Saturday, 11 June 2011

Cats among the Creationist Pigeons

The old certitudes are crumbling, even among the ranks of America's evangelicals, judging from a lead story in the current issue of Christianity Today.

Under pressure is the commitment of evangelicals to a literal Adam and Eve. The issue is particularly acute in the Reformed camp, with its rigid, over-theologised dogmas and dour view of humanity.

Pushing the boundaries is the BioLogos Foundation, much to the chagrin of hand-wringing Calvinists who fear that their theological house of cards is about to come down. We can only hope!
[T]he emerging science could be seen to challenge not only what Genesis records about the creation of humanity but the species's unique status as bearing the "image of God," Christian doctrine on original sin and the Fall, the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and, perhaps most significantly, Paul's teaching that links the historical Adam with redemption through Christ...
Theistic evolution seems, despite this, to be in full cry, largely thanks to the advocacy of Francis Collins, and the scientific evidence cited is impossible to dismiss. That's too much, however, for some to swallow. Their objections have nothing to do with the science, but everything to do with a mangled anthropology.
Vices we associate with consequences of the Fall and original sin, such as self-serving behavior, exist in lower primates and would have been passed on via evolution to humans. Thus Eden "cannot be a literal description of how things really were in the primal human past."
Reformed clergyperson Richard Phillips is quoted in the CT article: "Can the Bible's theology be true if the historical events on which the theology is based are false?" he asks. If science trumps Scripture, what does this mean for the virgin birth of Jesus, or his miracles, or his resurrection? "The hermeneutics behind theistic evolution are a Trojan horse that, once inside our gates, must cause the entire fortress of Christian belief to fall."

Not so likely. A broader Christian belief - outside the swarming ghettos of Reformed Evangelicalism and fundamentalism - can clearly cope with the reality of human origins. If a theistic acceptance of evolution does indeed bring the hammer down on an Augustinian view of "mankind" as fallen and deserving of eternal punishment... well, that's got to be good news for everyone.

This is one CT article that is well worth a close reading.


  1. Religionists with an agenda -- that agenda being, lie to them and then take their money -- did a reductio ad absrdum to make it easy for their simple minded followers to swallow the poison pill to put them to sleep so they could tolerate being plugged into the fundamentalist matrix.

    The first thing to do when you progress to get people to accept rubbish, is to obliterate the credibility of those who could undermine the fabric of your fabrications. This is not difficult to do when your silly sheeps' glaze over to telomeres, alleles, homology, syntenic locations, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and linkage disequilibrium. In fact, the most effective innoculation against science to to expose your simpletons to it, ridiculing dissuading factual bases of "science falsely so-called".

    This becomes a wonderland of chaotic catastrophic confusion, designed to devastate the mental state of the simpleton fool which can be pliable to mold in the hands of a religious scoundrel.

    Now it's true, and we recognize that there are those who are both qualified and deeply concerned about the issues at hand: Many are not scurrilous sychophant seeking apologists. They genuinely struggle with the issues of reconciliation with Scriptural reconciliation versus what not so simple science unfolds in its complex magnificence.

    True believers are to be cautioned that "it's not that simple" when confronted with an account of Adam and Eve, let alone the DNA evidence that refutes British Israelism. If you truly care, the truth is at stake.

    Over a decade ago, Analog addressed this topic, pointing out that if you just had one bat which was developing sonar, it would crash and burn. The single sole archer fish would never be able to shoot down its prey and starve to death. At every turn, the dishonest religionist seemingly using "common sense" (like oil is heavier than water, or the much earlier, the sun revolves around the earth mentality) would win the argument with the paper tiger of lonely pathetic failures. As the magazine pointed out, even before the Human Genome Project was underway, that, yes, if you just had one or even 20 bats under development, they would fail. What about 60 million of them?

    Natural selection works wonders in nature.

    The cult sociopath's approach? Ridicule science. Convince your membership it's too hard to understand. Get them to trust you with glib assertions. You have an addicted audience which has no hope of escape. You may not have the brightest bulbs on the Christmas Tree and their happy meal is short of several fries, but with all that money you can still collect, it hardly matters that your troglodyte sychophants have a room temperature IQ.

    It's too bad that natural selection doesn't work in the ersatz errant evolution hating religions: There's a lot to clean out in that shallow end of the gene pool.

    Or maybe it does: Maybe that's the reason for all those marvelous splinters out there with people divided by a common, but erroneous, faith.

    We all know by this time what happens to the weak separated from the herd.

  2. Nice cartoon, at least! :-)

  3. And the face of Xianity slooooowly changes. It has to or...else.

    When Genesis was made allegory because of evolution some time ago, it made the sacrifice of Jesus irrelevant. No literal "fall" means no literal Adam, which means no original sin requiring forgiveness by the sacrifice of a human, namely, Jesus.

    The whole story has already fallen apart but, for some reason, people don't want to accept that. People would rather believe whatever fantasy that will follow the fall of the fall than accept the reality of their mortality.

    So sad about Jesus, whose return was "at hand" 2,000 years ago. Even sadder for those who gave up their lives believing it - preferring a delusion rather than facing the obvious.

    So, Xianity changes, or else and I think I prefer the "else". Why? Well, because Xianity has more than demonstrated its inability to get anything right in all the 2,000 years of its conniving, malignant and murderous history.

  4. The problem with young earth theology is that it is so easily disproven and discredited by basic high school level science classes.
    Once high school students being raised as young earth Christians are exposed to this, the next thing to fall is Jesus, since He validated Adam and Eve, as well as other Old Testament forefathers.

