World View Pt 2 – Meaning and Purpose

Worldview Conflicts: Question #2 – Does My Life Have Meaning?

    Question Number 2 is not just a fascinating discussion topic it is a very clarifying question for all those who would call themselves believers. To address the issue, we have to clarify what we mean by “meaning.” Are we talking about lasting value in the lives of others, significant contributions to society, or are we merely wondering how quickly we will be forgotten when our life comes to an end? 

    Now, if you think back to our last post I asked the question: can a random cosmic accident ever have true meaning or purpose? The answer to this is a bit more complicated than a simple no, but no is the correct answer. The slightly longer answer is that from an evolutionary viewpoint life can have no true, lasting, meaning outside of its permanent societal benefits. So, if you haven’t done anything significant, then you haven’t really done anything other than use up resources that could have probably been put to better use. This is the plainly stated view of many Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, etc.  These are the same men who believe that unborn children who have genetic issues like Downs Syndrome should be aborted in order to maintain societal resources for the productive and useful. In their minds, meaning and purpose are directly tied to your ability to validate the number of resources you consume. This is a sad, but growing viewpoint in our world.

    Throughout my life, I have met many people from all walks of life, as most of us have. I have never met anyone who desires insignificant, meaningless, existence. I suppose that people like this do exist somewhere. My prayer for them is that they meet the risen savior and find their true purpose through Him. That being said, the vast majority of people want to know that their existence has some kind of meaning or purpose. The knowledge that their life has something more to it than existence, fear, pain, and death. 

    If we were to explore the conventional definitions of meaning and purpose we would find the following: 

Meaning: 

noun

– what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action

– implied or explicit significance

    – important or worthwhile quality; purpose

adjective [attributive]

– intended to communicate something that is not directly expressed

Purpose:

noun

– the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

– a person’s sense of resolve or determination

– a particular requirement or consideration, typically one that is temporary or restricted in scope or extent

verb [with object] formal

– have as one’s intention or objective: God has allowed suffering, even purposed it.

I hope you will agree with me that these definitions are not much help when it comes to finding purpose and meaning in life. However, if we pay attention, they do direct us toward the answer. Notice some of their defining terms: meant, implied, intended – reason, created, requirement, objective. These are all terms that demand an external source from which true meaning and purpose in our existence are derived. This would imply an outside entity. This same entity is responsible for our existence. This entity would naturally be outside of our influence or control, and only through communion with this entity that the true meaning and purpose of our existence can be discovered. This is the foundational premise of Christianity. That is it only through a relationship with our creator that we find out why we are really here. More on that in another post. 

    Obviously, there will be those who deny this premise, and that is their prerogative. However, those who do will need to answer a few questions. The first is from which of the few remaining sources do they find meaning and purpose. If you are going to rest on the idea of life as a cosmic accident, then you only have two options. Do meaning and purpose come from societal approval or is it self-determination?

    If self-determination is the actual source of our meaning and purpose, then we have to deal with the standards, or morals, by which we judge a person’s actions. We will cover this in more detail in the next post. For now, consider what that would mean to history alone. If we go the route of self-determination then we have to acknowledge that men such as Hitler, Mao Tis Tung, Stalin, and Pol Pot, who together are responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people through the 20th century, were successful men who lived their life in full pursuit of self-determined meaning and purpose. Methods aside, they mostly accomplished what they set out to do, even though history chooses to remember them as cruel and horrible men. In a twisted way, you could also make the argument that they gave their lives for their causes. So, who are we to judge them so harshly. What about Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Today she is heralded as a hero of women reproductive rights. History has chosen to lift her up as an example of greatness and courage. However, if you look into her own past, her reasons for starting an organization that has ended the life of more unborn children than every casualty, of every war in recorded history combined, you find a disturbing and often overlooked truth. Her goal was to provide a place where the races she determined to be unwanted, undesired, and unworthy to reproduce could be sterilized or reduced in population to a point where they could be controlled through the science of eugenics. Should we view her life as one of significant and lasting value just because she was able to bring her self-determined purpose into reality? History judged those men as tyrants because of the deaths they caused, yet holds her up as a hero in spite of the deaths she caused. If we went by numbers alone, those tyrants don’t hold a candle to Margaret Sanger. So apparently the self-determination path is not a valid one.

