May 28 : a Dark Day for Science and for Christianity as the "Creation Museum" Opens

May 28 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Today's the day that Answers In Genesis' museum of ignorance, their "looks like, acts like, smells like, and pretends to be, but decidedly is not a science museum," the Creation Museum opens.

I'm horrified about this on many levels. As a scientist, I'm horrified about it just like every other scientist who is writing about this. We've got a slickly presented museum that looks like a science museum presenting carefully crafted lies (there is no other word for it) designed to comfort people in their scientific ignorance, designed to deeply instill scientific ignorance in children of a certain faith. Given that that certain faith is also the most popular faith of my country (the USA), this is bad news for the future of this country. Promoting and increasing scientific ignorance is a bad thing.

But there's another aspect about this that bothers me. It bothers me, seriously, as a Christian.

First, there's the fact that these jokers loudly proclaim themselves as Christians, and not only that, but as somehow the "true" Christians. It seems that they've defined the purest Christians as the most ignorant ones, the ones who believe that thinking critically is a sin, the ones who believe that the Bible must be interpreted literally even where it makes no sense because, even though they claim that we are somehow "different" from the animals because we can cogitate, we're not really supposed to cogitate.

It's embarrassing. It's deeply embarrassing. It makes me hesitate to admit that I'm a Christian in many crowds, because the association is immediately going to be with the ignorant jokers who put together high-funded and very slick marketing crap like this Creation Museum. I have nothing to do with them, despise what they are doing, and am very angry that they are besmirching the name of my religious tradition. I mean, there's a lot of serious bad crap that's been done in the name of my religious tradition in the past. The Crusades, the Inquisition, all of that. There's also lots of scientific ignorance (e.g. the whole Galileo Affair) that has been done in the name of this religion in the past. But grow up already! There are plenty of Christians around today who have no problem with what we know to be true with modern science! There is no need to deny facts and truth to remain Christian! If there were, then Christianity would truly be obsolete. As it is, though, you can be a Christian and still fully accept science. Alas, the best funded Christians are able to put together crap like this creation museum, and it embarrasses and angers me.

It's also bad for Christians. If Christianity is to continue to have meaning as a faith, it can't base so much of what it claims to be "true" on things that are blatantly false. It can't go around misrepresenting and warping the "evidence" to try to "prove" things that are simply wrong in an attempt to deny that human knowledge is different today than it was thousands of years ago when humans wrote the Bible. Christianity can continue to have meaning as a faith, as evidenced by me and many, many others (e.g. those who have signed the Clergy Letter Project) who fully embrace modern science and yet still consider ourselves to be Christians. The people behind the Creation Museum are backwards, ignorant, misled, and often outright prevaricating drags on humanity, people who would hold back human knowledge and keep the world covered in a dark shroud of ignorance to promote their own personal and proven incorrect version of their religious faith. They would relegate Christianity to the dustbin of history by insisting that "true" Christians are those who believe wrong things, those who are ignorant. Too many young Christians who have at least a hope of having their minds opened and realizing that they can fully understand, learn about, and even contribute to the human intellectual endeavor without sacrificing their faith will have further walls built to preserve the ignorance they are being taught by their parents, further ammunition they can use to maintain their incorrect and backwards version of their faith against the onslaught of reality.

It makes me very sad for all those children who will think that dinosaurs are icons of an ignorant and stupid creationist museum rather than the coolest megafauna that have lived on Earth and a great way to think about "deep time" and the ways in which the surface of this planet has been very, very different over the eons of its existence. When I was a kid, I was way into dinosaurs. Nothing made me happier than going to a science museum and seeing a big 'ol dinosaur skeleton, or seeing a mockup of dinosaurs in speculated or estimated natural habitats. The kids who go to this museum, though, are going to be stuff that is known to be wrong, and will from a young age associated dinosaurs with religious ignorance. It's sad for those children, it's sad for this country, it's sad for science, and it's sad for both the future of and the reputation of my faith tradition.

