Rhett & Link's varied exposure has allowed them to reach a diverse audience of over 72 million subscriptions and 23 billion views on YouTube.
Rhett & Link, best friends since 2nd grade, currently host one of the most popular YouTube channels on the Internet, Good Mythical Morning. This channel has made Rhett and Link the fourth highest-earning YouTube stars3 while reaching audiences around the world. Rhett & Link have written two books, countless songs, appeared in thousands of YouTube videos across multiple channels, and toured the world on a few occasions. This varied exposure has allowed them to reach a diverse audience of over 72 million subscriptions and 23 billion views on YouTube.4
Until recently, Rhett & Link have remained silent on an important aspect of their lives, their spiritual beliefs. In a series dubbed “The Lost Years” on their Ear Biscuits podcast, they have chosen to break their silence.5,6,7,8,9 Sadly, what they once regarded as a real and strong relationship with Christ has been abandoned and replaced with a naturalist and humanistic agnosticism.10
Quickly summarized, Rhett & Link were raised in the Bible-belt, in North Carolina. They regularly attended church with their families and professed they received Christ at ages 6 and 10, respectively. In college, Rhett & Link engaged with a popular campus ministry, eventually raising support and joining the staff full-time. Doubts began to set in, and over fifteen to twenty years, they both abandoned their faith, persuaded largely by evolutionary thought.11,12,13,14,15
Many Christian parents have considered much of Rhett & Link’s content safe but now struggle with how to approach this public deconversion with their children.
Though commonly seen as religious due to their clean style of comedy, Rhett & Link’s stories of spiritual deconversion, or deconstruction, have surprised and shocked many. Many Christian parents have considered much of Rhett & Link’s content safe but now struggle with how to approach this public deconversion with their children. Christians must be prepared and equipped to encounter such ideas, and parents should be knowledgeable about how to tackle such issues with their children. After reviewing these accounts, we thought it would be helpful and instructive to address the concerns many have expressed to us.
Rhett & Link chose to spread their stories of deconversion across multiple episodes of their podcast. They each mentioned concerning points in their shifts away from mainstream Evangelical Christianity. These points will be reviewed in brief.
Rhett’s deconstruction was one of intellectual questioning: questioning that began in Genesis. Rhett began to question the creation account and to find irreconcilable differences between the Bible’s account and the “research” of mainstream science. Through the podcast, Rhett specifically mentioned four “proofs” that he found particularly convincing.16
Human Chromosome 2
The evolutionary worldview states that both apes and humans descended from a common ancestor; however, obvious differences in ape vs. human chromosomes present an issue for evolution ideology. Apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, while humans have 23. As a remedy the chromosomal difference, researchers hypothesize that after the human and chimp lines broke off from their common ancestor, what today is represented by ape chromosomes 12 and 13 fused together in the human line to form human chromosome 2.17 Although these chromosomes appear visually similar, there are many problems with this conclusion, specifically two aspects of chromosomes: the telomeres and centromeres.
Telomeres are the “end-caps” of a chromosome. They protect the DNA (containing genes and other important sequences) that lie in-between them when the DNA replicates (and shortens) with each cell division. Telomeres are made from a repeating sequence, GGGATT, repeated thousands of times.18 Evolutionists believe that two telomeres fused end-to-end to combine two chromosomes into one. If true, the telomere sequence should be repeated hundreds of thousands of times near the middle of human chromosome 2, but it only repeats several hundred times. Additionally, scientists have found an active gene at the supposed “fusion” site, expressed in over 255 tissue and cell types.19 Telomeres never contain genes and, in fact, serve to prevent chromosomes from sticking together (similar to opposite poles of a magnet).
Centromeres are composed of specific DNA sequences near the center of a chromosome and, therefore, if two chromosomes fused, two centromeres should be found. Evolutionists proposed an “inactive centromere” in human chromosome 2 that is many times smaller (1/10th of the size) than a centromere should be.20 An active gene is again found in this “centromere,” expressed in brain and reproductive organs.21 Centromeres do not contain genes.
