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Author Topic:   Is the creation/evolution debate taboo in our churches?
Arphy
Member (Idle past 2408 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009


(1)
Message 1 of 51 (528170)
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


I was just wondering what people's experience was on this topic.
It seems that the debate is avoided in most churches i have been to, even though the implications of what we believe in this area are far reaching. So here are some questions for discussion:

1. Have you ever experienced a sermon that mentions the debate, or preferably a whole sermon on the topic?
(I haven't, the closest was a mention of the big bang.)

2. Do you know what the leadership of your local/denominational church believes on this issue?
(In some churches I did, however often i did not find out directly. most were theistic evolutionists, and had the attitude of "It's not really an important issue and would just cause division in the church")

3. Is it ever discussed outside of sermons (so in other additional church meetings, etc.)?
(I have in some small and close homegroups, however not in larger gatherings)

4. In fact is there any emphasise put on apologetics at all?
(Not in my experience)

This next one is for any non-christians who are reading this. As a way of introduction, my brother was watching a video on youtube of Dawkins and some other guy having a chat, afterwards he made the comment "I,ve heard better arguments for atheism from my own mind." So i was wondering when you (the non-christians, although christians can answer it too i guess) confront some christian on why they believe what they believe are they able to give a decent answer? Or do you think "I,ve heard better arguments for christianity from my own mind." ?
In other words, is it noticeable even to non-christians that this topic is never really addressed in churches?

Thanks,

Arphy

Edited by Arphy, : No reason given.


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AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


(1)
Message 2 of 51 (528174)
10-05-2009 3:34 AM


Clarification
Hey Arphy,
My only issue is that the last paragraph is really a different topic and would probably take over the thread.

I suggest choosing which one you wish to discuss or explain how it fits in with the questions.

Thanks
AdminPD


  
Arphy
Member (Idle past 2408 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009


Message 3 of 51 (528398)
10-06-2009 1:07 AM


Re: Clarification
yeah possibly, I was meaning it in terms of, is it noticeable to non-christians that these sort of matters are never discussed in our churches by the inability of christians to answer questions properly. Hope edit clarifys this a bit better.
Replies to this message:
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AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 4 of 51 (528447)
10-06-2009 6:45 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Is the creation/evolution debate taboo in our churches? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 5 of 51 (528449)
10-06-2009 6:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Arphy writes:

I was just wondering what people's experience was on this topic.
It seems that the debate is avoided in most churches i have been to, even though the implications of what we believe in this area are far reaching.

I wouldn't use the term 'avoided' of my church (which doesn't discuss the topic to any degree). I imagine that folk just don't see the issue as having much relevance this way or that. What are these 'far reaching implications' you speak of?

1. Have you ever experienced a sermon that mentions the debate, or preferably a whole sermon on the topic?
(I haven't, the closest was a mention of the big bang.)

Not really, other than to mention there is debate. Sermons are usually aimed at teaching on Christian living. How we got here isn't all that relevant to that goal.

2. Do you know what the leadership of your local/denominational church believes on this issue?
(In some churches I did, however often i did not find out directly. most were theistic evolutionists, and had the attitude of "It's not really an important issue and would just cause division in the church")

I think some are creationists (in the sense that evolution didn't do it) and others are evolutionists. Same with the congregation

3. Is it ever discussed outside of sermons (so in other additional church meetings, etc.)?
(I have in some small and close homegroups, however not in larger gatherings)

Not that I know of

4. In fact is there any emphasise put on apologetics at all?
(Not in my experience)

In the sense of giving 'a reason for the hope that we have', yes. But again, the creation/evolution debate isn't mission-critical to Christian apologetics. Witness the debate here for instance, which has whole areas of apologetics which don't touch creo/evo issues.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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Jazzns
Member (Idle past 1886 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


(1)
Message 6 of 51 (528592)
10-06-2009 1:57 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Emotion, Economics, and Evolution
I have been a regular member of 3 types of Christian denominations (Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist) and attended services in perhaps a dozen more.