I can't also be a little bit bitter hearing the rumors that the museum cost $27 million to build. Never mind that if given a tenth of that to invest, I could fund my research very, very handsomely for the rest of my life. $27 million would buy a lot of good science museums, planetariums, and educational programs for children that would teach real science, not lies and ignorance, dressed up in a slick package and explicitly designed to set back science education. It's a free country, and people are free to misspend their money on stupid things. But that's a lot of money spent on something actively damaging.

Christians, wake up. Decry this ignorance, for that is what it is. Take back the name of your faith, and call out these ignorant creationists for what they are. Don't let them claim that any sort of Biblical literalism is at all holy or pure or a evidence of strong faith in the face of a cultural assault. Paint it for what it is; willful ignorance, held to and promoted, an embarrassing excuse for a religious tradition, an embarrassing excuse for human activity.

Words are not able to express how strong my horror and anger at the opening of this museum is.

45 responses so far

  • writerdd says:

    Great post, thanks!

  • Zedd says:

    Terry Goodkind said in his novel Wizard's First Rule "People will believe any lie as long as they want it to be true or are afraid that it might be." People who buy into crap like the Creation Museum have a very fragile faith, like a house of cards, founded on biblical inerrancy. If you can convince them of one single error in the bible then their whole faith comes crashing down. So, to avoid that they shout louder and listen not at all.

  • island says:

    Rob Knop is a creationist???... whew baby, holy crap. Maybe... 'holy load of crap' would make more sense... 🙂
    C'mon Knop... you could at least say that you're an agnostic... or if not, then what is your reason for believing... other than indoctrination, I mean... LOL
    This actually makes my day... LOL

  • Rob Knop says:

    I'm not a creationist.
    As for my reasons for believing, I addressed that in earlier posts. Look in the archives in the "science & religion" topic.
    -Rob

  • island says:

    Okay Rob, settle down, I'm not going to ride you... 'too hard'... 😉
    I'm not a creationist.
    -R. Knop
    SWEET!!!
    Actually, I was a confirmed (indoctrinated) christian, until I grew up and got exposed to all you hippie types at school.

  • Way to go, Rob. I'm a Christian, who loves science and has taught seminars in science and faith and has had many great Christian colleagues who are tremendous scientists. I've been carrying on a conversation on science and faith at my own weblog for about five weeks, after I realized how heated the conflict out there right now is. One thing I keep running into are these statistics about huge numbers of Americans believing in creationism and wanting ID taught in the schools. What about these statistics? They cannot be correct. I agree with Jennifer Ouelette, who says it's only a tiny (vocal) fraction of American Christians. What about all of us Episcopalians, not to mention Orthodox and RC and Presbyterians and Congregationalists, who are NOT fundamentalists. I don't even think most Evangelicals are hard-line on creationism. About 40% of them vote democratic, despite the stereotypes to the contrary. Where are these statistic coming from? The questions had to be very weighted, but these statistics being quoted everywhere understandably put the scientific community on the defensive.

  • island says:

    Oh my... this just gets better, and better, and...
    40%, and yet Bush rules... *whistling to myself* ... then there must be a hell of a lot more fundamentalists than we know about!
    Color all dem states red... lol

  • Lab Lemming says:

    Would anyone actually have heard about this thing if all the skeptics hadn't started screaming about it at the top of their lungs and generating free publicity?

  • Rob Knop says:

    Yes. The target audience would have. There's this "ignorance subculture" that spread creationism around. The skeptics wouldn't have heard much about it, but they would have advertised and spread the word among that subculture.
    I think it's just as well that we're making noise, because it raises the attention of the rest of us, and gives us at least a hope of connecting with that subculture. The more cut off it gets, the more of a problem it can be when they all suddenly decide to turn out for an election....

  • Eric Lund says:

    It makes me very sad for all those children who will think that dinosaurs are icons of an ignorant and stupid creationist museum

    The metaphorical dinosaurs are trying to make the real dinosaurs part of their program. You have every reason to be alarmed.
    And you are right that people like this cause me to mistrust anyone who claims to be Christian. IME those who proclaim their Christianity the loudest are on average the least Christian, at least by my reading of the New Testament.

