Are Theistic Evolutionists Disloyal Cowards?

Continuing the discussion from A Request From Deen: Dover in the Science Student's Experience:

From a private thread, this seemed worth taking public.

Personal conversations and dozens of public artifacts. I’ve been called a coward, incoherent, and disloyal several times. Here are some examples of what I am saying:

From a blog, and very commonly stated:

. And the only reason theistic evolution has arisen among so many misinformed, misguided Christians and others, is because they can’t handle the peer-pressure of being mocked and ridiculed for claiming special creation is true, or else because they are incompetent in research and poor logicians, failing to see the blatant contradictions.
Theistic Evolution? | Reasons

From @Wayne_Rossiter:

How do theistic evolutionists affirm that blind, chance-based processes are what created us — but then deny that blind, chance-based processes are what created us? According to Rossiter, it’s because their “loyalties lie with Darwin, but they deeply desire to hang on to their prior religiosity.” (p. 105) Yet Rossiter finds that Darwin is scientifically wrong, so the loyalties of theistic evolutionists are entirely misplaced. He knows what the evidence says, and he reviews many scientific problems with Darwinian evolution. He discusses:
In Shadow of Oz, Biologist Wayne Rossiter Critiques Theistic Evolution | Evolution News

From @CaseyLuskin:

If BioLogos promotes viewpoints that are scientifically flawed, theologically hostile, and apologetically weak, why are many Christians rushing to embrace them? I believe one major answer may be cultural pressure: some people view accepting Darwinian evolution as the price for social acceptance, cultural popularity, or scientific advancement. When we adopt a view because it’s the popular “consensus” in certain circles, and not because it’s scientifically or theologically sound, we risk entrapping the church in that old snare—fear of man.
Listen to Hank Hanegraaff Sermons - Bible Answer Man Radio

From J.P. Moreland:

Moreland ended the interview by saying, “Theistic evolution and naturalistic evolution are being propped up by social pressure, not by the actual strength of the arguments.”
J.P. Moreland and Theistic Evolution (Part 2: Young Earth Creationist Arguments…Applied Inconsistently) – Resurrecting Orthodoxy

There are many more quotes like this in these two books too:

1 Like

Great, thanks for this.

1 Like

My sympathetic reading of ID is that they are genuinely confused why Christians in science would not be entirely for them. It is confusing, and they need an explanation. Moreover, there is a pattern of bad theology among many theistic evolutionists, that often goes very badly (@jongarvey and @Eddie can elaborate). I think they have had good reason to be concerned.

Well, his theistic evolutionary explorations have now terminated. As he reports on his personal blog page, where he took a hiatus of more than five years along with a break from his teaching, he is “happily” no longer a Christian

We know other cases of theistic evolutionists whose journeys veered from their own faiths. A group like BioLogos , ostensibly devoted to outreach to fellow Christians, seems to spend an inordinate amount of time blasting intelligent design and seeking to turn Christians away from the theory. Why? There’s a strange brittleness to these attacks, which I think would leave an outsider puzzled. I myself, as a Jew, not a Christian, find them puzzling. (Don’t worry, the Jewish community has its own neurotic conflicts.)

In personal terms, the psychology of theistic evolution is fascinating. However, against the backdrop of polling data, perhaps we should not be surprised by it. Dr. West finds, among other very interesting figures:

That makes sense, and theistic evolutionists with any sensitivity must be aware of the corrosive nature of the idea they champion. Some will say that the strange posture of theistic evolution has to do with the recognition that, for many individuals, it serves as a resting place on the way from faith to loss of faith. It appears to have been that, in any event, for Steve Matheson.
Darwin’s Corrosive Idea: The Case of Stephen Matheson | Evolution News

1 Like

Just to be clear, of course, I do not think that Christians who affirm evolutionary science are necessarily cowards or disloyal. I myself am a Christian that affirms evolutionary science, and I am no coward.

