Travels of a Generic Christian

A Christian shares the joy of his walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The following is an excerpt from a journal in which I occasionally make entries about life experiences or concepts that are noteworthy. It happened nearly a year ago. I'm not sure why I'm finally posting it now, but here it is:

CHRISTIANS AND CREATION: To my Christian brothers and sisters: Tonight I explained to my three year old son that, “God made him and put him in Mommy’s tummy.” There is absolutely no untruth in that explanation as told to a three-year old. However, to older people with more highly developed intellectual prowess, not to mention knowledge of basic reproductive biology, this explanation is at best insufficient, at worst flat-out misleading and wrong.

Why is it then, that we as Christians insist on clinging to an explanation for our origins that was given to intellectual and scientific 3-year olds? We have no problem accepting the explanation that I gave to my son, but we all realize that when he gets older, that explanation will not suffice. Later in life he will learn a better, more detailed description of how babies are made.

But, imagine for a moment that no one tells him and that he eventually does the research and figures out the whole story for himself. How many of you would think it right of him, in light of painfully obvious evidence to the contrary, to insist on keeping for his whole life the explanation that I gave him tonight, reasoning to himself, “…because he’s my daddy and he told me so”? None of you, I imagine. I personally would be disappointed with him for doing such a thing. He ought to know better.*

So I ask you, why do we do this to our Father? Now that we are old enough to have figured out the finer details of the story of creation for ourselves, I assert that it is intellectually irresponsible, if not dishonest, to relentlessly cling to an explanation designed only to satisfy a toddler.

* Likewise, if he were to “lose faith” in me because of the “lie” that I told him as a three year old, I would be just as frustrated; either way he would have misunderstood my character and intentions.


At 6:53 PM, Blogger Lee said...

I don’t know if you had a chance to read Andrew Tallman’s thoughts on evolution, as posted by him on July 14, 2009. I have had quite a long discussion with him via email and at his July 14 thought of the day blog.

My strawman version of a Young Earth Creationist is someone who has not cracked a book on science in the years since taking the minimal mandatory high school courses on science. But Andrew doesn’t fit that mold. He is well-read and thoughtful. I asked him once if he was an Old Earth Evolutionist during his phase of non-belief in early adulthood, and he told me he most certainly was.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Correction to my previous post: It is in Andrew's show topics blog, not his thought of the day blog.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Chad Borges said...

Hi Lee,

I haven't read those, but I will do so and get back to you. Thanks for sharing!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Chad Borges said...

Hi Lee,

I just quickly read through Andrew's ethics blog post, but I couldn't find your discussion with him.

I think Andrew is a great guy -- and very smart. But I think some of the arguments he sets up to argue against, although perhaps typical, do not really accurately reflect my thoughts on the matter.

I'd love to talk with you and Andrew about this more in some detail... but I find this kind of discussion, which requires a lot of give and take, very difficult to have in writing. I've met Andrew once before. Do you know him personally?

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Lee said...

If you are interested in reading the discussion and can’t get to it from the links I provided, you can start at the KPXQ home page, then click on Andrew’s picture, and from there the ‘Show Topics Blog’ link. At the bottom of the page there is an ‘Older Posts’ link. Hitting that enough times will eventually get you back to July 14, 2009, and there is a link there to the thread in which Andrew and I discussed his views on evolution.

I have not met Andrew. I kind of like corresponding in print instead of talking face-to-face, since it gives me more time to collect my thoughts, and it provides a permanent record of what each of has said, instead of making us remember what was said verbally days or weeks earlier.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Chad Borges said...

Hi Lee,

I finally got to your exchange on creationism and evolution with Andrew. It was interesting to read. I was glad to see that you both were good spirited about the whole debate.

I was 'born again' about 3.5 years ago after having been in a rather fundamentalist denomination all my life. I didn't accept evolution until after I was born again.

For me, one of the big reasons for leaving Seventh-Day Adventism had to do with the robustness of the evidence against it compared to the robustness of the evidence for it. I would say the same thing about evolution vs. creationism: The evidence in favor of evolution is, in my opinion, far more robust than evidence and arguments that creationists use. (By the way, for what it's worth, I am an assistant research professor in analytical biochemistry at a major state university.)

One of the most interesting bits of evidence for evolution that I recently read comes from Kenneth Miller's book, Only a Theory. In it he talks about common mistakes (mutations) in biology (e.g., an inability to make vitamin C for ourselves) that we share with apes and (I think) other primates.

Essentially, Miller asks, Why would apes and humans both carry DNA sequences for a gene for making vitamin C that is broken in the same way if they are not biologically related? If two students got the same wrong answer on an exam, wouldn't most people assume that they cheated and worked together on the problem?

As you point out, there are so many other independent bits of evidence and lines of reasoning of similar persuasive power in favor of evolution that, for me, it would be intellectually dishonest to force myself to believe in a young earth.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Lee said...

It was fun to hear your voice on KPXQ last Friday.

Does it bother you to read far-future predictions? If someone writes that in X billion years our Sun will swell into a red giant, do you disregard that on the basis that the Second Coming will be much sooner than that, such that there will not be a physical universe far enough into the future for such a change to happen to the Sun?

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Chad Borges said...

No, far-future calculations like that don't bother me. In fact, I suspect that they are more or less accurate assuming that things continue as they (appear to) always have. Of course, as a Christian, I'm not sure those assumptions are valid and I'm not bothered by notions of human extinction, etc.


Post a Comment

<< Home