  • blf says:

    It's being (widely?) covered in the mainstream press; e.g., The Guardian. A search of news sources with Google for the phrase "creation museum" finds over 600 hits.
    However, some of those hits are apparently about another such collection of silliness in Alberta, Canada (e.g, Reuters). This Canadian one apparently will include (it opens next week) "a set of English scrolls tracing the family of King Henry VI back to the Garden of Eden". (So it's not just USAians who are batshite crazy; it's everyone 😉 north of the northern Mexican border.)

  • Thomas Robey says:

    Thank you Rob for this excellent post. Like you, I mourn over the misstatements made about Christianity and science with the purpose of polarizing the two. There are a few groups around that aim to reconcile differences and foster understanding (Metanexus, Am. Sci. Affil. AAAS DoSER), but it seems to me like they preach to the choir.
    Your call to, "decry this ignorance, for that is what it is." is an noble one. I am thinking this should be done in the pews and in the lab. What are some of the specific approaches YOU use?

  • Siamang says:

    Sadly, this contributes to the overall impression that religion is a reality-free-zone. Someone made the point in another article that Dawkins and Harris et al make weak counter-arguments to belief, because they attack a childish cartoon of belief that would make first-year theology students wince. The writer pointed out that a very good number of people in the world hold beliefs that would make first-year theology students wince.
    I'm an atheist, and I do note with some sadness that I haven't heard any particularly good arguments for theism. I have heard a very very large number of repetitions of a handful of very poor ones. Discarding those, the ones I'm left with are merely personal testimonies of faith. While I cannot discount them entirely, I similarly cannot discount my own lack of such feelings.
    I am struck by the overwhelming feeling that religion cannot get hard questions right. In the world around us, there are hard questions, and easy questions.
    Hard questions are: was the universe the result of a conscious intention? Is there a higher intelligence guiding life? Is there existence we go to after we die?
    Easy questions are: Did T-rex eat coconuts or meat? How many ribs do men have? How far away is the great galaxy in Andromeda?
    If these people cannot get easy questions right, why are they to be trusted with the hardest questions facing us?

  • Rob Knop says:

    What are some of the specific approaches YOU use?
    Mostly I rant in a blog 🙂
    What I wish I was better at was the one-to-one stuff. However, I have to admit to getting a little gunshy when I'm in front of another person and want to try to convince them that they can be Christian without having to deny science.
    I have given (years past) some talks about the Big Bang and such at my church -- but it was a very liberal protestant denomination, where I was more likely to get objections from postmodernists about the paternalistic oppressive nature of Western science than from creationists....
    -Rob

  • Rob Knop says:

    Discarding those, the ones I'm left with are merely personal testimonies of faith. While I cannot discount them entirely, I similarly cannot discount my own lack of such feelings.
    And that's fine. What you have to recognize, though, is that if you insist that your lack of feelings is absolutely true and anybody who doesn't share that lack is stupid, you're doing basically the same thing as the evangelicals who insist that those who don't share their faith are damned.
    If these people cannot get easy questions right, why are they to be trusted with the hardest questions facing us?
    You're making the same mistake as the creationists here. There's not a single continuum of questions. Religion sucks at answering scientific questions, easy or hard. Similarly, however, science sucks (indeed, does not even claim to address) questions such as "what is the purpose of my life" or "how should I live my life"? There is more to thought than science. Religion and science are two different things. Creationists make the mistake of thinking that they can use their religion to answer scientific questions. Too often, I see atheists not recognizing that there are questions other than scientific questions. (Dawkins, for example, has at least once said that any question that isn't scientific isn't worth asking.)
    -Rob

  • Siamang says:

