World Magazine column demonstrates evangelicals’ double standard

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Biologos is a pro-evolution Christian advocacy group. - Image courtesy of BioLogos (

Biologos is a pro-evolution Christian advocacy group. - Image courtesy of BioLogos (

Biologos is a pro-evolution Christian advocacy group. - Image courtesy of BioLogos (

Biologos is a pro-evolution Christian advocacy group. They are a lightning rod of criticism, most recently from WORLD Magazine. – Image courtesy of BioLogos (

The evangelical WORLD Magazine is increasingly known for targeting fellow Christians. This week, they took aim at the pro-evolution Christian advocacy group BioLogos.

After attending a BioLogos gathering at the Harvard Club in New York City, WORLD writer Warren Cole Smith lamented that the event only featured speakers presenting arguments in favor of evolution—a theory almost universally accepted among scientists—and how it is compatible with the Bible. In a column titled, “Unscientific Method,” he mourned that anti-evolution perspectives were “strikingly absent” at the gathering.

“Doesn’t the scientific method include presenting theories to skeptics so the theories can be confirmed, refuted, or made better?” Smith asked.

But Smith’s question raises an even better one: “Why do evangelicals hold such blatant double-standards when it comes to public debate?”

Does WORLD also believe that Reformed theology conferences should give stage time to those who oppose Calvinism? I assume not. Do they think that complementarian Christian conferences should invite speakers who support gender equality? Doubtful. Would they expect that conservative evangelicals invite pro-gay Christians to conferences on marriage and sexuality? No way.

BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma lectures on Christianity and evolution. - Image courtesy of the Biologos Foundation

BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma lectures on Christianity and evolution. – Image courtesy of the Biologos Foundation

Or—for a closer analogy—what about the pro-creationist organization Answers in Genesis (AIG)? They host numerous conferences where not a single evolutionist is offered a chance to give the opposing side. Is WORLD concerned that AIG “excludes its most prominent critics from the dialogue?”

WORLD makes no bones about the fact they are doing journalism with particular assumptions and not giving every side a voice. The magazine employs “mostly evangelical Protestants.” They make no effort to fill their newsroom with atheists or even good ole’ Episcopalians who smell of incense and liberalism. No, they are very open about writing from a single perspective: a conservative evangelical one.

WORLD editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky has rejected on numerous occasions that journalists should present two sides as equally valid and let readers decide. When it comes to many issues, Olasky has said, “the Bible is very clear, so we are not going to be even-handed in the sense of balancing of subjectivities, which is what ‘objectivity’ often came down to.”

So when WORLD believes that an issue has been clearly settled, they can ignore “prominent critics.” On the other hand, a group of Christian scientists and theologians is suspect for behaving likewise when they believe an issue is clearly settled. Got it.

Having penned a regular column for nearly two years, I’ve run into this type of evangelical inconsistency so many times that I’m surprised I have any hair left to pull out. Most critics don’t seem to realize that an opinion columnist is paid to have a point of view and doesn’t pretend to be an objective purveyor of the facts. At times, I present both sides because I think it is important to the kind of discussion I want to curate, but I’m not required to.

Luckily, most evangelical readers don’t expect me to behave like an evenhanded reporter . . . when they agree with my perspective, that is. When they disagree, however, they claim that I have unethically stacked the deck. If I’ve learned anything from fielding criticisms these many months it is that [tweetable]when an evangelical accuses a journalist of “bias,” he or she usually means, “I don’t like what you’ve said.”[/tweetable]

In February, for example, I questioned the efficacy of state legislation allowing Christian vendors to discriminate against LGBT persons. During the dust-up, Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the debate. He penned a blog post arguing his perspective, not giving voice to the opposition. I responded with a column drawing from a range of evangelical theologians who disagreed with his perspective.

After my piece published, I received a searing email from a conservative evangelical leader saying, “Not a very objective article. You only cite those who agree with you. It would at least further healthy, balanced, and respectful dialogue if you also cite those who disagree.”

I responded, “Do you also apply this standard to others who agree with you? Russell Moore does not provide a single line of quotes from the other side [in his article on the matter]. Did you offer him the same advice? If not, can you please explain to me why I continue to encounter such blatant double standards when it comes to expectations on how to write a column?”

His response: “I wrote to express concerns, not to argue. I appreciate you sharing your perspective.” Translation of his response: “No, I didn’t. I only applied those standards to you because I disagree with you.”

The prevailing evangelical perspective on fairness and balance of perspectives in public debates is simple:

  • If one agrees with the position: “Only a single perspective is needed because, well, you know, the Bible.”
  • If one opposes the position: “Both perspectives are needed because, you know, we should be fair and balanced.”

