Monday 17 May 2010

Denial, thy name is Missouri

I keep trying to avoid negative comments about the Missouri Synod, but it's hard. Especially when leading figures within this multi-million member sect keep saying outrageously silly things.

I'm sure there are intelligent, thoughtful people in the Missouri Synod... somewhere. While most of those fitting that bill probably left way back in Seminex days, there has surely been time enough for a marginal increase in IQ levels across the synod since.

Here we are in the twenty-first century, and a church executive who can also presumably manage to tie his own shoelaces, seriously suggests Adam and Eve were real, historical individuals.

Now I know the LCMS was, along with the Seventh-day Adventists, one of the original big promoters of Young Earth Creationism, but even so you'd think at least one of the bigtime synodical shakers and movers would occasionally pick up a copy of Scientific American.

Or perhaps New Scientist.

Or, all else failing, an issue of National Geographic.

Apparently not, unless it's to tut-tut over the evils of evolution.

Here's what I'm talking about:

I’ve been following debates/arguments/dicussions/conversations about the historicity of Adam and Eve. For our Lord Christ, the fact of the creation of Adam and Eve by God, and their union to one another, ordained by God, is the very foundation of marriage and all human sexuality. Precisely because the Lord taught this, this has an enormous impact on how the Church and the faithful, should — no not should, that’s way too soft a word — absolutely must — affirm the historicity of Adam and Eve.

Where does any scientific evidence fit into this bit of logic? It doesn't. A literalist reading of Genesis trumps anything the modern world can throw at it. Adam and Eve were historical because... this guy can't think of another way to endorse marriage???

The writer goes on to quote an obscure British fundamentalist to "prove" his point.

The historical reality of Adam is an essential means of preserving a Christian account of sin and evil, a Christian understanding of God, and the rationale for the incarnation, cross and resurrection. His physical fatherhood of all humankind preserves God’s justice in condemning us in Adam (and, by inference, God’s justice in redeeming us in Christ) as well as safeguarding the logic of the incarnation. Neither belief can be reinterpreted without the most severe consequences.

In other words, if my dogma runs aground on contrary evidence, the facts are wrong. Above all else "safeguarding the logic of the [author's understanding of the] incarnation" and letting God slip out of responsibility for "condemning us" is paramount.

You can imagine these guys baying for Galileo's blood. A heliocentric cosmology at the cost of "severe consequences" to our tidy doctrines? No contest! String the heretic up!

This is medieval thinking. Medieval logic. The Enlightenment has yet to break across the fusty "confessionalism" of this dinosaur synod.

Which is why it keeps publishing Alfred Rehwinkel's laughable 1950s creation science text, The Flood.

And why in recent times it has published and promoted the specious YEC drivel mentioned here, here, here and here.

Coincidentally, the current issue of New Scientist has a cover feature on denial.

Denial... is the automatic gainsaying of a claim regardless of the evidence for it - sometimes even in the teeth of evidence. Denialism is typically driven by ideology or religious belief, where the commitment to be belief takes precedence over the evidence. Belief comes first, reasons for belief follow, and those reasons are winnowed to ensure that the belief survives intact. (p.36)

What New Scientist calls denialism could just as aptly be called idolatry.


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  2. Hmmmmm, which one of us is being meaner? I would have said, "stupidity", but "idolatry" certainly hits them where it hurts. They really hate it when you throw their own words back at them.

    The Marching Morons; how ever will our little planet survive them?

  3. This really is the age of denial and not just denial of evolution either.

    The age of the earth and the universe is also denied along with the secular foundation of the US.

    And history, don't forget history. Today it is denied that Hitler was a Catholic - but he was.

    With today's PC rhetoric a spade is no longer a spade and even Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson have been converted to Christianity.

    The millions of people tortured and murdered by the Christian Church has now been reduced to only a handful of people (and they were killed only because they deserved it).

    Scientists are all stupid and Jerry Falwell was the smartest man who ever lived - well, next to "Dr." Hovind.

  4. Jesus said Adam was real, so what is the big deal if folks believe Jesus?