Evolution vs. Creation and What The Gay Movement Has To Do With It

From the standpoint of a pastor who attempts to expose and analyze the common idols of contemporary society , Bill Nye “The Science Guy” gives interviews that are almost too good to be true. Precisely because he’s such a good teacher, his opinions, which decidedly undermine any concept of biblical authority and, instead, espouse the infallibility of modern science, are so succinct, so clear, that they’re almost too cliché. Nonetheless, they make for wonderful teaching opportunities.

Nye is currently doing a media tour for his new book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. In this interview posted by Huffington Post Religion, Nye repeatedly offers logical inconsistencies, which I’ll try to point out and explain. Ultimately, this is evidence, once again, that the Apostle Paul was right when he says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Cor. 2:14) Nye obviously isn’t unintelligent. And the biblical message is also not illogical. But these two paths (Nye and Scripture) simply cannot converge because he doesn’t have the Spirit of God in him. The Bible remains foolishness to him. In other words, there is nothing Scripturally incompatible with the universe looking 13.8 billion years old or our planet appearing 4.5 billions years old. Since the Bible clearly teaches the idea of God creating a world with the “Appearance of Age” (“seed-bearing plants,” not seeds in Gen. 1:11-12; chickens, not eggs in Gen. 1:20-25; sexually mature humans, not embryos in Gen. 1:26-28) we would expect an older appearance. Furthermore, it’d be very difficult to reasonably estimate the aging effects of a global, mountain-covering Flood as Genesis 6-9 records. Put differently, based on the Bible, not only does 13.8 billion years for the universe not work, but the earth “looking” 6,000-10,000 years old doesn’t work either. The earth was created with the “Appearance of Age” and therefore it should look older than what it actually is.

So, on to Nye’s interview and my bigger point today.

First, notice the overtly religious language Nye uses to describe his teaching. When the interviewer suggests he enjoys battling Creationists and teaching them about Evolution, he (and this has to be intentional) says, “I’m trying to spread the word. So anytime you get an opportunity, you take it.” (min 1:55) He’s paraphrasing the New Testament’s teaching on the Great Commission (Mark 16:15; 1 Peter 3:15). Nye understands evangelizing as well or better than many Christians – the very nature of “good news” is that it begs to be told. If you don’t feel compelled to spread it, by definition, you must not believe it’s all that good of news.

Second, he suggests his main concern is that evangelicals are cranking out a generation of young people who “can’t think.” (min 2:45)This is phenomenally inconsistent with his previous statement, that we live “in the world’s most technologically advanced society.” (min 2:10) Unless Nye thinks that orthodox Christianity somehow just recently sprang up in his lifetime, he can’t have it both ways. In the twentieth century, the century in which the United States became the world’s clear superpower, we were also unequivocally the world’s most evangelical Christian country. In other words, these same Christians who “can’t think” were largely responsible for producing the very technology Nye assumes they’re incapable of. As one of my favorite modern Christian apologists, Dinesh D’Souza, is accustomed to saying, “This is what happens when you let the scientist out of the laboratory” i.e. he doesn’t know how to do history. 

Third, Nye describes religion as something by which people get “community and comfort” and “that’s great.” (min 3:00) Again, nonsense. Many contemporary thinkers like Nye assess religion by saying, “If it works for you, so be it.” An actual historian, Rodney Stark, makes the case in the Rise of Christianity that the early Christians who suffered unthinkable persecution at the hands of the Romans (or modern Christians experiencing the same in the Middle East) don’t do so because “it works for them” or “is comfortable for them” and it’s fairly insulting to suggest that. They suffer, even die – stripping them of their comfort and their community – because they believe those tenets of faith to be objectively true, not subjectively true. Again, this is someone like Nye trying to observe from the outside something he doesn’t understand. A swing and a miss. I’ve heard many other atheists make the same assessment.

Fourth, the interviewer asks Nye why he thinks it is that “evolution” has become something of a dirty word in many American households. This is perhaps where Nye’s self-defeating claims become most glaring. He candidly states, “I think it’s the troubling and compelling fact of life… we’re all gonna die… I just think it drives us all a little crazy. All of us.” (min 3:40) So……..wouldn’t that apply to Nye too? If he’s going to die, and dying makes people crazy, wouldn’t he be a bit crazy? How do you know if you can trust your own logic? On the basis of Nye’s answer, how does he not know that HE HIMSELF is not crazy? How can Nye know that he’s not just seeing the evidence in such a way that already fits his own preconceived conclusions? He can’t. He’s blind to his own blindness.

Fifth, Nye again proves a point (7:00 min) that I tend to bring up repeatedly – that people who have not actually spent any significant time studying the Bible or the history of its transmission and translation, and Nye most obviously hasn’t, still hold deep convictions about it. (Rom. 8:7) We don’t do this about most books. If you haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird, you have little to no opinion about it. But everyone, regardless of whether or not they’ve studied it, has an opinion of the Bible and feels justified in that opinion. Nye concludes, “It’s a troubling thing. I mean at some point you smirk about it because it’s so…it’s silly.” And he proves the Apostle Paul right again, who promised that the message of the cross is foolishness (or “silly” if Nye prefers) to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

There is A LOT more here, but I’ll get to my point…

The Creation account has been around since, well, Creation. The argument for Intelligent Design is not new and isn’t going to get any more logical. And while I enjoy the debates and think it’s important to practice civil discourse on items we don’t agree upon, I don’t know that debates are going to bring sweeping changes in the way the average person thinks and whether or not he/she believes the biblical Creation account ahead of what science textbooks are currently teaching. IF there is going to be a cultural change – and yes, like AnswersinGenesis.org, I do believe all of this is a MAJOR sticking point for non-believers considering Christianity as well as for believers falling from it – I think the change will have to come this way: important, influential Young Earth Creationist scientists are going to have to “come out of the closet.”

Consider this, the Gay Movement in our country did not become fully mainstream until when? In Selling Homosexuality to America, Paul Rondeau says that the successful strategy of the modern Gay Movement was dependent on engaging the “five markets of social influence…which touch every citizen in America: government, education, organized religion, the media, and the workplace.” The result? Within thirty years, the idea of being gay moved from clinically abnormal behavior (as classified in DSM) to being considered a normal alternative lifestyle.

Note carefully, however, that the argument for gay marriage and gay rights never actually changed. The exact same arguments existed 50 years ago. Few were persuaded through reason and debate. Rather, it took sympathetic, likable primetime television characters, musicians, political figures, etc., people like Ellen Degeneres, Anderson Cooper, Neil Patrick Harris, Rosie O’Donnell, Lance Bass, Ricky Martin and a host of others whom you may or may not have guessed. The argument never changed! The logic never improved! So what did it? How do we get from “silly” or “sick” to legal and applauded? Influential, credible characters came forward. That’s what changed the public perception.

What does this have to do with biblical Creation? Everything. You know what will change the public perception? Just like it took Ellen Degeneres, it’ll take some Young Earth Creationists who come out and prove that evangelicals can do science just as good as macro-evolutionists in order to give Creationism some credibility in the scientific community. They will endure academic ridicule, professional ostracizing, persecution for their faith. But this is nothing new. We need good, hard-working, talented, credible scientists who are ready to carry out the Great Commission.

By the way, this was EXACTLY Ken Ham’s trump card when he debated Bill Nye in front of millions of onlookers last February. Nye had claimed that “magical,” religious thinking ruins scientific thought. So, in his opening statement, Ham cited Young Earth Creationists like Dr. Raymond Damadian, inventor of the MRI; Dr. Danny Faulkner, an accomplished astronomer; Dr. Stuart Burgess, who works on billion dollar satellites. These guys all pointed out how, in the academic world, many of their colleagues who share similar views are afraid to expose those views due to professional criticisms they would receive from anti-religious academic lobbyist groups.

In a nation of supposed freedom of religion and freedom of expression, it’s getting incredibly difficult and increasingly intimidating to share your faith. Just ask Benjamin Watson. This group – scientists who believe in the authority of the Bible, are needed to take a step forward. It’s a case, as the Apostle Peter stated, of obeying God rather than man (Acts. 5:28-29), or, as even Bill Nye said, “trying to spread the word. So anytime you get an opportunity, you take it.”

I’ve recently been studying a decent amount about the history of the Great Awakenings our country has experienced. While I obviously can’t know for sure, for my money, Christians emerging in the scientific community and leading people to glorify an Almighty God ahead of random chance processes, repent of their sins, and trust in a Risen Lord and Savior in Jesus rather than a “Science Guy” who fears death … this might just mean the next Great Awakening.

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126 thoughts on “Evolution vs. Creation and What The Gay Movement Has To Do With It

  1. gary says:

    Your beliefs are based on the superstitious visions, hallucinations, and sexual mores of Bronze Age, Middle-Eastern goat and sheep herders, scribbled down on stone tablets to later be revered as an “inerrant” holy book.

    The Internet is your doom. Educated, twenty-first century people just are buying this hocus pocus anymore.

    Orthodox/fundamentalist Christianity will go the way of the typewriter and the landline telephone. Some form of Christianity will remain, but it won’t be yours.

    Lay off law-abiding gay and lesbian Americans. Stop using them as your scapegoat for every issue.

    -Citizens United Against Religious Hate Speech

    • Gary says:

      No, it was a typo. Thank you for catching it.

      “Educated, twenty-first century people just are NOT buying this hocus pocus anymore.”

      Ask your college-educated grandchildren if they believe that gay people are evil just for who they are. This is the ugly teaching of many LCMS pastors: “It isn’t just that same-sex sexual activity is immoral (sin), the very fact of being same-sex attracted is immoral, evil, perverted, and a sin.”

      I am a physician. It is this kind of ignorant nonsense, peddled my ministers whose expertise is in ancient holy books and the superstitions contained therein, NOT in Medicine and Science, that are causing good kids to go out into their back yard and blowing their brains out or hanging themselves because their LCMS preacher told them that “faggots” are evil…just for their attractions. Let’s “pray” its not YOUR grandchild killing him or herself.

      This belief is what is immoral. Beyond immoral, it is Evil.

      This ignorance is why fundamentalist Christianity (yes, the LCMS is fundamentalist) is dying. Just check your membership and baptism statistics for the last five years. Down…down…down.

      Dr. Gary Matson, Jr.
      Board Certified Family Practice Physician
      President, Citizens United Against Religious Hate Speech.

      • Hi Gary,
        If you re-read the article, not one thing for or against homosexuality was mentioned in it. I have written on that topic before several times, but not at all here. I was merely using the history of the Gay Movement as an illustration to how societal perception changes. Homosexual relationships moved from “abnormal” to “normal” within 30 years. This wasn’t primarily do to logical arguments, but other circumstances.

        I think you’re reading what you want to read here. And from the intensity of the language, it sounds like there is some personal animosity here. I can appreciate that. But until we’re able to take someone at their word without preconceptions, I don’t know that we’re going to get anywhere in trying to understand one another.

      • Paul says:

        A real pastor won’t use the term “faggots”. He will faithfully preach and teach the sins that entrench all of us, and the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ alone. He will not exclude or excuse any sin of humans, yet his sermons and teachings will be so soaked in the gospel of full and free forgiveness in Jesus that no one will leave church that day ready to “below their brains out”, but will rather realize that every last sin is forgiven in Christ no matter what it is. Heaven is our reward not because of anything we’ve done, but because of what Christ did for us in living, dying, and rising for us.

        That is what Scripture teaches. Somewhere along the line, someone must have been unfaithful or fallacious in the way they presented the Bible to you and others in your organization. It certainly does not condone “hate speech”. It rather teaches us that “ALL [emphasis mine] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” All are sinners, all sin is paid for, forgiven by Christ. Unfortunately many humans have stood in the way of God’s clear teaching in the Bible, and this has set up all sorts of straw men, including that Christians are full of “hate speech.”

      • Permit me, please, to challenge a few more assumptions. My only grandchild is six and autistic, not college-educated, although my God is big enough to work that one out in a few more years. His mother and my daughter self-identifies as queer. I am a nurse, not LCMS, and happily every bit as “abnormal” as Pastor Hein.

  2. Nick Rogness says:

    I’m an engineer and I believe in the biblical accound of creation. I am named as an inventor on four patents filed with the US patent office. I can’t even put into words how insulting Bill’s statements are.

  3. Gary says:

    “Within thirty years, the idea of being gay moved from clinically abnormal behavior (as classified in DSM) to being considered a normal alternative lifestyle.”

    Your inclusion of this statement in your article tells the LCMS teenager or young adult reading this article, Pastor, that they are “abnormal”. They are abnormal even without engaging in same-sex sexual activities. “Abnormal” is bad. Abnormal is evil. Abnormal is wicked. “God hates the wicked. So God hates me. And since I cannot stop being same-sex attracted, I am forever evil.”

    This is psychologically devastating to a young person’s psychological development and self-esteem.

    Your article may not be on homosexuality per se, but the psychological damage your comments cause is the same.

    • Again, I’m going to try to present this in as level-headed a manner as I can. Your statements of what is or is not psychologically devastating are your opinions. My statement that homosexuality moved from being classified as a “mental disorder” in DSM-I (1952), to “sexual deviation” in DSM-II (1968), to being almost entirely removed in the DSM-III-R revision (1987), is merely a statement of historic fact. There is no debating this.

      The person who experiences homosexual temptations and chooses to not act on them due to their attachment to Jesus glorifies God in the same way that the person who experiences temptation to lie and chooses not to act on that temptation due to their gratitude to Jesus glorifies God by telling the truth.

      By the way, I believe I’m fully a sinner. Because I believe in the gospel of Jesus who took my punishment in my place, the effects of my sin beliefs are not “psychologically devastating.”

      And I DO think being a Bible-believing, gospel-upholding, God-fearing Christian makes me “abnormal” in the world today. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Finally, while we’re sorting out details, I’m not an LCMS pastor. You’re obviously projecting something onto me here.

      • Gary says:

        Do you believe that opposite-sex attraction is from God, therefore it is good, it is normal?

        Do you believe that same-sex attraction is from God since almost all same-sex attracted people have never experienced anything other than same-sex attraction?

  4. Sara says:

    I think you just solved for readers the age-old question “which came first? The chicken or the egg?” Never really looked at that biblically before.

