Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

This is a pretty good snapshot to remind us of the Reformation and the blessings we have as it's heirs which we often take for granted. At around 4 minutes Dr. Sproul starts trying to sell his study Bible, but if you can look past all of that this is a good video.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Puritan Resolve to Holiness

Thomas Watson"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matt 11:2)

This is a remarkable passage about what should be our approach toward a holy life, or striving to enter heaven. I remember hearing some John Piper sermons about a "violent streak in Christianity". By that he did not mean violence against others, but violence against the part of us that would do violence to others. In other words violence and war against indwelling sin. Thomas Watson (my favorite puritan author) writes this:

“This is the first thing in holy violence: resolution of their will; I will have heaven whatever it costs me and this resolution must be in the strength of Christ.” (Thomas Watson, "Heaven Taken By Storm")

Let us strive then to enter the narrow gate.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Clearly the Best Candidate For 2008

Ron Paul continues to impress me and certainly has my vote for the 2008 election. The only way things will change is if we start getting behind the best person for the job, not the guy who has the "best chance" for winning. There is no way I can consciously vote for any of the "front runners" of any party as a Christian. I do like all the underdog Rep's, but Paul stands out as the man with a plan.

Video clips of the Ron Paul highlights at yesterday's Republican debate are here.

(The Picture is Ron Paul trying to revive the constitution which has flat lined)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Polemics of Science

Their think tank is launching a counter attack!!!An article has recent;y come out in the NY Times dispelling a myth that has been propagated in the name of science. Which one you may ask? Well don't get too hopeful this is the NY Times after all, it has it's sacred cows. In this article what is being debunked is the common myth that fatty diets cause heart disease and cause shorter lifespans. This is being dispelled by scientists now. (the article can be read here)

The point I want to draw from this is the fact that around 92% of scientists in this field held to the anti-fat philosophy. My main thrust isn't dietary, I really could care less. Rather, what I am getting at is the fact that many people embraced this sort of a view on fat consumption because most scientists said this theory was true.

1)This is a Fallacy Often used

This ties right in to many of the scientific theories floating around today and the alleged near unanimous support for them. It is a logical fallacy to say that "Most X's believe that theory Y is true, therefore we should too." Yet this is the exact line of reasoning that I almost always here from Atheists in defending evolution. Some 90% of scientists believe that evolution is a matter of fact, the other 10% are just religious nuts who shouldn't be scientists anyway because science is inherently Atheistic mind you. If over 90% of scientists say this is true we should as well.

This will tie into the final point of holding theories of science tentatively and not screaming about how "Evolution is Fact Fact FACT!" to quote Michael Ruse. This sort of mantra is used whenever talk of other views is brought up, evolution is taken to be so matter of fact that other views aren't allowed due to the impossibility of any other view. This links to the next point, which is that no matter what theory you are dealing with there are rival theories.

2)All Theories Have Rivals

In the polemics of science and education the ID folks are often just asking school boards to allow their teachers to "Teach the debate". The popular reply to this from the Darwinists has been to firmly state "There is no debate!" Well, that simply isn't true, there always is an in-house debate in science about theories. There is something inherently wrong when in science (where theories are to be held tentatively) you have proponents of a theory deny that there are any counter theories being proposed. There is always rival theories because no theory is perfect, it will have anomolies (or unaccounted for data).

To say that there is no debate is to engage is a slight of hand like Luke Sky Walker saying "These are not the Droids you are looking for..."

This does not mean that every rival theory needs to be taught to school children, but a teacher should be free to do so. That's what science is supposed to be about, the free exchange of ideas/theories to explain phenomena. The reason this isn't allowed anymore is because there are a good number of people who want to make science into a religion that negates God.

3) All Theories Are Tentative

There is never rationally a point in science where Michael Ruse can make the statement he does, especially given his presuppositions. This is because science is based on inductive reasoning. Take for example dropping a pen on the floor, how many times do you have to drop the pen to arrive at certainty that it will fall to the ground rather than float to the ceiling? 10x? 50x? 100x? 1000x? 10,000x? No matter how great the number, you can never have absolute certainty that the pen will fall to the floor rather than float to the ceiling.

Nor can you even really speak in probabilities, you can't put a percented number on your certainty that your pen will fall, that is wholly arbitrary, "I am about 75% sure it will fall rather than I suppose I am 75.00002% certain when I drop it again it will fall."

So how do we get out of this problem? Well the Atheist can't, all he has to go by is autonomous reason, he has no answer to the problem of induction. So for the atheist to do science he has to make an irrational leap (kinda ironic huh? the guys touting themselves as THE rational free thinkers...) For the Christian science is based on God's existence. Based on this presupposition we can expect His creation to behave with a regularity of laws and thus we can proceed to use the inductive method rationally.

