Facebook Double-Standards: YECers can call other Christians “atheists” but don’t you dare post to complain about it!

{Professor Tertius is back at his desk part-time. So today’s post is brief but solicitous of your participation. Anecdotes? Anyone? How about creationists: Do you agree or disagree with this tendency to label everyone an atheist if they deny Young Earth Creationism?}

A colleague recently sent me the following warning and one-day suspension notice he received from Facebook. His crime? A Young Earth Creationist, hereby to be known as Mr. X, had been labelling “atheist” anyone who dared disagree with him on virtually any Bible topic, especially those related to origins and the Book of Genesis. Although some who disagreed with Mr. X were, no doubt, self-described atheists, Mr. X seemed especially focussed on calling even evangelical Christians in the thread “atheists” and “allies of Satan”.  Finally, Dr. Steve Poole had his fill and posted the following question to the thread, and it produced the following rebuke from Facebook:

We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards:

WHY IS THIS THE PATTERN WITH Young Earth Creationists?

(1) “You are not a true Christian.”

(2) “I honestly feel like you are an atheist.”

(3) “You’re an atheist!”

Mr. X just proved yet again what a Young Earth Creationist says when another Christian fails to agree with him.

It’s an old story: When a Young Earth Creationist finds someone who doesn’t agree with his favorite TRADITIONS which are not supported by the Bible, first he calls them “not a true Christian”. And then he goes all the way to “You’re an atheist!” You see, in creationist-speak, the word “atheist” means “disagrees with me”. It is a protective strategy meant to squelch any realizations they have that all of the evidence from God’s creation supports The Theory of Evolution and the Bible says nothing to deny evolution. To protect themselves from that evidence, they MUST pretend that the Christian is an atheist in order to convince themselves of the danger and in order to avoid thinking about the evolution-confirming evidence.

Did it work, Mr. X? How many Christians have you declared “atheist” so far? Most of the world’s Christians have no conflict with evolution. Are all of them atheists?

1) Seeing how Mr. X rejects the evolution processes God created, does that make him an atheist? After all, in creationist-speak an “atheist” is anybody who disagrees with my own personal opinions.

2) Does adding to the Gospel by adding prohibitions against affirming evolution qualify for the Apostle Paul’s words about those who preach “any other gospel”? (“Let him be accursed.”)

3) Does YEC hostility toward The Theory of Evolution and those who affirm it help advance the Kingdom and fulfill the Great Commission? Or does it help destroy your credibility and confuse non-Christians as to the nature of the Gospel message?

Frankly, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called an atheist by YEC zealots, even immediately after describing my background as an evangelical Bible translation consultant on the mission field, hospital chaplain, and seminary professor. This phenomenon is a good example of the “slippery slope” thinking among so many Young Earth Creationists. In any other context they would agree that one should not add “rules” to the Gospel in terms of what someone must believe or do to be a genuine Christ-follower. But many have said to me, “If you are going to deny Genesis 1, you might as well deny the entire Bible. And if you deny the entire Bible, you’ve denied the Gospel and you aren’t a Christian.” Of course, what they call “denying Genesis 1” is actually (in most cases) someone refusing to accept their interpretations of Genesis 1 as the intended meaning of the text. So if I really want to enrage the most adamant YECs, I will follow up with my own brand of gasoline on the fire:

“My interpretation of Genesis 1 is far more literal than yours. I notice that the Hebrew text claims that God’s commands are presented in a six-YOM (“day”, “time period”) outline. The text doesn’t say how or when the results from each command played out.  Yet, clearly, when God says, “Let the waters bring forth…” and “Let the land bring forth [living creatures]”, we are told that generations of reproduction and ecosystem building are the result.  Those processes, obviously, take many years to accomplish.  There is no “poof!” creation described there. In fact, the Hebrew text emphasizes that it is the waters and the earth which produce the living things in accordance with the creator’s intentions. The text says nothing of “appearance of age” or “embedded age”, concepts which are nothing but creationist “rescue devices” created from thin air (special creation!) by YECs who know that the evidence for a 6,000 year old earth is nil.

Creationists, what have you to say of this problem? Do YECs love to reduce the complexities of origins issues to simplistic false dichotomies? Does my disagreement with Ken Ham make me an atheist? Doesn’t the Bible rebuke this kind of attitude? What say ye?



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2 responses to “Facebook Double-Standards: YECers can call other Christians “atheists” but don’t you dare post to complain about it!

  1. TomS

    2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; Matthew 18:15-17

    Incidentally, I have heard that one can call those who cite Matthew 18
    “the Matthew 18 Politically Correct Thought Police”.

    I wonder what the reaction would be those who bring up Genesis 1 “the Genesis 1 Politically Correct Thought Police”?

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