    If we allow ourselves to find meaning and purpose in society, then we must also agree that society as a whole must agree with and value our contribution. If what we do, or provide, is not agreed with or valued by society than our life was nothing more than a sad string of failures, and then we died. If that was not depressing enough, fear not, it gets better. The efforts and contributions that one segment of society sees as valuable can be viewed as harmful by a different segment of society. So, you can spend your entire life in service to one group of people only to find out that all the other groups couldn’t care less that you are even alive. Not to mention that what is valued in one generation may be vilified in the next. You could be loved and hated in a single lifetime. Does that mean that your life can have meaning while being meaningless? So, which segment of society do we follow, and from which segment do we allow our meaning and purpose to come from? The reality is that we will always support the segment of society that we most closely align with. This means that we are back to self-determination, and we already know that it does not work.        

    True, lasting, meaning and purpose is found in only one place. In a relationship with our creator, and savior. If you came from nothing, then your life will never really mean anything. But, if we are the result of a loving creator, then that creator had a purpose in our creation. As we draw near to Him, learn about and follow His word, we will not only find our true meaning and purpose. We will find salvation for our souls, forgiveness for our sins, and eternal life. Why would I pursue anything else?



Worldview Conflicts

Part Four: Worldview Conflicts

    Okay, so maybe my last post was a bit of a rant, but… it was a good rant…:0) Today I want to take a look at the topic I was supposed to look at in the last post before my frustrated mind found to how to control my fingers. How many in the scientific community believe that censoring, shunning, and intimidating those who promote ID or special Creation and their work, is in the best interest of scientific development. Many even believe that it is the only way to protect children from being indoctrinated by the religious superstitions of their parents. Bill Nye has actually as far as to say that teaching anything other than Darwinian evolution was a form of child abuse. A bit harsh to say the least. 

    The question that I want to address, over the next few posts, is not a technical one. There would be no practical way to direct all of the various arguments between the two opposing views in all the areas of scientific study in a single blog post. At least not one that anyone would actually read. The question that I want to examine is one of worldview. Most people spend little to no time ever considering their worldview or the impact it has on their thinking. However, understanding our worldview is foundational to the process of Biblical Apologetics, and essential to the process of ministering the Gospel in our present world. A person’s worldview is derived from four, fundamental, questions. At some point, like it or not, everyone answers these four questions. The hard part is making sure that your answers do not contradict the others. Sadly, this is all too common, even within the church. The four questions are as follows: 1 – Where do I come from? The question of Origin. 2 – Does my life have meaning? The question of purpose. 3 – How do I know right from wrong? The question of morality. 4 – What happens when I die? The question of destiny. So, Origin, purpose, destiny, and morality. Four topics that shape our worldview, and inevitably shape our lives, both mentally and physically.

    They seem simple enough. Maybe even too simple. However, once you begin to examine your answers, the challenges start to arise. Let’s take a look at the first of the four, the question of origin.

    This question, in my opinion, is the most important of the four. When we are contemplating the question “where did I come from?” there are only two possible answers. On one side of the aisle is the claim that you are the result of a random, meaningless, purposeless, cosmic accident. On the other side of the aisle, you are the result of intentional, purposeful, design. You will find people on both the ID – Creation side, as well as the Darwinian side of this debate who try to marry the two together with concepts like theistic evolution, the gap theory, etc. These ideas may be interesting to some, but they quickly fall apart as they fail to answer the real question. Is our existence the result of an accident, or intent. 

    For some people, this is not an issue that they take seriously, and from many pulpits, it is taught as a non-issue. Something that Christian should just not worry about because it is not a “Salvation Issue.” To be clear, they are correct. Our salvation and the forgiveness of sin is not based on our view of creation or evolution. It is based solely on faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That being said, where do we get the idea that Jesus is our Lord and Savior? We get it from the Bible, and we trust in the authority of scripture. That it is the true word of God. That it has been gifted to us by God, through the spirit of God working through the hands of His servants and prophets. The first five words of this great gift are “In The Beginning God Created.” We take our need for a savior seriously because the authority of scripture compels us to do so. How can we say on one side that the Bible should be believed and trusted in all things, for the eternal salvation of your soul, while simultaneously saying that the accounts in Genesis, as well as anytime anyone else the idea that God created, are wrong? How do we explain the need for a savior to restore the connection between creator and creation for a sin that, according to some, never really happened? In short, why would we trust our eternity to a book that starts out with a lie? 

