Sunday, January 29, 2012

Belief or Truth

(January 12, 2012)
I was a child when my parents took us to a 2-day creationism conference. There were workshops and kids' sessions, slide presentations of Mt. St. Helens and cartoon drawings of Adam and Eve hanging out with dinosaurs. One guy talked about imagining in his bathtub how a flood could cause a forest to petrify. Another described being hit by lightning while on a mountain in Turkey, looking for Noah's Ark.

Ken Ham
My favorite speaker had a short beard and an Aussie accent. A kind of missionary to America, Ken Ham explained that fighting social evils like porn and abortion and divorce was futile as long as people kept believing in evolution. To really rebuild society, we needed to start by converting people to Biblical creationism. If they weren't convinced that the universe was formed by God in six days, they couldn't accept the concept of sin and salvation and needing a blood sacrifice to gain forgiveness and even if they claimed to be Christians, their faith would be wishy-washy at best. Using cartoons and an overhead projector, Ken made us laugh at ignorant "scientists" who believed they could tell how old fossils were, tossing in some anti-gay humor for good measure.

Mike Warnke
On the long drive to the conference, we listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast. Mike Warnke was giving his "testimony" and we were both riveted and entertained. Years later, Mike was exposed as a fraud--never having been the Satanist high priest he said he was, yet still selling Christians his lurid tales of degeneracy and conversion. Mike never denied the devil, as it were. He stands by his discredited and impossible stories today and continues to peddle his "ministry" to gullible audiences.

The creationist speakers turned out to be dishonest, too. While I thought they were trying to teach me to love truth AND scienctific research, they were priming me to support their agenda. A decade after the conference, I was mailing them my prayer requests, along with checks for a new museum project in Kentucky.

Another decade passed, and I was in church watching Focus on the Family's "The Truth Project". It slowly dawned on me that unqualified men were still trying to define "truth" for me. Men who did not share my thirst for knowledge. Men whose scientific "facts" were predetermined by their theology and political leanings. Men who were more willing to deceive than to consider evidence that would challenge their biases.

Dr. Francis Collins
I started to ask new questions. I heard an NPR interview with a scientist who was a Christian, yet accepted evolution as scientifically proven. My curiosity piqued, I started reading about the history of physics and geology and the age of the earth. I read books about social issues by left-leaning Christians and by atheists. We found a more liberal church. I read about sexuality and private schools and American history and how we got the Bible. I enrolled in community college. I began to teach my children about creation myths and how stars are born, and how Judeo-Christian beliefs about Satan and hell "evolved" slowly.

I no longer listen to men who insist the universe is merely thousands of years old, that women were divinely designed to be their husbands' submissive assistants, and that the Creator killed his own son to save the world but is glorified when believers of other faiths are punished forever. I don't laugh when they scoff at liberals, atheists, or gays. I want my children to recognize frauds, and to follow truth wherever it leads.


  1. This is wonderful! Very glad I found you (via Homeschoolers Anonymous).

  2. Dear Jeri and Friends, i used to love evolution. Sometimes would lay awake at night, and in my head, watch the the earth grow and heat up, as it formed into a full planet. And i'd see the aminos and sugars in their attempts to link up, and become living. As the planet cooled, i saw puddles form into brooks, brooks into lakes and rivers, and then into a global ocean. How thrilling to watch volcanoes peep out of the roaring waves, and eventually become islands and eventually continents. Could go on. But anyway, it's all different (long story. i see damage from a flood that happened around 4,500 years ago.

    1. Okaaaayyy. Chinese civilization goes back at least 7,000 years and some ice in Antarctica could be older than 800,000 years. You may want to study some geology.