The evolution of a Christian creationist

By Rachel Held Evans Good News! Young evangelicals are shifting their allegiance.   Much has been said about the mass … Continued

By Rachel Held Evans

Good News! Young evangelicals are shifting their allegiance.  

Much has been said about the mass exodus of young adults from church, with some studies suggesting that seventy percent of Protestants age 18-30 drop out before they turn 23

While the factors behind the trend are complex, I’m not surprised that young evangelicals like me are feeling less comfortable in the pews these days. Our pastors might not like it, but the world is changing, and we are changing with it. Unless the evangelical church in America can adapt and evolve, it might not survive in a postmodern world. 

I know because I almost abandoned it myself.  

A child of the culture wars, I knew what abortion was before I knew where babies came from. I grew up scribbling words like “debatable” and “unlikely” in the margins of biology textbooks, fearlessly defending a 6,000-year-old-earth against atheists I only knew in my imagination. When I was in middle school, my family moved to the buckle of the Bible Belt and became residents of Dayton, Tennessee, home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. There I attended a Christian college, listened to Christian music, and voted my Christian values. People called me “Bible girl.” 

This faith of mine didn’t fall apart all at once, but instead eroded gradually, as I began studying science, interacting with people of other faiths, and experiencing a touch of “voter’s remorse” when my pro-life president championed two wars overseas. My questions turned into skepticism, my skepticism into doubt, and I stopped going to church for a while. 

My return to faith is something of a survival story that I chronicle in my memoir, “Evolving in Monkey Town” (Zondervan, 2010). The phone calls and emails I’ve received since its publication confirm what I’ve suspected all along: I’m not alone. Young evangelicals across the country are experiencing a collective crisis of faith. 

Unfortunately, many leave Christianity altogether. But others, like me, simply undergo a change. 

At the heart of this change is a shift in allegiance. For so long, evangelical Christianity demanded our allegiance to range of causes–from young earth creationism, to religious nationalism, to Republican politics. Somehow the radical teachings of a first century rabbi got all tangled up with modern political platforms and theological positions that were never essential to Christianity to begin with. 

Young evangelicals are in the process of picking apart and deconstructing this tangled mess of ideas in order to get back to the most basic teachings of Jesus. So you shouldn’t be surprised to bump into more and more and more oddities like me–a young evangelical Christian who votes for Democrats, has gay friends, and believes in evolution. 

But don’t be fooled into thinking this shift in allegiance means we’re simply jumping from one political platform to another. At its best this change signals an allegiance first and foremost to the Kingdom of God, which knows no political party or geographic boundary, but instead grows outside of these confines through acts of love, humility, and peace. Instead of protesting outside abortion clinics, for example, we’re championing adoption and supporting single moms. Instead of reducing our Christian service to a duty at the ballot box, we’re looking for practical ways to address hunger, human trafficking, and homelessness. 

The bad news for the Religious Right is that young evangelicals are tired of the culture wars. The good news for everyone else is that we’re ready to make peace. 

Rachel Held Evans is the author of “Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions.” She blogs at http://rachelheldevans.com

About

Rachel Held Evans Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town," a memoir about growing up in Dayton, Tennessee, home of the Scopes Monkey Trial. She blogs at rachelheldevans.com.
  • 2010reading

    Great post – love how well you say what you say. Articulate, logical and understandable. I’ve seen the same thing happen in my circles (conservative evangelical non-denominational church) many young adults leaving and now also some older ones. Do you know if any studies have been done on a decade or two older evangelicals leaving and trying to “untangle a mess of ideas in order to get back to the most basic teachings of Jesus?”

  • LarryHehn

    Thank you, Rachel. In what is known as “Christianity” today, we have too many Pharisees and not enough people who embody the love of Jesus. We need to stop defending, defining and enforcing scripture. We need, instead, to start living it.

  • malachi33

    I agree the Bride of Christ should divorce herself from the political right and left in this nation. Jesus Christ does not come to take sides–He comes to TAKE OVER. He is the God of creation and the redeemer of a horribly fallen race. He has called His church to not just express His love but be “salt and light” to those lost in darkness and dying from the deadliest disease in the universe: sin. The political left and right are nothing but two sides of the same coin: humanism. The oldest lie in history is “you shall be as God…”. The left is deluded into thinking the state is “god” and the right is deluded into thinking the individual is “god”. Any blood-bought, regenerated, adopted child of God should know that allegiance to any part of this world system is anathema to God. We love and worship Jesus, the Christ of God, not a man-made system that ultimately slaughters it’s opponents in a genocical manner. 52,000,000 died under Hitler (right wing)and 300,000,000 died under the iron boot of global socialism in the 20th century. If you are a child of God, please leave this unholy marriage of “Christianity” and Conservatism or “Christianity” and Liberalism. They are both run by the “god of this world”.

  • JCG2

    Thanks for sharing your perspective — it’s encouraging to hear that other evangelicals are re-focusing on who God is instead of on cultural definitions of Christianity.

  • marrobcastle

    Abandon historical biblical traditions and teachings and concentrate on the gist of the Word, that which Jesus preached – love your neighbor. One does not have to believe in the unbelievable in order to behave in an ethical manner. Hypocrisy, thy name is religion.

  • leecal

    There is nothing “unfortunate” about leaving Christianity. Take the plunge. Secular humanism is honest and rational. Life is better lived firmly grounded in the real world, without the supernatural trappings of religion.

  • boonewtune

    Rachel, there is much good to be had in asking questions; Like you, I struggled with the notion of how many had come to view the creation/evolution debate. After much study, I didn’t arrive in quite the same place as yourself, but rather, an “old-earth” creation model seemed both the most rational, and faith-adherent view of reality. I don’t find the theistic-evolution model theologically, or Biblically repugnant, (after all, He has all the time in the world) but…simply evidentially lacking.