With such a squishy and subjective view of objectivity, no wonder sociologist Alan Wolfe has concluded, “Of all America’s religious traditions, evangelical Protestantism, at least in its twentieth-century conservative forms, has ranked dead last in intellectual stature.”

I too attended the BioLogos gathering. The organization clearly stated its aim to “present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation,” and they delivered on it. I had no problem with BioLogos presenting a single view on the topic. And I have no issue with Answers in Genesis or any other organization presenting a single view at their conferences either. Sure, it can beneficial for both sides of a debate to be heard in tandem, but that isn’t the way public debates often work.

If evangelicals want to attack BioLogos for hosting a one-sided event, they should apply the same standard when the perspective presented aligns with their own. Unless, of course, they wish to draw charges of hypocrisy. [tweetable]The sword of one’s arguments is always double-sided even if our standards shouldn’t be.[/tweetable]

  • Neon Genesis

    If anything, RNS is one of the fairer and more objective religious news sites out there that present a wide variety of faith and philosophical traditions that most other atheist and religious news sites don’t. The conservative trolls who complain about RNS being biased against them are more often than not just upset that the site isn’t being bigoted enough for them.

  • “Alan Wolfe has concluded, ‘Of all America’s religious traditions, evangelical Protestantism…has ranked dead last in intellectual stature.”

    The primary harm of religion is its encouragement of ignorance.
    Religion is not benign – the consequences are though out the school systems which teach Creationism.

    Soon we will see witchcraft and alchemy in the schools.

    “Ignorance is not only what you don’t know
    It is what you won’t know.”
    – Aron Ra

  • samuel Johnston

    I applaud Jonathan Merritt for this public stance against the evangelical habit of hypocrisy. Sadly, they are rarely embarrassed by such exposure because they are doing God’s work, and to them that is all that matters. The rest of us can do good works, sure, but we and not entitled to the free pass that they claim for themselves by the authority of self declaration (and oh yea, their primitive interpretation of the Bible).

  • Doc Anthony

    RNS is biased just like all the rest. The RNS writers do come from a variety of backgrounds, that’s true, but “conservative evangelical” is NOT one of them.

    RNS is interesting, (kudos on that aspect), but they are slanted towards “liberal”, and they are CLEARLY slanted towards acceptance of gay marriage. So at minimum, let’s not pretend otherwise.

  • Doc Anthony

    And while I’m at it, let me call attention to the following fact: Evolution is INCOMPATIBLE with Christianity. No joke. They’re actually incompatible.
    Confirming this fact requires only that you have access to a Bible.

    (By the way, that’s the real reason why Biologos was created. Damage Control. This incompatibility is no small problem for evolutionists.)

    Now, it’s not likely that the evolutionists at Biologos and the creationists at Answers In Genesis will ever do a huge media debate like what recently took place between evolutionist Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham.

    But if the two parties ever DO arrange a big media debate, and if the agreed-upon topic is specifically “Is Evolution Incompatible with Christianity”, then Biologos would simply get defeated (as in Crash-And-Burn), right in front of the TV cameras.

    Which is what they deserve. The End.

  • How is evolution incompatible with Christianity?

    Your statement, “Confirming this fact requires only that you have access to a Bible,” smacks of a biblicist approach to theological debate. The problem with this approach is its pervasive interpretive pluralism, which is to say that any passage from Scripture can be interpreted dozens of different (and often conflicting) ways.

    I assume your argument regarding evolution’s incompatibility with Christianity would include a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 (if I’m incorrect in this assumption, and your argument does not include a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2, I apologize, and I’m genuinely interested to hear how you would reconcile your interpretation of said passages with your argument for incompatibility).

    The flaw in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1ff is that in order to remain consistent in this interpretation, one would have to conclude that the earth’s atmosphere has a solid ceiling or dome that keeps the ocean above us from flooding the earth. Young-Earth Creationism (henceforth YEC) is rather arbitrary in its selection of what is to be taken literally (morning-evening) and what is not to be taken literally (firmament/dome).

    One issue with YEC is that it assumes that Scripture must be compatible with a 21st-century understanding of the earth, so it reinterprets words in Scripture such as “firmament” in order to make sense of their inclusion. If YEC is true, then the Hebrew word “raqia” (English “firmament” or “dome”) must not be a solid structure. The problem with this argument is that nowhere else in ancient Hebrew literature, Scripture included, do we find “raqia” meaning anything but a solid structure.

    What are we to think then? That Scripture was mistaken in its description of the earth? That only some parts of the creation poem are factual while other parts are not, and we get to pick and choose which are and which aren’t?

    Or can we take the creation poem, let it be a poem, and instead of searching for scientific evidence in its words, could we discover deeper, more incredible truths that God is trying to reveal to us?

  • Earold D. Gunter

    NG, point proven, thanks to Doc!

