EDITOR'S NOTE:  I created this site, CreationCrisis.com, which debunks young-earth creationism, along with the site OriginScience.com and the ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART
while I was still a struggling Christian.  I eventually abandoned the faith and am now an atheist.  However, BOTH SITES REMAIN UNCHANGED, except for the ads.   My new site is here.










Modern science has completely debunked the concepts of a "young" earth and a young universe.  To the utter dismay of many Christians, the evidences for an extremely OLD earth and an even older universe are absolutely overwhelming.
Those who continue teaching Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), as if it were absolute truth, are setting people up for great disillusionment, when they eventually discover that multiple fields of science completely destroy the notions of a young earth and a young universe.
Increasing numbers of formerly committed Christians are walking away from the faith after discovering that what they always believed was ABSOLUTE TRUTH has been proven completely FALSE.
This website was created by a lifetime Young-Earth Creationist (non-scientist) who came in contact with indisputable evidence for an OLD earth and an older universe, and who almost became one of these "walk-away" statistics.
Modern DNA research, among other evidence, is presenting enormous challenges for the traditional understanding of Creationism and for the literal understanding of Scripture, especially the literal understanding of Genesis chapters 1-11 (Creation through the Flood).
There are NO EASY ANSWERS!  There is no intellectually honest way to read Genesis 1-11 as literal and easily reconcile it with modern science.  There are huge questions that still need to be answered, and research continues often with mixed results and confusing conclusions.   

Whether you like it or not, here are your basic options:

1.)  Take a literal perspective of Genesis 1-11, and defend the Young-Earth Creationist perspective by using excuses, half-truths, and distorted science.  Ignore and/or dispute everything that disagrees with your view. 
2.)  Take a literal perspective of Genesis 1-11, and defend the Young-Earth Creationist perspective based NOT on a distortion of modern science, but rather by FAITH that the view may one day be vindicated by science in the future.  Choose not to argue against modern scientific findings, which prove conclusively (to the degree anything can be proven) that the earth and the universe are in fact billions of years old.  ...At least this "philosophical" approach is intellectually honest, in that it is non-scientific, so it cannot be seen as deceitful
which is how the rest of the world views most Young-Earth Creationists.  This view does not debate modern science.  It merely appeals to the supremacy of a traditional (YEC) understanding of Scripture, without involving science at all.
3.)  Take a literal or semi-literal perspective of Genesis 1-11, realizing the TRUE understanding (that is, God's intended meaning) may be deeper than the most obvious reading of the text.  Recognize there may be huge gaps in the biblical genealogies, perhaps greatly extending the period between the time of Adam and present day.  Seek to reconcile the biblical text with an intellectually honest study of modern science, knowing that it may take longer than your lifetime to do so, as research continues; and knowing that along the way, there will be many findings which even the most objective scientists will interpret as evidence against biblical Creation.  Determine to hold on to your FAITH
in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and in the Bible as the authoritative Word of God despite the intellectual struggle that may continue for the rest of your life. 
This path could ultimately lead toward an Old-Earth Creationist view, where the "days" of Creation are understood to have been very long periods of time; or it could lead toward a view known as Theistic Evolution, whereby the natural process of evolution is understood to have been started (and possibly guided) by God with perhaps some direct, miraculous intervention and/or "special Creation" by God during the process. 
Any perspective of Creation or evolution which involves God makes the assumption that there is a God.  Obviously, secular evolutionists do not make this assumption and do not believe God was "required" for evolution to occur.  Some theistic evolutionists believe the "seeds" of evolution were present in the Big Bang, and that God allowed the process to continue from there, essentially left alone.  Other theistic evolutionists believe (in varying degrees) that God was involved throughout the entire (supposed) evolutionary process.  A number of theistic evolutionists actually interpret the Creation processes described in Genesis as being "evolutionary" in nature, rather than "sudden creation," as the Creation process is traditionally understood to have happened.   
4.)  Take a non-literal perspective of Genesis 1-11, and consider the stories recorded in that portion of Scripture from Creation to the Flood to be "biblical myths" or allegory, rather than a literal, historical record.  Accept science for whatever it appears to be communicating at the time, whether that leans more toward Theistic Evolution (by virtue of the fact that, as a Christian, you assume God was somehow involved), Old-Earth Creationism, or some other theory of origins. 
5.)  Consider the mounting evidences for evolution to be the death knell of Christianity.  Walk away from the faith and free your mind from the constraints of biblical thinking.
If you're aware of another option, please let us know, so it can be added here.  

