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You a Christian? Well then, October 23 is your BIG day! Or so the Toronto Star reporter thought …

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Last Saturday afternoon, I was working quietly in my office, when the phone rang. I recognized the number of course (416 367-2000) – the Toronto Star has had that number about as long as I can remember. A reporter wanted to know what Christians were planning to do to celebrate October 23.

October 23? Well, in my tradition, that’s the feast of the saintly John Capistrano, but I don’t expect everyone to know. I didn’t myself, until I looked it up.

It turned out that the reporter had learned that a 17th century Irish archbishop Ussher had methodically dated the origin of the world to this date about six thousand years ago. And, given that I was a “fundamentalist author”, he was sure I could tell him about the big celebrations to be expected today … 

I pointed out, of course, that describing me as a fundamentalist author was the Toronto Star’s mistake in the first place. Repetition, even into millions of copies, does not turn a Catholic into a fundamentalist, or a person who thinks the Earth is billions of years old into someone who thinks it is thousands of years old.. No matter. To the best of my knowledge, young earth creationists (the accurate term for people who think that the earth is only thousands, not billions of years old) do not treat Ussher’s chronology as a form of prophecy. (Ussher wrote before modern geology had contributed much to a discussion of the age of the Earth. He relied on genealogy, not geology, to work out his figures but Biblical genealogies probably feature gaps. As I pointed out in By Design or by Chance?, the serious young earthers use geology and paleontology now.

Anyway, I pointed out that Orthodox Jews (not Christians) use a dating system based on the assumption that the Earth is only about 6000 years old. In that case, today is 11 Cheshvan 5768. Why not research that? I suggested. I wonder what he eventually did …

But you know, his idea is a good one in principle …. Happy Creation to all of you out there! Glad you’re here!

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The whole issue is that some people treat the affirmations of past writers as authoritative even when they reflect the limited knowledge of their time... For now, at present, we have transcendent knowledge that is unlimited by the philosophies and religions of those who know it? Actually I expect a more transcendent perspective from a professor of religion or philosophy but instead your arguments are contradictory. If even great minds are so limited by their context that they can only be trusted in so far as one focuses on how their texts were produced or why they may have produced them rather than what they actually said then there's no reason to read what you're saying. You are assigning yourself a transcendent perspective without reason. Basically it seems to be this: "From up here with my knowledge of progress and the progress of knowledge, I see that past writers have no authority." But given the supposed inevitability of progress the bits of knowledge typical to progressives may only last until the next generation rebels against it. I would actually tend to believe an ancient writer claiming transcendence openly and honestly or a physicist claiming to come to knowledge about the Mind of God and the like over the self-refuting nonsense typical to those who only believe in Progress and the Darwinian creation myth that suits it. Ironically one day you will be a past writer and if the Darwinian creation myth crumbles as it may thanks to progress then perhaps your texts will reflect the "limited knowledge of your time." mynym
The question is not whether Newton, or anyone in earlier times, was or was not a young earther. So what if people in the past, before we had much of the data currently available, believed this or that? The author of Genesis 1 believed that there was a dome over the earth with waters above it, into which the various lights were set. Like the Enuma Elish, he believed that God created a habitable sphere by splitting the waters and setting limits on them above and below. His key difference from the Enuma Elish (one of many) was that he believed this happened without struggle, because there is one God who is alone sovereign. Why anyone would use the argument that great minds of the past, living before the discovery of radioactive dating methods and other relevant science data, believed certain things about the age or shape of the earth, is beyond me. The whole issue is that some people treat the affirmations of past writers as authoritative even when they reflect the limited knowledge of their time, while others seek to be faithful to the method of these earlier authors - whether Newton, the author of Genesis, or many others - and relate our faith in God to the current state of our scientific knowledge. ReligionProf
He relied on genealogy, not geology,
To better say it, he relied on the testemony of Him Who was there when the world started, not on uniformitarianistic geology.
to work out his figures but Biblical genealogies probably feature gaps.
Or probably not.
As I pointed out in By Design or by Chance?, the serious young earthers use geology and paleontology now.
Yes, and they remain young earthers. Mats
On another note, technically the current Judaen Calendar on the internet is not biblical, but Rabbinic traditions established later thru the authority of the Talmud. Biblically, thru the Torah, the date is established by harvest time in relation to the state of flax and barley. The Toronto reporter did need to be informed. I remember Jon Stuart Leibowitz lambasting Christian conservatives at the Smithsonian for not eating shellfish, believing in the Bible. This showed ignorance on many levels. Either he was ignorant of his own history and Jewish customs, or he intentionally attacked Christians, not knowing the writings of Paul. In todays climate, it is quite fashionable to attack Christians for all problems these days, almost as popular as attacking the President. The snark levels are enjoyed by those who like to look down on anyone they think unmodern or outdated. What a small-minded existence. Michaels7
religprof... Issac Newton, serious young earther. The day you accomplish half of what Newton did, come back and snark all you want. Meanwhile, I am certain that todays shuttle astronauts are glad he was around. Michaels7
This is what happens when you try to make determinations of Christian doctrine and holy days through wnd.com (WND Ussher Ad). It's a combination of lazyness and willful ignorance on the part of the Toronto Star. It has nothing to do with dispensationalism. Apollos
Serious young earthers? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Much like "rational materialist." Apollos
Mrs. O'Leary, I don't know how familiar you are with the various schools of thought within Christendom. However, the "dispensational" school would suggest that this is a significant day in history -- not any day, but potentially the day of the rapture. The dispensationalists have figured out that the history of the earth is divided up into 7 nice little thousand-year packets. The end of the sixth one should be today. The seventh should be the millennium. Though dispensationalism is a significant interpretation within protestant circles, it is not a sufficiently core view to produce noticeable celebration or anxiety on this day. In any case, I presume that that's where the Toronto Star got its wizzardly insight into the Christian perspective. ReligionProf -- Young earthers are very serious about their beliefs. Seriousness and correctness aren't necessarily all that tightly correlated. Further, when you focus your reading on the YEC propoganda, the case looks surprisingly good. bFast
Serious young earthers? Isn't that an oxymoron? ReligionProf
Mrs. O'Leary, You should have asked the reporter if the "Star" was still a "communist" publication practicing "yellow journalism". "Star was frequently criticized for practicing the yellow journalism of its era. For decades, the paper included heavy doses of crime and sensationalism, ... Beginning in the mid-1950s, the Star sought increased respectability by elevating professional standards and avoiding the sensational excesses of the past." (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Star ) Sounds like The Star still has some "elevating" to do to be seen as a serious and trustworthy publication. rockyr

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