Working Toward a Mature Faith

In undergraduate school, I remember one professor marveling at various features of brain functioning and talking about the reasons that a particular function evolved.  It was just as easy, or easier, for me to think of reasons that these features were designed into the system.  In my first class on physiological psychology, the professor did not have an evolutionary bent that I could tell, and merely marveled at the function and complexity of the brain.  I think many students are unprepared for the naturalistic worldview, and that this often can trigger a crisis of faith.  In their book, God Attachment, Clinton and Straub (2010)1 note that people often enter adulthood with the same views they had with their faith that they learned in early childhood.  In other words, they have not developed a more mature faith that allows them to have an understanding of the problem of evil, the existence of many different religions, and the evolutionary viewpoint (a view espousing the all-powerfulness of useful accidents).  Thus, they are setting themselves up for a crisis of faith that will inevitably come with real-world life experiences and the hard knocks that life delivers.  I frequently encounter people who become sort of paralyzed in that crisis of faith without attempting to find answers to their questions.  They will often just resign themselves to somewhat of a wishy-washy stance like, “I’m not sure I believe everything in the Bible.  I believe, but I’m just not sure about X.”  When asked, they’ll admit they’ve never tried to resolve the issue with learning more about the subject.  So, they end up assuming a distant stance with God on the basis of a particular issue that they have not taken the time to resolve.

I don’t think people have to believe that Genesis is literally true to be saved.  I don’t think there is anything in the Bible that would suggest that.  But I do think it is possible to be logically consistent and hold an intelligent worldview encompassing a literal account of Genesis.  Frankly, I think a literal account of Genesis leads to the most logically consistent stance in explaining the problem of evil in the world (i.e., the fall).  Also, one only needs a vaguely possible scenario to explain certain observations (apparent age of the Earth and Universe) to make this tenable.  If God is all-powerful, then He could have done it.  I’m not advocating a kind of “God did it” approach to science, but I am rather asking believers to explore the issue in more depth and to develop a more mature way of viewing their faith.  This can help believers have a more mature relationship with God.

I would also caution creationists against the view of saying that people who advocate for evolution are liars.  Evolution contains many lies, but to lie involves intent to deceive.  There are times when they do likely lie, but it’s better to be careful about this.  I’d rather look at it as a worldview, which I think contains many untruths.  It’s understandable, just false.

I urge fellow believers, and those with doubts, to more fully explore these issues in order to develop a more mature faith—a faith which can stand up to the complexities of the world and the problem of evil in the world.  More personally, it will help with the very difficult things that you face in your own life and promote a deeper connection with God.

1). God Attachment: Why You Believe, Act, and Feel the Way You Do About God

Comment at Darwin's God, from naturalism to paganism to superstition

It seems as if the authors know that if someone logically rejects the most socially accepted (to the point of being expected) form of superstition [i.e. Christianity], then there is little hope for their new agey, short half-life, money-making drone memes to hook in.

Not really, whatever things “seem” like to you historical facts show that those most anxious to do away with the Jewish influence tended toward pseudo-science and superstition. It would also “seem” that this pattern continues to this day, e.g.:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition.* And that’s not a conclusion to take on faith — it’s what the empirical data tell us.
“What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.
Look Who’s Irrational Now(emphasis added)

*E.g.

It is hard to explain what the neopagans….believe. They do not know themselves. Their movement is a part of the new nationalism and of a peculiar National Socialist mysticism. It has no articles of faith and it parades its lack of dogma. All of the various types of neopagans are agreed only in one thing-their rejection of Christianity and the established churches…
(The Nordic Pagan Chant Grows Louder
by Albion Rossberlin
The New York Times, Aug 4, 1935; pg. 3-4)

It is ironic that a proponent of evolutionary creation myths chose to use a norse god as an example of superstition. If history is any measure then the elimination and marginalization of Jewish tradition (i.e. “creationism”) by those who would turn science into the equivalent of nature based paganism will lead back to superstition, not away from it.

Comment at Darwin's God III

Please tell us how you would treat an infection if on the whim of some supernatural entity an antibiotic that was 100% safe and effective on one day became a deadly poison to humans the next?

The reason that science and medicine as we know it in the West arose is because of the “Jewish influence” that the Nazis sought to eliminate. It is a theology that includes regularities as well as singularities, as well as an awareness of the reality of good and evil.

