Archive for the ‘science’ 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.

 

 

 

 

We know there is a moral law because:

1.                          absolutes are undeniable. Absolute moral truth is best known by our reactions not our actions.

2.                          we cant know injustice unless we know justice. You can’t know what is wrong unless you know what is right. The reason we know whether a map of Australia is accurate or true is because we have an absolute standard (the country of Australia) by which to measure.

3.                          real moral disagreements imply an objective moral standard. We can debate map A verses map B of Australia, because we have a real unchanging standard to compare them. Without a real unchanging standard of good the difference between Mother Theresa and Hitler is nothing more than a matter of opinion.

4.                          we would not make excuses for doing wrong if there was no moral law. What is the point?

5.                          we wouldn’t know the world was getting worse or better if there was no moral law. Secular humanist love to tell us that the world is so much worse because of religion. How do they know what worse is if they deny a standard of good?

6.                          there would be no human rights without the moral law. There would be no way to judge the Nazis, Saddam Hussein, or other war criminals without a standard beyond government or international law.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever crawled through a wilderness, chained by the weight of the past?  Have you ever been thirsty for something more than this menial existence has provided?  Do the wounds from your journey throb with each tedious step that you take? 

 

 

Jeremiah 2:13 says,” My people have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” 

 

There is a spring of living water found in Jesus Christ.  In Him you will find all that you’ve ever longed for.  In Him the aching in your heart will be stilled, and you will know the fulfillment of your dreams.  Yet, how often do we turn to dig our own cisterns with the belief that they will quench our thirst, heal our scars, and fill our emptiness. 

Perhaps it’s the cistern of money, offering security and pleasure.  Or maybe you’ve dug a reservoir within yourself, meant to hold knowledge and independence.  Still, there is the constant lure to hewn for sufficiency in the strength of others.  These are all splintered promises and cracked dreams, holding only a façade of joy. 

Nevertheless, we toil without ceasing, trying to keep the walls from crashing in around us.  We lie awake at night, disappointed and broken; wondering what went wrong.  While we strive and struggle, the spring of hope continues its peaceful surge, waiting for us to come and drink. 

So, here before you stands a choice.  Which will you choose:  life or death, fulfillment or emptiness?  A shattered vessel will never fill the longing of your heart, but the sweet taste of the Savior’s love will quench your thirst forever.

 

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians records the gospel as it was preached by the early church. Some estimates have placed this creed to 6 A.D., the year that Christ is thought to have been crucified. This is the same gospel that Christians today profess belief in.

 

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

 

You may still have questions. Could all this be true? Does a theistic God exist? What about the Bible, it’s so old how can it be relevant or even true? I encourage you to post your questions here. What do you have to lose? You just might find what you’re looking for—answers to the meaning of life.