[*Note: Since this article was published, Jeri has republished the article on her website under the title, “Loss of Faith” or rather that “Destroyer of the Faith was a rehash of Loss of Faith]
On May 9, 2013, Jeri Massi wrote a blog entitled “Destroyer of the Faith” in that after the first few paragraphs of ranting about experiences in her earlier years as a fundamentalist, attempts to define the cause of departure of those who have abdicated from either fundamentalism or evangelicalism. She does offer a few good points, but then true to form, inserts her personal bias that causes the avid Bible student to take what she says with a grain of salt.
In her first attack against fundamentalists, Jeri opines that:
Fundamentalists believe in an inert, dead, random cosmos. In essence, while maintaining that they believe in Creationism, they use the evidences of atheism and an atheistic view of the universe to support their argument.
And then argues after this bullet that:
Science. This is pretty close to the first item, but I think the distinction is that Fundamentalism forces its adherents to ignore new discoveries in genetics and physics that support evolutionary theory
While Jeri does not explain how she arrives at the conclusion that fundamentalists believe in an inert, dead, random cosmos, it is laughable that she compares a fundamentalists defense of creationism to the same model used by atheists.
Atheism begins with the premise that there is no God. That fact alone is enough to discredit Jeri’s caricature of fundamentalists arguments for creation. If a fundamentalist believes that God created the universe, then it’s pretty simple to conclude that the model of debates are not synonymous among the two. Jeri may attempt to assume that arguing for creation ex nihilo is a similar model since atheistic evolution applies that same standard to gases and it’s chaos theory, but that does not mean that the egg came before the chicken anymore than fundamentalists who have always maintained this position borrowed it from atheists. I’m pretty sure Moses and Job would agree.
Nevertheless, what is stifling about Jeri’s argument is that she often cites the Bible as an authority in the majority of her writings, which would be commendable if her methods and conclusions were accurate. Yet, in this argument, she demonstrates that there are some arguments where external evidences take precedent over the Bible. So is science Jeri’s final authority? or the Bible?
It is hypocritical and inconsistent that Jeri claims to hold the Bible as the authority on spiritual matters, but then demand that fundamentalists be required to remain apprised of all the new discoveries of science that attempt to discredit creationism.
If a Christian claims to believe the Bible, and that the Bible is sufficient to explain the origins of the universe and all creation, why would it be necessary to respond to any “new” discoveries that science claims as a rebuttal to any Christian model of creationism?
The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” in the very opening statement of the scriptures. The Bible further states that God created something from nothing or the ex nihilo position (which is not only clear from the first chapter of Genesis, but also a logical deduction made from Romans 4:17). Romans 1:20 states,
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Not only does the Bible explain that the world was created, but that it was God that created it, and this fact is emphasized so much by Paul that he holds it as evidence that those who reject it are without excuse.
Moreover, the Bible says that the fool says there is no God. Psalm 14:1.
Furthermore, the Bible explicitly admonishes the believer to reject falsely so-called science. 1 Timothy 6:20.
And what is science but a man-made system of rules that define its observances. The rules of science in the humanistic sense do not permit for the existence of God to be a logical conclusion. For example, the six-step scientific method (and some argue for additional steps) can not place a miracle into a controlled environment, and then repeat the results, and therefore miracles are beyond the realm of what science can verify by its own rules. Since creation would be considered a miracle, yet can not meet the criteria for scientific observance and experimentation, it is thus rejected by the majority of the scientific community because the standard of evidence required to “prove” creation is different from say the standard of evidence required for proof in a court room.
Although science argues against faith, ultimately, the scientist must believe that his assumptions and theories are correct, which does not do much to separate it from a religion, and often serves to prove its bias.
The atheistic model of creation has at least 2 popular premises: that there was a cosmic explosion, and that there were gases and other chemicals that existed from which all life derived given billions of years to culminate.
No matter what new discovery is published, scientists of such ilk can not explain how order came from chaos, or where the chaos came from. If there was a “big bang”, where did the bang come from? If there were gases, where did the gases come from? The model of atheist evolution ultimately requires an infinite series of existing gases and bangs, none of which could ever independently exist by themselves and without any previous evidence of intelligence, somehow developed intelligence from non-intelligence and injected that into humans, animals, and then it created trees, complex DNA structures, gravity, and weather conditions conducive to creating additional life forms and sustaining all matters of life.