  • Earold D. Gunter

    Doc, You are right, and wrong. You’re right that science supports evolution, and that a literal interpretation of the bible can never agree.
    However, you are also wrong in that some christians (see Nate below) are very skilled at squirming around to “re-interpret” the meaning of the words to make it fit better with reality, some of it anyway; poems indeed.
    Although I think the bible is a terrible book with many disgusting things, and it should never be used as a guide to live your life by, I also believe your interpretation, as has been expressed ad nauseam in the comment section of RNS, is correct, and also mine.
    I don’t have a lot of respect for anyone who would swallow such garbage, but I do for anyone who stands firm in their convictions, even if they do so behind a nom de plume, no matter how ignorant they may be.

  • @Nate,

    “….only some parts of the creation poem are factual while other parts are not, and we get to pick and choose which are and which aren’t?….”

    Poem? There is your problem.
    Religion is not a ‘poem’. Poems are literary and philosophical with OPTIONAL INTERPRETATIONS.

    But religion is deliberate, absolute full of claims – it is a bundle of inhumane laws.
    Religion is too dictatorial, literal – and destructive – to be granted that pass.

    “execute them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission…” (1 Tim. 2:11-12).
    “Kill Homosexuals” (Leviticus 20:13)
    “Jesus said…Not the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law…” (Matthew 5:18)

    These are not metaphors, but abominations.
    Religion has real-world consequences which deserve no respect.

    Someday, when religion is abandoned, perhaps we can examine the Bible’s literary contributions and insights into human nature – until then it is a dangerous bauble from an ignorant, primitive time.

  • @Doc,

    The news is very bad for religion.

    My once devout Christian cousin became an Atheist last week
    as the news about ISIS beheadings finally disgusted her to the point where she cannot understand why a God would allow such inhumane things to happen in its name.

    While the rest of the world is running around trying to save lives from Ebola and running into burning buildings to save lives – RELIGIOUS NUTS ARE CHOPPING OFF INNOCENT PEOPLE’S HEADS!

    RNS has been reporting that news – you don’t like it – so you see the news as ‘liberal’.

    Religion is just despicable and miserable. But you don’t like the messenger.

  • samuel Johnston

    @ Doc
    “Evolution is INCOMPATIBLE with Christianity. No joke. They’re actually incompatible.”
    Well I rarely agree with Doc, but here goes. Despite the Pope and lots of liberal Christians trying to fit God into the evolutionary theory, it just does not wash.
    Evolution is mindless, goalless, materialism. It is chemistry, not purpose. Those who claim otherwise are engaging in wishful thinking, not science.
    That said, evolutionary theory is fine with religion- just not a creator mind.

  • Jon

    Jonathan, kudos on a much needed, relevant and undeniable post!

    Great job in having the courage to say out loud what is increasingly obvious.

  • April

    When an evangelical accuses a journalist of “bias,” he or she usually means, “I don’t like what you’ve said.” Pot, meet kettle.

  • Doc Anthony

    Let me get this straight, Max. RNS has been reporting on the ISIS terrorists “chopping off heads”, so somehow I do NOT “like” for RNS to report such news?? Somehow I see the ISIS story as an example of “liberal” reporting?

    Seriously, Max??

    We simply ain’t reading the same newspaper, dude. We gotta do better ‘n’ this.

    PS…I am sorry to hear about your cousin. It may not make any difference, but there would be nothing wrong with sending her the message that at least one of the Ebola doctors who got sick while treating Ebola victims, is a Christian whose faith motivated him to go help the sick.

  • Robert Brown

    Everyone has bias. I suppose I could be called a conservative evangelical, although I never heard that name until recent years. We should keep in mind a couple of things in discussions like this. There is essential doctrine and non-essential doctrine. There is intense debate over what is essential, for me it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, if you can’t believe in miracles and supernatural events in Genesis or elsewhere in the bible, you are still faced with deciding what to believe about Jesus.

  • Josh M

    I would, in similar fashion, say that when evolutionists claim that evolution is undirected, goalless, and purposeless, they are engaging in philosophy, not science.

    One thing that I think all people would agree with is that empirical science is unable to answer all questions; there do exist questions which the empirical sciences are wholly incapable to answer (Those would deny this claim hold to the philosophy which is popularly called scientism, which ironically, those who claim “Scientism is true” cannot prove this claim to be true by the empirical sciences, which makes this a self-refuting statement). The questions would be those that deal mainly with philosophical questions, questions on morality, beauty, mathematics, etc.

