February 19, 2008
When I was 12 or 13, I thought about it and realized that God gives commandments for a reason. Every commandment has a rationale behind it, and it's there for a purpose.
I agree that there is a discernable rationale behind many or all of God's commands, Isaiah. But what if, in the case of abortion or premarital sex, modern science makes some of the original rationale moot? For instance, if modern science were to severely reduce or eliminate the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, how would that change your argument against premarital sex?<br><br>I know that's not a perfect example, but you actually see this issue out there today. There has been controversy recently about certain vaccines that drastically reduce the chance of contracting certain STDs. Some conservatives and Christians oppose this because (I think) they believe it removes one of the rationales behind telling kids not to have sex. Does that make sense? At a certain point, if you are relying on these rationales, you can be backed into a corner of having to admit that your real motive is religious in nature.
It would seem that presenting an argument based on facts such as you mentioned above is not inherently dishonest. An argument based on religious or any principle-related method is largely a philosophical undertaking. A factually based argument is legitimate regardless of a particular worldview. On certain philospohical topics opponents can refuse to debate because of differing foundational assumptions. Those arguments can only be engaged on a facts and evidence basis. Thus a fact/evidence approach would be useful in creation-evolution and abortion debates. My bottom line is that while I think the driving force behind the debater is worldview I do not think these arguments are dishonest.
Sometimes intelligent design is a front for creationists who want to couch their beliefs in more scientific and palatable terms. But sometimes it is not - there are non-Christian intelligent design proponents.<br><br>I do think Christians should be more upfront in their opinions and message. Is our goal just to end abortion, or to defeat evolution, or whatever? No, while those are worthy goals, primarily we ought to be desiring to win souls for Christ and further God's Kingdom. And that won't happen unless the Gospel is preached. By using medical evidence and scare tactics, you might talk someone out of supporting abortion, and that is a wonderful thing! But if you really love that person as we are supposed to, you don't just want to stop the abortion. You want to introduce them to Jesus. So I think Christians should take a both/and approach by telling people why these things are destructive, both on the immediate and on the spiritual level. This, of course, should be done with discernment as to the timing and wording, and always in love.
The evolutionary side of the argument is an equally disguised rejection of the Creator God who holds an unchanging standard of morals and ethics that we are expected to live by. The ones who preach evolution are really saying that they don't want to live by the big ten (Exodus 20:1-17) or the top two (Mark 12:29-31). Rather, they desire to live by the creed of Anton LaVey (Do what you want.) without actually pledging allegiance to the church of satan.<br>By keeping the Creationists bond to the the realm of the religious, evolutionists are free to run rampant with the "Look how more beneficial Science is than religion" gambit. Creationsist have an uphill battle ahead of them in order to mount a defense against such an attack.<br>Any discussion between evolution and creationism that does include religion throws up barriers and roadblocks for everyone involved. It is comparing apples and oranges -- it cannot be done. The only way any true dialogue can take place is on a level playing field. Either include the God/Anti-God aspects to both sides of the discussion or exclude them both.
Creationism in disguise? No. At least not usually. But it's not really a yes-no question. It's considerably more complex than that. <br><br>Creationism is defined in multiple ways by different people. For some, any suggestion that nature has been influenced from outside the regularities of natural law, working on matter and energy, is creationism. I don't endorse that view, but I see it often. A far more useful definition is that creationism views nature as being the product of God's unmediated working, accomplished as described in Genesis 1 and 2; and that creationists generally look to Genesis as their primary guidepost for research into origins, rather than looking first to nature.<br><br>In addition to the mere definition, though, there is also the baggage carried by "scientific creationism," which has adherents among Christians but is universally sneered at by scientists elsewhere, who strongly object to starting with Scripture rather than with nature. The very term "creationism" is tarred by this connection. Putting it very bluntly, there are many evolutionists (Robert Pennock being at the forefront) who pin "creationism" on "Intelligent Design," creating a new term, "Intelligent Design Creationism." It seems quite clear that their purpose for coining this term is to make their audience--scientists, mostly--smell "creationism" when they encounter "Intelligent Design," and thus to reject it based on the emotional association. It's a rhetorical trick--a cheap one.<br><br>Derbyshire has long been opposed to ID, which I think is because he buys into this connection, so this article is nothing new in that regard.<br><br>What ID definitely shares with creationism is an openness to some kind os non-natural or supernatural hand in natural history. That position alone drives many scientists crazy; but there is no scientifically based reason that they should presume it cannot be possible. Their position is metaphysically based, not scientifically based.<br><br>What ID does not share with creationism is its method and direction of attack. Its approach is from the direction of nature, not Scripture; it seeks to find evidence of design from within nature. Virtually all ID proponents know quite well that whatever such evidence they may find, they cannot draw grand conclusions from it. We can conclude that a designer has been involved in history, they believe; but they know we cannot speak much to the designer's identity, based on just that natural information.<br><br>Many (certainly not all) ID proponents are Christians, and these ID advocates would conclude that the designer is God. They know, however, that when they do that, they are stepping beyond the scientific work of ID and into theology and philosophy. Theology is not a part of ID proper.