It’s important to note that of the resources Rhett mentioned, most don’t state the telomere and centromere facts, as explained above. Consider watching “Are Humans and Chimps Related?” by Dr. Georgia Purdom for a summary of human vs. chimp ancestry and reading Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins’ detailed research.
Also mentioned by Rhett as support for evolution were retroviruses.22 Retroviruses, simply stated, are viruses that insert a copy of their DNA into their host’s DNA. These are called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs).23 In certain cases, this DNA can stay with the host through subsequent generations and, therefore, evolutionists believe that if a retrovirus is found in different species, then these species share a common ancestor. Apes and humans have similar retroviruses found in similar locations; therefore, evolutionists conclude apes and humans are related.24
First, evolutionists are using circular reasoning here. Dr. Andrew Fabich had this to say:
Evolutionists will say that shared ERVs prove evolution to be true because of common ancestry and that common ancestry assumes that there will be shared ERVs. Making such a claim is silly because this kind of circular reasoning is unsupported by any outside information.25
What Rhett & Link didn’t look into was the fact that retroviruses present many problems for evolutionists.
What Rhett & Link didn’t look into was the fact that retroviruses present many problems for evolutionists. Evolutionists believe that through the process of natural selection, elements not necessary to survival will disappear. Using this reasoning, retroviruses should have been eliminated from both genomes long ago.26
Ultimately, the presence of retroviruses offers strong support for design, not evolution. Scientists are now discovering ways in which ERVs are performing essential life functions. Not only are these processes completed in similar ways across species (evidence for a common designer), but also in the original, perfect creation retrovirus could have carried out many positive, designed roles. Due to the fall and sin, their roles have been changed, and they often cause harm.27
Transitional Forms and Fossils
Rhett also mentioned transitional forms and fossils as evidence for evolution.28 In the evolutionary worldview, small incremental changes have supposedly accumulated over millions and billions of years. Given the need for these changes (to progress from simple to complex creatures), the fossil record must contain extraordinary evidence of “in-between” creatures. The bat is often offered as a common example.29 Evolution would hypothesize that a mouse-like creature slowly developed wings and developed sonar navigation. Have these intermediate creatures been found? Dr. David Menton summarizes evolutionists’ findings:
Evolutionists concede that what they consider to be the oldest bat fossils are 100 percent bats with some even showing evidence of sonar navigation.30
The truth of the matter is, transitional forms and fossils have not been found. To further explore the point, one only needs to talk to evolutionists themselves. Even Charles Darwin opined:
The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.31
Known as the Father of evolutionary thought, Charles Darwin hoped time would reveal theses transitional “forms”—and despite nearly two more centuries of digging, modern evolutionists are still hoping. Evolutionist Steven J. Gould offered these thoughts:
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.32
The absence of fossil evidence for intermediate stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.33
To which transitional forms and fossils Rhett refers would certainly be interesting to hear.
Vestigial Structures and Organs
As a piece of final evidence for evolution, Rhett mentions vestigial structures and organs.34 Vestigial structures are biological features or organs found in current living creatures that evolutionists believe to be “leftovers” from a common ancestor and, therefore, unnecessary to the creature today.
Another logical fallacy is found in evolutionary reasoning on this supposed “evidence.”
So, if vestigial organs are obviously left over from our evolutionary heritage, then evolution must be true. Here evolution is assumed to be true in order to make the argument. This is a logical fallacy, called begging the question.35
Still, evolutionists often cite the human tailbone, or coccyx, as a vestigial structure. This bone is found in the pelvic region and is claimed to be evidence of a tail previously used by a human ancestor. Evolutionists have redefined “vestigial” to include anything left over from an ancestor, whether it is functional or not. Not only does this present an inconsistency, but it willfully ignores the possibility that the structure was created originally for its human use:
In fact, the coccyx is the anchor point for the muscles that form the entire pelvic diaphragm.36
This bone is far from unnecessary, and every human still uses it today for its created purpose. And evolutionists continue to use other organs as “proof” of evolution. Many times, these organs can be shown to have an important function, but, in the rare cases they do not, two glaring errors are made by evolutionists:
They assume most or all the function (or dysfunction) of the structure/organ is known.37
Science has made great progress, but to claim that it has discovered the function of every organ is arrogant and impedes the scientific process.