How could you trust any science experiments if you assume a supernatural Loki is randomly fiddling with the results?

Islamic, Jewish and Christian scientists have won many battles against superstition due to their theology and yet now supporters of modern forms of nature based paganism seek to play pretend that theism is the equivalent of the old superstitions.

Here is the pattern:

The scholars whom we shall quote in such impressive numbers, like those others who were instrumental in any other part of the German pre-war and war efforts, were to a large extent people of long and high standing, university professors and academy members, some of them world famous, authors with familiar names and guest lecturers abroad…
If the products of their research work, even apart from their rude tone, strike us as unconvincing and hollow, this weakness is due not to inferior training but to the mendacity inherent in any scholarship that overlooks or openly repudiates all moral and spiritual values and, by standing order, knows exactly its ultimate conclusions well in advance.
(Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in
Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People
By Max Weinreich
(New York:The Yiddish Scientific Institute, 1946) :7)

And yet naturalism led to nature based paganism:

… the Nazi regime intended eventually to destroy Christianity in Germany, if it could, and substitute the old paganism of the early tribal Germanic gods and the new paganism of the Nazi extremists.
(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History
of Nazi Germany by William L. Shirer
(Simon and Schuster) 1990 :239)

Let’s not play pretend that naturalism inevitably leads to progress, which then leads to the elimination of superstition, naturally. That is merely a mythology of Progress. History indicates that science is linked to monotheism (e.g., repeatable results, a universe governed by language/law which is therefore amenable to human language/theory, etc.) and that the rejection of theism may be linked to a reversion to superstition and pseudo-science.

Comment at Darwin's God II

You explain convincingly why there is no alternative to methodological naturalism.

The irony of the notion of methodological naturalism is that it only makes sense if its falsification, i.e. supernaturalism might actually be detected in some way. Yet its proponents argue that this is impossible as a matter of principle and surround this claim with the arguments and so on that Hunter pointed out.

There is no alternative to naturalism, whatever it is, because there never could be. The subsequent arguments and mythologies of progress that you find so convincing are actually unnecessary.

Therefore I wonder why you still have problems accepting the ToE?

Your argument reads like this: There is no alternative to naturalism, therefore evolution is true.

I guess you can’t even understand why that is a problem but others might note that the “theory of evolution” is unlike other scientific theories which are open to falsification and which actually require experimental and empirical evidence.

Looking at your argument again (There is no alternative to naturalism therefore evolution.) apparently the only way it would be falsified is if a supernatural being appeared in a test tube or some such. Their incarnation would put them in nature, naturally. So it would all still be natural and therefore one would have no alternative but to imagine an evolutionary creation myth to explain it.

Comment at Darwin's God

I assume you don’t think it would be a good option to pursue supernatural causes in medicine.

Perhaps you do not have to pursue them, as they might arise naturally. Or is that simply impossible?

After all, we already admit to transphysical causes and transcendent realities in medicine all the time. It is by our innate sense of form that we call some things in nature deformities. The reason that we call some physical events “diseases” is generally merely because they cause a lack of ease and so on. In contrast, history shows that Darwinism and evolutionary creation myths simply dissolve the practice of medicine as we know it. (See generally: The Nazi Doctors by Robert Lifton)

We are scientifically blind to the possibility that satanic forces are spreading influenza and interfering with the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Even if Satanic forces were doing those things we could still study physical reality and seek “physical” cures in so far as physical regularities could be observed. The belief that evil exists never stopped progress in medicine in the past, yet nature based paganism and a survival of the fittest mentality clearly did. Hospitals tended to arise in Christian cultures and among “noble pagans” and not as a result of nature based paganism, many bear Catholic names to this day and so on. History indicates that to the extent that nature based paganism emerges again there will be conflict between the “Jewish influence” of charity and a survival of the fittest mentality.

Comment at Sandwalk Blog

Intelligent Design Creationism is struggling to maintain scientific credibility.

Not really, most proponents of ID are seeking the truth while in my experience most biologists are mainly seeking to maintain their professional identity, scientific credibility, grants and so on.

The movement claims to be scientific, not religious…

That distinction probably has more to do with the fact that modern biologists used to be amateur natural theologians than anything else.

Most of us don’t see it that way.

Most biologists were eugenicists a short time ago, so perhaps the “community” is wrong again.

