Why Can’t Pastors Just Tell the Truth? February 17, 2011

Why Can’t Pastors Just Tell the Truth?

Rachel Held Evans urges pastors to tell their congregations the truth instead of hiding their true feelings:

Tell us the truth when you don’t know the answers to our questions, and your humility will set the example as we seek them out together.

Tell us the truth about your doubts, and we will feel safe sharing our own.

Tell us the truth when your position is controversial, and we will grow braver along with you.

Tell us the truth when you need to spend time on your marriage, and we will remember to prioritize ours.

It’s a nice idea, to think that pastors could be honest…

But it won’t happen.

Their entire careers are built on the idea that lies sell much better than the truth — and sometimes, they’ll delude themselves so much that they sincerely believe everything they preach is the truth.

You want the truth?

Here’s what most pastors will never tell you in church:

  • Sometimes, abortion is the right choice.
  • All the evidence we have points to the truth of evolution.
  • Gay people getting married won’t damage your heterosexual marriage.
  • It’s just a wafer.
  • Jesus ain’t coming back.
  • When I say “I’ll pray for you,” I don’t actually do it.
  • That cancer you have isn’t going to be cured by God. Let’s hope you have good doctors and better health care.
  • Some of the people in this church are assholes.
  • The contradictions in the Bible really can’t all be reconciled.
  • The Democrat is the better candidate.
  • You all need to stop typing with the CAPS LOCK on.

What else do many pastors think but so few ever publicly admit?

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  • Sven

    What else do many pastors think but so few ever publicly admit?

    “There is no god.”

  • Annika

    What else do many pastors think but so few ever publicly admit?

    “Thanks for the tithes, you suckers.”

  • Claudia

    I dispute that they don’t actually believe all but two on the list:

    Some of the people in this church are assholes.

    Obviously they at some point will think this, even if they don’t admit it. Hemant, I’m sure you think some of us are assholes, occasionally 😉

    The Democrat is the better candidate.

    I understand that the majority of active churches are conservative, but let’s not forget that left-wing churches do exist and are active in politics. One of the most iconic moments of celebration of the ’08 win was from Ebenezer Baptist Church, where MLK used to preach. Can you look at that video and really say it’s likely they didn’t work themselves raw campaigning for Obama?

    The rest of the list I’m sure many preachers say often with total (misguided) sincerity. I do suppose that:

    The contradictions in the Bible really can’t all be reconciled.

    does weigh on the minds of those priests who have had serious divinity training, though I’m guessing Chicago Dyke could enlighten us on that. From what I’ve heard, many people are taught such complex apologetics that they learn to shield the contradictions from themselves, as well as from their “flock” (what an awful way to refer to people, as a mindless group of obedient animals).

    One thing many pastors may think but not admit is “I’m not qualified to give you advice on this matter”. Pastors are asked advice on everything from academic choices, to domestic abuse to options for medical care. All of these are specialized subjects that should be mainly dealt with by qualified professionals. Having “reverend” in front of your name no more qualifies you to opine on those matters than me having “Dr.” in front of mine qualifies me to run the Iraq war. You can give your opinion as an interested citizen/friend, but that is all.

  • I thought this was the friendly atheist? The post itself doesn’t seem to necessarily contradict friendliness, but some of the bullets seem like cheap shots.

  • joe-bob

    I see this was posted at 5am. I see friendly atheists are friendly only after they’ve had their morning coffee. Not that I’m complaining. I like the occassional firebrand.

  • I’m unemployable in any other profession

  • Andrew

    Thank god for child cancer!!

  • Stephan

    I reject that the Democrat is the better candidate. Between a Democrat and a Republican, the Democrat is in all likelihood better, but between a Democrat and a Green, or a Democrat and a Socialist? I’m not so sure about that.

  • Danish Atheist

    One thing many pastors may think but not admit is “I’m not qualified to give you advice on this matter”.

    Yeah … imagine having a 50 year old virgin advice you on relationships and sex…

  • You want the truth?

    Here’s what most pastors will never tell you in church:

    No, no – the point is about Pastors being honest about how they feel and think – not saying what you happen to think is true. We want honesty, not to trade one set of rhetoric for another set of rhetoric.

  • Ron in Houston

    People often get into ministry because they want to help other people. It is often a difficult task and many fail. Can you imagine being the Chaplin at a children’s hospital where you have to try to comfort parents when their children die? That will quickly challenge anyone’s faith.

    You can’t stereotype “pastors.” Many are quite agnostic and would privately counsel people exactly as you’ve said. Yes, they have to maintain a public image as the leader of a congregation but most are very decent caring people who are really trying to help and make a difference.

    Then again, some of them are big narcissistic arse holes.

  • the Captain

    When I was a kid we had a priest for a while who was very honest about the fact that he sometimes struggled with his faith, and he was the most compelling priest I’ve seen. (He didn’t push the church-approved political candidates, either.) I don’t think the church leadership really approved, which is stupid. What’s wrong with having leaders people can relate to?

  • “What else do many pastors think but so few ever publicly admit?”

    “I love men.”

  • mkb

    The pastors I had were honest on any and all of these points that they should have been (it’s not their place to counsel on politics and I don’t think that it contributes to group building to call people assholes). They were honest about their doubts and their weaknesses and the contradictions in the Bible. They knew that gays were not a threat to heterosexual marriage, evolution is true and a cracker is just a cracker. I don’t know how they felt about abortion because they didn’t preach about it. Maybe that is cowardly, maybe that is wise, but it’s not dishonest.

    Where I broke with them and the church is that they believed in a god and I didn’t. It had nothing to do with my respect for them, which was and is very high.

  • Bob

    @Andrew Finden:

    Rhetoric is the use of language to persuade. What you seem to be objecting to is Hemant’s statements as opinion.

    But this, too, is mistaken – there are generally not two, equally valid and reasonable sides to every argument … so either the pastor is the infallible fount of all knowledge, or a fallible human put in the difficult position of covering the absence of facts with happy talk.

  • @Bob

    What you seem to be objecting to is Hemant’s statements as opinion.

    No, I’m objecting to statements of opinion being treated as statements of fact.

    But this, too, is mistaken – there are generally not two, equally valid and reasonable sides to every argument … so either the pastor is the infallible fount of all knowledge, or a fallible human put in the difficult position of covering the absence of facts with happy talk.

    The point is not about taking sides in an argument, it’s about pastors being free to express their feelings. I’ll leave your false dichotomy about the role of pastors for another day.