    So when scientists claim that evolution is without a purpose what empirical evidence to they have to support that claim? None, since this isn’t a scientific claim, it’s a philosophical claim. Let me say this: imagine I made the statement “Species x developed a detrimental trait which made species x much more vulnerable prey for species z, which benefited the flourishing of species z.” Clearly, from a scientific standpoint, this statement is at least possible. Now imagine the statement was “Species x developed that trait so Species z would flourish”. This statement has no empirical data in support of this; however, in like fashion, there is also no empirical data in refutation of this claim. This isn’t a scientific claim; therefore it would have no scientific evidence either for or against it. Any claim which seek to refute this claim would be question-begging (i.e. this mutation couldn’t have a purpose because mutations are purposeless, which is a tautology). Therefore any claim which is referring to purpose or the like would be philosophical, not scientific.

    Here is an excerpt from a response by William Lane Craig on a very similar question:

    I disagree with Steve Meyer’s statement because the terms “undirected” and “purposeless” are not being used univocally by the theist and the evolutionary biologist. If they were, then evolutionary theory would be enormously presumptuous, since science is just not in a position to say with any justification that there is no divinely intended direction or goal of the evolutionary process. How could anyone say on the basis of scientific evidence that the whole scheme was not set up by a provident God to arrive at homo sapiens on planet Earth? How could a scientist know that God did not supernaturally intervene to cause the crucial mutations that led to important evolutionary transitions, for example, the reptile to bird transition? Indeed, given divine middle knowledge, not even such supernatural interventions are necessary, for God could have known that were certain initial conditions in place, then, given the laws of nature, certain life forms would evolve through random mutation and natural selection, and so He put such laws and initial conditions in place. Obviously, science is in no position whatsoever to say justifiably that the evolutionary process was not under the providence of a God endowed with middle knowledge who determined to create biological complexity by such means. So if the evolutionary biologist were using words like “undirected” and “purposeless” in the sense that the theist is using those words, evolutionary theory would be philosophy, not science (which is precisely what some theists allege).

    The entire thing can be found at

  • Doc Anthony

    This is what I find surprising about you Max. You’ve got this big opposition to religion, especially against biblical Christianity, but you ARE still able to see and insist that the Bible IS offering clear historical claims. Kudos.

    The Bible IS offering rational historical statements of fact to be accepted or rejected, NOT fuzzy Zen koans that can be interpreted a million ways.

    PS….God does not hate women and Jesus doesn’t want to kill everybody. But we can discuss that later.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Josh,
    “So when scientists claim that evolution is without a purpose what empirical evidence to they have to support that claim?”
    Chatty conversations such as this one we are having, do not lend themselves to precision. I submit that most scientific literature simply states that there is no evidence of a purpose or plan, or even a direction, discernible in the study of evolutionary processes.
    Perhaps this example will help clarify. If a stork eats every frog who leaves a pond, then the only survivors will be those who never leave ( remain tadpoles). This reversion process is the most common evolutionary “tactic”. The stimulus is random, the result is equally so.

  • Andrew

    Your claim to know every single person’s mentality about religion and how they practice it is no less absolute and ignorant as the negative claims against religion that you are making. Kudos on being so blatantly self-defeating.

  • Josh M

    I would also agree that religion has real world consequences, but clearly, it’s not the same consequences for all religions. I highly doubt that Max would find the Christianity practiced by the Amish people and the Islamic religion practiced by ISIS as comparable to each other.

    One says “YOU can have your electricity; YOU can have your cars; YOU can your MTV; WE don’t want any of those things, so just leave us alone” and the other one says “Either convert or we chop off your head”

  • Josh M

    @ Samuel

    I’m reading and re-reading your comment Samuel, and I cannot find a place where you disagree with what I said in the beginning, namely “I would, in similar fashion, say that when evolutionists claim that evolution is undirected, goalless, and purposeless, they are engaging in philosophy, not science.” But maybe you didn’t intend to disagree with me, which in that case, would make it very hard for me to disagree with you.

    “I submit that most scientific literature simply states that there is no evidence of a purpose or plan, or even a direction, discernible in the study of evolutionary processes.”

    I agree with this statement in its entirety. Saying that let me now make a comment. I posted a comment, I believe on the “Christians should lead Christians” commentary, about the flawed logic on accepting an inference as true which is based upon the claim that “the lack of evidence for any proposition p, is not in itself evidence for not p.” And I think that this flawed logical inference is apparent here (I don’t think you personally hold to this, but others would make this logical inference). When scientists say “there is no evidence” this is clearly meant to be taken as “there is no scientific empirical evidence for proposition p”. But from this, it doesn’t follow that “therefore there is no non-scientific support for proposition p”.

    Basically, the scientist is fully within their right and authority to claim A) “there is no evidence of a purpose or plan, or even a direction, discernible in the study of evolutionary processes”

    But…this is different from saying B) “there is no purpose or plan, or even a direction, discernible in the study or evolutionary processes”.

    The absence of just one word, is enough to entirely change to classification of this statement. A) is a scientific claim, and B) is a philosophical claim. And this is not in opposition to my initial claim “I would, in similar fashion, say that when evolutionists claim that evolution is undirected, goalless, and purposeless, they are engaging in philosophy, not science”

    Samuel, you are among the most respectable atheist/skeptic on these boards and it’s always a pleasure to converse with you.

