Another great find, Patrick!
I’ve often pondered these issues. After all, in the average church the average person is not particularly interested in science-and-faith topics. They are focused on “just paying the bills” and “raising my kids in a difficult world” and typical family crises including ill health, marriage problems, and losses of employment. As has been the case for centuries, the average person doesn’t give much thought to intellectual pursuits until more basic needs have been met and at least a few additional wants are satisfied. Understanding science is just not a high priority.
I live near a university town and have long wanted to get involved in helping Christian students who may be struggling to process what they learn in the classroom in relation to their understanding of the Bible. Unfortunately, even the churches which prioritize reaching out to university students usually show little interest in dealing with such issues. Indeed, several of them are precisely the types of congregations where evolutionary biology and billions-of-years cosmology is most feared. The only times they directly address science issues is when they bring in a Ken Ham video or use The Truth Project DVD series in a Sunday School class. (Patrick, I think you would find The Truth Project a very interesting phenomenon. No, I do not at all endorse it. The series is a good example of one man with no substantial training or experience in the subject matter telling everybody else what positions they should hold on various issues.)
I don’t know if this is typical but I’ve noticed in recent years that the churches which are not Young Earth Creationist and which have no problems with evolution and billion years tend to ignore science-and-faith issues entirely. I know from private conversations that some members of those churches are very curious about whether the Bible conflicts with modern science but they have no opportunities to explore such topics at their church.
I would add that many people are looking for a community of people to belong to. This may be why churches avoid areas of potential conflict in order to support fellowship within the congregation.
Excellent point, T_aquaticus. The traditional social rule in America has been “Don’t talk about religion or politics if you want to make and keep friends.” In most evangelical churches, that rule is supplemented by, “And for heaven’s sake please don’t talk about evolution, age of the earth, or MAGA!”
Finally, it will require those of us who are specialists to translate our concept and especially to use clarity and simplicity in language .
Interesting that it talks about C. S. Lewis in that regard… I’ve been thinking lately about how the YEC paradigm is so familiar to my evangelical background compared to other paradigms, and how it would be interesting to try to explore some old-earth and/or evolutionary theologies in story form (e.g. maybe in the sci-fi genre, involving another planet with newly conscious creatures starting in a benign “garden” and struggling with a task to transform the rest of the planet into a place of stewardship and justice?) … Academic debates have been done to death, but narrative is powerful and can often provoke thought that otherwise would not be.