  • Claudia

    so either the pastor is the infallible fount of all knowledge, or a fallible human put in the difficult position of covering the absence of facts with happy talk.

    That is a false dichotomy. For starters not even the most arrogant and insufferable pastor is not going to say that they are an “infallible fount of all knowledge”. At the most they will tell you God is and they, an admitted mortal, are trying to relay the message. Yes, they do bait and switch (“I’m not judging you, God is”) but they don’t claim to be infallible (except maybe for the Pope).

    Beyond that though, just because you are a fallible human doesn’t mean you are “covering the absence of facts with happy talk”. Everyone is a fallible human, and yet some are armed with facts and good advice. Some of those people are even pastors. Certainly they have no access to “special” knowledge because of God, but some may have long experience dealing with people in times of trouble and can bring that experience with them when people reach out for them. Just as I’m sure many pastors let their Biblical beliefs skew their advice and attitudes for the worse, I’m also sure that many pastors don’t only rely on Biblical knowledge and try to bring practical, real-world experience to bear when they give out advice. Many of these people sincerely want to help, and do, though I would say that they do so in spite of the religious dogma and not because of it.

  • Denis Robert

    @AndrewFinden: I think you misunderstand Hemant’s post. The list he gave was of things a pastor would never say *even if* he believed it to be true, because it would likely threaten his livelihood or self-identity.

  • jebus

    How about where that tithing money REALLY goes…

  • Bob

    Andrew:

    Are you really asserting that ‘all the evidence we have points to the truth of evolution’ is an opinion, and that the Bible is therefore a valid resource in scientific inquiry?

    And you totally dodged the point about ‘rhetoric’ being different from ‘opinion.’

    Claudia:

    I’m missing something – aren’t we talking about pastors either admitting they know something or not? If they are using the pulpit to cover their lack of knowledge, isn’t that assuming infallibility by way of one’s office?

    Most of us, when offering opinions on subjects we do not have extensive knowledge of or experience with, offer qualifiers. I’ve had my share of run-ins with evangelicals who insist that the Bible is completely true, and that it informs their views on the world – to the point of their insisting that I cannot possibly be Christian if I believe in evolution. I can’t imagine that comes independent of what is spoken by their pastor.

    So perhaps the question is, ‘what do you expect when you consult with a pastor,’ and how would you feel if someone you trusted was making it up as they go? (For example, a doctor or your accountant.)

  • Cthuhlu

    One that they don’t admit it that the concept of free will can not co-exist along side the idea of an all knowing deity.

  • I Go Pogo

    The biggest frustration in my de-conversion from the faith was idea that the more I learned about the Bible, its history and transmission and differing theologies, was that every pastor knew all this and chose to “protect” their congregations from this. I’m talking about the most basic, agree-upon, non-controversial facts that everyone would learn in seminary. I recently heard a pastor friend represent the idea of the Synoptic Gospels and completely mis-represent the idea so that his congregants wouldn’t really understand the idea. I remember my old pastor who, every time after reading from the Bible, said “These are the very words of God, without error in any part.” He was a brilliant man who did extensive seminary work. He knew that wasn’t true.

    I believe that one reason young people are leaving the church en masse is that they have been protected from the difficult questions about their faith, and once they go to college or off into the world on their own, they are unprepared for the challenges to their faith. Just as I was. And once they feel that they had been deceived by their pastors, the door to seriously questioning their faith is open.

    Any pastor that preaches that there are no contradictions in the Bible is setting at least some of his listeners up for a crisis of faith. Pastors should preach what they honestly believe and assume their listeners are mature enough to listen.

  • Mihoda

    I loled a little in my mouth when I read that list. Thank you.

  • Women are human.

  • Slider33

    Here’s something they won’t tell you:

    The majority of this tithe or donation is going to the upkeep of this mega church, or my salary, instead of helping the needy.

  • What else do many pastors think but so few ever publicly admit?

    Among those who’ve studied the history of the Bible, they may be reluctant to share information about when different books were written, how decisions were made about what books to include, etc.

    @Claudia:

    One thing many pastors may think but not admit is “I’m not qualified to give you advice on this matter”. Pastors are asked advice on everything from academic choices, to domestic abuse to options for medical care. All of these are specialized subjects that should be mainly dealt with by qualified professionals. Having “reverend” in front of your name no more qualifies you to opine on those matters than me having “Dr.” in front of mine qualifies me to run the Iraq war. You can give your opinion as an interested citizen/friend, but that is all.

    This is one thing I really wish more pastors would admit. The fact that I’m in pharmacy school doesn’t make me an expert in physics or literature or philosophy, so I don’t know why people think pastors can give them accurate advice on things that they have not studied and which they know nothing about.

  • Anonymous

    Slider33:

    Or even:
    Report: Majority Of Money Donated At Church Doesn’t Make It To God
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-majority-of-money-donated-at-church-doesnt,18765/

  • Hemant, so much of what you write is so good, I’m disappointed when you head off on the “liars for Jesus” mind-reading exercises. Sure, there are pastors who have serious doubts about what they tell their congregations, and yes there are undoubtedly charlatans who intentionally withhold or twist information to maintain their positions. But to treat that as the standard M.O. isn’t warranted. We don’t and can’t know what “most pastors” think, and to suggest otherwise is hyperbole.

    Being wrong and perpetuating wrong ideas is not the same as being a liar. Neither is maintaining ridiculous cognitive dissonance in the face of overwhelming evidence. We do better to assume good faith and good intentions on the part of the religious, then hammer them with logic and evidence to demonstrate to them why their ideas are wrong.

  • Patrick

    “Some of the things you believe about your religion are not the things I learned in my study of the Bible.”

    “I’ve known about the difference for years, and haven’t said anything. Neither did your previous pastors.”

    “In many cases I, and they, have actively abetted this misunderstanding because trying to correct it would be a lot of work and would probably shake some of your faiths.”

  • jose

    – “I am gay”.

    – “Your father didn’t confess his sins, so most likely he is in Hell now”. (so much for the comfort religion supposedly provides.)

  • Blacksheep

    Sometimes, abortion is the right choice.

    There are roughly forty million abortions performed each year, and 93% of them are social reasons, ie unwanted pregnancy. The remaining 7% are from rape, incest, or conditions that endager the mother. To a believer, killing over 100 thousand babies each day is profoundly wrong. (We have a right to that opinion, no?) I think that since we see it as such a massive injustice, pastors do tend to focus on the “93%” from the pulpit. I have personally known pastors who have helped women through the other 7% situations.