  • deepjethro

    Great Post. My upbringing was very much like yours and I probably would have stayed in the church if I had come across more people like you. Unfortunately, the emphasis in my neck of the woods was that the Bible was literally true – every word of it. That didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for the things that I knew were not true – such as evolution. That’s why the church has fought science for centuries – because the leaders knew that if people knew that some parts of the Bible were wrong, then the whole thing was up for interpretation. This ‘my way or the highway” approach definitely got me off to the highway of knowledge.My fundamentalist family still rejects evolution and believes that every last word in the Bible is infallible. It’s encouraging to know that the next generation is learning to emphasize the things that Christ taught such as charity instead of getting so wrapped up in the trappings of being a politically correct christianista. Many people wonder why so-called christians cannot be more like Christ. I doubt these so-called christians even understand what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. Apparently you do understand and your actions speak as well as your words.

  • hzcummi

    The reason many have left the church is because the clergy has been too stubborn to admit that they don’t understand the Genesis text, and are willing to let the laity die in ignorance of the truth. When the literal truth of Genesis is offered, the clergy turns its back and pretends that there is “no confusion” between the discoveries of science and the written words in Genesis.Just ask your pastor, priest, or rabbi about the “Observations of Moses”, and watch their reaction. About every assembly in the DC area with a website has been contacted, but none have responded. Is it because they are afraid that their ignorance will be exposed, or is it that they themselves don’t believe the scriptures?Herman Cummings

  • edallan

    For some reason, a large number of the posts on Ms Evans column, both agreeing and disagreeing, have been removed. Hmm.

  • bpai_99

    Thanks for a thought-provoking article. I admit it is very easy these days to note only the so-called Christians whose defining characteristics are hatred, anger and contempt for those who feel differently than they do. Seeing them spewing their bile, it’s hard to remember that the true spirit of Christ involves compassion and tolerance.It inspires hope to to some Christians actually follow Christ’s teachings and not be among those who use them as a bludgeon in political and cultural wars while not practicing them.”I like your Christ. Christians, not so much.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  • sonofliberty09

    Many Christians are bowing their knees at the alter of Naturalistic Evolution because they do not know their Bibles and because the trust the uninspired words and ideas of man over the inspired, infallible, inerrant word of God. God made organisms “according to their kind just like it is recorded in Genesis. The idea that all organisms have a common ancestor is unproven and contradicts the word of God. Sadly many “Christians” do not trust their Bibles and do not know their Bibles. Most cannot defend their faith because they are cultural Christians and do not know the Lord themselves.

  • bpai_99

    Thanks to sonofliberty09 for exemplifying my point about hypocritical Christians.

  • Chops2

    It was a well written post and congratulations on not succumbing to all of the dogmas of evangelism. You have taken an important step and are slowly seeing through its B.S.May I suggest with your belief in god that you too are an athiest or agnostic about every other god that has ever “existed”. Now if you would just go one god further……

  • jgwlaw

    During a time of confusion in her life, my daughter turned to evangelical Christianity, and married a slothful, dictatorial “born again” Christian who abused her. After leaving hte marriage and going back to college, meeting other kinds of people she too began questioning some of the more-fetched stories (like the earth is 6,000 years old). Her rational mind woke up. I am sorry her marriage broke up, but eternally grateful that she is regaining her mind.

  • kuato

    Rachel:You almost made it out! Keep asking questions. You’re almost there.

  • philhicks28

    The comments of the writer are encouraging.

  • ChrisW1958

    Umm, there’s nothing here.

  • Jordan48

    I, who have received the Siritual gifts of God the Father, by grace alone in the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, and not of any manner of good works performed in my flesh, and having received revelations through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, beseech you all not to be deceived by the doctrines of devils or caught in the snares of the devil.For what does it profit me if I call myself an Evangelican Christian, an Apostle of Christ, a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, a Pentecostal, a Catholic, a Nazarene, a Presbetarian? Even though I speak with the tongues of men and Angels more than all of you, if I, through unmoveable faith, hath not love, charity, and compassion for all men, these things profit me nothing. Though I have received the gift of prophesy and have been caught uo into heaven, lay prostrate before my Holy Lord and heard the voices of Angels whispering mysteries, I am nothing unless I have love for my brother and the lost of this world.Is it not written in the living Word of God that God created them male and female? Why then do you pervert the Word of God in your foolish profession that men evolved from animals? Is it better to believe the revelations of God, my Father, than to believe the foolish ramblings of those who think themselves wise?Who among you can number all the stars in heaven? Were you there when the almighty God framed the worlds and set all things in array? Is it not written; The natural (carnal) man does not discern the things of God, for they are Spiritually discerned; but the Spiritual man discerneth all things of God. Is it not also written that Abraham was justified by faith? Without faith, no man can please God! Why then do you strain at a knat and swallow a camel? Is it not written that in the beginning God created…!Do you not understand that Satan and his angles believe in Jesus Christ and in the God of creation for they are ONE! Yet Satan, with knowlege of the Word of God, has not received the revelation of the Word by the workings of the Holy Spirit. If he (Satan) had the revelation of the Holy Spirit, do you reason that he would have crucified Jesus Christ, the Son of God, my holy Lord? Did not my Lord declare that lest a man be reborn of the water and the Spirit, who would not enter into the Kingdom of God?Was it not the religions of Christs’ day that crucified Him? Why then do you squabble over which religion is right or wrong? The Bride of Christ (the true church of Christ) is a Spiritual body. Is it not written that God is a Spirit? You must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. For it is written that you must love God with all of you mind, soul, heart, and strength, and love your brother as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.