  • That is an interesting point of view. However, I think you forget the open fact that those in the Reformed camp would be the first to be for open debate in the public square. The positions against Reformed or conservative theology you cite may not be welcome at a Reformed conference. That is a given. But Reformed theologians and pastors invite persons with different points of view all the time to open debate. Something rarely taken up by the other side. In fact, given that Reformed and most theologically conservative believers strongly affirm freedom of conscience they believe all viewpoints should be openly discussed and debated in the public square – Something the other side has mostly shut off as a possibility. Public schools only allow for the government’s viewpoint and does not allow even for discussion in the classroom. They do so by hiding behind “separation of church and state” Separation of church and state should strongly be affirmed but it does not mean that secularism should have a monopoly on discussion… but this is what it has come to. The entire purpose originally for separation was to make sure that NO ONE has a monopoly on ideas not that certain ideas should be shut out. It means no establishment of a particular religion in the public square, not that it should not be mentioned. Being offended is something that will happen no matter whose viewpoint is given. Therefore, no ones view should be censored in the public square. May the best ideas make a difference… and minority viewpoints should always be allowed, even if it offends me or you. THAT is being consistent.

  • Larry

    So what you are saying is reality, honest and objective observation of the world and honest representations of religious faith are incompatible with Christianity as you believe it.

    Creationism makes Christianity look stupid and its adherents like a bunch of whiners who do not understand metaphor. The largest denominations of Christianity do not accept creationism, including the Catholic Church. Over a billion Christians do not find evolution incompatible with their faith. Just because you want to consider their beliefs “not real” doesn’t make it so.

    Evolution doesn’t have to be debated. It is accepted in the scientific field based on the evidence and methodologies. Debate implies equivalence which does not exist. A debate as to whether evolution is “compatible” with Christianity would devolve into nothing but sectarian poo flinging. Since the question is entirely sectarian in nature.

    Bill Nye debated Ken Ham because he was paid to do so. Nye made Ham look like an idiot with one word. When asked what would be required to change their respective positions, Ham said, “nothing”, Nye said, “evidence”.

  • Jack

    Jonathan Merritt, you can argue as you wish against the need for opinion columnists to state both sides.

    But you lose something valuable in the process –the ability to persuade others rather than merely preach to the choir.

    The most persuasive opinion columns are often those which summarize the opposing side as fairly as possible, without using words and labels which stack the deck unfairly. This gives the column far more credibility in the eyes of readers who value fair-mindedness and especially fair play. Unfortunately, you do stack the deck sometimes, and the result is that people who you may have convinced remain unconvinced. An added cost is that it influences readers to become more cynical and less civil in their responses.

  • Jack

    Laying the Bible completely aside, and simply evaluating the evidence for evolution from one species to another, the bar of scientific proof clearly has been lowered on the issue. The idea that this theory is as well-established as, say, the law of gravity, is misleading.

    While evolution is certainly a scientific theory that belongs in classrooms, it should be taught, as the late Irving Kristol once suggested, with far greater humility. And as for creationism, while what it asserts — that God created the heavens and earth — does not belong in a science classroom (since science simply isn’t big enough to test it), what it denies — that the evidence for evolution is sufficient to treat it as effectively a closed matter — certainly belongs there.

  • Larry

    “Laying the Bible completely aside, and simply evaluating the evidence for evolution from one species to another, the bar of scientific proof clearly has been lowered on the issue. ”

    And this is based on what exactly? It certainly is not based on over a century of accumulated research and evidence.

    Creationists may raise issues with evolution, but that alone does not grant them the ability to be taken seriously. Creationists do not produce evidence or credible arguments. Evolution has legitimate criticisms but none will come from a Creationist.

    Creationism is something to be studied as evidence of mendacity, dishonest rhetorical methods, and the lengths religious believers will take in validation of their beliefs. It isn’t even an honest representation of religious belief. It denies the faith that all religious believers hold. A study in what not to do.

  • Jack

    So one position that people who are serious about both the Bible and science could take is as follows:

    (1) At the very least, the Bible contradicts the notion that every part of a human being has evolved, due to its affirmation of a soul.

    (2) Read literally, the Bible goes even farther than that, contradicting the notion that evolution from one species to another is even true.

    (3) The science on evolution is compatible with its being true but those speaking on science’s behalf are making dogmatic claims that reach far beyond the actual evidence — effectively lowering the scientific bar of proof in this one case.