    All the evidence we have points to the truth of evolution.

    The evidence also points to astoundingly amazing mechanisms in nature that to believers are clues for inteligent design. We believe that God created everything. Whether or not evolution was part of his methodology is secondary.

    Gay people getting married won’t damage your heterosexual marriage.

    Most churches aren’t against gay marriage because they’re afraid it will damage their own. They’re against it because the Bible says it’s wrong, and they put it way out of proportion to plenty of other things that the Bible says are wrong proably out of fear.

    It’s just a wafer.

    That’s exclusively a Catholic (and maybe Eastern Orthadox) thing.

    Jesus ain’t coming back.

    Items of faith are silly to put on this list, because believing pastors believe that Jesus is coming back. I would say the opposite: Jesus is coming back. (Just as valid because you can’t prove it either way).

    When I say “I’ll pray for you,” I don’t actually do it.

    Completely false, and at the very least total conjecture.

    That cancer you have isn’t going to be cured by God. Let’s hope you have good doctors and better health care.

    An inteligent believer goes to the best doctors he can and also prays for healing. I’ve never met a Christian who counts on God alone to cure a physical ailment.

    Some of the people in this church are assholes.

    Everyone knows that’s true, it’s not something one would publically announce. That would be an asshole move.

    The contradictions in the Bible really can’t all be reconciled.

    Show me a pastor who says they can. And believe it or not, many more things can be reconciled than you might think. (Not that you would believe in them, but they can be logically reconciled)

    The Democrat is the better candidate.

    Again, totally untrue. many, many churches support Democrats becaue of the supposed willingness to help the poor, etc.

    You all need to stop typing with the CAPS LOCK on.

    I”ve seen many more all caps statements in here from unfriendly atheists then I have from believers…

    But mainly, are you saying that your system is somehow locked – in and fool proof? pastors are humans trying to do their jobs. To you, it;s a matter of pastors not telling the truth. Whose truth, yours?

  • Blacksheep

    Tell us the truth when you don’t know the answers to our questions, and your humility will set the example as we seek them out together.

    Tell us the truth about your doubts, and we will feel safe sharing our own.

    Tell us the truth when your position is controversial, and we will grow braver along with you.

    Tell us the truth when you need to spend time on your marriage, and we will remember to prioritize ours.

    Everything that Rachel said is spot on, makes perfect sense, and was beautifully written.

    Why does Hemant feel the need to turn it into something critical and polarizing, completely based on his personal bitterness toward people of faith?

  • Claudia

    The evidence also points to astoundingly amazing mechanisms in nature that to believers are clues for inteligent design.

    Only because they have no idea how science actually works. A real understanding of science precludes the argument from incredulity “This is amazing and I just can’t concieve how it could happen without a god”. With a scientific mindset you also understand that just because science lacks an explanation for something this does NOT constitute an argument in favor of something else entirely. I’m leaving aside of course that intelligent design seeks, without a shred of positive evidence, to explain something in a part of science where there is no gap, because evolution explains it quite well.

    We believe that God created everything. Whether or not evolution was part of his methodology is secondary.

    Simply put, if a Universe created by God cannot be meaningfully distinguished from one not created by God, then there is no reason to suppose that a God is there. Evolution works without the intervention of a supernatural being, so god is superfluous to evolution. So is cake. Also teapots.

    Well, maybe not the cake.

  • walkamungus

    @Blacksheep — The most recent data indicate roughly 1.2 million abortions per year in the U.S.

  • Blacksheep

    @Blacksheep — The most recent data indicate roughly 1.2 million abortions per year in the U.S.

    I was quoting wordwide. (But 1.2 million is a lot!)

  • ACN

    What Claudia Said

    QFT.

    The argument from incredulity is solely a display of the arguers ignorance.

    Cake is never superfluous.

  • Blacksheep

    Simply put, if a Universe created by God cannot be meaningfully distinguished from one not created by God, then there is no reason to suppose that a God is there. Evolution works without the intervention of a supernatural being, so god is superfluous to evolution. So is cake. Also teapots.

    I never said that a universe created by God cannot be distinguished from one that is not. I said that I have no problem believing that an inteligent designer built evolution into natural processes. We all know that a much bigger question than evolution is the origin of life itself.

  • “Some of these choir boys are just too ugly to rape”

  • bernerbits

    There are roughly forty million abortions performed each year

    No. According to the CDC, there were about six hundred thousand abortions in the US in 2006. Where are you getting forty million? http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5808a1.htm

    To a believer, killing over 100 thousand babies each day is profoundly wrong. (We have a right to that opinion, no?)

    And you think to an atheist, killing 100K babies each day is just fine?

    The evidence also points to astoundingly amazing mechanisms in nature that to believers are clues for inteligent design.

    No. The evidence points overwhelmingly to a gradual, incremental evolution from simpler to more complex mechanisms in every single case. That any of these mechanisms are irreducibly complex is demonstrably false.

  • bernerbits

    We all know that a much bigger question than evolution is the origin of life itself.

    All you need is one self-replicating molecule.

    One.

    You know how many atoms there are in the universe?

  • Democrat is the better candidate? You people of both parties go to church. There is a whole “Christian Left” group at my university. I’m not a republican nor a democrat, but let’s be honest, one party is not always better than the other. How about, “Sometime the Democrat is the better candidate.” because sometimes both candidates suck, sometime both are excellent, sometimes there are more than 2 choices.

  • sven

    @blacksheep

    An inteligent believer goes to the best doctors he can and also prays for healing. I’ve never met a Christian who counts on God alone to cure a physical ailment.

    Google the following names and find out:
    Terrance Cottrell Jr
    Madeline Kara Neumann
    Amanda Bates

    Also it seems that medical treatment without prayer work much better than prayer without medical treatment. Weird huh?

  • ACN

    Also it seems that medical treatment without prayer work much better than prayer without medical treatment. Weird huh?

    It’s almost like one of them is doing something real, and the other is a placebo.

  • Blacksheep

    Also it seems that medical treatment without prayer work much better than prayer without medical treatment. Weird huh?

    Why is that wierd? It’s exactly what I said.

  • ACN

    When you say that, it reminds me of my reaction to the scene in “the matrix” where Lawrence Fishburn says something to the effect of:

    The machines harvest human beings for their body heat, combined with a form of fusion…

    My jaw dropped. That is like saying your jetplane is powered by a jet engine, also this balsa wood fan! You could scrap the fan and the jet would still fly. Scrap the jet engine and the jet WILL NOT fly. So clearly, the correct decision is to put a balsa wood fan on every airplane in addition to the jet engine?