    Rob wrote:
    "And that's fine. What you have to recognize, though, is that if you insist that your lack of feelings is absolutely true and anybody who doesn't share that lack is stupid,..."
    Rewind. I didn't use the "stupid" word. I said that even though I cannot discount the testimonies of faith of others, I nevertheless cannot ignore that I lack such feelings.
    I don't say that these people are stupid. I say that I am not convinced by their arguments. Perhaps your use of "if" is hypothetical here, and if so, you may be comforted by the fact that I never do such a thing.
    I would say that religion sucks at answering any questions at all, whereas science excels at answering a subset of possible questions, but of course, not all questions.
    Why do I say that religion sucks at answering questions? Because I have yet to hear of a method for telling a true theological statement from a false one.
    Is it good or bad to be gay? Is there one god, three, four or infinity? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
    A solid theological argumentation can be found to back any number of answers to those questions, depending on whose religion you were raised on. Unless you can tell me a method by which I can test any of the answers, I cannot judge religion to be good at answering questions.
    Are there questions that science cannot answer? Absolutely! But that doesn't mean that religion can, by default, answer those questions.
    I think religion isn't in the question answering business at all. That's not to say it's worthless or indeed false. There may yet be a God. He may have chosen a particular role in human life for religion to fill. From my point of view, He seems more interested in provoking questions than answering them.

  • Siamang says:

    And I want to add this:
    From my point of view, He seems more interested in provoking questions than answering them.
    And that might not be a bad thing! 🙂

  • Rob Knop says:

    Why do I say that religion sucks at answering questions? Because I have yet to hear of a method for telling a true theological statement from a false one.
    You are limiting yourself to very specific types of questions by insisting that the answers must be able to be judged in that way.
    Sometimes a question is answered with another question, as you note. Sometimes the point of the question isn't the answer, but the process involved in trying to find the answer.
    And, sometimes the answer isn't something that can easily be objectively judged true or false.
    -Rob

  • SLC says:

    Attached is a link to a thread on Jason Rosenhouses' blog which contains arguments by YEC Jon S. Some people visiting this thread may find Mr. Jon S vaguely amusing.
    http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2007/05/the_times_on_the_creation_muse.php

  • Siamang says:

    Rob wrote: "And, sometimes the answer isn't something that can easily be objectively judged true or false."
    It was when I found that I couldn't tell my true beliefs from my false beliefs that I attempted to eliminate religion from my thinking. I believed too much wierd shit, and I had no way tell what was real from what was just plain wierd stuff.
    Without a guide, I had no idea what to believe in. I therefore stopped believing in things which required faith in an unseen supernatural realm. So I'll admit that my possible type I errors have increased, but I was so overwhelmed by type II errors that my life was becoming unstable.
    Without a test, I was a very odd person, indeed. Quite unmoored from a sense of shared reality. I have an overactive imagination... and it was getting the best of me.
    By the way, Rob, I know you don't know me or my online style. I linked to this post, admiringly from my blog. A blog that's part of a Christian ministry that incorporates the blogs of believers and nonbelievers alike.
    I understand that people coming in here and commenting, it's tough to know who's trying to add to the conversation and who's trying to take a pot-shot. I cannot imagine how painful it was for you to write yesterday's post. I am attempting to understand how difficult it must be to be this open against creationism, and yet setting yourself up on your blog for commenters to say "see, all you Christians are crazy!!!!"
    Anyway, I think your posting was courageous and difficult and showed guts. I was glad to link to it.

  • Rob Knop says:

    Actually, that post wasn't too painful at all. However, a month or so ago I did a three-part post about science and religion where a whole bunch of the usual suspects showed up for a variety of reasons, many of whom showed primarily disdain for what I had to say.
    -Rob

  • island says:

    I took one pot-shot, but the ensuing statistical exagrations reaked of, well, nevermind, but I've been good and have been listen well ever since.
    My opinion, Rob's last answer was evasive, but his neck is already far enough out there, so I don't judge.

  • gotaku says:

    Rob, these creationists really are "true Christians".
    They actually believe the mythology of their holy book.