If you're still a Young-Earther, PLEASE keep reading.  The good part's coming...

Many committed Christians hold views 1, 3, and 4.  Finding anyone who holds view 2 Young-Earth Creationism from a purely philosophical standpoint, without any twisting of science is a tall order.  A large segment of Christians hold view 1, without even realizing they're defending Young-Earth Creationism with bad science, because they were indoctrinated into believing it from childhood, and they've defended it for as long as they can remember. 
A growing number of Christians adhere to view 4.  They take a non-literal perspective of Genesis 1-11.  This requires a person to reinterpret a narrative that appears to be a literal, historical, biographical record, and turn it into something more symbolic or allegorical.  This is not easy to do, but many of today's Christians feel somewhat forced into this position
because a literal or semi-literal reading of the text is essentially NOT reconcilable with modern science, at least not at the present moment.  If a person can say that Genesis 1-11 is not meant to be read literally or historically, then he or she can follow science wherever it leads and completely ignore what would otherwise be perceived as a diametrically opposing view in the Genesis record.  Some consider this view intellectually dishonest because there are many indications in the text, including genealogies, which point to an intended meaning that is literal and historical. These individuals reject a non-literal (allegorical) interpretation, leaving only one other possibility for a person who intends to "keep the faith."
The final alternative view 3 can be summed up as essentially committing to potentially-life-long cognitive dissonance.  That is, holding two seemingly opposing beliefs at the same time.  When you commit to a literal or at least semi-literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11, and you also commit to absolute intellectual honesty in your study of science, then you can expect to spend as long as the rest of your life struggling between the two.  This will inevitably involve periods of confusion, serious questions and even doubts about the Christian faith and the Word upon which our faith is based. 
Among those who seek to honestly contend with modern science, while interpreting Genesis chapters 1-11 as being literal or semi-literal, some have made the decision to go one way or the other toward Theistic Evolution or Old-Earth Creationism.  Others are still carefully considering the evidence and withholding judgment until the case for either view becomes more clear and compelling.
Among Old-Earth Creationists (OECs), the vast majority adhere, albeit loosely, to the teachings of Hugh Ross and the ministry of
Reasons to Believe (RTB).  While neither this site nor this author is in any way affiliated with Reasons to Believe, the RTB Creation Model, as it has come to be known, will be dealt with at length, because it is most representative of Old-Earth Creationists around the world. 
The RTB Creation Model, as outlined in the 2006 book, Creation Science: A Testable Model to End the Creation/Evolution Wars, presents a theory of Creation that differs significantly from evolution (or Theistic Evolution, which is basically the same, from a scientific perspective). 
On the pages linked below, we'll look at the similarities and differences between the two primary choices available for Christians who seek the truth and have not yet concluded which view they believe to be most convincing: Theistic Evolution or Old-Earth Creationism. 
Incidentally, both of these views also generally fall under the category of Intelligent Design (ID), which is the belief that no matter how the universe and life came into being, all signs point to a designer.  (Though many theistic evolutionists do not agree with all the presuppositions of the Intelligent Design Movement.)  It should be said from the start that the intent of this site is NOT to convince you which view is correct, especially since this author himself is not convinced one way or the other. 
My apologies for not introducing myself before now.  My name is Mark Bradford.  I am not a scientist, and I hold no degrees of any kind.  My background is in real estate, and I now operate a web-related business.  I'm in my mid-thirties, married with three sons.  I grew up in very conservative Christian home, and was educated from grammar school through graduation using A Beka Book curriculum (enrolled in A Beka Video School [now A Beka Academy] from 7th through 12th grade).  A Beka is a division of Pensacola Christian College, one of the most conservative Christian institutions in America (akin to Bob Jones), where the King James Bible and Young-Earth Creationism provide the foundation for learning. 
Until just a year or two ago, I was a die-hard YEC, and like other good YECs, I used every piece of pseudoscience available to defend the view.  Then one day I was confronted head on with the fact that the stars we see in the night sky are not seen in "real time."  What we see in the night sky is actually starlight that had to travel  light years to reach earth. 
The majority of stars in existence are 1-10 billion years old.  Most stars viewable with the naked eye are in our own Milky Way Galaxy, and are 2,500 - 5,000 light years away, meaning their light had to travel for 2,500 - 5,000 years to reach us.
But that's only the beginning...


The farthest object viewable with the naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), which can be seen from earth on exceptionally dark, clear nights without the aid of a telescope.  It is 2.5 million light years away.  
the light from Andromeda had to travel 2.5 million years to be visible from earth. 