  • Jordan48

    I, who have received the Spiritual gifts of God the Father, by grace alone, by faith in the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, and not of any manner of good works performed in my flesh, and having received revelations through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, beseech you all not to be deceived by the doctrines of demons or caught in the snares of the devil.For what does it profit me if I call myself an Evangelican Christian, an Apostle of Christ, a Baptist, a Methodist, a Lutheran, a Pentecostal, a Catholic, a Nazarene, a Presbetarian? Even though I speak with the tongues of men and Angels more than all of you, if I, through unaltering faith, hath not love, charity, and compassion for all men, these things profit me nothing.Is it not written in the living Word of God that God created them male and female? Why then do you pervert the Word of God in your foolish profession that men evolved from animals? Is it better to believe the revelations of God, my Father, than to believe the foolish ramblings of those who think themselves wise?Who among you can number all the stars in heaven? Were you there when the almighty God framed the worlds and set all things in array? Is it not written; The natural (carnal) man does not discern the things of God, for they are Spiritually discerned; but the Spiritual man discerneth all things of God. Is it not also written that Abraham was justified by faith? Without faith, no man can please God! Why then do you strain at a knat and swallow a camel? Is it not written; “In the beginning God created…!”Do you not understand that Satan and his angels believe in Jesus Christ and in the God of creation, for they are ONE! Yet Satan, with knowlege of the Word of God, has not received the revelation of the Word by the workings of the Holy Spirit. If he (Satan) had received the revelation of the Holy Spirit, do you reason that he would have crucified Jesus Christ, the Son of God, my holy Lord? Did not my Lord declare that lest a man be reborn of water and the Spirit, he would not enter into the Kingdom of God?Was it not the religions of Christs’ day that crucified Him? Why then do you squabble over which religion is right or wrong? The “Bride of Christ” (the true church of Christ) is a “Spiritual Body.” Is it not written that God is a Spirit? You must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. For it is written that you must love God with all of your mind, soul, heart, and strength, and love your brother as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.The above text was edited and re-posted here.

  • Chops2

    I enjoyed the authors frankness, opinion and thoughtfulness. May I suggest that in this phase of re-evaluation, u asses why u r an athiest regarding every other god that has ever been created and go one god further.Sorry for the pithy answer but, have a think.

  • willemkraal

    darling pleeze its all hokus/pokus, religion is a total fraud a major money making scam which poisons everyone it touches!

  • Afraid4USA

    I resent the implication in this article that the only Protestants out there are evangelicals. Do the percentages of young people who have left the “Protestant” church reflect mainstream recognized denominations or the non-denominational big box evangelicals? They can’t be lumped together. I congratulate you on your escape. It’s unfortunate that you were brought up in this twisted version of Christianity.

  • slowe111

    You go Girl! and keep on going. Question everything ! Sounds like you will be an inoffensive Christian, unlike those agressive, politically far Right Conservative, gay bashing kind.

  • thebump

    I’d try to figure out what the point might be of this sophomoric post, but something tells me it would not be worth the effort.I gather the authoress considers herself “young”, since she describes herself that way three times per paragraph. A real hipster, no doubt.Anyway, I don’t care what one’s faith is, or how mature you are, you have to be a pinhead to vote for Dimwitcrats, especially these days.And what the hell does it mean to “believe” in evolution? At last check science is not about belief.

  • rohit57

    And what the hell does it mean to “believe” in evolution? At last check science is not about belief.A theory can stand the test of time and be “believed in” for a time. But it may eventually be proved wrong. For instance scientists at one time “believed” that light travels through a medium called ether just as sound travels through air. The existence of ether was disproved by the famous Michelson-Morley experiment in the early 20th century, and then Einstein came up with a new theory. The belief in ether was just that, a belief. A good belief, to be sure, but ultimately wrong.It is rational to believe in science since it tries hard to come up with the best theories. Science is an unbiased reporter of the truth (for the most part). Traditional Christian churches are biased reporters. They slant their stories to accord with the Bible. And that is why it makes more sense to rely on science.But ultimately, “belief” in scientific theory DOES have a role here.

  • rohit57

    darling pleeze its all hokus/pokus, religion is a total fraud a major money making scam which poisons everyone it touches!You may not be aware of this but the Buddha put down as a dictum that teachings could not be charged for. Given the market, many Buddhist books do cost (modest amounts of) money. But totally free Buddhist books are still available.This is not peculiar to Buddhism. I have a present from some Jehovah’s Witnesses, a book called Mankind’s Search for God, which was totally free.Religion must be free or at least inexpensive. Some religious people are hustlers no doubt. But this is far from true of all religion.

  • patmatthews

    The bad news for the Religious Right is that young evangelicals are tired of the culture wars. The good news for everyone else is that we’re ready to make peace. I am looking forward to having dialog with young people like yourself. Dialog is the path of real and lasting peace. Welcome to the discussion oof peace and people, with respect and dignity for all.

  • pierrejc2

    So you got rid of the bigotry but kept the magical, invisible friend.

  • Sajanas

    I don’t think any faith can persist in telling people things that are completely incorrect scientifically in the long term. Sure, there are plenty of people who propagate ignorance through creationism and underteaching their children, but what about when they leave the nest and find out about it themselves? I think a lot of people are fooling themselves by just how affecting it is to find out that Adam, Eve, Moses, David, and Solomon and that whole swath of the Bible never happened. Because if its just an illustrative myth, why is it important today? And its not like Jesus thought that these things were myths either. So who is right here? I put my bets on the people that can at least give me an semi-accurate warning of the flu and hurricane season.

  • ProfessorWrightBSU

    I’m glad that the author was able to separate her religion from her parent’s politics.I have always believed that evolution has its place in christianity, based on my interpretation of genesis chapter 1. it clearly states the order of the origin of species.Whether God caused the order by taking X and forming Y or if God caused the order by creating Y from scratch based on the success of X doesn’t really matter to me.Whether it took God 6 earth days or 6 jupiter days or 6 periods of unknown duration to create our universe also doesn’t really matter to me.The bottom line for a Christian is:

  • Elisa2

    I do not see where the author changed that much since she still has not separated spirituality from politics.Not so different from religious fundamentalist who become atheist becoming militant atheists. Their basic nature remains unchanged, only their targets they wish to forcibly convert change.

  • chopin224

    The phrase that amuses me most is “Intelligent design”. Intelligent design ended up with man as the last iteration of species. How stupid was that? Man is destroying all the creatures on the earth and that is supposed to be intelligent? If the design had stopped just before man was created, then I might consider it intelligent. Think about the earth with out man. What a glorious place this planet would be.

