Wednesday, May 6, 2009

10 Reasons why Creationism is Bad theology

This is a post I have presented previously in various debates. I find it fascinating how creationists generally ignore the list. When they DO respond, it's always in the form of a general dismissal, something along the lines of: That's absurd! The fact that they are unable to argue against my specific claims is very telling, at least to me.

1. It requires a belief in a cruel God.

The God of the creationists killed many people, including small children in various ways including floods, fire and brimstone falling from the sky and so on. That same God also willfully created a natural world "red in tooth and claw" according to Tennyson.

2. It requires a belief in a deceptive God.

The God of the creationists left evidence of evolution (such as cytochrome-c) and an old Earth and universe when neither of those things are true (at least if YEC claims are true).

3. It requires a belief in a God who is not very competent.

The God of the creationist created things like flightless birds, blind cave fish with non-functional eyes and His original "design" included at least 100 failed species that became extinct for every one that has survived over a mere 6000 years.

4. It demands self-worship.

Creationists believe that they inerrantly understand the Mind of God through the Bible. Even if the Bible is the inspired word of God and was faithfully written down by infallible human authors, an inerrant message clearly requires that the reader (i.e. the creationist) be inerrant as well!! Since only Gods are inerrant such a belief requires that the creationists elevate themselves to Godly levels.

5. It diminishes the important parts of the Bible

The parts of the Bible that are primarily in dispute between creationists and science are all in the Old Testament. That means that the discussion focuses on those parts, some of which are relatively obscure and have little real theological importance (such as Joshua's battle where the sun supposedly stopped in the sky). Surely any Christian, in particular, would find the New Testament more important in theological discussions.

6. It holds the Bible and Christianity up to ridicule

St. Augustine said it best:

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, . . . and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn."

7. A belief in an inerrant Bible diminishes the amount of study given that book.

The extent to which a book is considered inerrant is directly proportional to the amount that it is NOT subject to analysis. People don't analyze the phone book or the dictionary because they are effectively considered inerrant sources of information. If people thought that there were possible flaws in the Bible they would ask questions like, "Wow! Did that really happen? If so, what does it mean about the character of God?" A deeper analysis would surely follow. Note that creationists often READ the Bible. But that's not what I'm talking about. People READ the phone book often too. I'm talking about STUDYING the Bible. As evidence: the only questions that are raised about the Bible seem to come from skeptics.

8. A belief in an inerrant Bible increases the amount of fear that people have regarding what they read in the Bible.

This is similar to, but a bit different from the previous argument.

Creationists are told that if any part of the Bible is wrong then the entire Bible cannot be believed. A common question asked by creationists, "If some part of the Bible is flawed how do we know what parts to believe?" (Answer: "Possibly you should use the brain that God gave you!") Therefore they actually believe that any flaws in that book can make God disappear. Inevitably it makes them afraid to ask questions. It is difficult to believe that God would inspire a book and not want people to think about it and ask questions as they think.

9. Creationism indicates a fundamentally weak and even fragile belief in God and Christianity

Creationists are basically looking for "proof" of God's existence. They insist, for example, that God must be the source of the order in the universe in order to convince them that they have found "proof" of God's existence. That "proof" comes in the form of an inerrant book. After all, mere humans could not created an inerrant book. The problem is that without such actual "proof" they would lose their belief that God exists. But searching for "proof" is not faith. John 20:29 is relevant here: "Jesus said to him, `Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'"

10. It promotes the worship of a book rather than worship of God.

Biblical literalists actually put the Bible ahead of God and Jesus in things that they worship. Biblical literalism also diminishes the role of prayer and study and the role of the Holy Spirit.
Evidence of the failure of the Bible by itself to provide a real understanding of God is provided by the irrefutable fact that many people with equal amounts of sincerity and equal years of study come away with different messages from the Bible.

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