    Great blog. Lots to think about. Also If the new NIV was used for 1 Cor 2:14 I think it is a better translation. I could never understand the old way it was written saying they could not understand because they were “spiritually discerned.” I thought spiritual discernment was a good thing. But now I see how the passage was meant to be worded.

  5. While you make very good points and the comparison of the acceptance of evolution and the rise of the acceptance of homosexuality is correct, not enough emphasis is placed on the main reason for those acceptances- public education. What you say about the celebrity examples is spot on, but coming up with “celebrity” creationists will never work as a way to change the ideas about creationism as long as the majority of our population is educated in government schools. It is through two or three generations of public education that acceptance of homosexuality has come about. There are far, far fewer Christian or parochial schools operating today than there were decades ago. Christians have seemingly abandoned Christian education and are subjecting their children to the indoctrination of god-less government schools in greater numbers. While homeschooling has increased, the numbers of our population indoctrinated by government schools still outnumber the Christians/creationists. Until there is a revival among Christians in who they allow to educate their own children, nothing will change in these end times- no matter how many prominent creation scientists you can come up with.

    • gary says:

      “What you say about the celebrity examples is spot on, but coming up with “celebrity” burqa-wearing actresses will never work as a way to change the ideas about the immoral and immodest dress habits of American women as long as the majority of our population is educated in government schools.”

    • gary says:

      “God-fearing Muslims have seemingly abandoned Muslim education and are subjecting their children to the indoctrination of god-less government schools in greater numbers.”

    • gary says:

      “Until there is a revival among Muslims in who they allow to educate their own children, nothing will change in these end times- no matter how many prominent burqa-wearing actresses you can come up with.”

      The greatness of the American nation is our ability to blend, to mix, to melt, peoples from all over the world, of different ethnicities, cultures, customs, and religions into one united people. And what has historically been the most effective tool to do that “mixing”?

      Answer: the American public school.

      If we all divide off into our own little ethnic and religious communities, living in an almost closed environment of our church/mosque/synagogue and our parochial school, instead of a united people and nation, we become a collection of warring tribes. Tribes who are so unfamiliar with a neighboring (American) tribe, that they are seen as the “enemy” and not our compatriot.

      If you want to make this great democratic nation even greater, support and assist your local public school: the ultimate tool in the Great Melting Pot that is our United States of America.

      • You are correct about one thing, that the American public school takes all those ethnicities, cultures, customs and religions and “blends” them all, that is eliminates what was once American culture, custom and religion, and replaces it with a one world religion (humanism), and forces a gross amalgamation of the rest, forcing culture and customs of other countries onto American children as though they were their own heritage. The public schools do a notoriously terrible job of actually educating children but succeed in their goals of indoctrinating them in morally bankrupt sexuality propagnada, contempt for religion, and acceptance of all things liberal. You, Gary, are an ironic example of that just by your declaration that America is a “great democratic nation” when in fact it is a Republic. Clearly you don’t know the difference.

  6. Gary says:

    I see.

    Clay seems to be one of those citizens on the far right of our political spectrum who hates the word “democratic” or any variation thereof. Ok, Clay. I am willing to correct my error: The United States is a republican democracy or to make you happier, a democratic Republic.

    You, sir, are a tribalist. Tribalism otherwise known as “sectarianism” is one of the primary causes of the many civil wars, violence, suffering, and death in our world. I’ll stick with the universal rights enshrined in the United States Constitution, you stick to the tribalism, bigotry, condoned genocides, and superstitions of your ancient, middle-eastern holy book.

    • Paul says:

      Gary, again, erects one straw man after the next. Choose to completely reject the Word of God, the Bible, if you wish. It is not bigoted, it does not condone genocide. These are lies. But you and those of your ilk love these buzzwords. It appears we have reached an impasse with you. From the very start of your commenting on this blog entry, you have taken the words of the Bible and Pastor Hein completely out of context, fabricating a caricature of Pastor Hein and Christians that simply isn’t true. Fellow Christians reading this blog–get used to this kind of behavior from these folks. It’s what anti-Christian “tolerance” advocates are all about, and these are the tactics they use.

      Anyone who approaches the Bible like any other book (reading it in its context) will see that it’s truly about law and gospel.

      Law–If all God’s commandments were kept all the time, there would be no murder, genocide, war, corruption, abuse of authority, rebellion against authority, broken homes and hearts, divorce, children raised in chaotic homes, generations of children raised in chaotic homes, bigotry, hatred, slander, bullying–basically the world would be a perfect place except for natural disasters and disease. And if we as humankind had never sinned in the first place, there wouldn’t be any of that either. But we belong to a fallen human race and evidence of that smacks us in the face every day, every hour, every minute.

      Gospel (good news)–Christ died, is risen, and will come again. He made us alive in him even when we were dead in our sin. Every sin is washed away and forgiven. He promises heaven to all who believe this. We are living forever right now, and one day we leave this world of tears and hurt to meet him and be with him forever.

      The Word of God (the Bible) is the ultimate in how to improve society–obey his commands. The more we as a whole do, the less we have to worry about all the things I listed above.

      But the reality is life is short and painful. But God had a solution for that too–in Christ, we have the assurance of heaven because of what Jesus did for us.

      I am happy and proud to have a God who does not teach what uninformed people like Gary and his organization say he does–hatred, bigotry, hypocrisy, etc. Rather, we have a God who saved us and holds us accountable for our sins–serving as a guide in how to live properly in society. Unfortunately, many people choose to reject it at all costs. But Jesus promised it would be this way until he comes back. Stay strong, Christians, and come Lord Jesus.

      • Gary says:

        “Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” Samuel 15:1-3

      • Gary says:

        “16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city. 17 The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live because she hid the messengers we sent. 18 As for you, keep away from the things devoted to destruction, so as not to covet[a] and take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel an object for destruction, bringing trouble upon it. 19 But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” 20 So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. 21 Then they devoted to destruction by the edge of the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys.”

        An entire city massacred for what reason?

        They were sacrificing 100 of their children daily to their gods? No.
        They were engaged in mass sexual orgies involving children? No.

        Answer: They were massacred, including toddlers and infants, their valuables plundered…because they were in the way; the “Chosen Ones” wanted their land.

  7. Gary says:

    Why did the Christian god order the wholesale slaughter of an entire nation, including every infant in his or her mothers’ arms? What does the above passage tell us?

    For practicing human sacrifice? No.
    For their evil sexual practices? No.

    Answer: For making a political and military decision to not let a foreign nation pass on their property.

    Conclusion: the Christian god orders genocide and the slaughter of Innocents all for not allowing his “Chosen Ones” to trespass on your property.

    Sick. Absolutely sick.

    • Paul says:

      Couldn’t tell ya for sure–not going to arrogate myself to the point of questioning the decisions God makes as he runs the world he created.

      But since you are doing so by calling God “sick” and assume you could be a better god than he can be, here is a suggestion as to why he commanded that at that time.

      When God created the world, he blessed man and woman tremendously by creating them in his image of perfection. He gave them a perfect world in which to live. But they gave into temptation and arrogantly disobeyed him because they thought they knew better than him. This ushered sin into the world for good, and it’s why we struggle as we do here in this cesspool of sin and disappointment.

      However, in his love for humankind he promised a Savior and eventually sent him. Anyone who believes in him for full salvation will be saved eternally.

      But, again, that wasn’t good enough for many people, and the arrogance continued and does to this day. They rejected the God who created everything including them. They made false idols of every form and fashion. Parents passed along such arrogance to their children, until entire nations were full of people who had rejected the true God.

      Perhaps God knew that these nations would be nothing but harmful for his people, including endangering the line of the Savior of the world so that no one anywhere could possibly be saved. So he ordered those people to be wiped out–people who had already, long ago, completely hardened themselves against the true God. God was there for them too but generations ago they had rejected him. So, in the midst of the cesspool of sin and rejection of God that this world is, God still provided–preserving a remnant of people from whose line would come the Savior for all mankind. And in this particular case he had to do so by defeating a people who perhaps would have jeopardized that line.

      That is Old Testament history, and you and other secularists and atheists love to rip instances like that out of context and hoot and holler and call the God who created you and saved you “sick”. But nowhere since the Old Testament (and remember, God in the OT was primarily concerned with keeping the line of the Savior alive so that as many people as possible could be saved) has God asked his people to militarily conquer heathens like he did then. So, genocide is neither commanded nor excused. New Testament Christians stick to the Ten Commandments because that is all Jesus told us to do. The other New Testament writers have clearly stated that the OT commands no longer apply except for the Ten Commandments.

      So no, genocide is not condoned. You and your friends will rip OT matters out of context, paint with broad strokes, and say that this is what Christianity teaches, but you are wrong.

    • Gary says:

      I printed the entire passage, “silly girl”. How much more context would you like me to copy and paste?

      What you really are saying is this: “If the parents of the children are really, really, really EVIL, then it is justifiable to chop their little Johnnie and Susie to pieces as they scream and beg for you to stop.

      The next time you read one of these barbaric passages, please imagine your own children or grandchildren taking the place of the Amalekite, Jericho, and Midianite children, as God’s righteous soldiers rip them from their mothers arms, screaming and trembling in horror, and then watch as their little arms, legs and heads are hacked to pieces.

      My god, people, wake up! Your mentality is no different than that of the ISIS sick sons-of-bitches. It is NEVER MORAL to butcher little children. NEVER!

  8. Gary says:

    13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 Moses said to them, “Have you allowed all the women to live? 16 These women here, on Balaam’s advice, made the Israelites act treacherously against the Lord in the affair of Peor, so that the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves. Numbers 31:13-18

    So why were all the Midianite mothers and little boys slaughtered?

    The Midianite mothers had been caught in the act of offering their little boys for human sacrifice and by killing them…and the little boys…they prevented this horrible act of barbarism? No.

    The Midianite mothers had been caught in incestuous sexual behaviors with their little boys? No.

    Answer: The Midianite mothers and their little boys were slaughtered by the thousands because they had committed the abominable act of tricking an invading, enemy nation, the “Chosen Ones”, into disobeying one of the gadzillion fanatical rules of their sheep and goat-herders’ religion.

    And why were the Midianite virgins spared from this genocidal blood bath?

    Answer: Stupid non-Christian! Don’t you know the answer to that?? Everyone knows that VIRGINS make better maids and house servants.

    • Gary says:

      What evidence do you have for this allegation, Pastor Hein?

      I have found that when faced with this very tough dilemma (Is my God, the God of both the New and Old Testaments, a cruel, baby-butchering monster?) most conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist/orthodox Christians will say this:

      The Amalekites used their children for human sacrifice.
      The people of Jericho used their children for human sacrifice.
      The Midianites used their children for human sacrifice.
      The people of Ai, another city completely slaughtered by God’s Chosen People, used their children for human sacrifice.

      However, if you actually get out your Bible, and if you actually read these accounts in their entireties in the Bible, the justification for total and complete annihilation of an entire people (the definition of “genocide”), is rarely, and maybe even NEVER, child sacrifice or incest.

      Child sacrifice and incest are simply the “boogeymen” used by orthodox, inerrantist Christians to salve their consciences regarding the brutal, sadistic, genocidal behavior of the ancient, Bronze Age, middle-eastern (Canaanite) deity that they have been taught since childhood to worship as perfect and inerrant.

      Dear conservative Christian people: It is NEVER moral to execute infants and toddlers …no matter how evil you might believe their parents to be!

      So, really, all that your are left with is this: Yahweh/Jesus/The Trinitarian Christian God is a blood-thirsty, vindictive, petty, genocidal Monster…but since he is the Creator…we must accept his behavior as “good”, fear, and obey him. If you choose to fear and obey this Monster, go ahead. But don’t try to sell the rest of us on the blatant lie of how loving and compassionate this “Heavenly Monster” is.

      • Paul says:

        Ok then! We believe he’s God, you believe he’s monster. Once again, Gary, meet impasse.

        And don’t try to come on a Christian blog and force your “heavenly Monster” beliefs on us either! Go back to your life of “tolerance”.

  9. Gary – It is worthless to argue the way your are with these folks. They are WELS Lutherans by the way, perhaps more conservative than LCMS.

    They have already played their trump cards:

    1. James claimed that the Bible “clearly” states the Earth and Universe were created with the appearance of age (although one has to question whether James has really appreciated the mountains of cross correlating evidence used to determine the age of the earth. It is more complex and fascinating than seed-bearing plants!). One has to wonder if he also believes God created the Earth to appear as if it’s rotation had been slowing at a rate that is known via independent realms of science, and then also created daily and yearly growth rings on ancient coral fossils to match with the changing day and year lengths, and then also lined all of this up with the rate of radioactive decay. One has to wonder. Or one can just say “God created it with the appearance of age, end of story, move on, I’m not considering it any further. Seed-bearing plants and Adam had a belly button.” That seems to be James’ stance. And you just can’t argue with that if a person is really willing to take that stance.

    2. Terri has claimed that you can’t understand scripture without the blessings of the Holy Spirit. So in their view, there is just no way you can understand what they understand, and no way that you can “know” what they “know”. Because they believe they have been blessed with the truth by the Holy Spirit. So no evidence or reasoning or Bible contradicting scientific theories that are verified time and time again will change their mind. They will ignore them or claim by fiat that you simply don’t know what they know.

    Also, Gary – while I think I agree with your views on science and the Bible, you need to be nicer to these folks. Many of them were raised with these beliefs and hold them near and dear and have never genuinely considered the evidence they reject. In their mind, when you talk to them arrogantly or demeaning, it simply validates for them what the Bible says regarding “unbelievers” – that you are an enemy of God, you will mock them, etc.

    I was actually raised in this church (WELS) and went to the same schools as James (K- 12 YEC education), and his dad was my 8th grade teacher, and a super nice guy. It’s more complex than them being “hateful.” Just as they say “hate the sin, not the sinner” we have to “hate the belief, not the believer.”

    (on a side note I remember being told in around 2nd grade that men have one less rib than women…)

    Once I came to understand the scientific method after high school, I started to realize what I was not told about the by the WELS about epistemology, the scientific method, evolution, etc, and the way they manipulated the language when talking about evolution/big bang. I’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours over the last ten years looking at the evidence on both sides. I noticed growing up and have noticed since college and beyond, that those on the creationist side have seldom really dug into the evolutionary literature that exists. What they do read about it, is given to them through a filter by someone who they already agree with.