    (4) Both sides have axes to grind: People who take the Biblical creation account literally have a stake in evolution being false, whereas people who are anxious to refute belief in God generally or the God of the Bible specifically have an equal stake in showing evolution to be true. One can argue that atheists have a much bigger axe to grind, because one can be a theist and still believe in evolution, whereas being an atheist really commits one to evolution. That might explain why atheists’ defense of evolution is often so emotional, even when they are scientists. They are defending, in their minds, not merely science, but their own world view.

  • samuel Johnston

    Socrates won me over with his claim to be the most ignorant man in Athens.
    Figuring out what is lacking is more important that figuring out what is included. Causality, like, evolution, is just a theory based on probability and observation. Proximate cause is not the same as original cause (if indeed there is such, the Greeks thought the idea unpersuasive.) Intervention is also a distorting concern in assigning causality.
    The God (s) theory of original cause is little more than a name, lacking any further substance, or evidence, or probability. The fundamentalists seem convinced that if they can prevail in the first cause argument, that they are somehow close to proving the validity of their point of view. This is truly ignorant. I can grant them their “first cause”, and not miss a beat in my skeptical view. The “nature” and the identity of the first cause is a discussion miles away from any particular religion, or even any religion at all. If one merely reads the debates of the early Greek philosophers with an open mind, one can see almost no justification in saying that Christianity “won” the debate. They “won” with political power, or if you are a believer – with the assistance of the supernatural. At that point, one is well outside of Philosophy and engaged instead, in rhetoric.

  • samuel Johnston

    “the Greeks thought the idea unpersuasive”*
    * prior to Aristotle

  • Scott Canion

    The difference is that the Evangelical organizations and conferences don’t claim to be entering into intellectual dialogue regarding their particular subject matter. BioLogos does make such claims. I’m not saying the BioLogos should always provide dissenting voices at every venue. I’m merely pointing out the difference in stated purpose between BioLogos and most Evangelical groups. BioLogos states that they have a “commitment to spirited and gracious dialogue”.

  • Kevin

    Gravity is mindless too. Does that mean Christians must reject it?

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Jack,
    1. re: “affirmation of a soul” Does this mean that the soul preexists birth, or is it crated during the birthing process?
    2. Why would a creator make extinct species? It is estimated that 90% or so of all species ever existing, are extinct.
    3. Humans are born liars, and egotistical bastards who refuse to admit when they are wrong.
    4. see 3, supra
    There is simply no news here Jack.

  • Elijah Olson

    “Soon we will see witchcraft and alchemy in the schools.”

    Slippery slope if I ever saw one….that’s absurd to say. You could just as easily say that we should eradicate the belief of atheism, because millions upon millions of people have been killed due to atheist dictators (far more people died because of atheistic tyrants than because of all “religion”).

  • Rich

    Many of the members of BioLogos are also members of the American Scientific Affiliation, e.g. Dr. Francis Collins one of BioLogos’ founders is also a fellow of the ASA. BioLogos is an advocacy organization while the ASA is a fellowship organization. If you desire to hear “both sides” attend the annual ASA conventions. Former ASA President Jennifer Wiseman is running the perceptions project that seeks understanding between the evangelical and scientific communities.

  • J. Edwards

    So, let’s just ignore the work of Jonathan Edwards, Karl Barth, William Lane Craig, James White, Craig Blomberg, J.P. Moreland, John Lennox, Alvin Plantinga, and so on. Catholics often turn to Protestant scholars for an intellectual defense of the faith. People who make these generalizations are only revealing an ignorance of the Protestant intellectual tradition in favor of CBN stereotypes.

  • “The evangelical WORLD Magazine is increasingly known for targeting fellow Christians.”
    Wait – isn’t that what you just did?? 🙂

  • Samuel

    The one thing we can all agree on is that certain concepts in empirical science are not YET fully understood. The problem with Creationists is that they operate under the false narrative that evolution is unproven. It is not. That genetic mutation occurs and that organisms change at the sub-cellular level over time through the mechanic of mutation is a scientific fact. That process of genetic mutation is called evolution. Darwin further proposed that all life, writ large, was simply a natural series of progressive mutations from unicellular to ultimate organic complexity and has come to fruition through a “survival of the fittest” mechanism.
    Science has yet to prove Darwin’s Theorem. However, to argue that evolution is not proven fact is intellectually obtuse, at best.

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  • Laurence Ringo

    Thank you, J.Ewards.All of those you mentioned are indeed giants in the rich fields of intellectual rigor, and take a backseat to NO ONE. I admit a bias of sorts; I am a HUGE fan of Dr.William Lane Craig and James White, not to mention Dr.Norman Geisler, Craig Evans, Ravi Zacharias, and Tim Keller, to name a few!! (Don’t forget the ladies: Nancy Pearcey’s”Total Truth” and “Saving Leonardo” comes to mind!)–The point is, the insistence of some on these sites to label all if not most Christians mindless, knuckle-dragging cretins led around by the wallet/purse by every jackleg so-called “Reverend Dr.” so-and-so says way more about them that is does about us.Any fair-minded, well-informed person who actually knows anything about authentic Christian philosophy and historical constructs would well know that the Christian faith at least has a long, varied, and rich intellectual history, despite the many missteps and disastrous wrong turns many who have professed themselves to be “christian”have made.(After all, you don’t cease being human just because you claim to be christian!).–At any rate, again,thank you J.Ewards.Perhaps your even-handed approach will give some of our more caustic critics pause when they’re tempted to throw All Christians under the bus. —-PEACE IN CHRIST!