The one defining feature I take from all my church experiences, including Bible study, is a lack of emphasis on intellectual fulfillment and a focus almost totally on emotional/spiritual fulfillment. That is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but I hypothesize that it has to do simply with the economics of running a ministry. If a preacher delivered sermons or a teacher lead studies that did not appeal to some sort of common denominator in their community then the church would simply not survive. DEEP discussion and understanding of issues, especially when they cross over into science and the level of outside understanding you need to have a meaninful discussion, are left out of the main focus.

Also, it is not the main mission of the church. They don't care why you believe as long as you believe. The first job of any church is to ensure the salvation and baptism of all the congregation and that is drilled home every single Sunday.

What good would talking about evolution denial do in terms of saving that person at the end of the pew or at the other end of the table?


If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. --Thomas Jefferson
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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 497
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 7 of 51 (528748)
10-06-2009 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Also not much discussed on MTV.
I suspect that the reasons that very few if any clergy discuss the evolution vs. creationism debate is the exact same reason that they don't discuss the string theory vs. loop quantum gravity debate or the debate on the various interpretations of quantum mechanics: 1) they know that they are not competent to discuss such topics; and 2) they really don't give a flying fugue about the matter and they know that the vast majority of their parishioners also really don't care. Those of us who frequent this forum sometimes delude ourselves that this is a really hot topic in the world of discourse. In fact, their are only a few dozen of us - a couple of hundred at most - and that is out of the roughly 200 million people (in the US) who frequent the web.
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SammyJean
Member (Idle past 2048 days)
Posts: 87
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 03-28-2009


(2)
Message 8 of 51 (528793)
10-07-2009 12:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Hi Arphy,
Having been raise in a Jehovah's Witness family (I'm now an atheist) I don't believe that all churches avoid the debate.

The Watch Tower Society has several publications on the subject, including "Life How Did It Get Here?" Which Dawkin's comments on at length in his book "the God Delusion."

I was still involved with the JW's at the time of this books publication, when it was first introduced in 1985. I do remember, the book was reviewed and studied during meetings at the Kingdom Halls and Assembly Hall.

Having this experience though, I must say that the subject 'evolution vs. creation' is probably one of the most heated points that drove me away from the JW's and ultimately all religion. So most churches do well to stay way from the subject, I think. There's probably no better way to drive away some followers then to make them choose between being rational or believing.


"Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein

"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief."
~ Gerry Spence


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16065
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 9 of 51 (528796)
10-07-2009 12:13 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Taboo? Yes. I thought we had a deal. You guys don't tell lies in science classes, and for our part we agree not to tell the truth in church.
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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3685
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 10 of 51 (528806)
10-07-2009 12:38 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by SammyJean
10-07-2009 12:02 AM


Nice little message, but...
I was still involved with the JW's at the time of this books publication {The God Delusion}, when it was first introduced in 1985.

The God Delusion was published in 2006. You must be thinking of another book.

Added by edit - OK, you were referring to Life How Did It Get Here?, which was published in 1984. Sorry - Never mind.

Moose

Edited by Minnemooseus, : No reason given.


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SammyJean
Member (Idle past 2048 days)
Posts: 87
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 03-28-2009


Message 11 of 51 (528876)
10-07-2009 10:54 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Minnemooseus
10-07-2009 12:38 AM


Re: Nice little message, but...
Hi Moose,
No, It's the same book. It was revised in 2006.
From the way Dawkin's describes it in his book not much has changed in the revised edition.

_________

AbE: I see, you thought I was referring to Dawkin's book as published in 1985. Sorry, makes sense now

Edited by SammyJean, : Confirming page differences.


"Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts." -Albert Einstein

"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief."
~ Gerry Spence


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DavidOH
Junior Member (Idle past 2430 days)
Posts: 11
From: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Joined: 09-12-2008


Message 12 of 51 (528918)
10-07-2009 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


experience with evc debate in church
My background - agnostic raised protestant married to southern baptist. My wife differs from the church doctrine & family beliefs in that she accepts evolution & old earth but she does believe modern humans are a special creation.

