In Which I Try to Be Prudent, But May Fail

Answering objections to Young Earth Creationism

I certainly do not think that one must be young-earth to be a Christian, examples abound: see C.S. Lewis. I think one should be a young-earth creationist, because it is the most natural reading of the text of Sacred Scripture, the nearly uniform teaching of the Church Fathers and Mothers, and an intellectually interesting alternative viewpoint.

 

Hunter Baker is a good man, a thoughtful man, a Christian, and is convinced that my young earth creationist views are wrong, but he does not stop there. He also thinks them wrong headed.

They certainly have kept me from jobs and he is right when he says that being publicly young earth costs me credibility with a certain sort of person. He has allowed me to respond publicly to his letter arguing that I should stop being young earth, at least openly. Hunter is, by the way, an intellectually courageous man, as any traditional Christian must be in this time and place, and so he is not urging intellectual cowardice, but intellectual prudence.

I can believe a thing without defending it or talking of it publicly. A man who works with Democrats need not wear his Romney 2020 t-shirt to work.

Here is his letter:

1.  You conceded in argument that the young earth viewpoint is not necessary to be a Christian.
2.  You further stated that the young earth view (if disbelieved) tends to lead people to abandon the faith entirely.
3.  If the first two things are true, then why not defend the more easily defensible old earth view and prevent more people from believing the young earth view and then becoming outraged by it?
Note that I am not saying to abandon your young earth beliefs.  You could still work to vindicate them.  But why not embrace the easier to defend ground publicly, while keeping the young earth thing as a private effort?
Baker is generous even to care what I think, let alone take the time to persuade me to prudence and yet I shall not be prudent here. I do not think I must admit my view because I am wiser, more prudent, or more courageous, but because I am in my nature none of those things.

I certainly do not think that one must be young-earth to be a Christian, examples abound: see C.S. Lewis. I think one should be a young-earth creationist, because it is the most natural reading of the text of Sacred Scripture, the nearly uniform teaching of the Church Fathers and Mothers, and an intellectually interesting alternative viewpoint.

I do not think this prevents Christians from using the best present theory of the origin of the species in research to the extent it is useful, even if they think it false. I may know a tool is deeply flawed, but it still might be the most useful tool I have at present.

And Professor Baker is right: I know many people who have found young earth creationism intellectually difficult and a deterrent to their faith. If they could not be old-earth, they could not be Christians. For those people, I urge them to consider the false nature of the choice. Even if I am right, being wrong about the age of the earth is a forgivable intellectual error!

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