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What a Biologos Sponsored Study says about NOMA Support and the Clergy Letter

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oliwaterI don’t agree with all of the conclusions the 2014 National Study of Religion & Human Origins1, but most of it seems sound. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the study was sponsored by BioLogos and conducted by Calvin College sociologist Jonathan Hill. Over the course of June and July 2013, the survey asked 3034 U.S. adults a variety of questions concerning human origins.

The NSRHO’s study determined that 37% (approx. 1122) of those surveyed were creationists, 16% [approx. 485] were theistic evolutionists, and 9% [approx. 273] were atheistic evolutionists. The remaining 38-39% [approx. 1183] were unsure or held uncommon beliefs [such as those denying both common descent and creator at the same time]. The rest of the survey concentrates on the approximately 1,880 individuals who identified as either creationist, theistic evolutionist or atheistic evolutionist.

Creationists & Evos on the Compatibility of Science & Religion

If we’re considering just the responses of the 1880 individuals who identified as creationist, theistic evolutionists or atheistic evolutionist,  59.5% were creationist, 26% were theistic evolutionist and the remaining 14.5% were atheistic evolutionists.

2014SSRHO-fig39The NSRHO study showed that a larger percentage of theistic evolutionists [54%] were more likely to believe that religion and science are compatible compared to 33% of creationists and 21% of atheistic evolutionists. That kind of makes sense when you think about it; what’s surprising is that this percentage isn’t higher amongst theistic evolutionists. It’s almost as if a little less than half don’t believe their own press. If we do the math, we find that about 370 creationists, 262 theistic evos and 57 atheistic evos or 689 total [36.7% of those identified as one of these three categories] believe that science and religion are compatible.

Keep this in mind when you read the following, from the survey itself:

“The scientist Stephen Jay Gould coined the phrase “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA) to describe his position that science has a domain of teaching and religion has a domain of teaching, and that these domains do not overlap. One is strictly about empirical facts and mechanical explanation (science) and the other is about moral value and ultimate meaning (religion).How popular is this view among the general public? Figure 40 shows the agreement with the following statement: “Science is about facts and religion is about faith.The two do not overlap.”In this case, it is the atheistic evolutionists that stand out from the rest. A majority tends to agree with this statement (62 percent), while only 32 percent and 26 percent of theistic evolutionists and creationists agree.”

2014SSRHO-fig40So when you look at the percentage of folks who affirm NOMA [the idea that religion relates to faith while science relates to facts], the very philosophy atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Weekend are based on, the largest percentage of support comes from 62% [169 individuals] of atheistic evolutionists surveyed and only 32% [155 individuals] of the theistic evolutionists surveyed. This suggests that atheists see this compromise for what it is: the implicit surrender of Biblical authority to the authority of science chained to pure naturalism. As Jesus said in John 3:12: How can we believe what God says concerning heavenly things if we doubt what He says about earthly things?

There were also approximately 292 creationist respondents who affirmed NOMA. Overall, this means that, of the approximately 1880 individuals identified as being part of one of these  three categories, 32.7% affirmed NOMA. If we reduce the sample to on this 32.7%, we find that 47% of NOMA supporters were creationist, 27% atheist and 25% theistic. This leads to the obvious conclusion that the dangers of NOMA in relation to Biblical authority have not been effectively or adequately explained to our congregations. Instead, this seems to be an ill-advised attempt on the part of fellow creationists to distance or insulate the Bible from criticism.

What this means for the Clergy Letter

If these numbers hold, and we included all three parties on the conservative end, we would say that at least a quarter or more of the Clergy Letter’s signators were actually atheists. Since creationists are unlikely to sign a letter that presents evolution as truth, an adjustment must be made. Of those who identified as evolutionists and NOMA supporters, 52% were atheists. This would infer that 6776 of the current 13031 signators2  of the Christian Clergy Letter are atheists, meaning they aren’t valid Christians at all. This would certainly make sense of the significant number of atheists I discovered among his signators; however, it is unlikely that this is the case as it would require a greater number of atheist clergy than are likely to exist if survey data from elsewhere is included. In fact, atheistic clergy may such a small minority as to be negligible.