  • djmolter

    If Christians believe in an all powerful God whose motives they cannot fathom, why is it so far fetched to them that God used evolution to create us? My beef with Christians is the same as with all religions — they each think theirs is the only correct viewpoint. But if you re a Christian, remember that Christ didn’t waste time debating the rules. A very good Christian pastor told his flo9ck recently, “If you think being Christian is all about being right, you’re in the wrong religion. It’s all about love”

  • blasmaic

    Young Earth Creationism is the only thing that evolution science can beat. It is that weak.If nuclear physics were evolution science, we would have lost World War II. Who doubts that the Japanese would have fixed and returned to us a non-working prototype of a nuclear bomb?

  • andrewkp99

    Hooray! Thank you for this article, you have voiced things I have been thinking about for some time. I will look forward to reading your book.

  • dmm1

    Haven’t read your book, Rachel, so I don’t know if what I’m about to say pertains to you. However, I have found that a lot of young people today reject conservative Christianity for one major reason: they want to have sex outside marriage and not get called on the carpet for it. Everything else is just a smokescreen for their lascivious behavior.Jesus was not just a nice rabbi and great teacher. His teachings were not confined to “love thy neighbor.” He claimed to be God the Son. He claimed that anyone who rejected him would be judged and condemned. He claimed that the ONLY path to God the Father was through him. He claimed that his followers would be “filled with” God the Holy Spirit. Jesus forgave the adulterous woman, but then he strictly commanded her to “go and sin no more.” Two of Jesus’ main topics for preaching were money and hell.Jesus’ life, his actions, and his teachings were offensive to the entire world of his time: from the monotheistic law-abiding Jews, to the polytheistic, cosmopolitan, hedonistic, intellectual Greeks, to the emperor-worshiping power-driven Romans. Anyone who claims to be a Christian but is inoffensive to all his/her neighbors is a fake and a disgrace to the name of Christ.

  • chatard

    And the Meacham/Quinn crusade against Christianity goes on….and on…and on…

  • thawley

    The attempt to reconcile science with religion is futile. Religion is based on faith and is therefore by its very nature indefensible with either logic or reason.Science is based on the interpretation of observable phenomenon and requires no belief in unprovable tenants.By trying to reconcile god and science you will only wind up, killing god. It is the only logical conclusion.

  • DaveHarris

    There is a difference betwen what’s true and what’s false, and it’s not often easy to distinguish them even if you approach the question honestly. But when you start out with a set of notions that somebody else has put into your head, and you insist that they must be true, no matter how ridiculous they are, you are only stacking the deck against yourself and letting yourself be used. Most people who acquire some maturity and education eventually come to realize this.

  • amm72

    From one nonbeliever to a bunch of other ones: what exactly is up with you guys? A thoughtful person questions her upbringing, rejects a great deal of dogma, but remains a theist and all you people can say is “One more step, now?”Uh, whatever happened to the idea that she questioned and reached her own conclusions? Like we’re supposed to be encouraging people to do? I don’t agree with them, and clearly neither do y’all, but since when does that reveal that there’s something wrong with her?Sheesh. Grow up.

  • Carole_

    Another crazy column disguised as something about “faith.” I only read this column to get a laugh.

  • dougd1

    I’m glad to hear that this woman was able to question some aspects of her faith. I wish she could have gone further, but my impression is that it is extremely difficult for someone in the evangelical culture (as in most religions) to think rationally.If her story boils down to a values shift (from conservative to more liberal), then that is a good thing for now. In the future, science will win, and the superstitions will fade.

  • kenk3

    Racheal Evans,You are an gullible idiot.Please stay in Tennessee, I don’t want to live anywhere near brainwashed people like you.

  • jrw1

    I dunno. What does this child want: atta-girls for not being quite as stupid any longer? Or for not being as stupid and ignorant as many of the people trying to post here? She is still a “Believer” which indicates she still has a long way to go. And, yes, most of us knew the born-agains were dupes of the Republican Party long before Ms. Evans caught on.

  • ThishowIseeit

    Rachel, I admire your opening-up and I believe you are honest but you have only taken the first step. May I suggest that you do more research. You’ll find out that we do not know for sure about the teachings of Jesus, because many of the original texts have been lost or burned, and copies are never reliable. Scolars like Robert M. Price have raised doubt that the Canonical Gospels should be taken literally. How to get to the truth? A. Research. Have a good research day.

  • MGT2

    @ dmm1I think you have oversimplified the reason young people are leaving. The Christianity of the religious right is too concerned with narrow issues (sex and its byproducts)to the exclusion of other issues that deal with the Golden Rule, i.e. caring for the less fortunate; caring for the planet; not favoring the rich (Epistle of James), etc.They have come to see that what they are being told amounts to hypocricy by those who do not keep the rules they make, and is devoid of Christian charity.

  • trippin

    Wow. I read some of these comments and wince.Hey look, I’m as irreverent and insulting as anyone when it comes to dealing with some arrogant intolerant close-minded know-it-all evangelical. I’d say I’ve been downright mean in ridiculing some.But really, in this case, you all need to just back off. Back way off.The woman is speaking from her perspective and is demonstrating what I’d consider a great deal of tolerance for one of her faith. And what do some do? They drive her away. They reject her. They continue their mindless belittling and ridicule. Well, not me. I embrace her rationality, her demonstrated introspection, her thoughtfulness, her inquisitiveness — all qualities rarely seen in someone who identifies as an evangelical. We all should.We will never agree about the existence of God. But if more religious people were like this lady, we’d get along a lot better. Don’t reject her, encourage more to take on the heavy burden of independent thought over dogma. Be a living example, not only of intolerance of the intolerant, but of tolerance of the tolerant.Should you fall short of that modest request, you indeed would benefit more from her lesson than you care to admit.

  • divi3

    “Well, not me. I embrace her rationality, her demonstrated introspection, her thoughtfulness, her inquisitiveness — all qualities rarely seen in someone who identifies as an evangelical.”That’s because she isn’t an Evangelical anymore though she hasn’t realized it yet.

  • AnotherContrarian

    Someone wrote:Simply incorrect. We have more solid evidence of the New Testament writings than any other ancient documented event or person. That alone does not make the New Testament true but one simply cannot say we don’t know what Jesus, the Apostles and the early church fathers said. We know them well.

