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22 November 2008

"EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed"

I'm interested in your thoughts, general or specific, on Ben Stein's movie EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Our church is showing it next week in both small groups and a larger showing in the worship center for people who aren't involved in Sunday School, upon which the small groups are based.

The movie is, at its core, an argument for the idea that Intelligent Design is a viable theory and its proponents should not be blacklisted from educational institutions. It states that ID is not necessarily a religious theory, but is instead a scientific one. It also states that Darwinism inevitably leads to atheism.

I'm watching it again now, remembering some of the things I didn't like about it. For one, it uses a bit of slapstick humor in an effort to throw stones at some of the opinions and theories that the Darwinists who are interviewed hold. Another is the nearly direct statement that Darwinism has the nearly inevitable conclusion of leading to events like the Holocaust due to the devaluation of life.

In spite of those things, I found it to be extremely strong, and states its case well. The movie certainly gives equal time to both sides, which Ben Stein of course had no obligation to do.

One question for you... in your opinion, should I or should I not read Darwin's "Origin of the Species" as one bit of preparation for leading the discussion in the sanctuary following the movie? Incidentally, I began reading Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" some time ago in order to be able to offer my perspective on it, but didn't get far before I got distracted to other things. One friend told me that this sort of approach to learning an opposing viewpoint would be similar to me "investigating" internet pornography in order to better help a friend who was coping with it. Agree with that? I didn't.

25 comments:

Jeff M. Miller said...

I don't know how much studying "On the Origin" is going to help you, since most modern day evolutionary thought—though based on Darwinian ideals—doesn't really much resemble his original theories. Things like punctuated equilibrium, genetic drift, acceptance of Big Bang theory, etc.

Plus, I suspect that Darwin himself might have laughed at the "evolution piggy backed on the formation of crystals" idea, or the alien theory of Dawkins.

If, however, you want a hard-core young earth creationist to throw stuff at, I'm your man. I'd be willing to play straw man/devil's advocate/punching dummy to whatever you've got. (Even if you want to get into the theology of it, I'm game. Not that I'm a pro at the arguments, but belief in evolution can affect a theological viewpoint from everything to original sin to the factual resurrection of Christ.)

You've got my email, right? We can debate via email until your talk if you've got the time.

Jan said...

i have no idea Dean....my guess is it would be an overkill because, as Jeff says, theories have morphed plus I sort of doubt you have any hard core evolutionists in the crowd, but I don't know.

bobxxxx said...

should I or should I not read Darwin's "Origin of the Species"

Why bother with it? Science has advanced tremendously since Darwin's 19th century book. I suggest download the free 89 page book from the National Academy of Sciences called "Science, Evolution, and Creationism". Also, you could click my name to see what Ken Miller said about evolutionary biology at the Dover trial. It was very educational. When I read it I was very surprised to find out about the extremely powerful evidence for evolution from molecular biology. Today it's impossible for an educated person to deny the facts of evolution.

If you want spend money on a book and have a lot of time to be able to understand some technical stuff, I highly recommend "The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution" by Sean B. Carroll. Carroll makes it as easy as possible for a non-scientist to understand. It's impossible for a creationist to read this book (and understand it) and still be a creationist.

It's too bad some people are still wasting their time watching the propaganda movie Expelled. The movie complains about discrimination against the incompetent fake scientists who invoke intelligent design magic. So what? Intelligent design creationists are equal to flat-earthers. Equally stupid. They deserve to laughed at and ridiculed.

If a religion can't exist without denying modern biology, that religion is going to be extinct sooner or later.

Unfortunately for religions, if they accept evolution they will go extinct anyway. People who really understand evolution eventually figure out the Magic Fairy (God) isn't necessary for anything.

It was a terrible mistake to invent gods. Religions have given the world nothing but violence, genocide, ignorance, and misery. I say good riddance to the god invention.

I would like to finish these comments with a quote from Richard Dawkins:

Darwin anticipated problems with his theory. Modern science has answered them. Evolution by Natural Selection has been triumphantly vindicated as fact.

