Archive for the ‘evolution’ Category

Faith versus Reason

Posted: September 9, 2009 in atheism, Christian, evolution, faith, science

 

After reading W.K. Clifford’s essay “The Ethics of Belief” and William James’s essay “The Will to Believe” I have been given the task of answering the following questions: 1) Is it always wrong to believe something for which one lacks sufficient evidence? And 2) Is “faith” inconsistent with critical thinking?

The first problem that arises out of these inquiries is the question of what is “sufficient” or what determines “sufficient evidence”? I would have to assert that determination of sufficiency is autonomous upon the person holding the belief and independent of an objective standard. Although it may be that only when a question or issue is resolved by careful examination of the evidence at hand, that a reasonable person should establish a belief about that issue. But establishing a belief on the evidence and determining the sufficiency of that evidence are both autonomous upon the believer. What is sufficient for one person, may not be sufficient for another. So to say that it is wrong to believe something based on insufficient evidence is to beg-the-question for the determination of sufficiency must be established to determine lack and where must the line be drawn? Therefore, I suggest that a reasonable person may hold a belief established with moral certainty based on the evidence that an alternative is not possible. The highest standard of proof for any belief must be that established beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, is it wrong to believe something when any doubt exists?

This brings me to address the second question regarding belief and logic. If faith is defined as a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” according to Webster’s Dictionary, then the answer would be that, yes, faith is inconsistent with critical thinking. I would argue, however, that absence of proof is not necessary to require faith. One can follow the evidence to where it leads beyond a reasonable doubt and a conclusion would still require a willingness to believe due to the nature of man’s incomplete knowledge. One hundred percent conclusive proof may not be available, but a belief may be drawn beyond a reasonable doubt based on the forensic evidence provided at the time. Science relies upon the allowance and acceptance of this type of faith.

Take the debate between evolution verses intelligent design for example. The evolutionist believes that the evidence shows conclusively that changes in organic design are controlled by random mutations and contingent selection. In other words, evolution is a fact such that all that exists is the natural. The intelligent design proponent insists that evolutionary theory lacks sufficient evidence to support such belief and is better explained by an intelligent cause. Who is right? Are both standing upon faith? Does reason to doubt evolutionary theory exist? For one, a fact does not change, while theory does. Science suggests that evolution is both a theory and a fact. ID proponents recognize the fact of evolution within species which they have dubbed micro-evolution, but argue the theory of evolution’s ability to explain the mechanism of evolution is insufficient since reasonable alternatives are available. One side insists that reasonable doubt exists the other does not. Can it be determined if one is wrong and the other right? The possibility must exist or the pursuit of truth of evolutionary theory would be futile.

If ID proponents refuse to believe evolutionary theory with moral certainty that an alternative is possible, are they wrong? If one believes that the origin of life and of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than a random undirected process, do they hold this belief in spite of the proof or because of it? How can a being limited by the physical existence know with absolute certainty that nothing exists outside of the natural? Whether one believes evolution theory to be true or false, it is certain that one believes or disbelieves with an element of faith. The study of science exists because human knowledge is incomplete. And, as the human race moves from false beliefs to true, the mechanism of faith as a moral certainty of a belief is a necessary element of the critical thinking process.

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A German Lady Remembers and Speaks
Lori Kalner

In Germany, when Hitler came to power, it was a time of terrible financial depression. Money was worth nothing.

In Germany people lost homes and jobs, just like in the American Depression in the 1930s, which we have read about in Thoene’s Shiloh books.

In those days, in my homeland, Adolph Hitler was elected to power by promising “Change.”

He blamed the “Zionists” around the world for all our problems. He told everyone it was greedy Zionist Bankers who had caused every problem we had. He promised when he was leader, the greedy Zionist bankers would be punished. The Zionists, he promised, would be wiped off the face of the earth. So Hitler was elected to power by only 1/3 the popular vote.

A coalition of other political parties in parliament made him supreme leader. Then, when he was leader, he disgraced and expelled everyone in parliament who did not go along with him.

Yes. Change came to my homeland as the new leader promised it would.
The teachers in German schools began to teach the children to sing songs in praise of Hitler.

This was the beginning of the Hitler Youth movement. It began with praise of the Fuhrer’s programs on the lips of innocent children.
Hymns in praise of Hitler and his programs were being sung in the schoolrooms and in the playyard.