  • GroovisMaximus61

    “So you shouldn’t be surprised to bump into more and more and more oddities like me–a young evangelical Christian who votes for Democrats, has gay friends, and believes in evolution.”Sweetie – you’re not odd, you’re an Episcopalian.

  • AnotherContrarian

    “The bad news for the Religious Right is that young evangelicals are tired of the culture wars. The good news for everyone else is that we’re ready to make peace.”Peace is fine as long as we are not asked to give up core beliefs. Many Gay activists are demanding that we not only support legal gay marriage, as in tolerate it which is possible, but that we must also wholeheartedly reject the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality to their satisfaction. Some demand we throw out the very concept of the Biblical God as just an old homophobic bigot. This is asking us to throw out Biblical truth in favor of postmodern sexual ethics and demonstrates an unwillingness to make peace without destroying the Christian faith first.

  • postaddict1

    GROOVISMAXIMUS61 responds to the following “So you shouldn’t be surprised to bump into more and more and more oddities like me–a young evangelical Christian who votes for Democrats, has gay friends, and believes in evolution.”

  • GDWymer

    You go girl! Wowie, it’s great to be a Christian, now! Whatever works for your little mind. And good luck with all that Jesus love, because I’m sure not seeing too much of it out there actually making any differences in how this country is being run.It’s all going in the opposite direction from what you are saying. You better get all your happy holy friends out there workin’ it!

  • jeffa27

    Well stated Rachel and Great testimony. Jesus Christ was not about human politics. He was on a rescue mission to provide a means to salvation to blind sinners. They rejected and killed him… fulfilling his purpose. We try to do the same thing, kill the identity of Jesus and make his message about politics. It isn’t. He didn’t come to build kingdoms of men, but to build the Kingdom of God. When the religious leaders of his day approached him to trap him on politics, they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. As Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias points out, the implied question that they should have asked is, “What is God’s that we should give him?” and The answer of course would be. “Who’s image is written on you?” Genesis 1:26

  • postaddict1

    ANOTHERCONTRARIAN WRITES ————”Peace is fine as long as we are not asked to give up core beliefs. Many Gay activists are demanding that we not only support legal gay marriage, as in tolerate it which is possible, but that we must also wholeheartedly reject the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality to their satisfaction. Some demand we throw out the very concept of the Biblical God as just an old homophobic bigot. ————————————————————-

  • MidwaySailor76

    There is hope yet.

  • MidwaySailor76

    Judging from some of the comments here, some of our species clearly have some more evolving to do.

  • lufrank1

    Adopting a life style based on most of the so-called teachings of Jesus is admirable.

  • divi3

    “Simply incorrect. We have more solid evidence of the New Testament writings than any other ancient documented event or person. That alone does not make the New Testament true but one simply cannot say we don’t know what Jesus, the Apostles and the early church fathers said. We know them well.”That’s simply not true. There isnt a single firstperson account of Jesus anywhere, all the Gospels were written decades after his death. And to suggest we have “more solid evidence” about the New Testament than “any other ancient documented event” is simply absurd. There are thousands of “pages” of Egyptian text from the same time period and prior that are far more detailed and verifiable. And that’s just Egypt. The historical truth that too many Christians ignore is that Jesus, his followers, and his deeds were utterly irrelevant in his time. The near east world then centered on places such as Rome, Athens, Alexandria….poor fisherman arguing over religion in a backwater province really did not move the needle. The tremendous focus on Christianity and it’s importance only came about well after Jesus’ death. While he lived, he was just another charlatan claiming to be divine- common at that time and place.

  • amm72

    Another Contrarian, I hope you realize that your “core belief” that gay people are bad is a manufactured controversy, drummed up by right-wing politicians who hoped to impress the unthoughtfully religious.Or do you honestly expect me to believe that you studiously read the NT and your thinking mind tells you that “I shall not budge on gay issues” is *core* to how Jesus taught you to live?

  • georgereston

    “For so long, evangelical Christianity demanded our allegiance to range of causes–from young earth creationism, to religious nationalism, to Republican politics.”Nothing has done more to damage (and, perhaps, ultimately destroy) Christianity than the false prophets of the radical right. Good luck to you and your young colleagues. You may just save your church.

  • lufrank1

    Say, Jordan48 . . . .Sigh! Just trying to find a little humor in a hard-nosed Bible Thumper’s very long-winded comment.

  • dminnich312

    @ DIVI3Oh here we go again. Another great “historian from the blogosphere” with his earth-shaking discoveries. Problem is,

  • tfspa

    Young Earth Creationism is the only thing that evolution science can beat. It is that weak.Just when you begin to think there is hope for the religious crowd we get a post like this. Fact, reality, knowledge just have to take a back seat to blind faith. In any event, Ms. Evans, congrats on your journey.

  • Ralphinjersey

    It’s long amazed me that the Creationists who call the shots for the Texas “public” school system don’t see any conflict between believing that the earth is only 6,000 years old while relying on the sale of liquified dinosaur remains to pay the bills.

  • stephanesibani

    No one needs any God nor prophets to experience empathy. Humanism is the logical response when religiously-driven kindness is exposed long-enough to reason.

  • stephanesibani

    No one needs any God nor prophets to experience empathy. Humanism is the logical response when religiously-driven kindness is exposed long-enough to reason.

  • thebump

    THAWLEY: Now, there’s a mature open mind for you.Just a suggestion, but it might be more productive to put something into the mind before locking it away.

  • joneu316

    Hey there Rachel, there’s some good in some of what you write. But when you proudly relate your “conversion” to a belief in evolution, you do a disservice to your own faith and certainly to the authority of the Bible. It always comes down to authority. Jesus himself affirmed the historicity of Genesis. That brings us back to CS Lewis and Josh McDowell — Christ is a liar, or a lunatic, or he is Lord. You unwittingly make him out to be a liar. Notice the comments, by the way, of all the pagans — they’re not at all impressed with your compromise. Best wishes on your spiritual journey.

