Not an Evolutionary Creationist

At a secular university you don’t even need to say you’re a Christian, or Jewish or Muslim or an atheist. Religious beliefs are suppose to be private to the individual. In secular private industry, the only way I knew if a staff member was Jewish was they wouldn’t be in today.

That is where the divisiveness of Christianity shines through. It is not good enough to be a Christian, you have to be a special kind of Christian. And within that special kind of Christian, you have to be in this branch or another branch of that special kind. And if you are not, you are just a CINO (christian in name only, and not a REAL Christian, or a fake Christian or worse a non-practice Catholic type of Christian.

I am watching this play out at mainstream Protestant Denominations like the Reformed Church of America. It has lost 60% of its members since 2000. And now they are spliting in two over SSM. All they are doing is making the decline to irrelevance faster.

I just meant, when I was at public universities you could just say “I’m a Christian” and people wouldn’t ask you “what type, and do you affirm inerrancy and historical Adam and the fall?” That’s a (little) bit different at a Christian university.

Yes and no. For instance, in my department (sciences) we have lots of Christian traditions represented (Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, etc.) but it’s only when we want to work specifically in this area of origins or “science and faith integration” that it gets a lot more tricky and people start asking those “what kind?” questions.

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At a public university, you saying that you are a Christian would be noted as bfd. However, at a Christian university, you have to be a certain kind of Christian as there are no generic Christian Universities. And I don’t count the Jesuit Universities like Georgetown and Villonova as Christian institutions, They are as secular as secular universities go.

Notice there is no such divisiveness on the science side?

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I have read RTB Fazele Rana’s stuff. i get their publications and once helped in my church with a RTB public meeting. I support any opposition to a Godless universe.
Indeed most YEC would trip over the difference between a evolutionist Christian and the hosts position.
I think it means there are biblical boundaries to what evolutionism can demand.
The bible does matter about conclusions.

This thread shows the distinction between the literal meaning of labels and its symbolic connotations. Often people tend to focus on one of these to the exclusion of the other. (“I wasn’t trying to be offensive - it’s literally true!”)

I can see how the TE/EC label means more than just an intellectual stance on science or theology, but a whole “camp” or community of people, which has been lately defined by organizations like Biologos. Saying that someone is TE/EC is not only an intellectual statement - it is also a rhetorical one. I can see how Josh might want to distance himself from that.


I was just trying to point that if, for example, I wanted to invite @swamidass to my university (which I do), people might ask, in some form or another, “which camp is he in?”

  • If I reply, “he’s a confessing scientist”, they will just look at me weird.
  • If I reply, “he’s a Christian and a scientist”, they will say, “yes but that doesn’t tell me much of anything.”
  • If I were to describe the stuff he says on Peaceful Science, they will say, “oh, so a theistic evolutionist then?”

I know people may want to distance themselves from certain labels, but I think Peaceful Science vs BioLogos just looks like a bit of minor “infighting” to a lot of people. They have a hard time seeing the distinction, especially since many Evolutionary Creationists would have no problem with a Genealogical Adam. So that’s why I’m pushing back a little. How is it different to the average pastor or college student (the kind of people I work with)?


That is not how I put it. I would say:

Dr. Swamidass is a scientist and a Christian that affirms evolutionary science, but he does not fit into the standard origins camps like TE/EC, YEC, OEC or ID.

So that is not complex, right?

It is different because BioLogos = TE/EC right now, and BioLogos’ official position does not currently allow for a Genealogical Adam. A common way it is understood is that I am allowing for special creation and they are not. Another distinction is that BioLogos has a fairly narrow range of theological and hermeneutical roles they are willing to consider. They are currently, for better or worse, are not willing to make space for people outside that range.

BioLogos is, somewhat against their wishes, strugglingly to rework their position to be consistent with the science right now. So it is possible they will allow for a Genealogical Adam in the future. I’ve been told, however, that they will remain opposed to it for theological and hermeneutical reasons. Though she misunderstands what we are doing, Christy (a BioLogos Moderator) really clearly explains the BioLogos position:

I understand YECs have no interest in my position because of their hermeneutics. That’s why I would prefer to talk about why their hermeneutics are misguided, not try to begin with convincing them evolution is a fact. If they concede evolution is a fact, but don’t change their hermeneutics, I don’t consider that a success at all. Being comfortable with evolution is a side effect of changing one’s approach to Scripture, it’s not the goal. The goal is understanding what the Bible means.

So, at the core of it for BioLogos, it seems, is a theological and hermeneutical agenda that has little to do with science. That, it has been explained to me, is why they do not like the Genealogical Adam. It makes space for people who think differently about the Bible than them, so they don’t want it to be known about. It does not serve their theological agenda.

In my view, that is not a trustworthy approach to science. I’d rather be honest with people about what we are seeing, and help them come to terms with it in the context of their own beliefs. This tolerance of other views is a major distinction right now between BioLogos and myself. They have a preferred theology and hermeneutics. I just want to be honest about the science is telling us. These two values are in direct conflict.

Most people see all of this just fine, and will say things like: “well if TE/EC/BioLogos was like you, I’d have no problem with it.” For now, however BioLogos owns TE/EC, and I do not have common purpose with it.

Well, I don’t want to push too much, it’s not really a point of contention. Few people I interact with have even heard of BioLogos, but they “know” that a theistic evolutionist is is a Christian who “believes” in evolution. I will just try to stick with:

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I would say that they see a theistic evolutionist as a Christian who accepts evolution and has made some accommodation so as to fit evolution into his Christian beliefs. So when a Christian says he is an evolutionist but denies that he is a TE, I normally take that to imply that he is denying that he made any accommodation.

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I suppose I do deny that accommodation is being made by me. I see no need for accommodation because the two fit together just fine.

I’m affirming evolutionary science, without modifying it, though I am insisting that it (obviously) isn’t the whole story. I am a Christian, and do not see an accommodation there either. I do see the two in a productive dialogue, but I’m just putting forward solid evolutionary science and careful theology.

I can affirm atmospheric science without talking about theistic rain. I can affirm physics without talking about theistic gravity. Evolution is no different for me.

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So Christy and Beaglelady are who you and @Eddie refer to as Biologos Leadership? oy vey

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No mention of BeagleLady. Christy is not leadership, but she echoes today on the forums what I’ve heard from leaders.

You don’t “believe” in evolution. You accept the findings of evolutionary science as provisional true until new results confirm or modify the provisional truths.

Dr Swamidass is a practicing evolutionary scientist who is also a practicing Christian.

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Eddie mentioned Beaglelady in one of his long dissertations on nothing of consequence. I would like everyone here to take note that Biologos is an empty shell of an organization. No real leadership, no real mission statement, no real agenda nor purpose.

That’s too much. The fact that these two exist do not mean there are not others there with greater weight than an anonymous poster and a forum moderator.

I put it in quotes because of that, it’s just how people commonly phrase it in my community.

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The people who work there or post on the forum are great people. Nothing wrong with the people. I am talking about the institution, the 501c corporation funded by Templeton.

Sure, and Christianity and all religions are very divisive. Once you say you are Christian, the next question is “what kind of Christian”? Then you say what kind of Christian you are and the next question is what branch of that kind of Christian are you? You do this until you get down to you either are “one of us” or “not one of us”