Not sure where that reaction comes from, but, yeah, any creature that seeks refuge we feel compelled to try to protect.
I think that that compulsion alone validates us as a species. There's a video out there from Alaska. A polar bear approaches a sled dog chained up. Predator zeroing onto prey. But then the dog takes a playful pose and the polar bear responds in kind with playful behavior.
Behavior is complex. Interspecies behavior is complex. The interplay of the two can be marvelous.
What this is about is being able to be open minded enough so you won't be held back from finding Christ.
Then you are going about it completely backwards and are instead creating obstacles for anyone to find Christ.
Years ago I came across Dr. Allan H. Harvey, a practicing Christian and a scientist (Ph.D. Chemical Engineering) who had written essays about science and religion. What he wrote in Science and Christian Apologetics describes the effects of the mistake that you are making:
quote:I want to start with an observation about apologetics in general. When people say they reject Christianity, a lot of the time what they're really rejecting is something else. Maybe they're rejecting televangelists, or some hypocrisy they saw in their parents or their parents' church, maybe they're rejecting the politics of the Christian Coalition, or some opinion about science that they think is an essential part of the faith. I think an important part of apologetics is to recognize these misconceptions and clear them out of the way so people can consider the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ. There may be things they'll reject there (Paul said the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing), but at least then you’re dealing with the real issues and not these distractions.
I have an example of this from my own experience. When I was working on my Ph.D., I shared a lab with a man from Taiwan named Albert. One day there was an evangelist making noise on campus, and Albert asked me a question out of the blue: "How can you be a Christian and believe all that Creationism stuff?" I managed to mumble something about how "that stuff" wasn't what Christianity was all about. But Albert's question had illustrated the problems we have with science and apologetics.
Albert knew that the claims of so-called "creation science" about the Earth being only 6000 years old and so forth were ridiculous, like saying the Earth was flat. I can't blame him for not wanting to be associated with that nonsense. But what's worse is that that was the first thing that came to Albert’s mind about Christianity. Not the death and resurrection of Jesus. Not even the Golden Rule or the Ten Commandments. The anti-science noise had drowned out the Gospel so all Albert had heard was a false Gospel, one that was centered in a particular interpretation of Genesis rather than being centered in Christ. [Gal. 1:6-9]
Of course another problem was that, in the 2 or 3 years I had known Albert, I had failed to share my faith with him well enough to correct his misconceptions. Fortunately for me, that's not our topic today.
My concern is what can we do to correct the misconceptions that people have (both people like Albert and some Christians) that the findings of science (geology, astronomy, biological sciences [including evolution]) are incompatible with Christianity, that embracing Jesus means rejecting science. And it's a serious problem. It's serious because there are people like Albert out there who know science, and we put stumbling blocks in the way of them even considering Jesus. You hear missionaries talk about unreached people groups; here's a group of people that aren't hearing the Gospel because they can’t get past the huge credibility barrier put up by the things some Christians say about science.
But it's also serious because of its effects on Christians, and I'm especially worried about children. If we teach our children that they have to choose between science and faith, we're setting them up for a fall. Because some of them are going to grow up and study the real world God made and learn that what the church has told them about science is false. If we've taught them that the Gospel or the truth of the Bible depends on those things, then it's like the house built on sand, their foundation gets washed away, and their faith may go with it. I think Jesus had some words about those who set people up to stumble on issues like this: [Luke 17:1-2] "Stumbling blocks are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble."
So, how do we give our children a foundation that won't crumble the first time they take a college science class, and how do we keep science from being a stumbling block to people like Albert? I've thought about these things a lot, and I've decided that at the root of our problems are two fundamental mistakes, and both of them involve taking our human philosophy and letting it dictate to God what he can and can't do. I hope you'd all agree that dictating to God isn't a good idea.
Is that really what you want to do? To drive people away from ever considering Christianity?
I would add to that by pointing out that my 35-plus years studying "creation science" and its myriad false claims have taught me much about creationist and Christian dishonesty. Is that what finding Christ is supposed to lead you to, complete immorality? That is a very strong recommendation to avoid that religion altogether.
I would recommend reading the rest of that essay, which also gets into the false theology of "The God of the Gaps", which I have found to be central to "Intelligent Design" and strongly present in "creation science." He lists his essays at http://steamdoc.itgo.com/writings.htm. I think it was through his essay on the bogus claim NASA computer program having found Joshua's Long Day that I found him. That claim was one of the first creationist claims I was told and it was enough to convince me that creationism was completely and utterly false and, since fundamentalist Christianity would require me to believe it, that made that religion false as well. I have long since revisited that conclusion and have found it to still hold true.
The only foundation you can give Christian children is the truth and the truth contradicts Old Earth Science. The only way to protect them as they go to university is tell them about the contradiction and warn them that they will encounter opposition and pray for them.
Sorry, but no it doesn't. When I started studying creationist claims circa 1981, it was mainly the young-earth claims. I haven't found a single one to be true. Most of the time, they simply don't understand the science (eg, the "leap second" claim involving the earth's slowing rate of rotation). In many cases, they misrepresent scientific sources, at times even deliberately. I have even seen them fabricate "evidence".