For example, a survey3 sampling clergy beliefs on the historicity of Adam & Eve and whether evolution was the best explanation of life found that only 21% of Evangelical, Mainline and Catholic clergy disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of life” and only 29% of those same clergy agreed or strongly agreed that “Adam and Eve were real historical persons.” These numbers would presumably include both clergy of the atheistic and theistic evolutionary positions, so the largest amount of support the Clergy Letter could receive is 29% of Christian clergy. We note that these numbers seem to correspond to the 25% of theistic evolutionists who affirm NOMA.

By comparison, 70% of Evangelical, Mainline and Catholic clergy disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of life and 62% agreed or strongly agreed that Adam and Eve were real historical people. If we take a conservative measure of the situation, we can reasonably hypothesize that every Clergy Letter signature represents at least two more members of clergy who would oppose it!

Then why aren’t more churches standing on the authority of God’s Word from the very first Word? Why do 26% of creationists affirm the principles of NOMA while affirming the historical veracity of Genesis in contradiction?  The obvious conclusion, again, is that we have not adequately or effectively conveyed how NOMA undermines both the ultimate authority of Scripture and the historical basis of the Gospel.

What better way to affirm the authority of God’s Word and make these issues clear than to lead your congregation in a celebration of Creation Sunday?

Notes:

  1. To give an example, like Gallup, I think that they inadvertently skew their own findings by not clarifying that the Bible is to be taken literally does not mean it is to be taken woodenly. While I affirm that the Bible is literally true, as do most creationists, I would not be able to select that option because it makes no allowances for the symbolism of prophesy, hyperbole, round numbers, etc.
  2. 6776 of 13031?? The math nerd in me is screaming “Holy palindromes, Batman!”
  3. JELEN, T. G., & LOCKETT, L. A.. (2010). AMERICAN CLERGY ON EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM. Review of Religious Research, 51(3), 277–287. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20697345

Crosstalk Radio Interviews Highlight Creation Sunday and Question Evolution Day

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Yesterday, Crosstalk radio host Jim Schneider interviewed Jay Seegert, co-founder and principal lecturer for the Creation Education Center, and Bob Sorenson, founder of Question Evolution Day.

The interview discussed the lies and misrepresentations of athiest Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s Christian Clergy Letter, discussed Evolution Weekend and the need to keep the Bible as our ultimate authority and starting point, and gave an invitation for viewers to learn more about the Creation Education Center, Question Evolution Day and [our thanks to Bob Sorenson] Creation Sunday.

You can listen to the MP3 audio of the broadcast and explore links relevant to the program at http://www.vcyamerica.org/blog/2013/02/06/evolution-weekend

For more information about Question Evolution Day, go to http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/p/question-evolution-video.html

For more information about the Creation Education Center, go to http://cecwisc.org

February 8-10, 2013: Creation Weekend versus Evolution Weekend

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Frank Schoenbach, a good friend of this ministry and Director of Discerning for the Truth Ministries, has written an excellent piece comparing and contrasting Creation Weekend and Evolution Weekend, demonstrating why we we need a Savior and why we ought to hold the Bible as our ultimate authority. It also contains a good breakdown of Evolution Weekend support [denominations, numbers, etc] in the great state of Wisconsin.

The Year of Taking the Bible Seriously: Evolution Weekend versus Creation Weekend [Feb 11-13 2011]

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Creation Sunday 2011 [Feb 13th] is only a week away and we want to make sure you’re ready!