That is shitty – too bad as well. Thomas Henry Huxley and Matthew Arnold got into some pretty heated debates in Victorian England about the relationship between the humanities and the sciences. However, they were also friends that would grab a beer together afterwards. We seem to have lost the ability for Huxley/Arnold sorts of conflict. You would think that Christians would set a better model and not fall into the current cultural identity politics craze. Peaceful Science has its work cut our for it!

Yes, if the quotes that follow what I quoted above are any indication, there is a fear that the bad theology inherent in a lot of TE might bring harm to faith. Your post “confessing scientist” admits as much in terms of the searching science students. TE may actually help usher them out of the faith. However, TE might also usher them into the faith! ID might usher them into the faith; but, it could also usher them out of the faith. As a liberal arts professor and one that works with youth off and on at my church, I really do fear for the unintended consequences of the Creation Wars. The Wars really do seem to distract from the common ancestor that all Christians share in the person and work of Christ (who I’m pretty sure, scientifically speaking of course, had a blood type O-negative).

1 Like

I share this concern with ID and YEC.

If we are going to make a shift to evolution in the church (and I think we are), it needs to be done right. This is how I explained it:

One thing is certain, reactions to Adam and the Genome will be sharply divided. Some will be comforted. Others will be infuriated. Some will hear a story of two Christians fearlessly embracing both evolution and theteaching of Scripture. Others will hear a dangerous denial of important doctrine, a dismissive denial of Intelligent Design and scientific creationism.

I am a scientist and a Christian that affirms both evolution and a historical Adam: a real person in a real past to whom we all trace our lineage. Now, I find myself in the divide, between the two sides, seeking peace.

Even in their support, I hope those who agree with Adam and the Genome will do so with humility. Science is a human effort. It is merely our best account of the world, without considering God’s action. Many informed and intelligent people will still reject evolution. If they do so in obedience to their honest understanding of Scripture, they choose the better thing. There is real danger in unwittingly pressing science if it encourages disobedience to God.

Even in their opposition, I hope those who disagree with Adam and theGenome will work hard to understand. I hope they will emphasize thevoices in evolutionary creation with whom they most agree, like the many that affirm traditional Genesis interpretations. Even if it is false, evolution is the origin story of our modern world. We need those with whom we disagree to articulate their positions, just as Venema and McKnight have done here. Even if we disagree, they give truthful account of how most scientists understand our evolutionary origins.

Ahead of us all is the hard work of living as members of the same family. In a world scarred by angry disagreements, we are called into a different reality. To understand and be understood. To truthfully represent on another. To welcome each other as members of the same family of all believers, even as we continue to disagree on the most significant issues.

Let us work together now for peace.

I am resistant to approaches that I have seen elsewhere among TE, and the Kepler vs. Galileo distinction is fundamentally important to me: Follow Galileo or Kepler?

1 Like

What many posts above touch upon without much resolution is that being a pro-Evolution Christian is much more consistent with day-to-day living than being an anti-Evolution Christian.

To believe in a few miracles… while generally accepting nature’s evidence for Evolution is much more reasonable and defendable than to believe all of physics and cosmology is wrong because of the miracle of the resurrection of Christ!


What are you talking about? The fact that Jesus was resurrected clearly shows that the Earth is 6000 years old, Adam and Eve were the first people, there is a dome of water above us from which comes rain etc.

I don’t know how. But it does.


Note: sarcasm.


Thank you for providing the Sarcasm Font notation!

1 Like


1 Like

The history of humanity in general, and Christianity in particular, suggests that discussing differences over a friendly beer is the exception rather than the rule. A more common approach has been to poke holes in one another with sharp objects.


Sadly true. It’s interesting, however, that two of the societies where this was less true were Athens, in the age of Socrates and Aristophanes, and Britain after the Restoration. In both societies there was often vigorous disagreement among thinkers who drank together.


But they did not have The Internet.


And the Athenian mob sentenced Socrates to death.

1 Like

Well, OK, not everyone in ancient Athens was so civilized about disagreements. :slight_smile:


By some accounts the fate of Socrates was a triumph for informed democratic responsibility.

1 Like