Jeff M. Miller said...

Wow, that was profound...really... ;)

Dean Lusk said...

All, thanks for the early comments!

Bobxxxx, I actually hit talkorigins.org tonight before posting this. Hadn't checked out that link but will do so. Thanks also for the reading recommendations -- will have a look at those, as well.

Without digging into debate, you put several absolutes into your comment that are unsupportable, and I believe those kinds of prejudices are at the root of what Stein's movie is attempting to say or ask.

And you basically called me a stupid flat-earther, but by the end of the comment I still felt like you were a pretty cool guy. Smooth. :)

By the way, everyone, I really wanted to read "Origin" because I've never read it, and I'd like to see what kicked this process off, not because I think it will present the best, or particularly strong, argument for evolution.

Preston N said...

Dean - I find most Christians are really ignorant of this subject matter. We as the church have done a horrible job of equipping the faithful with facts and science to back up our position. I would recommend learning both sides, but if I could recommend websites such as Creation Research Institute or Answers in Genesis as good sources for material that combine both science and theology. Another great book is "Refuting Compromise" that provides more than a few key bible verses, but real hard science to address things like carbon dating and red shifts, etc. I would not be opposed to reading Origins, but I would make sure you provide equal time for very thorough Creationist Publications or material.

As For BobXXXX comments such as these are nothing more than typical ad hominem comments made by an atheistic evolutionist by calling creationist "ignorant" or "stupid". I guess men like Pascal, Newton, Maxwell, Mendel, Pasteur these were just nothing more than dumb "religious flatearthers" zealots who allowed their faith to shape their discoveries?? All of these men openly admit that it was their faith in an intelligent Creator God that led to many of their discoveries!

Dean - BTW your comments about not liking how Stein linked evolution to the Holocaust I suggest you read the book by Hitler's personal secretary, Traudl Junge, who clearly shows Hitler's views on the Jews was linked to his Darwinian views on "Survival of the Fittest", where he felt Aryans had evolved to be a more dominant species (this is also made into a movie called Downfall). Stein is doing nothing more than stating the facts - facts that are out there and only one needs to digs below the surface to discover them.

Preston N said...

BTW - another great book is Darwin's Blackbox by Michael Behe. This book caused real shockwaves in the evolutionist community several years ago.

bobxxxx said...

Preston, just for your information: Godwin's Law: As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Preston, I noticed your list of scientists included Newton, who died long before Darwin was born. Newton was perhaps the most brilliant scientist who ever lived, so I feel very certain he would have both accepted and loved evolution if he was alive today.

There's an interesting story about Newton. He was able to explain how the earth could orbit the sun. But when he considered the effect of the other planets on the earth's orbit, he knew his ideas wouldn't work. Newton could have solved his problems but he gave up and invoked God's magic. A century later another scientist solved all of Newton's problems without the God hypothesis.

The moral of the story: Invoking God, also known as intelligent design, is giving up. A fake scientist who invokes God's magic, whether he calls magic "intelligent design" or some other code word, is saying "I can't solve this problem, nobody else can solve it, future generations will not be able to solve it, therefore I invoke my Magic Fairy to explain it."

Preston wrote "I would recommend learning both sides, but if I could recommend websites such as Creation Research Institute or Answers in Genesis as good sources for material that combine both science and theology." and he also wrote "another great book is Darwin's Blackbox by Michael Behe. This book caused real shockwaves in the evolutionist community several years ago."

Michael Behe's book caused real laughter in the scientific community. Look it up. Behe is a laughing stock.

Your ICR and AiG are good sources for dishonesty. These are professional liars who will say anything to defend the insane childish myths in the Bible. I suggest your blind faith in a book written by primitive ancient people (the Bible) is a terrible waste of a life. Please consider joining the 21st century and study the discoveries of real scientists, instead of reading dishonest nonsense from people who agree with your religious myths.

Dean Lusk, thanks for your friendly comments. I'm impressed that you are willing to study what the experts say about evolutionary biology, even though their ideas conflict with your religious beliefs. If you make an honest effort to understand their discoveries, I think you will be amazed at how interesting the history of life is. Science has a lot more to offer than any religion ever did.