    When I first started reading actual science books dealing with evolution and age of the earth it actually felt like I was doing something wrong. The folks here might say “That’s because you knew in your conscience that you were going against God!” The real reason is because for 18 years I had been indoctrinated to believe that evolution was one of Satan’s ways of tricking mankind and setting them on the path to eternal damnation and hellfire. That is what I was taught. And I can attest it is hard to break out of that mindset and really start considering the evidence objectively. But it can be done. I did it! And the world has become so much more fascinating, mysterious, and awe inspiring since then.

    Anyway, in closing, I would like to pose the following question to everyone involved here.

    Gary – What evidence could come to light that would cause you to accept that evolution is false?

    James and the rest – What evidence could come to light that would cause you to accept that the literal Genesis account of creation is false? What evidence could come to light that would cause you to accept that evolution is a scientific fact the same way you accept that atomic theory is a scientific fact?

    Happy Holiday’s Fellow Homo Sapiens!

    • Oh, lets see… How about a scientifically proven fact that supports the theory of evolution? Evolution is just a human theory. There is no scientifically observed evidence to support man’s imaginative explanation for the beginning of life.

      • Terri – I can certainly give you what you are looking for. But first I need you to define the word “theory” and define the word “fact”. And answer this: do you accept atomic theory and the theory of gravity as “facts”? This will better help me to understand where you are coming from.

        Thanks!

      • Oh Joshua, you caught me red-handed. Yes, I am old-school. Back in my science class days we were taught that theory was an idea, but couldn’t be proven. Facts on the other hand, were truths that were known and proven by experience or observation. Along the line somewhere the definition of a theory changed. (must be part of that evolution process) In today’s scientific world the term ‘theory’ has been changed to resemble that of a fact. (just like ‘gay’ use to mean happy and carefree, and now people recognize and use it for a completely different meaning)

        So, whether we use the term ‘theory’ or ‘fact’, scientific process calls for repeated observation and/or experimentation to prove the truthfulness. I accept the Theory of Gravity because when I run out of floor, something pulls me to the earth. I have personally experienced that. Too many times. I also have seen objects pulled to the earth whenever I let go of them. I can also accept the Atomic Theory because I and most of humanity have seen the affects of atomic power when put to use by scientists. I would call them Facts, not theory.

        Evolution on the other hand has not been observed by man, since according to evolution, he did not exist yet. Nor has man been able to verify these ideas concerning the development of life through experiementation. Again, time is the problem.

        In a nutshell, I find it much easier to believe that an all-knowing, all-powerful Being created the world, than to believe that the world developed randomly over billions of years all by itself. ( I am however, waiting for that pile of scrap metal in the back yard to evolve into a recreational vehicle. How long do you think it will take?)

        Merry CHRISTmas to you, Joshua!

      • Gary says:

        There are NO inerrant facts in Science. None. Even such things as the “Law of Gravity” are THEORIES only. If new evidence is presented that disproves our current understanding of gravitational forces, the old “Law” is thrown out the window without any regret.

        That is the wonderful thing about Science. Evidence rules supreme. There are no sacred “cows”…nor inerrant holy books.

      • Gary says:

        OH. MY. GOODNESS.

        There is MASSIVE evidence that supports evolution. You need to rent some books from the library and start reading.

      • Terri – Thanks for your answers to my questions. I would like to continue with you on this subject.

        Your particular “old-school” science education may very well have taught you what you say about those words and the scientific method, but the words and concepts have been used very differently ever since the dawn of modern science and philosophy. I have to ask out of curiosity, was your science education a WELS education?

        I could ramble on here about the words theory and fact, and how they relate to the scientific method, but before I resort to that, and before I address your other points, would you be willing to spend an hour or two of your time watching a video series?

        At least try to get through videos 1 – 8 of this series and let me know if you do (or if you are not going to). Anyone else following this – watch these as well if you can.

        1. Evolution vs. Creationism: Listen to the Scientists (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV4_lV…)

        ***** 2.Evolution vs. Creationism:Is Evolution Just a Theory? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Ctl9…) *****

        ***** 3.Evolution vs. Creationism: No Controversy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVaCmA

        ***** 4. Evolution vs. Creationism: “Teach the Controversy” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6_Ktv

        ***** 5. Evolution vs. Creationism: Is Hearing Both Sides Fair? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNxXlq

        6.Evolution vs. Creationism:Experts vs. Scientists-Peer Review (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X50lH…)

        7.Evolution vs. Creationism: The Process of Science (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIzaeI…)

        ***** 8. Evolution vs. Creationism: Epistemology (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BJa7W

        9. Evolution vs. Creationism: Purpose & Goals of Creationism (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CCapu…)

        ***** 10. Evolution vs. Creationism:History of Evolution v Creationism (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp7b9E

        11. Evolution vs. Creationism:Evolution Essential to Education(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzTlZo…)

        12. Evolution vs. Creationism:Pragmatic Value of Evolution (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjXYZd…)

        13. Evolution vs. Creationism:Creationism’s Negative Effects (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ske9pw…)

        14. Evolution vs. Creationism: Science Teachers Challenged (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxnJ8y…)

        *****15. Evolution vs. Creationism: Biblical Literalism (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkcC8F

        ***** 16. Evolution vs. Creationism: The Age of the Earth (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XDn5S

        *****17. Evolution vs. Creationism: Scientific Explanations & God (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KD3XY

        18. Evolution vs. Creationism: Freedom of Religion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZLOqJ…)

        19. Evolution vs. Creationism:Gaps in the Record & Complexity (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVz6se…)

        ***** 20. Evolution vs. Creationism: Origins of Cellular Life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2BVfP

        21. Evolution vs. Creationism: Some Beliefs in Creationism equal 50% (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5PNzx…)

        22. Evolution vs. Creationism:Abuse of Science & Democracy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrlYz0…)

        23. Evolution vs. Creationism:Position of Science in U.S. Today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbv6E…)

        24. Evolution vs. Creationism:Scientists Responsibility to Speak (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKhG24…)

        Happy learning!

      • *big grin* Will you sit through 24 Bible classes, Joshua?!!

        17 years worth of WELS education. Another 20 years serving as a WELS teacher. However, I earned my Edu Masters and my Science minor at non-WELS universities…if that carries any weight. I enjoy Science very much. The more I study it, the more I see God’s almighty power and wisdom. There is no way that I could ever accept the idea that everything from the tiniest molecule to the total sum of galaxies came together by chance. To me, that idea is total foolishness.

        So, have a Blessed Christmas anyway, Joshua. We will have to agree to disagree.

      • Terri –

        As I mentioned – I have sat through thousands of WELS Sunday morning bible classes, church services, Sunday school classes, bible class in school from kindergarten through 12th grade, doctrine classes, catechism classes, synod history classes, etc. Not to mention the in depth reading I have done on my own since graduating high school. So I think I have sat through my 24 Bible classes.

        Have you equally engaged with the wealth of evidence for the Big Bang, the age of the earth, and evolution?

        If you have not and are not willing to engage with the other perspective, why are you discussing it?

        I have a few questions for you. Let’s try to stick to this topic.

        1. Where did the different languages come from?

        2. What does it mean when we say a language is a Romance language or a Germanic language?

        3. Why does learning Latin help with understanding languages spoken today?

    • Gary says:

      I need to clarify something: My original comment was not to try to change minds; it was to shut mouths; to shut hateful, bigoted, mouths. That is the goal or our organization: not to change the minds of fundamentalist, as I have found that no amount of evidence will change the minds of 99% of these people…and believe me I have tried.

      No. The goal of our organization is to do to Fundamentalists what the African-American community did to the Segregationists: Shame them and shout them down so vociferously, and so relentlessly, anywhere and anytime that they open their bigoted mouths to spew their Hate, they their will to persist in their ugly habits will wane and their children will tremble in fear to follow in their footsteps.

      • Gary, God addresses your arrogance in Psalm 2 KJVS
        [1] … “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? [2] The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord , and against his anointed, saying , [3] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. [4] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. …”

        The facts are that Christianity has survived for thousands of years through much worse conditions than your piddly organization can ever dish out. Go ahead and troll blogs and comment all day long. Despite your hateful efforts and those of like minded people the Bible has come down to us from those lowly shepherds (and kings, see above) through the darkest times of human history, through persecutions and prosperity both, to spread Christianity all throughout the world to every country and culture. The Word of the only true and living God has the power of God sustaining it and that makes it different from every other ancient or “holy” book. There is no way that a mere book described in your mocking terms could still be with us today with so many devoted believers if it was as worthless as you believe.

        Christianity has produced the greatest architecture, the greatest music, the greatest artwork, the greatest literature in all the world, for the glory of the only true and living God. It has endured through the ages and will continue despite your best efforts. One day you will be gone and forgotten and so will your organization but God’s Word will never pass away.

        Kiss the Son lest He be angry…

    • Gary says:

      I oppose the killing of all human beings except in the following cases:

      -self defense when your life is in imminent, mortal danger.
      -self defense as a society in a purely defensive war.

      I define a human being as:

      The genetic offspring of the union of a human male and female gamete that possesses a beating heart and has the neurological maturity to sense pain; especially when someone is trying to harm or kill him or her.

  10. Gary says:

    Last I saw this was a public forum. If non-Christian comments are not welcome, please post it above, and we will leave you and your “tribe” members alone.

    • Paul says:

      Oh, Gary.

      You just don’t realize the irony in the statements you are making.

      I can’t help you see it either. So I give up.

      Adieu.

    • Gary says:

      To Clay Vessel above: Yes, Christians have produced some great art and music, but most of this occurred after the Renaissance. What was the Renaissance: a rebirth of (pagan) Greek and Roman culture, philosophy, and art.

      The Church fought the Renaissance initially…viciously, so all the beautiful art and music is in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

      • Gary says:

        By the way, the longevity of a belief system is no barometer of its validity, unless you believe that Zoroastrianism is the one, true faith. It is much older monotheist religion than is Christianity.

      • Gary says:

        All religions are dying in educated, civilized Western society…including Christianity. The Internet is the doom of all ancient, supernatural, “inerrant”, superstitions. Years ago it would have taken one years and a lot of travel to investigate the historical claims of the Bible. Now you can do it while sipping a cup of coffee surfing the internet in less than 30 minutes.

      • Untrue- the baroque art and architecture, and the early Christian works such as the Visigoth church in Ravenna, Italy (which I just saw in September) is stunning in its mastery and proclamation of the gospel to the illiterate population of its time. And the last paragraph of this comment is just laughably false.
        Also, you miss my point as I expected. Zoroastrianism, despite its longevity, as well as any other religion you can come up with, has not and does not have countless believers all over the world, covering all of human history and with the influential legacy of Christianity. All other religions eventually self-destruct. Christianity endures.
        You claim, “religions are dying in educated, western society” which takes us back to my original comment- the indoctrination of the western population by the government controlled schools (“education”), the internet (do you really believe everything you read?) and the media. It is the end times. God told us what would happen.

        I will pray for you, that you come to the knowledge of the Truth.

      • Christmas. CHRIST mass. Can you name any festival started by the Zoroastrians that is celebrated in every culture around the world and has been for two thousand years? No? But Christ was a nobody, right? Or maybe He IS the Son of God as so many believe.
        He is the King of Glory!

  11. Josh says:

    I, for one, appreciate Gary’s comments. They present a good opportunity for the readers of this blog to practice apologetics concerning questions and viewpoints that are common in the secular community today. He hasn’t devolved into vulgarity or personal attacks (for the most part) and has at least tried to present reasoning for the perspectives that he has.

    That being said, I think the discussion that he has perpetuated is a perfect example of human beings trying to understand the mind and motivations of God, which unfortunately is sometimes impossible to do. In doing so, he has provided a number of examples of the errors that can occur when insisting on creating a perspective of God that fits perfectly into the social and cultural box we sometimes want him to.

    Yes, Gary misconstrued Pastor Hein’s train of thought comparing the growth of modern conceptions of evolutionary theory with the growth of modern conceptions of homosexuality.

    Yes, Gary has shown a tendency to take Scripture (especially the Old Testament) out of context.

    Yes, Gary has taken it upon himself to question the actions of a God who sees the the world, time, the universe, and human beings from a perspective that he cannot possibly understand.

    All of these tactics are great examples of what Christians see in the world today. They are all an attempt to stuff God into a logical box so that we humans can observe, poke and prod, experiment, and finally judge not only the motivations and actions of God himself, but also the motivations and actions of all people throughout history that have or have claimed to follow Him.

    But this highlights the great challenge today for Christians and a fundamental question that every Christian needs to answer for themselves at some point…how can we love a God that isn’t logical? How can we follow a God that allows bad things to happen? How can we believe that God loves everyone considering he convicts all of us with the impossible standards of His laws? How can we “delude” ourselves into believing things for which there is no evidence?

    The answer for me is simple…we can because we believe him at His Word. And His Word tells me that He loves me. Not only this, His Word tells me that He loves all mankind. Not only this, His Word tells me that He sacrificed that which was most precious to Him for me. Not only this, His Word tells me that He wants me to be with him in heaven.

    What logical people like Gary fail to realize is that for Christians, faith in those promises comes first…then comes logical analysis. Does this mean that our beliefs don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny? Absolutely (at times). Does this mean that our beliefs don’t hold up to modern social and cultural norms? Absolutely (at times).

    I just hope that Gary and people with similar viewpoints realize that God doesn’t always have to justify his actions or his expectations of us. If God applied logical analysis to the problem of our sin, I’d hate to see the logical conclusion that he would come to for what our fate rightfully should be.

    • Every religion and faith based world view has it written into their dogma why it is admirable to put their faith above logic, above reason, and above the scientific method, even to the point of denying scientific discoveries that are obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a religious tenant that is at threat. It is telling that logic, reason and science are dismissed only when the discoveries of logic, reason, and the scientific method contradict their faith-based presuppositions. And even those have been chipped away over time. Using the exact same language and train of thought that you professed in the post above, I think it is safe to say that you would have rejected the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun had you been alive at the time. What do you think?

