Apologetics: Preparing the Next Generation part 1

Recently, someone who claimed to believe was online and was questioning the faith. He was arguing from several possibilities but the essential point was if he must choose between science and faith, he would choose science, and by this he meant evolutionary theory and philosophical naturalism. My heart breaks when I think about it, and I pray for him that God would lead Him through doubts.

Many times, I see some modern apologists suggesting that Young Earth Creationism is the cause of this problem. It is often stated that when a young earth Creationist first coming into contact with modern theory, he comes into the realization that a Young Earth Creationist model is rationally untenable, and therefore he abandons the faith. (By such a definition, I must clearly not be rational; and if I am rational than this assertion must either be incorrect or an overstatement). This, however, is not the case in this circumstance; the young man was an advocate of theistic evolution; in fact, the argument that is troubling him is the antithesis of my third argument for young earth Creationism: theistic evolution and Old Earth Creationism create a serious question of the origin of evil since death would be implicit in the original design of the world.

I would argue, of course, that there is no distinction between science and faith; this is an artificial distinction. If we maintain any rigorous definition of science, then science is limited in what it can actual discuss and cannot actually prove anything—science is limited to disproving theories, otherwise we engage in the logical error known as “proving the consequent.” On these grounds, I am still waiting on justification to demonstrate that evolution is science in this strictest of senses. The question ultimately comes down the presuppositions we use in the study of science—if we assume that materialism is all there is, then evolutionary theory makes a great deal of sense, if we do not make use of this unfounded presupposition, it does not. I would suggest if Christ rose from the dead, then this presupposition was disproven historically; thus what we really have is a distinction between how to different worldviews use their presuppositions to interpret the evidence. I believe the resurrection is more foundational to my understanding of the world.

So how do we answer these types of doubts? Of course, part of this question comes down to regeneration—but this is a discussion for another time. I would suggest, then, that the best method is preparation for those doubts before they arise. My suggestion however, is that faith can form over time, and faith is not based on an absence of data or reason. My solution then is that these questions need to be inoculated against by means of teaching the connection between the Christian worldview and the world at a younger age. Waiting until high school and college to worry about apologetics is a failing strategy, as Ken Ham has stated in his book Already Gone. What is needed is apologetics training in far younger years, such as using a Sunday School curriculum that more fully explains and integrates a Christian worldview. More than this, apologetics needs to become something that is done in the home as well as the Christian School and the Church.

And yet, if we are going to start teaching children to have a rational faith, we need to have adults that have at least a familiarity with apologetics topics. So how do we get there from here? Often times we assume that apologetics is a difficult discipline made up from arcane theories.  I want to suggest that learning something of apologetics is not, actually, that difficult, and this will be (barring something major in the news or some major assault on the faith) our topic for next time.

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