4) The False Authority

This is more a problem for the public observer who naturally sees the lab coat fellow as automatically  G.W, An Expert?!authoritative. This is why in numerous commercials people will be wearing lab coats as they pitch the product to the consumer. The white coat says: "Objective Expert" to the observer. Well objectivity is a farce, but my point is that this is how bad research gets accepted, the "Expert" speaks and the observer accepts.

Again this is kind of ironic to me because many Atheists criticize Christians as if they just sort of accept everything their pastor says to them as fact, but it seems there is a parallel to this as well. Granted, there are a good deal of people who are passive pew sitters and don't do their homework or critically think about what is being taught. However, I think it is equally true that there are many pew sitters in the naturalist arena who just uncritically accept what their pastor in a lab coat is saying. Perhaps they are doing poor exegesis (or even isogesis) of the text of nature?

(ps. That is Bush in a lab coat...)


My point in all of this is not to debunk evolution, although I do think it is a smoke and mirrors theory. My point is that all the dogmatic scientific pronouncements made, all the things that are labelled "fact" or "Certain" are made/labelled irrationally. Given the nature of science such statements can not be made.

I would of course go a step further as I began to do so in heading 4 and say that without presupposing the Christian worldview you can't prove anything.

Suffice it to say that no matter what the theory in science we should hold to it tentatively no matter how many guys in white coats accept it at any given time, that is the point of this post.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Faith Is A Private Matter....

We often hear many cliches and catch phrases when a person is asked rather direct questions about religion in general and religion and politics in particular. Some of the more popular phrases we hear invoked by politicians of all political stripe is "Yes I am a Christian but I don't wear my faith on my sleeve." Or something to the effect that somehow their belief that God is there has no bearing on the decisions these individuals will make while serving in office. Their faith is relegated to a private sector.

Now, my intent in this post is aimed not so much at the integrity of the politicians or individuals who make such utterances but the division that they harbour itself. This division is a private/public, sacred/secular, irrational/rational, values/factual...sort of division. Francis Schaeffer did a wonderful job in displaying this sort of compartmentalized view to life with these sorts of charts:

What we have is a two story view of the world. In the Upper Story we have things like hobbies, religion, ethics, meaning, etc. In the lower we have the objective facts of life like science, one's job, the secular etc.

What this mainly leads to is threefold: 1)An inconsistent thought, 2)A faith without works 3) Irrational leaps (people hiding out, in the private zone to protect their ridiculous beliefs from criticism or unwannted consequences)

1)An inconsistency in thought

This sort of inconsistency comes from contrary beliefs held in both the upper and lower story. One can at least verbally confess belief in Christianity and with the same mouth utter things that are in complete contradiction with the tenants of Christianity. Now I am assuming the person is truly a believer and isn't just using God words to appeal to people. This is because this two-story division is more assumed than consciously thought through.

Nancy Pearcey in her book "Total Truth" gives us a rather alarming example of a woman, or rather a group of women, who were Bible believing Christians, not liberal Christians mind you, who worked at planned parenthood and were part of the process of young women terminating pregnancies. These women really didn't see their Christianity (private upperstory) as in conflict with their job (secular public lower-story). This is because there is an unconscious or assumed division between the two in many people's mind.

No doubt the message these women heard was Jesus died for your sins, He rose again, and through trust in that work we are saved. This is all true, but that is not all there is to the gospel. The gospel truly is both vertical and horizontal. In reacting to the Liberal social gospel many churches abandoned any horizontal emphasis altogether and the Christian message became purely vertical (concerned only with the world to come and our right standing before God). This leads into point number two.
2) Faith Without Works

Going back to what was just said about the Fundamentalists rejection of a social Christianity in the face of a Liberal social gospel, if you are going to err this is the side to err on. At the same time though this is not good enough, we need the entirety of the Christian message. The Christian message or worldview must come to bear on all of our lives because that is precisely what Christ requires of individuals, their entire lives under His Lordship. What this means is that the Christian worldview has something to say about everything and serves as the individual's reference point in everything. If one's Christianity does not effect everything they do it simply isn't a worldview, it may be a private hobby (Like building model ships) but it is not a worldview.

Oddly enough that is precisely how many secularists would have us to view Christianity, it is merely a private hobby just like a man who likes to collect Pokemon cards. We would think him rather odd if he went around telling everybody else (in the public lower story) to collect Pokemon cards. Likewise the secularist finds it equally odd when Christianity enters the public arena giving pronouncements.

