Creationism and Tim Chastain’s spiritual crisis

Tim Chastain is a great progressive Christian writer.

He told us his spiritual crisis which led him to reject fundamentalism and even losing his faith in God altogether before finding back his hope in Jesus.

His testimony is relatively long but it is truly worth being read.

***********************************************************

Sometimes a crisis moment occurs that changes something about us forever. Today, I will share such a moment from my life—how I experienced the loss of God.

I was a creationist. Growing up a fundamentalist, and later being an evangelical, I had no qualms about creationism and the global flood, and I accepted that the Bible taught both in Genesis. I also believed in ‘defending the faith’ and I was good at it. However, I did not like sloppy and inadequate materials that did not address the real issues of evolution, so when the creation-science movement came to prominence in the 1970s, I was ecstatic.

Creation-science teaches that God created separate species (kinds) that do not change except within their created limits; one species does not evolve into other species. All species were represented at the creation event. Therefore, man did not evolve from earlier species but was specially created by God, and man lived together with all species, including dinosaurs, in early earth.

The flood of Noah is understood to be a world-wide (global) flood in which all people and all non-aquatic animals were killed except for the representatives on the ark. This flood accounts for the geographical strata we find throughout the earth today.

I was excited by these new books, particularly The Genesis Flood by Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb, and they inspired me to develop a novel about the global flood; I still think my story was quite creative! One thing that bothered me, though, was the insistence of these authors on a young earth—an earth created no earlier than about 10,000 years ago; I thought insistence on literal 24-hour days of creation was unnecessary since a ‘day’ might have represented any length of time.

Over the next many years, I consumed these books but began to have doubts. My doubt resulted not from evolutionary proofs but from the creation-science books, themselves. As I continued to read, I began to ask, ‘Is this all we have? Are these our best arguments?’

I also wondered how the Genesis writer knew such detail about what happened at the beginning of time. Could the stories have been passed down from Adam generation-by-generation? I spent many sleepless nights with this problem until I concluded it was impossible for such stories to remain intact for the time required between Adam and Moses, and I thought it unlikely that God would dictate the stories directly to Moses so he could include them in Genesis.

I still had no inclination to accept evolution, though it was a reasonable and consistent system, because there were gaps in the theory. But I began to wonder what the Genesis creation and flood stories could mean if they were not what I had understood them to be.

Then in 1993, I read a commentary that demonstrated that the stories were written to counter similar Mesopotamian stories in which, for example, warfare among the gods resulted in the earth being created from the corpse of the vanquished. The Genesis stories, instead, depicted the creator as an orderly and thoughtful God rather than a chaotic group of super-beings.

This seemed very reasonable to me: the Genesis stories should not be read as history but as a different genre—a corrective tract against crude Mesopotamian mythology. This change in my perspective was not difficult. Though I accepted the authority of ‘scripture’, I already understood the importance of reading texts in their proper genre; I had previously abandoned dispensationalism in part due to my respect for apocalyptic genre.

However, I soon experienced the greatest crisis of my spiritual life. Leaving creationism led to an unexpected development in which I underwent more than a year of deep depression and agony as I grieved the loss of God. It was my darkest period.

Noah’s ark, pseudoscience, Genesis flood

Discarding my belief in creationism led to more than a year (1994) of deep grief over the loss of God.

Authority of Scripture, Chicago statement of inerrancy

As an evangelical, I believed in the inerrancy of the Bible. My understanding was not as extreme as those who believe every passage should be read literally and is inerrant to each word and detail. I understood that not all passages are literal or historical writings. Some are poetry and should be read as such. Others are stories or parables to make a point. Apocalyptic passages, such as Revelation, are written to comfort those in crisis and are not intended to be prophecies of the future.

Perhaps some would say I was more committed to the authority of the Bible than to what some evangelicals consider inerrancy.

In 1993, I accepted that the early chapters of Genesis were not meant to be read historically, but rather as a corrective tract against crude Mesopotamian mythology. This re-opened for me the entire question of creationism and evolution. It did not cause me stress but simply meant that I needed to completely re-evaluate the issue in light of my new discovery about Genesis.

However, in the process of assimilating the new understanding of Genesis, a related issue surfaced that almost destroyed my faith entirely. It concerned Paul and the fifth chapter of Romans. Within a lengthy argument about Jesus’ work of justification, Paul stated:

Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

As is clear from the preceding development of the argument, the trespass condemning all people was the trespass of Adam in the Garden of Eden. The problem to me was that Paul seems to understand Adam as an historical person and the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden as an historical description.

One might contend that Paul’s comment was simply referring to a familiar fictional story like ‘Just as Rip Van Winkle slept through the revolution, you are in danger of missing the significant event of our time!’ However, Paul seems to historicise Adam earlier in the chapter,

Death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam.

The fact seemed clear: Paul thought Adam and the Garden of Eden were historical. Paul was WRONG! He was NOT inerrant! And this did not concern a mere cultural opinion like long hair; this involved a major doctrinal issue.

Inerrancy, fundamentalism, Bible, Evangelical

While accepting that the Genesis creation and flood stories were not historical did not affect my faith at all, this revelation that Paul is not infallible and authoritative soon sent me into depths of despair. My faith in the authority of the Bible was shaken to its core. And if the Bible was not authoritative, then on what basis could I believe in God? How could I hold to any religious belief?

This spiritual crisis led to more than a year of despondency, depression, and a grieving over the loss of God. Toward the end, I read a book called God and the Philosophers that helped a little in accepting the possibility of God, but it did not really resolve anything. I had lost my confidence in the Bible and in the existence of God. My spiritual journey was over and my religious beliefs were in ashes.