I would like to point out that many of the things, if not all the things, in the Bible that God tells us are wrong and immoral are things that are harmful to us. I think there are very few things God tells us are wrong and immoral that don't have a bad side effect.<br><br>As a Christian I realize that. When God speaks there is a reason. A nonbeliever doesn't understand that and likewise Christians who fall into particular sins and immoral acts or ideas don't either. So I don't think its "sneaking" so much as it is putting it into terms someone can understand.
I agree that too many Christians (myself included) have at times been "sneaky" at best, ashamed at worst, at having their motives revealed as evangelistic. Jesus didn't counsel drunks and prostitutes about the overt health risks of their sins (as far as we know) , or explain to contemporary skeptics about scientific apologetics, as forms of covert/backdoor evangelism. He came to save souls by reaching out in love and (spiritual) truth, and that should be our primary (and unapologetic) motive as well. I'm skeptical that ID will convince many believers to repent, though properly handled it could perhaps knock down one barrier to an individual's belief.<br><br>It becomes nonsensical and circular to say implicitly or explicitly, "I warn you against this because God says not to!" when that person doesn't believe in God. People need to be convicted by God before seeing their sin as just that: sin, which brings eternal judgment along with worldly consequences. Convincing them it's unwise behavior might help a little, but it's addressing the outward symptom without dealing with the underlying spiritual disease.<br>However, it also depends on the activity you're referring to. With certain activities like abortion and drug dealing, it's a bit different, as you're not just addressing the sinner (abortionist/drug dealer), but the victim (baby/suffering addict). It therefore brings in not just an evangelism dynamic, but one of justice and good samaritanship.<br><br>Maybe someday hypothetically there would be a "magic pill" to remove all visible earthly consequences from our sinful actions (like you mentioned with STD's). Until that happens (and I'm doubtful it ever would/could), it isn't wrong to point out hazardous practical consequences of sin as they still exist today -- as long as one isn't disingenous and denies any spiritual motives for one's interest/concern. "We are not ashamed of the Gospel"... right?
Just because I believe that much of what's accepted as truth in today's culture does in fact contribute to an anti-God worldview, does not mean that I can't argue for truth without bringing up the spiritual implications. Nor does it mean that I am being dishonest because I limit the discussion to the non-spiritual facts.<br><br>I believe that for many of us, having a relationship with God has opened our eyes to the absurdity of much of the secularists' positions and we can sincerely say that even if we weren't believers it's hard to imagine accepting some commonly held positions in our culture.<br><br>For instance, if I am discussing homosexual practice with someon who is a believer in evolution and also claims that homosexuality is in-born, I would question him on how homosexual traits can survive natural selection, since non-procreating homosexuals would tend to disappear over time.<br><br>Or, to someone who says abortion is a legitimate choice, I would point out the slippery slope of saying that we may terminate the life of any being who is not deemed "wanted". Hence, the increase in the incidence of abandoned infants or pulling the plug on the eldery or severely handicapped. <br><br>Helping a person to recognize the societal consequences of his/her positions, and thereby changing that person's worldview, can and should be done whether or not we ever confront him/her with spiritual matters. I would love to see the day when there would be "pro-life" atheists. Or, when the most devoted evolutionist would call homosexuality an abnormal, un-natural practice that should be treated as a personality disorder.
