Friday, June 19, 2009

After Genesis, is there an Exodus?

This makes me happy. The linked article is from a wing-nutty news site, and is a summary of research conducted on 1,000 20-somethings who regularly attended evangelical churches as children. The result? Two-thirds end up leaving the church in their 20's. There are some other interesting results, namely that the seeds of doubt, as it were, seem to be sown in primary and secondary school, not college, and that children who regularly go to Sunday School are more likely to question the scripture.

Ken Ham, a young Earth creationist who believes the Earth to be 6,000 to 10,000 years old, argues that the cognitive dissonance that occurs when kids read the Genesis story and what they learn in school (not just evolution, but presumably other kinds of "controversial" issues like geology, carbon dating, fossils, plate tectonics, etc.) sets them on a path away from fundamentalist readings of the Bible. The Bible-as-history folks have a real problem with Genesis, since it is perhaps the most fantasically unbelievable part of the Bible. To quote the article on this issues: "The key issue is that this doubt about the Bible's account of origins causes youth to doubt the authority of Scripture".

The crux of the article is really hawking the guys book (which is a sort of handbook for fighting the "increasingly secular and atheistic public education system"), but I found the results of the survey interesting. Of course, the survey may be skewed to help the guy sell his book. In any event, if this is true, we should be happy that 2/3 of evangelically-raised children will reason their way out of believing unbelievably false assertions (like young Earth creationism). I mean, come on-- I don't want to take shots at a person's personal beliefs, especially the many reasoned, well-intentioned, moderate Christians, but if you really, honestly believe that the Earth is 6,000 - 10,000 years old... well, you're an idiot.