And the ashes were cold.

Unexpectedly, I began to realize a different perspective. It restored my spiritual foundation in a way that inerrancy of the Bible never could. In fact, had my trust in inerrancy not collapsed into ashes, I probably would not have discovered this new perspective.

Against an increasingly solid scientific case for evolution, creationists defend an historical view of the story of Adam beyond all reasonability. This appears a bit odd since the Bible rarely refers to Adam after the first chapters of Genesis. He appears in a few genealogical lists, but the only other writer to mention Adam is Paul.

In 1 Timothy chapter two, Paul uses Adam and Eve as an argument against women having authority over men. Corinthians chapter 15 mentions the historical Adam in Paul’s argument for the resurrection of believers. The most crucial passage, though, is Romans chapter 5. Here Paul argues for faith in Jesus’ work of justification rather than trust in our own personal good works. Paul seems to consider Adam an historical figure.

While accepting that the Genesis stories are not meant as historical accounts is not necessarily a big issue, this conclusion leads directly to the inerrancy of Paul. Not only does Paul consider Adam as historical, but Adam figures significantly in Paul’s theology—especially in regard to his teaching of original sin in Romans chapter 5. The failure of this theological plank has a tremendous impact on the rest of evangelical theology. If Adam is not significant in himself, Paul makes him very significant. Paul’s fallibility on this important matter would lead many fundamentalists and evangelicals to the pit of confusion and despair.

It certainly had that effect on me, but out of the darkness of my despair came a glimmer of something new. As I read the stories of Jesus from the memories of his earliest followers, I found him to be compelling. I was drawn to him. Though I could no longer depend on the authority of an inerrant Bible to accept what his followers wrote to be true; yet I was drawn to him.

Now, I have been impressed by other people of whom I have read. Gandhi is an example. Others include Socrates, C. S. Lewis, and Gautama. But the Jesus I met in the writings of his followers was intensely compelling in a way different from the others. Here was a person I could trust. He is accepting, supportive, inviting. He is concerned with me and my welfare and he claims he can do something about it.

How people fare in their biographies has a lot to do with their biographers, but though I have only met Jesus through the memories of his earliest followers—I trust him. I trust him when he tells of the Father; I trust him when he offers peace, reconciliation, and rest; I trust him when he promises eternal life.

If I trust Jesus, the question arises, ‘On what basis do I trust him?’ Authority of the Bible is not the basis, because I have come to understand that this is an unrealistic approach to the Bible. The absolute reliability of his followers is an inadequate basis because they are human. Their memories could be faulty; they could have misinterpreted Jesus’ words and actions; and they certainly wrote in response to issues of their day, so their writings have a measure of agenda.

That being said, their writings do not seem to have the marks of invention, lies, or fraud. The person of Jesus stands out. The earliest followers were transformed by him and their reports about him transformed others. They transform me. But, in all of this, I know that they could be mistaken or that I am mistaken.

What other basis do I have to trust Jesus? The answer is—none. In the end, I accept the Jesus I find in the writings of his followers by faith. As it turns out, I trust Jesus by faith alone. This sounds very fundamentalist-evangelical, but it is not; often they do not really trust Jesus by faith alone—they trust the Bible by faith alone. I have no safety net, but, for me, trusting this Jesus without a safety net is more than satisfactory.

*************************************************************************

He finally asked:

How does my journey compare to, or help with, your spiritual journey?

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

 

 

Advertisements

Christmas story

Deutsche Version.   Version Francaise.
Trilingual version.

 

This is a Christmas tale written in German, French and English (respectively).

It takes place in Lorraine, my beloved homeland.

Bild

Be still children for it begins right now.

Bild

The twilight had been already long over as Frederic left the Castle of Lemberg.

He was truly delighted after he saw the majestic wintery landscape.

The snow which constantly fell from the sky was swirling around him.

Lord Lewis had been mostly satisfied by the result of his negotiations with the count of Toul.

At the end of the day he had accepted to send his imposing army as a help for countering the groups of outlaws which were plundering isolated villages of the Vosges.

This had been no easy task and Frederic had to mention the will of the bishop of Metz, the greatest religious authority in the whole Lorraine, to finally obtain this.

He knew that with regular soldiers patrolling around the land, the robbers and thieves would think twice before repeating their coward misdeeds.

He was now heading back to Schorbach where his beloved Mathilde was waiting for him in front of a good wood fire.

He was impatient to arrive at last and see her again for he had been absent during an entire month.

They would joyfully celebrate the coming of the Savior of the whole creation into the world.

He could not imagine the joy to embrace her and to stroke her womb where their child was dwelling.

If they were blessed with a girl, they would call her Bertthrude. If they were blessed with a boy, they would call him Lothar, after the great king who founded Lotharingie which was later called “Lorraine”.

The red sky was so bright that it even illuminated the dark forest of conifers he was going through.

Bild

He was walking at a constant pace as he saw the cave of the Christ child and decided to halt for a minute at this place.

He bowed down before the statue of the blessed virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms.

He shuddered as he heard footsteps closing in on him.

He had barely the time to take the sword out of his sheath before facing the unknown threat.

His blood ran cold as he recognized the face of Arnold, the chief of the gang of robbers plundering helpless villages in the Bitscherland.

He was surrounded by two of his underlings who seemed to be formidable warriors in their own rights.