  • Thank you for your wonderful post and for taking a stand for the mainstream of Christianity, which does not assume that to believe in the meaningfulness of one's myths means to believe they actually happened, or that to take one's tradition and scriptures seriously means to claim to take them literally (I emphasize the word CLAIM since the young-earth creationists claim to be the ones who faithfully stick to the Bible's literal meaning, but they conveniently ignore the dome in Genesis 1, not to mention the mistaken expectation of the earliest Christians that the end of the world would occur in their lifetime).
    Thank you also for speaking up for mainstream science, which does not consider it necessary to assume that, just because questions of meaning, beauty, and transcendence do not play a part in the lab, that they therefore are inappropriate questions.
    We need to be as outspoken as we can be, since the two extremes in the current climate have a tendency to polarize debates and mutually reinforce the idea that one has to choose between faith and science - with the result that those who find both important feel forced to choose, when it need not be an either-or question.
    http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/blog/

  • Luna_the_cat says:

    Thank you for speaking up on this, and insisting that being Christian does not mean that you can't study and understand science, and accept the conclusions which science reaches about the nature of the universe.
    Thank you for speaking up and insisting that practicing good science does not mean that you cannot be Christian.
    Thank you for speaking up for the fact that being Christian does not mean that you cannot deal with the universe honestly, and does not mean that you have to force the nature of the universe to somehow conform exactly to a book written by men several thousand years ago.
    More people need to be saying this, and loudly.

  • Yes, we do need to stand up for being Christians and heralding science too, and to be mroe vocal about it. Thanks Rob for your efforts! In answer to "I never heard of a single way to tell an untrue theological proposition from a false one," this is a perfect example of the misunderstandings between science and religion. Every religion, but let's take Christianity here, has very sophisticated ways to tell a true thoelogical proposition from a false one. Religion is a way of knowing! But truth is not defined as yes/no determinations about physical states, as in science. For 16oo years in the West, truth meant "that which takes the top of your head off, that which makes you re-examine everything, that which peels away the grandiose and self-serving illusions and reduces you to your own naked and honest selfhood, that which demands you change your way of life and your way of being, that which makes you fall on your face and repent in dust and ashes...." Historical Christianity is about continual self-examination and about a growth in love and its enemies are arrogance and self-certitude. And this is a valid way to look at truth. I would say every discip;line and every thoughtful religion has its own truth-definitions, its own discovery methods, and its own standards of validity. The trouble shared by fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist scientists is that they both believe there is only one way to define truth that makes any sense at all. That is comforting, but inadequate. By the way, are you'll familiar with Sojourners, the evangelical progressive Christian organization that is so active and thoughtful in the political arena? Their email list-seve is a great way to make your voice count in communicating to members of congress, for instance.

  • Siamang says:

    "Historical Christianity is about continual self-examination and about a growth in love and its enemies are arrogance and self-certitude. And this is a valid way to look at truth. "
    When I look at the history of religious belief, I see plenty of arrogance and self-certitude. Arrogance and self-certitude are epidemic in all human endeavors, and religion gets no freedom from that.
    It's especially rampant when there is no structure for proving a person's self-certitude to be in error. But for me, at least, faith always told me that what I wanted to be true was the exact same thing as what WAS true. And hence came the self-certitude.
    So I have come to enjoying poring my mind over questions where I have the ability to be proven wrong, and I have committed myself to the basest humility over areas outside of those questions.
    I find myself surrounded by a planet of arrogant, self-certain believers who assert that I'm going to burn forever for saying the simple assertion "I don't know, and I'm too humble to pretend I do."
    You may know the creator of the universe personally, and he may give you emotional or material help in your day to day affairs. I say "I don't know" and I'm labled a fool by the holy book of the ages.

  • Rob Knop says:

    I find myself surrounded by a planet of arrogant, self-certain believers who assert that I'm going to burn forever for saying the simple assertion "I don't know, and I'm too humble to pretend I do."
    ...and Janet and I (and others) as Christians do not find that those acting as you describe are "behaving in a good Christian manner"... and we're torqued off that people who do that are subverting the name Christian.
    -Rob

  • siamang says:

    I'm glad for that, and the community I blog for are dedicated to changing that. As I said, I blog for a Christian ministry... which is an example of their mind-blowing intellectual and spiritual openness.
    Anyway, please keep on speaking for honesty and intellectual openness.
    And one day the rest of the planet may follow suit.

