Magazine article Church & State

Scholars Lambaste Evangelical Reliance on Bogus 'Experts'

Magazine article Church & State

Scholars Lambaste Evangelical Reliance on Bogus 'Experts'

Article excerpt

Two evangelical scholars have criticized their fellow conservative Christians for turning their backs on modern scholarship and relying on self-appointed experts in fields like science and history.

In (heir new hook The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson bemoan anti-intellectualism in evangelical circles. They single out figures like "Christian nation" advocate David Barton and Ken Ham, the creationist founder of Answers in Genesis, for leading evangelicals astray.

"Ham's rudimentary biblical literalism, rejection of biology's central theory as well as key ideas from physics and cosmology, and pandering anti-intellectual presentation style have alarmed educated evangelicals," Stephens and Giberson write. "His message includes ideas that were debated by conservative Christians more than a century ago and rejected."

Of Barton they write, M[I]n his rush to make his case, Barton has consistently stumbled. He employed secondary and tertiary sources to mine key quotes, to take one example. Critics from Americans United for Separation of Church and State dogged Barton for using a dozen unverified quotations."

Stephens and Giberson also discuss prominent Religious Right leader James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, noting that "Mainstream child-rearing experts diverge sharply from Dobson on parent-child relations."

The book also focuses on "end-times" evangelists such as Tim LaHaye and takes a look at fundamentalist Christian efforts to produce a "parallel culture" through private Christian education, Christian music and even Christian-themed comic book superheroes. …

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