Below is a picture of an exploding SUPERNOVA (dubbed 1987A).  It was taken in 1987 by the Hubble Space Telescope. 
A SUPERNOVA is a dying star that explodes brightly as bright as 100 million suns for a period of months, before beginning to fade away forever.
This supernova actually exploded 170,000 years ago.  The light from the SUPERNOVA explosion didn't reach earth until 1987, when it was visible with the naked eye.



This is another exploding SUPERNOVA (dubbed 1997ff).  The images below were taken between 1995 and 1997 by the Hubble Space Telescope. 
A SUPERNOVA is a dying star that explodes brightly as bright as 100 million suns for a period of months, before beginning to fade away forever.
This supernova actually exploded 10 billion years ago.  The light from this explosion took 10 billion years to reach earth.
More info here.



The images below of QUASARS were also taken with the Hubble Space Telescope.  
They are 1.4 2.2 billion light years from earth, meaning it took over a billion years for their light to reach us.


"When seen through ground-based telescopes, these compact, enigmatic light sources resemble stars, yet they are billions of light-years away and several hundred billion times brighter than normal stars. Astronomers believe that a quasar turns on when a massive black hole at the nucleus of a galaxy feeds on gas and stars. As the matter falls into the black hole, intense radiation is emitted. Eventually, the black hole will stop emitting radiation once it consumes all nearby matter. Then it needs debris from a collision of galaxies or another process to provide more fuel."  HubbleSite.org


The images below are shots of another QUASAR, known as 3C 273
This quasar is approximately 2 billion light years away, and is viewable with an amateur telescope.  So, from your home, you can actually see an object in space whose light took 2 billion years to reach earth literally as if you were looking back in time 2 billion years.
So if this quasar had burned out a billion years ago, we wouldn't SEE IT BURN OUT until another billion years from now!

The oldest Young-Earth Creationist (YEC) argument is that God created the world with the appearance of age, and therefore He could have placed the stars in the sky approximately six thousand years ago, and made it "seem like" it took millions or billions of years for the light to reach us.  Some YECs believe the speed of light was once much faster, and that it has slowed down to its current speed. 
These arguments sound somewhat valid on the surface from a FAITH perspective at least.  But once you get below the surface and consider all the ramifications of such arguments, it becomes almost impossible NOT to see them as complete nonsense.  There's just no other honest conclusion, no matter how you look at it.
Young-Earth Creationists keep coming up with new hypotheses, and down the chain of YECs, everyone refers back to some "new explanation."  But ultimately, none of their theories hold water. 
When pressed, they always revert back to the same argument that they will hold to what they believe the Bible teaches, NO MATTER WHAT science concludes. 
The nonsense arguments are really designed to make themselves feel better about denying reality, because they believe their FAITH forces them to do so. 
I know because I was a Young-earth Creationist and defended the view wholeheartedly all my life.  I had never once objectively studied science for what it was really saying.  I kept my eyes and ears closed, so I couldn't "be deceived."  When I finally opened them, it nearly destroyed my faith.
When you discover that multiple fields of science, from geology to astrophysics, conclusively disprove Young-Earth Creationism, you realize it must be a lie, whether you like it or not.


"If the earth is only about 10,000 years old (Young Earth view), then how is it we see stars five billion light years away?  [A light year is a measure of distance, indicating the DISTANCE light travels in one year.]  It would imply at least a five-billion year-old universe.  Some people have proposed that the speed of light has been slowing down.
Most physicists would scoff at the idea that light is slowing down.  Many vital relationships depend on a constant speed of light.  The most familiar is E=mc
2.  If light were twice as fast in the time of Abraham, the sun would incinerate life."
Ralph O. Muncaster, author, Christian apologist, and university professor; excerpt from Examine the Evidence: Creation vs. Evolution


"...Of course, there are many creationists who argue for an old earth [Old-Earth Creationists].  Biblically, this is the position that the word day is used for more than twenty-four hours.  Even in Genesis 2:4, the events of the sixth day surely took more than twenty-four hours, and Hebrews 4:4-5 implies that God is still in His seventh-day rest.  If the seventh day can be long, then the others could too. 
Scientifically, this view does not require any novel theories to explain the evidence.  One of the biggest problems for the young earth view is in astronomy.  We can see light from stars that took 15 billion years to get here.  [Current indications are that the Big Bang took place approximately 13.7 billion ago, but the number varies to approx. 15 billion.  Most stars in existence are 1-10 billion years old, though some are over 13 billion years old.]   To say that God created them with the appearance of age does not satisfy the question of how their light reached us. 
We have watched star explosions that happened billions of years ago, but if the universe is not billions of years old, then we are seeing light from stars that never existed because they would have died before Creation.  
Why would God deceive us with the evidence? The old earth view seems to fit the evidence better and causes no problem with the Bible."
Dr. Norman Geisler, author, Christian apologist, and university professor;  excerpt from When Skeptics Ask


