I got this request from a friend of mine this evening:
go to this facebook group and argue with this asshole of a guy who thinks he is so smart http://tamu.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4549214266 since he is ‘intellectually-elite’
You know… I don’t much care if some guy wants to get on a public website and rattle a bunch of Christians. He doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’m finding that I have less and less in common with the Christian community than I think I do. I know as many people who are substantially “real”, honest, sincere, open, and vulnerable who have nothing to do with church as I know people in the church who peddle their sleezy version of the truth. I’d pretty much gamble that if you took a cross section of people on that facebook group’s wall, I’d have a lot more in common with the folks who aren’t Christian than those who are.
That said, let’s get a few things straight. I believe that Jesus Christ is exactly who he says he is. He says he’s a real man, flesh and blood. He proved that by dying on a cross. He says that he’s the one true God, who was, who is, and who is to come. He proved that by climbing out of the grave. I don’t believe that because the bible says so. I believe the bible because it agrees with what is true.
God has always kept his promises. There is simply no wiggle room here. Feel free to pick and choose which promises you’d like to take advantage of, but they’re all true. If you find even one that is a lie, then God cannot be trusted.
Now here’s where I get a little confused. Smart people who are smart because they say so have made claims about the beginning of the earth. They have made claims about the essence of truth and the existence of the soul. They have made all these claims on their own authority, with absolutely no way of verifying, testing, proving, or substantiating anything. Where is the test for macro-evolution? Where is the test for relative truth? Where can you show me that your tests explain anything about the soul? For me to accept these things as true, I must make two leaps of faith. First, that you are smart because you say so. Second, that God doesn’t exist because you say so.
You’re right. I’m an idiot. I’m not capable of realizing the immense greatness of your rational powers. You claim that truth is always relative, but you claim this absolutely. You claim that the universe started when you say it started because you said so, and you measure this in a unit that requires a sun and an earth to be fully formed to have even a modicum of meaning. How can I trust this rationality?
But then, I find a God who says he is God. Who says he is truth. He makes promises I can test. He makes statements I can believe. He’s God, he’s supposed to know these things. You’re not God, you can’t know these things. By pretending to know them, by claiming them, you’re claiming to be God. You’re claiming to be the thing you claim doesn’t exist. I might be an idiot, but I sure as hell know not-God when I see him. And you, the scientist who doesn’t practice science, the philosopher who practices drug induced paranoia, the gnostic who replaces the clear truth with the hazy-unknowable… you are not God.
But as much as you scare me, it is your followers who scare me more. They are the church of Galileo. They take what you feed them on faith alone. Never testing, never knowing, only believing. Your followers scare me, because theirs equals the blind fervor of the Christian camp, but they do not have the fear of God to temper their actions.
I cannot defend a Christian who says that Christianity is about being a good person any more than I can defend an evolutionist who says we came from apes because we look pretty similar and there’s some genetic overlap and some of the ape folks are kinda cute from a distance.
Christianity is not about being a good person at all. You might be able to argue that it is about being made into a good person, but then you’re in a bit of a pickle when you have to define “good”. I’m not a good person. I’m a pretty crappy excuse for a human being, all things considered. But I’m a child of the living God. He has paid the price for my rejection of him, my rejection of his authority, my rejection of his love. He has paid the cost of the curse that I bore, and in doing so has set me free from sin.
He hasn’t made it so that I don’t sin. He has made it so sin no longer threatens me. The death that it brings no longer demands eternal condemnation. Sin cannot win, and yet, I still sin. I still reject his authority. I still reject his love.
But he does love me, and that love could not stand by and simply watch me be washed clean only to become dirty again. He could not let my continual rejection of him divide us any more. So because of his promises, the death and resurrection of Christ, true man and true God, didn’t just free me from sin. It made me his child. I’m not perfect, I’m not good, I’m not really much of anything. But in the eyes of the living eternal God, the one true God, I’m wonderful, I’m worthy, I’m a son.
So yeah, I don’t defend those people who preach Christianity is all about being a better person. As far as I’m concerned, they can have the title “Christian”. I’m a child of God. I’m no Christian, I’m God’s son.
Then on the other hand, I’ve got some guy who is saying that evolution is a known fact. Let’s learn a little basic science…
Science is not about proving things true. Science is about weeding out what is false. If you can make some specific claim about the way things work, you can, in general, state the counter to the claim. Then, if you can show that the counter isn’t true, and you can show it in a way that lots of other people can replicate, then people will start to accept your claim. But if you can’t show that the counter is false, then you’d be hard pressed to say your claim is true and pretend to be a scientist.
Perhaps an example is in order. I’m going to make the claim that at some point every day, the “sun” will “rise”. Which means that the counter to the claim is that there exists a day when the “sun” will not “rise”. Since this counter requires a good chunk of “forever” to disprove, I can’t prove it is false, and therefore, I can’t say anything scientific about the claim that the “sun” will “rise” at some point every day.