  • Ralph

    Actually, Answers in Genesis and other young-earth organizations do ask evolutionists to speak and defend their point of view. Evolutionists refuse to defend themselves on the excuse that they don’t want to legitimize their opposition. If they really had a strong case, they would defend it in public instead of hiding behind ivory towers and sympathetic media.

  • Laurence Ringo

    Thanks,Josh M; THAT’S why I LOVE Dr.William Lane Craig; the man is simply AWESOME, all day long?? (By the way, your stuff was pretty good too, LOL!!)

  • MA Jackson
  • Larry

    Wrong. You are not giving a position which shows serious thought in either science or Christianity. You are merely trying to justify a dishonest method of rhetorical support for your belief. It is garbage as both religious belief and science.

    “(1) At the very least, the Bible contradicts the notion that every part of a human being has evolved, due to its affirmation of a soul. ”

    That is merely stipulation and not even a good one from a Christian standpoint. May I direct you to Pope John Paul II’s encyclical concerning evolution and catholic teachings.

    Therein he states that the soul is not a subject that can or ever will be touched upon by evolution. Science, where evolution clearly belongs to has no ability to touch upon issues of the divine. Also for Christianity to attack evolution would contradict the truth of what is found through evidence and credible observation

    “(2) Read literally, the Bible goes even farther than that, contradicting the notion that evolution from one species to another is even true.”

    Which is why reading the Bible literally is not a prudent or sane thing to do. The overwhelming majority of Christians do not consider literal readings of the Bible to be useful or honest interpretations of scripture in service of their belief.

    Accepting the Bible literally in such a fashion means creating lies and ignoring observation of the world around you. Requiring you to bear false witness in service of your faith. Even Jesus knew when to use parable and metaphor for his points. Its a shame his followers couldn’t do the same (but were expected to).

    Just because something is mythical or even fictional, it doesn’t mean it lacks meaning, personal resonance or purpose. This is why fiction sections of bookstores are so large.

    “(3) The science on evolution is compatible with its being true but those speaking on science’s behalf are making dogmatic claims that reach far beyond the actual evidence — effectively lowering the scientific bar of proof in this one case.”

    Absolutely false. Centuries of evidence have confirmed evolution to be a valid theory in the field. Scientific theories are not like religious beliefs. They have to serve an actual function for interpreting data and evidence in a methodologically sound format. As long as a theory still can do so, it is accepted.

    Creationists frequently lie about the evidence they have against evolution or fail to understand how proper evidence should be gathered in such respects.

    “(4) Both sides have axes to grind:”

    But only one is being honest, and it is not the Creationists. Having an opposing viewpoint does not mean it is of equal validity to what is being opposed.

    Creationism is dishonesty at its core. It posits that one does not require faith to promote belief in their fundamentalist Christian religion. Yet every one of them ascribe such belief to faith. It claims that one can objectively prove their belief but fails to account that such methods would also open the door to proving disbelief. No creationist would ever accept evidence which could do so.

  • Larry

    Not a slippery slope at all. Merely one step. What is the difference between Biblical claims of the supernatural, witchcraft or alchemy? The number of believers. They are all one in the same.

    Creationist proponents even admitted in a public setting that their definition of science which would allow other complete hokum as well.

    “Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology.”

    As for the deaths caused by atheist dictators, religious believers have them beaten by miles. The Taiping Rebellion (started by Christian fanatics) alone killed more people than Stalin and Mao combined. Add every conflict from the end of the Roman Empire to 18th century and Hitler, and you have an exponentially more pernicious toll for religious belief.

  • Larry

    But AIG never provide credible evidence, honest assertions, or valid argument forms in defense of their position. Creationist proponents by their nature have to lie in order to further their position. One does not debate liars. One merely exposes them.

    Evolution doesn’t require debate to be accepted. It requires evidence and usefulness in scientific research and observation. All of which has been established with nothing so far to upend it. You don’t have to believe it, it exists and is accepted regardless of what objections you have to it.

  • Rich

    Tim Keller is a BioLogos contributor. Here’s what he wrote on their web site:

  • Laurence Ringo

    Sorry, Larry,but THAT’S a flat-out lie. Historians now know that Chairman Mao, the “Great Leader”, was responsible for as many as 80 million deaths during his 27 year reign; we don’t even have to add Stalin’s numbers.Try again.