"...A young-universe creationist is in a very difficult spot. If he holds that God created the light in transit, he also has to hold that we have no way of knowing that anything further than 10,000 light years away actually exists. We can't see it. We're not seeing it; we're seeing an image that God created in transit. The light from it won't reach us for a billion years.
You see, the argument from young-earthers regarding star light is that God not only created the galaxies in deep space, but He also created all the light between that star and earth. This is why we can see them now even though the universe is young.
My question is, how do you know the stars are really there? You don't see the light of anything that existed. You're seeing an image created in transit of an event watch this that never took place.
If all we're seeing is an image that God created in transit, then the only way we're going to see the actual thing that exists is if we wait around another billion years for the light of the actual star to reach us. Who of us believes the Lord will tarry that long? Not a billion years. Which means we'll never see it, will we? We'll never see what God actually created, not the thing itself..."
"...Let me give you an illustration. Astronomers looking through their telescopes see a supernova explosion a billion light years away. (Supernova is when a star explodes and sends its material spewing out into space.) What exist now, at this moment, are the random bits of the old star which, allegedly, is the condition God actually created six to ten thousand years ago.
What this means is that the star the astronomers saw explode never existed. The supernova never happened. This seems to suggest that God created the illusion of the universe and not the universe itself, because that which allegedly exists, we will never see. That which allegedly exists, we'll never see, and that which we actually see never existed.
If that's the case, then I think it's fair to ask ourselves what else we think exists, but doesn't? How much more of the world is just an illusion created by God? How do we know what is real and what is not?..." 
Greg Koukl, author, Christian apologist, and President of Stand to Reason; excerpt from article: Starlight & the Age of the Universe


Tom (W.T.) Bridgman, Ph.D., a Christian astrophysicist has created a (personal) site dedicated to debunking YEC claims regarding the speed of light and its relationship to the age of the universe.  His site also includes links to prominent YEC 'speed of light' argument sites. 
Dr. Bridgman's articles deal with an attempt by creationist Barry Setterfield to solve the problem of seeing galaxies billions of light years away (in what young-earth creationists believe to be a 6,000 year-old universe), which states that the speed of light was much faster in the not-too-distant past.
'Issues on Barry Setterfield's Claims of a Recently Decaying Speed of Light, 2nd Edition' (DRAFT)
by W.T. Bridgman, Ph.D.
An analysis of the implications of a rapidly changing speed of light.
Online here
"Creationists advocating that the speed of light has changed rapidly in recent history seem to avoid dealing with these problems even though it takes no more than basic calculus to demonstrate it."

Tom (W.T.) Bridgman, Ph.D., Astrophysicist
 Scientific arguments online here

This realization the truth about starlight drove me to dig deeper.  I went from hard-core Young-Earth Creationist (YEC) to Old-Earth Creationist (OEC), and then to where I am today, torn between Old-Earth / Day-Age Creationism (OEC) and Theistic Evolutionist (TE).

In fact, I setup this website
CreationCrisis.com and the associated site OriginScience.com as much as an exercise to help me get my own thoughts in order and find some sense of "clarity in the midst of confusion," as it was to help others going through the same struggle.  And the overarching purpose is to send a message to the Church at large that unless we collectively take our heads out of the sand and stop pretending that we don't have a SERIOUS problem, we'll lose more disillusioned Christians to atheism (and many more to a stagnant faith), while preparing a whole new crop of young people for the same experience thus perpetuating the problem. 

...We'll continue appearing to be "liars for Jesus" spouting fake arguments in defense of a bogus theory, and we'll neglect to devote the manpower and resources necessary to expand research and accelerate the gathering of honest answers and evidence needed to bring science and the Bible into reconciliation if that is at all possible this side of eternity.  Not to mention that by failing to confront the issue and/or continuing to teach "bad science," we also alienate many individuals who might otherwise consider placing their faith in Christ.