    This is the main reason why the atheist community works so hard to keep ID – Creation science out of the classroom. It makes no difference to them if the science is sound or the quality of the research. Getting people to deny the authority of the Bible is the goal, not scientific advancement. When kids, plugin along in public school, are continually told one story of how life began; eventually they will start to question the authority of Gods word. That may seem oversimplified, but global statistics show it to be frighteningly accurate. 

    In the next post we will examine question 2 – Does my life have meaning? In the meantime I would ask you to consider this: Can a random, cosmic, accident ever have true meaning or purpose?



Part Three: A truth we often overlook

Part Three: A Truth We Often Overlook

    Over the last 22-ish years of working in a Christian ministry of some sort, I have seen and worked with some fantastic groups of people. Hundreds of amazing, God-fearing, dedicated people who just want to do the best they can in the service of the Gospel. It has been immensely rewarding, and a ton of fun. At the same time, I have been able to work with a wide variety of churches and denominations. While the foundational similarities are usually there, some of the worship styles and practices can be startlingly different, and that can be a good thing. It would be foolish for anyone to expect anything other than the diversity that we see within the various expressions of worship. Our churches are diverse because we are diverse. We are all drawn to different things, and have differing likes and dislikes. For me, a large brick building filled with stained glass, wooden pews, and a bell tower would never interest me. However, it may be the very thing that brings someone else in the door. Just because I like the blues melodies of an electric guitar during worship does not mean that the sound of a pipe organ is invalid. It’s not going to get my attention, but it may get yours. This is why we have our various churches, and worship styles and they are differences that should be appreciated, even valued.

    As believers, it is not necessarily the church you attend that is the problem. Most of our issues come from either our inability or unwillingness to think through our own beliefs. For many years I have encountered are Christians that have a great deal of understanding on specific theological, or denominational, topics. It might be “End Times” or “The Early Church,” and the list goes on. They may even have well thought out arguments to validate and defend their views. However, when they try to explain them within the broader context of scripture, they end up in theological conflict. For example: I was talking with a young man once about the authority of scripture and he mentioned the heresy of some translations, and how they are ignoring Revelation 22:19 where it says “And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city , written about in this book.” So, anyone who does not use the KJV only is in danger of judgment. This is an unfortunately common view for many Christians. The problem is that it does not mean what they want it to mean. So, I asked the young man if that verse was intended to be applied to the Bible that we know of today. His answer was an emphatic yes. As I began to talk to him about the history of our Bible, where the source texts come from, the dates for the authorship of the various books, and how many times it has been compiled and re-compiled his eyes began to open. Within a few minutes, his entire understanding of the scriptures changed, and he realized that he was misapplying Rev 22:19, and unfairly judging other Christians because of his own ignorance. The worst part was that he began to realize that his ignorance was self-imposed. He was merely regurgitating the doctrinal views he heard from other Christians without looking into it for himself. How many times, and on how many topics, do you think we do the same thing on a daily basis?

    When I hear people like Joel Huston, Mark Gungor, or Andy Stanley talking about why they cannot believe the accounts of the Bible in light of modern science, I am always deeply saddened, but I am never surprised. I have heard the arguments for over two decades now, and they have never changed. 

    You know, I just realized that I am not even close to what I was planning on covering today. When I write, I tend to just sit down and go. I usually stay on topic, but today… not so much. Well, I will try to get back on track in the next post, but for now, let’s just keep going…;0)

    Where was I, oh yes, old tired arguments. It may sound like I am speaking poorly about these guys, but the truth is that I am not talking about them. I have no desire to personally attack them, their publicly declared positions, yes. When someone occupies a role that is very public and maintains the level of influence that they do, it essential that we all have the willingness to stand up and say “excuse me, but I don’t think that is correct.” When I hear leaders in the global church forwarding the views of people like Richard Dawkins, or Christopher Hitchens, etc., I just get sick to my stomach. Not because they have those views, but because so many people will just blindly agree because of who they are.

    When I hear someone like Joel Huston say that “God used the Big-Bang,” or Andy Stanley say that “our faith does not come from the Bible,” or those who claim that the Bible is not real history because it talks about things that are impossible, I get sick to my stomach. I cannot understand the willingness to dismiss the accounts of scripture so easily. For example, just think about the Big Bang: That in the beginning, there was nothing and nowhere. Then, suddenly, out of somewhere, enough something appeared into our nowhere… turning our nowhere into somewhere, and our nothing into something. Then, all of this something exploded out into what used to be nowhere, and created everywhere…!!! Then they throw out words like the Quantum Vacuum, which contains nothing other than theoretical science as its foundation. How can anyone say that this line of thinking is any more scientific than “In the Beginning God”? Think about this, on one side they speak about their faith in the Gospels. Which contain the genealogies of Christ, going all the way back to Adam, the virgin birth, which is scientifically impossible, a ministry that continually claims that the entire Old Testament is true, and horrible death as payment for sin, and the resurrection after three days, which is also a scientific impossibility. While at the same time making the claim that creation, the garden, the fall of man, the flood of Noah’s day, the tower of Babel, and the list goes on, are all just made up stories.

