Thanks to Daniel for his comments in the post below.
I listened to a radio show yesterday talking about "Intelligent Design". The person being interviewed (Dr. Hugh Ross) was a Christian believer who believed in an "old" earth (vs. a 6,000 year old earth like some Christians believe). It was an interesting discussion. But there were some callers who were very resistant to the idea of an old earth. You could hear in their voice that their faith was threatened by this man and they needed to defend it.
I thought the discussion was a good example of how believers often complicate faith and thus, make it exclusive and irrelevant. If I was a non-believer listening, I'd think... "This is an interesting discussion - all these different ideas about how the earth was created, by Whom and when. Hmmmm, I never thought about that. I wonder what role God - if there is one -played in all of this." But as soon as the faith defenders called in my attitude would change. No longer is it a discussion, it's fearful people wanting everyone to think like them to make THEM comfortable. They don't want their world shaken. They don't want any variables, just absolutes. That would turn me off and make me change the channel.
When believers make things complicated, unbelievers check out. They don't want to be a part of the pettiness (and neither do I!). I think that's why the apostle Paul said that he kept things simple...he focused on preaching "Christ and him crucified" (in 1 Corinthians 1). He was saying that we don't need to add things to our message to make it interesting. Jesus died to bring us into a fresh relationship with God. Period. It doesn't get any better than that. Don't jazz it up. Don't dilute it with your personal agenda, i.e. when the earth was created, once saved always saved theology, end times speculation, gifts of the Spirit controversies, etc. etc. Just enjoy God and share this news with others. If you want to explore how the world was created, etc. knock yourself out. But don't confuse these issues with the message of "Christ and him crucified." You'll do more damage than good.