  • bigTom says:

    I think it is useful to think of their being the broad classes of people. (1) Fundamentalists. (2) Christians with no real problem with science or secular goverment. (3) The agnostic community.
    Until recently the middle group largely ran things, and presented little threat to anyone. Recently we have seen the third group get control of government. We need to get the first two groups together against the third. Pushing too hard for atheism (like PZ & company), makes this less likely.
    Things like this museum -complete with herbivorous T-Rex ought to make the third group look pretty silly. The Republicans gained a lot by labeling liberals as stupid, now's our chance to use this against the Fundamentalists.

  • David Harmon says:

    Just to say, it's not just Christians. I remember when a co-worker was starting to "come on" to me as a fellow Jew. First she revealed that she was in fact a messianic Jew. Well OK, I never bought into that, but this was in 1999. Then she revealed that she was a creationist. I responded roughly: "Ummm, and how do you reconcile that with the science that makes our software company work". Her response was essentially that she'd rather believe in a "warm fuzzy" God than "cold" science. At that point, I started looking for the exit....

  • Rob Knop says:

    "Ummm, and how do you reconcile that with the science that makes our software company work".
    Yeah, I've though the same things -- how do creationists have *websites*? (Among many other things.)
    -Rob

  • Hi Rob-
    With all due respect, you don't sound like a "Christian." I read your blog entry entitled "So why am I a *Christian*, specifically?"
    Apparently you say that you believe Christ died for your sins, but you don't believe in the resurrection. If Christ didn't rise again, then he wasn't able to save you from your sins. The resurrection is one of the central tenets of Protestant/Catholic theology. Since you are so far out of the mainstream, you can't claim to be a Christian. You can't claim to belong to any established sect, but your own. Therefore, it is really you that is the exception, correct?
    Also, since you say you don't believe God is the Creator, then what purpose is there for God? If we aren't His creation, then everything is naturalistic. You sound to me like you are really an Atheist, but don't know it yet. You are an Atheist who likes much/most of what Jesus taught, but you haven't tried to reconcile all of your beliefs together. That's my take from reading your ideas. Let me know where I'm wrong.
    By the way, you might enjoy this satire video of the "young earth" creationist museum:
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=2033709764
    ...Bernie

  • Rob Knop says:

    you can't claim to be a Christian.
    Ha! Watch me.
    I would humbly submit that you haven't moved in the same circles of Christians that I have. I have known a number Christians, including at least a couple of ordained ministers, who aren't necessarily convinced by bodily resurrection.
    I also don't see why bodily resurrection is needed for Jesus to do any saving.
    Anyway, I addressed all of this in the three previous posts (that ended with the "why am I a Christian" post). Click on the Archives above, and look in the Science & Religion topic.
    -Rob

  • mollishka says:

    Wait, so, if Jesus died for our sins, then why would it matter if he came back from the dead or not? I've never heard anyone say Jesus rose for our sins...

  • Rob Knop said:
    "I would humbly submit that you haven't moved in the same circles of Christians that I have. I have known a number Christians, including at least a couple of ordained ministers, who aren't necessarily convinced by bodily resurrection."
    There are ordained ministers who are Atheists (convinced there is no God), so that point doesn't mean much. Your definition of "Christian" is unique. Your views sound closest to Unitarianism, but you deny allegiance to that group. There is no established Christian denominational creed that you agree with, anywhere in the world. In your theology, anyone can call themself a Christian if they like any part of Jesus' teaching. They don't have to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins or rose from the dead. When you remove either one of those, you remove the Christian faith. If you disagree, please tell me the name of any Christian denomination that publically says they don't believe one of those two main tenets. So if I'm right, you have no right to get upset what "other" Christians do because you are really the main exception. As a Christian, I'm not impressed with young earth creationsim, but I'm still studying the issues. But I do believe the main tenets of Christianity, so I would have the right to express dissatisfaction with "fellow" Christians.
    Rob, you are simply being lukewarm on the issue. I encourage you to get either hot or cold onthe issue (Revelation 3:15-16).
    Mollishka said:
    "Wait, so, if Jesus died for our sins, then why would it matter if he came back from the dead or not? I've never heard anyone say Jesus rose for our sins..."
    If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, then it could have been just as good as if your neighbor volunteered (or claimed) to die for the sins of all mankind. Any lunatic can think they are the Messiah and die for the world's sins. In Christ's case, the validation was the resurrection.