  • postaddict1

    ANOTHERCONTRARIAN WROTE ————”Peace is fine as long as we are not asked to give up core beliefs. Many Gay activists are demanding that we not only support legal gay marriage, as in tolerate it which is possible, but that we must also wholeheartedly reject the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality to their satisfaction. Some demand we throw out the very concept of the Biblical God as just an old homophobic bigot. ————————————————————-

  • postaddict1

    QUIENSABE WROTE THE FOLLOWING ——–”jeffa27, you said “Jesus Christ was not about human politics.” Others condemn the “Religious Right” for being political. Because you intellectuals are marginalizing Christians requires that they become political. To do otherwise is foolishness on their part.

  • greenmansf

    “The good news for everyone else is that we’re ready to make peace.” Hilarious and ever so arrogant of you. What makes you think that anyone is willing to make peace with you? So you chose to live with intelligence rather than willful ignorance, big deal. And the rest of us are supposed to be excited about this for what reason? The “culture wars” you speak of are fully made up and fought by the evangelical cultists who are trying to force the rest of us here in the USA to live according to their chosen religions lifestyle. So now you won’t be fighting that false “war”, you won’t be trying to force your religion on us anymore and you think that is making peace with the rest of us? You don’t understand how much damage your former cult has done to your fellow Americans if you think that having a gay friend is making peace with any of us. While I am happy for you that you are no longer making me your enemy in your self made war on your fellow Americans, you still have much to learn and much to do before I am willing to make peace with you.

  • cornbread_r2

    Problem is, these “Jesus didn’t exist” or “His teachings were made up” type arguments have all LONG been discredited by real historians. If it’s not too much trouble could you name some of the “real historians” you reference?

  • divi3

    Oh here we go again. Another great “historian from the blogosphere” with his earth-shaking discoveries. Problem is,Posted by: dminnich312 | August 9, 2010 3:13 PMConsidering I never said Jesus didnt exist nor that his teachings were made up, perhaps you are every bit as dumb as some people may think.

  • DCSNARK

    Congrats, it took you an entire lifetime to figure out what most intelligent people discovered in highschool. You just got a gold medal in the special olympics.I always think it’s strange when people like yourself want us to be happy for you or forgive your ignorance and filthy sheeplike dogma. It’s not ok. Forgiveness is a christian value. I believe in truth and justice.

  • theaz

    For all the nay-sayers and atheist here!Jesus tells us very clearly, that few will enter the Kingdom of God, and that narrow is the gate to it, because wide is the gate of destruction!So it is foretold!

  • moderateaintstupid

    Hi, sister. Thanks for your message. (I mean no flippancy, but I find myself thinking about the Matrix line, “Welcome, to the world of the real.”) I am sorry to see so much hostility from some of the posters, both right and left. But not surprised. As you can see, faith is another one of those places where all the bitterness and sadness mix with the love and hope of life. Some of us have had more difficult times. For all of them, I wish them peace. May you and yours walk in the grace of the Living God. Peace. Joel C from Austin

  • jontomus

    Don’t worry theaz, you’re going to get there … or not.Do you christians ever wonder that one of the reasons we atheists don’t believe your fairy tales is because the carrot in your carrot-and-stick story, your heaven, sounds like a truly awful place to be.That it would be populated by fervent, mouth-frothing disapproving hate-mongers like Pat Robertson and the other evangelicals … who would want to go to a place like that?It’s just not believable. That you believe it anyway … why is it that you never ask why?How many thousand other gods has humanity worshiped in the MORE than 6,000 years we’ve been here? How is it that all these other believers were just as certain as you about their gods, and you know for sure they were wrong — how is it that you never ask yourself if you’re just another primitive who can’t understand reality well enough to deal with it?Whether there was a jesus or not, really, who cares?

  • theaz

    Don’t worry theaz, you’re going to get there … or not.Do you christians ever wonder that one of the reasons we atheists don’t believe your fairy tales is because the carrot in your carrot-and-stick story, your heaven, sounds like a truly awful place to be………==============================FEW will enter, but I didn’t say it!I believe Earth before the Day of the Lord, gives us a glimpse of Heaven and Hell, and if it was any other way, we just be mindless zombies puppets of God living in a Zone of non-existence!

  • tboyer33

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece. I was raised in a small town Methodist church. I loved the Bible, the hymns, the community, the sermons, and the opportunities to give to others. The church I grew up in was a church of love and compassion. Watching American Christianity grow into this disrespectful, arrogant and destructive force, like some modern day Inquisition, has been one of the saddest things of my life. It is the opposite of the Christianity I grew up in and something I would never be a part of.My father and I have both left the Church and I don’t know if we’ll ever be back. My faith is shredded. It is hard to know what to believe any more, but I am certain that if there is a God, American Christians are not talking to him as often as they claim to be.

  • Nymous

    Hey, there’s nothing bad about throwing away the more idiotic of Christian doctrine. Creationism is a core part of that stupidity. Hating others, and for that matter hatred period, is another thing that is not part of any valid spiritual good. In most instances, hatred is a tool of evil.Living a decent life, doing good, those things matter more than thumping a bible or any other book.

  • schafer-family

    “By trying to reconcile god and science you will only wind up, killing god. It is the only logical conclusion.”You (and Mr. Spock) have shown the essence of faith.

  • rwortman

    Why is it although more Americans identify themselves as believers by a factor of about 5 to 1, newspaper comment posts run atheist by about the same margin? Are atheists more likely to read the paper on line, more angry about their beliefs, just plain crankier? It’s a mystery. Some posters insisted that the only conclusion one could reach from research would be that belief in God is silly and all religions are frauds. That is typical small minded atheist balderdash. I should know. I used to be one and spouted the same balderdash. There are plenty of extremely intelligent believers as well as non-believers. There are also really dumb ones on both sides of the “debate” Most people who claim evolution to be the answer to all the questions haven’t the faintest notion of what evolutionary biology can and can’t explain. If you are an atheist you don’t lack faith because you are smarter than those that have faith. You just don’t have faith. Period. You don’t have too much of something. You are missing something. Something that gives an added dimension to life that, far from making no sense, is the only thing about life that does make any sense. Believers don’t engage in these petty debates because they know it is pointless. When a person has personally experienced God intervening in his or her life no amount of tired old atheist “proof” can sway their faith. They have been unalterably changed and can now perceive things that they could not before. If a person hasn’t experienced God and is busy combing the events in this world for proof of God’s nonexistence, no explanation is possible. I can’t show you what I know because you haven’t the eyes to see it and only God can give them to you.