Evolution has some serious religious implications. In my opinion Darwin killed God. The tens of thousands of scientists who came after Darwin and made his natural selection idea into the strongest fact of science made sure God stayed dead. I'm talking about the God idea of course. There never was any Mr. God.

In your case, Dean Lusk, evolution has some serious career implications. I noticed your profile says you're in the religion industry. In a world without religion you would have to get a real job. That might be difficult, especially with the terrible economy we have now. Did you know there are many preachers who are secretly atheists but stay in the God business to make a living?

I like to end comments with a quote from a famous scientist. This one is from Charles Darwin:

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Dean Lusk said...

Bobxxxx, I never said welcome to the blog, so welcome to the blog!

"If you make an honest effort to understand their discoveries, I think you will be amazed at how interesting the history of life is. Science has a lot more to offer than any religion ever did."

I can think of no reason I wouldn't make an honest effort to understand their discoveries. If I really believe that know the Answer to life, the universe, and everything (which is essentially what the Christ-follower says), it wouldn't make much sense to avoid the pursuit of knowledge. The Bible, which I fully believe to be completely true and very applicable today, doesn't endorse "blind faith," as you say. If you take on an honest, unbiased study of it, as you suggest I should do with the materials you mentioned, you'll find this to be true.

I would guess (and it's just that -- a guess) that you may not be qualified to make the statement, "Science has a lot more to offer than any religion ever did." You're apparently very well-qualified to understand and speak about science (which you've done gracefully), but don't think that's as likely to be true with religion (which you've done... not quite so gracefully, yet you've still kept a great tone -- thanks for that).

I agree that horrible atrocities have been foisted upon men in the name of religion. "Religion" has become a machine; a set of rules. The means has become the end in many cases. That's not what I espouse. I follow Jesus Christ, and I fear that you've lumped Christ-followers in with religious zealots.

A note of clarification on my comments regarding the Holocaust... I said, "[The movie makes] the nearly direct statement that Darwinism has the nearly inevitable conclusion of leading to events like the Holocaust..."

I would offer no argument that Darwinism did not lead to the Holocaust. What I would argue is that it does not necessarily lead to this sort of gross mass murder. Even if a hundred examples were given, that would not be proof of such a conclusion. It would be (and has been) counter-argued that religion has had the same result, yet this obviously is not proof that all religion leads to unconscionable destruction.

I'm not a fan of AIG and similar institutions, to be honest. Those who've spoken to me on the subject know this. A couple of sites such as www.godandscience.org and reasons.org line up more accurately with what I believe.

Quick summary... I believe that God (and I certainly wouldn't call Him a Magic Fairy) created the universe. I hope you guys don't all think that I'm stupid because of that. Hopefully I've at least used some big enough words to suggest otherwise.

The theory of Intelligent Design (as I understand it) does not include the idea that God created the universe in six literal days. However, I believe that the incorrect assumption of the greater scientific community is that it does, and that it's simply a way of reintroducing theology into the educational system.

And that's the point of the movie. It doesn't present any particular religious view.

Preston N said...

Dean - it does sadden me that you still believe in the Theistic Evolution. Again, I have mentioned to you on more than one occasion to read Refuting Compromise - a direct rebuttal of Hugh Ross. As a bible believing Christian I can not see how you can be a proponent of Theistic Evolution, without tearing out the first 7 chapters of your bible. I do love you and identify you as a fellow brother of Christ, but I disagree admittedly with your view on this matter. Either we stand completely with the scriptures or the entire foundation will fall.

Dean Lusk said...

Preston, my friend, please don't put the words or the concept of "Theistic Evolution" in my mouth. I mention his site and godandscience.org as two sites that more closely align with what I believe about the age of the earth. I'd prefer not to debate those things here, but would definitely be happy to discuss further personally. E-mail or coffee?

I need to put that book in my reading list, too (which is growing longer quickly!).

Jan said...

