Youth Pastor tells HS Student Old Earth views are of the Devil, even though most if not all YEC/YCC cosmologies are wrong!

9 of 10, if not 10 YCC/YEC cosmology models that have been floating around are wrong, yet I learned a youth pastor recently told a 15-year-old Christian student that Old Earth views are of the Devil! The young man relates the account in the video linked below.

I’ve followed the YEC/YCC cosmologies laid out by various YECs. There are about 10 of them and counting. As a matter of principle, 9 of the 10 must be wrong as a matter of principle since they all can’t be right! Maybe all 10 that are on the table are dead wrong.

Despite this (I say this as a card-carrying YEC/YCC) it was deeply troubling to hear the account given by a high school student of his pastor telling him belief in an Old Earth is like a Satanic cult.

I was at ICC 2018, the International Conference on Creationism that meets about every 5 years. ICC was organized by Paul Nelson’s dad, Dave Nelson, who is the son of theologian Byron Nelson. Byron Nelson himself suggested humanity could even be 100,000 years old! Over the past 3 decades at the ICC, there have been competing and often contentious arguments over what YEC/YCC cosmological model is correct. Some say Einstein’s GR is immutable, others don’t. Myself, I’m a neo-Lorentzian relativist/quasi agnostic on the issue of speed of light until we have more data. I actually reconstructed one of Flinder’s Professor Reginald Cahill’s interferometer that purports to validate neo-Lorentzian relativity, but I got inconclusive results. Cahill is NOT a creationist, btw.

In any case, I find it repugnant that when a pastor can’t defend his claims about science, he goes around saying people’s ideas are of the devil. That’s a good example of one reason I think the youth leave the church. When a reasonable issue is raised, rather than answer questions with facts, they answer with ad hominems and call people servants of Satan. That the sort of behavior says to the everyone, “I don’t have the facts to back my assertions, so I’ll demonize people.” The church ends up emptying itself of critical thinkers, students of science, and retain people who can be manipulated. The result is a church does not become equipped to be a witness to 21st century culture.

The proper way to settle issues is to provide evidence or say, “we don’t know, God hasn’t given us the data, we just have our beliefs right now in absence of hard data.” I teach creationism at a 13,000 member mega church which even Donald Trump visited. I, and the apologetics ministry staff would feel deeply uncomfortable for any youth pastor to talk our church’s youth in that manner.

I mean, if every time someone makes a mistake, is that of the Devil? If every time a mistake is taught in the church is that of the Devil? There are disputes in the church over infant baptism, gifts of the spirit, predestination, eschatology, etc. etc. As a matter of principle, not all views can be right, so are the wrong views of the Devil? Do we excommunicate believers over this issue and demonize them as agents of Satan? I think not, and we should not do this over the age of the Earth.

I hold reformed theological views, and regret to highlight John Calvin making demonizing pronouncements over people like Copernicus and Galileo:

John Calvin, “Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:19-24”, Calvini Opera Selecta, Corpus Refomatorum, Vol 49, 677, trans. by Robert White in " Calvin and Copernicus: the Problem Reconsidered ", Calvin Theological Journal 15 (1980), p233-243, at 236-237

https://postbarthian.com/2014/05/21/john-calvin-nicolaus-copernicus-heliocentrism/

[The Christian is not to compromise so as to obscure the distinction between good and evil, and is to avoid the errors of] "those dreamers who have a spirit of bitterness and contradiction, who reprove everything and prevent the order of nature. We will see some who are so deranged, not only in religion but who in all things reveal their monstrous nature, that they will say that the sun does not move, and that it is the earth which shifts and turns. When we see such minds we must indeed confess that the devil posses them, and that God sets them before us as mirrors, in order to keep us in his fear.

Anyway, the young man in question approached Paul Price who works for Creation Ministries International and wanted to talk via electronic conference. [Paul is speaking for himself, in this video, not CMI.] Paul approached me to join the conversation, and the young man gave us permission to post the exchange on youtube. The interesting part is in the first 3 minutes. The rest of the video goes into theological topics, with me occasionally weighing in on the problematic science that YEC/YCC must deal with.

Here is the video link:

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Are you sure that this is the video you intended? I couldn’t find anything but intro chit-chat in the first two minutes and the third minute simply described what is already in the title of this thread.

I didn’t listen any further than that.

In any case, I rarely find videos posted to Internet forums to be all that interesting—but if you could summarize what you consider important (in whatever video you had in mind), that would save a lot of time.

@stcordova, I think what happens is something that should be a secondary issue becomes a litmus test or a stand-in for a lot if things. One narrow interpretation of whatever issue prevails, and anyone who has a more nuanced view is seen as an outsider or an enemy. I think this comes from a mixture of fervor and intellectual laziness. Simply trying to discuss the issue beyond regurgitating the approved talking points will be seen as an attack.

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Are you sure that this is the video you intended? I couldn’t find anything but intro chit-chat in the first two minutes and the third minute simply described what is already in the title of this thread.

I didn’t listen any further than that.

That was what I found interesting, and I provided the video just so people can hear the young man in his own words. It is interesting for me to hear the youth’s perspective of what their pastor’s say vs. how they are influenced by people outside their own church. This account could have easily been one of a 15-year old deciding to leave the church. Many conservative churches are alarmed by the exodus of the youth from the church.

One of the reasons is God himself hides the evidence that will resolve a lot of questions. By searching it out, sometimes we have a better clue what happened in the past, but I think the honest thing to say is we don’t have as many facts as we’d like to have in hand.

I’m part of an apologetic ministry in our church, and many churches don’t seem to care much for discussing the state of evidence they have for the Christian faith. The account of the youth pastor is one example. For that reason, I find interesting what perhaps you found un-interesting.

Why does he do that?