      Also, after reading everything Gary has said and considering the response, I would like to know from everyone here – if God came down today and demolished the entire Islamic world in fiery rage, would you give him a free pass for the same reasons you give him a free OT pass when he carries out the destruction of the nations mentioned above? If the USA was to carry out a war with the entire Islamic world with the end goal of destroying every last one of them, would you be willing to say that your God not only supports this endeavor, but also provides supernatural assistance in making sure the deed is carried out?

      I would appreciate honest answers to these questions and my previous questions from everyone who is chipping in.

      Thanks!

      • Josh says:

        Considering that the heliocentric model of the universe is not in contradiction with God’s Word, I’d like to think that (absent the almost universal cultural and scientific acceptance of the geocentric model at the time) I’d use my logical reasoning in such a matter.

        Nonetheless, I think you inadvertently bring up a great point. The real question at hand is not whether Creationism or evolutionism presents more evidence. The question is about faith. Christian Science advocates such as Ham try to play the game of science in matters of faith and (rightfully in my mind) end up trying to justify the mysteries of faith in a scientific manner. Christians today do a disservice to themselves in my opinion by trying paint evolution as just another faith. In some senses it is just that, but Christians are not in the business of trying to prove that they are correct using observable…that their deductions have more evidence or are even on an even keel to evolutionary theory. Faith in its very nature is a belief in something that cannot be proven. For those that reject such beliefs, faith seems like stupidity or ignorance when in reality it is simply choosing to believe in something supernatural…something that we as humans simply cannot explain. Science can belittle such beliefs all it wants, but that does not change the fact that it provides few answers to the questions that people really want the answers to…namely, what is the nature of life, where did it come from, why do we die, where are we going after death, and why.

        As for the hypothetical question about the US conducting a war of extermination against Islam…I think that question is a little naive. First, the US is not a Christian nation and God has never shown his explicit blessing on anything it does (I don’t recall any tablets being discovered on US soil). Second, I hardly believe that if God were to explicitly destroy a nation or a people on earth today that we would be having a discussion on whether or not He exists or created the world.

        In general, I believe that God interjects in history only in ways that cause greater numbers of people to be drawn to Him while accounting for human free will. You can take from that statement what you must.

      • Hi Joshua, me again. If God came down and demolished the entire Islamic world in a fiery rage, would I give Him a pass? You bet!!!! Who am I to argue with God?

        Would I claim that God supported and provided supernatural assistance in defeating an enemy? If God provided supernatural assistance in defeating an enemy, it would be rather difficult to not notice the event, wouldn’t it? And if God used His supernatural power to defeat an enemy, I would have to conclude that He supported that endeavor. This seems totally silly.

        God made promises, and God keeps His promises. You were taught this in your WELS upbringing. You claim the Scientific Process enlightened you, and you have replaced the belief in Creation with the theory of Evolution. What has the Scientific Process given you to replace your hope of salvation?

      • Terri – Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there are numerous instances in the Bible where a war or genocide, etc was waged in the name of God, with God’s approval, and with God’s supernatural help (even if it is just “granting them strength) – however, there would have been no obvious perception of this supernatural intervention during the war.

        Who says that your God would not still act in this way today? He behaved this way a few thousand years ago. If the United States hypothetically started launching nukes and demolished the entire Middle East and the vast majority of its inhabitants, how could you say for sure that your God was not in support of this and perhaps even making sure things went the way he wanted? Perhaps he “guided the minds of the scientists” who invented the nuclear bomb in preparation for decades later when it came time for the USA to wipe out the Islamic world with the bombs? How can you say he didn’t do this? And if this were to hypothetically happen, if you could somehow hypothetically know that the Christian God was behind this, you would be ok with that?

        To answer your second question – the scientific process offers nothing in the way of salvation. The problem here is that you are making the assumption (which I am assuming you were taught from birth) that salvation and an afterlife are a given. In reality, there is no way to know if there is an after life and even if there is one, there is no way to know if there is any element of salvation or reincarnation or whatever. I am completely agnostic when it comes to whether an afterlife exists, but I am pretty darn sure (based on historical and scientific evidence) that my belief in the Bible has nothing to do with it.

        I will make the most out of this life, that I actually have right now, and not concern myself with the unknowable. And I certainly will not reach for supernatural explanations whenever confronted with the unknowable. There is either evidence, or there is not. If there is not evidence, I remain agnostic, no matter what the issue.

        And Josh – I do have to point out that you say you can’t recall any tablets being found on US soil. I think the Mormons would disagree. And based on your faith-based reasoning, they have every reason to believe they are just as right and following the truth as you do. Do you see how that is so?

        What I take from your last statement is this – You believe God interjects in history when it is convenient and easy for you to explain things in that way.

      • Josh says:

        Joshua-To your point about God “blessing” certain wars (even ones hypothetical in nature)…I would not presume to judge God’s actions. The Old Testament believers were almost always told the intentions of God and the reasons certain wars were to be waged. We do not have such explicit directions today (for a variety of reasons that a deeper conversation would be needed to explain). I submit to a God that has promised that he loves all mankind. While I may not be able to always understand how this includes seemingly brutal and war-driven actions, I do not presume to know more than God about how to best gather the largest amount of people to Himself for the purpose of eternal salvation.

        This idea, I think, is at the heart of debates such as this. Christians approach their understanding of the world, society, and religion from a perspective that admits that human beings do not have all the answers. For all the scientific evidence that there is, there are questions that simply cannot be answered through human logic and the scientific process. Agnostics and secularists dismiss this as folly…they have the perspective that if we can’t understand something or if there is a lack of evidence, why on earth should we believe it. But there is an inherent arrogance in such a world-view. Not only this, there is an element of faith in claiming that the only things that we should believe must be proven through scientific observation…in doing so, you place a belief in your own logic and understanding above anything that may be true that hasn’t been empirically proven. We are well within our rights as human beings to take such a stance, but in doing so we make a god out of our own perspective and logic…something that has historically caused more harm than good. If you are absolutely sure that the Bible offers no truth on the meaning of life or the afterlife, by all means dismiss it, but don’t pretend that you haven’t created a cult of your own logic and an absolute faith in evidence above anything else.

        BTW, I made the comment about “tablets on US soil” facetiously…saying that Mormons are Christian is a stretch in the first place (a quick look at their doctrine would enlighten you on this), but WELS Lutherans don’t accept such beliefs because they do not coincide with the Bible…the standard against which all “evidence” (scientific or religious) must be weighed.

        And lastly, you stated “What I take from your last statement is this – You believe God interjects in history when it is convenient and easy for you to explain things in that way.” Exactly the opposite actually…I believe that God’s Word is the standard of truth and admit that I may not be able to fully explain the motivations and actions of a God that sees the world and history differently than me. I’m comfortable saying that I don’t have all the answers…instead, I have trust and faith.

    • Gary says:

      Ok, movie with the family over (“Charlie Brown Christmas”). I can rejoin the conversation.

      Josh, I hear everything you are saying: If Yahweh is the Creator of the Universe; the Maker of all things; the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth…then by all means, we must obey and fear…we must tremble in fear before him. If he says jump, we should ask, “How high?”

      And I am being 100% serious.

      But I ask you to look at this Christian claim from the viewpoint of a non-Christian, and let’s turn the table on you, ok, and let’s see how YOU react: Allah is the Lord God of Heaven and Earth. Allah is the Maker of all that Is. Allah is the Creator God, and the Koran is his holy, inerrant, not-to-be-questioned Word.

      What is your reaction to that statement?

      Stop for a second. Do you notice that you did not stop to debate in your mind whether this claim of Islam MIGHT be true. In fact, I will bet that your reaction is instantaneous: “Nonsense!”

      Your reaction to this Islamic claim…is EXACTLY the reaction that we non-Christians have to your claims of YOUR invisible, supernatural deity.

      Both the Muslims and you Christians threaten us with eternal torment in “Hell” if we refuse to bend the knee to your gods. And you are not the only exclusivist religions. So Pascal’s Wager has a fatal flaw. So how do we determine truth out of the thousands if not millions of supernatural claims in the world today?

      Answer: Reason, Logic, and Science based evidence.

      Period.

      If we all attempt to live our lives by following every superstitious claim in the world, we would not be able to function.

      Give me evidence; good, strong evidence…and I just might believe. But don’t ask me to believe by “faith”, which to us, is nothing more than asking us to close our eyes and jump off of a cliff.

      • You are right about one thing, Gary. It is all “by faith”.

        As far as forcing our beliefs on unbelievers, and taking away their freedoms and liberties; well, that goes both ways. No one is forcing you to read and accept blogs written by conservative religious rightwingers. You chose to do so. The blog was written (though not exclusively) for fellow Christians to read. We are the targeted audience. You are a visitor.

        And we followers of the ancient holy book feel just as strongly about the liberal humanistic folk infringing on our religious freedoms. I can’t send my children to public school because they teach evolution as fact. Religious beliefs are not accepted. We are forced to pay taxes to pay for the legalized genocide of unborn babies. We are now forced to accept same-sex marriage as legal. Our Christian beliefs are termed “hate crimes”. Sharii Law enjoys more acceptance than the 10 Commandments. Get my drift?

      • Terri – What do you mean you are forced to accept same sex-marriage as legal? What you are really being “forced” to do, is to not interject your *faith based* beliefs into the legal system in a manner that would stifle the freedom of others who do not share your persuasion.

        I offer you a quote – “You’ve confused the war on religion with not always being able to get everything you want. It’s called being part of a society.”

      • Josh says:

        I’m not going to address all of what is in this post because I feel I am starting to be a bit redundant. However, you seemed to have judged me with no evidence (see what I did there?). I absolutely acknowledge that it is a possibility that Allah and Mohammed represent the path to salvation for all mankind…I just don’t believe it. My faith is based on the Bible and God’s promises contained therein. I’ve extensively studied other religions and still hold the simple belief that God’s Word is truth. This is the meaning of faith.

    • Josh – This is a crucial point. You are claiming that an agnostic worldview built upon the limits of our own logic and reason is arrogant and is claiming to have all of the answers while a Christian worldview admits it does not have the all the answers. But the exact opposite is true.

      I only claim to have answers to things that we have evidence for. It does not take faith to “believe” in evidence – it is right in front of our face for all to see.

      I do not claim to have an answer to why we are here, why the universe is here in the first place, if there are other universes, if there were other universes, if there is a god, if there is an afterlife. These are all unknown. I am agnostic to varying degrees in all of these areas.

      You (and the WELS and other denominations like it) claim by fiat to know absolute truth. You claim to know the meaning of life, why we are here, who created everything, the exact age of the earth, where we are going after life, who’s going where and why based on their beliefs, and how long we will be there (eternity), as well as absolute morals. And none of this is based on critical thought, as you all have admitted here.

      If I scientist doesn’t have an answer, they roll up their sleeves and begin looking for an answer. That mentality has brought science to the present day.
      If a fundamentalist doesn’t have an answer, they open their holy book, find something that vaguely pertains, and then claim they DO have the answer – and it came from God himself!

      I, for the life of me, can’t see how a humble agnostic admission of the fact that I do know some things based on critical thinking and evidence, and I don’t know much more, is arrogant or has “all the answers”. There is one of us here claiming to have “all of the answers” and it certainly is not me.

      • Josh says:

        Joshua, you clearly you misread or misunderstood some of the ideas in my post and have started to put words in my mouth. At this point in the debate, I’m going to bow out…justifying things that I didn’t say is simply a waste of time.

      • You said, “Christians approach their understanding of the world, society, and religion from a perspective that admits that human beings do not have all the answers.”

        But you are actually doing the exact opposite, as I said above. You claim to have more answers than me. Especially in the “Really big existential questions” category. You got them from god himself via one of many ancient texts with “answers”.

        The hallmark of science is admitting that you don’t know and then using evidence to find out. The questions I claim to have answers to are limited to the natural realm. I remain agnostic on issues beyond that. And I certainly don’t reach for whatever holy book happens to be most culturally prominent and accessible and then claim that god has given me the answers through that.

        You also said, “Agnostics and secularists dismiss this as folly…they have the perspective that if we can’t understand something or if there is a lack of evidence, why on earth should we believe it. But there is an inherent *arrogance* in such a world-view.”

        As I said, what is arrogant about using your brain to answer questions that can be answered and remaining agnostic (until valid evidence comes to light) on other issues?

      • Gary says:

        In response to Terri above:

        Public schools teach Science. They teach the Theory of Gravity, the Theory of Thermodynamics, along with the Theory of Evolution, and many others. We teach these scientific principles NOT as absolutes but as our best understanding of the facts at THIS time. Too many fundamentalist/conservative Christians are conspiracy theorists. They believe that secular scientists have as their primary goal the destruction of the Christian Faith.

        This is utter nonsense. The overwhelming majority of scientists are only interested in one thing: Truth based on evidence. Show them evidence that a supernatural being created the world and they (and I) will accept it. Just don’t point us to an ancient middle-eastern holy book, written by Bronze Age sheep and goat herders, and tell us we must believe it as inerrant fact.

        Terri: How would you feel if the neighborhood you live in suddenly becomes the hot neighborhood for newly arrived Muslim immigrants to this country. Within 12 months time, the majority of the children in your public school are Muslim. The Muslim majority in your community votes in a Muslim majority on your school board and wants to introduce Muslim teachings on the origin of the universe into your child’s curriculum?

        YOU WOULD GO BALLISTIC!

        This is not a Muslim nation. This is NOT a Christian nation. Secular society should NEVER be forced to introduce faith-based teachings into our public schools and dress them up as “alternative science”.

        Creationism is not Science. It is Religion. Period. If you want to teach Creationism in your tribal (parochial) schools, that is your right. But keep the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, religious propaganda OUT of public schools.

  12. Gary says:

    The conversation is getting good, but the wife and kids want to watch a movie. I hope we can continue having a productive conversation later this weekend.

    I have no problem with people believing in God. My issue is when religious people, of ANY religion, try to impose their supernatural beliefs on me and other non-believers, such as morality laws regarding sexuality and pushing Creationism into Public Schools. I am especially sensitive to any demonization of minorities, including gays and lesbians.

