"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On blogging about God & ID

I've been blogging on and off for a long time, and there is a familiar pattern. I write a lot in bursts about things that interest me. Sometimes there's a general theme to my posts, other times they are more random. But for whatever reasons I find myself enthused about writing and blogging for a while. And then I stop. Something else comes up in life. New girlfriend. A new job. Other distractions. And then after a while I get bitten by the bug again and I feel the need to post. That's what happened in January when I came back to blogging after a long break. But then, in February, I found the blogging well had dried up and I moved to other things.

It's amusing to look back at what got me blogging - or indeed as writing as PTET in the first place. Like a zillion naive skeptics, I wanted to explore and challenge my beliefs, to learn new things, and to try and work out just how so many people could be so inexplicably stupid as to not believe what I believe. If only I explained it to them slowly and patiently, I thought, I'd be able to convince them of the error of their ways. I'd make them think. And hey, I never thought I would stop anyone being a Christian or believing in God. But I did think that if only people could be made to see just how ridiculous creationism was, how it was illogical, how it was based on lie after lie, that people might think enough about their beliefs to question them. Sheesh, I thought, people can be Christians and Bible-believers all they want - but surely I can help people realize that much of what is said in the name of Fundamentalist Christianity is just patently untrue.

How wrong I was. For months and even years, I posted the same arguments again and again in blog entries and in correspondence with erstwhile Christians who wrote either to argue with what I'd said or to convert me. The same arguments again and again, endlessly repeated.

The Bible was historical. It contained remarkable prophesies which spoke to it's "truth". Jesus was the most attested-to historical figure of all time. Science backed it. Genesis in particular was incredibly and overwhelmingly confirmed by scientific understanding. All that crap.

Nothing I said in response to these arguments seemed to have the slightest effect. My correspondents would dodge and weave and avoid reading or checking anything I wrote in response.

Evolution was an atheistic construct dreamed up by amoral degenerates who wished to avoid moral accountability. If I mentioned that most Christian scientists accepted standard evolutionary theory, I was told that these people were not real Christians. If I asked whether my respondents would go out and murder and steal and rape if they stopped believing in god, the responses would comically range from outright evasion of the question to statements of such breathtaking stupidity that all chance of further dialogue ground to a halt.

So why do I write? Why should I blog? I don't want to write into the ether. I don't want to preach to the skeptical choir. There's nothing to be gained from me worrying about the very large number of eminently sensible and rational Christians and other believers who are entirely comfortable with the limits of their faith and who accept evolution and don't have to rely on the "truth" of the Bible to support their beliefs.

It is maddening to see just how immune True believers are to any arguments or evidence which contradicts them.

But hey, they see me the same way. To a fundamentalist or evangelical, it is the non-believer who is intransigent, illogical, evasive, dishonest, stupid... All these things. Skeptics come up with the same arguments which have been "refuted" time and time again on Apologetics websites, or in Christian books, etc., etc...

So what then? I've tried until I am blue in the face to show that Fundamentalism and Intelligent Design Creationism are patently wrong... I point at every turn the Christians who do accept evolution; to the origins and basis of morality outside of religion, all that.

But it gets me nowhere.

Maybe they are right. Maybe the entire world of science is an atheistic conspiracy to suppress the obvious existence of God. Maybe evolution is impossible, and the only reasonable explanation is an all-powerful, loving God. Maybe that God can only be explained by their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs and no-one else's, of course. Maybe homosexuality and abortion are always wrong. Maybe there is no morality without God? Maybe we know all these things because God and/or the Bible say so. Or is none of that relevant? Is it really all about the science?

Then I remember words like these from Answers In Genesis:

"...when the interpretation of scientific data contradicts the true history of the world as revealed in the Bible, then it’s the interpretation of the data that is at fault. It’s important to remember that we have limited data, and new discoveries have often overturned previous ‘hard facts’..."
And these, from William Dembski:
"At the same time that research in the Bible Code has taken off, research in a seemingly unrelated field has taken off as well, namely, biological design. These two fields are in fact closely related. Indeed, the same highly improbable, independently given patterns that appear as the equidistant letter sequences in the Bible Code appear in biology as functionally integrated ("irreducibly complex") biological systems, of the sort Michael Behe discussed in Darwin’s Black Box"
Yup. All science so far.

Cthulhu fhtagn.



C. David Parsons said...

Maybe they are right. Maybe the entire world of science is an atheistic conspiracy to suppress the obvious existence of God.


The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as "atheistical cats." By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do "not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: "Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21, 22).

In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, "done on purpose; deliberate." The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, "uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas." In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

In order to access an online, audible Bible, and to read the biblical verses in context, go here: http://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
You may wish to bookmark the site. RealPlayer is required to listen to the Audio Bible.

Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake." With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an "agnostic." The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

The Old Testament did not escape Darwin's inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that "the manifestly false history of the earth....was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian." Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the "volumne (sic) on the origin of species...light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime which awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for Right.

The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

Visit the official website for additional information: http://questforright.com

Purchase the book at one of these fine stores: Barnesandnoble.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, Borders.com, Booksamillion.com, Tatepublishing.com, and many others. Hardback. In stock.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Hey, Otherfunk- fight the good fight! It is inherently worth fighting for, and I'd like to thank you for doing so. When science is questioned, when reason is attacked, when sanity and consistancy are made a mockery of... we all suffer.