  • Mark

    The Democrat is the better candidate.

    This kind of blind partisanship is why I will never support a secular organization.

  • I only do this job because I am not qualified for anything else and they throw in housing for free.

  • Claudia

    We all know that a much bigger question than evolution is the origin of life itself.

    The only reason this is a “much bigger question” than evolution is that evolution is explained. Before evolution was explained the flourishing of incredible biodiversity with no known scientific explanation was “the big question” and routinely used by the religious as an argument in favor of god. One day, abiogenesis will be explained and the religious will retreat to a previous point and say that that is the really big question.

    @Blacksheep, I’m going to take a deep breath and give you the benefit of the doubt. It appears I may have jumped to an inappropriate conclusion with your use of “intelligent design”. You seem perfectly willing to accept evolution, which tells me that you might be using that creationist term unwittingly. The term “intelligent design” or “intelligent designer” is used exclusively in a creationist context . It is meant to offer an alternative to evolution. It is not a being who “set the ball rolling” and let evolution do the rest. Intelligent design is in directconflict with evolution. In fact, the term itself was invented (or rather rescued from obscurity) with the goal of circumventing existing court rulings against teaching creationism in the classroom (Note the graphic, it’s truly priceless). Since you appear to not be a creationist, I would encourage you to not use the term “intelligent design” because you will be instantly mistaken for one. Cheers.

  • Cthuhlu

    There are roughly forty million abortions performed each year, and 93% of them are social reasons, ie unwanted pregnancy.

    In 2006, 846,181 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas.

    The remaining 7% are from rape, incest, or conditions that endager the mother. To a believer, killing over 100 thousand babies each day is profoundly wrong. (We have a right to that opinion, no?) I think that since we see it as such a massive injustice, pastors do tend to focus on the “93%” from the pulpit. I have personally known pastors who have helped women through the other 7% situations.

    First to comment about abortions for rape and incest. What i find funny is i have actually talked to Christians about this and they said they were against abortions except for rape. Which is kind of funny because they are stating that god thinks it is wrong except if the women is raped then god thinks it is ok. Either all abortions are wrong according to christianity or it is ok for a women to make a choice over her body.

    Also i find it funny how Christians want to force kids to have kids themselves. Not to mention that research shows that the areas that have the most teenage pregnancies are the ones that teach that completely idiotic idea of abstinence only. I bring that up because most abortions are performed on women from middle teens to early 20’s.

    Women are not for breeding and this is not the 1950’s where women can’t make their own decisions. A condom can break or something else can wrong and they should be able to take care of it themselves.

    Now do you consider Plan B abortion also? Is contraception also wrong because it prevents a fetus from being created?

    One finally comment and I’ll stop this ,but it seems funny that so many people who call themselves “pro-life” are also pro-war and pro-capital punishment

  • Blacksheep

    No. According to the CDC, there were about six hundred thousand abortions in the US in 2006. Where are you getting forty million?

    Yes. According to multiple sources, the world wide number of abortions was above 40 million last year.

  • Blacksheep

    @ Claudia,

    @Blacksheep, I’m going to take a deep breath and give you the benefit of the doubt. It appears I may have jumped to an inappropriate conclusion with your use of “intelligent design”. You seem perfectly willing to accept evolution, which tells me that you might be using that creationist term unwittingly. The term “intelligent design” or “intelligent designer” is used exclusively in a creationist context . It is meant to offer an alternative to evolution. It is not a being who “set the ball rolling” and let evolution do the rest. Intelligent design is in directconflict with evolution. In fact, the term itself was invented (or rather rescued from obscurity) with the goal of circumventing existing court rulings against teaching creationism in the classroom (Note the graphic, it’s truly priceless). Since you appear to not be a creationist, I would encourage you to not use the term “intelligent design” because you will be instantly mistaken for one. Cheers.

    I take the term “inteligent design” literally. I have always been deeply interested in science, so I’m fairly aware of evolutionary theory, etc. But for me, I can be a creationist (believing that God created everyhing) and be OK with the idea that evolution was part of the means of that creation, and following the same laws of the universe as other natural processes. I don’t disagree with how the terms were invented, by the way, maybe I am using the wrong terms, and in so doing confusing my point…

  • Blacksheep

    One finally comment and I’ll stop this ,but it seems funny that so many people who call themselves “pro-life” are also pro-war and pro-capital punishment

    I agree. I, for one, am against capital punishment. War is more complicated, because I believe in self defense, and also in helping friends who are being attacked. But never “pre-emptive” actions.

  • billybobbibb

    The Democrat is the better candidate.

    This may be shocking to you, but many of us atheists are self-employed and small business owners, and we see tax-and-spend liberalism as a threat to our livelihoods. I’m sure Ayn Rand and William F. Buckley would have disagreed with this statement as well. And while I disagree vehemently with Republicans on social issues, I have more confidence in them when it comes to my bottom line.

    And not to belabor that point, but there are just as many sleazy Democrats out there as Republicans. Politics has a way of doing that to people, regardless of their philosophy.

  • Claudia

    I don’t disagree with how the terms were invented, by the way, maybe I am using the wrong terms, and in so doing confusing my point…

    I think you should really consider abandoning the term “intelligent design” entirely, since it will likely mistakenly identify you as a creationist wherever you use it. I say this because I’ve seen it happen before. A very nice conservative Catholic woman was unaware of what intelligent design really was, and hence used the term and got a lot of shit (from me included) for being a creationist. I don’t know if there’s a term really for those who think god “set up evolution”, but intelligent design sure ain’t it. Cheers. 🙂

  • Clint

    I’m a pastor. I agree with 9 of the 11. I would or have said 8 in church before (calling people assholes just isn’t helpful, even if true). In fact, I’ve officiated at the blessing of a civil union (my state doesn’t allow gay marriage) and testified before the state board of education that many Christians agree with evolution.

  • Steve

    “Prime mover” and “first cause” are terms for that which go back many centuries.

    There is also “theistic evolution”, which acknowledges the mountain of evidence for evolution, but still insists that god somehow guides it. That’s kind of the official position of the Vatican.

    Of course that raises the question why anyone who believes in that would be a theist instead of a deist. It completely flies in the face of a god who would even be remotely interested in human affairs.

