I don’t normally check out old-earth websites, but just a few weeks ago, I did and saw a article that chilled my blood. It saddens me that such blatant attacks are allowed and encouraged in the old-earth view.
To start off, the title of the article was, “Is Young Earth Creationism a Cult?”. This drew in my attention and I have responded to some of his comments.
In my ten years of examining young earth creationists on this website, I have generally resisted using the term “cult” when referring to YEC’s. My resistance to the use of this term, however, does not mean that I totally reject the idea of referring to YEC as a cult. I do believe that people who adhere to young earth creationism do in fact demonstrate many traits found in cults, and the leaders of the young earth movement, such as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, use the same tactics used by cult leaders, in order to keep young earth followers in line with young earth teaching.
I realized right away that this author was trying to be safe calling YEC’s a cult. I acknowledge that and respect it. His claim about Answers in Genesis seem to apply to his own ministry by the end.
If you look up cult on Wikipedia, it is a negative term for “a religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society.” How does this tie into YEC? Our society today accepts that the earth is billions of years old, so our society would consider those who believe in a young earth to be abnormal. Society views YECs as rejecting modern scientific findings in favor of a theory that has no scientific proof. If we stick with this simple definition, then YEC easily qualifies as a cult.
Is being in the minority always a bad thing? Absolutely not! Jesus was in the minority, does that make Him a cult leader? For more on minorities, see HERE.
Of course there is more to a cult than just beliefs. Cults can be characterized into different groups based on their beliefs. Just to name a few, there are religious cults, doomsday cults (fearing the end of the world), political cults (let’s not get into that one), and destructive cults, who physically injure or kill members of their own group or outsiders. While YEC’s fit the general definition of a cult, they are neither doomsday, political, or destructive (unless you count the fact that I’ve received threats from YEC’s in the past). If they are to be considered a cult, they are simply a religious cult, who do not pose a threat to anyone.
Could we see the threats you say were sent to you?
1. Convince followers that everyone else is wrong.
2. Misrepresent God’s Word and change what the Bible really means.
3. Mix in just enough truth to make the lies believable
4. Other teachings present a danger to the religion or society as a whole.
5. Warn followers to never listen to other doctrines or they will be deceived.
Can you see these five tactics when you think about young earth creationists? If you have ever argued with a young earth creationist, you know that he/she is convinced that you are wrong, and that your old earth views present a danger to the Christian religion. How many articles have you seen on young earth sites, warning followers of the dangers of millions of years, or the dangers of evolution? Too many to count! Have you ever been successful at getting a YEC to listen to your explanation about an old earth, and have them give it serious thought? Sure it’s happened, but not often. Most YEC’s are trained to ignore any doctrine contrary to a young earth, and they are very good at it. When you present them with solid scientific evidence, do they accept it? Usually not. They are impervious to scientific truth…it rolls off them like water off a duck.
If a evolutionist could give me solid scientific proof of evolution, of course I’d look at it. As far as the points, for evolutionists and old-earth evolustionists:
- Both groups convince their followers those who believe otherwise are wrong
- Both groups change the Bible and what it means (nowhere in the Bible does it suggest old-earth creationism, only young-earth)
- You wouldn’t believe some of the lies I’ve heard from old-earth and evolutionists
- Both groups repeatedly tell of how young-earth creationists hurt society (look at this very article I’m responding to)
- Both groups warn their followers of this as well
See, his definition of a cult does not work, especially 1, 4, 5. Those are not absolutes so they could apply to any belief.
After skipping past some of his other comments, he concludes with:
One could say why bother? We are both Christians, so let each other be. The reason this is so important, I believe, is because of the great harm that young earth creationism is doing to the church. Think back to the definition at the top of the page… “a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society.” Do we want the church to be considered by our society to be abnormal? I certainly don’t! YEC’s are making a concerted effort to push their beliefs upon the church, and it is causing great harm to the church. I believe we must fight their efforts, for the survival of the church.
Jesus told us we would be ridiculed and persecuted by the world/society so why is this old-earth creationist mad at that? Does he want to confirm to the world?
The truth is, with what he has said in his article, he could only call YEC a cult if he accepted old-earth creationism is a cult as well as evolution. Very interesting.