Thank you, ‘blogosphere battlers’—you’re making a difference
Ordinary people are becoming online ‘soldiers for Christ’ at the frontline of the creation-evolution debate—enraging the opposition, but winning the hearts and minds of observers
Published: 13 September 2012 (GMT+10)
Among the incoming comments we received from readers of A candid admission was this absolute gem from Neil W., of Australia:
“I had a similar experience with an anti-Christian. The conversation started with him stating that ‘the science is settled’, ‘it’s a science fact’ and all the other usual soundbites they use for evolution. So over a few weeks I questioned his assumptions, refuted his ‘facts’ and simply kept asking the who, where, when, how, why questions to try and get to the absolute core of his beliefs. He eventually either through anger or frustration gave me the absolute basis for his belief and I quote as close as I can from memory:
“I have never cared about the ‘evidence’ one way or the other, I know God exists, I just refuse to bow down to anyone.”
So to sum up, I believe that most agnostics, atheists, anti-Christians are simply ‘stiffnecked’, ‘hardhearted’ and ‘willfully rebellious’ against God and Jesus because they do not ‘want’ to follow God’s laws.”
When I presented this comment as part of an address to a church congregation recently, one man, Mario, came up to me after the service to talk about that correspondent’s comment—he was very excited.
“Yes!”, said Mario, “that’s exactly how I’m finding it, too. I go onto a creation/evolution forum, and it’s not long before one or more atheists are ‘engaging’ me in argument. We go back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and they throw up all kinds of challenges and objections. But then they start attacking me personally, name-calling and the like, rather than address the issues I and other creationists raise. However, here’s the punchline. Among the many who stubbornly refuse to accept the truth, some of them get to a point where they admit that they HATE God—that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about the evidence, it’s that they hate God and don’t want to serve Him.”
Mario was very excited to hear that his experience of the atheists’ pattern of behaviour online was not unique. I asked him about the “other creationists” he’d mentioned who’d joined him in debating the atheists on that blog. He gratefully paid tribute to them.
“I confess that there were times that I was actually quite intimidated by the ‘weight of evidence’ and angry objections that the atheists would throw back at me,” said Mario. “I was new to all this. But then from out-of-the-blue came other creationist Christians, weighing in on the blog, to help me. They were great. In the face of the ‘scattergun’ attacks from the atheists, these other Christians would address the issues, one-by-one, often linking to articles on creation.com, and that’s when the atheists would ‘go to ground’. Not only did that encourage me and shore up my faith, but by watching their example I learnt a lot from them too about how to debate online effectively.”
Sounds like those online warriors-for-Christ (2 Timothy 2:3) knew how to convert a gun battle into a tennis match. Thankfully there’s a growing ‘army’ of them taking up the battle in the ‘blogosphere’. It’s not hard to find their handiwork. Wherever there’s a news item relating to origins, the public comments section soon turns into a battleground on the creation/evolution issue. On the Christian side, some of the bloggers are very adept at making short, but strategically adroit, comments.
Here’s a nice example. It was in the comments section of an online article this year from The Guardian entitled “Richard Dawkins celebrates a victory over creationists”.1 The blogger very succinctly wrote:
We should note, too, that it’s not only the atheists-versus-creation debates where creationist Christians are battling over truth, but also in the warring over the authenticity and readability of God’s Word as straightforward history. Here’s a sample contribution to the comments section of a Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) blog titled “Which Genesis story should Christians believe?”3 (which had sought to throw doubt on a straightforward reading of the Bible’s historical account of origins):
We hear from people submitting feedback to us that these online debates on the various internet blogs concerning origins are in fact influencing people’s lives for good. Sometimes it’s not just the information being presented that influences people positively but also the protagonists’ demeanour. Just as it was in the pre-online days when people attended events such as the infamous Ian Plimer versus Duane Gish debate in Australia in the 1980s [If this debate DVD is available then it will be visible in the right column of products within this article]. CMI–Australia associate speaker Dr Mark Brunacci (already a Christian at the time but uncertain of his views on Genesis) testifies that it was his seeing the ferocity of the non-Christian side (where Dr Plimer devoted his time entirely to ad hominem vitriol, scorn and accusations rather than engage in any meaningful scientific or theological debate) that was the decisive factor in resolving the question for himself. As Mark recalls, “truly, the Emperor had no clothes”—there appeared to Dr Brunacci (a then recent medical graduate) to be no cogent scientific, evidence-based defense of the evolutionary position.4,5
So the presence of creationist Christians on the internet is surely not just helping to strengthen their compatriots in battle such as Mario, but who-knows-how-many sideline observers of the fray, also.
And the great thing about the internet is that even aged and house-bound Christians are right there on the frontline of battle, too. I remember mentioning in a presentation that older folk are some of the most active participants in online debates re creation/evolution and afterwards an effervescent elderly lady bubbled with glee as she told me, “I’m one such cyber-warrior for Christ!” Agnes had a particular heart for the young, lamenting that they are only being taught ‘one side of the story’ these days.
“At first, they are fervently opposed to me,” she said. “And when I present them with information from your website, some are even more enraged, but others mellow. ‘I’d never heard of this’, they say. And sometimes, ‘You actually seem to be a nice person,’ they say, surprised. They’re even more surprised when they find out how old I am—a real, live ‘cyber-granny’!”
Agnes concluded, “The world wide web allows me to nurture young hearts and minds far beyond the children and youth I know in my little town. I might be increasingly decrepit physically, but from my comfy fireside I’m a missionary with an international outreach, and it’s thrilling. And for all the objections and nastiness I come across, I do indeed see some hearts and minds changed—for Christ.”
Good on you, Agnes. And Mario. And thanks, too, to all you other ‘blogosphere battlers’, you are indeed making a difference. May there be many more online ‘soldiers for Christ’ joining your ranks.
- Doward, J., Richard Dawkins celebrates a victory over creationists—Free schools that teach ‘intelligent design’ as science will lose funding, 15 January 2012. For our response see: Statham, D. and Bell, P., Dawkins gloats over boost to evolutionary dogma in schools—Another hollow victory for educational censorship, 21 January 2012. Return to text.
- The hyperlink takes readers to: Williams, A., Mutations: evolution’s engine becomes evolution’s end, Journal of Creation 22(2):60–66, 2008. Return to text.
- Bolt, A., Which Genesis story should Christians believe?, 13 March 2012. For our response, see: Cosner, L., What part of Genesis should Christians believe? All of it!—There are no contradictions in Scripture, 15 March 2012. Return to text.
- Mark Brunacci’s testimony on this can be viewed in the 30-minute documentary on the Plimer-Gish debate, Facing the Fire DVD. If this DVD is available then it will be visible in the right column of products within this article. Return to text.
- Similarly, long-time creation speaker Dr Carl Wieland has written that “it is not uncommon to hear that public creation presentations when hecklers are active generate life-changing impact in at least one person in the audience. One guy who became a medical missionary was wavering on Genesis and the Bible’s authority and had had a lot of correspondence with me on that; he came to a creation seminar I did in Melbourne many years ago, heckled by attending Skeptics members. He came up to me on that occasion with tears in his eyes, in effect repenting of all compromise, and has stayed solid ever since”. See also Bring on the hecklers? Return to text.