What has happened when Christians embrace the upper and lower story division is we end up with a faith in the upstairs and a secular view in the lower. So while the person may indeed go to church and assent to orthodox teaching when it comes acting in the public sphere (lower story) he/she will think just like the secularist. By that I mean in terms of what is pragmatic or some other secular method of deducing the best course of action rather than inquiring for a word from the Lord (Bible) on the matter.

3) Irrational Leaps as Shields

On this last description of the upper/lower story division we have irrational leaps. This is invoked by people of all stripes, things contained within the upper story do not need to be rational. In the Christian arena what is often substituted for a lack of rational is the word "faith". In a more secular sense it is usually phrases akin to "This is my view/belief" emphasising the privativity of the proclamation. In either case a leap into the upper story is made and the point in part is a sort of shield from any criticism.

In other words when such phrases are invoked they are generally used as a sort of shield from any possible critique of the individual's views. So what is being said is this "This is what I think about X but it is in the upper story so you have no right to tell me what I think about X may be wrong." So in short upper story=immunity to many.

Honestly I have read/heard statements from non-Christian individuals who are masters of couching their statements in the upper-story to shield them from criticism. This is quite apparent when politicians speak on matters of ethics and religion. It is also apparent when talking to individuals who hold to patently absurd worldviews (New Agers for example).

Being more particular, take the naturalist. On a lower story assessment of reality man is a machine, we are animals that have been conditioned to survive in a hostile world. Our existence is really aimed at one purpose survival. This is the lower story factual world for the naturalist, a rather bleak meaning to our existence.

However, that is not how the naturalist lives. The naturalist will make a leap (irrational) into the upper-story to find meaning greater than survival and make statements that the lower story (empirical science) can not verify. Sam Harris for example in his critique of Christianity writes:

"It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive." (p.57 LTCN)

Given Harris' worldview where does this come from? Why is this such a terrible thing? Harris does not give any rational explanation based on his worldview as to why he thinks this way about human life, he just makes this utterance and expects the reader to agree that these things are rather evident. Given his Atheistic Darwinism suffering is just part of what is, you can't rationally say it is terrible. In doing so Harris is leaping into the upper-story.

This is why Schaeffer talked about "taking the roof off" the unbeliever's worldview. Harris is hiding under this umbrella that is really borrowed or leftovers from Christianity (that human suffering is bad). Part of our job is to show folks that given their worldview they have no rational basis for believing such things, we need to take the roof off and let the implication of their God rejecting worldview rain in, this is a form of law.

4) Conclusion

The upper/lower story grid is very insightful as far as analyzing the ideas that are constantly swirling about in our culture. It really helps to give an understanding of the "culture wars" (ex: "science" vs. "faith") and how Christians are gagged by secularists and forbidden a hearing. It also helps to shed light on a lot of the self inflicted silence or disconnect many Christians have in bringing the Christian worldview into all of life.

Monday, October 01, 2007

This Should be Interesting...

This Here...
I recently found out that Ben Stein has a movie coming out in February on the Darwinian captivity of the sciences (as I call it). In other words it is about how you can't question Darwinism without loosing repute and well in many cases your job. It seems to me that it is fairly clear that there is a conscious suppression of anything that would challenge the frankly Atheistic presuppositions in the sciences, and that simply is NOT science. Science is supposed to be about free thought not suppressing ideas and theories because they don't fit one's God rejecting philosophy. It's high time that some of the sacred cows that have been erected by godless secularists and Atheists receive a thorough challenge.

To be fair, I don't have great hopes for this documentary. My main concern is that it isn't a Michael Moore style ambush journalism where they will in freeze frame zoom in on a rather dumb looking face Richard Dawkins has made upon cringing at a difficult question while having some smearing monologue going as the stupid look on Dawkins' face gets bigger. That's the way most documentaries go nowadays, I can't remember the last really well researched one I have seen...The Trouble with Atheism was ok, (Never mind the poor star ratings on Youtube, it is a decent documentary).

At anyrate even though I reject evolution theory (at least macro) and I agree that the sciences are called upon to just matter of fact (a word science has no right to use but Darwinists use it all the time in regards to their theory) assume Darwinism, my concern is simply giving a good representation and not just having a smear campaign. Honestly, that is hard to do in an hour and a half, that is why the slapdash Michael Moore approach is so popular. So I hope it is a good film and opens people's eyes to the role of science.

(***All I know is that Ben is going to get hammered by the evolutionists [not necessarily intellectually but through personal attacks which are already gushing forth] so he better make this movie worth it and count the cost.***)