    How do those who have had their spirits united with the living God so willingly, and blindly, walk away from the very word that chronicles the journey leading up to their freedom and redemption?  Next post I will actually deal with the topic I meant to look into today… for now, I guess, rant over…;0)



A response to Joel Huston Pt 2, a few things to consider.

Part Two: Defining Evolution, looking at assumptions 

One of the big stumbling blocks in the evolutionary debate is that the term evolution has more than one definition. On one side it refers to “change that happens over time”. Anyone that denies that things change over time is ignoring the abundant evidence plainly visible throughout the natural world. Evolution in this sense is visible, trackable, and testable. We see it everyday in all aspects of life, culture, fashion, and technology just to name a few. On the other side it refers to “the common decent of all life on earth through a single common ancestor via undirected mutation and adaptation.” The problem here is that this process has no evidentiary support. The main underlying assumption is that non-living chemicals somehow managed to merge themselves together in perfect alignment to, accidentally, kickstart life’s basic building blocks, forming amino acids. Then, through an entirely separate accidental and undirected process, these amino acids combined to form proteins, molecules, cells, and so on. This can sound amazing, even poetic, but what is being left out are the multiple levels of complexity that exist within each of these steps. The difference between these two processes is so large that the terms needed to be additionally clarified. To aid in this the terms Micro and Macro were added to  keep the two processes separate. Macro-evolution references the Darwinian process of common decent, and undirected biochemical development leading to life as we know it. Micro-evolution is limited to observable processes involving things like genetic variability. It also includes the processes of natural selection, adaptation, and speciation. None of the Micro-evolutionary processes are debated by either the Creation or Intelligent Design movements. In fact, they are completely consistent with the Biblical account and the concept of design. The problem is that when you say design it naturally requires a designer. In our minds there is no other way to explain the levels of complex programming found within each successive contributing layer of life.

A simple example of this complexity can be found within the cell itself. If chemicals can come together on their own, by accident, to form amino acids, and amino acids can, on their own, by accident, form proteins, and so on up to the first living, self replicating cell. Then how complex could a cell be. Think about it like this: cells replicate by a process of division. They literally make a copy of themselves. The “plans” for making this happen are located within the cell in whats called the mitochondria. More specifically, the mitochondrial DNA. This is not the same DNA that builds people. Thats found in your 46 chromosomes, which are also located within the cell. This DNA is specifically programed with all the information needed to regulate its own operation, and make another cell. So, the “blue prints” for making a cell are in the cell. Written in a biochemical language that has only four letters. At the same time the reason that the cell knows how to read and understand the language of the DNA is because the DNA contains directions for building the very “biochemical machines” within the cell that read, understand, and implement the instructions within the DNA code. The question that the Creation and ID movements are asking is very simple. How do you go from random elements floating in a pond to immeasurably complex, multi layered, biochemical programming without the aid of intentional design, a mind? It has been said that the probability of this happening by accident is about as likely as a tornado blowing through a junk yard and accidentally assembling a fully functional Boeing 747.

This, along with a host of other questions are what fuel the Creation and ID movements. While various groups will make the claim that we are anti-science, in fact what we are pushing for is to have the science currently being blocked and censored brought into the classroom; placed on the table for open discussion and debate. The difficulty with making that happen in our current scientific climate is that those in power are unwilling to even consider it. They claim to be protecting the public from religious indoctrination of researchers who may deliberately put their religious views into their findings. A question that we need to answer is rather or not their view is valid. I will deal with that in the next post.  



