Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Re-posted: The New Answers Book's attack on Christianity

I posted this earlier then deleted it because I thought it was too harsh towards Young Earth Creationists (the predominant demographic of the people I know). It doesn't have anything that will get me suspended but still my blog is in its infancy and I can't risk having too many people mad at me. I am going to post it again because it needs to be posted (also tell me whether or not it is too harsh);

Yes, as odd as it may sound I have to defend my Christian beliefs from AiG
creationists. Young earth creationists, although they have good intentions, no
one other then atheists have done a better job then them in tearing some
people's faith in the bible to pieces and building up a few others then them.The
entire third chapter of the New Answers book
(which I will be critiquing) is
devoted to attacking theistic evolution; the authors of the book start out
talking about the scopes
monkey trial
and how William Jennings Brian the defender of creationism was
an old earth creationist, so therefore his attempt to defend creationism was
forfeit. They don't seem to wonder that it might have been because William
Jennings Brian was wrong about evolution that he did such a lousy job defending
creationism.There next move is somewhat unnerving. They say they will be taking
quotes from what atheists said about theistic evolutionists to show theistic
evolution is wrong! Oh good grief! Using that logic we might as well say
Christians were wrong in reinterpreting the bible when scientists said earth
went around the sun. They end the paragraph by saying that reinterpreting the
bible gives you leeway to reinterpret anything you want to in the bible. This
must be addressed, this is only true if you are invalidly reinterpreting the
bible. Reinterpreting the Genesis 1 to mean God created the universe over six
ages is valid; fifteen hundred years before geologists found earth was 4.6
billion years old or biologists found evolution was true many of the church
fathers believed that because of II
Peter 3:8
the days in Genesis were a thousand years long. The next part is
their attack on the scriptural validity of theistic evolution, but unfortunately
they are all operating of at least a few misconceptions.In the next part they
begin quoting the anti-creationist Thomas Huxley;--first of all, why are these
supposed creationists quoting an atheistic evolutionist? He was trying to
destroy belief in the bible in the first place. They surely wouldn't quote an
atheist denouncing the Christian acceptance of heliocentrism as rejecting
scripture would they?--And second of all this is what he said in his quote
(taken from his essay "Lights of the Church and Science");

"I am fairly at a
loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology
must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures.
The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with
Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests
upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no
evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them.
If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were
not ordained by Jahveh; if the ‘ten words’ were not written by God’s hand on the
stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the
Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the
Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of
apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of
the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which
is so much less clearly enunciated: And what about the authority of the writers
of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted
flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of
Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?"

What he said is absolutely true the
bible is worthless if there is no historical or scientific merit behind it and
thank goodness Huxley is wrong and the bible does have factual merit. Other then
that this quote is meaningless because it presupposes Christians who believe in
an old earth and evolution deny the Bibles historical and scientific merit.In
the next paragraph they say he was out to destroy Christianity and vigorously
attacked the old earth position, so one would wonder why these young earth
creationists would use this to stand for anything. The next statement is perhaps
the weakest point in the entire chapter. They give a verse Matthew
where Jesus is talking about marriage. And says in the beginning God
made them male and female. This is interesting but the verse could be
interpreted to mean the beginning of mankind. Despite upholding the doctrine of
marriage, it means nothing to creation.Over the next few paragraphs they go on
quoting and talking about Thomas Huxley praising his passionate dislike of those
who tried to reinterpret the bible to fit with the current scientific thinking.
If the authors of the New Answers book think this is making them look good I
don't know what to say. Who cares what an atheistic evolutionist thinks about
Christians. How about we do the same thing with the doctrine of geocentrism.The
next section of the chapter doesn't get much better, they start out with a quote
from Charles Hodge
saying that the church has had to reinterpret the bible once before to fit with
modern science. Unfortunately young earth creationists may have to learn the
same lesson the 17th century Catholic church had to learn. I would suggest these
young earth creationists to look at proverbs
and get some humility.Anyway they move on to the argument that the bible
teaches "no death before sin," unfortunately their scriptural support is rather
weak, Genesis
which they use to support death being caused by the fall; there is just
one problem Genesis 3 only has 24 verses, the verse doesn't even exist! This is
either a typo or outright deception, (lets assume its a typo). Romans
and 8:18-22
can be interpreted to imply that the death came to Man by Man; (I'll admit
Romans 5:12 is one of their stronger points but it still does not prove it). Genesis 1:31 does not contradict the mechanisms of natural selection or the natural
processes and if you think about it, creation is "very good" with a stable
ecosystem, inhabitable environment; everything just right for humans. God
sanctions the weekly slaughtering of animals and as any anti-christian animal
rights activist will tell you, God does not consider animal death evil. This
does not at all affect the idea of a loving God.Next they bring up a quote by a
liberal Christian, episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong, Spong makes an
interesting point by saying theistic evolution demands an imperfect creation.
But this is simply not true. We live in very good time to exist. The ice age is
over, all the giant carnivores are extinct, the climate is temperate (if we
lived back in the days of Pangaea over 80% of the planet would be an enormous
desert and the rest an ocean). The creation may not be perfect in the same way
as God himself but it is still very good time for humans to live in. God is no
longer guiding the natural processes even if he is still involved in them one
way or another, God has gotten us here, there is no reason to go further. Now it
is up to us to decide whether or not we will enjoy God's creation and tend to it
as he asked, or squander it and waste because of our greed.They close that part
of the chapter by saying that theistic evolutionists (or evolutionary
creationists) need to come to grips that the God they worship is not the true
God. But I don't think they realize the discrepancies between the God of a young
earth and the God of the bible either. Essentially the God of a young earth
would punish mankind by submitting innocent animals to being killed even though
they were innocent, and this is the loving God that gave his life so I could be
forgiven? We must be living in different universes.They end the chapter by
saying two things;--That once people start doubting the bible, (a.k.a. the young
earth interpretation of the bible) they begin to relegate the bible to a book of
suggestions.--And that we are relying on fallible human opinion when we trust
science only.To the first one, that is up to the person, strong Christians did
not reject the bible when they found geocentrism was false. I think Christians
should do fine as long as they do not extrapolate beyond that to say the entire
bible and Genesis is not true, which is simply not the case. There re lots of
archaeological and other scientific discoveries that point to the bible being

NOTE: I don't know why its making that weird structure, I can't correct it.


GodCreatedBrains said...

You make some valid point but because I did not read the orginal book, I can't really comment on whether your critique is fair or harsh.

What I would find helpful is if you would give one point that you do beleive in or want to disprove and it can be debated point by point.

When you comment on so many issues at once we tend to react to the one that strikes us at the moment.

What would you say is the strongest point you can make for your belief. Just start with one thing then we can move on to the next one.

Created Rationalist said...

The chapter itself really only tries to make three points
--Saying the bible and evolution/belief in billions of years are incompatible is wrong
--If you do this you are saying part of the bible is mythological imagery
--and this sort of compromise leads to even wider compromise. If you could give me an example of a church going liberal becuase of accepting what secular science says about the natural world alone then your case would be much stronger.

Note: liberal churches usally do reject creationism but often its not the reason their liberal. The Emmerging Church movement probably accepts the scientifically established age of the earth, evolution, and the Big Bang. But they are deemed liberal because they deny everything that makes Christianity Christian

Created Rationalist said...

Also GCB here is the third chapter of the New Answers book on the Answers In Genesis website for a better understanding of my review