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

Who made God? The "Law of Causality"

In the podcast below, RC Sproul addresses first cause.  Atheists often use the infinite regress problem in an attempt to argue against God as the first cause.  Simply, they ask the question that children often ask, “Who made God?” Sproul presents an effective refutation of the infinite regress problem and discusses how the law of causality relates to the existence of God.

Law of Causality

Evidence as Parable?

In this post, I seek to take a step back from the ID/evolution debate, and consider things from a Christian perspective.  Jesus often spoke in parables, and explained the reason to his disciples:

“The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables, ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand'” (Mat. 13:11,13).

When thinking about design in the universe, it makes one wonder why God created a universe where evidence seems to perpetually point in two possible directions.  In other words, we don’t find a message encoded into DNA that says something akin to “God was here,” written in every known language.  Certainly He could have done that, but it seemed to be part of His purpose that evidence for creation be presented in the same manner as He spoke through Jesus (i.e., in parables).  Unbelievers in the days of Jesus consistently misinterpreted the meaning of His parables, just as the evidence of design is consistently misinterpreted by today’s unbelievers.

That’s why I don’t ever expect ID theorists or creation scientists to find a “smoking gun,” that absolutely proves design in nature.  That would remove the necessity of faith.  Likewise, I don’t expect a smoking gun from the side of naturalism that proves that matter and energy are the only things that exist.

As a result, I’m skeptical whenever I hear claims that it has been proven that the mind is either completely material or immaterial, that it has been shown that there is no evidence for design, that there is no evidence for materialism, and so forth.  In other words, by design, there will always be evidence pointing in both directions.  However, when it comes down to an individual’s decision about whether to believe in God, there is enough evidence for each person to decide where they will place their faith in order to fulfill the following verses:

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

That said, ID is an important scientific endeavor that seeks to uncover the evidence for design, which is evident in nature.  For Christians thinking about the issue who might be confused, it is helpful  to remember that the evidence will never be bulletproof, but it will be sufficient for your decision of faith.  Furthermore, the evidence is strong enough so that we are without excuse.

Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ

There is perhaps no other fact more important to the Christian faith than the resurrection of Christ. Indeed, Paul writes, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).

This is a topic that has been given a thorough treatment by theologians and apologists. Ashby Camp has written a concise point by point treatise on the matter, The Historical Case for the Resurrection of Christ. If you have not read other similar works, this paper is concise and thorough. I recommend it.

Faith and Evolution: New Website

William Dembski posted on a new website launched by the Discovery Institute (faithandevolution.org).  The design is sleek, and there is some useful information there.  I was reading some of the information on theistic evolution and came across this astounding passage:

And biologist Kenneth Miller of Brown University, author of the popular book Finding Darwin’s God (which is used in many Christian colleges), insists that evolution is an undirected process, flatly denying that God guided the evolutionary process to achieve any particular result—including the development of human beings. Indeed, Miller insists that “mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here… as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.” [Finding Darwin’s God (1999), p. 272]

Miller does say that God knew that the undirected process of evolution was so wonderful it would create some sort of rational creature capable of praising Him eventually. But what that something would be was radically undetermined. How undetermined? At a 2007 conference, Miller admitted that evolution could have produced “a big-brained dinosaur” or a “mollusk with exceptional mental capabilities” rather than human beings. [Quoted in Darwin Day, p. 226]

The Outsider, DB, would call this type of thinking, making it up as we go.  Essentially, that appears to be the approach of most theistic evolutionists. Unfortunately, they seem to apply a similar process to theology that many Darwinists apply to history. In other words, they imagine God to be whatever they want (e.g., a powerless cosmic puppy dog who loves you perhaps). Basically, they often seem to be worshiping science first and God second. But the God they worship (second to science) appears to be one of their own making.

Reference:
According to theistic evolution, did God direct evolution and know its outcome?

ID is False; ID is not Falsifiable: Which is it?

Dickie D, and another fellow discuss evolution in this video.  They start off talking about the eye, and state that it is not designed because it is poorly designed.  In other words, they claim this falsifies ID.  Which is interesting given that Darwinists state that ID is not science and not falsifiable.  Then also interestingly, they claim that the octopus eye does not have these design flaws.  But that’s okay, evolution can explain that too. Then, Dickie’s friend, I assume he’s an MD, tries to lay out how Darwinism informs medical decision making.  I think they both probably think that those who would view things from an ID perspective would not conceptually consider the functions of medical symptoms.  This is basically a teleological view of symptoms, which is not entailed by a Darwinian perspective, and certainly comports with an ID perspective.

Humorously, they continue to use the word Design throughout the video, and engage in the typical anthropomorphism of Darwinists when talking about natural selection.

Is the use of teleology immature?

Charles Darwin should be spinning in his grave: More than 40 percent of American adults still don’t believe in evolution. Though Darwin’s theory has been uncontroversially accepted among scientists, public resistance remains remarkably forceful. Meanwhile, creationism and intelligent design enjoy widespread public support. (1)

Clichés aside, I don’t think Darwin or any other naturalist should make reference to the continued existence of anyone post-death.  I don’t think most people, other than Darwin worshipers, should be too worried about the post-death radial velocity of Darwin’s remains. This is just another way of saying, “There are a lot of stupid people out there, and IDists and Creationists are among them.”

An academic psychologist, Tania Lombrozo, from a venerable Ivory Tower (2), UC Berkely, has tried to explain teleology from an evolutionary perspective.

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