  • bernerbits

    Yes. According to multiple sources, the world wide number of abortions was above 40 million last year.

    Gonna need a link for your “multiple sources.”

  • Hemant,

    For me, to tell and live the truth required me to leave the ministry. It would have been easy to pretend, go along, preach the sermons people wanted to hear, manage the day to day operation of the Church…BUT I have a conscience.

    It was hard for me to leave a 25 year career in the ministry but there really was no other choice for me. I am of the opinion that religious belief and practice should be taken seriously. When I came to the place where I no longer believed the Bible I knew I could no longer claim the Christian moniker. I know of “faithless” pastors who, for fear of losing everything they built up over the years. continue to the “work” of the ministry. I can’t do that.

    Bruce

  • Karl

    I’m wondering how of the dishonesty comes from the fear of losing their jobs? Maybe they had the right motives and truly believed at the time that they got into the profession (such an ugly word when applied to the clergy, but that’s what it is), but have since lost faith or come to realize that what they are required to teach isn’t based on anything more substantial than a fairy tale. But what do you do when you’re middle aged and, as Steve Bowman suggests earlier, unemployable in any other profession? You suck it up, and continue to tell the lies until you’re old enough to retire with your pension.

    In my Mormon background there were (are) no professional clergy outside of the highest levels, but the Mormon church has plenty of other employees, all of whom are continually judged on their belief and behaviour as criteria for keeping their jobs. I’ve known people who go through the motions, without belief, just to keep their jobs.

  • ACN

    Gonna need a link for your “multiple sources.”

    From Pub Med

    RESULTS: Each year 42 million abortions are estimated to take place, 22 million safely and 20 million unsafely. Unsafe abortion accounts for 70,000 maternal deaths each year and causes a further 5 million women to suffer temporary or permanent disability. Maternal mortality ratios (number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) due to complications of unsafe abortion are higher in regions with restricted abortion laws than in regions with no or few restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion.

    CONCLUSION: Legal restrictions on safe abortion do not reduce the incidence of abortion. A woman’s likelihood to have an abortion is about the same whether she lives in a region where abortion is available on request or where it is highly restricted. While legal and safe abortions have declined recently, unsafe abortions show no decline in numbers and rates despite their being entirely preventable. Providing information and services for modern contraception is the primary prevention strategy to eliminate unplanned pregnancy. Providing safe abortion will prevent unsafe abortion. In all cases, women should have access to post-abortion care, including services for family planning. The Millennium Development Goal to improve maternal health is unlikely to be achieved without addressing unsafe abortion and associated mortality and morbidity.

  • sven

    @Blacksheep

    Why is that wierd? It’s exactly what I said.

    No you didn’t, you said:

    An inteligent believer goes to the best doctors he can and also prays for healing

    My point is that you can lose the prayer if you want to get better, but not the medical treatment. The weird part is that, knowing this, people actually keep believing prayers helps. That does not sound very intelligent to me.

  • sven

    @Blacksheep

    I’ve never met a Christian who counts on God alone to cure a physical ailment.

    PS: Have you googled those names yet?

  • bernerbits

    @ACN – I stand corrected. Thanks for the link.

  • ACN

    np, while the number of abortions is “high” (whatever that means, I suppose that it is of the same order of magnitude as the number of births, approximately 140 million?) the only relevance, to me, of the precise number is to speak to the magnitude of the public health problem we have re:medical care of women, availability of contraception/family planning, and safe/available medical procedures.

  • jose

    I can be a creationist (believing that God created everyhing) and be OK with the idea that evolution was part of the means of that creation, and following the same laws of the universe as other natural processes.

    So you think humans are a historical accident (and so is every other species), product of local circumstances, and that there is no long-term master Plan, and that we were not meant to exist in any sense, but we just happen to exist for no particular reason. Because that’s what evolution implies.

  • Erp

    Ok I know a few liberal ministers. They don’t have any problem with the following 5 and among them have conducted same-sex marriages (when it was legal in California) and still conduct blessings. Sermons have been preached on 2 and 3 (I don’t know about sermons on 1 but certainly some have openly expressed support for a woman’s right to choose). They all take the Bible in a non-literal fashion.

    * Sometimes, abortion is the right choice.
    * All the evidence we have points to the truth of evolution.
    * Gay people getting married won’t damage your heterosexual marriage.
    * It’s just a wafer. (this goes in particular for the rabbis among them)
    * The contradictions in the Bible really can’t all be reconciled.

    For tax reasons they can’t preach on the following though I’ve a fairly good idea where they stand
    * The Democrat is the better candidate.

    Certainly believe it but probably won’t flat out say the first bit to a person with cancer who believes otherwise (though might hint it if the person doesn’t plan on looking for the second bit)
    * That cancer you have isn’t going to be cured by God. Let’s hope you have good doctors and better health care.

    Certainly the rabbis and one of the Christian ministers.
    * Jesus ain’t coming back.

    I’ll have to ask on this.
    * When I say “I’ll pray for you,” I don’t actually do it.
    Note prayer can take many forms. One could honestly pray as a conversation with oneself on how best to help the person materially or emotionally.

    Impolitic to say the following (but note David Hayward has been fairly honest about the first)
    * Some of the people in this church are assholes.
    * You all need to stop typing with the CAPS LOCK on.

  • Robster

    Isn’t the whole point of “telling the truth” really about the tenuous nonsense on which the whole panthion of religious beliefs are based on? Bronze age nomadic goat herders didn’t know the truth or anything at all really. Pastors and their ilk really don’t enjoy one on one communication with the sky fairy, so they are really in no position to “interpret” what the fairy (allegedy) says. Whe whole show is a fabricated fraud built on smoke and mirrors. There’s no truth in it at all.

  • Jane Smith

    Why is it that Christians are so obsessed with abortion? And why do we non-believers so often end up being defensive about it?

    The fact is that it’s by far the better moral decision to abort a foetus than to leave a child abandoned on the streets of the world’s big cities.

    I used to be involved in churches, and I can tell blacksheep, categorically, that friendly atheist’s list is absolutely correct.

    Decent pastors and priests very often end up leaving because, as Bruce says, their conscience won’t allow them to do anything else. Of course, some get trapped in the system – these are the men and women who give the church any credibility it still has.

    I might add that many, possibly most, pastors and priests are control-freaks who require the psychological drug of other people’s admiration and emotional dependency.

  • Blacksheep

    Why is it that Christians are so obsessed with abortion? And why do we non-believers so often end up being defensive about it?