So...  Keep the faith and follow the science!  The two must not be mutually exclusive!
God certainly doesn't expect us to DENY the applicability of universal natural laws, observable in the world today as Young-Earth Creationists believe they must do, in order to defend the strictest interpretation of Genesis.  
Nor does God expect us to treat His Word as a science book, preventing us from acknowledging clear science and investigating all aspects of our wonderful universe.  If God is God, He can most definitely handle our exploration and discovery of His world!
Just a thought...  But I find it very relieving (in the face of atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris screaming for the extinction of religion) to think that God already warned us what would happen!
Jesus even uttered these somewhat chilling words:
"When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Biblical prophecies of the 'end-times' include:
- an increase in knowledge
- an increase in scoffers against Christianity
- an increase in false teachers
- an increase in ungodliness and wickedness
- a Great Falling Away (apostasy)
- a new world order ushering in the reign of the anti-Christ 
- such deception that even the very elect would be deceived, if that were possible

If the existence of God and/or His divine Creation of the universe (through whatever means) could be PROVEN, then the prophesied end-time events would most likely NEVER take place because there would probably never be such a great loss of faith, as there would have to be for "the whole world" to be deceived, which the Bible teaches will eventually happen.
So, I have to remind myself that if God is God, He KNEW all along that with an increase in knowledge and scientific advances the world would eventually come to BELIEVE that the record of Scripture could not possibly be true, in light of what the evidence seems to be indicating.  (This doesn't mean we deny the evidence, but we certainly must not deny God in the process!)
God allowed the entire Jewish nation His chosen people to be deceived when Christ arrived on earth, in order to fulfill His plans and make salvation available to the entire human race.  If the record of Scripture is true, God has allowed outright CONFUSION to reign among His people numerous times, often apparently as a test of their faith.
Can I defend God's actions?  No, I can't.  God is God, and I don't understand most of what He chooses to do.  I wish He made everything abundantly clear!  But He seems to operate often in the realm of mystery, and He clearly seems to test the faith of His followers on a regular basis.  So we might as well get used to it! 

PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A SHOCK actually a few of them.
Or, you can just skip this very controversial section altogether, and jump to the science research info below (Origin Views Comparison Chart, research links, etc.).
A little about where I'm coming from...

