Explore
Also Available in:

Wagging a finger at creationists

Published: 21 May 2016 (GMT+10)

Feedback archiveFeedback 2016

BigStockPhoto.com finger-wagging

This week’s feedback comes from W.L. in the U.S., who takes creationists and religious individuals to task on moral and intellectual grounds. He wrote:

I was talking about how slow the evolutionary process is compared to time scales that humans are used to dealing with on an open forum recently and you wouldn't believe the hateful replies I got from some creationists.

People should research and understand all the science behind evolution and the time scales involved BEFORE forming an opinion and not offer hear-say, conspiracy theories, sophistry and pseudo science as if they were real evidence.

Anyone can see from the evidence that evolution is a thoroughly proven fact. Nothing in human history has caused more pain and suffering and hampered human advancement more than religious zealots.

It is WRONG to put ANY book above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles.

The Bible and the books of all the world's religions were not meant to be taken 100% literally. They are highly metaphorical. They’re message is simply to be tolerant, loving, empathetic and charitable.

CMI’s Keaton Halley replies:

Hi W.L.,

Please see my responses interspersed.

I was talking about how slow the evolutionary process is compared to time scales that humans are used to dealing with on an open forum recently and you wouldn't believe the hateful replies I got from some creationists.

Since we weren’t privy to the conversation, we have no way of knowing whether your assessment of the replies is accurate. Sadly, in our culture, the “hater” charge is often recklessly leveled against those who show the slightest firmness in their response, even if they do so in love, as the Bible defines that term (1 Corinthians 13:4–13). But, if these people were genuinely “hateful”, then they were acting inconsistently with the teachings of Jesus, who told us to love not just our neighbors, but even our enemies (Matt. 5:44).

However, for those who believe that human beings and their ideas about morality are simply the accidental byproducts of a blind evolutionary process, they are being inconsistent when they go on to condemn hate as objectively evil. See Can we be good without God?

People should research and understand all the science behind evolution and the time scales involved BEFORE forming an opinion and not offer hear-say, conspiracy theories, sophistry and pseudo science as if they were real evidence.

We certainly think people should have informed opinions and avoid bad arguments, though one need not become the world’s foremost expert before he is within his rational rights to reject evolution. But, using your own standard, how much do you understand both sides of the issue? Your e-mail doesn’t give us any indication that you are very familiar with our arguments. Our submission form asks you to search our website before submitting feedback, yet your main points have already been addressed on creation.com many times. We offer plenty of thoughtful reasons to reject evolution. Are you able to answer these? You could start with Time—no friend of evolution.

And we understand the evolutionary claims about timescales just fine. But we note that extra time doesn’t help evolution to occur if the alleged evolutionary mechanisms are going in the wrong direction for microbes-to-man transformations. Furthermore, there simply isn’t enough time, as we’ve shown.

Anyone can see from the evidence that evolution is a thoroughly proven fact.

Anyone can see this is an ipse dixit.

Nothing in human history has caused more pain and suffering and hampered human advancement more than religious zealots.

Another bald assertion. First of all, we are representatives of Christ, not all religions, so we should hardly be blamed for the suffering inflicted by certain Islamic zealots, for example. Nevertheless, only about 6–7% of all wars are estimated by scholars to have been based on religious conflict.1 Rather, the most carnage occurs when secular zealots who espouse evolution come to power—e.g., Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. By number of deaths, the Church’s supposedly worst sins—Crusades, Salem witch trials, and the Inquisition—pale in comparison. See What about bad things done by the Church?

As for human advancement, we’ve pointed out how Christianity provided the seedbed for modern science and how it leads to human flourishing in general. Claims about the Church inhibiting scientific progress are often overstated, as in the case of Galileo.

It is WRONG to put ANY book above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles.

Who’s advocating that? Not us. See Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation, Does the Bible trump all evidence? and Faith and Facts.

But if you think Darwinian evolution is based on “carefully developed and proven scientific principles,” then you would do well to investigate all the hidden assumptions and logical sleight of hand that evolutionary propaganda relies upon. Also, see ‘It’s not science.

The Bible and the books of all the world's religions were not meant to be taken 100% literally. They are highly metaphorical. They’re message is simply to be tolerant, loving, empathetic and charitable.

You probably don’t realize how patronizing this sounds. For one thing, it’s a straw man to accuse us of taking the Bible “100% literally.” We’ve long pointed out that we understand the Bible’s meaning by objective rules of interpretation, according to context, grammar, literary genre, etc. This means we can recognize metaphors and other literary devices when they occur. But because Genesis, broadly speaking, was written as historical narrative, that’s how it should be understood—not as a collection of myths that merely encourage good behavior. So it’s a false dilemma to suggest that the only options are the extremes of hyper-literalism vs. metaphors for peace and love.

It would be very convenient for those who want to get around the Bible’s teaching to relegate its message to the lowest common denominator of modernistic moralism, but that’s just intellectually dishonest. It’s the same mistake people make when they see Jesus as some kind of misunderstood hippie who preached nothing but “love one another” and “don’t judge”. That truncated concept of Jesus isn’t the one we find in Scripture—it’s a Jesus of their own making. But the Bible itself insists that we must be careful to believe the truth—the whole truth—about Jesus (Matthew 16:13–17; 2 Corinthians 11:4).

Also, we’ve shown that the Bible’s own authors understood it to be making historical claims that impinge on science. Peter said he was not following myths, but was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and ministry (2 Peter 1:16), and Paul said that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then the Christian’s faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). So the intellectually honest thing to do is either to accept or reject the Bible’s historical claims, but not to say that it’s merely about love and tolerance. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the Bible itself hasn’t left you that option.

I sincerely hope that gives you some food for thought.

Best wishes,

Keaton Halley

References and Notes

  1. Kunkle, B., Debunking the Religious Wars Myth, 8 March 2016, http://www.str.org/articles/debunking-the-religious-wars-myth#.Vw_ijJMrJTZ. Return to text