I believe the bible to be the word of God and to be true. Therefore tell everyone you see what is said in the bible for it is true. Feelings will get hurt no matter how you say it, but remember you are doing this in rememberance of the one who loves us the most. I a sinner knows others who sin and I pray for them as I pray to He who forgives my sin. In God's Grace John
STDs are only a small part of the case against premarital sex.<br><br>There are many psychological and psycho chemical changes that occur after someone has sex. The experience is chemically seared into the minds of those who do it. The Bible explains it as "becoming one flesh". Separating two people after they've had sex is like tearing a person in half.<br><br>The emotional baggage left behind is tremendous and damaging to future relationships.<br><br>This is something modern science can't change and if it does it begins removing the very purpose for sex in the first place. To bond two people together for life as a testimony of God's love for the church. Religious AND factual.
I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I have noticed this especially in issues of sexuality (abortion, gay rights, pre/extra- marital sex). I've always assumed it was NOT for reasons of "sneakiness", but out of plain old-fashioned fear. Xians in america are afraid of talking about their faith in real-life context and so must play the "reason" card: "It's not because some supernatural being doesn't want us to do it, it's because it's REASONABLE to not do it."
"Intelligent Design" simply identifies the fundamental aspect of so-called "science" that makes it acceptible or unacceptible. Science based on design is worlds away from science based on chaos and meaninglessness - Science conducted by a Christian, Jew, Muslim is essentially the same. Put another way, few Christians have a problem with their children being taught science by a Muslim, Jew, or even Hindu. Where there is a difference, "Intelligent Design" is the common essential thread that separates true science from false. Futher differences exist (such as "Young Earth" Christians vs. "Old Earth" Christians), but that is not the battle that is being waged in our society.
I.D. and creationism are not the same thing as creationism doesn't allow for millions of years. Either way the issue generates discussion and any christian who is using I.D. to 'sneak' their point of view is being dishonest. Before we Christians tackle the subject of evolution we'd better get all our facts right. I've been a creation supporter for many years now after once believing that evolution could fit into Gods plan. My wife is a scientist and we;ve both found that evolution is just quite simply nmot possible from a scientific perspective. But we would never twist things just to try and seek acceptance and get our point across. We must know our enemies as they say and to do that we must have a firm understanding of what they believe in and especially of what we believe or we just come across as raving fundamentalists. Like the scriptures tell we must be prepared to defend our faith.<br>We don't have to even phrase it as a religious belief even though it is blatantly obvious that it is. What we need to deal withare the facts. "I believe this because of this, this and this.." Leave God out of it He'll show up later when the pro evolutionists come back to you and tell that they "thought about this.." or "checked that out". Leave the Holy Spirit to do the internal stuff. We should never push God into someones face. After all He doesn't do that to us.
Are Michael Behe and William Demski stealthily promoting Christian ideas, without labeling them as such? I think that would be an insult to an honest microbiologist and reputable mathematician. Their books and ideas are credible and worth a fair consideration. However I'm not so sure about some of their promoters. I would hesitate to call it dishonest though. I am sure there are a lot of Christians like me that find a young earth creationism ludicrous, grossly anti-scientific, not Biblically supported or even supported by Church fathers or Old Testament Jewish scholars. So an argument for design is appealing. However I don't rest all my hopes on this one hypothesis. I can appreciate the scientific support for evolution as well. What I find really implausible though is the thin explanation of the survival of the fittest and random mutations as the active agent of design. This incomprehensibly complex process (if indeed this turns out to be the best explanation) and the drive to produce sentient, moral, thinking humans is driven by the hand of God. My feeling is that God reveals Himself in special revelation in His word and in general revelation in nature. So we should have no fear of honest scientific investigation. God doesn't lie in His word and He doesn't lie in nature. Scientific exploration will only ultimately enlarge our vision of the creator. And that is exactly what is happening as scientist confront the reality of a singularity, a beginning of all creation or the big bang. Or the reality of 9 other dimensions as string theory indicates. Or the complexity of the mathematical coding of genetics (DNA). This is an exciting time to be a scientist and a Christian. Of course, I am just an avid reader, advertising guy and a Christian.
