Sorry to rudely awaken some (no not you Anne) but denying evolution is no longer an option for apologists. Moreover,this realization is about 50 years behind the times. Many christians have a barrage, an array of anti-evolutionary arguments, they are wasting their time.No one listens, you can think it's so well documented and rationalize about the scientific knowledge of hydraulic engineers and reflect upon how all non Christians and many Christians are just ignoring the truth, that wont make them listen. You are on;y ranking yourself among flat earthers. Such apologists are not making strong bold proclamations of God's word the are making God's word look silly.
Hey Joe. You can get frustrated with people who "are making God's word look silly" all day. But when it comes to what makes people listen, that's a two-way street. I'm hearing a lot of frustration and anger and I understand it; being stuck in that conversation interferes with your own progress in discussions with other people, having to always be about those same old battle-lines. I know you've done a lot of work on other areas in theology and apologetics and epistemology, some of it ground-breaking stuff, and it's got to be frustrating beyond words to have an atheist not take your work seriously because he just talked to an internet troll who thinks the world is 6000 years old. But if the message to YEC's is "you guys are behind the times" then "that won't make them listen". People don't generally change their views unless they see a better one, and better is defined by what matters to them.
Here's one thing that the pro-evolution religious discussion has been missing: a clear answer to where that leaves all the worldview that's built on the creation section of Genesis. Here are some parts of the worldview based on the creation section of Genesis, that people are concerned they'd lose:
- creation is good and orderly
- creation reflects God's goodness and ability to create beauty and order from chaos
- creation is beloved by the one who made it
- God gives people respect and kindness as birthrights (grounded in grace)
- God's intentions for humanity are compassionate - from wanting us to have a companion in life to the gift of clothing for maintaining dignity in a fallen state
- God's intentions for humanity are benevolent: the first word God speaks to people is a blessing
- God gives Eden as the model for the world, & we were to fill the rest of the earth accordingly (world-wide paradise with humanity as benevolent rulers/stewards of it)
- God's first command to us shows benevolence and is a blessing; it's the basis for understanding the intent of all commandments as blessing
- God was present and in-relationship with people from the beginning
- that relationship was broken by us, contrary to God's intent; now God intends reconciliation
- the inherent problem with morality and moralizing is that humanity was first interested in it to gain status, and its next use was to pass blame. It's been tainted ever since.
- there is intentional evil in the world that includes manipulation, deception, creating division, and maneuvering for status at someone else's expense
I've seen some people say that you can still get all that from Genesis even if you think it's a myth. But that's not a convincing thing to say; claiming it's true doesn't make it plausible. There are unanswered questions about willingly embracing a myth, and those are part of the work that needs to be done to persuade people that it's a better view.
- Once you classify something as "myth", what is the rationale for taking it seriously?
- Once you classify something as "myth", doesn't integrity demand an intellectual separation of sorts, an arm's-length dissociation from whether we let it inform our viewpoint?
- What makes the Hebrew myth cycle a better basis for a worldview than the Greek or Norse ones?
- To what extent can we be convinced that those worldview-points (above) are true in the sense of "related to the real world" if the genre is myth?
- Do we believe that God was involved in the development of the myth?
There's a point that I want to ensure doesn't get lost: for many YEC's, the debate in their heads is often not between YEC and a retooled Christianity; it's between YEC and atheism. If you don't believe that, think hard about how many of the atheist online trolls are former fundamentalists, and I'll say it again: the debate in their heads is often not between YEC and retooled Christianity; it's between YEC and atheism. Retooled Christianity assumes it's the default winner in their heads if only they adopt evolution; often it's not. If we approach the conversation with the viewpoint that all they have to do is accept evolution and they'll retool their Christianity, I'll say that's not generally how I've seen it work. Part of the issue is the "entrenched battle line" problem where they're sure that hill is worth dying on. Part of the issue is that modern retoolings of Christianity generally don't make a positive case for themselves but assume themselves to be the default winner of persuading someone about evolution, though in the other person's head the default winner may be the nearest exit. Many don't see that revised Christianity has kept enough for them to buy into it; or in some cases there's doubt that revised Christianity has kept it honestly enough, with the questions answered and the intellectual groundwork laid. It hasn't earned consensus status but claims it by default; not everybody buys that default. That's why it's so important in my view to do the groundwork and answer the questions honestly and clearly.
Joe, in linked post:
Atheists are trying to use evolution as disprove God but it's not going to change their minds to try and debunk evolution. That will only result in making up their minds even more. We have to undermine their view by showing it up; it can't disprove God for God to have used evolution.I agree with that so thoroughly. And what if the same approach you take with atheists may be the approach that would be helpful with fundamentalists? Going about the argument by trying to debunk something they cherish will not change their minds but will only make them dig deeper trenches. The way to replace their view is by giving them a better one. Which begins with having a better one -- defining "better" in the ways that that matter to them.
So what's a mythologized Eve got that Pandora doesn't?