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The first is reactionary from the tradition and seeks either to insulate the community of faith from the modern world to protect it from contamination, or to undermine and subvert the powerful intellectual tools of modernity with the goal of preserving the tradition unmodified.
The young-earth creationist (YEC) response to modern science is a clear example of this latter approach.
Gordon, Houston Baptist University, USA; Email | [email protected] | Gordon, B. Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: A Biblical and Scientific Critique of Young-Earth Creationism. The intellectual tension resulting from what the Jewish-American novelist Chaim Potok called a "core-to-core cultural confrontation" between historic Judeo-Christian orthodoxy and the "umbrella culture" of secular modernity is commonplace and virtually unavoidable in the modern West (Walden 2001, 2013).
When historically orthodox faith and a traditional understanding of the Bible come into contact with modern science and historical scholarship, at least three avenues of response to the inevitable tension are possible.
In the terminology of the evangelical Christian intellectual, it is the path taken by those who wish to redeem the culture of the mind through the of faith and scholarship (Marsden 1998).
It is a perilous and intensely personal intellectual journey that seeks a path between the Scylla of rejecting the inspiration and normative authority of Scripture and the Charybdis of a naive and inflexible fundamentalism, a journey fraught with opposition from anti-intellectual traditionalists yet still largely subject to the disdain of the secular academic community.
Three crucial points motivate the YEC perspective on the relationship between and the whole of Scripture, along with a number of subsidiary questions that must be addressed.
The YEC community retains its identity by enforcing a rigid biblical literalism and defends it by selectively appropriating scientific tools and conclusions divorced from the broader context of their proper employment.
By its very nature, young-earth creationism is intellectually insulated from having any broad impact on secular culture, and insofar as its views are associated with Christian belief in the minds of scientifically literate non-believers, it becomes an insurmountable intellectual obstacle to any serious engagement with the claims of Christianity.
Evangelicals share the belief that of Scripture is inspired by God and, when properly interpreted, completely trustworthy and authoritative in everything it teaches.
The key question, of course, is one of proper interpretation, which is one reason there are so many doctrinal differences among Christians today.