    I’m not sure if we’re more obsessed with it than any of the posters here, in fact usually the topic is first posted by FA.
    But to use your word, we’re “obsessed” with abortion partly because of the stats that I posted earlier. It seems morally wrong to us for over 40 million living beings to be willingly destroyed each year. That pretty much speaks for itself. (The same would apply if the number were half that, to avoid statistical battles).
    The idea of standing behind something that one believes is moral should be understood by both sides. The issue shouldn’t be, “why are you so obsessed” but rather, “why do you believe that it’s wrong.” Therein lies the difference, because it comes down to two radically different ways of looking at the world. I feel like I actually understand your perspective – a scientific, non theistic view of the universe would naturally lead one to decisions that quite different than a believer’s. So I’m not sure why you don’t understand our perspective. (Not agree with, but understand).

    Not sure why you’re defensive about it…

  • Claudia

    Why is it that Christians are so obsessed with abortion? And why do we non-believers so often end up being defensive about it?

    The first part of the question is easy enough to answer. So easy, in fact, that it really belongs in the same category of questions as “Why do atheists talk about religion so much, if they don’t believe in god?”. If you presuppose that a fetus is morally equivalent to a child, then the destruction of millions of them is not merely troubling, it is a national emergency. In fact those pro-lifers who claim that a zygote is morally equivalent to a child and aren’t spending every spare minute campainging against abortion, up and to and including killing doctors, actually show through their actions that they don’t really believe what they say. If I thought that MILLIONS of toddlers were being murdered every year by the choice of their parents there would be NOTHING more important to me, and I would hope to be brave enough to join a resistance against it, including a violent one. Of course, most pro-lifers are not so extreme, from which we can conclude that though they may indeed find abortion morally troubling and even wrong, they in fact to recognize the difference between an abortion and infanticide.

    The second question actually leads to the mirror image of the pro-lifers situation above. Part of the defensiveness of course has to do with an understandable wish to not have others decide what you can and cannot do with your body. However I think at least part of the defensiveness has to do with the fact that pro-choicers also largely recognize a moral gray area where late-term abortions are concerned. Many want abortion to be “safe, legal and rare”. Why rare, if it’s just another routine medical procedure? No one discusses the need to make apendectomies rare. I do believe that an early-term abortion is totally normal and the only reason it should be rare is for the same reason we would want all medical procedures to be rare, because it’s healthier to not get to the point of needing invasive care. I’m not so sure about late-term abortions, even if in practice the practical totality of these are done under desperate circumstances.

  • Blacksheep

    @ Jose,

    I originally posted:

    “I can be a creationist (believing that God created everyhing) and be OK with the idea that evolution was part of the means of that creation, and following the same laws of the universe as other natural processes.”

    And you responded:

    So you think humans are a historical accident (and so is every other species), product of local circumstances, and that there is no long-term master Plan, and that we were not meant to exist in any sense, but we just happen to exist for no particular reason. Because that’s what evolution implies.

    Sorry, clearly you didn’t understand what I wrote.

    To me, evolution does not need to imply anything of the sort. (I know that it could, but it does not have to). Evolution, taken literally, can mean many things on many levels. There is ample evidence that species have changed, adapted, died out, etc. over the years. Since I believe that God is all powerful, He could have created a master plan that included evolution. I said nothing about an accident, I said nothing about there being no reason for our existence.
    If God orhestrated the creation of the universe, why do you think that it implies that we are a “historical accident.”?

    I love science. And God.

  • Blacksheep

    @ Sven

    PS: Have you googled those names yet?

    No – but I will. However I’m sure I will disagree with the people you are pointing out, and most likely agree with you if they are saying that Christains should pray instead of seeking medical attention…

  • I think that as long as there is a population that wants a fantasy upheld that there is an afterlife, that certain people will step forward to sell/tell those people what they want to hear. Likewise, as long as there are people that want to escape from the drudgery of life by taking drugs, there will be people who step forward to sell those people drugs. Our society has evolved to accept (and even encourage) selling the fantasy of an afterlife. It has made the selling and use of drugs illegal and forced it underground.

    I’ll stop short of making any moral judgments – only to notice the parallels between pastors and drug dealers in giving the people what they want.

    It is quite possible that there are drug dealers that sell the stuff but don’t take it themselves. Likewise for pastors.

  • Steve

    So you think humans are a historical accident (and so is every other species), product of local circumstances, and that there is no long-term master Plan

    Why not? Why are you so incredibly arrogant to think that humans are something special?

    We live in a small solar system at the edge of a pretty unremarkable galaxy. A galaxy that nonetheless has billions of stars. Our galaxy is just one of billions. Meaning that there trillions and trillions of stars in the whole universe.

    Yet, we are somehow supposed to be special? All that was created just for us? The sheer arrogance is mind boggling.

  • ACN

    If God orhestrated the creation of the universe, why do you think that it implies that we are a “historical accident.”?

    Jose is pointing out that “god planned it” is not really consistent with what we know about genetic variation and the subsequent forces of cumulative selection that act on species. Genetic variations come from random mutation. There is no evidence of any sort of planning, and ample evidence that mutation is truly random.

    A particular species are then “accidents” in so much as the randomness of mutation makes it unlikely that the same genetic variations would arise if you could run the “experiment” over and over again.

  • Blacksheep

    We live in a small solar system at the edge of a pretty unremarkable galaxy.

    I don’t disagree – however I thought that this recent national geographic article was interesting:

    “It’s hard to be modest when you live in the Milky Way.

    Our galaxy is far larger, brighter, and more massive than most other galaxies. From end to end, the Milky Way’s starry disk, observable with the naked eye and through optical telescopes, spans 120,000 light-years. Encircling it is another disk, composed mostly of hydrogen gas, detectable by radio telescopes. And engulfing all that our telescopes can see is an enormous halo of dark matter that they can’t. While it emits no light, this dark matter far outweighs the Milky Way’s hundreds of billions of stars, giving the galaxy a total mass one to two trillion times that of the sun. Indeed, our galaxy is so huge that dozens of lesser galaxies scamper about it, like moons orbiting a giant planet.