    Have a good night, everyone.

  13. Abby says:

    To Joshua: “if God came down today and demolished the entire Islamic world in fiery rage, would you give him a free pass for the same reasons you give him a free OT pass when he carries out the destruction of the nations mentioned above? If the USA was to carry out a war with the entire Islamic world with the end goal of destroying every last one of them, would you be willing to say that your God not only supports this endeavor, but also provides supernatural assistance in making sure the deed is carried out?”

    I believe that is a — “Logical fallacy: Offering a poorly supported claim about what might have happened in the past or future, if (the hypothetical part) circumstances or conditions were different.  The fallacy also entails treating future hypothetical situations as if they are fact.”

    • Abby – the point is, there are religious folks out there today who do believe they are waging war for god (and many of them probably even think god is communicating with them directly as you think god did in the OT) and I am sure you view them as twisted and misguided. But for some reason, you are all able to perform mental gymnastics to justify genocide when it comes to wars that were waged by the Christian god simply because it was pre-Jesus.

      It is purely a hypothetical thought experiment to gauge how much war and genocide y’all are willing to accept if you truly believed that your God was behind it. From what I can tell, most here are totally ok with whatever it is that God decides to do.

      As Bob Dylan said – “You don’t count the dead, when God’s on your side.”

  14. Gary says:

    Josh said: ” Faith in its very nature is a belief in something that cannot be proven. For those that reject such beliefs, faith seems like stupidity or ignorance when in reality it is simply choosing to believe in something supernatural…something that we as humans simply cannot explain.”

    AMEN!!!

    If only all Christians would stick to basing their supernatural beliefs on faith alone, we would not need to have these contentious (though fascinating) debates. It is when Christians say, “We have evidence that supernatural beliefs are the inerrant truth and foundation of everything that exists in the world” do we non-Christians get ticked off.

    It is one or the other, dear Christian friends. Your supernatural beliefs are either based on faith, which is not examinable by scientific and rational means, or you do have EVIDENCE, that we can examine, test, and evaluate with scientific and logical means.

    But the debate with a conservative Christian usually goes like this:

    Me: There is no evidence for your supernatural claim that a first century dead man rose from the dead.

    Christian: Yes there is. There were eyewitnesses; the apostles would not have died for a lie; the Gospels were written by the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all disciples or close associates of disciples or apostles; the apostle Paul saw a resurrected Jesus and later identified him to Peter and James in Jerusalem.

    Me: No. None of that is true. All your statements of fact are not fact, but far-fetched assumptions and second century hearsay. Here, I can disprove everyone of the points you just mentioned.

    Christian: Well, our salvation is not based on evidence it is based on faith.

    Me: What??? You started this conversation saying that there IS evidence to support your supernatural claims, now that I have shown you that is a false assumption, you resort to claims of faith…a belief that cannot be examined.

    • Gary says:

      All that to say, if Christians want to believe in invisible, supernatural ghosts and goblins…by faith…not trying to impose it on the rest of us as “inerrant fact”…all power to you. Everyone should have the right to believe in as many ghosts as they choose.

      It is when Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus/etc try to impose these faith-based beliefs onto non-believers in the form of laws, that we find this very insulting and as an act of aggression against us…and we fight back.

      That is why I and my group monitor the websites of far right conservative religious groups. We want to make sure that these religious people know how strongly we feel about having our freedoms and liberties taken from us based only on your superstitions, derived from ancient, middle-eastern holy books.

  15. Jeff K says:

    Wow. We have two extremes here. You either have one side that says earth is 6,000 years old, which is outrageous because we have multiple ways to date objects. Or you have those like Gary that think that we came from nothing, big bang. Also outrageous.

    • Ha…am I the moderator? If so, no killing of microphones. I think some have just grown weary and are thinking of bedtimes and day jobs.

      Gary, I have a couple of thoughts before I duck out of the conversation completely too. I don’t want anyone to be “forced” to believe anything, which isn’t sincere belief anyways. And, truth be told, I probably dislike militant Christianity as much or more than you do. So, I appreciate what you’ve added to the conversation and am unfortunately not going to be able to respond to everyone’s comments about everything. So, just some general thoughts to you….

      Is comparing Christianity to Islam really apples to apples? Consider this: There are MANY Islamic countries on the planet where a Christian’s life is in jeopardy if the Christian expresses his/her faith. There are currently zero countries on the planet that are predominantly Christian where a Muslim faces any real threat if he/she expresses her faith. Does that tell you something about the nature of these two beliefs? Furthermore, you could say, “Well, but Christianity has killed people in the past?” The Spanish Inquisitions, the worst of such atrocities, killed almost 2000 people over the span of several hundred years. I’ll own that and apologize for that. That’s fair. But, if you’re going to promote atheism, you also have to own the deaths that were committed in the name of “no God.” The twentieth century was civilization’s grand experiment in “no God” – Communism, Nazism, etc. Look at the death’s done under Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al. It was infinitely bloodier than anything ever done in the history of the Inquisition or the Crusades or the Salem Witch Trials. Objectively, which belief system has shed more blood?

      You also mentioned that 500+ first century eyewitness testimonies were not credible. Why not??? Why should we trust anything from history if we can’t trust that many eyewitnesses? Or, can you give me a good reason why, when there were a couple dozen “messianic” claims in 1st century Palestine, that the only one you’re probably aware of was Jesus of Nazareth? How on earth did a movement like Christianity get off the ground? It was oppressed, poor, and ostracized from day one. There was no financial backing, no army, no one of fame. And yet, here we are? How on earth does a Jewish carpenter take some fisherman from Capernaum and convince billions of people that he’s God? Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? Your pick? He’s either the worst person who ever lived – good luck with that, OR, a madman – pretty self-aware and coherent for that, OR, he is who he said he was and convinced 1st century Jews to believe something they would have been less inclined to believe than anyone else on the planet – that God had taken human form. A belief they would die for. How does one explain this historical phenomenon, but do so with only cold evidence….no faith assertions of your own?

      • Gary says:

        You make some very interesting points, Pastor, I would like to respond in parts.

        First, let me say that in my experience the majority of Christians are very kind, generous people. As a physician, most of my patients are Christian and they are mostly wonderful people who follow the wonderful and admirable humanistic and pacifist teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, a great man whom I greatly admire.

        But I also have a lot of wonderful patients who are Muslim Jewish, Buddhists, Hindu, etc., and atheists. I see no real difference in “niceness” between Christians and these other peoples. I believe that trying to be “nice” is something that is innate in all human beings.

        Fundamentalist Christians are a different story. They are the only ones who will come to my office and insist on trying to proselytize me by telling me their belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; that he is the only way to eternal salvation; that without believing in him I am going to suffer eternal punishment, and then try to corner me to find out if I too am a true Christian.

        There are two topics I do not discuss with my patients: Politics and Religion. But even after I tell these fundamentalist Christians my policy on these two topics, they will continue to push their agenda. I have never had an orthodox Jew or a fundamentalist Muslim or Hindu try to do that.

        You are correct in that It is true that Christianity poses less of a physical threat to non-believers than does Islam…at this point in history. Although the gays and lesbians of Uganda, now living under imposed evangelical/fundamentalist Christian “Sharia Law” might disagree.

        However, for most of the last two millennia, it was the reverse. Islamic governments were far more tolerant of their Christian minorities than Christian governments were of their Muslim minorities. During the Crusades, Christians slaughtered so many Muslims, Jews, (and Eastern Orthodox) that stories are told of the stench of the entire area of Palestine due to the thousands upon thousands of bloated, decaying corpses left in the wake of the Crusaders.

        Fundamentalist Islam is simply 300-400 years more regressed than Christianity, that’s all. They are slightly behind in abandoning the more brutal, literal teachings present in their ancient holy book. Both the Christian holy book and the Muslim holy book condone the slaughter of entire towns and nations, including children, IF Yahweh or Allah, respectively, orders it.

        The brutality of Christianity began the moment that Constantine gave the (catholic/orthodox) Christians preferred status in Roman society, and it has continued for most of the last 2,000 years. Culture after culture has been put to the sword for not bending the knee to the followers of Jesus. Charlemagne executed thousands in Germany and France for not converting; similar events happened in Scandinavia when their kings converted; Irish Catholics were slaughtered by the thousands by triumphant Protestants; one third of the population of Germany was wiped out in the Thirty Years War, both sides declaring it the will of God (Jesus). The native populations of the Americas were decimated by European Christians who believed that God himself had given the New World to white, Christian, Europeans and that the natives had two choices: convert and become servants/slaves or resist and be slaughtered…all with the blessing of God (I can give you quotes stating this thinking by the Spanish Crown, Catholic priests, and Protestant ministers, such as Cotton Mather).

        As far as “atheist” atrocities, I challenge you to find an atheistic ruler who killed in the name of atheism, for the furtherance of atheism, under the cover of the blessing of Almighty Atheism. Evil comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and religious/non-religious perspectives.

        I think you will find that both atheists and Christians have at times in history behaved deplorably. I believe this demonstrates that human beings, under certain circumstances, can descend into the most animalistic of depravities, but it certainly doesn’t show that one belief system is any better than another.

        Atheism is simply the denial of the existence of a God or gods. It is not a belief IN something.

        Being good, compassionate humanists is what we should all strive to be, regardless of whether we believe in gods or don’t believe in gods. I am not on a campaign for Atheism. I am on a campaign to break down superstitions that tell us we are superior to others simply for what we believe and for the rituals that we observe, and to replace those beliefs with the desire to treat our fellow human beings with dignity and respect regardless of their philosophical or spiritual/lack of spiritual beliefs.

      • Gary says:

        Pastor Hein said: “You also mentioned that 500+ first century eyewitness testimonies were not credible. Why not???”

        Would you agree that it is only fair that we use the same standard of credibility of an assertion of historical fact for Christianity’s supernatural claims as for the supernatural claims of other religions? So let’s select a supernatural claim of another religion, and use the exact evidence that Christianity claims for its assertion that its leader, Jesus of Nazareth, walked out of his grave with a transformed (supernatural) body, three days after being publically executed and really and truly dead for three days.

        Supernatural assertion: Mohammad flew to Jerusalem on the back of a winged-horse.

        Evidence:

        1. Four books, written 30-70 years after the alleged event state that this event occurred, although the details surrounding the event seem to contradict each other in the four books, and the supernatural elements seems to become more and more embellished chronologically, as we go from the earliest written book to the fourth.

        2. These four books are not signed. They are anonymous works of literature. We are not told the literary purpose of these four books by the authors themselves. They could be books recording an historical fact; they could be historical fiction written for entertainment purposes.

        3. The four books are not written in the language of Mohammad or in the language of the majority of the population where this event was alleged to have occurred.

        4. Several years after this alleged event and after the death of Mohammad, a former enemy of the teachings of Mohammad, starts attending meeting houses for this new religion, stating that he recently had a vision on the road to Damascus, in which he saw a bright light, and heard a voice stating that it was Mohammad, and that Mohammad was calling him to be the greatest apostle ever for the new religion.

        5. This man, let’s call him, Paul, goes on to state that no man has taught him the teachings of Mohammad; Mohammad has revealed all the teachings of this new Faith internally to Paul. Even though Mohammad already had eleven apostles, to whom Allah had promised the Keys of Power, Paul states that it is he who Allah has chosen to reveal much of the doctrine of the new Faith.

        6. However, Paul never once describes what Mohammad looked like in his “vision” to him. And Paul rarely ever speaks of the events of Mohammad’s life. And, only ONCE does Paul record a parable or teaching of Mohammads. Paul never mentions Mohammad’s parents name. It is if…Paul knows little to none of the historical Mohammad, but has invented a new Mohammad with completely new teachings.

        7. The overwhelming majority of the events recorded in the four, anonymous books mentioned above, supposedly written by eyewitnesses to the winged-horse riding event—are never mentioned in Paul’s writing. It is as if Paul knows nothing of these events, except for one event involving eating bread and drinking wine.

        8. Paul gives a list of witnesses to this winged-horse riding event, but the list seems to be in the form of a Creed. Strangely, this list of eyewitnesses is out of order with the list in the four anonymous books. It almost reads as if Paul is simply repeating a Creed, not giving a list that he personally knows witnessed the flying winged horse event. Paul says that 500 persons saw the winged horse, and that many are still alive at the time of his writing, but his letter with this list is NOT written to the people living in the area of the alleged supernatural event but in a far off land more than 1,500 miles by boat. Who is going to make the boat trip to verify if Paul was merely regurgitating a creed, or actually giving a list of real people.

        (to be continued)

      • Gary says:

        Paul states that he met with Pedras, Mohammad’s chief disciple, and with Jamil, Mohammand’s brother for 14 days, but does not tell us if the three compared the appearance of the “Mohammad” on the Damascus Road with the appearance of the Mohammad known by Pedras and Jamil.

        However, we have no statements by Pedras or Jamil that they believe that Paul actually saw Mohammad.

        Legend states that all the original eleven disciples of Mohammad were martyred for their refusal to deny witnessing the flying winged horse, but we have zero documentation of this assertion. We have documentation that Jamil, Mohammad’s brother, was executed, but for what? Was he given the opportunity to live if he would only deny witnessing the winged horse back riding, or was he killed simply because he was a leader of a new, troublesome, religious sect?

      • Gary says:

        And now we get back to those four anonymous books. Who really wrote them and for what purpose. Today, Islam tells us that they were written by two eyewitnesses of the winged horse incident and two close associates of witnesses to this supernatural event. But what evidence do we have for these claims?

        1. We have ZERO documentation of ANYONE for 150 years after the alleged event claiming that these four books were written by their currently assigned authors. Zero.

        We have one statement, written one hundred years after the alleged event, in which a known mystic, Papiayusef states that someone told him that there was a book floating around the known world, written by John Markus, the close associate of Pedras, Mohammad’s chief disciple. However, Papiayusef does not identify this piece of literature. Then fifty years later, now 180 years after the alleged event, a powerful, heretic-attacking, mullah living in Afghanistan, names the authors of the four anonymous books as Iny, Meany, Miney, and Moe…and every follower of this new religion accepts the authorship of these books without asking for any other evidence.