  • Both ISIS and the Amish share one key problem:
    Totalitarianist conformity from within.

    Each society punishes critical thinking and individuality.
    The price of religion is ignorance. If that is okay for the Amish or other “gentler religions” they have every right to engage in that sort of ignorance.

    Just keep it out of our public laws and I won’t give rat’s tail.

    For Peace, Humanity and the Separation of Church and State

  • @Doc,

    “You’ve got this big opposition…but you ARE still able to see and insist that the Bible IS offering clear historical claims. Kudos”

    No. Don’t give me ‘kudos’.

    The Bible and Religion are lists of CLAIMS.
    But I do not agree those claims are TRUE.

    The Flat Earth Society claims the world is flat.
    That claim is a lie.
    The claims of the Bible can be dismissed just as easily.

    I’m not afraid of the CLAIMS – I’m afraid of the people who believe them to be true.

  • Ringo,

    Religion loses the ‘body count argument’ by several HUNDRED MILLIONS.

    Why would Christianity and Islam have a body count at all?
    “Bring to me those enemies of mine…execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    History shows that mass murder is easier when a God is commanding it.
    “Wipe them all out, even the innocent children” – Yahweh

    Shame on you.

  • Pingback: World Magazine column demonstrates evangelicals’ double standard - Jonathan Merritt()

  • Larry

    No, the flat out lie was on your part. You at least doubled the most accepted estimates for Mao. Taipings and Thirty Years War give you that much before we even to try to add Hitler’s numbers. Heck, genocide of Native Americans by Christian Europeans and Americans far exceeds any figure by Communists.

    Does God find it OK for you to lie on his behalf?

  • Hey, the BioLogos folks aren’t the only ones getting in trouble. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious got in trouble for inviting St. Thomas Aquinas to speak!

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Larry,
    “Heck, genocide of Native Americans by Christian Europeans and Americans far exceeds any figure by Communists.” I would like to see the figures and the reasons. I have seen figures like the population of Mexico dropped fro 25 million to 1 million in a few decades, but the cause was not genocide, it was disease.
    Now Stalin was the 20th century death champion, credited with over 20 million murders, but he was also a product of priestly training, so how does that figure in?
    “When Stalin was sixteen, he received a scholarship to attend the Georgian Orthodox Tiflis Spiritual Seminary in Tbilisi. Although his performance had been good, he was expelled in 1899 after missing his final exams. The seminary’s records also suggest that he was unable to pay his tuition fees.” Wikipedia

  • Til Tuesday

    As a non-religious gay person, I spent about 3 years on World Mag’s site bogging quite regularly. I have to say that while Marvin Olasky was not very kind to me, neither he nor his editors ever censored me. In fact, numerous times his editor came to my defense and became personally nice to me. I fully realized that they were not objective and that they many times only presented one side of an issue. But I was never censored for presenting alternative views on their website. I took it for what it was and enjoyed my time on there. I left voluntarily to pursue other interesting sites. Just my personal perspective of World Mag.

    Having said all that, they are a bit reactive and hard-nosed (some would say a bit nasty) on certain issues. There is a certain mean streak that runs through World Mag. I’ll leave it to others to say where it comes from. It’s sort of like “Nope. Talk to the hand”. They don’t want to hear it. End of discussion. And debate is not allowed. So it is pretty hypocritical of World Mag to be complaining about BioLogos.

    And I can assure you that Jonathan Merritt’s criticism will be dismissed out of hand.

  • Brendt Wayne Waters

    Taking examples of bad behavior among members of a particular demographic and making broad general statements about the entire demographic. If the defining characteristic is epidermal pigmentation, we call that racism.

    But making over-arching statements about brothers in Christ, well, that’s perfectly cool.

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Brendt,
    You cannot do anything about your race. You can do something about your religion, including not supporting bad ideas and bad behavior.

  • Yeti

    The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
    – F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Something our fellow believers should strive for.

  • Brendt Wayne Waters

    No, not our fellow believers — only a specific subset of them that offend Jonathan’s sensibilities.

  • Brendt Wayne Waters

    My apologies for not responding sooner — the notification system let me down and I just now saw your comment.

    The thing is: Merritt is NOT decrying bad ideas or bad behavior (which, I agree, are manageable). He’s categorizing an entire demographic based on the bad ideas and bad behavior of SOME. He offers ZERO evidence as to how evangelicalism causes or leads to this bad behavior.

    Even though I don’t participate in the bad ideas or bad behavior decried here, I am just bad because I would classify myself as evangelical. So the racism parallel stands.

    Now, if you think that classifying myself as evangelical is manageable, and that I ought not to do it because of the actions of some evangelicals, well then, I guess I need to denounce my faith altogether, because there are some really stupid Christians.