This is a great question. Should we not be stealthy. Christianity has such a horrible reputation, that anything we try to do under that banner gets immediattely rejected. What does it mean to "hide your motives", is that just me not saying I'm a Christian when I argue for ID, or when I serve at a soup kitchen, or do something nice for my neighbor?<br><br>I think sharing that I'm a Christian does needlessly sabotage my message. If I'm trying to do something good, or argue for truth, my motive is for that truth or that good. For me to share that it's what God wants me to do is to discredit myself. I do it because it's good. And yes, God wants me to do good stuff.<br><br>It's just not fair for Non-Christians to complain that we're doing things motivated by God. There are bad effects of abortion and pre-marital sex. I don't think that's underhanded at all, it's just the way things are.<br><br>but most importantly, I think the bible is clear that we don't judge those outside the Church. Why are we even trying to convince those outside to live rightly? This leads them to a legalistic/religious/pharisee-like understanding of Jesus and God. this is bad. stop it.
We first have to then ask the person "pushing" Intelligent Design if they are indeed Christian.<br><br>I can see a lot of people that, though they believe in I-D, are not Christian. For all we know, they may not believe that God is the reason for our existence.<br>You see all the time about how there are people out there that just can't believe we are the only people in the solar system that can exist. Therefore, they believe that an intelligent life form (one more advanced then humans, of course) came to our planet, created us from whatever, and here are are today. This still shows an intelligent designer, just not exactly God as Christians know it to be true.<br><br>I think we need to understand that for all aspects of what we believe. Just like the abortion comments above, Yes, as a Christian I don't agree with it because of God and what He believes. But, I can also not believe in God and still believe that abortion is wrong. And wrong for all of the reasons you stated above.<br><br>Is it creationism? I'm not sure. My belief in God says it is creationism, but I believe in God. So why should I have a different stand on it? But, if I can be "politically correct" and say Intelligent design, instead of creationism I don't believe I'm hiding from anything.<br><br>Intelligent design allows for conversation of the subject at hand without bring in the tangent of God and that the non-believer should believe because if not they will face eternal damnation.<br><br>Leave that conversation for a later date once you have shown them that Intelligent design is real and justifiable.<br><br>We use the word Rapture as well to describe an event in the bible. Does the bible say that word? It's not in any translation I have ever seen. Does it negate anything that is in the bible? I don't think so. It's just another way of phrasing something to get a point across.<br><br>Intelligent design is creationism from the Christian stand point. Does it really mean anything different? No, it does not. God was both the Creator, as well as the Intelligence behind the design. One in the same but with the use of different words.<br><br>As far as being dishonest, I think that would be on each conversational basis. Is my point of talking about creation versus evolution to disprove evolution as false or is it to get the person to come to Christ. Once that is answered then I think you would know how to proceed. Because we all know, if you are trying to disprove evolution, you would never be able to say that it is false because God says so. God gave us intelligent minds to argue with understanding and love. And there are some people out there that would not be able to come to Christ if all you ever told them was that they are going to hell unless they believe in Christ. Some, you have to show evidence, or the lack of it, to prove your point.<br><br>Did God create the earth and everything on it or did we come from a primordial pool of gunk to become human. The evidence can be more convincing then the theories that are out there. Whittle little but little until you get the person to see the intelligent design behind the creation and then you will be able to point them to the Creator.
I don't know if I would state is as being backed into a corner. My fundamental belief is that it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage because it is not how God intended sex to be done. But, if that is the only argument I have to stand on that would be just as good to someone that doesn't believe in God as saying, "Because I said so." <br><br>There is no more need to talk about the subject and then the person I'm trying to reach will go away with an understanding that I'm too hard headed to be able to spend time explaining what I believe and why. "Because God said so" is great between believers. It doesn't work when I'm trying to show someone God and what He stands for.<br><br>Lead by example, show God through love and through your life and the person will want to know what you have that makes you what you are. Then, they will be open to hear about God. The Holy Spirit works on them, we plant the seeds so that someone else can water them, and when they are ready God will give them the increase.
