In the latest edition of Christianity Today, there is a review of a book that criticizes YEC. I’ve also read a couple of follow-up discussions at several websites, and it seems that since I don’t believe in a “young earth”, I am not a Bible believer, I am a scoffer, I am a misguided fool, I am a blasphemer, I am confused, I must deny whole portions of God’s Word and I hold to a twisted ideology. Oh, and don’t foget a charlatan and apostate, who is intellectually dishonest, and NOT a Christian.
I’m so glad we have all of that settled, including my one-way ticket to hell. Actually, it’s not the first time this has happened to me, that so-called brothers in Christ attacked my faith like that. Whenever I enter those discussions I make a bet with myself on how long it will be before the ad-homs start flying, and I usually lose because I overestimate the goodwill and fellowship of those who call themselves Christian.
We criticize atheistic evolutionists for their unwillingness to enter dialogue, for their hand-waving dismissal of anything that contradicts their beliefs, for closing the scientific apparatus to anything that doesn’t hold to their assumptions. And the criticism is valid. But why do some Christians insist on doing the same when it comes to the YEC position? I perceive the atheist attitude as being a sign of weakness, that such aggression and name-calling are the only techniques left after the house of cards come tumbling down. Must we now conclude that the YEC position is equally as fragile? Surely not.
Calling me names does nothing to my faith, and does nothing to God’s truth either. But it does affect my impression of those whom I enter into discussions with. I can call names as much as the next guy, but that is a waste of time, and an insult to God. In an area as sensitive as this, which seems to cause much division among Christians, it is especially an affront to our Savior that we cannot show goodwill and honesty towards brothers. Frankly, it just causes many to not want to have discussions like that any more. I now have to hide my beliefs because I know where it will lead….not to fruitful discussion but to the accusations above.
So I would urge that we show some tolerance and understanding amongst ourselves before launching into attacking others in such a brutal and insulting fashion. This manner of debate seems to have become a staple of modern America, answer your detractors by calling them the worst names you can think of and you will have won the debate. Facts, research and careful analysis seem to have mostly gone by the wayside as a result of this culture of attack. It’s easier to rattle off a two-line putdown than to conduct some research to see if the other person actually has a valid point or not, and to prepare a careful and thoughtful response. Pulling down a link is still easier should the conversation continue past the first exchanges.
We are so fortunate that we stand on the shoulders of giants that went before us, and that some serious scholars take the time today to try and gain insight into the mysteries of our Lord. That type of wisdom can never come from being proud and insulting mockers of brothers, but can come only from being humble before God.
So next time, before you mock and insult a brother or sister in Christ, think what effect you may have on that person. I can promise you, it is not a positive effect. Pray and be still before God before you speak dismissively and angrily. You may just honor God more that way.