Joe: You are sort of approaching it like a public relations issue. I am not concerned with convincing YEC's. I guess feel like they are hopelessly committed to not thinking ... Apologists are opinion leads.
You see apologists as thought leaders or opinion leaders ... that's a good place to start. In my experience, apologists are an interesting mix but some of them are thinkers and even a few may be thought-leaders or opinion leaders. The difference between being a thinker and being a thought-leader is the "leader" part. "Leader" means doing the work of leading other people, call it "public relations" if you will. For my own part, I see much of it as an "intellectual integrity" issue: for a view to claim to be the best it needs to have honest, straightforward answers for honest, straightforward questions. A view won't gain ground by belittling the questioner especially if the question deserves an answer on its own merits. Some apologists will learn to present their views in ways that are more readily understood; that rarely happens on the first try. Those who actually do the work there will emerge as the leaders. Btw in my experience YEC's are also an interesting mix, and many of them have not earned such a low opinion. Side note: in that context, my view of communication is building a bridge between where someone else is and where I am; if I don't start where they are then I can't possibly reach them.Joe: YECs are still going by the antiquated notion of myth. myth = lie.
Joe again: ... the theological issues apart from the false history
I'm really hoping that, when those two things are next to each other, it becomes apparent why someone might think there's not a clear consistent view being articulated there. How that's likely to be heard on the other side is, "Not a lie, just false history."Joe (on why the Hebrew myth cycle is preferable to the Norse ones for developing a worldview, despite the lack of a hammer or lightning or Cate Blanchett in spandex for those whose interest goes that direction): It's based upon theological views about the true God.
Now there's a kernel that could be developed and articulated into an answer that matters in the ways that are important to those who are ... potential late adopters. I'd love to see that view more developed, and see someone on the front lines of apologetics doing the work there.Kevin: What does Eve have that Pandora doesn't? I'll play!
Game on. Thank you!Kevin: Pandora is false; she never lived and her jar never spilled evil into the world. Her story teaches us to treat each other in a destructive way, and more so the more fully it's believed. That makes sense, because it's a lie. On the other hand, if we know what truly happened to bring evil into the world, it will guide us to doing things in a constructive way. Truth does that. But it can't be merely supposed truth. Us believing falsehood with all our hearts won't help us. Eve brings truth..
Devil's advocate here: looks like the working theory is "destructive things are lies and constructive things are true," or something to that effect. But what if that's not the case? How much of that is betting that truth can be gauged by whether it's constructive? Which dovetails with your next point:Kevin: The question before the house is whether God told a true story that gives accurate history or true literature that gives accurate lessons. That is a new question that only came before the house a couple hundred years ago.
There are some different flavors of that question. Here's one: "What if God wasn't the one telling the story?"; that is, "What if people told a story about how they see God?" And some of the doors further down that road are "pretty stories but no real view of God", or "God was involved through how people experience God." There are probably other options too. Or another starting point might see "Archetypal stories -- profound ones that touch the bedrock of the human conscience and experience" (which the best stories will do, and archetypes do tend to populate myths). I'm still puzzling out the "archetypal" view's relationship to objectivity.Kevin: The higher criticism movement grabbed these new facts and with them tried to destroy faith. In the Fundamentalists' fight-back, we threw out the facts with the lies.
Go, Kevin! Yes. We'll get back to the fundamentalists' fight-back in a moment. Before that: to me, the place where the "reconstructed Christianity" movement lost the most street-cred is this: they didn't really join the fight back. For a time, it looked like they swallowed the premise that every claim against Christianity was true; or at least that any argument against Christianity did not need to meet a burden of proof. It looked as though mentioning Genesis could substitute for building an argument about any other topic where someone wished to claim that the Bible was in the wrong. I've seen implausible arguments against Christianity simply asserted as fact, and reconstruction-minded Christians giving that a pass. This capitulation (as it looked from the streets) gained so many more converts to the fundie camp than the "reconstructed" camp has imagined. The perceived firesale by the "reconstructed Christianity" camp has certain other Christians wondering, "Why should we take you seriously on Genesis when so many of you caved on the resurrection, and the virgin birth, and the reality of miracles?" I'm not saying that line of argument is right; I'm saying the trust is gone. That hasn't helped that conversation.Kevin: We needed to fight back, but we needed to keep the facts. If the Fundamentalists can convince me they accept facts, and don't just go all-in on just so stories, I'll show an interest again. For now, I see them saying faith means believing any fact that doesn't align with their faith is not a fact. That doesn't work for me.
Definitely. Integrity first, or the whole thing is pointless.Kevin: The creation account makes the most sense as a carefully crafted rebuttal of all known, local creation myths. They believed chaos gave birth to the gods. God said he calmed the chaos and tickled the worst monsters. They believed the gods themselves were limited and limited each other. God said he was God alone. They believed the gods were abusive masters of unwilling slaves. God said he created humans for love and wished to enrich people for their own sake. There's no question, the account does counter-balance all the existing myths. We know this. It's not a blank history. It's a slanted history absorbing all the local beliefs and overturning them with prejudice.
I'll give you this: that's one heck of an ante for the conversation. And Genesis does make an interesting contrast to the other worldviews. Before I ante up myself, I'd like to throw out one question: where does that view leave you with respect to history or truth or objectivity and all that? And I know I haven't interacted with all of the interesting things you've said; pardon the selectiveness here, and let me know if you wanted interaction on anything particular.Ok, my own ante into the conversation. I come to Christianity as a convert, and am fairly ambivalent about the Old Testament. On the one hand, there's a part of me that wishes I could just walk away from the account of Adam and Eve; it would save me a certain amount of headache. I'd have no problem with a Christianity that invested mainly in Jesus and viewed the Old Testament as a legacy. On the other hand, the reasons I don't just walk -- it's not about fundamentalism or some prior commitment to inerrancy, but about the depth and value of the worldview that it puts forward. For something that's classified in the same genre as Pandora and Hercules, it sure seems a lot more related to this world. Adam doesn't have superpowers. God has oddly benevolent aims and humble demands for a Deity from that genre; "Hey guys -- see the garden? Go make more of the world like this." Then there are the layers of meaning that are latent in the story -- insights that have been brought out without inserting things to the text -- that are not small or trivial things. So I'm left with a thought that here's something worth keeping, and something that is not actually wholly like the myth of Pandora. I have this nagging sense that we don't do justice to the material to say there's nothing but myth there.
I'm still pondering for more clarity, working to gain more insight on the clearest answer to my own questions. And I see that when different views interact with each other respectfully, it generally causes the wisdom to accumulate; that's my hope here.
Take care & God bless