Regarding the abortion issue, women have been told so many lies about abortion that it's essential to tell the truth. A baby is not just "tissue." There are legitimate health risks to the woman. If a doctor hid the health risks for any other procedure and death resulted, he would be sued. Also, the emotional impact of abortion on women needs to be told. Stripping away the lies allows the truth to shine forth.<br><br>A friend of ours recently lost twins, one at 15 weeks and one at 17 weeks gestation. They were both born alive, but were too small to survive. Yet they were obviously babies - not a bundle of tissue. These precious little ones were named, treasured, and mourned. <br><br>People need to know the truth about abortion and other subjects. Otherwise, they will believe the lies and suffer the consequences both here and in eternity.<br><br>
I need to add a postcript to my comments. Paul had no problem telling the Greeks he saw a memorial to "the unknown god." He then proclaimed this is the God I serve. He started where they were and then led them into the truth. Was the great apostle being deceptive? I don't think so. In fact, he said that to the Greek he was a Greek, etc. <br><br>
These approaches have some of their origins in apologetics, wherein the believer is looking for a conversational bridge. For example my father is an atheistic science engineer whose worldview inhabits a nearly impenetrable fortress. The few cracks in his walls have been mined by our discussions on the variable rates of the speed of light and radiocarbon decay. Both of these were once considered non-variable constants. The theory of the big bang, old earth and therefore evolution hang on them.<br><br>It is tempting for me to begin explaining the entire Bible in scientific terms...just to get enough buy in to "hook 'im". I have to constantly check myself because it is a very easy temptation to cross over to.<br><br>Having said this, I can understand how ID advocates can succumb. This in spite of many instances of rigorous methodology.<br>
The Science/Bible debate is an incredible opportunity to indirectly evangelise and let the world know that God is real and that all truth is his Truth. Before we can do this however we have to believe that God is real and science is just uncovering how God works in nature. Christians need to understand that they need have no fear of science and I highly recommend Hugh Ross's <a href="http://reasons.org" rel="nofollow">reasons.org</a> for keeping track of science from a Biblical perspective even if you're not an OEC.<br><br>To your questions:<br>1) ID has no "bible" and thus it's easy to criticise what certain groups do with it. ID is about calling a spade a spade: it looks designed, it is designed. The common sense and scientific approach which says if you hear hooves think horses not zebras.<br>2) It's dishonest if you lie. We don't have to start each conversation with "I'm a Christian" but at some point this should become apparent. Otherwise, what are we trying to accomplish in debate? We want to lead people to Jesus and not slam dunk them with arguments.
Christianity has very little to do with the kind of facts that science is interested in. As far as I am concerned, the only important things in this world are exactly what Jesus said they are, Love the Lord your God with everything you have, and love your neighbors as you love yourself. The whole "debate" is ridiculous and irrelivant. Go love someone instead.
Why would real scientists be denied access to serious science on the basis of their Christian belief? Should any person doing honest in depth scientific research on origins be ignored because of belief discriminations? Is evolution truly an indisputable scientific fact?<br><br>If this is the case there are then few alternatives left to work in the scientific fields dealing with origins, and still be heard. One of the obvious neutral scientific routes would be to join the ID related group of researchers. The latter cannot be marginalized or ignored since a good portion of those working currently on ID are not Christian.<br><br>Ideally ID will eventually lead to the notion of God (although to skeptics not necessarily as an immediate conclusion) and that we humans are not just these advanced dominant biological entities. From this point it becomes practically easier to guide souls towards the Word of God.<br><br>Atheist evolutionists drive scores of Christian believers into doubting the credibility of the Bible, while not allowing any possibility for scientific criticism. If they were so sure what is it that they fear?<br><br>Careful Christians should never forget that, long before the existence of our contemporary science, Genesis is the first Holy Scripture book inspired by God to explain the Creation of the universe, sin and death. It is the first basis towards Salvation by Jesus Christ.