They ignore any effects of the fall.38
The evolutionists’ worldview prevents them from recognizing that the world is now cursed. Christians understand that these structures could have served a function in the original creation, but now have reduced or lost functionality.
It may be that we have already discussed the vestigial structures to which Rhett refers, but if not, most can be found in our Get Answers section.
The Problem with BioLogos and Hugh Ross
On multiple occasions throughout Rhett’s story, he mentions the organization, BioLogos, and scientist Hugh Ross, founder of Reasons to Believe (RtB).39 These organizations have repeatedly compromised the authority of God’s Word. Notably, they believe that an evolutionary worldview40 can be wedged into the Bible.41 Dangerously, both organizations assume that their positions allow both the biblical account of creation and that of mainstream science. Rhett discovered this issue for himself,
But basically, what you run into is that Adam and Eve are still real, that they’re either a special creation or they’re sort of the result of the process but they are actually real historical people because they need to be real and historical in order for The Fall and then the Gospel to kind of make sense. Gotta be honest. I did not find, all of those arguments felt really tenuous and just felt like you guys, you know you have to have Adam and Eve and so you’re sort of inserting them in a way that isn’t, they’re not really fitting is a situation you know square peg round hole situation.42
Within evolutionary thought, humans are recent evolutions, meaning that death, disease, and chaos occurred before Adam and Eve could have existed and could have sinned!
Rhett is correct! Adam and Eve simply cannot fit with an evolutionary worldview.43 Why? Because within evolutionary thought, humans are recent evolutions, meaning that death, disease, and chaos occurred before Adam and Eve could have existed and could have sinned! In this thinking God is responsible for death and Christ’s sacrifice is naught. Rhett correctly mentions 1 Corinthians 15:22,
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
If death existed before Adam, then Adam is not the cause of death, and Christ’s death cannot be the solution for death. Rhett correctly discovered that evolution undermines the Gospel.
Link’s story of deconversion followed a week after Rhett’s and is quite different. While Rhett had a more intellectual spiritual deconstruction, Link’s was more internal. Link struggled with an immense amount of pressure focused on his own abilities. It was this exhaustion that led him to consider many of the arguments Rhett found for the support of evolution. Therefore, Link chose not to revisit those findings.44
However, Link also struggled with the experience of many in the LGBTQ movement. He found it difficult to attend a church where his marriage (to one wife) was acceptable while homosexual “marriages” of friends and colleagues would not be. Link often cites Christ’s love and unconditional love for his people.45 But the love Link claims to want is not love that the Bible speaks of or that Christ exemplifies. Link wants a tolerant love versus a truthful, real love.
Jesus is loving. He is the perfect example of love; however, he is also our Creator who can set benevolent rules. And he must also be just, judging disobedience: sin. God’s Word makes it clear that his desire for marriage is solely between one man and one woman for life, as a symbol of Christ and his bride, the church.46
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22–24).
God first defines marriage here as one man (biologically male) and one woman (biologically female). Anything else is a perversion of God’s created order. Christ reaffirms this definition in the New Testament.
“He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4–5).
In addition to the straightforward, clear, definition of marriage, God’s Word consistently presents homosexually as sinful (Genesis 19:4–7; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13).47 Again, this condemnation of homosexual sin is repeated in the New Testament.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26–27).
The New Testament offers further support in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 and 1 Timothy 1:10.
The Heart of the Problem
Ultimately, these accounts of spiritual deconversion, or “spiritual deconstruction,” have the same problem.