You're probably familiar with the old saying about coming to peace with reality by accepting the absolute worst case scenario and then reality doesn't seem so bad... 
Well, that's what I did to find peace in the struggle between faith and facts. After living in fear of losing my faith for some time, and peering into the abyss of atheism (as it appeared to me to be), I decided I would prefer to be a potentially self-deluded Christian than to become an atheist.  Once I came to this realization, I no longer cared (at least not nearly as much) about the possibility that Christianity just might not be true. 
We all want certainty.  We want to KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Bible is the Word of God, and that Christianity is the TRUTH.  But as atheist voices get louder and louder, and as they ardently strive to prove the Bible is fallible (or that it is completely wrong when it comes to origins); we can either tune them out, or listen in fear.  Or we can decide that it just doesn't matter.
I chose that third option.  I realized I didn't want to walk away from Jesus.  He's been my best friend all my life.  He's the one I talk to about everything.  And when I realized I would lose Jesus if I walked away from my faith not to mention the hope of eternal life I realized I just didn't want to! 
I realized that God's 'rules' are designed as much for our protection as for His glory, and that atheism could potentially lead to a life of hedonism (living for sinful pleasures), since the protective boundaries of His Word would no longer govern my life.  Since this could potentially destroy my life, as well as the lives of my wife and children, why would I want it?!  Of course, there are some 'moral' atheists.  But personally, I know I NEED God, especially since my basic morality is derived from the principles and precepts of His Word.  If the absolute worst-case scenario proved true, and in the end, there was no God, I still believe I and my family would be better in just about every way for having followed Christ. 
Once you get to that point, the attacks on your faith won't have nearly the impact they once did.  At least, that was my experience.  This perspective is a bit strange.  Christians and non-Christians alike may find it easy to criticize.  I understand that.  Not everyone will see this view as rational.  But I'm trying to be completely honest about where I've ended up in this struggle.  And yet there are still other issues involved...
Atheists would note that among the other 'seemingly-unpleasant' attributes of God (as He is revealed in the Old Testament especially) that we 'do harm to society' by promoting a 'religion of fear,' with our message that the entire world of non-believers is going to burn in Hell for all eternity, especially when we can't PROVE that God even exists.  I used to preach that message on a regular basis.  But then I came to realize, through various ministries, that there are about as many Scriptures describing Hell as being a place of everlasting punishment, as there are describing Hell as being a place of ETERNAL DESTRUCTION.
Now I have peace in believing that God is a fair Judge.  And my personal conviction is that the unsaved will not be tormented eternally.  I believe they will receive due punishment for their sins in Hell after the Great White Throne Judgment and that they will then be destroyed ETERNALLY in the Lake of Fire.
This teaching is called 'conditional immortality' or annihilationism.  Most evangelicals believe that ALL SOULS ARE ETERNAL.  I no longer believe this is the case.  I did for most of my life, and it was a tough decision to change perspectives.  But I decided to go with what I now believe to be true.  I believe this view is much more in line with the nature of God, although there is still great resistance to it in the Church. 
My point is NOT to change your mind about whether or not God intends to torture or burn people eternally.  My point is to explain that when this aspect of God's nature which atheists find abhorrent is removed from the message we preach, then Christianity no longer seems like a religion based on the FEAR of everlasting torment.  That's pretty important...
Here's a link to a PDF document discussing this view of Hell.  I found it quite helpful myself.
So I see God differently now...  I see the Bible as an inspired, authoritative book, and the supreme authority for my life.  But I don't worry about defending the inerrancy of Scripture, because if I want to look at lists of supposed contradictions and other problematic issues, I can find them and suddenly be filled with fear and doubt.  Or I can accept that while God inspired His Word, He didn't remove 'fallible humanity' from the biblical writers.  We can blame every perceived problem in Scripture on 'transcription errors,' but that can only go so far.
God didn't drop a perfect book from the sky.  If you study the history and canonicity of the Bible (how all 66 books became what we now call the Bible), it's a pretty scary story.  Even the great Martin Luther said he thought James, Revelation, and a few other books probably didn't even belong in Scripture, believe it or not!  And we walk around pretending we just watched God himself write every word and hand the book to us personally.  In reality, it's not quite that simple.
No matter what, the message of God's redeeming love is clearly revealed in His Word.  The message of salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life, through His Son Jesus Christ is clear.  The guidelines we are to live by are fairly clear, although many passages can be interpreted a dozen different ways.  So we don't exactly have PERFECT answers for every question we face in our lives.  We must struggle through many, many issues, while maintaining our faith in the God of the Bible.  
Christianity is often presented as a nice, neat, perfect little package that we open up and live out for the rest of our lives like a fairy tale.  But in reality, Christianity can be pretty messy.  The Bible came together in a messy way.  Many passages don't seem to blend well with other passages, and we're left HOPING we can figure out what God actually meant, while other groups of Christians come to entirely different conclusions.
We can PRETEND everything makes perfect sense that we have the answers for every question, and that we can reconcile every verse in the bible with the rest of them.  But personally, I'm tired of pretending.  I 'pretended' for a good part of my life.  But when I began trying to evangelize and interact with atheists about issues related to Christianity, I realized I was lying to myself, and simply putting on a front. 
Atheists can't stand dishonesty. They absolutely despise us for that more than anything else.  Believe me, it's true.  And you might ask, "Why on earth would we care what atheists think?"  Well, to a lesser degree, this observation is true for all non-Christians.  They're sick of Christian hypocrisy and pretense.  But if we're transparently honest, instead of putting up a front, they see us for who we are, and they can at least respectfully disagree with us; instead of being revoltingly disgusted with our attitude of self-righteousness, and the pretense of 'having it all figured out,' when they know in reality, our deepest hearts would tell an entirely different story.  
We're taught in most Christian churches to basically 'hold the line' on everything we believe, to keep up the facade of a 'perfect religion,' as it were.  God may be perfect.  I believe He is, even though many of His actions recorded in Scripture completely bewilder me.  But the Bible and the Christianity we live out is NOT a perfect, neat little package that always makes perfect sense.  It would be nice if this were the case, but it isn't. 