      • Gary says:

        Now, in all honesty, Pastor Hein, if Islam really did present this evidence for the prophet’s journey to Jerusalem on a winged horse, would you believe it? How would you describe the quality of the evidence for this alleged supernatural event?

        So if you do not believe the evidence for this (hypothetical) Muslim supernatural assertion, why do you believe that same weak evidence for your Christian supernatural claim?

      • Yes, Pastor Hein – one needs only to examine the other religions, some of which we can literally watch as they are born, grow, have schisms, etc. Scientology and Mormonism are some of the most obvious examples. With both of those religions there are “eye witnesses”, “evidence”, miracles, and a bunch of people who accept these stories as true. They believe they have evidence and eye witness accounts, in spite of modern communication and our accessibility to information!

        Surely the same human tendencies that result in people becoming “believers” in these religions were present and even exacerbated among ancient, uneducated, illiterate humans.

  16. Gary says:

    In response to Clay vessel above:

    The reason that Christianity is so widespread is for two reasons:

    1. Emperor Constantine’s mother had converted to Christianity. Sons tend to mimic Mommy when it comes to religion.

    2. Christianity was the religion of the great European empires that colonized the world beginning in the 1500’s.

    Prior to the 1500’s, Christianity had been in decline for almost 1,000 years. The cradle of Christianity—Palestine, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and North Africa were conquered by the Muslims. Christianity quickly withered and mostly died in these areas of Islamic conquest. The majority of the Christian population converted to Islam not under the threat of execution, but under the threat of higher taxes. Christians converted in droves and over just a few generations, the great centers of Christianity became centers of Islamic culture and learning. The Muslims threatened pagans with the sword if they did not convert, but allowed Jews and Christians to continue to practice their religions IF they were willing to pay a tax. Most Jews paid the tax. Most Christians converted.

    There was no great blood bath of Christians during the Islamic invasion and conquest of the Christian heartland, unlike the blood bath that occurred when European Christians tried to reconquer this area in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Mormonism had grown from six members in 1830 to almost 15,000,000 today. The grow of Mormonism far outpaces that of early Christianity.

    The longevity and popularity of a superstition are not evidence for its validity.

    • Again, you are missing the point. I’m not talking about a popularity contest or one for the oldest religion. If Christianity were merely another religion based on so little with no truth or divine power, it would not have survived the turmoil of human history and had the impact on the world that it has. “Christianity was the religion of the great European empires.” Yep. You said it. Ponder that for a bit.

      I think we have reached a point where we are fruitlessly talking past each other. Troll on.

  17. In the spirit of intellectual honesty, I think everyone who has participated in this discussion should answer the following question:

    What evidence could convince you that your position on evolution/age of the Earth is wrong?

    Here are a few of my most obvious answers:
    -If any mammal was found in the pre-Cambrian rock layers (or if all types of fossils were completely mixed up throughout the rock layers around the world – which is what we would expect if a Noachian flood actually happened).
    -If the identical rock layers found around the world gave different ages when tested with radiometric dating.
    -A general lack of genetic variation in species.
    -If there was no correlation in shared genes between our current species, ancestral fossils, and modern evolutionary cousins
    -If it was shown that mutations are not passed down through the generations or that mutations do not result in phenotypic traits that drive natural selection.

    So, everyone, what evidence could falsify your positions?

    • Gary says:

      Four, good, verifiable, eyewitness testimonies that would convince a neutral jury that Jesus of Nazareth walked out of his grave after being truly dead for three days; ate a broiled fish lunch with his friends; let them poke their fingers in the holes in his hands, feet, and side; walked around Jerusalem and Galilee for forty days without creating mass hysteria that the most famous messiah claimant of all time had actually kept his promise by rising from the dead; and then was witnessed by at least eleven men to have levitated into the clouds to never be seen again.

      Give me that evidence and I will believe in a six thousand year old earth, a literal six day Creation, a world-wide Flood, an ark that could contain 10,000,000 species of animals. I would believe it all!

      But without good, solid evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, it is all silly superstitious, uneducated nonsense.

  18. Gary says:

    Looks like everyone is done with this conversation.

    Best wishes to all people of good will—Christian and non-Christian—religious and non-religious. Jesus of Nazareth was a great man who taught many wonderful principles: how to love and show compassion to our fellow man; how to resist hate and violence with non-violence.

    Let us ALL honor his birth.

    Merry Christmas!

    Gary

    • I’m curious, how do you know anything at all about Jesus of Nazareth or what He taught? You spent a lot of time above showing why you think the ancient holy book (the Bible) and particularly the four gospels that tell of the life and teachings of Jesus are useless and untrustworthy. Seems like maybe you are picking and choosing what you will believe from that holy book. It’s either true or it isn’t.

      • Gary says:

        You are approaching Jesus and the Christian holy book, the Bible, with an all true or all false view.

        That is a black and white world view. I believe that much in life is grey.

        The Bible and the stories of Jesus are part history, part historical fiction, and part fabrication. The job of a good historian is to be able to do the research to know the difference.

        Even if Jesus of Nazareth did not preach the Sermon on the Mount, they are great teachings and should be honored as such, regardless of the source. I choose to credit them to Jesus…but my world won’t collapse if we find out that someone else said these great things.

    • Gary says:

      Who wrote the book we now call, “The Gospel According to John”?

      Does the author of this anonymous book state that Jesus of Nazareth was actually Yahweh the Creator or just THE Son of Yahweh, the Creator?

      Why don’t the authors of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use this kind of language about Jesus? In the first book written, Mark, Jesus is the Son of Man…and by the fourth book, written 20-40 years later, Jesus is the Son of God, present at Creation!

      Sure looks like a developing concept, not one held by the first Christians.

  19. Friends – Since many of my most consequential questions have gone unanswered, I am bowing out with this comment, which I think will serve as an illustration for any inquisitive minds that happen to stumble upon this blog in their search for truth and answers. It is an illustration of how unsatisfactory the explanations of the creationist worldview are.

    Pastor Hein stated in his original comment, “there is nothing Scripturally incompatible with the universe looking 13.8 billion years old or our planet appearing 4.5 billions years old. Since the Bible clearly teaches the idea of God creating a world with the “Appearance of Age” (“seed-bearing plants,” not seeds in Gen. 1:11-12; chickens, not eggs in Gen. 1:20-25; sexually mature humans, not embryos in Gen. 1:26-28) we would expect an older appearance.”

    He then goes on to state that, “based on the Bible, not only does 13.8 billion years for the universe not work, but the earth “looking” 6,000-10,000 years old doesn’t work either.”

    With that statement he has removed, in his mind, any ability for science to investigate his truth claim. How convenient. If science investigates, no matter what it finds, Pastor Hein can say, “Oh, the universe and earth look old? Well that’s what we would expect. God created seed bearing plants and Adam had a belly button!” But what’s more, he has removed any personal obligation to demonstrate scientifically that the earth and universe are younger.

    It is not worth it to ask, “why would God make the earth and universe appear old? Is he trying to trick us?” For if we ask that, it appears as if we are trying to know the mind and motives of god, and WELS believers and others like them don’t like that. They write off any valid point that might be being made the moment they decide a human is questioning god’s motives. Fair enough.

    I will offer a more nuanced critique of this argument that the bible clearly states god created the earth with the appearance of age.

    Here is an elegant scientific story to consider.

    Consider these facts.

    1. Independent realms of science have discovered that the earth’s rotation has been slowing down over the millennia, due to the friction of the oceans’ tides. The rate at which is slows is known. The logical implication of this is that a year would have had more days in the past (that is – the earth would have rotated completely on its axis more times per revolution around the sun at a steadily increasing rate the further we go back in deep geologic time).

    2. There are ancient corral fossils that have been discovered in ancient rock layers in the ocean. Corral produces both daily and yearly growth rings (sort of like a tree, only with daily rings too). The logical implication of this is that for every yearly growth ring, there are growth rings that account for every day of that year. If the earth’s rotation has been slowing over time, the logical implication is that the ancient corral would have had more daily growth rings per yearly growth ring because there would have been more days in a year.

    3. Radiometric dating is based on the laws of physics and is able to date rocks based on the ratio of parent and daughter elements present in the rock. It is a well established science. We can use this method of dating to date the rocks the corral are found in.

    Some of you may see where this is going.

    We can look at the corral fossils and count their daily growth rings in a years time period. According to the rings on this corral, there were around 400 days in a year. That means that the day should have been about 21.9 hours long. We can use the known rate of tidal friction to determine how long ago the days would have been this 21.9 hours long. We come up with around 400 million years ago. We can then use radiometric dating to date these rocks and see if our 400 million year estimate lines up, and IT DOES.

    So at this point, we can do one of two things:

    1. We can dismiss these findings and agree with Pastor Hein that we should obviously expect to see things like this in nature because the bible CLEARLY states that creation has the appearance of age because it mentions seed bearing plants…OR

    2. We can think about it a little bit more. Let’s do that.

    If god created the earth with the type of appearance of age that I outlined above, we would have to be willing to say that God did the following:

    -God created rocks containing elements that, based on the created laws of physics, appear to have been undergoing radioactive decay for millions and billions of years.
    -God created tidal friction which slows the Earth’s rotation down.
    -God created fossils that sit within the rocks that date as hundreds of millions of years old and ALSO created these fossils with daily and annual growth rings that would reflect the fact that he created tidal friction and millions of years in the making radioactive decay.

    I could ask, “why would god do this? Is he trying really hard to trick us?” Oops, I’m trying to know the motives of god. My bad.

    But I will ask what I think is a better question. The evidence presented above is the logical implication of the fact that the three phenomena I list exist.

    What this means is that God must have created the fossils of DEAD life forms when he created his perfect world. A world with NO DEATH. Was he planning from the beginning for death to be a part of his creation and just wanted to get ahead of the game by creating some dead lifeforms that have the appearance of age? Did he insert the fossils in there after the Fall? Does the fact that the bible mentions seed bearing plants being a part of creation really warrant extending that to such a complex and multifaceted demonstration of how evidence demonstrates that the earth is millions and billions of years old? And most importantly, I will repeat: Where does the bible indicate that God creating the earth with the appearance of age involved him creating the appearance of death when death was NOT EVEN A THING YET?

    Merry Christmas.

      • Friends – notice that Clayvessel offers only a negative argument. I offered positive evidence above to support my conclusion that the world is millions and billions of years old, and he did not bother to refute the elegant science that I laid out. Instead he posted an article that does nothing but attempt to shed doubt on literally the entire field of geology.

        I don’t care what “glasses” we are looking at the world through, Clayvessel – those fossils indicate the earth had more days in a year at the time of their fossilization. I want you to respond directly to the fact that corral fossils were found that have daily and yearly growth rings indicating a time when the earth had 400 days.

        I want you to respond directly to the fact that three independent scientific facts happen to all support each other and verify each other to date these fossils to 400 million years.

        Is the fact that the earth’s slowing rotation due to tidal friction, the number of days in year indicated by the fossils, and the radiometric dating that lines up perfectly when we do the math all pure chance?

        That is essentially what you are saying. Respond directly to this evidence.

        If you don’t see the significance in what I have outlined, or don’t understand what I have said, let me know.

      • I might give thought to some of your scientific arguments if:
        1. They withstood the tests of time.
        2. They were reasonable.
        3. You could actually prove them.

        Besides studying science, I am also a student of history. We learn a lot by studying history, and one thing I noticed is that many scientific concepts have changed. Man is always learning new things, and often learns that what he had once thought to be “the truth” isn’t. New knowledge replaces old. So, in the years to come, what new knowledge will we gain that just might shoot holes in what scientists believe in today? Science does not stand the test of time.

        Reasonable? Is it reasonable to believe that BY CHANCE elements came out of nowhere and began to arrainge themselves is certain patterns that produced living organisms that changed into higher levels until we ended up with the supreme intellectual being, today’s man. And if the entire universe evolved to begin with, then it must still be evolving. Today’s man is nothing more than tomorrow’s lower life form. And obviously, lower life forms don’t know diddily-squat about anything.

        Prove it. Again I say, “Prove it”. So often the ‘proof’ offered by science is nothing more than human subjectoring. How do you know the rings on the fossels equal individual days and years of the ancient animals existance? How do you know that your radioactive dating system is accurate? Didn’t a bunch of evolving life-forms figure it? How did the whooly mammoth, placidly eating buttercups in Russia, manage to stand still long enough (with buttercups stuck in its teeth) to be totally encased in ice and preserved for modern man? And what about the bee in the amber? What bee is going to sit still long enough for that little bit of scientific ‘drip, drip, drip little melted amber’ to take place? Where are the more recent fossels? Are they still being made? How do you know what the historic time periods, or ‘ages’ really are? No one was there to observe the events. How can you prove your ideas with experimentation?

        Sorry, but like I said before: it is much easier to believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God who can create anything He wants however He wants whenever He wants, than to believe in man’s limited-intellence conjecture of chance happenings.

      • Terri – We know the growth rings do that because there are still species alive today that do the same thing!

        We know radiometric dating is accurate because it is based on the unchangeable laws of physics. Imagine all the special pleading and tinkering of the laws of physics you must be doing in your head to claim that the laws of physics may have been different at one time. And that STILL doesn’t account for the fact that these three lines of evidence all converged onto one conclusion.

        You are offering no positive evidence, but merely casting doubt on well established scientific principles simply so you can keep believing what you want.

        If you have questions about the fossil you mention, research it! You are welcome to send me the whooly mammoth fossil in question. As for the bee, if one drip were to drip on it’s wings, it could easily become stuck and continue to be dripped on. Is that so hard for you to imagine?

        And yes, there are recent fossils, and yes, fossils are still being made. Although the conditions for fossilization are rare and always have been.

        We know what the historic time periods are because we can look at all the rock layers which appear in the same order all over the world. All over the world, each rock layer contains the same type of fossils. From the deepest to the most recent we can see the fossils evolve from simplicity to complexity. We can then use radiometric dating, based on the seemingly unchangeable laws of physics, to date the rocks and indeed we do find that the deepest are oldest, and the ones on top the newest. We can use all of this information to determine names for the various time periods of geologic and biological history.