Anton LaVey just echoed Alistair Crowley and others with "do what you want." <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T...</a><br><br>I guess this thread just died out, but I'll tack on a little more. <br><br>Whether it's the ID debate or other hot-button issues, we should always be open and honest. Very early in any conversation, I try to make it clear I am a Christian - but to have a discussion, two people must stand on common ground. If the other person doesn't have my background, I try to find common ground - be that science, shared experience, shared viewpoints. This is how I can be a Christian and a strong environmentalist, despite the fact that a lot of environmentalists are also very social liberal on other issues such as abortion, drugs, etc. And if we can find common ground on an issue, we can talk about other things, too, of more importance - eternal issues.<br><br>Phillip E. Johnson wrote several books about ID from the perspective of a lawyer, based on logic and reason. One is titled "The Wedge of Truth," in which he makes the case that his calling, he felt, in this area, was to use the thin edge of a wedge of truth to open up minds to the possibilities, by showing how the entrenched naturalistic worldview of the scientific community of today has major logical flaws. He also acknowledges that this is unlikely to directly bring anyone to Christ - but he still believes he is undoing the work of the enemy, who seeks to blind all of humanity with the foundational belief that God is irrelevant, if He even exists.<br><br>To believe that ID is creationism in disguise is analagous to believing that Christian environmentalists want to legalize marajuana or stop all oil drilling or abolish meat, because that's an agenda some environmentalists espouse. A connects with B connects with C, that's not the same as A=B=C. <br><br>To the second question, I believe Biblically it is dishonest to hide one's motives; it's never shut down any discussion I ever had when I said (for example) "I am a Christian, and I believe abortion is morally wrong, but even if you don't share my beliefs, I think we can both agree that it's something that can damage people, damage society, and is morally highly questionable." Then I lay out my arguments in a reasoned fashion. I cannot and will not deny Christ nor will I undermine the Kingdom by appearing to be underhanded in my discussions.
The idea of evangelizing by ID is really just the standard Thomas Aquinas apologetic approach IE: "Present them with irrefutable evidence, and they will believe." The fallacy of this is obvious in that Jesus presented just such evidence to people who shortly afterward crucified Him. The truth is that Dawkins & the like ALREADY know that their Creator exists (Rom.1:19); they just hate Him to such an extent that they refuse to acknowledge Him. To those believers not acquainted with pre-suppositional apologetics, I would strongly recommend spending some time reading Cornelius Van Til or Greg Bahnsen. There's lots online, and I guarantee it will change the way you evangelize!
The reasons many Christians appeal to physical problems with Sin is to prove that is really is wrong. Whats wrong in the spiritual will also be wrong in the emotional and physical, and the negative consequences will show up there too. So if somehting is shown to be wrong in the physical, then it helps prove the point to someone who believes that it is also wrong in the spiritual, and that one needs to turn to God for forgiveness. God bless you with an abundance!
Interesting.<br><br>I'd like to point out that I think this understanding of "wise as serpents, innocent as doves" as meaning that Christians are to cloak their message and try to convert the world in a covert way to be not at all what Jesus meant. The message of Christianity is meant to be proclaimed clearly and unabashedly. It is not a message to hide under a bushel. It is a message of substantiated truth that people have stood for to their death time and time again.<br><br>I think that the ID movement is saying, "hey... maybe in our pursuit of sola naturalism we are being blinded to something here... and maybe it has metaphysical implications... and maybe those implications are not comfortable for some... but science ought to be the pursuit of truth, not the blind following of a theory, no matter how much we may have convinced ourselves of its truthfulness." Right, you can't put the Creator in a bottle, and what we observe, while it tells us something about the nature of the Creator, does not tell us if he is the God of the Bible, Allah, Buddha, the cosmic consciousness or... the Atheist's flying spaghetti monster. We need specific revelation for that. That is not what ID is addressing. It is simply taking the evidence and looking at it more objectively and taking the most logical answers where they lead.<br><br>Everyone agrees that natural selection is proven; what we disagree on is that it can explain how life got here and how we came from mud through no more than time and chance mutations (the vast majority of which are harmful). Does consciousness come from chance? Does joy and love the result of a cosmic explosion? Can it produce beautiful, efficient designs? I think that ID takes us back to the evidence and asks us to take off our colored glasses and take the evidence where it leads.
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