What we never, ever, see is a true explanation of how intelligent design creationism actually works.

It’s biologists themselves who have claimed to know how creationism works, probably because they used to be creationists. Darwin claimed to know how it works and the tradition continues in “panda’s thumb” arguments to this day. So apparently there is a way it works and a way it does not.

Watch it to see if Meyer1 explains the origin of information according to the Intelligent Design Creationism Model.

He explains it by what we know by experience as sentient beings. On the other hand, if one agrees with you then the illusion of language that emerges from your brain events here generally reduces to blind and ignorant processes like natural selection operating on the reproductive organs of ancient ape-like creatures. Once we realize that this illusion is based on another and so on, why keep discussing it?

Wait right ’till the end to make sure you don’t miss the explanation of how an intelligent creator put information into DNA.

How did you put information into those words? Blind and ignorant mechanisms and processes?

A “true explanation” according to biologists would be one based on blind and ignorant mechanisms so it would seem that you want to see something that you will never see unless you’re willing to step outside of your community.

Wait to see how this accounts for life as we know it today.

If knowledge/scientia can be reduced to blind and ignorant processes as biologists claim then our knowledge of life “as we know it” is generally an illusion brought about by ignorance. Apparently it takes a lot of training in order for someone to believe that they can make arguments about knowledge based on brains created by ignorance.

It’s why we call them IDiots.

Not at all, biologists generally call them idiots for political reasons in order to safeguard your community from the Other and to protect your professional identity. That is all. Their level of intelligence is often higher than average.

Link to original post: Stephen Meyer Explains the Origin of Information

Commenting on a random blog, II

1. You want to talk origin of the universe or evolution? When we’re talking origin we’re on almost equal footing — neither of us knows for sure, but at least science has natural, measurable, observable data on its side.

In a universe in which scientists are imagining multiple universes the term natural has no meaning. Indeed, it can only be defined or falsified/verified in opposition to the supernatural. It’s not clear what the supernatural is but if the “supernatural” is to be excluded from science then calling things natural is merely a unverifiable and undefined truism.

Despite the notion of “natural,” modern creation myths often differ little from ancient myths. Aside from being less imaginative and less artistic there is little difference.

E.g.

…Lee Smolin added an ingenious Darwinian spin which reduces the apparent statistical improbability of our existence. In Smolin’s model, universes give birth to daughter universes, which vary in their laws and constants. Daughter universes are born in black holes produced by a parent universe, and they inherit its laws and constants but with some small possibility of random change–’mutation’. Those daughter universes that have what it takes to reproduce (last long enough to make black holes, for instance) are, of course, the universes that pass their laws and constants to their daughters. ….
So universes that have what it takes to make stars are favoured in this cosmic Darwinism.
(The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins :91)

vs.

Gaia, the beautiful, rose up,
Broad blossomed, she that is the steadfast base
Of all things. And fair Gaia first bore
The starry Heaven, equal to herself,
To cover her on all sides and to be
A home forever for the blessed Gods.

The Darwinian urge to merge back into Mother Nature while rejecting “Father God” and so on isn’t new. The only thing that is new is that people are mistaking patterns of thought which have more to do with their own psychological dynamics than facts, logic and evidence as the epistemic equivalent of an actual, scientific theory.

ID has is a belief… system: “God did it,” but can offer no proof whatsoever.

Lack of evidence has never stopped Darwinists from passing off their creation myths to ignorant schoolchildren as the equivalent of science.

Your “2nd Law of Thermodynamics” argument is only true in a closed system. The Earth is not a closed system, so no “laws” have been broken.

This is the equivalent of arguing that you would never have to clean your house if you left all the doors and windows open.

No physical evidence of evolution?

Evolution is merely change, any change. And of course there is evidence that change happens. It’s much like excrement in that respect. But in any event, there is no theory of progressive evolution which explains life as we know it. Indeed, to the extent that the unfalsifiable hypothetical goo that gives rise to evolutionary creation myths has ever been specified into an actual scientific theory it has been specified in the theory of natural selection. Yet natural selection predicts conservation and destruction, not construction, and this is what is generally observed.

In addition, evolution was directly observed in the laboratory by Dr. Richard Lenski in 2008 (as part of a 20-year long experiment involving E. Coli bacteria).

What type of change do you think was observed and how does it verify evolutionary creation myths?

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