A responce to Joel Huston

A while ago I was listening to a song, done by Hillsong, called “So Will I”. I’ve heard it a hundred times on the radio and even thought about adding it to our churches worship song database. But, something about it just didn’t sit right with me and I could not put my finger on it. It has a pretty good melody, but a tad wordy for my personal taste. I was trying to look past all that because so many people around the world were enjoying the song.  What I didn’t like was the phrasing in the second chorus that says the stars were “Evolving in pursuit of what you said”. I just found that to be a very weird choice of lyrics. Shortly after that I ran into an article interviewing Joel Huston, the writer of the song. In it he was asked about some of the lines, as well as a post he put up on his twitter feed. His twitter post stated “Evolution is undeniable – created by God as a reflective means of displaying natures pattern of renewal in pursuance of Gods word”. It was at this point that I began to understand my hesitation. I can honestly say that I was deeply saddened to hear another global voice so willing to capitulate the authority of scripture to the deified ideas of Darwin. 

You might remember that in 2012 & 2014 another music artist, Mark Gungor, came out in favor of Darwin over Genesis. In several, very public, statements he wrote “I no longer have the ability to believe”… in either Adam and Eve, or the genesis flood. Even the TV preacher Pat Robertson, on his own show, made the statement that “people who believe in creation are deaf, dumb, and blind.” I find it very interesting that so many on the church are so willing to walk away from Genesis 1-11. Check out what we find in 2 Peter 3:3-6 3 “3 First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, 4 saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. 6 Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded”(HCSB). We are warned that in the end times people within the church will begin to deny the accounts of creation and the flood. That may not seem like a horrible thing to some as a belief in a literal Genesis is not a requirement for the salvation of souls, or the forgiveness of sin. That authority lies with Christ alone. What so many in the church seem to overlook is that by walking away from Genesis, they also walk away from the authority of scripture. In essence they fail to consider some important questions. Such as, how to you get to Jesus without Genesis? How do we explain the need to be forgiven for the original sin of Adam and Eve if they are nothing more than fictional characters? How do you explain the genealogies that lead up to the real person of Jesus if those people never existed? More importantly, why would anyone place their faith in a book that begins with a fairy tale? This is all very troubling, and without a doubt, it will cause lasting problems for the church. As our Christian leaders around the world continue to yield the authority of Gods word in favor of the word of man we should expect nothing less than dwindling congregations, crumbling buildings, and increasing hopelessness. All of which we see throughout the “enlightened” world.   

It should be known as we continue that I am, unashamedly, a long time young earth creationist. I believe in the complete inerrancy of scripture and I fully believe that the natural world supports the word of God in all of its detail. It should also be stated that I did not come to this by means of my faith. I began to doubt the Darwinian concept while taking earth science in the 7th grade. I can remember clearly reading two contradictory statements about the age of rocks and fossils in the same chapter of my textbook, and both claimed to be fact. I have always had a love for all areas of science and the understanding of the natural world. Throughout high school I was fortunate enough to have science teachers willing to teach Darwinian evolution as it should be; a widely accepted theory that contains a host of problems, unfounded assumptions, and some plain old guess work that few in the scientific community are willing to acknowledge. To better understand what I mean by this I recommend Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed”. It will help you begin to understand the degree of silence within the scientific community surrounding this topic. Even while I was in middle school I could see the contradictory nature of the “evidence” given, and the mountains of unanswered questions that are simply ignored or suppressed.

The problem is not, as some in the church have suggested, stupidity on the side of the scientific community. These are well educated individuals, with advanced degrees, and we should give them the respect that they deserve. Having said that, there is a very large problem that most people, in and out of the church, are not aware of. The problem is within the organizations controlling the funding, and publication, of scientific research information. For many decades any research that contradicts the Darwinian concept has been suppressed or censored. At the same time many of the researchers are being ridiculed and harassed. One of the largest culprits being the National Academy of Science. This group has control over much of the information taught in our public schools and universities. They have stated in their own publications that they will not support, in any way, research or papers, peer reviewed or not, that contradict Darwinian evolution. I am talking about documented research, catalogued, and peer reviewed for accuracy. If it in any way contradicts the Darwinian concept it finds itself academically ignored, or worse publicly ridiculed. If you doubt this statement I recommend the book “Slaughter of the Dissidents” by Dr. Jerry Bergman. It is available at the creation.com bookstore and Amazon.com. The problem is not that the evidence refuting Darwin does not exist. The problem is the unified effort to keep it out of the public consciousness. This should cause us to question the reasoning. If the evidence is so clear and overwhelming it should not have the need to be protected against scrutiny. 