I think it's important to hear EXACTLY what someone says and not read other things into it or make assumptions. Making assumptions will get us nowhere good fast.

Dean, I have to give you props for being willing to discuss this on your blog. I well know how difficult it is to discuss some topics on a blog format and be understood.

Can't wait to hear how it goes at church.

Jason said...

Interesting that you made this post today. Last night I watched Volume 9 of RZIM's "Foundations of Apologetics" series, which is called "Faith, Reason, and Integration." I would recommend it to anyone.

It is incredible how thoroughly many of the things posted here were discussed in the video. I will try to hit some of the high points...

Bobxxxx says "Unfortunately for religions, if they accept evolution they will go extinct anyway. People who really understand evolution eventually figure out the Magic Fairy (God) isn't necessary for anything."

The fallacy trying to be asserted here is that God and science are alternative explanations for the universe. Unfortunately, this a view held by a lot of people on both sides of the debate (including the makers of the EXPELLED movie.) Science and God offer a comprehensive explanation of the universe (our God is not a God of confusion) so it makes sense that our scientific discoveries confirm the scriptures rather than debunk them. However, Christians need to be willing to re-examine their interpretations of the scripture when discoveries are made, not to try and fit the scripture to science (the scriptures do not change), but to better understand the confirmation of scripture that the discoveries might offer.

Example from the video:

I can discover the workings of the internal combustion engine of a car, but does that mean that the inventor of the internal combustion engine doesn't exist? Because I was able to discover how the car works and make sense of it, does that mean that it is unreasonable to believe that there was some intelligent being that created it? Surely not!

Bobxxxx misunderstands what Christian faith is when he makes the following statement: "I suggest your blind faith in a book written by primitive ancient people (the Bible) is a terrible waste of a life."

The assumption is that Christian faith is some blind acceptance of something we were told. This could not be further from the truth! Faith to a Christian is the trust in Jesus Christ that what he says is true.

John 1:14 - "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Psalm 97:6 "The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory."

Our faith is based on the evidence we see in creation and by the witness of Jesus Christ himself.

Preston N said...

Dean - Sorry for making the "leap" that your a theistic evolutionist, but the fact is you provided two Theistic Evolution websites that you said are in alignment with your views of creation (What else am I to assume here that your a young earth creationist?).

My point is this. Jason made some interesting comments. Indeed it is the Christian's responsibility to seek truth. However, I would disagree that we should change how we interpret scriptures based upon "new" scientific discoveries. The thing is science is constantly changing their opinions and theories (Most discoveries are not genuinely "new" but changes that have resulted in further studies or analysis or information that had been overlooked or unavailable). If we as Christians are to base our hermeneutics on what the latest scientific discovery is - well good luck with that as you will be in a constant state of flux and confusion. The reality is either the Bible is wholly reliable on every subject with which it deals with, or it is not the Word of God. If the Bible is in fact authored by God, the Creator of life, then those who doubt God’s writings are burdened with proving that science—based on human theories—explains the origin of life better than Scripture or for that matter the Creator. The issue I have found with most Christians they are either ignorant or intimidated into believing evolution and have not been presented with information that shows a logical or rational biblical explanation, while at the same time adhering to empirical methods. Here is what one Christian author recently wrote regarding this issue:

The evolutionary lie is so pointedly antithetical to Christian truth that it would seem unthinkable for evangelical Christians to compromise with evolutionary science in any degree. But during the past century and a half of evolutionary propaganda, evolutionists have had remarkable success in getting evangelicals to meet them halfway. Remarkably, many modern evangelicals…have already been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is not a true historical record. Thus they have not only capitulated to evolutionary doctrine at its starting point, but they have also embraced a view that undermines the authority of Scripture at its starting point.

Sadly, I must agree.

BTW - Jan I too know how it feels not to be understood also, and I am grateful Dean has not deleted my comments as other blogs seem to do.

Jason said...

Preston,

First, let me be clear that I don't necessarily believe in evolution. I do not think evolution is fact and I assert that it cannot be tested and verified using the scientific method. I was talking more vaguely of the relationship between God and science and how they are NOT competing with each other.