One thing I have noticed is that the number of creationists who allow themselves to discuss young-earth claims are being fewer and fewer. Even the most fervent YECs will go to extremes to avoid discussion young-earth claims. Kind of like even they can read the writing on the wall. Even they realize that young-earth claims are the weakest link in creationism.
Here's yet another pearl. Even though I'm sure you will ignore it, others may benefit. In the late 1990's, a former YEC contacted me for advice in a discussion he had gotten himself into. I only know him as "Ed". I have since lost track of him on-line, but I had saved copies of his small website and have reposted them here: Creation, Evolution and Adam. Actually, he did reappear once, set up his site again for a while, then disappeared again.
This is from his autobiographical page, My Search:
quote: It is not my intent to share my testimony here. I met Jesus in 1983 and have truly seen my life turn around! I have always loved science and would have classified myself as an agnostic and to say that I was not skeptical after I was saved would be a lie. I investigated the claims of the Bible (not realizing at the time we are commanded to do so), and the Bible, time and time again, would be justified. So to begin, let me say, I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is fully vindicated in all it claims and it is not dependent solely on the issue of origins.
"Creation science" had become a passion for me almost from day one. Yet all my information concerning the pros and cons of the young earth position, I received from young earth creationists. The weight and number of their arguments were amazing! I collected the books, audios and videos and was just blown away! I was a well equipped "young earther." I believed that God had created the universe, all life forms and Adam and Eve in six literal days less than 10,000 years ago, and I had the SCIENCE to PROVE it too! "Oh! How I would love to see the faces of those atheist scientists when they get a load of this stuff!" "Isn't it true that evolution and the Big Bang were invented just so the immoral can justify their lifestyle?".... How naive!
I discovered, as life went on, my exhilaration would dwindle if creationist material was not fresh in my mind. Whenever I would "bath" myself in their details, I would be renewed and so excited, "God is real, heaven is real, the universe IS young!" There was one doubt however, that would pop into my mind frequently, "how can all those scientists be so wrong?" This single idea would gnaw at me like a toothache so it would be time for a fresh dose of YEC (Young-Earth Creationism), and life would be wonderful again!
One day, being psyched-up for a new fix, I popped in a video I had received from a young man at Church. The tape was a series of debates (about eight), between a famous "young earther" and various evolutionists. After viewing them, I found my jaw on the floor. I truly expected these evolutionists to roll over and die after being presented with this battering of "facts" - they didn't! I was truely numbed and frankly, pretty upset with the manners of this "young earther." I had to come to some serious conclusions that day.
Scientists have answers for each point raised, e.g. shrinking sun, polystrate fossils etc., they were not surprised at all!
Creation Science is not science. I watched as this creationist fellow was repeatedly being cornered, relying on miracle after miracle to answer their questions. Yes, God can and does perform miracles, but these were miracles that were not even in the Bible - that's not science!
I have been a hypocrite! My favorite reasoning with skeptics is to challenge them to examine both sides of an issue before reaching their conclusions. "How can we dialogue fairly if we only have one point of view?" I would ask. But I have NEVER given an evolutionist nor an old earth creationist the opportunity to present their case!
I talked to my pastor (a young-earther), about my new discoveries. He warned me as so many other "creationists" have, that to continue on this path was dangerous and would only lead to me falling away from the faith. At times, that notion seemed true! He asked me, "do you want to end up like "R" (a college student) who now denies the faith after he tried to pursue scientific understanding?" That question hit me hard and weighed heavy on my heart. However, I would soon discover that that line of reasoning was also imaginary. Since then, I have corresponded with several Christians who have traveled the same path as I have. One thing that is always agreed upon is the damage young-earth creationism can do to souls; how many believers they have seen fall away. We have been taught that the Bible demands a young earth interpretation and when the facts of nature become inescapable - our faith becomes shattered! My pastor was wrong, the opposite was the case. If "R" had been offered the truth from the beginning, he would never have experienced the turmoil he went through. When "R" could no longer deny that the universe was billions of years old, the only option left for him was to deny the Bible. How many others have been disheartened in like manner?
And that's why I'm here. I had to jump on the other side of the fence. I was afraid! I knew that everyone has their own bias. Would I be able to discern fact from mere opinion? I also knew that I had no choice. So I gambled to dialogue, face to face, with believers and non believers, scientists and theologians and my faith has been strengthened. There were dark times, but in the end, I can say with assurance, we have nothing to fear!
I truly desire to hear from all persuasions on these issues. I have not reached many conclusions as of yet, but I believe with all my heart, that the Bible and science can be harmonized.
BTW, later in an email Ed told that that creationist on the tapes he was "getting his fix from" was Kent Hovind.
Even youth ministries report that they are losing 65% to 80% of the young people raised "in the faith" have left the faith with most of them leaving religion for good -- ("in the faith"; ie, fundamentalists, evangelicals, conservative Christians, and whatever else they call themselves -- even among themselves they have splintered into so many different sects that do not want to associated with any of the others that their name should be called "Legion"). The fastest growing religious population is that of "Nones", for "none of the above", young people who do not want to have anything at all to do with any organized religion.
So then, Faith, your approach fails miserably. It is your approach that results in the churches' next generation running away from those churches as fast as they can. Have you found a tailor/mason yet to fit you for a millstone?