Once we realize we'll have to struggle through this life, trying to make sense of things that sometimes don't make sense, I think we have a much better chance of finding true peace.  When we stop having to CONVINCE OURSELVES that the Bible is 100% inerrant and infallible, then we can stop worrying about the next list of 'Bible contradictions and errors' that might come across our path.  Because if you think you can overcome every possible argument against the inerrancy of Scripture, you'll probably end up having to LIE to do it.  I just got tired of pretending (and actually lying to myself and others) to make my faith PERFECT enough to meet impossible standards.
God could have dropped a perfect book from Heaven.  He didn't.  He let us argue and fight for centuries even to figure out which books should make up the Bible.  And there are still passages like a chunk in Mark 16 that we conclude 'probably' never should have been included...  Like I said, it's messy.
When I removed the standard of 'absolute perfection' from the Bible and my Christian faith, I found I could honestly live with it, not having to worry about the next attack on my faith, which was probably just around the corner.  If you need a PERFECT faith, you may want to spend the rest of your life in a cave somewhere just you and Jesus and your Bible.  Otherwise, you could end up walking away (as many people have) after one too many attacks on your faith.
As I said, I still believe the Bible is authoritative and inspired by God.  The Bible is my supreme authority, because I believe it is God's Word.  I believe Jesus is Lord.  By faith, I trust Him for eternal life.  I seek to obey Him.  I believe fornication, adultery, and homosexual behavior are all sins in the eyes of God.  I believe God hates divorce.  I believe idolatry, murder, lying, stealing, cheating, coveting, and other ungodly behaviors described in the Bible are all sinful. 
I believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis may or may not be literal.  The book may have been compiled as a collection of stories, written in such a way that the average Hebrew would understand, rather than as a science text explaining the exact formation of the universe and all living things stories that may have been passed down for centuries, before being transcribed by Moses.  I simply don't know.  But I trust that God can handle my not knowing.  I trust in Him by faith.  I follow His Word, and I struggle through life wishing I could 'rise above' like the Joel Osteens of this world, but ultimately believing that isn't at all what God actually promised in His Word.
I guess I can't say it strongly enough: I see the Christian life as an ongoing struggle.  I see the Bible as a book I can trust, when I take the Old Testament in the context it is meant to be taken, and when I see the New Testament as my primary guidebook on Christian living under the New Covenant and when I stop expecting perfection regarding my ability to overcome all biblical criticism, and to reconcile every passage with every other passage, and every passage with modern science, etc.
Between 3,500 and nearly 2,000 years ago, God used fallible men to create a book made up of 66 books in order to convey His message to mankind.  I must accept that for what it is, and for what is is not. 
[ 4/30/08 Update:  Since much of what I wrote above sounds like a (perhaps unwarranted) attack on the reliability of Scripture which can be especially offensive to fundamentalist Christians I wanted to include some research links related to this very controversial issue.  Bart Ehrman was a faithful Christian man who graduated from Moody Bible Institute years ago (where I spent a little over a semester myself).  After discovering 'Scriptural reliability' issues he was unaware of until his studies at Moody, Bart painstakingly researched the ancient biblical texts and made some startling discoveries that eventually led him to abandon the faith.  I recently became aware of Dr. Ehrman and his research through a newsletter I receive.  What he has uncovered about the original texts of Scripture is extremely discouraging to say the least, and could potentially destroy anyone's faith.  My own faith was once again rocked as I read about his findings.  But since I don't want to abandon the faith, I try to keep my eyes open to reality, while keeping my heart open to God.  Here are the Biblical Reliability Research Links I've gathered.  If you choose to read this information, please proceed with caution and prayer!  Eternity is a very long time to be wrong that's what I keep reminding myself!  Still hoping to die with my faith intact! ]
I wake up each morning hoping to live out my Christian faith in reliance upon my Father, hoping and praying that He will continue to build my faith and increase my understanding of His Word (and the world around me).  I desire to be in the center of His will, and I want my life to count for eternity.  I want to help bring people into a right relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. 
But I can't do any of that if I'm spending all my time stressed out about whether or not I can prove the Bible is inerrant, or whether or I not I can prove the existence of God, or whether or not I can answer all the atheists' objections, or whether or not I can make Christianity seem perfect enough that I absolutely KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that it's true.  I have to accept it by faith, and I have to struggle through this life, trusting that God will keep me in Him, even though a lot of things simply will NEVER make complete sense to me at least not this side of Heaven.
And in the end, if it turns out I'm dead wrong about everything I've believed, I think I'd still be glad I continued trusting in Christ and following God's Word, even in the midst of doubt.   So I accept the 'worst-case scenario' that I could be a potentially self-deluded Christian living in a world where there is no God.  I don't like the sound of that, but when I can take that for what it is and continue believing, then I have peace!  I struggle on, trying my best to keep my eyes on Jesus and live out the faith He has called me to live.  ...I hope you will as well. 
And if you're blessed with an abundance of faith, that makes this all sound like a sad, miserable experience, compared to the Christian life you enjoy, than all I can say is "Hallelujah!"  I hope and pray your faith remains unshakable! 
I thought my faith was unshakable for many years.  Then I looked at science and almost lost my faith in one fell blow.  If you ever go through a similar experience, take a step back, and ask yourself if you'd really be better off without God.  If not, then pray through it and seek out others to help you through it. 
Accept that you will never have all the answers, and you'll never be able to make sense of everything related to God, the Bible, Christianity, or the origin of the universe and mankind.  God's Word is filled with prophecies that have been fulfilled, exactly as He predicted which is a faith-building realization in itself.  And if the most predominant understanding of end-time prophecies is correct, this world is only going to get darker, and living the Christian life and keeping our faith intact is only going to get harder,  not easier.  So buckle up, and if you think it makes sense, accept the absolute worst-case scenario for your faith, and then rest in God, and take it one day at a time!
By faith, we press on, believing that one day we'll all be rejoicing on the other side, in the not too distant future, when He'll reveal the mysteries of the universe that seemed so troubling in this life, and we'll understand how all the puzzle pieces fit together!  God be with you!