Over the last 20-30 years great strides have been made in the areas of Creation Science, and Intelligent Design. Although the two are very similar on a foundational level, it should be understood that they are by no means the same thing. Creation Science is strictly geared toward the special creation, and global flood narratives, outlined in Genesis. The Intelligent Design movement, more commonly known as ID, in simple terms is geared toward the view that life is the result of intelligent causation. That the massive complexity within the genetic programing of even the simplest form of life could not have happened through a random chance process. The concept of ID is where my journey, as well as many others, began. For me it did not begin in the world of Theology or Doctrine, but in the observations of the natural world. Especially those which stand in stark contrast to the “Goo – to -you” theories.

Today, with so may resources available, is hard for me to believe that any serious seeker could take the Darwinian concept seriously. And that is where I find the source of the problem. Most people do not seek to understand on their own. As a society we tend to believe whatever a so called ‘expert’ tells us. So, like Mark Gungor, Joel Huston and others, if someone in a lab coat says we evolved from goo… then from goo we came… Then to make ourselves feel better we say that “God uses evolution” or that God “guided” evolution. What so many fail to do is ask the more difficult question: “do I fully understand what evolution is, and what its claims are?” The prevailing answer to this question throughout the modern church is a resounding “NO”! It makes me wonder how so many, can be so willing to walk away without a fight? When someone says that our Bible, Gods word, is wrong, we just give up and walk away without asking them to prove it? Is that really what is happening? It is extremely difficult to see it happening so fast, and so willfully. Especially when around the world we find researchers who are not only Christian, but Agnostic, and even Atheist who are standing against those forwarding the Darwinian process as only viable explanation for the origin of life on earth. 

How is it that so many Christians are willing to dismiss the word of God for a theory that a growing number of scientists around the world are walking away from? In my next post I will begin to walk through some of the apologetic problems that come with removing the Genesis account from our Biblical thinking. For now I would encourage you to do some preliminary reading. A few titles I recommend in addition to the ones listed above, and below, are “Darwins Doubt” by Steven C. Meyer, “Gods Not Dead” by Dr Rice Broocks, and “Replacing Darwin” by Dr Nathaniel Jeanson.

Here are a few quotes from some great books I recommend to anyone serious about looking into this topic.. 

Michael J. Behe, Darwins Black Box: the Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. 

“The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself – not from the sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with the consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day” 

David Berlinski, The Devils Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions 

Has anyone provided proof of Gods inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.”  



Random, Chemical… Music?

Random, Chemical… Music?

Some of the simplest, and most common, activities that we enjoy on a daily basis are actually some of the most complicated, mysterious, and unexplainable processes that man has ever tried to figure out. For example, why do we like music? As silly as that question may sound it deserves a moment to consider all that is involved in answering it, but let me ask it in a slightly different way. If we are all just the product of random, directionless, chemical interactions resulting in complex, meaningless, purposeless, and ultimately doomed biology, how can we trust our own opinions on what is good or bad music. After all, music is not just a pleasing sound or a well arranged set of lyrics. Music is highly subjective and varies greatly in style. One kind of music can be deeply, and intensely, emotional to the listener as well as the performer, and to another it is akin to finger nails on a chalkboard.

 If our mental processes are nothing more than chemistry, which I do not believe, than at a fundamental level we should all agree on what is good, and what is bad music, but we don’t. Music is as diverse as the human population, and it changes dramatically within every new generation. So how is it that today I can sit and loose myself in the subtile notes of a skilled pianist, yet later on I might be motivated by the moving tones of an electric guitar? Why is it that some music, even without words, can pull deep emotion out of my heart and bring me to tears, and another fills me with enough confidence to take on the world? How does a simple melody take a, mind troubled by the challenges of everyday life, to a place of rest and peace; while another person may describe the same music as so annoying that they can’t sleep?

I can remember walking through my old college dorm listening to the different music people were studying to. In one room you would hear the carefully composed sounds of Beethoven, and in another AC/DC being played at a decibel level guaranteed to keep the hearing aid business stable for generations to come.

I have always enjoyed listening to music, and music of all sorts of genres. Well, except opera… I have no idea how that qualifies as music. However, it wasn’t until I began to play the guitar that I began to appreciate the other side of music, the creative side. It is one thing to appreciate good music, it is another to make good music. As a musician I understand that, to the artist, music is more than just the result of arranging notes. It is expressive, and usually at a deeply personal level. In todays world music has become a billion dollar industry that cranks out songs at a dizzying rate. I’m not talking about that kind of music, if you can even call most of that music. I’m talking about music that grabs you and stirs your soul from the very first note. The kind of music that takes you to places in your mind, and can calm the storms in your soul. That kind of music is not the result of a random, directionless, process. It is the result of the creative spirit that has been placed each of us. Music is never the result of simply arranging all of the right notes, in the right order. Those notes have to be played and expressed through the hands and heart of a passionate musician. They have to come out with feeling, emotion, and skill. Over the years I have known many technically skilled players that have come to this unfortunate understanding. Although their playing may be precise, it lacks the ability to connect with the listener. The notes are there, maybe even in the right places, but there is no heart, no passion, no soul.