Little girls and boys joined hands and sang these songs as they walked home from school.

My brother came home and told Papa what was happening at school. The political hymns of children proclaimed Change was coming to our homeland and the Fuhrer was a leader we could trust.

I will never forget my father’s face. Grief and fear. He knew that the best propaganda of the Nazis was song on the lips of little children.

That evening before he said grace at the dinner table, he placed his hands upon the heads of my brothers and me and prayed the Living Word upon us from Jeremiah 1:4-5.

‘Now the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I
consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to The nations.”

Soon the children’s songs praising the Fuhrer were heard everywhere on the streets and over the radio. “With our Fuhrer to lead us, we can do it! We can change the world!”

Soon after that Papa, a pastor, was turned away from visiting elderly parishioners in hospitals. The people he had come to bring comfort of God’s Word, were “no longer there.”

Where had they vanished to while under nationalized health care? It became an open secret.

The elderly and sick began to disappear from hospitals feet first as “mercy killing” became the policy.

Children with disabilities and those who had Down syndrome were euthanized.

People whispered, “Maybe it is better for them now. Put them out of misery. They are no longer suffering.And, of course, their death is better for the treasury of our nation. Our taxes no longer must be spent to care for such a burden.” And so murder was called mercy.

The government took over private business. Industry and health care were “nationalized.” (NA-ZI means National Socialist Party)

The businesses of all Jews were seized. (Perhaps you remember our story in Berlin on Krystalnacht in the book Munich Signature)

The world and God’s word were turned upside down. Hitler promised the people economic Change?
Not change. It was, rather, Lucifer’s very ancient Delusion leading to Destruction.

What began with the propaganda of children singing a catchy tune ended in the deaths of millions of children.

The reality of what came upon us is so horrible that you in this present generation cannot imagine it. Our suffering is too great to ever tell in a book or show in a black and white newsreel.

When I spoke to Bodie about some of these things, she wept and said she could not bear to write them.

Perhaps one day she will, but I asked her, “who could bear to read our suffering?” Yet with my last breaths I warn every Christian and Jew now in the name of the Lord, Unless your course of the church in America is spiritually changed now, returning to the Lord, there are new horrors yet to come.

I trembled last night when I heard the voices of American children raised in song, praising the name of Obama, the charismatic fellow who claims he is the American Messiah. Yet I have heard what this man Obama says about abortion and the “mercy killing” of tiny babies who are not wanted.

There are so few of us left to warn you.

I have heard that there are 69 million Catholics in America and 70 million Evangelical Christians.

Where are your voices? Where is your outrage? Where is passion and your vote?

Do you vote based on an abortionist’s empty promises and economics?
Or do you vote according to the Bible?

Thus says the Lord about every living child still in the womb.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”

I have experienced the signs of the politics of Death in my youth. I see them again now.
Christians! Unless you stand up now, you will lose your freedom of religion.

In America priests and preachers have already lost their freedom to speak openly from their pulpits of moral danger in political candidates.

They cannot legally instruct you of which candidate holds fast to the precepts of scripture!
American law forbids this freedom of speech to conservative pastors or they will lose their “tax exempt” status.

And yet I have heard the words of Obama’s pastor Damning America!
I have heard the words of Obama damning and mocking all of you in small towns because you “Cling to your religion.”

But I am a woman whose name is unknown. My life is recorded as a work of fiction.
I have no fear of reprisal when I speak truth to you from the pages of a book.
(Though the Zion Covenant books are mocked and condemned by the Left in America.)

I am an old woman and will soon go to be with my Lord.
I have no fear for myself, but for all of you and for your children, I tremble.

I tremble at the hymns to a political leaders which your children will sing at school.
(Though even now a hymn or a prayer to God and our Lord Jesus is against the law in public school!)

Your vote must put a stop to what will come upon America if Barrack Obama is elected.
I pray you will personally heed this warning for the sake of your children and your grandchildren. Do not be deceived.

The Lord in Jeremiah 1:7-8 commands every believer to speak up!

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,’ for to all whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them for I am with you, declares the Lord!”

I am in Prayer for you, and for the Church!
Spoken to you in the authority of Jesus the Christ,
the Name Above All Names,
Lori Kalner

I went to the bank to withdraw $1000 from my account yesterday. I filled out the withdrawal slip and handed it to the cashier. She pecked on the computer a while and then told me that I only had $852.47 in the account. Now, we are living in a culture that says truth is relative. So she cannot really know what is really in the account. My truth is just as valid as hers. So I said, “Well that may be true for you, but not for me. Give me my $1000.”  

