What are the motivations behind Creationism?

Whether it’s psychological, sociological or political motivations, what motivates some religious believers to adhere to Creationism, especially the more preposterous elements like the earth being less than 10 000 years old?

At the end user level. People sincerely believe it. They don’t know, or don’t want to believe, that it’s wrong. At the institutional/authority level, people know they are wrong, but want to be in a position of control and celebrity.

I attend church with some educated people who believe in Young Earth Creationism. I will try to explain.

They were raised in families and have always gone to churches that believe in a very strict form of biblical inerrancy. This means that they would claim to believe, if pressed, that the bible is literally true and accurate in its entirety. These folks are usually very familiar with select parts of the bible, but with big gaps in their knowledge. Surprisingly to me, they are very familiar with every word of the four gospels, yet see no issues with the variations in the stories told there.

These folks see any flexibility in their belief in the bible’s inerrancy as the worst sort of slippery slope. If they allow themselves the freedom to interpret any bible story in a way that seems to be going in the direction of “not literally true”, that way lies apostasy and perdition. I have had more than one intelligent person express that position to me explicitly.

This leads them to grasp at ridiculous attempts to reconcile scripture to reality, and to itself, that are often laughable.

An exception among some of these folks is the understanding that the parables are illustrative stories. If Jesus starts a story with “There was a man who had two sons…”, or “A man was traveling…”, they are willing to admit that Jesus was making up these stories to illustrate a point.

This. If any one little part of the Bible is not true, then how do you know the rest of it is true? If there’s even one mistake or lie in it, it could just as well all be mistakes and lies. They really earnestly want certain parts of it to be true (e.g. eternal spiritual life through Jesus), so they take it all as true.

Believing in Biblical inerrancy (a relatively recent concept, by the way) saves one from the work and anguish of trying to figure out what parts of the Bible to follow and believe in and what parts to ignore. Makes it easy in one respect.

I have known a handful of creationists, and not a single one of them comprehended evolution. They denounced it, and cited childish, fourth-grade arguments against it – “Why are there still apes?”

They were echoing what they were told by authority figures, usually pastors and ministers. They were completely unwilling to evaluate the evidence for themselves.

(They were also pitifully ignorant about the Bible, spouting such nonsense as “There are no contradictions in the Bible.”)

It’s the best they can do, given their limitations in critical thinking, self-honesty, education, emotion-management, and the intellectual child abuse/neglect they experienced as children.

Adherence to Scripture and consistency with Christian beliefs.

It’s possible some of them simply don’t want to face the cold, hard truth that they exist because of a random series of events and the pointless deaths of many organisms. Much nicer to believe there is actually some logic or plan.

I’m not understanding the OP’s confusion. It seems to me that the bigger credibility gap is believing in a God at all. If one allows themselves to believe in an omnipotent sky fairy, believing in a wrong age for the earth would be nothing.

In a way they are hostages to their own beliefs, if the big [del]bad[/del] all loving guy in the sky, wielding the club of eternal damnation, says the Moon is made of Gorgonzola cheese, then the Moon is made of Gorgonzola cheese, end of discussion.

Maybe we should take notice if they blink “It’s all lies” in Morse code as they talk about Creationism.

I’ve always viewed religion as a classic combination of of brainwashing, fear, and optimism.

When you’re young, if your parents (or whomever raised you) were religious, you had no choice but to participate in the rituals and indoctrination that they believed in. Hence, you are conditioned from an early age to accept that religion is truth.

Fear seems to be the driving force behind most religions. The dread that after (hopefully) 60-80 years of ‘life’ it all just stops and you no longer ‘exist’ is incomprehensible and unbelievable to most religious adherents. Where does your ‘soul’ go after death? Easy, the same place it existed before you were born. Nowhere.

And then the optimism that the all loving, but very strict, ‘creator’ will grant you ‘eternal life’ ('not sure how that works when you’re dead?) IF you follow the rules and regulations passed down thousands of years ago to people who were obviously much smarter than modern-day humans. Then you get to spend ‘eternity’ alongside the quadrillion other ‘souls’ admiring your creator. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Except that they do pick and choose what to believe and what to ignore. No one argues it’s an abomination to wear clothing made from from two different fabrics, nor do they argue that pi equals three.

Not every Christian believes in the absolute, inerrant truth of every word in the Bible. In fact, most do not.

That’s Old Testament.

Believing in the creation story justifies sexism, and a lot of other things, like treating animals any way you damn well please. The creation story (or one of them, anyway) was a just-so story the explained the way a lot of society was, and suggested that it should stay that way. Continuing to believe the story not only says it should stay that way, but puts the authority of an all-mighty deity behind it. It’s the ultimate appeal to authority.

YECs and creationists are basically just stupid people. There is nothing in the Bible that requires anyone to accept that the earth/universe/whatever was created in 6,000 years. For that, you have to look at extrabiblical sources like Ussher’s chronology. The Rev. William Buckland - a Biblical literalist, but also a renowned early geologist and paleontologist - noted that geological time was not inconsistent with the Biblical creation account because it starts with “in the beginning.” It doesn’t say anything about how long the beginning was, and it could have been millions or billions of years.

Reality Chuck:

Orthodox Jews believe it’s a sin (the word translated into English as “abomination” is not used in that particular passage) to wear clothing made from a mixture of wool and linen, which is the specific combination mentioned in the Bible.

Really Not All That Bright:

Even if you could fudge the “beginning” that way, it takes no external sources to determine that the Bible says definitively that the first human being was created from earth (and not as offspring of other creatures) roughly 6,000 years ago, and that a flood wiped out all terrestrial animal life, save for the inhabitants of an (approximately) 500-foot-long boat roughly 4,400 years ago.

Unlike, say, the creation of everything.

It doesn’t say that the first human being was created roughly 6,000 years ago. That is what Ussher’s chronology says. The Bible doesn’t say anything about dates.

The flood thing is obviously problematic.

Some of the first posts touch on this but the main common theme I see in a lot of this kind of thinking is insecurity. They do not have a well founded basis for their beliefs. So any tiny little thing that intrudes on their belief system must be refuted from the get go. Since they have no reasoning behind their beliefs, they do not need reasoning to refute other beliefs. (Hence “Science is a religion, too.” type statements.)

It upsets them a lot to point out how insecure their beliefs are when they think of themselves as being incredibly secure. (They, of course, fail to see the circular “logic” of citing The Bible as authority since it says it is.)

People who are actually secure in their beliefs don’t get upset when encountering people/things contrary to their beliefs.