“Have you reached your goal, loser? This night you will give back your soul to your damned savior!” he shouted with a malicious voice.

Sad because of the the fact that his child would grow without a father, he prayed for his small family before swinging his blade.

He could not believe his eyes as he saw Arnold and the two thieves dropping their weapons before weeping.

“Lord, forgive us!” they screamed with the same voice.

He could not withstand the temptation to turn his back.

He was ravished by what he saw.

The statue of the smiling virgin was surrounded by countless glowworms.

He knew this was not a mere coincidence.

The spirit of Christmas was here and had conquered this place and their hearts.

Bild

Conte de Noel

Deutsche Version. Version trilingue.

L’histoire se déroule en Lorraine, ma terre natale bien aimée.

Bild

Soyez silencieux les enfants parce que ça commence juste maintenant.

Bild

Le crépuscule était déjà longtemps passé lorsque Frédéric quitta le château de Lemberg.
Il fut vraiment ravi après avoir vue le majestueux paysage hivernal. La neige qui tombait constamment du ciel tourbillonnait autour de lui.
Le seigneur Louis était majoritairement satisfait de ses négociations avec le comte de Toul.
Il avait finalement accepte d’envoyer son imposante armée pour aider a contrer les bandes de brigands qui pillaient les villages isolés des Vosges.
Ce n’était point une tache facile et Frédéric a dû mentionner l’évêque de Metz, qui était la plus grande autorité religieuse dans toute la Lorraine, pour obtenir ceci.
Il savait qu’avec les soldats qui patrouilleront régulièrement dans la région, les pilleurs et voleurs réfléchiront a deux fois avant de répéter les même méfaits couards.
Il retournait a Schorbach ou sa bien-aimée Mathilde l’attendait devant un bon feu de bois.
Il était impatient d’arriver enfin et de la revoir car il avait été absent durant un mois entier.
Il celebreront plein de joie la venue dans ce monde du Sauveur de la creation entiere.
Il ne pouvait pas s’imaginer sa joie de câliner son ventre ou leur enfant habitait.
Si ils étaient bénis avec une fille, il l’appelleraient Bertrude. Si il étaient bénis avec un garçon, il l’appelleraient Lothaire, d’après le grand roi qui fondit la Lotharingie qui fut après appelée la Lorraine.
Le ciel rouge était si clair qu’il pouvait même voir le sombre bois de conifères a travers lequel il marchait.

Bild

Il marchait avec une allure constante lorsqu’il vit la grotte de l’enfant Jesus et décida d’y faire une halte pour une minute.
Il se mit a genoux devant la statue de la bénie vierge Marie qui portait le bébé Jésus dans ces bras.
Il sursauta lorsqu’il entendit des pas s’approcher.
Il eut a peine le temps de sortir son épée de son étui avant de faire face a la menace inconnue.
Son sang gela lorsqu’il reconnut le visage d’Arnaud, le chef de la bande de brigands qui pillaient les villages sans défenses du Bitscherland.
Il était entoure par deux de ces acolytes qui semblaient également être des guerriers redoutables.
“Est-ce que tu as atteint ton but, perdant? Cette nuit tu rendras ton âme a ton putain de sauveur!” cria t-il avec une voie malicieuse.
Abattu a la pensée que son fils grandira son père, il pria pour sa petite famille avant de manier son épée.
Il ne put croire ses yeux, lorsqu’il vit Arnaud et les deux brigands qui jetèrent leurs armes sur le sol avant d’éclater en sanglot.
“Seigneur, pardonne nous” ils crièrent avec la même voix.
Il ne put résister la tentation de tourner son dos.
Il fut ravis par ce qu’il vit.
La statue de la vierge souriante était entourée par un très grand nombre de lucioles.
Il savait que ce n’était pas une pure coïncidence.
L’esprit de noël était ici et avait conquis ces lieux et leurs cœurs.

Bild

Christmas story / Wiehnachtsgeschicht / Conte de Noel

Das isch e Wihnachtsgeschicht, wu uf Hochdäitsch, Fronzesch un Englisch geschrieb wor isch.

C’est un conte de Noel écrit en Allemand, Français et Anglais.

This is a Christmas tale written in German, French and English (respectively).

‘s passiert im Mittelalter im Lothringen, miena liewe Heimat.

Cela ce déroule en Lorraine, ma terre natale bien aimée.

It takes place in Lorraine, my beloved homeland.

Bild

Seid Still Kinner, denn ‘s beginnt nun.

Soyez silencieux les enfants parce que ça commence juste maintenant.

Be still children for it begins  now.

Bild

Das Zwielicht war schon lang vorüber, als Friedrich das Schloss von Lemberg verliess.

Le crépuscule était déjà longtemps passé lorsque Frédéric quitta le château de Lemberg.

The twilight had been already long over as Frederic left the Castle of Lemberg.

Er wurde wirklich entzückt, nachdem er die majestätische winterliche Landschaft sah.
Il fut vraiment ravi après avoir vue le majestueux paysage hivernal.

He was truly delighted after having seen the majestic wintery landscape.

Der Schnee, der ständig vom Himmel herabfiel, wirbelte um ihn herum.

La neige qui tombait constamment du ciel tourbillonnait autour de lui.

The snow which constantly fell from the sky was swirling around him.

Herr Ludwig war mit seinen Verhandlungen mit dem Graf von Toul am meisten zufrieden gewesen.

Le seigneur Louis était majoritairement satisfait de ses négociations avec le comte de Toul.