I agree with you that we should not "base our hermeneutics on what the latest scientific discovery is." It would be foolish to accept every whimsical theory the scientific community comes up with just like it is foolish to think that every new fad diet that comes out will make you skinny and healthy. However, if something is shown to be fact we do need to look at the scripture to see if it is indeed the Scripture that disagrees or our interpretation that disagrees--I believe the the Scripture is always correct. I tried to say this in my post: "not to try and fit the scripture to science (the scriptures do not change)."

For example, Galileo was persecuted by the church (Inquisition) for saying that the Earth was not static and in the center of the universe. However, we now know that the interpretation of scripture held by the church at that time was incorrect and Galileo was in fact correct.

Jeff said...

When my father was a youth minister, his youth group asked him difficult questions about this new "Christian" movie which they told him was all about calling on God to cast out Satan. So, my naive father, attempting to educate himself better so he could answer their questions bought a ticket to the Rated "R," "The Excorcist."

Well, that's an extreme situation and a total lack of research. However, over the years, I have personally owned 6 or 7 books that are written from an anti-God, anti-protestant, anti-doctrinal stance to what I personally believe. (The Book of Mormon, The Satanic Bible, a New World Translation, and even Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life"... that was humor :)

I think if you done your research, and you know that there is nothing in these writings that would cause you to stumble, it can only strengthen your faith. That would debunk the whole "investigating internet pornography in order to better help a friend," which could no doubt cause anyone to fall flat on their face.

Greg said...

You know what I take away from the comments, more than anything else? People are bigots. People on one side of the issue call people on the other side stupid, and those people respond with some condescending "I'm sad for your soul" garbage.

bobxxxx: The kettle called and said you're black too. Re-read the quote you posted from Darwin and tell me how that does not apply to you as well. Anyone who asserts that evolution is demonstrable fact is just wrong. We have plenty of evidence of adaptation within a species (microevolution), but we have absolutely no evidence of one species turning into a new one (macroevolution). It's never been observed and there's no fossil record of it. All we have is a theory. If you call it fact, then Mr. Darwin has some words for you.

Preston: Please show me where the Bible says the Genesis account is literal fact. Please show me where the Bible says God created the plants and animals and then never changed them again, or never created in them a system whereby they could change. Yes, I know God created them and He said they were good, but that doesn't exclude the possibility that they could be different and still be good. I've never seen anything in the Bible that discounts the possibility of evolution, except the macroevolution of man from primates.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13: What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

We as Christians have no business sitting in judgment of non-Christians. It's not our place. There's already a judge and His wisdom is far beyond ours, so leave this alone. We can debate the issue, sure, but don't judge people for their position on it. It's purely academic.

And Romans 14 says to let "disputable matters" go within the church. Anything that the Bible isn't perfectly clear on passes as a disputable matter and I have a hard time believing that evolution doesn't fall into that category. Unless one can show beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bible makes a stand on one side or the other of evolution, then there is no "correct" Christian position. In fact, Christianity is completely unconcerned with it.

The only reason the church should feel compelled to dive into evolution is because evolution may cause some who are weak in their faith to stumble. In those cases, we have a responsibility as brothers in Christ to help them understand how the science of the world can peacefully co-exist with the Bible.

Finally, bobxxxx, do you have any idea how many times throughout history God has been declared dead? I assure you, greater men than Darwin have been attributed with His death and yet He's still here. Funny, that.

Preston N said...

Greg said:

Preston: Please show me where the Bible says the Genesis account is literal fact. Please show me where the Bible says God created the plants and animals and then never changed them again, or never created in them a system whereby they could change.

Greg, one of my hermeneutical principles is the Bible’s wording (original language) is EXACTLY how God wanted it. Therefore, I hold firm that the ENTIRE account of Genesis is not "figurative" but is literal. The burden of proof lays on your shoulders to prove its somehow figurative.

