If you’re just joining my story, here’s a quick catch-up. Once upon a time, I was an evangelical Christian. Although I was not a die-hard creationist, I considered creationists to be “my team” and evolutionists to be the godless “other team.” I trusted creationists because they were fellow Christians, and conservative ones at that. A decision my wife and I had to make forced me to investigate the creation/evolution issue more closely.
I hope the last few posts have given you a window into why I was appalled at how dishonest the creationist arguments turned out to have been. Now I’d like to give just a glimpse into the sort of arguments that I discovered on the side of evolution.
Most remarkable was the way completely independent lines of evidence all pointed to the same conclusion. This graph is an example. It’s from the book that opened my eyes to the power of the evolutionary explanation for life, Scientists Confront Creationism.
I’ll walk you through it, and then I’ll say why I found it so compelling.
Here’s more from Harry Frankfurt’s essay, On Bullshit.
The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These “anti-realist” doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry.
The young-Earth creationist does believe in objective reality. In that sense, he is not an “anti-realist.” However, he most certainly does not support “disinterested efforts to determine what is true and false.”
What do you think of these arguments against the chance origin of life?
From an Answers in Genesis online textbook (Chapter 5):
Harold J. Morowitz, professor of biophysics at Yale, has calculated that the [probability of] formation of one E. coli bacteria in the universe at 10-100,000,000,000, or one in 10 to the power of 100 billion. Sir Fred Hoyle has offered the analogy of a tornado passing through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747, “nonsense of a high order” in his words. Natural selection cannot be the mechanism that caused life to form from matter as it can only work on a complete living organism.
…The many distinct interactions within living systems clearly point to the presence of a designer, the God of the Bible.
And earlier in the same chapter:
[Evolutionist Thomas] Huxley suggested that, given enough time and material, six monkeys could type the 23rd Psalm simply by randomly punching the keys. … So what is the answer to Huxley’s argument of time and chance?
Last week on Ecuador’s Got Talent, an argument for the existence of God that I have often faced was in the news once more. Sixteen-year-old singer Carolina Pena had just finished her performance when a judge asked her, “Do you believe in God?”
Carolina replied that she did not “because God has not given me a reason to believe.”
To which one of the judges replied, “So what do you believe? Where did we come from?”
The last post closed by explaining how the doctrine of the security of the believer serves to keep people in the faith: It is impossible to lose your salvation, so if you supposedly leave the faith, you must never have had faith in the first place. You did not give God a sincere try. So you remain, and try more earnestly. Also, if someone you know leaves, then he must not have been a true Christian, so whatever reasons he gives are obviously invalid. You need not be tempted to leave on his account!
The doctrine originates with verses like this one. Jesus is speaking about his followers (John 10:28).
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Even as a Christian, I had questions about this (Maybe no one will snatch them out, but can they walk out on their own?). And not every evangelical holds this belief. However, for the purpose of this post let’s assume the doctrine is correct: someone like me must never have been a true Christian.
I suggest that this immediately puts the believer in a bind– one that I have never heard any believer acknowledge.
On November 7, a roomful of Christians will interview me for an hour on the subject of why I left the faith. Starting with this post, I’d like to get a head start on the discussion. I hope some people who will attend the forum will read these posts and leave comments or questions.
Let’s start on an optimistic note and observe that my story, of leaving the Christian faith in middle age, is actually very rare. (It is far more common for young adults to leave, but I won’t have much to say about that.) We midlifers are notorious for our crises. Why don’t more of us leave the church?
There are obvious reasons, such as decades of sensing God’s presence, of seeing answers to prayer, and of forming Christian friendships, but in this post I’d like to focus on some less-obvious reasons.