Lord Lewis had been mostly satisfied by the result of his negotiations with the count of Toul.

Letztendlich hatte er akzeptiert, seine beeindruckende Armee als Hilfe zu senden, um den Gruppen von Ganoven entgegenzutreten, die die isolierten Dörfer der Vosgesen plünderten.

Il avait finalement accepte d’envoyer son imposante armée pour aider a contrer les bandes de brigands qui pillaient les villages isolés des Vosges.
At the end of the day, he had accepted to send his imposing army as a help for countering the groups of outlaws which were plundering isolated villages of the Vosges.

Das war keine leichte Aufgabe gewesen und Friedrich hatte den Willen des Bischofs von Metz erwähnen müssen, der die größte religiöse Autorität im ganzen Lothringen war, um dies hinzubekommen.

Ce n’était point une tache facile et Frédéric a dû mentionner l’évêque de Metz, qui était la plus grande autorité religieuse dans toute la Lorraine, pour obtenir ceci.

This had been no easy task and Frederic had to mention the will of the bishop of Metz, the greatest religious authority in the whole Lorraine, to finally obtain this.

Er wusste, dass mit regelmäßig durch die Gegend patrouillierenden Soldaten die Räuber und Diebe sich es gut überlegen würden, bevor sie ihre feigen Missetaten wiederholen würden.

Il savait qu’avec les soldats qui patrouilleront régulièrement dans la région, les pilleurs et voleurs réfléchiront a deux fois avant de répéter les même méfaits couards.

He knew that with regular soldiers patrolling around the land, the robbers and thieves would think twice before repeating their coward misdeeds.

Er kehrte nun nach Schorbach zurück, wo seine liebe Mathilde vor einem guten Holzfeuer auf ihn wartete.

Il retournait a Schorbach ou sa bien-aimée Mathilde l’attendait devant un bon feu de bois.

He was now heading back to Schorbach where his beloved Mathilde was waiting for him in front of a good wood fire.

Er war ungeduldig, endlich anzukommen und sie wiederzusehen, denn er war während eines ganzen Monats abwesend gewesen.

Il était impatient d’arriver enfin et de la revoir car il avait été absent durant un mois entier.
He was impatient to arrive at last and see her again for he had been absent during an entire month.

Sie werden freudevoll das Kommen des Erretters der ganzen Schöpfung zu dieser Welt zelebrieren.

Il celebreront plein de joie la venue dans ce monde du Sauveur de la creation entiere.

They would joyfully celebrate the coming of the Saviour of the whole creation into the world.

Er konnte sich nicht die Freude vorstellen, ihren Schoss zu streicheln, wo ihr Kind hauste.

Il ne pouvait pas s’imaginer sa joie de câliner son ventre ou leur enfant habitait.

He could not imagine the joy of embracing her and stroking her womb where their child was dwelling.

Wenn sie mit einem Mädchen gesegnet wären, würden sie sie Bertrude nennen. Wenn sie mit einem Knaben gesegnet wären, würden sie ihn Lothar nennen, nach dem großen König, der Lothringen gegründet hatte, das nachher “Lorraine” genannt worden war.

Si ils étaient bénis avec une fille, il l’appelleraient Bertrude. Si il étaient bénis avec un garçon, il l’appelleraient Lothaire, d’après le grand roi qui fondit la Lotharingie qui fut après appelée la Lorraine.

If they were blessed with a girl, they would call her Bertthrude. If they were blessed with a boy, they would call him Lothar, after the great king who had founded Lotharingie which was later called “Lorraine”.

Der rote Himmel war so hell, dass sogar der dunkle Wald von Nadelbäumen, durch den er ging beleuchtet war.

Le ciel rouge était si clair qu’il pouvait même voir le sombre bois de conifères a travers lequel il marchait.

The red sky was so bright that it even illuminated the dark forest of conifers he was going through.

Bild

Er schritt mit einer konstanten Geschwindigkeit, als er die Höhle des Christkinds sah und sich entschloss, für eine Minute an diesem Ort zu verweilen.

Il marchait avec une allure constante lorsqu’il vit la grotte de l’enfant Jesus et décida d’y faire une halte pour une minute.

He was walking at a constant pace as he saw the cave of the Christ child and decided to halt for a minute at this place.

Er beugte sich nieder vor der Statue der gesegneten Jungfrau Maria, die den Säugling Jesus auf ihren Armen trug.

Il se mit a genoux devant la statue de la bénie vierge Marie qui portait le bébé Jésus dans ces bras.

He bowed down before the statue of the blessed virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms.

Er schauderte,  als er Schritte hörte, die sich ihm näherten.

Il sursauta lorsqu’il entendit des pas s’approcher.

He shuddered as he heard footsteps closing in on him.

Er hatte kaum die Zeit, sein Schwert aus seiner Scheide herauszuholen, bevor er die unbekannte Bedrohung ins Auge schauen musste.

Il eut a peine le temps de sortir son épée de son étui avant de faire face a la menace inconnue.

He had barely the time to take the sword out of his sheath for facing the unknown threat.

Das Blut in seinen Adern gefror, als er das Gesicht von Arnold erkannte, dem Chef der Verbrecherbande von Räubern, die hilflose Dörfer im Bitscherland plünderte.

Son sang gela lorsqu’il reconnut le visage d’Arnaud, le chef de la bande de brigands qui pillaient les villages sans défenses du Bitscherland.

His blood ran cold as he recognised the face of Arnold, the chief of the gang of robbers plundering helpless villages in the Bitscherland.