Last year’s Creation Sunday event drew a lot of interest. Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, the chosen theme for Creation Sunday 2010 was “Who Do You Love?” Applying Matthew 6:24 to the concept of trying to serve two masters or to hold two opposing authorities in your life, we noted that such a task was impossible for, as Christ warned, we will hold one of those two authorities in contempt. Of course, atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman proposes the opposite view, that “religious truth is of a different order than scientific truth,” but that they’re “two very different, but complementary forms of truth.” In other words, the Bible holds no place for this pretended neutrality position but warns that any attempt at neutrality will actually result in one authority winning out of the other

It really all comes down to man’s word or God’s Word as our ultimate authority. We do not fail to note that those who hold to the pretended neutrality position promoted by atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman’s Clergy Letter Project actually hold man’s finite word to be their ultimate authority over Scripture for whenever the Word of God and the word of men in lab coats are found to be in contradiction, it is God’s Word they feel they must re-interpret – not the word of fallible men. Never do they stand firm on the Word of God, proclaiming, Let God be true and every man a liar!

Evolution Sunday and Evolution Weekend are the brainchild of atheist Dr Michael Zimmerman, who first encouraged churches to preach Darwin from their pulpits in 2006 on the Sunday worship service nearest Charles Darwin’s birthday. 467 churches allegedly participated in his first Evolution Sunday. Granted, there were a fair number of cults tossed in with legitimate Christian denominations and nearly all were churches from liberal, mainline denominations at that. Nevertheless, the number of congregations participating grew to 618 in 2007.

In 2008, Zimmerman expanded the concept to an Evolution Weekend to encourage other faiths to participate; the number of participants grew to 814 in 2008 and 1049 in 2009 [the year CreationLetter.com launched and began urging churches to celebrate a Creation Sunday rather than an Evolution Sunday]. Of course, 2009 was the so-called Year of Darwin, being both the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origins, so evolutionists went rabid over their promotion of evolution and compromising clergymen went out of their way to display their fealty to evolutionism over the historical reliability of God’s revealed Word. That said, the spike in participants was rather expected. 

Evolution Weekend 2010’s advertised number of participants dwindled to 861 congregations and, as of this writing, only 575 congregations are slated to participate in Evolution Weekend 2011. It may be a little early to celebrate, but we praise God for this waxing interest in promoting evolution from our very pulpits! It is our hope and prayer that Evolution Weekend and the pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project will continue to diminish in popularity.

We praise God that we are able to report to you that this year has seen a surge in interest from Creationist organizations in connecting with churches on the origins issue during Evolution Weekend. Two major conferences, the Northwest Creation Conference in Portland, OR and the Origins Conference in Johnson City, TN top off the list of events taking place during Creation Weekend [Feb 11-13] 2011. Over the past 25 years, over 55,000 people have attended the Northwest Creation Conference. Over 100 churches are involved in bringing the Origins Conference to Tennessee. Creation Weekend will also see Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s Evolution – The Greatest Hoax on Earth tour coming to Colorado. In all, creationist events are scheduled to take place during Creation Weekend 2011 in 10 US States and 3 International countries.

CreationLetter.com and Operation: Wittenberg are urging you to make 2011 the Year of Taking the Bible Seriously. This year commemorates not only the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, but also the 50th anniversary of the The Genesis Flood by Morris and Whitcomb, the book that rebooted the historical, orthodox belief in a young Earth and a worldwide Noachian Flood, providing both Biblical and scientific support to the historical veracity of Genesis.

As always, CreationLetter.com urges churches to celebrate a Creation Sunday rather than atheist Dr. Michael Zimmerman’s Evolution Sunday.

To view or add a Creation Weekend 2011 event in your area, please visit https://creationsunday.wordpress.com!

 

United States

Canada

Cyprus

  • Limassol – Philip Bell at International Christian Fellowship [Fri, Feb 11]
  • LimassolPhilip Bell at International Christian Fellowship [Sat afternoon, Feb 12]
  • LimassolPhilip Bell at Overseas Christian Fellowship [Sat evening, Feb 12]
  • NicosiaPhilip Bell at New Life International Church [AM]
  • PaphosPhilip Bell in Paphos, details to follow [PM] 
  • LimassolPhilip Bell, ministry to students [Mon, Feb 14]

United Kingdom

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