  • mollishka says:

    Bah. The "validation" is that Jesus is supposed to be the son of God and thus a sacrifice God made for the suffering and redemption of humankind. Resurrection has nothing to do with it, unless you try to use it as "proof" of the source of Jesus's Y-chromosome.

  • Rob Knop says:

    Rob, you are simply being lukewarm on the issue. I encourage you to get either hot or cold onthe issue (Revelation 3:15-16).
    Trust me, I'm very hot on the issue. I don't claim to have all the answers and be able to write down "THIS is what Christians must believe," but I do believe very strongly that when some of them try to do that as you are doing, that it's a problem.
    What sounds to me as lukewarm is this:
    As a Christian, I'm not impressed with young earth creationsim, but I'm still studying the issues.
    Young-Earth Creationism is just ignorance, plain and simple.
    There is no established Christian denominational creed that you agree with...
    The church I've been going to I am not a member of. However, the minister, when announcing new member classes, says that membership in that church is predicated on only one thing: acceptance of Jesus Christ as your own personal savior. That's it. No bodily resurrection, no burning in hellfire for unbaptized babies, no 6000 year-old Earth, none of the rest. And this is a Presbyterian church -- hardly something nobody's heard of. The fact is that what used to be called "mainline" denominations are accepting of people in many places along a faith journey, and are accepting of many contradictory interpretations of scripture. You may not recognize that as such, but again, your claiming to be better able to say who gets to be a Christian than I is simply an unjustifiable land grab.
    -Rob

  • Rob said:
    "...the minister, when announcing new member classes, says that membership in that church is predicated on only one thing: acceptance of Jesus Christ as your own personal savior. That's it. No bodily resurrection... And this is a Presbyterian church -- hardly something nobody's heard of."
    Focusing on just the resurrection issue...
    I'm not really familiar with Presbyterians. Their sects may be so many that they do have that strand of unbelief in some of them. Wikipedia says:
    "By the 19th century many English Presbyterian congregations had become Unitarian in doctrine."
    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterians
    It looks like I may have been wrong when I said no other organized sect had your belief. It begs the question: "What is a Christian?" Someone (not you) can be a Christian if they think Jesus was just a cool guy and taught some cool things?
    Mollishka said:
    "The "validation" is that Jesus is supposed to be the son of God"
    Many lunatics have declared themselves to be God, as Jesus did. Jesus stands out above the rest, as His followers claim he rose from the dead, which validated his claim.

  • mollishka says:

    His followers claim he rose from the dead, which validated his claim.

    So if another lunatic has lunatic followers who make similar claims, then they're all good, too?
    And if rising from the dead is what's needed, then what good was the virgin birth?

  • mollishka says:

    Oh, and, apparently you are trying to use the ressurection as proof of parenthood, which does make it independent of how useful the death itself was for redemption.

  • Rob Knop says:

    It looks like I may have been wrong when I said no other organized sect had your belief. It begs the question: "What is a Christian?" Someone (not you) can be a Christian if they think Jesus was just a cool guy and taught some cool things?
    No, to be a Christian, evidently you have to subscribe to at least the beliefs of Bernie of FreeGoodNews.com.
    Unless you're Ken Ham, at which point to be a Christian and to have any moral basis by which to judge truth, you have to believe in things like a literal 6-day creation and a 6000-year-old Earth.
    All of you guys make me a little bit queasy, I have to be honest.
    I don't really care if you think I'm a "real" Christian or not. I don't care if you think I'm an atheist. The fact is, however, that you are wrong.
    -Rob

  • Rob Knop said:
    "No, to be a Christian, evidently you have to subscribe to at least the beliefs of Bernie of FreeGoodNews.com."
    Why would you write that sarcasm? Building a strawman like that makes me immediately disrespect your intelligence and honor. My feedback was that "Christian" should be defined by classical Catholic/Protestant theology (for a "large tent" definition), of which you said you don't believe (the resurrection). You are therefore the exception within Christianity and most Christians should be upset with you for claiming to be a Christian yet not believing a major tenet of the faith.