I think everyone would agree with that. But we still have enough facts for many purposes, including the age fo the earth, of life, and of the universe.

Great question! I have my answers which I will put in my ID/Creation college course. I’m working on re-recording a presentation on that topic that I presented in our ministry.

BUT, I’m rather appalled most churches, don’t even attempt an answer. God appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. If God did that for everyone, and God surely is capable of doing that, we might not have need of many of the conversations we’re having.

In any case, your good question is a tad out of the scope of my original point. The point was just highlighting how the youth have their questions dodged by the clergy when they ask basic questions. Perhaps, a simple, “I don’t know, but I believe” might be the most honest answer.

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Or about 1/1000 the age of Earth, as they might propose. So, every milli-Earth age, roughly. :smile:

14 posts were split to a new topic: Fond Memories of Forums Past

Right on, Sal!
Speaking from the other side of the fence, I would see a lot of people come to the online atheism community I moderated with stories like this, and frequency even worse. People were ostracized (sometimes abused) by family, friends, and community for daring to understand science.

You might think I’d take the position, “Hey, more atheists!”, but no. Abuse is wrong, and nothing good can come of it.
Unfortunately, the people who most need to change have dug themselves into a hole so deep you can hardly even talk to them.

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@stcordova and @Dan_Eastwood there is a lot of common ground here.

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I agree with you 100%.

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I watched the entire video - this is very interesting for me.

The 15 year old high schooler is intelligent and well read, and his arguments are presented clearly. Paul Price, on the other hand, is terrible in this conversation. He mangled church and science history, and a lot of his points doesn’t make any sense.

My favorite is his response to the high schooler’s last argument (that you can’t have a literal day before the creation of the sun), he claimed that:

-) Light already exist before the sun because God is a supernatural source of light

But previously, he also claimed that

-) A day is defined based on the rotation of the Earth when there is light in one direction

wouldn’t this mean that his god is not omnipresent? Does Paul Price think that there is a physical direction to where god is? Where did this light go after the creation of the sun? Did the sun outshine god’s light?

I am disappointed that you had to cut the video during this discussion, as I think the high-schooler had completely destroyed Paul Price with this last argument (more than he already did in the past 50 minutes).

Is this kind of argument really better than saying that Old Earth views are of the Devil?

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Can we invite this student to the forum? He is probably over 18 now…right?

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The young man is 15-years old. He had contacted Paul Price and wanted to talk. This kind of caught me off gaurd since I’m used to dealing with old retired guys on the net half the time, and I didn’t know of this gentleman’s age until the ZOOM video conference started! I presumed someone so bold and assertive would be a college graduate or something.

I think I need to institute a policy that if anyone younger than 18 wants to have conversations like this, their parents should appear on the video and give consent.

I’m not out convert Old Earther’s into YECs. That’s not my mission. I’m out to investigate evidence for and against my YEC/YCC beliefs and report and teach them honestly to the best of my abilities. I tried to act responsibly and tell the young man there are serious theoretical and empirical issues with the YEC/YCC view.

That said, I don’t hide my strong biases against universal common descent or the theory of “natural” selection. That’s a different story than the issue of Old Universe/Earth. YECs like Paul Price tend to lump all the issues into one category.

As I pointed out, Paul was speaking for himself, but he works for CMI. The organization I’m associated with is not so dogmatic in their dealings with opposing viewpoints. In fact, in my ID circles, I don’t even know half the time what someone’s views are on the age of the Universe. I refrain from asking unless it’s brought up. Same for their religious views. For example, I when I met Jonathan Wells, I didn’t bring up his affiliations with the Unification Church of reverend Sung Myung Moon. I don’t raise issues about Michale Behe’s Catholicism, or Lee Spetner’s Judaism, or Paul Giem’s Seventh Day Aventism, or so-and-so’s Mormonism, or Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig Jehovah’s witness background. If one wants to start an inter-necine conflict in ID circles, just bring up people’s denominational affiliations and start talking religious doctrine.

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Well, I know that’s a rhetorical question. I’d say marginally better because it doesn’t demonize innocent people. Demonizing people like that gets under my skin personally. I have Creationist friends who are Old Earthers and devout Christians. I don’t like the insinuation these people are servants of Satan.

That said, I agree the young man stood his ground well, very well. I could have brought up the issue of the traditional view of GeoCentrism prior to Copernicus and Galileo. Does that somehow make GeoCentrism more scientifically valid because believers in the early church were mostly geocentrists? Witness (protestant) John Calvin and the (mostly Catholic) inquisition against heliocentrism (Galileo). For that reason, I find it irrelevant to try to resolve the age of the Earth/Universe by appealing to theological views of the Christian church through the ages.

Paul Price and I butt heads on how to deal with Old Earth issues. He dominated the conversation, and I couldn’t even hardly get a word in, but on the other hand, he was the one who called the meeting to order, so I let him have his say.

In our church, we don’t teach the youth that way, and I hope they never do. I think the honest answer is, “I believe, but the evidence isn’t that good.”

I went to one creationist conference in 2012 (the Baraminology and Geology Study Group/Society), and when they said that, I said, “Right on! A little honesty is refreshing, instead of dogmatic pronouncements that the evidence is good, when it’s not!”

Well, why don’t Paul Price gave that rebuttal? Certainly better than his.

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Well that is pretty honest @stcordova. I respect you on this.

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Wouldn’t it be even more honest to say “I believe, but the evidence is very, very good, and it’s all against us”?

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Looking a gift horse in the mouth…

This [above] is well-stated and explained thoroughly. Of course, I agree. However, this [below] is not well-explained

…and on this forum, at least, will be terribly misconstrued. You need to explain yourself here because, in reality, evidence will always, that is, without exception, backup [biblical] creationism. Please explain your comment.