Er war von zwei seiner Untertanen umgegeben, die so aussahen, als ob sie genauso furchterregende Krieger wären.

Il était entoure par deux de ces acolytes qui semblaient également être des guerriers redoutables.

He was surrounded by two of his underlings who seemed to be formidable warriors in their own rights.

“Hast du dein Ziel erreicht, du Versager? Diese Nacht wirst du deine Seele deinem Verdammten Heiland zurückgeben!” rief er mit einer bösartigen Stimme.

“Est-ce que tu as atteint ton but, perdant? Cette nuit tu rendras ton âme a ton putain de sauveur!” cria t-il avec une voie malicieuse.

“Have you reached your goal, loser? This night, you will give back your soul to your damned saviour!” he shouted in a malicious voice.

Traurig über die Tatsache, dass sein Kind vaterlos wachsen würde, betete er für seine kleine Familie, bevor er sein Schwert schwang.

Abattu a la pensée que son fils grandira son père, il pria pour sa petite famille avant de manier son épée.
Saddened by the fact that his child would grow without a father, he prayed for his small family before swinging his blade.

Er konnte seinen Augen nicht glauben, als er Arnold und die zwei Diebe sah, die ihre Waffen auf den Boden warfen, und dann weinten.

Il ne put croire ses yeux, lorsqu’il vit Arnaud et les deux brigands qui jetèrent leurs armes sur le sol avant d’éclater en sanglot.
He could not believe his eyes as he saw Arnold and the two thieves dropping their weapons before weeping.

“Herr vergib uns!” schrien sie mit der selben Stimme.
“Seigneur, pardonne nous” ils crièrent avec la même voix.

“Lord, forgive us!” they screamed in the same voice.

Er konnte der Versuchung nicht widerstehen, sich umzudrehen.

Il ne put résister la tentation de tourner son dos.
He could not withstand the temptation to turn his back.

Er wurde von dem entzückt, was er sah.

Il fut ravis par ce qu’il vit.

He was ravished by what he saw. 

Die Statue der lächelnden Jungfrau war von zahllosen Glühwürmchen umgegeben.

La statue de la vierge souriante était entourée par un très grand nombre de lucioles.

The statue of the smiling virgin was surrounded by countless glowworms.

Er wusste, dass es kein blosser Zufall war.

Il savait que ce n’était pas une pure coïncidence.

He knew this was not a mere coincidence.

BildDer Weihnachtsgeist war hier und hatte diesen Ort und ihre Herzen erobert.

L’esprit de noël était ici et avait conquis ces lieux et leurs cœurs.

The spirit of Christmas was here and had conquered this place and their hearts.

The sad testimony of the daughter of a Calvinist apologist

Rachael Slick, daughter of Calvinist fundamentalist Matt Slick, explained why she gave up her faith and became an atheist having no longer any contact with her parents.

I was born in 1992. My parents named me Rachael, after the biblical wife Jacob loved.

Rachael (right) with her parents



One of my earliest memories is of my dad’s gigantic old Bible. Its pages were falling out, its margins were scrawled over with notes, and the leather cover was unraveled in places from being so worn out. 
Every night, after we stacked up the dishes after our family dinner, he would bring it down and read a passage. I always requested something from the Book of Revelation or Genesis, because that’s where most of the interesting stories happened. After he was done, he’d close the Bible with a big WHUMP and turn to me.

“Now Rachael,” he would ask, “What is the hypostatic union?” 
and I would pipe back, “The two natures of Jesus!”


“What is pneumatology?”


The study of the holy spirit!

“What is the communicatio idiomatum?”


The communication of the properties in which the attributes of the two natures are ascribed to the single person!



Occasionally he would go to speak at churches about the value of apologetics and, the times I went along, he would call on me from the crowd and have me recite the answers to questions about theology. After I sat down, he would say, “My daughter knows more about theology than you do! You are not doing your jobs as Christians to stay educated and sharp in the faith.”



Conversation with him was a daily challenge. He would frequently make blatantly false statements — such as “purple dogs exist” — and force me to disprove him through debate. He would respond to things I said demanding technical accuracy, so that I had to narrow my definitions and my terms to give him the correct response. It was mind-twisting, but it encouraged extreme clarity of thought, critical thinking, and concise use of language. I remember all this beginning around the age of five.



Rachael receives an award from Awana for being the most ‘godly’ student. She would later complete the Awana course, memorizing over 800 Bible verses along the way.

I have two sisters, three and seven years younger than myself, and we were all homeschooled in a highly strict, regulated environment. Our A Beka schoolbooks taught the danger of evolution. Our friends were “good influences” on us, fellow homeschoolers whose mothers thought much alike. Obedience was paramount — if we did not respond immediately to being called, we were spanked ten to fifteen times with a strip of leather cut from the stuff they used to make shoe soles. Bad attitudes, lying, or slow obedience usually warranted the same — the slogan was “All the way, right away, and with a happy spirit.” We were extremely well-behaved children, and my dad would sometimes show us off to people he met in public by issuing commands that we automatically rushed to obey. The training was not just external; God commanded that our feelings and thoughts be pure, and this resulted in high self-discipline.

Rachael (bottom row, second from right) and her fellow homeschooled friends know to obey!

I recently came across this entry in a workbook I wrote when I was nine:


I’m hopeless.

Oh boy. I’ve got a lot to work on. I try to be obedient but it’s so hard! The more I read, the more I realize how bad I am! My problem is that when things don’t make sense to me, I don’t like them. When Dad gets mad at me for something, everything makes perfect sense to me in my mind, so I tend to resent my parents’ correction.