To continue researching...

Read an OVERVIEW of the issues involved in determining one's view of origins on the home page of OriginScience.com.
Also, take a look at the ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART, which compares Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), Old-Earth Creationism (OEC), Theistic Evolution (TE), and Naturalistic Evolution (NE).  The chart demonstrates just how ridiculous Young-Earth Creationism really is, and explains the basic premises and problems with each of the remaining views.
For a more scientifically-advanced analysis of the issues, you can view the Reasons to Believe CREATION/EVOLUTION MODEL 'TESTABLE PREDICTIONS' COMPARISON CHART (PDF), taken from the old-earth creationist book, Creation as Science, by Hugh Ross.
This chart presents each of the four views above as TESTABLE MODELS, and contrasts the four views, based on detailed scientific 'predictions.'  The premise of the 'testable model' approach is that as scientific research progresses, certain propositions will be proven true and certain propositions will be proven false.  Evidences from all fields of science are expected to eventually favor one view of origins over all others.  While secular science is convinced that biological evolution alone explains our origins, Reasons to Believe is holding out hope that Old-Earth Creationism will eventually be proven scientifically valid.

But if you're not a 'science professional,' you may want to take a look at our more basic 
OVERVIEW  and  ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART before proceeding to the more advanced Reasons to Believe Predictions Chart (PDF).
OriginScience.com for more information on Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), Old-Earth Creationism (OEC), Theistic Evolution (TE), and Naturalistic Evolution (NE).
And check out our ORIGIN VIEWS CREATION / EVOLUTION RESEARCH LINKS for quick access to hundreds of authoritative articles, sites, and online audios and videos relating to all the issues and topics involved in the never-ending quest to fully understand our universe and resolve that understanding with the teaching of God's Word.

Origins Research Links
Creation / Evolution Arguments




Read an OVERVIEW  of the major issues that Christians must struggle through, to develop a scientifically reasonable view of origins.

MUST SEE:  ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART Compares Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), Old-Earth Creationism (OEC), Theistic Evolution (TE), and Naturalistic Evolution (NE).  The chart demonstrates just how ridiculous Young-Earth Creationism really is.

What about Intelligent Design?
The Intelligent Design (ID) movement includes a broad
category of individuals who believe that because the universe is complex and finely tuned, there must have been a designer.
Many secular scientists argue that Intelligent Design is really just Creationism in disguise.  They argue that while ID proponents claim there must have been a designer because of the complex nature of the universe, that IDs fail to acknowledge the fact that the being supposedly responsible for designing the universe would naturally have to be much more complex than the universe itself.

So it seems that faith must be involved in assuming the universe has a designer, since Intelligent Design proponents believe the "designer" always existed - without being designed himself.

Creation / evolution links to help you research competing views, and the different arguments related to the age of the earth, the age of the universe, fossils, biological issues, etc.

How I nearly lost my faith after finally recognizing the science I had previously ignored... to where I am now, torn between Old-Earth / Day-Age Creationism and Theistic Evolution...  

MUST SEE:  ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART Compares Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), Old-Earth Creationism (OEC), Theistic Evolution (TE), and Naturalistic Evolution (NE).  The chart demonstrates just how ridiculous Young-Earth Creationism really is.



EDITOR'S NOTE:  I created this site, CreationCrisis.com, which debunks young-earth creationism, along with the site OriginScience.com and the ORIGIN VIEWS COMPARISON CHART
while I was still a struggling Christian.  I eventually abandoned the faith and am now an atheist.  However, BOTH SITES REMAIN UNCHANGED
, except for the ads.   My new site is here.