    As a result of its vast size, the Milky Way can boast at least one planet with intelligent life. Giant galaxies like the Milky Way and the nearby, even larger Andromeda galaxy possess the power to create and retain a rich supply of iron, oxygen, silicon, magnesium, and other elements heavier than helium. Forged by the Milky Way’s abundant stars, such heavy elements are the building blocks of terrestrial planets.Heavy elements are equally essential for life: Witness the oxygen we breathe, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood. When a star explodes in a lesser galaxy, this raw material for life shoots out into space at millions of miles an hour and is lost. But in the Milky Way, the elements encounter interstellar gas and dust and are restrained by the strength of the galaxy’s immense gravitational field. These impediments slow their speed, so they can enrich star-forming gas clouds with the ingredients for new generations of stars and planets.”

  • Steve

    The historical reason for the abortion stance is of course the oppression of women, which is a central focus in Christianity – and still is today in the more radical sects. Christianity didn’t always use to be anti-abortion. There is nothing in the Bible that demands it, and for a long time there wasn’t really an official absolute position against it. So it’s save to say that it’s mostly a social and political issue, tied into the general attempt to control society by any means possible.

    That’s especially true in the US today. In other countries, you also have people against abortion, the churches whine around and sensible politicians talk about ethics (not morals!). But you will rarely find the viciousness and extreme moralizing as in the US politics. I’d say most politicians don’t really care about abortion per se. But they are so depended on the votes of the religious right, that there is nothing that they won’t stoop to in order to get them. And Christians are self-admitted sheep who can easily be riled up behind such causes.

  • Blacksheep

    Jose is pointing out that “god planned it” is not really consistent with what we know about genetic variation and the subsequent forces of cumulative selection that act on species.

    That depends on the nature of God. if God plans something, it’s on a whole different level than our best laid plans. Are you saying that if God existed, he couldn’t have, along with gravity, created all of the “subsequent forces” that act on species, and furthermore, (since he would be God) could have planned the outcome?

  • Steve

    Our galaxy is far larger, brighter, and more massive than most other galaxies

    That’s only really accurate if you talk only about the local group. Then yeah, the Milky Way and Andromeda are about equal. Triangulum is the third largest, but significantly smaller. The rest are smaller satellite galaxies.

    But there are other comparable galaxies in the universe.

    I also see that I misunderstood jose. He was actually in favor of everything being an accident. Oops.
    Still my point stands, though I shouldn’t have called him arrogant 🙁

  • Blacksheep

    That’s only really accurate if you talk only about the local group. Then yeah, the Milky Way and Andromeda are about equal. Triangulum is the third largest, but significantly smaller. The rest are smaller satellite galaxies.

    But there are other comparable galaxies in the universe.

    Agree. I simply thought it was an interesting “spin” that NG was putting on it.

    And I also read Jose wrong… I think.

  • Here is a thought experiment.

    We observe billions of galaxies each with billions of stars (granted some bigger, some smaller). We observe some stars in our own galaxy that wobble or have their luminosity periodically dim which means they have planets – some of which have a mass indicating a solid surface and some in an orbital zone that could support liquid water. It is also speculated that other chemistries operating in different temperature ranges might also support life. At this point the following is still speculation:
    1. the prevalence of extraterrestrial life
    2. the prevalence of extraterrestrial intelligent life
    3. the prevalence of extraterrestrial intelligent life acquiring technology
    4. the prevalence of extraterrestrial intelligent life developing a God concept

    The prospect of extraterrestrial intelligent life presents a problem for the Christian concept of an unique one-time Earth-bound savior sent to save one particular species at one moment in time. What about other possible intelligent species that evolved in other places and at other times throughout the universe? Did God go to those places and appear in the form that evolved there as well? Is there some kind of creature with tentacles strapped up to some kind of post on planet X in the Andromeda galaxy that died for their sins?

    Why aren’t the pastors talking about this?

  • Blacksheep

    The historical reason for the abortion stance is of course the oppression of women, which is a central focus in Christianity

    A central focus? I would say rather that Christianity, more than any other modern religon, paved the way for equality of women. Jesus was friends with women, including some who were considered unsavory, which I’m sure was frowned upon. At his crucifixion, it was the women that stood by him, not his male disciples. On easter morning, it was women who went to visit the tomb. Then we’re instructed to love our wives “as much as our own bodies…” cherish, protect, etc., care for widows – ideas that are based on love and equality.
    For example, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Sometimes our faith plants the seed of equality. Rosa parks said, “The Bible became my way of life… from my upbringing and the Bible I learned people should stand up for rights,” she recalled, “just as the children of Israel stood up to the Pharaoh.”

    I know that there are lots of issues and gray areas, but I definitley disagree that the “oppression of women is a central focus” in Christianity.

  • bernerbits

    That depends on the nature of God. if God plans something, it’s on a whole different level than our best laid plans. Are you saying that if God existed, he couldn’t have, along with gravity, created all of the “subsequent forces” that act on species, and furthermore, (since he would be God) could have planned the outcome?

    Suppose the universe is like a complex science project where God put all the pieces in place, provided the initial push, and allowed everything to then follow its natural course. Suppose also that when he put those pieces in place he had complete foreknowledge of the total ramifications of how each piece would impact the next, and so on and so on ad aeternum.

    Suppose that a few million years down the road, there’s a planet which for the sake of simplicity we’ll call Earth. On it is born the mother of humanity. Now, say she knows she isn’t supposed to eat a particular fruit, but a talking snake with legs (who’s actually the devil) tells her it’ll be all right and so she does it anyway. This plunges the entire future of her species into a holy time-out, which initially requires the ritual slaughter of animals to keep God happy. However, four thousand years later, it’s eventually discovered that this animal massacre was really all a foreshadowing of God’s true intervention in the form of his son, who must be brutally murdered to atone for the corruption wrought by that apple-gobbling strumpet. However, he can’t (or won’t) save just anybody! Not only does he offer this salvation only to people who believe this is actually what happened, he only bestows it on people who conscientiously accept it and submit their wills to his.

    But remember we already said that God had the foreknowledge that all of this would happen, when he put the pieces into place. If he didn’t, is God truly omniscient? If he did, could not God have slightly tweaked the pieces so that that humanity would have obeyed his wishes? If he couldn’t, then is God truly omnipotent?

    If he could have, then can God truly be called good if he knowingly stacked the deck against us and then punishes us when we screw up like he knowingly destined us to do, then “graciously” decided to give us a way out which he knowingly destined some of us not to take? Or is God just an evil, manipulative bastard?

    The point is, if you accept that God planned it all this way from the start, you either have to believe that he’s not omniscient, not omnipotent, or malicious, or you have to accept a contradiction.