  • johng1

    I always find it sad that people like this women waste a good portion of their lives worrying about some imaginary overseer. It is good, however, that she is trying to assist those who actually need help. That part is good, but whe could have been doing that all along instead of wasting time on the evangelical thingy.

  • alance

    America’s greatest poet and Holiest person was Walt Whitman who lived in the 19th Century. He was filled with Christ Consciousness and traveled all over the nation and celebrated life.Anyone who has not read Leaves of Grass is impoverished. He loved our great nation and served as a medical corpman in a Civil War hospital.He apparently was completely bi-sexual and celebrated with everybody and celebrated nature and beauty everyday where ever he found it. We are all different and yet we are all the same in so many ways. Tolerance and forgiveness goes a long way and there is so precious little of it today.

  • kcpriest

    Too bad about her journy away from reality.Evolution is more impossible than the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Headless Horseman. See

  • spidermean2

    I can only believe in evolution if these evolutionist can show us a portrait of their chimp great great grandpa.The only way it can happen is if their great great grandma married a chimp.That way, they will have a reason to believe in that so called “common ancestor”.

  • AlvinYork

    Well, you’re right on the stupidity of young earth creationism, but I hope you also someday will grow out of your self-righteous liberalism.

  • Jihm

    Mistaking religious mythology for science is an insult to both religion and science.

  • truthhurts

    Based on a Higher Authority than myself, these conservative and ultra conservative verbatim interpretations of Holy Books in general are far more dividing than uniting. I try not to play with reality any longer as Science tells me that the world evolved to its current status through millions of years of changes and not seven days in accordance to our solar system planetary movement of bodies rotating and encircling the Sun. We are not the center of the universe any longer either, bummer. What is a day to God, I have no clue. The message I got is that God is the Creator and not someone who just whipped up the known and unknown Universe in six days then rested on the seventh. Now, Doomsday predictions are interesting as well but based mainly on superstition and history, maybe. Certain events of the past may fit into Apocalyptic visions such as the fall of Babylon or Rome used as basis for other Holy texts explaining the rise and fall of empires or the changing of ages.Traditions carry dogma from keeping kosher to covering of women. At one time there may have been necessity behind guidance, but hey, refrigeration solved lots of problems like being exposed to rancid meat. I almost forgot why I am babbling on here but not quite. There is indeed spiritual union between people that cannot be denied. If two people become engaged, they make a contract between themselves and no one else. Even the Law cannot void an engagement between two parties making a trial run at marriage if those two parties have a mutually consenting agreement, right ?I suppose that certain religions may not recognize an engagement but common practice is that in modern civil society, people become engaged. So one would expect States to recognize a Pursuit of Happiness by a common practice of engagement. Would have to note that engagement was actually post marriage in the old world as married parties were separated after marriage as a test of fidelity. Contractually and historically, mail order bride practice was common. There were agreed terms between parties entering into arrangements through the mail. And now that practiced has evolved into internet match making.As we enter an new age of equality, I think that people in general do have a right to pursue happiness devoid of Religious constraints that go back to Spiritual Principles rather than Religious Practices. Anything else to me would be oppression of Free Spirits by Oppression Activists, not cool and Un-American to me. Or, “What God enjoined, let no man put asunder”. Parties do meet as fate would have it.

  • georgereston

    “For so long, evangelical Christianity demanded our allegiance to [a] range of causes–from young earth creationism, to religious nationalism, to Republican politics.”

  • DaveoftheCoonties

    I am reminded that at least a couple of people in the church where I’m a member like something called “The Truth Project” from Focus on the Family. It turned out that the guy in charge is not only in favor of young earth creationism, but provided a bunch of website material on his visit to the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is the sort of thing you can’t make in much less than the 20 million years that it actually took to cut, not to mention the vastly longer time it took for the rocks to form. While I realize that understanding the geology takes a good education, I’m bewildered that an honest proponent of Truth would be so gullible or so blind. I left a polite comment linking to evangelical Wheaton College’s geology department.

  • spidermean2

    Although I am not a believer of Young Earth Creationism, their proponents are still more logical than the supporters of Darwinian Evolution.Time is relative and we are not actually sure if the time in the early years of the universe is actually the same time we experience today.One day in those very early years could be one thousand years today.Einstein have proven that space and time are relative to velocity.Evolutionists are simply STUPID people.

  • spidermean2

    Jihm wrote “Mistaking religious mythology for science is an insult to both religion and science. “For a while I was thinking he was referring to Evolution. I believe evolution is a religious myth embraced by stupid people.

  • spidermean2

    The Doomsday ScenarioIsn’t it remarkable that those who believe in evolution and gay mariage in America are also the most vulnerable to nuke attacks by virtue of their location?It’s a long shot to declare that Evangelical Christianity is in trouble. The evolutionists are the ones in trouble because Doomsday is coming to get them.

  • jasmine2501

    Spidermean… the problem with your three “reasons” refuting evolution is a common mistake that creationists make. You are mistaking “impossible” with “extremely unlikely” – spontaneous creation of living things is not impossible, but it is so unlikely that to the best of our knowledge, it has only happened one time, in the history of the universe.This whole debate is a waste of time and energy though, and that’s what the article is trying to say. The author is not denouncing faith, they are embracing reason – and those two concepts are not in competition with each other. It is entirely possible to be faithful and reasonable. In fact I would say it’s kind of stupid to not try to be both.The theory of evolution is scientifically sound – you can go and observe it happening right before your eyes every day. It is just as scientifically sound as 2+2=4, or the science that makes your car run, or your TV work, or the Intertubes possible – creationists accept these things on a daily basis, but they can not accept a simple explanation for phenomena we can directly observe?! Come on now… it is the same scientific reasoning behind televisions and evolution – there is no trickery involved, and the nice thing about science is, we don’t tell you to believe anything you can’t see with your own eyes.What bugs me about both sides of this debate is, YOU ALL TAKE IT WAY TOO FAR! Evolution is a perfectly viable theory explaining many things we see in nature – things you can observe right now… but evolution does not refute the creation of Earth by a supreme being. The theory just doesn’t have anything to say about that. Nor does the creation story, which took place 6000 years ago, have anything to say about things we observe in nature today.Why can we not simply agree that evolution is a theory we can use to understand the biological world, and creationism is a myth some people choose to believe in… whether it happened that way or not is immaterial – evolution is still true. The author is simply pointing out that you don’t violate your faith by keeping God’s commandment to seek out understanding.

