I like BioLogos. (http://biologos.org/)

They have commissioned Barna to survey pastors about views of origins and evolution. They present a preliminary set of highlights here:


Except for “absolutely certain,” I’m in the category that came out at 3%. (I’m not clergy.)

Reference the article at the link above for caption and additional information.

They make several interesting points.

There second bullet is that pastors think science and faith questions are important. I think truth is important. I don’t figure clergy, or Christians for that matter, have a lock on truth. I can see it too. I am committed to it without reservation. I would always rather be corrected than wrong, no matter how painful or embarrassing. Keep in mind, I believe in the golden rule. I’ll treat you like I want to be treated. I’ll correct you if I know you are wrong. (Well, I’ll make the case. I find that persuasion is an illusion.)

Regarding their point 3, I don’t think disagreement harms the witness of the church, but being uncivil, hateful, holier-than-though, and the like can and does. That is, if I act un-Christian, I’m certain to give cause for stumbling. (I recall Gandhi stated something like, “I’d be a Christian had I not met so many.”)

Overall, good stuff. I look forward to more analysis of the data.

I do think it noteworthy that they found only 19%, just less than one in five, pastors who were YEC devotees, holding to the 20th century development that arose in rebellion against paradigm shift, fear of [Aryan {mostly}] racism (or due to broader racism in some quarters), and due to a lack of understanding of ancient, particularly Semitic, thinking that was simply anathema to Western ways. The survey found over half were unwilling to claim to accept the evidence of billions of years since God created the heaven and the earth. I find that remarkable. Frankly, I don’t believe it. Of course, it is hard to argue with data, and I figure their data is reasonable.

Specifically, I find it reprehensible to reject the multitude of independent lines of evidence that indicate the earth is over 4 billion years in the making, and the universe as a whole is approaching 14 billion years. I find it simply dishonest, and that has nothing to do with the God I serve. “One of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is shut their eyes to facts.” C.S. Lewis (Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Further, I find it hard to believe that over half of protestant pastors won’t accept the facts showing billions of years. I say so from first hand experience and because of other surveys I’ve seen.

From this study: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201002/ejonline_201002_origins.cfm

“Approximately 35 percent of faculty and students at Assemblies of God institutions of higher learning embrace this view [YEC].” If only 35% of one of the most fundamentalist denominations holds to it, is this showing us a dichotomy between youth and the aged? (Related side note: http://www.agts.edu/syllabi/resident/2011Spring/bot641sbadger_res_spring2011.pdf)

I recall a Barna survey that suggested one of the strong factors in young people leaving churches was an antagonistic stance toward science and the antievolution dogma and, particularly, insistence on a young earth view.

I’ll end with this simple assertion, it would be lying if God set up multiple, testable, evidences to show us billions of years of history while he told us to believe in only about 6,000 years of actual reality. That is a false backstory, and it cannot be explained away. Either the universe is nearly 14 billion years old, or God lied about it. I refuse to suppose God lied.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

In the final analysis, it was Jesus himself who said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord our God with all our mind. As a follower of Jesus, I set my will to do God’s will. I will obey.