    As for all the equivocation about what God “could have” done, I like the quote from Seinfeld when Kramer loses a bet with Jerry over whether he would follow through on his plans to throw out all his furniture and build a series of levels in his apartment. Kramer claims that he still wins the bet because he still could build the levels, but he no longer wants to. Jerry replies, “Well, of course it could be done. Anything could be done, but it’s only done… if it’s done!”

  • bernerbits

    I know that there are lots of issues and gray areas, but I definitley disagree that the “oppression of women is a central focus” in Christianity.

    You obviously didn’t go to my high school. Way back in junior year I was arguing this point with a female classmate who insisted that the divinely appointed division of gender roles was a non-negotiable tenet of the Christian faith and that I was putting my eternity at risk by claiming otherwise.

  • Blacksheep

    bernerbits,

    I’ll respond later, but I had to add that the Seinfeld line you quoted is one of my favorite bits from that show 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoedQeLefb8

  • bernerbits

    See, that’s how you know if someone’s worth carrying on a debate with. Drop a Seinfeld quote and see how they react! 🙂

  • ACN

    Then we’re instructed to love our wives “as much as our own bodies…” cherish, protect, etc., care for widows – ideas that are based on love and equality.
    For example, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    It is a mixed bag at best:
    Women in the Gospels
    women in the NT scripture
    Women post NT

  • ACN

    That depends on the nature of God. if God plans something, it’s on a whole different level than our best laid plans. Are you saying that if God existed, he couldn’t have, along with gravity, created all of the “subsequent forces” that act on species, and furthermore, (since he would be God) could have planned the outcome?

    If the deity you’re proposing is a deist deity who sets the values of the fundamental constants, then sits back in his cosmic easy chair, cracks open a dos equis (given the quality of the commercials, I’m convinced he would drink nothing else!) and enjoys the view, I’d say sure, whatever. There is no observable difference between a universe that, to borrow a phrase from Lawrence Krauss, is self-creating, and a universe created by a deist deity, and no logical issue arises except when attempting to prove the existence of this deist deity (special pleading/begged questions in the cosmological argument). In any case, the question of “was everything planned” from the human perspective is largely irrelevant because evidently the deist deity couldn’t/didn’t care enough to make his presence known. Perhaps such a deity had a vision of humanity in mind, perhaps not. Perhaps it’s just amused to see what happens.

    From prior conversation, I think the deity you’re proposing is of the theist flavor, specifically the biblical/abrahmic type. If I grant your usual premises about the abrahmic god, I suppose you could argue that your god is capable of doing anything.

    The question then, assuming all of your postulates, what does the evidence suggest? There is no evidence of divine intervention in nature. There is no evidence of divine intervention specifically in human evolution. We are left with a theist deity who claims to be interested in interacting with his creation, but on the other hand, has jumped through all sorts of hoops to conceal his explicit involvement with creation. In fact, from a practical perspective, theist, deist, and atheist scientists of any reputation all agree on the facts of cosmology and biology as we presently understand them. So evidently the theist god has created a universe which is indistinguishable from one where he is absent, or replaced by some sort of uncaring deist deity.

    That was a really long answer, but I didn’t feel like a “yes” or a “no” really encompassed everything in your question.

  • bernerbits

    then sits back in his cosmic easy chair, cracks open a dos equis

    Sacrilege. God is a homebrewer!

  • ACN

    Hahaha with phenomenal cosmic power you’d expect he could do better I suppose 🙂

  • bernerbits

    Jesus drank India Pale Ale. Fact.

  • To a believer, killing over 100 thousand babies each day is profoundly wrong.

    You don’t speak for every believer on the planet, and abortion is not an atheist vs. theist issue. Surely you must know that if 40 million abortions are being performed annually, the vast majority of those seeking and performing the abortions are theists of one stripe or another. Most religions do not issue a blanket condemnation on abortion, and there is no uniform opinion on abortion within Christianity. Certainly there are plenty of Christians who support a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion. Abortion providers themselves appear no less likely to be religious. Look at two of the people who were unfortunate enough to have been killed over this issue. Dr. George Tiller was murdered while attending Sunday services at his Lutheran church. Dr. Barnett Slepian was a practicing Reform Jew who was murdered after returning home from synagogue. There are many religious groups that advocate a pro-choice position. Check out Catholics for Choice and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, for starters.

  • Steve

    Is there some kind of creature with tentacles strapped up to some kind of post on planet X in the Andromeda galaxy that died for their sins?

    http://www.oldunreal.com/grafix/walkthrough/unreal/u1-24-01.jpg
    http://www.oldunreal.com/grafix/walkthrough/unreal/u1-26-11.jpg

    Though the messiah story is a bit different in Unreal

  • Matt

    He was a hop-head.

  • Why does it say that my previous comment is “awaiting moderation?” I’ve never had that happen before.

    And what is with this “comment luv” business? Why do I suddenly have an avatar? Why are the numbers for each comment huge? Why is the formatting messed up?

  • ACN

    If Jesus’s first miracle had been to turn water into a few pints of 120 min IPA, I think I could get behind the guy.

  • Kayla

    “The Democrat is the better candidate.”

    Too funny!! Although I agree.

  • jose

    “To me, evolution does not need to imply anything of the sort. (I know that it could, but it does not have to).”

    Yes it has. Evolution is fundamentally contingent, that’s the whole point. The good thing about evolution is that it produces species without any guidance or asistance.

    “Evolution, taken literally, can mean many things on many levels.”

    Evolution in this context means change in the gene pool of a population from one generation to the next.

    “He could have created a master plan that included evolution.”

    According to what we know about natural selection and random genetic drift, he couldn’t–or natural selection and random genetic drift are wrong. They don’t work like that.

    If God orhestrated the creation of the universe, why do you think that it implies that we are a “historical accident.”?

    Because natural selection is short-sighted (just one generation), and random genetic drift is simply random.

  • Ex Patriot

    I have been athiest for over 40 some years and they cannot tell the truth bcause of their brainwashing and total stupidity they don’t know what he truth is

  • @Bob

    Are you really asserting that ‘all the evidence we have points to the truth of evolution’ is an opinion, and that the Bible is therefore a valid resource in scientific inquiry?

    Bob, you know very well that I was referring to the list in general – in terms of what the writer thinks pastors ought to be saying. And again, it misses the entire point.

    And you totally dodged the point about ‘rhetoric’ being different from ‘opinion.’

    No, I took the point. Pedantic semantics over a word I used doesn’t change what my obvious point was.