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It actually doesn’t matter to the United Methodist leaders what’s true


Yesterday, DonaldM posted an item here:

United Methodists Bar Intelligent Design From General Conference

The skinny:

After submitting an application to be in the exhibit hall per the established process, Discovery Institute was informed that they would not allowed to be present as the Institute’s position on ID was at odds with the UMC’s Statement on Evolution and Intelligent Design which says in part that the UMC opposes “…the introduction of any faith-based theories such as Creationism or Intelligent Design into the science curriculum of our public schools.” It should be readily clear that when this language was drafted back in 2008 and inserted into the UMC’s Book of Discipline, the guiding document of the Church, that the UMC was grossly misinformed about the nature ID.

In citing this statement as the ostensible reason for denying Discovery Institute’s application for an info table, the UMC also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the work of the Institute as well. In responding to the denial, Discovery Institute made clear that they do not advocate for including ID in public schools either. It was also pointed out that the conflation of creationism with ID is also incorrect, as regular readers of UD know all too well. But none of the actual facts seem to matter. After making formal appeal of the decision, Discovery Institute was told by the Chair of the UMC’s Commission on the General Conference, which is the deciding body for all things related to the conference, that the decision to bar Discovery Institute was final. More.

I (O’Leary for News) don’t usually write about religion except on Sundays, but this just came up. Some of it is right up my alley, as I used to write and edit on demographics and social science. Couple thoughts:

– It actually doesn’t matter to the United Methodist leaders what’s true. These days, anyone could have quickly found out, via an Internet search or phone call, what the Discovery Institute is, does and advocates. See, for example, Dover is over. But that is precisely what the United Methodist Church wouldn’t want to know. It reminds them too much of a past when they mattered.

The skinny: That church is dying, like so many formerly great mainline denominations. See, for example, “The United Methodist Church has only 15 years to reverse its decline in the United States if it is to have a sustainable future, an economist warned church leaders” (May 20, 2015). But U.S. membership decline continues (November 20, 2015):

According to the most recent data, The United Methodist Church has lost 116,063 members – the stark equivalent to losing a 318-member local church every day of the year.

Like most such dying entities, the church clings to causes, beliefs, and hopes it thinks aren’t dying—irrespective of their relationship to Christianity. Without conviction, it goes out of its way to ingratiate itself with their sponsors. In this case, the cause is Christian Darwinism—a form of materialist atheism that allows the church a corpse candle of faith, to light the way out.

Richard Dawkins, as it happens, pegged it:

Scientists divide into two schools of thought over the best tactics with which to face the threat [of religion]. The Neville Chamberlain ‘appeasement’ school focuses on the battle for evolution. Consequently, its members identify fundamentalism as the enemy, and they bend over backwards to appease ‘moderate’ or ‘sensible’ religion (not a difficult task, for bishops and theologians despise fundamentalists as much as scientists do). Scientists of the Winston Churchill school, by contrast, see the fight for evolution as only one battle in a larger war: a looming war between supernaturalism on the one side and rationality on the other. For them, bishops and theologians belong with creationists in the supernatural camp, and are not to be appeased. – from Why There Almost Certainly Is No God, The Huffington Post, October 23, 2006

It all works out in the end. If the United Methodists doubt whether the universe even shows evidence of design, the God who isn’t there isn’t coming to rescue them.

Note: The same trend is entrenched among mainline churches in Canada. We are looking at the extinction of the Anglican Church and the United Church, extinctions associated with similar behaviour. And lest anyone think I am gloating, quite the opposite: The historic mainline churches were bulwarks of spirituality that also encouraged social reform in the context of social stability, along with the Catholic Church. But when churches begin to sound like mere lobby groups, political parties, rights movements, and social clubs, the obvious solution—as the vast majority of people have found—has been to join lobby groups, political parties, rights movements, and social clubs instead of churches.

See also: The Unwritten Treaty with Materialists (Granville Sewell)

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I think it is unfortunate that religious organizations are so cowed by the Darwin bullies that they are afraid to be seen supporting ID. It is the same phenomenon driving theistic evolution. They have fallen for the methodological naturalism scam and are afraid of being labeled anti-science ignoramuses or called "creationists" because they want to flaunt their supposed intellectual superiority to those who take the Bible literally. They appear to me more like collaborators than intellectuals. As someone who uses pseudonyms and internet anonymity I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on them. But, in comparison the evangelicals and believers in young earth creationism earn my respect (although I believe differently) because they at least stand up for their beliefs (and because of the Boltzmann's brain like paradox of the multiverse theory makes a young earth at least more probable than materialism). Jim Smith
The Methodist Church has been going liberal for decades now. J. Gresham Machen talked about liberal Christianity in, of course Christianity and Liberalism. It has been a long long time since I read that book, but I remember he pointed out that Liberal Christianity wasn't Christian at all since it's proponents denied the creeds and Confession of the Church that they had signed, but didn't believe. He considered it dishonest to say you were a Presbyterian (or Methodist, Episcopalian, etc.) if you do not believe the Confession, or Statement of Belief that to this day they have not officially changed in most mainline churches*. Whether one is an old or young or an evolutionary creationist, one must believe in Creation of some kind or why even bother to claim to be a Christian when you just think it's a bunch of legends and myths? *That I'm aware of, none to my knowledge have actually changed their historical creeds, but I must confess I stopped paying attention to the liberal churches quite some time ago when morals became a plastic thing to them. And above all Jesus became just another teacher to them. jimmontg
John Wesley on the age of the earth:
The Scripture being the only Book in the world that gives us any account of the whole series of God’s Dispensations toward man from the Creation for four thousand years (Wesley 1763, II: p. 227).
The time when this work was concluded. The evening and the morning were the sixth day - So that in six days God made the world. We are not to think but that God could have made the world in an instant: but he did it in six days, that he might shew himself a free agent, doing his own work, both in his own way, and in his own time; that his wisdom, power and goodness, might appear to us, and be meditated upon by us, the more distinctly; and that he might set us an example of working six days, and resting the seventh. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/notes.ii.ii.ii.ii.html
He also believed in the global flood of Genesis 6-9. Hmm. Today's Methodist Church has signed the Clergy Letter and fully endorsed evolution! What would Wesley think about the path today's leaders are taking the church in? Poor John! All that work and care put into the beginning of the church - he broke off from the Anglican Church - and now look at it! Any wonder why it is losing members? tjguy
"It actually doesn’t matter to the United Methodist leaders what’s true"
I'm afraid you are right and I agree that this is one of the reasons the church is dying. In an effort to remain palatable and in sync with modernity, they adopt whatever theology they think will help with that regardless of what the Bible says. It is why Christianity has faded in Europe. There is nothing left to defend because they gutted Christianity of all miracles and shredded the Bible in their minds. It's no wonder their kids left the faith. There's nothing left to defend and no reason to defend it anyway. tjguy
Some of the best Pharisees and Sadduccees of our day, the United Methodist Church's leadership, should remember the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 16,“For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it." Matthew 16:25 "For they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God." John 12:43 Although Jesus promised that He would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it, the obvious conclusion is that the United Methodist Church is not Jesus' church. How sad. C Williams
Mung at 1: The flying horse (well, we think it was him or a friend of his) mentioned that in his cover note. News
...a looming war between supernaturalism on the one side and rationality on the other. If Dawkins is the best they can come up with to fight on the side of rationality the supernaturalists have nothing to fear. Mung

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