The atheistic model argues against an Infinite Intelligent Designer that existed for eternity, but argues for an infinite series of explosions and gases. The premises and conclusions of atheistic evolution are so illogical that it is not necessary for one who believes the Biblical explanation of creation to “keep up” with science. Following Jeri’s logic to its least common denominator, Jeri would argue for the possibility that even though she believes in the Biblical model of creation, that eventually science could refute it with some new discovery. This would demonstrate that Jeri does not have a clear conviction about the origin of the universe, which would in essence, make her an agnostic. She certainly can not claim to reprove fundamentalism according to the Bible, and then reject the Biblical explanation of creation and still claim to believe that Bible she uses to reprove fundamentalists.
Now this is where Jeri actually DOES have a valid point. It has been said by many that “I would have become a Christian had it not been for Christians”. I had a grandmother that used to say, “You may be the only Bible somebody ever reads”, and that reflects a passage that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 3:2:
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men
What is ironic though is that Jeri recently wrote an article condemning “standards” within fundamentalism, and then states:
Fundamentalists and Evangelicals live in a religion where the only way to cope with it is to go through it with one eye closed against what its own ministers and leaders are doing in direct disobedience to what Christ commanded. [Emphasis added]
Um…Jeri…could those things in which fundamentalists and evangelicals are in direct disobedience to be called STANDARDS! Perhaps the reason that fundamentalists nor evangelicals demonstrate the love of Christ nor a reflection of holiness is because they are repeatedly told by many other preachers and bloggers that Christianity has no “do’s and don’ts” in it, and when arguing so vehemently against standards, it leaves people wondering if there is any objective standard in which to evaluate the life of a believer from knowing what is sin, and what type of behaviors to avoid. If there are none, then everything is permissible, and if everything is permissible, then is it really the fault of the person who acts no different from the rest of the world for doing what nothing prohibits him/her from doing?
You can argue that “well, Jesus is our example, just ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ'”. As true as that statement is, it neglects the pragmatic and practical applications of how that is implemented throughout the Bible. Those applications are often found on what fundamentalists call “standards”.
Granted, there is room for justified criticism of fundamentalists that invent man-made rules (Mark 7:13) based upon adiaphora, but over all the standards preached within fundamentalism are legitimate, and hypocrisy is a result of rebelling against those standards. Paul said that God foreordained us unto good works (Eph 2:10). Although works are not a requirement to be saved, you can not confuse justification with sanctification. Works are a compliment to faith and demonstrate its validity (James 2:10-23), they are not an enemy of living by faith unless a person relies on them to be justified before God.
Thus, I can not criticize Jeri for rightly pointing out that far too often the biggest obstacle to Christianity are Christians.
However, in this analysis, even though hypocrisy can be listed as a REASON for abdicating ones faith, it is not a legitimate EXCUSE for rejecting it. Jesus Christ is not responsible for the actions of hypocrites, and ultimately, He will judge their hypocrisy whether here in this life or the other side of heaven. 1 Timothy 5:24. Should Christians demonstrate good works so that men may see the difference and glorify God? Yes. Matthew 5:16, but every man shall give an account of themselves to God (Romans 14:12) and whether at the judgment seat of Christ, or the Great White Throne judgment, no Christian or unbeliever will be excused for their actions based upon the hypocrisy of another person.
God has revealed enough of Himself and offered enough evidence for what Jesus Christ did through the cross, and how to live as a Christian, that one can live a victorious Christian life pleasing to God regardless of what actions others take that are contrary to scripture.
When I was a teenager, I worked part-time in a restaurant. There were standards and rules for preparing the food, and there were many that for the sake of production concerns, “cut corners”. This often resulted in many complaints and even though it was a reflection of the franchise, that did not mean that I had to compromise my ability to prepare the food the way it should be done because others cut corners. I had the choice of either cutting corners myself, or following the codes that were in effect to make sure that the customer had a healthy and pleasant dining experience.
Eventually, the management were able to determine who was cutting corners and terminated them (a lesson that fundamentalists could practice), and the customers often requested that I prepare their meals. I was able to keep customers coming back to the restaurant, because even though there were some that gave the franchise a bad name, there were a few that refused to cut corners.
Those who did not like the corner cutters could make the choice of blaming them and never coming back, or they could realize that there were employees that did not cut corners and strived to provide a good product and continue their patronage.
That’s not a perfect analogy, but there are Christians in fundamentalism that continue to strive to present Christ in a Biblical manner, and fundamentalism as a whole should not be boycotted and vilified because of the few corner cutters.
While I do not consider Jeri Massi to be of the same ilk as many of those I criticize on here or as egregious in her methods as many other so-called advocates, there remains many fatal flaws in her hermeneutics and in her caricatures of fundamentalism, and the article at issue here is just one small example of that.