I go back to my original point. Evolution is simply an unproven theory. Yes, there is evidence for micro-evolution, but we still have yet to find or see any clear proof of macro evolution, therefore why even go down the road to question the bible or infer that evolution is even possible when it doesn't make any sense to begin with? Remember folks its still called a THEORY for a good reason - its just that a theory!

As for your use of Romans 14 I agree with you to a point. I have a hard time thinking Paul would agree with you that we should discount or throw out Genesis account of creation simply on the premise that we should believe in a unproven, widely disputed scientific THEORY. I stand firm that God created the world in 7 Literal Days. Not just because the bible said so, but because the evidence put forth by science to support evolution is still unfounded and is seriously lacking evidence (not to mention there is plenty of evidence that points us in the direction of creationism).

Anonymous said...

All,
I have enjoyed reading your comments. A short thought here: the moral consequence of 'macro-evolution' is that if people evolved and were not created by their/our Creator, there comes a crisis in the sanctity of life (i.e. abortion, euthanasia). 'Survival of the fittest' is a scary thing when mankind decides to define who survives.

-tiffany

Greg said...

I never suggested - nor would I - that we should "throw out" the Genesis creation account, and I don't appreciate you putting those words into my mouth. I suspect Paul *would* agree with what I actually said, which is that the question of whether or not evolution is scientific fact is irrelevant to the church.

Let me ask you this question: If it could be proven, beyond any question whatsoever, that the Genesis account of creation was not literal fact, would that change your faith?

I answered that question for myself a long time ago, and my answer was no - the most important part of my faith is that Jesus Christ is my savior and has already paid the penalty of sin on my behalf. Everything else is more or less fluff. I can't see the point in debating whether or not God literally created the Universe in seven days when it doesn't matter to me in the first place.

And anyway, we know the Bible isn't complete literal truth. Jesus used a lot of parables to make his points and it wasn't always obvious that he was telling stories. What's to say that God didn't do the same with the Genesis account? Maybe all He wanted was to make the point that He was the Creator - if that was the case, would it matter if it took seven days or seventy billion years? Maybe He chose seven days because it was something people at the time could fully comprehend.

I don't know, though. Maybe it was a literal seven day creation. It doesn't say whether it is or it isn't, and so long as I can't divine the fact of the matter from the Bible, I'm content to be unconvinced either way.

Incidentally, you're the one bearing the burden of proof as you're the one making a statement of fact. I'm making a statement of uncertainty and that, by its nature, can't be proven. Also, you are clear that this is *your* principle that you're holding on to, and as a human principle, it is a "disputable matter" by default.

Jason said...

Preston,

Which "original language" are you referring to? Do you mean the Hebrew or the English translation? I also hope no one here would trivialize the complexity in providing an accurate translation into any language. Consider that the Hebrew language had many, many less words than does the English dictionary. Words like "day", "night", "morning", etc. have many definitions in the Hebrew beyond the definitions we have. An example in English would be something like the following:

The sentence, "I was born on the 5th day of July 1947," is identifying a specific day.
However, when someone starts a sentence, "Back in my day," we know that they are referring to a number of different days.

Also, consider "My age is 32," versus "The Iron Age was an interesting time."

This leaves plenty room for the English translations needing revision to more accurately reflect the Hebrew (original text.) An example of this kind of debate is exemplified by the following link:

http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/red-sea-or-reed-sea/

A smart person made the point to me that it does not really matter whether God parted the Atlantic ocean or the water in my bath tub--it is a miracle in any case and God is revealing Himself in that miracle.

Tiffany,

I'm afraid I don't understand how evolution threatens the Christian beliefs on sanctity of life. Would you mind explaining in more detail for my own edification? I can only guess that you supposition takes for granted that if evolution is true, Christianity cannot be and therefore the sanctity of life argument is no longer valid. However, I think I have refuted the idea that God and evolution cannot coexist with the internal combustion engine example in one of my posts above. Please don't take that to mean that I believe in macro evolution. I'm just saying, I fail to see how it invalidates the Bible's account of creation or the sanctity of life claim. Forgive me if I'm missing something...

dabhomeimprov said...