        We can go on to further prove this by taking core samples from the bottom of the ocean and testing the age of rocks produced by volcanic upwelling at the Mid-Continent Rift. We can test its age going in both directions – towards North America and towards Africa. We can see that the dates the rocks give are a mirror image of one another. Increasing in age the further we get from the mid-continental Rift. We can also look at metallic elements in these rocks that change their orientation depending on where the earth’s magnetic field is located. Since the polarization of the Earth’s magnetic field is known to switch itself consistently throughout geologic history at an average of every 450,000 years, we can look and see if these metallic elements verify that this is happening. And indeed they do.

        And yes – scientific concepts are refined over time, and sometimes overturned. But if you are willing to play that game with evolution and age of the earth, you must also admit that you do not accept atomic theory, heliocentricity, the laws of physics, and nearly every other scientific principle that is practically equivalent to a fact because they might be wrong! You can’t have it both ways.

        I agree it is easier to believe what you do – easier because you don’t have to do research, think critically, or problem solve. You can just conjure up a supernatural explanation whenever it is convenient. Easy indeed.

      • And Joshua, life sure is grand when I don’t have to rely on research, or critial thinking, or problem solving. Cuz’ ya know, my brain is quite limited in the intellectual department. I mean, compared to a supernatural being who is smart enough to create a world anyway He wants, I am just a … nothing.

        Good grief. Some of our nation’s universities of higher learning were showing their intellectual limitations when they said I had a 4.0 GPA! Ha!!! Just proves to me how small we actually are.

      • Joshua, “you don’t care what glasses we are looking through” and yet the lens you use to look at and interpret scientific evidence makes all the difference in the final understanding. There is a difference between observational science and historical science. We can all observe the same things in science but will come to different conclusions based on our pre-established ideas and beliefs. You will never accept the conclusions of creation scientists looking at the same evidences of observational science because you are only looking for answers that don’t include a creator. I will never accept an evolutionary conclusion on observational science because it rejects the hand of an Intelligent Designer. We can argue forever about the same things and it will serve no purpose.

        You believe fossils are formed by a long process when it fact scientific evidence increasingly shows that they form very quickly. I live in an area rich in fossils. Not far from here we can see a whole fossilized tree. How is it that it fossilized and did not decay? Because it was formed quickly during a catastrophic flood.

        The reason I posted a link to Answers in Genesis is because there are numerous in-depth articles there on all these topics- age of the earth, the fossil record, radiometric dating (and the long list of other dating methods)- and many more that answer your questions. It is not that I am ignoring your questions, it is that it is useless to argue, especially if you won’t even see that your pre-established, godless view already directs your understanding. You and Gary want to show that we Christians are the ones who cannot be changed with evidence and yet you atheists do exactly the same.

        It is Christmas and the Messiah is coming. We have some serious celebrating to do and lots of preparations to make for it. Who has time to waste with hardened atheists who love to mock and disparage what they don’t understand. Neither of you understand the nature of faith and arrogantly think you can use your human reason to explain everything away. You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.
        18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. [19] For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. [20] Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? [21] For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. … 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 KJVS

        May you come to the knowledge of The Truth. “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life” -Jesus Christ

        Merry CHRISTmas!

    • Gary says:

      Hi Joshua,

      I commend you for your efforts to try to convince orthodox/fundamentalist Christians of the many errors in their inerrant holy book, but no matter how brilliant your scientific evidence, these people will ignore it for one simple reason: If Jesus rose from the dead, then ANYTHING is possible. A resurrected dead man is the ultimate supernatural act.

      “Fossil layers, sediment layers, genetic mutations, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. Who cares! If Jesus rose from the dead, he is capable of doing anything, including making the sediment and fossil layers APPEAR to support a billion year old earth and Darwinian Evolution, just to throw off scientific know-it-alls like you who refuse to bend the knee and worship him by faith alone.”

      I really think you are playing nice, Joshua. If you want to convince these (mostly) good people of their error, you must go for the jugular: Jesus is dead. There is ZERO evidence that he walked out of his grave. Without the resurrection, their entire belief system collapses into foolish superstitions.

      • You are somewhat right, Gary. However, as I stated, I grew up in this synod. In fact, I’m on my way right now to attend one of their Christmas Eve church services to make my mother happy! In fact, I might even see Pastor Hein’s dad!

        In all my WELS schooling, I was never impressed by the historical “evidence” of Jesus rising from the dead and all of the other grand claims of the bible. I was also never impressed with the evidence for evolution, because I was never presented it in a valid and honest way (go figure). Once I was presented with the nuanced workings of the scientific method, and the evidence, experiments, verifications, etc of evolution and an old earth, it became that much easier for me to let go of the Christian belief I was raised in which was already hanging by a shred due to how unsubstantiated the historical truth claims were. My hope in having dialogue like this is for it to serve as a demonstration to any younger folks out there who are also not fully buying it, but have not been presented with something different that is impressive enough to give up their parent’s beliefs.

        I think along those lines, anyone on the fence who reads this blog post will easily see who is in denial – blinded by their blind faith, and who is weighing the evidence in a reasonable, level headed way.

        I am also just curious to know what mental gymnastics they are doing to validate God creating ancient remnants of death in a world that had no death at the time.

        For any young, inquisitive minds who stumble upon this blog, I leave you with this:

        Notice that many of my most important questions were not responded to by the creationists, but simply glossed over, ignored, or given a thumbs down. Take from that what you wish.

      • Gary, how do you know that Jesus is dead? How do you know that He did not rise from the grave? How do you know that more than 500 eye witnesses are lying when they staked their lives on seeing Him afterwards?

        Whom should I believe? Some guy who has lived a short span of life 2000 years after the event and thinks he knows, or the 500 eye-witness who were there at the time to observe?

        I’m sorry, but you don’t have what it would take to convince me.

    • Gary says:

      Terri:

      Do you have the names and any other identifying information for these 500 witnesses?

      If I were a Muslim, and I told you that a prominent follower of Mohammad wrote in our ancient, middle-eastern holy book, approximately 1400 years ago, that 500 people saw the prophet Mohammad fly to Jerusalem on a winged horse, would you accept that “evidence” at face value or would you demand more concrete evidence than simply taking one man’s word for it?

      • Gary says:

        So what evidence do we have that “500” people saw the physically, resurrected, walking/talking Jesus?

        Answer: ONE statement by Paul of Tarsus in I Corinthians.

        No other author of the New Testament makes this claim, not even the alleged eyewitnesses themselves—the alleged authors of “Matthew” and “Luke”… and maybe even “Mark” (although we are never told that John Mark witnessed the resurrection appearances himself).

        So how did Paul know that 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus all at the same time and place? How did Paul know that most of them were still alive? Had Paul met them? Had other apostles given Paul their names and other identifying information?

        Paul specifically says in I Corinthians chapter 15 that he received this information from others? Who are these “others”? If Peter, John, James and other alleged authors of New Testament books knew that 500 people, all at the same time, and in the same place, saw the equivalent of Mohammad riding in the sky on a winged horse, why don’t they tell us this fantastic fact in THEIR books???

        But, no one does…only Paul…who heard it second hand…from anonymous sources.

        Most orthodox Christian theologians (including orthodox Lutherans) believe that this list of witnesses in First Corinthians chapter 15 is an ancient Creed, not a random statement by Paul. So if this is so, maybe Paul is simply regurgitating, metaphorically speaking, a list of “witnesses” that he had heard repeated over and over, as we today hear the Apostles or Nicene Creed repeated, every time he had attended a Christian worship service.

        Who originally formed this Creed? If it was formed by the original apostles, the same original apostles, who would later (allegedly) write the four Gospels, why would they form a Creed that is so blatantly different from what they would later write down in their own books??

        For instance, if Matthew, Mark, and John helped to form this ancient Christian Creed of Witnesses, why would they leave out the FIRST witnesses to the Resurrection—the women? If it was important to include these women in their own hand written eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection, as evidence that “we aren’t making this up, folks. Look, we are using women as eyewitnesses, and everyone knows that in first century Palestine, the testimony of women in court is worthless, so see, we must be telling the truth to include their testimony as the first eyewitnesses!”

        But no, no women are included in the Eyewitness List in First Corinthians.

        “Ok, true, but doesn’t matter,” say orthodox Christians. “The Creed wasn’t meant to be chronologically accurate (and you know this to be true based on what, Christians??). The Creed in First Corinthians just gives a list of the most prominent MEN to witness the Resurrection.”

        Ok. Let’s just look at the male witnesses, comparing I Corinthians with the accounts in the Gospels and the first chapter of Acts. Problem!! None of the “eyewitness” accounts state that Jesus first appeared to “Cephas”. None.

        Only but the most biased of Christians would see that this Creed was formulated by people who were NOT eyewitnesses…OR…the accounts in the Gospels and Acts are NOT by eyewitnesses because the discrepancies are massive.

        Bottom line: We have a statement by Paul, who does NOT claim to have been present at the Apparition to the Five Hundred, that someone told him, that some unidentified five hundred people saw the resurrected Jesus, at some unidentified time, at some unidentified location, under unidentified circumstances, 500 people, most of them still alive, saw a walking/talking dead man.

        This is NOT evidence, friends, this is simply assumption and hearsay. This is how legends are formed. Again, this is NOT evidence.

  20. Gary says:

    Here is the problem I run into with confessional Lutherans (my former, much beloved—and I mean that—Christian denomination):

    No matter how much evidence I give them, they will always fall back to this defense: One is not saved by evidence. Salvation in Jesus Christ does not occur by a sinner examining the evidence and making a decision to believe, as is falsely believed by the Arminian Evangelicals. Faith, and thus salvation, is a gift from God; he either gifts it to you or he doesn’t, and he only gifts it through and by exposure to his Holy Word. The sinner does not make a decision to believe due to evidence; God makes the decision to save based on Mercy and Grace. No amount of evidence is going to convince the sinner of the Truth of Jesus without the gift of faith.

    These Lutheran Christians therefore say this: “Since I believe, it is a sign that God has gifted me faith, and thus has gifted me salvation. I believe by the power of God, not by the power of evidence. I have faith simply because I have faith.”

    Now, there is no rational counter attack to that statement. It is an impenetrable defense.

    However, I point out to them that it is no different than me saying this: “I believe that an invisible silver tea set orbits the moon. I cannot give you any evidence to convince you of its existence, but I know as inerrant fact that it is there, circling the moon, day after day, year after year. It is true because I believe it to be true. And I believe it to be true because the God of the Silver Tea Set has given me faith to believe.”

    We are dealing, in both situations, folks, with nothing more than a superstition.

    • Nailed it, Gary. The hallmark of any good religion is an impenetrable defense of the faith. That is what allows them to propagate into the future. But at least we can be sure that the more their young ones find out, the more they will all come to realize that the emperor has no clothes.

      Merry Christmas!

    • I am not trying to prove what I believe through human reasoning. By the way Gary, you gave a very good description of Lutheran Confessional beliefs there. I could not have said it so well. What has my knickers in a knot is when Evolution believers insist that their views are proven Laws of Physics, Nature, or whatever. I see the Theory of Evolution as a theory…as in an unproven idea. Where you see ‘scientific proof’, I see man (who isn’t really as smart as we like to think) coming up with ideas to support what he sees. Nothing wrong with ideas. Just don’t claim that your ideas are Law. “We think/believe…” should preface each of your statements, just like all of mine concerning creation should begin with “I believe…”

      I can not prove the belief of Creation. I don’t intend to try. There is no reason for me to try. While I would be tickled pink to share God’s Gift of Grace with you if you were interested, I am not about to force my beliefs on anyone. I would like, however, to be receive the same curtesy from evolutionists.

      To me, evolution and creation are on the same level. Faith in God is required for one, faith in science is required for the other.

      • Terri – I have laid out elegant evidence for the age of the earth. There is loads of evidence just as impressive that supports my views. There is not scientific evidence that falsifies my views. That, my friend, is science. It does not “prove” things, it only supports ideas and falsifies them. We can have hundreds or thousands of pieces of evidence and experiments that support a theory, but it only takes one piece of evidence to falsify it. Falsify evolution for me. I’ve already told you how you could do it.

        You can have your blind faith and unscientific view of a 6,000 year old creation, but don’t pretend like evolution and creation are on the same level.

        Evolution predicts that we share genes with our closest relatives and came from an ape-like ancestor. It stands to reason that occasionally one of these relic genes might accidentally get turned back on. And indeed, humans have been born with tails, vertebrae and all. Can you explain that? Is that not a piece of evidence that supports my view of evolution?

        Evolution predicts that transitional land to water fossils with limbs that are not quite arm, not quite fin should exist at a certain time period of geologic history (in a certain rock layer that existed during the time that a land to water transition took place), and should be found in a certain environment (ancient shallow river beds). A great way to test that prediction would be to go looking in that specific rock layer in that specific environment and see if any transitional fossils are found. And when scientists have gone looking, they have found just that. Have you ever heard of the fossil Tiktaalik? It is a perfect transition between a land reptile and a marine fish. Does that not count as evidence, or “proof” in your mind?

        We are not trying to force beliefs on you, simply presenting you with evidence and asking you to respond directly to it in a coherent manner.

        Also, you never answered my questions about the origin of language.

      • Humans born with a tail? Genetic defect. Just like any genetic defect, or illness, limited intelligence, or death. All are the result of original sin in the world.

        Tiktaalik? Lets see… an animal with a genetic birth defect? A real live “before-the-Flood” creature that was not on the Ark, but was fossilized with all the others? A group of imaginative scientists who found what they wanted to find?

        I missed your questions on language, Joshua. So many points to address! But why ask. You already know my answer to the origin of languages!

        Re: your first paragraph on science. What happens when someone does find scientific evidence that falsifies the theory of evolution? It has happened before. Man is not the center of the universe, and man is not as smart as he thinks he is. Our knowledge is limited. If we are so smart, how come we haven’t found a cure for cancer, war, death…and how come we can’t build cement to last more than 20 years? Harod’s cement seaport in Caesaria is 2000 years old! It is because of man’s limitations that I can not believe everything he says. Tomorrow someone may prove it wrong. Then what? Only God and His Word is everlasting without change.

        It was not really appropriate for me to say evolution and creation were on the same plain – based on faith. It was very degrading to God for me to compare God’s work to man’s . Forgive me.