Music may exist in the material world, but it is fundamentally immaterial. Yet, the artist must express it through a material processes. There are three, basic, types of musicians that I have encountered in my life. First, there are those who have all of the heart and passion needed to create music that can inspire an entire generation, yet lack the understanding of the material processes needed to bring what is inside them out. Theses people are usually very frustrated, and often do not know why. Secondly are those with all of the material understanding of sound, tone, and lyric that anyone could ask for, but none of the heart and passion needed to guide their technical skill. These people are often successful to a point, but rarely move beyond a limited influence. Then there is the third and most rare. This is the person who’s music not only connects with passion, and emotion, they also have the understanding of the processes needed to take their songs from the immaterial world of the heart, to the material world of the ear. These people don’t just hear a beat in their head, they listen for ways to make that beat happen. They wake up singing, and spend the day unconsciously tapping out rhythms with their hands, and working out ways to make those sounds available to others. I am not one of those people… if you are, you should know that the rest of us hate you…;0)

How is it possible that we could allow ourselves to believe, even for a second, that music could be the product of chemistry? How does passion, emotion, and heart become not only understandable but desirable to a bag of rearranged pond scum. For that matter how does a random chemical process allow rearranged pond scum to create something as amazing as music? The truth is that humanity goes beyond biology, it goes beyond chemistry, and beyond the limits of imagination. Humanity strives for creativity and beauty because we are the creation of the One who embodies the fullness of them both, praise His Holy name.



Why Does A Literal Genesis Matter?

     Well, finally after a long break I have decided to get my act together and start writing again. Over the last year I have been, to say the least, a little distracted. It’s good to get back to the task of getting the “word” out.  If you are new to my blog I would offer a few thoughts that may help you better understand who I am and the presuppositional approach I take to my writing. Almost all of my writing is directed to one topic: The Authority of scripture. Now, if you were to ask someone more familiar with my writing they may answer the question “what does he writ about” a little differently than I would. I am pretty sure they would say “mostly about creation & evolution”. In a sense that would be an accurate statement, however, it would also be incomplete. Although a large amount of the content is directed at that topic, the purpose is not to spend time arguing about the interpretation of scientific principles that the majority of people, especially in the church, simply do not understand. Instead, it focuses on areas of science that the humanist, and atheist communities have, basically, hidden from the public eye in order to promote their own religious ideology, and yes I am referring to atheism and humanism as religions, because that is exactly what they are.
 
     There are three basic questions that, if answered, move a belief system into the realm of a religion. The first is “where did we come from?” Atheists and humanists try to answer that question through strictly natural processes. Any attempt to invoke a supernatural force, in any way, is a bridge to far, and totally unacceptable. Today the crux of this process is Darwinian Evolution, in one form or another. That is not meant to be a slam to the evolutionary worldview, it is just an observation that evolution has a number of competing theories and processes that attempt to explain the origin of life, and often they do not agree with one another. On a side note, many of these evolutionary theories purposefully avoid the concept of life’s origin. Instead they try to explain the idea of life’s common ancestry through a long slow process of randomly accumulated genetic information. A process that has never been observed,  and that flies in the face of operational science. The problem, is that you cannot presume to answer the questions of life’s ongoing process without first answering the question of life beginning. The two concepts are inseparable. It would be comparable to discussing the growth process of a plant that has never been seen without first discussing the seed that produces the plant.
 