    Old Earth Creationism has been around for centuries, and is a much better fit with science. HWA taught "gap theory" creationism, but the geological evidence to support this is either totally lacking, or is explained by the cataclysmic nature of the end of the ice age.

    Personally, I believe that how things came into being, and how they will end up are intended to have a certain mystery about them. That makes the only logical course one of concentrating on what we have extant and available today.

    As a resource, I'd recommend "Genesis and the Big Bang", written by a celebrated astrophysicist. It certainly made me aware of some things I'd never even remotely considered. It's a heck of a science lesson at the very least.


  5. Sanctified ignorance is still ignorance so it great to see how good science ever grinds on to rid the mind of mythologies taken as literally true.

    The demise of the Adam and Eve story as literally true would shake the foundations of NT theology, much of which is based on the absolute need for the OT tales to be absolutely literally true no matter what those with doubts say about it not neededing to be so.

    No Adam and Eve, no Original Sin No Original need for redemption and atonement by execution...No need for need for ten thousand things we get dumped on us by church.

    Oh and women would make out much better in this world once, "for the women comes from man, not man from woman..therefore...." is corrected

  6. "If a theistic acceptance of evolution does indeed bring the hammer down on an Augustinian view of "mankind" as fallen and deserving of eternal punishment... well, that's got to be good news for everyone."

    I certainly agree with that...but in the mid-80s, WCG literature was still in the process of trying to (as the scripture has it) "halt between two options;" three options, actually, with articles in the GN, WWN, and the PT pushing, respectively, Young Earth Creationism, Gap Theory, and Pre-Adamic Man (thank you(?) Herman Hoeh) Keith Stump, Hegvold, and Hoeh, at various points, each pushed their own theory, and it was never preached from the pulpit (save for tape sermons from Herman). So I took that mostly to mean that this was largely left to the individual member's own understanding, as granted to him/her....

    I personally always fell off the radar, vis a vis creationism beliefs/WCG creationism teachings; it was never really discussed in my family, nor even discussed personally with me, by the then-leaders of the congregation. Having grown up roaming the better parts of BC back-country, and spending significant portions of my early life in the natural world, I always did hold that evolution was designed by one Creator. It just seemed (and seems, now) illogical, to think otherwise.

    Oh, yes, I did believe one part of Hoeh's theory, that the dinosaurs were the result of the angels' and Lucifer's rebellion, as their part of making the Earth "chaos" and "a wasteland...." But I confess to being fascinated by shows like Walking With Dinosaurs, or those stop-motion Claymation NFB films they used to show, in elementary schools.

    "That's too much, however, for some to swallow. Their objections have nothing to do with the science, but everything to do with a mangled anthropology."

    And nothing at all to do with the theology in the book they actually thump, without reading....

  7. "No literal "fall" means no literal Adam, which means no original sin requiring forgiveness by the sacrifice of a human, namely, Jesus."

    Doing away with "original sin" just does away with the worst parts of pagan Christianity; Christ's sacrifice was for the sins of "the whole world deceived" who had, have, and will, turn away from "the whole paths of the Lord."

    Which has nothing to do with the Catholic concept of "original sin."

  8. As it says, Aggie, "in Adam all die". If there was no literal Adam, and there wasn't, then there can be no second Adam or "last Adam", as Jesus is called.

    Call it original sin or not, it is plain that we all die because of being "in Adam". It was Adam who was sentenced to death and we quite obviously inherited that sentence. That's why it's called original sin or the fall.

    "As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin" is what Paul says, but it's wrong, there was no "one man". And, everybody cannot be "in Adam" because everybody didn't descend from a Semitic Adam. And Eve is not "the mother of all living" because there never was a one woman who gave birth to the whole world.

    Mitochondrial Eve is not the same Eve as the one in Genesis and the group of females called Mitochondrial Eve did not originate in Mesopotamia but in Africa.

  9. "If there was no literal Adam, and there wasn't, then there can be no second Adam or "last Adam", as Jesus is called."

    The operative phrase there being as ... is called. Or perhaps your black-and-white worldview is no longer open to simile?

    The fundamentalist professing Christians, absolutely live and die (and are eternally doomed -- charming theology, that) by a literal Adam & Eve story. The WCG I grew up in, however, took a wink-wink, nudge-nudge approach to it; there were several copies of Chariots of the Gods and Ancient Astronauts floating around the congregation, at any given time, a few of us went to see Voyager's flyby of Uranus, and we were all glued to our TVs for the Challenger disaster; as well, I can recall a book called The Thirteenth Planet making some headway, in our congregation, which posited a rather sci-fi "It was aliens that designed and created us!" plotline. That was allegedly non-fiction, and resulted in the Kuiper Belt. Or something. I seem to recall we took the "the world thinks God is an alien!" mindset towards it.

    Now, that said, the YES lessons treated it literally, but I'm sure most of the adults didn't think in quite those literal of terms.

    I forget whether or not the three Creationism theories were ever dealt with from the pulpit, other than Herman Hoeh pushing pre-Adamic Man through the tape sermons; I do remember quite clearly thinking that it was being left to each one of us members, to decide what was "correct" and that, in the grand Master Plan, it didn't really matter, anyway.

    Besides, we were called to be looking forward, not backward to something that may or may not have been a poetic part of the Bible.

    That was my experience with the various creationist theories floated by the Church, in the mid-80s, in Canada.