      • Gary says:

        I like your thinking, Terri. At least you are being reasonable.

        I challenge you to find any Science Academy journal that states that Darwinian Evolution is an “inerrant Law”. Unquestioned fact. Fact that can never be revised or replaced by new facts.

        You won’t find it, Terri. You won’t find it because such a statement has no place in Science.

        True Science deals with evidence and our theories about that evidence. The Theory of Evolution is simply and only our best explanation for the origin of life forms on earth. There are no “inerrant truths”. If tomorrow morning, a scientist finds evidence that Darwinian was “all wet”, scientists all over the world will jump at the chance to review this scientist’s new evidence to verify his research as solid or try to find errors in his methodology. Scientists are brutal. They love to challenge assertions of fact to them wrong.

        Some of Darwin’s early assertions were proven wrong and have been discarded.

        The difference between Science and Creationism is that one is based on very thoroughly and critically reviewed evidence and one is based on blind faith; faith in the statements of ancient men who wrote as theologians and poets, not as scientists; men who wrote their ancient, middle-eastern holy books without the massive scientific knowledge available to them that we have available to us today.

        Again, I would encourage you Terri, to go to the library, and read about the Theory of Evolution. Just as Christians were forced to accept in the sixteenth century that the sun does NOT revolve around the earth, Christians will have to accept the massive evidence that the animal and plant species we see today did evolve over billions of years by the process of natural selection.

        Evolution does not destroy the Christian religion. It simply destroys another simplistic, literalist interpretation of this ancient, holy book. The earth does not rest on a foundation; the sun does not revolve around the earth, the stars are not fixed to an invisible firmament; there was no world wide flood.

        Continue to be a follower of Jesus. Continue to believe in the humanistic teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but abandon the ancient, unfounded superstitions of Bronze Age, middle-eastern nomads.

      • Why thank you Gary! Its been a long time since someone called me ‘reasonable’!

        There is a slight hitch to your advice. To believe in God one must believe what God says. And God said that the Bible was his Word. So, if I treat the Word of God like a buffet dinner – picking and chosing what I want to believe – I am not believing in God. I am calling Him a liar when He says He created the world. If God lied about creation, maybe He is lying about salvation as well. Not a good premise for religious belief is it?

      • Terri – Your attempts to explain away the cross correlating evidence of evolution is becoming quite hilarious. But it will serve as a good example for others who read this as to how thick the wool is that you willfully pull over your eyes.

        Tell me, if all languages came from the Tower of Babel, why is learning Latin said to help with other languages?

        Are you prepared to also attack the entire field of linguistics?

  21. Gary says:

    Correction: My statement above should say “Matthew and John” were alleged eyewitnesses to the Resurrection, not “Matthew and Luke”.

    • Oooh, you must be digging in your Bible, Gary, to find all your information. Be very careful when you do that! Through the Word of God is how the Holy Spirit brings us to faith!!!

      • Gary says:

        I had that faith, Terri, up until June of this year. I believed in the inerrant Word of God with all my heart and soul. I was a devout, content, confessional Lutheran who believed the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and the Lutheran Confessions the correct (quia) explanation/statement of faith of that Holy, inerrant Word. I loved my orthodox Lutheran church, my pastor, and my fellow parishioners. I very much looked forward to raising my young children in the beautiful orthodox Lutheran tradition, including orthodox Lutheran Christian school education, of the Christian Faith.

        Then I discovered that there is no evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. None. It is a belief built entirely on assumptions and second century hearsay.

        And as Paul of Tarsus said, without the Resurrection our faith is in vain. To paraphrase: You may believe with all your heart and soul, by faith, that the Bible is true, but if Jesus is dead, your faith is in vain, and more than that your faith is foolishness.

        So even the Apostle Paul predicates the validity of the Christian faith on evidence, not on blind faith alone, but on evidence.

        But there is no evidence.

        That is why I no longer have faith. That is why I am no longer an orthodox Lutheran. That is why I am no longer a Christian.

      • *sigh* This must be a very sad Christmas for you Gary. A holiday without meaning. I was saddened to read of your recent fall from faith. I will keep you in my prayers.

        Doubt was the tool used by Satan in the Garden of Eden. He cast the first thread of doubt in Eve’s mind when he asked, “Did God really say, ‘if you eat this fruit you will die?'” It sounds like he successfully used that method on you. Read Hebrews 11 again. two important words used repeatedly…”By faith”

        Go back to that Bible verse where you paraphrased Paul. Read the whole chapter so you can see the context in which he made that statement. Check the original Greek documents so you don’t miss anything. There is a great big IF in that statement. “IF there was no resurrection of the dead…And IF Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:13-14 IF you were to keep reading, you will come to verse 20 were Paul states, “But Christ HAS indeed been raised from the dead,”

  22. Pastor Hein –

    You have a good site, and raise very interesting topics.

    Gary is here for one reason – to further his completely misguided cause to bring the lack f faith to all people. Now supposedly, he was off his atheism schtick ad trying to defend those who . . . well . . . you can read hi site.

    Yu dassn’t dare comment there, though, because he is of such a tender conscience that he cannot permit on his sire that which he abuses on everyone else’s site.

    My friend – a blessed ChristMass to you and yours . . .

    pb (Rev. J Baxter – Texas)

  23. gary says:

    Hi Terri,

    Actually, we’ve had a very nice Christmas so far. We celebrate Christmas Eve following the cultural traditions of my Latina wife (great food!) and we watched Christmas movies—Home Alone and The Grinch.

    Tomorrow, we will eat again and watch movies. Again, you don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas, just as you don’t have to be African-American to celebrate Martin Luther King Day or an Indian HIndu to celebrate the birthday of Ghandi. Jesus was a great, great man. We should all honor him.

    I do miss the religious aspect of Christmas. I always liked going to Christmas Eve services. I like the Christmas carols. But I will get over it.

    When I was a kid I was devastated to learn that Santa Claus does not exist. I loved believing in him. But once I knew that he was a superstition, no matter how much I missed believing in him…I could never believe again. Why? I knew he was not real.

    And the same is true of Jesus the Christ. It was a wonderful belief system…for me (Not for Jews, Muslims, gays and lesbians, etc.). I loved it! But now that I know it is not true, I can’t force myself to believe in him again. He isn’t real.

    Paul of Tarsus taught that without the physical resurrection of Jesus, our faith is in vain. I truly believe that Paul believed that Jesus had been resurrected. I do not believe that Paul was lying. But what did Paul say he saw that convinced him that Jesus had been resurrected? A nail pierced, 5 ft. 11 inch Jewish male body? No.

    Paul was convinced of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth because he saw lights and heard voices. That’s it.

    Read Acts chapter 26 yourself. Paul specifically states that he “saw” Jesus in a “heavenly vision”; and what does Paul say he saw in this heavenly vision: a bright light…that’s it.

    Is that really enough “evidence” for you to believe that a dead man, 2000 years ago, was reanimated after three days of decomposition, and that his reanimated body walked out of its grave to eat a broiled fish lunch with his fishing buddies, walk around the countryside for 40 days, and then levitate into space???

    Again, let’s substitute Muslim claims into this story: A couple of years after the prophet Mohammad died, a Muslim-persecuting Jew has a miraculous incident, while traveling on the highway from Jerusalem to Damascus, in which a bright light appears in front of him and a voice speaks to him, telling him that he is Mohammad. The voice tells the man that he will become the greatest missionary/prophet since Mohammad. The man proceeds to write some of the most important books in the Muslim faith.

    Would you believe this story based on this ONE man’s “heavenly vision”?

    I doubt it.

    So why do you immediately discount the Muslim supernatural “evidence” but accept as absolute truth the same “evidence” for the Christian supernatural tale?

    IF Jesus of Nazareth truly walked out of his grave in a resurrected body, Christianity does NOT need to provide one other piece of evidence to validate its veracity. But according to the greatest of the apostles, Paul, Christians MUST have proof of the resurrection. Paul believed he had the proof…he believed that he was a witness to the Christ…but all he admits he saw was a light and hearing voices.

    If you read one of Paul’s last epistles, you will read something very shocking that I will bet most Christians have never read: Paul laments that ALL churches in Asia Minor, including Ephesus, have rejected him and his teachings. Ephesus is where the apostle John ultimately settled. It is where John’s disciples remained after his death. And in the Book of Revelation, Jesus himself commends the churches of Asia Minor for rejecting what???

    Answer: False apostles!

    • You have a twisted sense of what God says in Scriptures, Gary. That happens when man tries to understand through his limited human reasoning. I can accept the Bible because the Holy Spirit has led me to believe,, and keeps me in the one true faith. My faith is strengthened whenever I read God’s Word. Again, the work of the Holy Spirit. That is how the disciples, the apostle Paul, and all believers ever since have come to faith. On his own, sinful man can only reject God.

      I am signing off of this discussion now. I will keep you in my prayers.

      • Gary says:

        I didn’t say it, Terri, Paul said it: No resurrection=invalid belief system

        You repeatedly cling to your holy book, and your perception that YOU correctly understand that book, but refuse to present evidence for the one historical event upon which your holy book’s validity stands or falls. Without the historicity of the resurrection, your intense faith and intense adoration of your holy book is no more value or meaning than the faith and adoration of the Muslim or Hindu of his religion’s supernatural assertions.

        But you (and most Christians I have come to discover) don’t want to discuss the evidence. So you are signing off to wrap yourself in the false but comforting assurance of your superstition….a superstition that has been used for almost 2,000 years to discriminate and abuse millions of your fellow human beings. Think about that, Terri. If the Resurrection never happened; if Jesus was a good, but very mistaken man; if your holy book is simply a collection of superstitions, not inerrant truths…would you still discriminate and support legislation against people whose only “fault” is to love someone of the same gender?

        Your belief system is not like believing in the Tooth Fairy. No one has been burned at the stake for not believing in the Tooth Fairy. That is why you should NOT evade looking at the evidence for your belief system. If the evidence is not there, it is your moral obligation as a good person, to abandon it.

  24. Gary says:

    Quote:

    Someone once asked what’s the difference between a Bible Prophet or Christian fundamentalist and a paranoid schizophrenic?

    Well, one hears voices in their head, has a heightened moral code, is judgmental yet can be very deceptive and manipulative, has delusions of being on a mission from God, sees things that no one else present sees, hears things that no one else hears, sees lights in his head, is the center of the universe and has special knowledge that must be kept secret until the right time and then can only be understood as explained by him. The other, of course, is a paranoid schizophrenic.

    • Gary says:

      Con’td:

      What if the behaviors recorded thousands of years ago that have been the basis for so much religious zealotry is simply better understood in the context of mental illness?

      We always say if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and swims like a duck, there is a good chance we may be dealing with a duck. When it comes to religion however we change our perceptions. If it walks like a narcissist, if it talks like a Para or schizophrenic, and if it has all the symptoms of temporal lobe epilepsy, it must be a man of God!

      What if some of the many heroes of faith, even some of the biggies, were simply mentally ill as we understand it today? Wow…what a thought! Makes you think doesn’t it?

      Gary: As a physician, I would bet my medical license that Saul/Paul of Tarsus was mentally ill. If he had really seen Jesus, why didn’t he describe his physical appearance. If he had really ascended to the “Third Heaven” where he “heard” things that no man may utter, why didn’t he at least describe what the place looked like and who he saw there?

      No. All Paul ever sees are “bright lights” and voices.

      Paul was delusional. Paul may well have been schizophrenic. If Paul were alive today we would be MEDICATING him…not treating his every word as an inerrant radio transmission, broadcast directly from the mouth of the Creator sitting on his throne in the far reaches of outer space.

  25. Matt says:

    http://www.247uiowa.com/wp-content/uploads/The%20Bible%20-%20Can%20You%20Trust%20It_.pdf

    Here’s a (more) brief version of an article on biblical accuracy that I have read before. Aside from being an interesting read, it was assembled by a medical doctor.

    As for the actual idea of this blog, i think my friend put it best when he said “My Christian faith doesn’t change how I perform scientific observation”. Different theories of origin have very little impact on the science that improves our lives in the 21st century. The only way the common man will ever believe that, however, is if young earth creationists are successful in these fields while publicizing their origin beliefs.

    • Joshua says:

      Matt – I think it may do you well to research modern cosmology. Because of the investigations and predictions of the Big Bang (which incorporate quantum mechanics, relativity, gravitational waves, etc), we have made huge advances in technologies like GPS, nuclear power, cellular phones, etc. And on top of that we have learned so much about our universe. These discoveries and innovations did not come from folks being content in their “knowledge” that the entire universe was created 6,000 years ago.

      Are you familiar with the fact that Big Bang theorists predicted there should be a cosmic microwave background radiation? This was in the first part of the 20th century, and it was accidentally discovered in 1964 by two scientists experimenting with an antenna while working for Bell. That is quite the confirmation of a prediction. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery and and immense amount of technological innovation has come from this.

      Because of investigations into shared genes and DNA that result from evolutionary research, it may become possible to take certain organs from animals we are closely related to and alter certain genes. Would these investigations ever have taken place if not for the theory of evolution?

      The list can go on and on and you are welcome to research it yourself if you really want to appreciate how non-biblical science has real life applications in our shared reality.

      Cheers!

      • Joshua – trusting you knew that “the big bang” was theorized first by a theologian/physicist named Georges LeMaitre; AND that the term “big bang” was applied derisively by a scientist named Fred Hoyle who criticized the idea; AND that, once the scientific community (including Einstein) began to accept LeMaitre’s idea, Hoyle set down to go through the math and prove it wrong scientifically – the result of that exercise being that, not only did he not prove it wrong, but he found in the scientific support for it that science also supported intelligence at the beginning; AND that Hoyle, after deciding that science supported intelligent design, became ostracized from the science community, to an extent including the sad episode of his being overlooked for the Noble Prize awarded to his research partner for research he worked equally on, if no moreso.

        In short, advances in science have and continue to be contributed to by theists who also believe in the Bible, no matter how the scientific community may attempt to silence their voices and contributions, discriminating against these good scientists NOT on the basis of the merit of their scientific work, but simply because they believe in “God” in some form or other, which is hardly a reflection of scientific objectivity on the part of the discriminating community.

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