I have just realized that I yearn to please the lord, but why can’t I? I just can’t be good! It seems impossible. Why can’t I be perfect?

At this point, my dad was working at a tech job during the day and working in his office, writing and researching, at night. He developed a huge collection of books, with bookshelves that spanned the wall, full of Bibles and notebooks filled with theology. This was the early stages of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.


It became a sort of game to watch him go “Mormon hunting”; if he saw them on the sidewalk, he’d pull up in the car to engage them in debate. After the Mormons visited our apartment a few times, they blacklisted us, and none of them ever visited us again. My dad was always very congenial to those he debated, and most viewed him as charismatic — though his debate tactics were ruthless and often more focused on efficiency than relationship-building.



We moved to Idaho when I was 12. My dad worked at Hewlett-Packard for a while but eventually made the big decision to make CARM his full-time career.



It was around this time my dad began receiving death threats — though I didn’t find this out until later. Someone was sending him graphic pictures, descriptive threats of rape against his family, and Google images of locations near our house. He got the FBI involved. They eventually determined it was someone from across the globe and likely posed no risk to us. My parents installed a home security system after that, but it only reinforced the “us vs. them” mentality he already held. My dad spoke frequently about the people “out to destroy him” and how his “enemies” were determined to obscure and twist the truth.



I wasn’t privy to a great deal of what went on behind the scenes at CARM — likely because I too young to fully understand it. A few times a year there would usually be an “event” that would capture most of his ire. For a while, it was the Universalists who were destroying his forums. Another time, it would be his arch-nemeses in the field of women in ministry or “troublemaking” atheists. Beyond these things, I knew little, except that I was immensely proud of my dad, who was smart, confident, and knew the Truth more than anybody else. I aspired to be like him — I would be a missionary, or an apologist! (Though not a pastor; I was a woman and thus unqualified for that field.) God was shaping my destiny.



As my knowledge of Christianity grew, so did my questions — many of them the “classic” kind. If God was all-powerful and all-knowing, why did He create a race He knew was destined for Hell? How did evil exist if all of Creation was sustained by the mind of God? Why didn’t I feel His presence when I prayed? 


Having a dad highly schooled in Christian apologetics meant that every question I brought up was explained away confidently and thoroughly. Many times, after our nightly Bible study, we would sit at the table after my Mom and sisters had left and debate, discuss, and dissect the theological questions I had. No stone was left unturned, and all my uncertainty was neatly packaged away.



Atheists frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is usually environment. If every friend, authority figure, and informational source in your life constantly repeat the same ideas, it is difficult not to believe they’re onto something. My world was built of “reasonable” Christians — the ones who thought, who questioned, who knew that what they believed was true. In the face of this strength, my own doubts seemed petty. 



There was one belief I held onto strongly, though — the one that eventually led to my undoing. I promised myself “I will never believe in Christianity simply because it feels right, otherwise I am no better than those in any other religion I debate. I must believe in Christianity because it is the Truth, and if it is ever proven otherwise, I must forsake it no matter how much it hurts.”



Twice, I attended protests. Once, in front of an abortion clinic, and another time, at the Twin Falls Mormon Temple. I went to public high school for a few months, where I brought the Bible and a picture of my parents for a show-and-tell speech of the things we valued most. I befriended Cody, a World of Warcraft nerd, for the sole purpose of telling him he was going to Hell and that he needed to repent. Every time I heard someone swear in the school hallways, I would close my eyes and pray.


I informed my parents that I wanted an arranged marriage because love was a far too emotional and dangerous prospect, and I trusted them to make an informed choice for my future far better than I ever could. My romantic exploits through puberty were negligible.



I ran away from home when I was 17 (due to reasons not pertinent to this post) and went to college the following year. I must have been a nightmare in my philosophy and religion classes, raising my hands at every opportunity and spouting off well-practiced arguments. Despite this, my philosophy professor loved me, and we would often meet after class, talking about my views on God. Even though he tried to direct me away from them, I was insistent about my beliefs: If God didn’t exist, where did morality come from? What about the beginning of the universe? Abiogenesis? There were too many questions left by the absence of God, and I could not believe in something (godlessness, in this case) that left me with so little closure. My certainty was my strength — I knew the answers when others did not.



This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws. 
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.



I still remember sitting there in my dorm room bunk bed, staring at the cheap plywood desk, and feeling something horrible shift inside me, a vast chasm opening up beneath my identity, and I could only sit there and watch it fall away into darkness. The Bible is not infallible, logic whispered from the depths, and I had no defense against it. If it’s not infallible, you’ve been basing your life’s beliefs on the oral traditions of a Middle Eastern tribe. The Bible lied to you.


Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left naked.



I was no longer a Christian. That thought was a punch to the gut, a wave of nausea and terror. Who was I, now, when all this had gone away? What did I know? What did I have to cling to? Where was my comfort? 

I didn’t know it, but I was free.



For a long time I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend (of over a year by this point) without crippling guilt. I had anxiety that I was going to Hell. I felt like I was standing upon glass, and, though I knew it was safe, every time I glanced down I saw death. I had trouble coping with the fact that my entire childhood education now essentially meant nothing — I had been schooled in a sham. I had to start from scratch in entering and learning about this secular world. Uncertainty was not something I was accustomed to feeling. Though I had left Christianity intellectually, my emotional beliefs had yet to catch up.



