Sure creationism makes us look silly, but it does so much more than that.
I fancy myself a creationist in the sense that I believe God is the initial cause of the universe, but I am not a “creationist,” because I do not believe Genesis 1-3 reflects scientific history. You can read why here, here, here, and here.
The chronically infamous Pat Robertson has offered some choice words for Ken Ham after his highly publicized debate with Bill Nye the Snappy-Dressing Science Guy, claiming that Ham’s specific form of creationism (young earth) makes the wider movement itself look like a joke.
But jokes are mostly harmless. Creationism, whether “young-earth” or “old,” is not.
1. It suppresses critical thinking.
Demanding conclusions which rise from evidence is part and parcel of human reasoning. If Christians say, along with Ken Ham, that no evidence could ever change their mind about Genesis 1-3 (or anything else for that matter), then they turn off the only function by which we arrive at logical thought and rational conversation.
Yet I continue to hear that faith contrary to evidence possesses a quality of its own.
The problem with this faith-over-reason is that it involves a huge measure of chance. If this kind of faith is indeed preferable, why should anyone question the tradition into which they were born? One can only hope they are in the right system, defending the right doctrine.
2. It consciously promotes a lying God.
The creation of a “mature” Earth is one way creationists attempt to explain a whole host of scientific evidence. But isn’t it troubling to think that God should make a universe which only looks old and life that looks evolved, then bequeath humanity a contradictory account of the real “truth” on the situation?
If God is the author of both special and general revelation (read: Scripture and nature), then creationism makes God out to be a tricky trickster.
3. It disrespects the legitimacy of human culture and the meaning-making power of literature.
Ken Ham has said time and again that the Bible rises and falls with the scientific viability of Genesis. In fact, I’d venture to guess that most avid creationists feel this way; they deny that God could/would speak to humankind through ancient, scientifically inaccurate, mythology.
I am reading through Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey at the moment and find myself comparing this sort of disposition with that of the odious John Thorpe, detester of novels. According to John, novels are excusable as woman’s literature, but a man’s reading includes no such triviality.
Austen, as I take it, suggests that such a soul as cannot locate worth in the novel is a sad specimen indeed.
And I must agree, for I have met some of the truest truths while reading Steinbeck.
Should there exist a God desiring to communicate with the minds of humans, it comes as no surprise to me that this God might choose to inform human culture (ancient culture at that!) through a work of the truest fiction.
4. It hinders our vision of Jesus.
Tethering creationism to Christianity places an unnecessary obstacle between us and Christ. The slippery-slope rhetoric of creationist pastors and theologians has regrettably set up a false dichotomy between evolution and “true” Christianity.
Is it no surprise to us, then, that our adolescent children are shrugging off the faith altogether whenever they discover creationism’s lack of tenability?
5. And yeah, it makes us look really, really silly.
The silliest (read: saddest) part of fighting, speaking, preaching, and spending millions of dollars touting creationism is that our fights, speeches, sermons, and millions of dollars are needed elsewhere.