Ultimately, these accounts of spiritual deconversion, or “spiritual deconstruction,” have the same problem. Joshua Harris, Marty Sampson, and Rhett & Link have chosen to trust man’s ideas over God’s Word. Our founder, Ken Ham, has stated the problem before:
There are two worldviews with two totally different belief systems clashing in our society. The real war being waged is a great spiritual war—God’s Word versus autonomous human reasoning, Christian absolutes (built on the Bible) versus moral relativism (man determining his own rules).48
Many people claim that scientists only follow the truth. Researchers themselves will state that they follow objective repeatable experiments. Most probably truly believe this. But it is simply false. First, evolution cannot be observed, and it is not repeatable. Second, every human has a bias, whether evolutionist or creationist. A creationist looks for God, and a naturalistic evolutionist will not accept God.
The difference is that creationists base their understanding of the creation upon a book that claims to be the Word of the One who was there, who knows everything there is to know about everything, and who tells us what happened. Evolution/millions of years comes from the words of men who were not there and who do not claim to be omniscient. This whole issue revolves around whether we believe the words of God who was there or the words of fallible humans (no matter how qualified) who were not there.49
The real issue is that many, Rhett & Link included, have chosen to trust man above God.
How Should Christians Respond?
These stories seem to be becoming the norm. As Rhett & Link’s spiritual deconstructions have shown, these accounts usually begin by questioning creation and God’s Word or biblical authority. How should Christians respond to these issues, and how should parents discuss them with children?
A call back to biblical authority.
Churches, parents, and individuals must return to the absolute authority of God’s Word. Because God is the only one who knows everything, only he can provide answers. Christians need to study the Bible for understanding first, no matter what popular mainstream “science” or the world may claim.
Christians must understand that the world opposes God.
“But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause’” (John 15:25).
“They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents” (emphasis added, Romans 1:29–30).
The world will only seek to remove God and further oppose his Word. Christians should not be surprised unbelievers oppose God and his Word.
Christians must equip and defend the Word.
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
That is why Answers in Genesis exists. There are scientific (and biblical) answers to questions the world has. Talented, knowledgeable, and godly men and women have filled books, websites, the Ark Encounter, and the Creation Museum with sound answers to these questions. You are invited to explore AnswersinGenesis.org and equip yourself, children, and churches with the truth found in God’s Word.
Seek, and you’ll find that there’s likely both a biblical and scientific answer to almost any supposed objection to a plain reading of Scripture. If God’s Word really is truth (and it is!), the facts won’t contradict it (and they don’t!), though fallible people’s opinions and interpretations do. We want to help people learn to distinguish this for themselves.
Christians must pray.
Pray for all like Rhett & Link. Pray that they do not stop seeking, that they find real answers and return to the truth of God’s Word. Pray that you and your family and your church would remain steadfast on the Word of God. Pray for strength and courage as you encounter—and answer—those of the world.
Christians ought to speak the truth in love.
Christians have the truth, and it must be proclaimed. Christ calls truth to be shared in love. Arguing and fighting with evolutionists is not the answer (Proverbs 15:1). Posting offensive and condemning material at those who turn from the faith will not help them find the truth. Many claim that true love allows others to live as they see fit, but this is not the love of Jesus. Jesus loves by sharing truth. And if we love Christ as our Creator and Savior, we will honor his design for us and not continue in our sin, nor condone what he calls sin in others. We will lovingly let others know how they can honor, obey, and find eternal life through him.
Sadly, the spiritual deconstructions of Rhett & Link are growing ever more popular as the culture slips from Christian values.
Sadly, the spiritual deconstructions of Rhett & Link are growing ever more popular as the culture slips from Christian values. These stories are often rooted in the erosion of biblical authority. When the enemy questions the authority of God (as Satan did to Eve in Genesis 3:1), all the Bible is up for compromise. If the Bible is up for compromise, salvation itself is compromised. Christians must stand up and equip themselves while boldly defending the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse to the final amen.
Rhett shared near the end of his story, “I’m gonna follow truth wherever it leads without fear.”50
Answers in Genesis invites Rhett & Link to follow the truth. Of course, we affirm the authority of the Bible from the very first verse. Our ministry, including our website is built to answer many of the questions they have. We invite Rhett & Link to visit the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum. We would be happy to offer them a tour. These two faith-based attractions boldly proclaim God’s Word and powerfully share God’s eternal truth.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6–7).