  • Jordan48

    One poster declared that there were no first hand reports of Christ, until decades after Christ was crucified and buried.These are the names of Secular historians who wrote of Jesus Christ: (I have omitted the obvious chroniclers of the life and ministry of Christ, which are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Saul of Tarsus, and John the Beloved who lived with Christ for three years before He was crucified by the Romans at the demand of the Sanhedrin Counsel, The ancient Jewish court system was called the Sanhedrin. The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme religious body in the Land of Israel during the time of the Roman occupation, specifically during the time of Christ)Philo of Alexandria – A Jewish philosopher and historian who lived in the first century.Thallus 50-75 AD (a pagan chronologer who lived in the midst of the 1st Century who wrote in Greek)Pliny the Younger 61-112 AD (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 AD – ca. 112 AD), better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, was born at Como)Tacitus Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56 – AD 117) was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the …Life – Works – “The sources of Tacitus” (written c. 116) by the Roman historian Tacitus mentions Christus as a person convicted by Pontius Pilate during Tiberius’ reign: … Seutonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c.71-c.135): Roman scholar and official, best-known as the author of the Lives of the Twelve Caesars….www.livius.org/su-sz/suetonius/suetonius.html Josephus: 37-100 AD: also known as: Yosef Ben Matityahu and Titus Flavius Josephus. (Born of the tribe of the Levites, highly educated in the ancient jewish writings of the Torah, a Roman Historian and citizen, marched with Vespasians son, Titus, on Jerusalem AD 70) Was a member of an Esene sect and at the age of 19 became a Pharisee, who wrote that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus (Greek: Δίων ὁ Κάσσιος, c. AD 155 or 163/164 to after 229), known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius; Cassius Dio was named praetor by Emperor Pertinax (r. 193)There are those among you who think yourselves wise, but you are blind men and women who are deceived in the imaginations of your own mind. You gladly reject the truth and exchange it for a lie. It is not I who condemn you, but by the words of your own mouths you are condemned already. For if God spared not the angels who sinned against Him, how do you reason O’ foolish man, that you shall escape the wrath that shall come to all that reject the Son of the Living God?I shall not debate with those who choose to remain blind, for I am compelled to declare that which is true, so that those who hear my testimony and reject it will have no excuse at the great and terrible day of Gods judgement of the wicked and disobedient.

  • Jordan48

    Reply to malachi33 who wrote:”I agree the Bride of Christ should divorce herself from the political right and left in this nation. Jesus Christ does not come to take sides–He comes to TAKE OVER. He is the God of creation and the redeemer of a horribly fallen race. He has called His church to not just express His love but be “salt and light” to those lost in darkness and dying from the deadliest disease in the universe: sin…..”Our holy Lord did not come to take control, but to gather unto Himself all those whom our Heavenly Father has given unto Him. For there are those who will not hear the truth, for their ears do not hear, their eyes do not see! There are those who rejoice at the hearing of the truth, for they love the true Light to this world of men. Is it not written that men love the darkness and will not come into the light, lest their sins be reproved?If we are witnesses to the Light, let our light so shine into the darkness. We, who are the elect of Christ, shall we not bear witness to the truth, so that those who hear our voice might receive their hearing? I am not come into the world to condemn it, but to bear witness to the truth, so that men who love the truth will rejoice in Him who has sent me.My kingdom is not of this world, but unto the hope of that world which is to come. With that being said, pray for the lost of this world without ceasing, desiring that none should perish, but that al men will come to the knowlege of He who has called us unto Himself.For in these last days, the evil one shall continue to lay sway even moreso over blind men and time shall close upon the wicked and unrighteousness of men more swiftly! Is it not written that in the last days mans knowlege will increase greatly? Surely this is a prophesy which is fulfilled in your own hearing.Is it not written that in the last days men will call evil good and good evil being blinded by the doctines of devils? This also is filfilled in your hearing. In these last days there must be a great falling away from the faith, so that the evil one, the little horn, the anti-christ will be revealed to the world. For I say unto you even now he walks among men.Then will our holy Lord come in all of Hs glory and destroy all the works of the beast. Rejoice, for the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords cometh swifty to claim all that is His! Woe unto all those who reject the Son of the living God. Very soon all men will bow down low before Him, the Lion of Judah, and confess that HE IS THE SON OF GOD! Selah

  • Jordan48

    Long ago, there was a mighty ruler who owned much land. He owned all the cattle on a thousand hills, all the fish in the waters and fruit bearing trees. He lent out to all who would portions of these lands and asked only that those to whom he lent these lands would honor him and keep his laws. But in time, many of the generations who grew up on the lands lent to them rejected honoring him and did not give to the ruler that portion which was his by right. They ate of the fruit of his trees, ate of the fish of his waters, and ate of the meat of his cattle without gratitude or obeyance to his laws, nor did they honor him!This great ruler drove all those who did not honor him, nor kept his laws, from the land and cast them into prison, and appointed them to be tormented and chained all the days of their lives and gave of the lands to those who honored him.

  • jasmine2501

    Uh… no… It’s about agreeing with each other. Evolution has nothing to say about the creation of the universe, but it is extremely valuable when trying to understand the *CURRENT* biological world. Creationism is a religious thing – it has no bearing on anything scientific. The two concepts are not in conflict with each other. Why do you insist that they are? There are so many more important problems to fix in this world… why continue to try to merge religion and science? It is a waste of time!

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