1. sermon -
About 10 years ago, in an independent & quite conservative church, the pastor (music minister education) gave a sermon on age of the earth & magnetic field. I was so overwhelmed by the errors in math & logic I didn't know how to respond. The basis of the sermon was a plot of earth's magnetic field strength measurements vs. time. One single measurement from past (1700 to 1800 from vague memory) and a number of measurements in the 20th century. The old point was much higher than the others. The 20th century points formed a horizontal line based on the scale of the plot. A line was drawn to extrapolate the data into the past. The 20th century readings were averaged for field strength & time to a single point. The old point was used for a linear extrapolation. The sermon was on the young age of the earth as the magnetic field would be impossibly high back around the year 1000 (or some time similar).

In our current Southern Baptist church, the pastor has not had a sermon on the debate but has included comments during sermons on other topics showing his creationist point of view.

2. Southern Baptists are extremely creationist.

3. Evolution/creation are discussed extremely rarely. The couple times it has come up (usually by visitors) the topic was quickly changed. I think the major reason is the lack of interest on the part of most people on the topic or to learn enough to have any kind of real discussion. Additionally, the frequent tone in our church (and possibly many others) is the persecution of believers. Evolution/creation debate gets mixed into the emotional us vs. them confrontational attitude.

4. No apologetics whatsoever. This is the "preaching to the choir" assumption that all believe the same without having to discuss background or evidence.

Edited by DavidOH, : clarification of item 1.


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jaywill
Member
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 13 of 51 (528933)
10-07-2009 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by DavidOH
10-07-2009 1:55 PM


Re: experience with evc debate in church
I think the major reason is the lack of interest on the part of most people on the topic or to learn enough to have any kind of real discussion.

I notice a real lack of interest to discuss Genesis on spiritual terms. Often when the matter of God's eternal plan as shown in Genesis is discussed people do not have the patience or interest to go carefully into the subject.

They often quickly want to talk about Cain's wife or what they perceive as other "problems" with Genesis. How Genesis contains all the seeds of great biblical truths in their initial and form is often of no interest to them.

The purpose of man's creastion, the opposition to God's plan, the promise of redemption, the symbols revealing the death and resurrection of Christ, and the symbols of the Triune God and His eternal plan are all crucial subjects in Genesis which are quickly discarded in favor of talking about Evolution or Ussher's chronology of the age of the earth.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3965
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 14 of 51 (528938)
10-07-2009 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


As a non religious purpose I find it just does not make sense that the universe needs some kind of supernatural element for it to work.

The thing with arguing with people who believe is that they honestly believe what they say i.e. that the supernatural exists.

But it is only fundamentalists (as a subset of people who accept the existence of the supernatural) who get all bent out of shape about it.

Growing up going to a C of E school when we had religious education the 'controversy' was never mentioned at all.

Edited by Larni, : Spelling and last sentence.


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2615 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 15 of 51 (528955)
10-07-2009 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Arphy
10-05-2009 2:46 AM


Gotta love being in quebec then!

Around here the subject is certainly not taboo, first because everyone hs the same opinion: Young-earth creationist, with some variants to the gap theory, but still with supernatural creation.

Furthermore, since it is atheist country, there is no debate as to teach it in schools or anything. In fact, there is a single scientist who 'fights' creationism in the whole province lol. And one creationist organizations with only two speakers. Any time there is a debate, it is between the said scientist and one of those two hehe.

We discuss it regularly I would guess, even past sunday there was a short 10min video of a debate on the subject in front of the whole church, and since I'm pretty up-to-date in the subject, they sometimes ask me to go and talk about it in the teenager's classes at sunday school.

As for teaching apologetics, we are in fact have a 2h30 apologetics course at church every week with the teacher being a PhD in theology professor at a nearby university.

So I would guess that my fellow christians at my local church here could probably have better arguments to defend the christian worldview, all of it.


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