Eventually I worked up the courage to announce my choice on Facebook — which generated its own share of controversy. I’m fairly certain I broke my mother’s heart. Many people accused me of simply going through a rebellious stage and that I would come around soon. Countless people prayed for me.

I don’t know how my dad reacted to my deconversion; I haven’t spoken to him since I left home.



There was no miracle to cure me of the fear and pain, no God to turn to for comfort. But it did heal. Eventually. I only barely fear Hell now, and my instinct to pray only turns up on rare occasions. For a while now, I’ve been educating myself in science, a world far more uncertain than the one I left, but also far more honest.

Rachael Slick



Someone once asked me if I would trade in my childhood for another, if I had the chance, and my answer was no, not for anything.
 My reason is that, without that childhood, I wouldn’t understand what freedom truly is — freedom from a life centered around obedience and submission, freedom to think anything, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from the perpetual heavy obligation to keep every thought pure. Nothing I’ve ever encountered in my life has been so breathtakingly beautiful. 



Freedom is my God now, and I love this one a thousand times more than I ever loved the last one.

Personally, given the utter absurdity of Calvinism, it does not stun me that a person of her intelligence and honesty left behind this wicked  belief system.
I just find it depressing that she rejected Christianity altogether.

While I believe that creationism drives many people away from God, I think that doctrines presenting God as being morally evil are much more efficient for bringing new converts to anti-theism and I think that they plaid a decisive role in her case too.

It is worth noting that except  the problem of evil in the world (which is admittedly a tough nut to crack), all other arguments she mentioned are actually just good arguments against fundamentalism.

CreationWiki, evolution and the inerrant Bible

Eine deutsche Version befindet sich hier.

For all of us who are interested in fringe groups, CreationWiki provides us with an invaluable resource.

Naturally it is pretty dubious as a scientific source, but it gives us deep insights into the mind of creationists.

BildSome selected quotes follow.

Some who dismiss the idea of a global flood do so because they say the Flood would have had to rise as high as Mount Everest, because Genesis 7:19 says the waters covered “all the high hills.” Mount Everest peaks at 29,035 feet (8850 metres), and they say there is not enough water on earth to cover such a height.[13]

This is actually a straw man argument. Creationists do not claim that the Flood covered Mount Everest to its current height (see below). Those who accept the local-flood theory have to admit that the flood must have covered Mount Ararat, because that is where the ark landed. Mount Ararat is now 17,000 feet (5182 meters) high. In the local-flood theory, it would have had the same height before as after the Flood. But waters do not form a cube 17,000 feet high, which seems to make the local-flood theory illogical. The Bible tells us what happened:

“You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.”Psalm 104:6-9

This passage tells us that mountains rose and valleys sank during the Flood. Mount Everest rose up during the Flood, so the Flood did not need to reach the height that Mount Everest is today.

There is enough water on earth for a global flood. If the earth was smoothed out, the water in the oceans would cover it to a depth of about 8,813 feet (2.6 kilometres). This does not include the water in rivers, lakes, glaciers, and other sources. They would add about another 2–3 thousand feet (600-900 metres). In reality, the Flood would only need to be a little over 7,000 feet (2.1 kilometres) deep.

So the real question is whether it is possible for Mount Everest to have risen to its current height fast enough to fit a time-scale consistent with the Flood. The earthquake that caused the Indonesian tsunami of December 26, 2004 caused an uplift of at least 20 feet (six metres) in a few minutes, which is a speed of about 240 feet per hour (84 metres per hour). At that rate Mount Everest could have reached its current height in about five days. Forces observed in earthquakes are sufficient, if extended long enough, to quickly raise the highest mountain to its current height in just a few days.

The result is that, based on the amount of water on earth, and observed tectonic forces, there was the potential to quickly raise mountains. So the global Flood of the Bible is theoretically possible. You can see a seafloor study that traces culprits behind Indian Ocean tsunami[14] for further explanation.”

“Could a just God destroy innocent life?

This objection refers to the many living things that were destroyed in the Flood. Why destroy the innocent animals? This is answered with an examination of the context. Mortal life, including plants and animals, since the Fall of Adam and Eve, is subject to death. Withholding a global flood would not have saved any animal or plant from death. The justice of God provided a way for many species to be saved on the Ark. God waited as long as his justice would allow, before causing a Flood that would shorten the life spans of individual creatures but would not destroy species: Life would return and the earth would be repopulated.”

(Wow, and it is evolutionists who are nihilists denying any value to life???)

Homo erectus is the species name assigned to human fossils that evolutionists claim are transitional forms between australopithecines (apes) and both Neanderthals and modern humans. To date, more than 280 fossil individuals have been found that are identified with this group.[1] The species name means “erect or upright man” and was the name first put forth by Ernst Mayr to unify the classification of Asian fossils.

Creationists generally agree that all supposed ape-men fossils are, in fact, either ape or fully human. Species names within the taxonomic genus homo are viewed as fabricated classes invented to support evolutionary theory, and should be regarded as mere instruments of propaganda. The majority of Homo erectus fossils represent the populations of humans that lived following the global flood and the Tower of Babel, and should be considered true Homo sapiens.[2]”

The extensive timeframe of Homo erectus fossils overlaps other hominids so extensively that it should void any attempt to claim an evolutionary sequence. For example, Homo erectus is almost universally held to have evolved from Homo habilis despite the fact that their fossils appear at roughly the same time (the oldest H. erectus fossil is dated at 1.95 mya and the oldest H. habilis fossil dated at just over 2.0 mya). Furthermore, they continued to coexists throughout the entire 500,000 year span when Homo habilis is said to have lived.[11] Such inconsistencies between the theory of evolution and the fossil evidence are often concealed. Marvin Lubenow warns in his book, Bones of Contention, about the way that evolutionists present the relationship between Homo habilis and Homo erectus..