     The second question that moves a belief system in to the realm of religion is “how is life to be lived?” In short, are there any rules? It is basic human nature to resist being controlled, and the idea of an all powerful God that we will answer to at the end of our life, for some, is the ultimate example of control. For the Christian this simple fact is not about control at all, it’s about understanding. I’ll explain more of what I mean about this in a later post. For the Atheist/Humanist there is only one path that is truthful and consistent. It is that life has no meaning, no value, and there are no rules other than the ones we choose to recognize. More on this later, but for now consider this: can a life that started through random chemical processes truly have value, or purpose? The answer is a terrifying, NO! Yet, life does have value, and purpose. Even the most ardent Atheist, when informed of a terminal illness effecting themselves, or their children, begins to understand the value of a single life.  If an Atheist was going to be consistent in their belief system they would come to the understanding that if they, or their child, are nothing more than a  complicated bag of chemicals, and that bag of chemicals was flawed, then it must be removed and not allowed to negatively effect the other, properly functioning, complicated bags of chemicals. Yet, that is not what happens. They fight the disease with everything they can, they hope, and yes, they even pray… because, hey, it can’t hurt. I asked a young atheist once if Hitler was crazy? His response was a rapid and emphatic YES! I then asked if Hitlers actions were consistent with a truly Darwinian approach to the value of life. His response was a quick attempt to speak, followed by a flash of understanding, then a sinking silence. The truth is that Hitler was not insane, he was simply consistent in his evolutionary beliefs, and allowed them to direct his actions. Please understand that I am in no way defending him, or those who carried out his murderous orders. Nonetheless, this is the logical outcome of consistent evolutionary beliefs. Check out this article on a student who gunned down his teacher, then used evolution to justify his actions. http://creation.com/will-cornick-murders-teacher 
   
     The third and last question that moves a belief system to a religion is “what happens to us when we die?” Now, atheists hate the idea that their belief system could be considered anything other than “reason”, and they will never agree with describing their commitment to belief in un-beliefe as a religion. Well, to be plain… thats just to bad for them! When you choose to not only try to answer the complex questions of existence, life, and death, but you also launch a global campaign against other belief systems, mainly Christianity, claiming that “only you have the truth” and “they are wrong”, than guess what, you are a religious movement trying to find followers. The thing that just blow me away is the number of people willing to buy the atheist doctrine, without question. Especially in light of their views on the “end of life”: “when its over, its over” / “there is nothing waiting for you but darkness and fear”… Umm, sure, sign me up… or not.  Wait… seriously… thats more compelling than eternity in a place of light, peace and plenty? Oh, but wait a minute… that eternal life thing, it has a price… and that price begins with obedience to an all powerful, creator God… that has rules… 
 
I hope that help you as we move forward, and I hope you stick around. If you have a specific topic, or question that you would like me to cover just enter it into the comments section and I will do the best I can. Just an FYI: the comments are screened before they can be viewed publicly. I do not sensor opposing views, but I will sensor people who are just out to argue. 
 
 Next post we will begin talking about the foundational problems with an allegorical/metaphorical Genesis.


It’s About …Time

    Over the years I have had many conversations with other Christians on the topic of Creation, and most prominently the age of the earth.  It’s funny to me, as well as disturbing, that this one point, the age of the earth, is such a hurdle for so many in the church to deal with.  The reasons I am given can usually be summed up in one thought: “modern science has proven the earth to be billions of years old“.  I have had several wonderful conversations with fellow believers on this topic, and I am often flabbergasted at how far some in the church will go to defend a position that they usually know very little, or nothing at all, about.

     Today modern evolutionary theory states that the geologic age of the earth is in the neighborhood of 4.55 billion years old  and that the universe is 15 – 18 billion depending on who you talk to, or what textbook you read.  For many Christians this poses a problem because the Biblical timeline states very clearly the earth is around 6000 years old.  How on earth are we supposed to reconcile this, very serious, issue.  If the Bible is the word of God than it should not contain any errors.  Yet if the earth is billions of years old than the Bible would be wrong, literally from word one. For many young people today this is a very serious issue.  After all “If the first book in the Bible is wrong about so many things, why believe the rest?”  
 
     Over the last 150-ish years the church has struggled to keep up with science.  Not to mention that many in the scientific field wanted nothing to do with the church.  I guess after a few hundred years of persecution from the church during the dark ages, the scientific community may have been holding a bit of a grudge.  It should come as no surprise that ideas for the origin of life that exclude Gods involvement began to abound in the early days of scientific awakening, and shortly after the reformation.  What could the church do in the wake of these kinds of scientific discoveries.  
 
     Many early scientists were devout Christians, and many of them tried to fight off this attack on the authority of the scriptures.  Others took a slightly different approach.  Some within the church began to try and eek out a way to “harmonize” the modern discoveries of science with scripture by modifying their interpretation of the book of Genesis.  What some of these modification were we will begin discussing in the next post.
 
 

Flood Worldwide Tapeats Sandstone dna-of-life

 

233_Grand_Canyon cutout shot