Why do I get so much opposition with my Old-Earth views from the local homeschool groups? It seems they are all in agreement. We are still Christians and believe in the same God. Why do they make such a big deal over the age of the Earth?Anna, this is a great question. I'm sure there may be others who will want to weigh in on the answer as well.
One of the biggest obstacles is what I'm going to call the "Christian homeschool mindset." Although Christians homeschool their children for a variety of reasons, one of the major motivations for many is protection - protection from immorality, protection from secular education, protection from false ideas, etc. They see the erosion of traditional Judeo-Christian values and want to do something to stem the tide for the next generation.
In an effort to accomplish this goal, the overwhelming majority of science textbooks used within the homeschool context are written from a young-earth creation perspective with the intent of helping Christian parents teach traditional views. Part of this strategy also involves undermining the credibility of anything that isn't young-earth. This even includes alternate Christian perspectives, such as old-earth creationism and theistic evolution.
One problem I have is this, the tactics these textbooks use prey upon the fears of Christian parents by presenting mainstream science in a largely negative light. Children are basically taught to mistrust the findings of any science that hasn't been done by a Christian. Moreover, creation science textbooks frequently fail to differentiate between old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. We are vilified by lumping all old-earth Christians together and then put in the same bin as secular evolution.
When we get into discussions about creation issues, many Christians do not know how to differentiate between the primary and secondary theological issues. Young-earth creationists elevate the age of the earth to be a primary issue by connecting it to the doctrine of the atonement. They say that a belief in an old-earth undermines the work of Christ on the cross. Well, that sounds pretty darn serious. Christians who take the Bible seriously don't want to do that. So they reject old-earth beliefs. The problem is, many Christian parents simply aren't conversant on the finer points of this discussion. They just hear something that sounds really scary and then react against it. Moreover, they usually don't know the difference between old-earth creationists, theistic evolutionists or secular evolutionists. So when they are told that anyone who doesn't believe in young-earth creationism is compromising the authority of Scripture, they go along with it because in their mind, there is little difference between OEC and secular evolutionists. It's guilt by association. These lovely, well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ honestly don't know the difference.
For this reason, it behooves those of us who take a different position to be able to articulate the reasons for our perspective in a clear and kind manner.
Anyone else have other thoughts?