Review: Berea-Portal

Berea-Portal Forum
By John Bedson

Since the mid 20th Century the Christadelphian religion has rotted and decayed as it abandoned it's original principles, ethos and passion. Serious Bible study is neglected, outside Biblical scholarship is rejected, modern science is demonised and anti-intellectualism is glorified as a virtue. 

Textural scholarship and serious archaeological study is jettisoned in favour of a shallow minded, xenophobic, insular attitude that pumps out platitudes, seeks easy answers and favours Evangelical ideas like Young Earth Creationism and Flood Geology.

Berea-Portal are working to change all that!

The B-P team led by Christadelphians Jon Burke, David Burke, Ken Gilmore and Chris Matthiesen are working to restore Christadelphianism to its former glory at the time of the founding brethren and the first seventy five years of the religion. But they are not copying the approach of the LOGOS ecclesias that is rooted in blind fideism, slavish adherence to every word of the founding Christadelphians and a simple-minded, anti-science, anti-intellectual ideology.

Instead the B-Ps favour a powerful mix of the deeply studious nature of founding Christadelphianism, coupled with an updated acceptance of the discoveries of modern science and a rejection of the wishy-washy Neo-Christadelphianism that commenced at the time of the death of John Carter in 1962. The result is a dynamic form of Christadelphianism that re-captures the vibrant spirit of the early days of the religion and updates it to be relevant in the Twenty First Century.

Neo-Christadelphians would be amazed to learn that early Christadelphians believed the Earth to be many hundreds of millions or even billion of years old and that Noah's flood was restricted to the Mesopotamian valley. Such an idea is heresy to today's Neo-Christadelphians who have bought into the American Evangelical Young Earth Creationist and Flood Geology ideas championed in the Nineteen Sixties by such books as 'The Genesis Flood.' As a result they have made themselves to be easy targets for Ex-Christadelphian Atheists. Modern Geology, Plate Techtonics, Radiometric Dating, Palaeontology and Archaeology are all against them and the only way to defend these notions is to deny observable reality. 

The Berea-Portalites will have none of this. Not only do they accept the original Christadelphian thinking that the Earth is extremely old, and a local flood, but they also present a well thought out  explanation of how Biblical interpretation can be reconciled with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis.

The original Christadelphians did not accept Evolution. But that was because Darwin's 'Origin of Species' was not publish until eleven years AFTER John Thomas's 'Elpis Israel' and Darwin's ideas were not universally accepted until the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis was formulated between 1936-1947. This brought together the many different scientific fields of evidence for Evolution into a single synthesis that has since gained universal acceptance in all areas of science in every country in the World.

But the early Christadelphians knew none of this and died before they could be enlightened and accept the new reality that species DID evolve.   

The early Christadelphians were men of science and learning. They would not have buried their heads in the sand when confronted with the millions of lines of evidence that support Evolution. They knew that accepting nature in all it's complex wonder and beauty is NOT heresy. They adjusted their Biblical interpretation to accommodate the ancient Earth and a local flood and likewise they would have tweaked their understanding of Genesis to accept that God used Evolution to create diversified speciation.
Unfortunately, as the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies progressed and the Christadelphian magazine was held back by conservative, unimaginative and untalented editors, Evolution was rejected, science was vilified as a wicked conspiracy against truth and Christadelphianism drifted into archaic irrelevance.

That is where Christadelphianism is now. Read any of their magazines, listen to any of their talks, read any of their preaching material, join any of their online discussion forums and you will find an Amish like disconnect from the realities of modern day life and society. They are in another world, living on a different planet to the rest of us. Only their fideism holds them in the religion and it is a fideism that has gates of steel.

It has become so bad that at Ex-Christadelphians we ban most of them from commenting on this website and make no effort to deconvert them. We can't deconvert people who are not converted. Neo-Christadelphians know the doctrines that they don't believe, but they don't know what they believe, or why they believe it, because they haven't thought out their faith.

They have a fierce fideism that is based only on unthinking subjective emotional reaction. They don't know how to think logically and productively. They seek easy answers to the great questions of life. When we challenge them they respond with the first thing that enters their head and then defend it to the death. We can't talk sense into people like that and we don't want to waste our time trying.

But the Berea-Portal team and their followers are different. Generally speaking they have academically trained minds that are trained to use deductive reasoning to figure out what is likely to be true. They respect logic and reasoned argument. They seek to guard against the many cognitive bias's and logical fallacies that mislead their fellows in the Neo-Christadelphian community.

At Ex-Christadelphians we don't agree with their Theist conclusions. But we admire their intellectual honesty, their valiant attempts to think critically and their use of study and reason to seek out the truth of these things.

Neo-Christadelphians are no threat to Ex-Christadelphians because they are not really Christadelphians. That is some new form of the religion that has evolved from original Christadelphianism. Founding Christadelphians would be horrified at their lazy-minded, ignorant attitude to their religion. We are indifferent to them and sweep them out of our discussions. But Berea-Portal Christadelphians, their followers and intelligent Christadelphians who think like they do, are capable of giving us a game.

Neo-Christadelphians who are bored or otherwise dissatisfied with their religion should seriously consider studying the Berea-Portal material and adopting their ideology and Theistic conclusions. B-P offer an evidence based faith that requires little or no fideism. They offer the reassurance of the strength of traditional Christadelphianism coupled with an up to date spin that fits neatly with the modern world.   

Atheism or Agnosticism is not for everyone. Some people need the emotional crutch of believing that they will see dead friends and relatives beyond the grave in the future. Some people are pathologically afraid of death. To achieve peace of mind they need to believe that there is a purpose in life and a future beyond the grave. There is no God and the Bible is a scam; so it does not really matter if you believe in the metaphysical or not. It suits us Atheists to know the truth and we are brave enough to face the awful reality of unending death. But if you are among those who need to believe, I think that the Berea-Portal take on Christadelphianism is about as close to the truth as you can get without actually deconverting.

If I were a Christadelphian I would think like the B-Ps. I would be writing for them and encouraging them to be more passionate in their outreach work to the Neo-Christadelphians. If our Atheist position on this website is a step too far for you, you might find the B-P way of looking at life and faith to be of value. I recommend them.

Berea-Portal Resources on the Internet

Berea-Portal discussion forum: Click here.

Berea blog: Click here.

Berea-Portal Facebook: Click here.

Evolutionary Creationism: Click here.

Evolutionary Creationism Facebook: Click here.

Defence and Confirmation: Click here.

Milk to meat: Click here.

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