it to understand.

    I think ALL Christian do believe the Bible to be True. I further believe that a Christian can believe Genesis 1-11 to be True without it being a factual, historical narrative.

    I realise that you hold to a literal reading of Genesis and that means that, for you, evolution and (your understanding of) creation are mutually exclusive.

    ‘You can only reconcile the two by saying that one doesn’t actually mean what it says. Funny how it’s always the Bible and not evolution that this is done to.’

    Not always.

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  5. “I guess you would have to be there to hear the person who said it to understand.”

    How would that help me understand that you were making a blanket claim about the entire Bible being taken literally as an accurate claim about YECs?

    “I further believe that a Christian can believe Genesis 1-11 to be True without it being a factual, historical narrative.”

    Only, I believe, by twisting words beyond recognition. So does that mean that you believe that it’s true that Eve was created from Adam’s side?

    Does that mean that I can believe that the Gospel accounts of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again are true without it being a factual, historical narrative? If I don’t believe that it’s a factual historical narrative, then in what sense can I believe that it’s “true”?

    “I realise that you hold to a literal reading of Genesis and that means that, for you, evolution and (your understanding of) creation are mutually exclusive.”

    It’s also clear from Jesus’ references to it that He held to a literal understanding of Genesis. Such as when he explained about marriage by basing it on God creating Adam and Eve. Or when God Himself wrote in stone that we should rest one day in seven, because that’s what He did. If He /didn’t/ do that, where does that leave His instruction?

    “Not always.”

    I nearly wrote “almost always”, but I couldn’t think of a single exception. Do you know of /anyone/ who claims that the millions of years claimed by mainstream scientists are metaphors, figurative language, “true but not factual” or etc. for “six days”? I certainly don’t.

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