Tell ya what...when you get to stand in front of Almighty God('cause everyone will), tell Him you want to debate on what is truth! The Bible(which IS irrefutable truth) teaches that the only thing that REALLY matters is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
For those of you who claim you are atheists...try debating that one with God, 'cause I promise you He DOES exist and unless you have a relationship with Him, you are going to lose out on an eternity with Him. He loves you and wants you to be with Him forever....try it, you'll LOVE it!
For those of us who know and love Jesus, we need to remember that our battle is with things unseen and NOT against flesh and blood, so we need to love those who cling to the writings and opinions that are not from God. BTW I am not suggesting that anyone on here acted out of anything less than love.
Lastly, kudos to Dean for having the guts to open a "hot button" issue, and then stand for the truth in spite of hostility!
If anyone would like to know more about Jesus, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Dave B

Preston N said...

Greg/Jason

Let me try to address both of your posts here. The reason I am so adamant about Genesis being literal story of Creation is if we doubt or interpret Genesis as being figurative, then what other areas of Scripture or doctrine can we liberally sweep under the carpet of "interpretation" (homosexuality, abortion, morality)? I especially find your comments Greg about the Bible not being the complete literal truth very disturbing. Indeed there are portions of the bible that use figurative language, but typically these areas are very obvious to most educated readers. If however, we begin down this slippery slope what other areas of the bible can we pick and choose from, who then is to say that the Fall of Man, or David and Goliath, The Walls of Jericho, Tower of Babel, The Ten Commandments, or even the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are nothing more than "figurative stories or analogies"? Greg, the issue is anyone with a certain degree of sound hermeneutics can tell if something in the bible is literal or figurative with just a little bit of research and grammatical digging.

But it this is exactly what I am combating against with this type of liberal thinking. Darwinist Thomas Huxley himself could see the benefit of doing exactly what many of you have suggested or seem to imbibe and that is to place doubt into the minds of beleivers by undermining the very account of Creation in Genesis:

"I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of the passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the ‘ten words’ were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated: And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?

I too must agree with Mr Huxley conclusion and that is just where do we draw the line? If Genesis is open for debate then maybe the rest of the house by which our faith is built upon will also fall!

Jason, I see things a little different than you do and that is I maintain "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". Therefore it ALL matters! The Absolute Truth Matters!

Greg said...

Preston: I will not discuss this matter with you any further. You are obviously thoroughly closed on this topic to the point that you would accuse another Christian of "plac[ing] doubt into the minds of believers" for interpreting things differently.

I do not appreciate your accusation.

Jason said...

Preston,

No one is doubting "trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures." Nor did I ever say or imply that I thought the account of Creation, as explained in Genesis, was figurative. What I am trying to convey is that it is possible (and I happen to believe likely) that the writers of the Torah did not intend to read the word "day" as a 24 hour period because the Hebrew word for "day" means 24 hour period, but also an extended period of time. Maybe they did mean 24 hours! However, if all the evidence around us says the world is billions of years old (and it can be proven) and we know without a doubt that Scripture is infallible (and I do), we can only conclude that we misunderstood what the Scripture says. This is from a Jewish scholar: http://www.geraldschroeder.com/age.html .

I am not attempting to undermine the account of Creation--I just happen to disagree with what you think the Scriptures say.

My statement that it doesn't matter which sea was parted was careless. Indeed it does matter which sea was parted if for no other reason than the historical verifiability of the Bible. However, there is a possibility that the name of the sea appears incorrectly in our translation (not the original text), and if it does then it should be corrected. It is a problem in the translation and not the Scripture. Just because we have believed that it was the Red Sea for many years doesn't mean that it was the Red Sea! If God parted the Sea of Reeds then it was the Sea of Reeds he parted regardless of what our translations (not the Scripture) have lead us to believe up until now. Please understand I'm not giving my opinion on which sea was parted as the conflict over the translation was an example for another point I was trying to make.

I'm afraid our conversation is breaking down to the point that it is no longer edifying, so I think I, too, should cease to continue this conversation on Dean's blog. However, I'd be willing to continue discussing it in a less public place...

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