 

So now I have to find another bank. Apparently bankers do not like dealing with people who are out of touch with reality.

 

Is truth relative? Many people insist there are no absolutes. What do you think?

 

To explore this question of truth, perhaps I should discuss three possible sides of the issue:
1) Is truth absolute?
2) Is truth knowable?
3) Is truth exclusive?

 

Truth is absolute. Truth has been described as “telling it like it is.” If something is true, it is true for all people everywhere at all times because truth corresponds to its object. To deny absolute truth is self-defeating.

 

Truth is knowable. Truth about reality is knowable. To deny truth is knowable implies knowledge of the truth which is, once again, self-defeating.

 

Truth is exclusive. If “A” is true, then “not A” is false. Truth is not dependent on our feelings or preferences. If something is true, it is true whether we like it or not.

 


It follows then that all religions cannot be true because they teach opposites. While many religions have true beliefs, the religions themselves cannot all be true because they are mutually exclusive teaching opposites.

 

 

 

 

What would you say to a friend who claimed that the Christian God doesn’t exist because there’s too much evil in the world?

One approach is to respond with a question, “How do you know what evil is?” Some say we learn right and wrong from our parents. Really? So when your son took a toy from your toddler, you had a lesson on property rights before she screamed in protest? And you taught your son how to lie before he came up with an excuse as to why he wasn’t violating these moral laws. We have a conscience so we instinctively know the moral law, we do not need to be taught these things.

We know there is a moral law because moral absolutes exist. Morality is not relative, if it were your morality would be right, mine would be right, there would be no standard by which to judge one behavior to be objectionable and another to be valued. The difference between Hitler and Mother Theresa would only be a matter of opinion. In order for you to judge one behavior right and another wrong a moral absolute standard must exist. If a conscience or moral law exists, then a moral law provider, someone outside of the prescribed standard must exist. Christians call this moral law provider God.

While God did not make evil He did allow evil to exist. When He created the heavens and the earth He declared it all to be good. Part of the goodness was giving some of His creatures free will. Because forced love is not love anymore than forced obedience is willful obedience. We are not robots, we have a choice to love or hate, to obey or rebel.

The evil you see in the world is the result of people living in opposition to the moral standard they know they ought to obey. We all violate the moral law to some degree bringing judgment upon ourselves. Because God is good and just, He must judge law breakers. But Christ paid our fine and took our punishment providing forgiveness and a way to become righteous, free from our transgression. Christianity is the only world religion that provides a Savior, that is Jesus.

Ravi Zacharias advises the Christian on how to share their faith in a secular society with grace.

“If our method is in violation of the message people will see it quite quickly.” 

I have had many conversations with secularists, humanists, atheists, etc. Sometimes arrogance rears its ugly head and there is no hope of an honest exploration of one another’s view. I cannot fault them for behaving within their nature. But I have a new nature and the ability to love unconditionally, I have no excuse. If I want to be heard, I must die to myself and approach others in humility. It’s not about me, it is all about them and their salvation. If I truly have the heart to see them grasp the truth, then my method must match the message.

As a Christian, we have an unfair advantage because we have the Truth. Recognize the need in the other person and view him or her as one in bondage to the lies that once entangled you. Grace can break those bonds when paired with reason. We can boldly proclaim the truth, with respect and humility leading others to Living Water. We cannot make them drink, but the next time they thirst, perhaps they will trace their steps back to that conversation. And when his head hits the pillow, his thoughts will drift back to the discussion he had last week. And he will think to himself, “Maybe I need to re-examine the evidence, maybe there is more to life, maybe this is not all there is . . . ”

I recognize that it is unfathomable to people to think that a stranger would genuinely care deeply about their eternity. But it is this reckless abandon of self that moves Christ followers to place themselves in harm’s way just to love a lost soul. I do this by entering into discussions with atheist and secularist enduring attacks on my faith and on my intellect. Others may sell everything and move to Africa to minister to the hungry and the sick, some day I hope to as well. To me when a person recognizes her need for a Savior, it is well worth enduring a few verbal assaults.

I pray earnestly that my actions imitate the object of my faith.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. “

The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ac 20:24