Terms like Homo erectus and Homo habilis are convenient terms to use in reference to groups of fossil material. But it is obvious that when evolutionists give dates for Homo erectus that do not fit the fossil material, or when they say that Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus, contrary to what the fossil material shows, they are using those terms in a manipulative manner without regard for the fossil material in those categories. It is not unusual in evolutionary charts to show Homo habilis somewhat below Homo erectus, implying that Homo habilis is earlier in time.[12]

Furthermore, H. erectus is shown to have lived alongside what are known as “early Homo sapiens” during their entire 700,000 year existence, and alongside Neanderthals throughout the 800,000 years of their history. And lastly, Homo erectus individuals have lived side by side with anatomically modern humans for 2 million years (according to evolutionary chronology).[13]”

I think that I am much more depressed than angry after having read that.

Creationists (especially those believing in a young earth) are one of the main reasons why people give up their Christian faith and become atheists.

I think that Richard Dawkins in all this glory could never be as successful as they are in that respect.

Losing faith, apostasy, atheism, bad apologetics

http://sphericalbullshit.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/creationist01.jpg

Schöpfungswiki

(An English version comes soon!)

Für alle von uns, die an Randgruppen interessiert sind, bietet CreatioWiki eine sehr wertvolle Ressource.

Als naturwissenschaftliche Quelle ist es natürlich sehr dubiös, aber es liefert uns tiefe Einsichten in den Geist von Kreationnisten.

Bild

Ich mag besonders diesen Teil über den Evolutionismus:

Herausforderungen an den Evolutionismus

Kreationisten stellen Evolutionismus häufig aufgrund der folgenden Ideen in Frage:

  • Evolutionismus existierte mehr als 2000 Jahre vor Darwin, in den Schriften von Anaximander, Epicur, Lucretius und den Atomisten, sowie in der Philosophie. Es ist daher keie “neue und wissenschaftliche Entwicklung”, sondern das Wiederaufleben sehr alter und spekulativer heidnischer Ideen.
  • Die primären Grundsätze des Evolutionismus sind metaphysisch, anstatt wissenschaftlich. Damit eine Idee wissenschaftlich ist, muss sie testbar sein. Der heutige Evolutionismus geht von der Abwesenheit jeglicher göttlicher Eingriffe in den Ursprung des Lebens aus, aber diese Abwesenheit kann nicht bewiesen oder getestet werden. Dementsprechend, auch wenn es vorstellbar ist, handelt es sich nicht um Wissenschaft, sondern um metaphysische Spekulation.
  • Insoweit sie testbar sind, erwiesen sich die Vorraussagen des Evolutionismus als Fehlschläge. Die gefundenen Fossilien liefern nicht die Übergangsformen, die gemeinsame Vorfahren bestätigen würden. Die geologischen Funde passen besser zum Katastrophismus als zum Uniformitarismus. Der Ursprung des Lebens selbst wurde bisher durch keinen anderen Weg als einen intelligenten, schöpferischen Akt erklärt.
  • Evolutionisten weisen typischerweise auf all die märchenhaften Ansichten von religiösen Ideologisten. Während sie religiöse Sichtweisen auf kindliche Bildung zurückführen, sprechen sie ihren Opponenten jegliche wissenschaftliche Herangehensweise ab und attackieren sie häufig, anstatt ihre Position mit Fakten und Beweisen zu unterstützen.

Über das angebliche wissenschaftliche Vorwissen der Bibel behaupten sie (unter anderem):

Die Bibel und wie Löwen ihre Beute töten

Bis vor kurzem glaubten Zooologen, dass Löwen ihre Beute dadurch töten, dass sie ihr den Nacken durchbeißen oder diesen durch einen Pfotenhieb brechen.[54] 1972 beobachtete George B. Schaller jedoch selbst Löwen über 3 Jahre lang für insgesamt mehr als 2900 Stunden. Er untersuchte zudem die Beute, um herauszufinden, woran sie starb.

Die Bibel besagt:

Der Löwe raubte genug für seine Jungen und würgte für seine Löwinnen. Seine Höhlen füllte er mit Raub und seine Wohnung mit dem, was er zerrissen hatte. Nahum 2:13

Die wörtliche Übersetzung beschreibt die Tötungsmethode als “erwürgen”.[54] Schaller beobachtete:

Sie (die Löwen) schleichen sich heran, stürzen sich auf die Beute, schlagen eine Flanke, reißen das Tier zu Boden und töten es dann langsam durch erwürgen. (Reader’s Digest, June, 1978)

Der Nacken der Beute wird dabei nicht gebrochen.[54] Heute ist dies unter Zoologen weitbekannt.

Da aber Heimschulen in der BRD verboten sind, bezweifle ich, dass ein solches Werkzeug wirksam sein kann, Kinder von Fundamentalisten vor den Gefahren der Evolutionstheorie zu schützen.

Ich hoffe wirklich, dass sie das schliesslich nicht mehr als Bedrohung für ihren Glauben ansehen werden. Der Kreationnismus ist zweifelsohne einer der Hauptgründe, warum Menschen den Christlichen Glauben aufgeben.

 

Thematic list of ALL posts on this blog (regularly updated)

My other blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)