That’s fine, I can still make the claim that given a day, the “sun” will “rise”. Which again implies that the counter is given a day, the “sun” will not “rise”. By subtly altering what we’re assuming true, we can make interesting claims and counters. So now I have a test. I will go to various points on the earth’s surface and set up stations which can detect whether the sun rose on a given day. If all of those detectors trigger, indicating that the sun did in fact rise that day, then I will be able to declare the counter false. I will continue this test at those same points around the earth for the following two years, collecting data from the detectors, and assuming that I can still, after all that time, declare the counter false, I will have a reasonably good sample suitable for publishing a paper that claims that my thorough testing has given me confidence in my theory that given a day, the sun will rise. I then, in the interest of good science, would encourage my peers to conduct this same test, and to publish their results. If their results match my own, we may start to reach a consensus that we should generally accept that the sun will rise on a given day.
Of course if any of my peers find that the test cannot be replicated, they will publish their paper as well, and we will start to hone the theory in response to the new experimental evidence. Note that as soon as one of my peers reliably produces experimental evidence that the counter cannot be rejected, I have to reassess my claim. What this means is that in the face of damning evidence we know we were wrong, but corroborating evidence doesn’t tell us much about being right.
Now, let’s say before I did all this testing that I stumbled upon some documents that claimed that on average the sun rose. Or that claimed that pretty much a lot of the time the sun definitely rose. Or that as far as some guy can remember, he can’t remember a day when the sun didn’t rise. These are all observations. They are encouragement that I might be on the right track when constructing my claim. They are not the test. They are not evidence. They are only observations.
Then I’ve got this other peer who crunches a bunch of numbers. And he says that according to his calculations, one day the sun and/or the earth won’t be near enough to each other any more, so there can’t very well be any way to define “rise” in a meaningful way. So obviously, the theory is wrong. Now, while he has raised an excellent point, it is just an observation. Observations do not necessarily refute the theory. You have to weigh the assumptions made in the calculation and those made in the tests. If this peer made the assumption that once a day everyone would go to Minot, North Dakota and jump in unison 17 times for the next 4923 years, and that on that last day the sun wouldn’t “rise” for a “day” which he defines as 5 hours starting at 10AM CST because his wife is a banker… well, you might just be tempted to not really give a damn if his calculations say much about the sun not rising. But unless the observation can be verified by a test, it is only an observation. Now, lots of people can make lots of calculations, and they might start to lighten up on their acceptance of my theory. But again, it was only accepted. Science cannot prove truth.
“Whatever,” you might say “everyone knows the world is going to blow up, or the sun is going to go nova, or some asteroid is going to knock us off into the depths of space.” It doesn’t matter what “everyone knows”. That’s simply not science. When the universe collapses to a singularity (which is going to happen because lots of smart people said so, unless you happen to believe the other smart people who said it won’t… seriously, think about how you’d test this one), entropy isn’t going to have a whole lot of meaning. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful now. Science has come to accept entropy; science has come to accept the sun rising tomorrow. Anything else you say on the matter has more to do with faith than science. Again, science doesn’t say something is true. It can only show that something is false. When it fails to do so on a consistent basis, we start to get comfortable with the idea, but that’s all science can do.
Finding skeletons in the dirt is not science. It is digging in the dirt. It’s boys (and girls) playing with toys (and um… whirls). You might be led to make hypotheses, but unless you can actually test these hypotheses, they are nothing more than dreams, fantasies, and guesses. It is not science. Making connections between human and ape DNA are observations, and may lead you to make very interesting claims. But unless those claims can be tested, they’re tantamount to the man on the street wearing the sandwich board saying “the end of the world is near”.
I’m not saying these dreams, fantasies, and guesses aren’t true. I’m not saying I’m not willing to believe your claims. But why don’t you try testing something instead of trying to get me to believe you just because you have a few pieces of paper with your name on them. You say God is dead? Show me the tests. I came from a ape? Show me the damn tests. Truth is relative? Show me the tests or get the hell out of my face. You say I won’t believe science. That’s not true. I probably believe more scientifically demonstrable things than you do. I just don’t believe your happy ass. You aren’t smart just because you say so. You say you’re smart? Show me the tests. And for cryin’ out loud… I’m not talking about the SAT, you self-righteous, self-absorbed, waste of time.
So I have a God who calls me son, and some asshole who calls me an ape. Who do you think I’m going to trust? I have a God who has kept every promise he’s ever made, and he’s telling me I’m going to spend the rest of eternity with him. Then you’re saying, “God is dead. God is wrong. God is dead wrong. Trust me.” Get out of my face, get out of my way, stop wasting my time and go back to hell.
Miss you. And so, so, so very sad that we will not be with you next year. :(
I came across your blog on a wild search that had nothing to do with your blog but I couldn’t help but read this post because of it’s title. It’s hard to find Christians who are actually interested in the truth these days and who can actually articulate their beliefs clearly. All that to say - Brilliant post. You should consider submitting something for publishing.
Posted with : The Way