where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues,

For now I want to focus my writing now articles specifically addressed to Christians. So most of my new posts will be on my other website listed below. I will continue to write and post short responses to newspaper columns and letters and even other articles as the inspiration hits me.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-RztuRKdCEQzgbhp52dCw

If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is there a God, or did everything just evolve?

Is there a God, or did everything just evolve?

I believe that the most important question in life is whether there is a God.  Why?  Because it changes everything.  Now I know there are some people who believe there is a God, but they don’t believe that God is involved in this world.  Why?  Because He didn’t answer their prayers or didn’t do something they thought He should?  If God wasn't involved in life, in our lives, why would He have bothered to create the world in the first place?
Either way this is foundational for a person’s life.  If God indeed is involved in life, then everyone needs to know what God is doing and how it affects them.  What’s the program?
So how can we answer this question of whether there is a God?  One way is to consider the alternative and try to understand how all this, life and the world, came to be without a God.  In one word, they call it evolution.
I would like to share what I call the six impossible miracles of evolution, which, to me, require more faith than any religious fundamentalist is ever asked to show.
The first impossible miracle is how life started in the first place.  The human body, for example, is made up of things like carbon, water (think, sugar), nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, and magnesium.  The simplest life forms would need at least the carbon and the water. 
Carbon is perhaps the easiest atom to bind with other atoms, but the carbon molecules found in living cells are really unusual, actually unique.  I understand that the protein molecules are joined together in ways that they would not join if left to themselves.  It’s like somebody made them fit. 
Frankly, I don’t see how life could have formed by itself in the first place.  How did carbon and water and whatever else join together to form life?  And is life just certain molecular formations?  What would animate carbon and water molecules to move and reproduce itself?
But let’s suppose lightning struck a piece of wet dirt, and it came to life (the first miracle).   There would need to be a second miracle immediately after.  Unless this living thing were able to metabolize energy, it would die within seconds.  So this lighting would have to strike again immediately and form a metabolic system.
But another miracle is needed very soon after.  Unless this thing could replicate itself, it would disappear from history, and life would end.  We know today that this requires things like DNA or RNA, a written code that makes up the blueprint for the current and future life forms.
And this was all supposed to have happened without outside intervention, strictly on its own.
Then the fourth impossible miracle, which to me is the ‘most impossible.’  Sex.  Up to this time, every living thing could reproduce itself by itself.  Now we are asked to believe that these living things, strictly by accident, random mutations, essentially divided themselves into two camps, each developing a complementary reproductive system over maybe a million years, a system that was not needed, and which eventually replaced the system of self-reproduction. 
Then after these millions of years, when the complementary reproductive systems were ready, these living organisms were in close enough proximity to each other to engage in a new act, and all the necessary codes of transmitting information to an offspring were written, again separately yet forming one coherent new code when joined.  Again, by chance, random actions.
The human body is the most complex, sophisticated thing in the world, and we are supposed to believe that this is the result of random, chance changes.  We are supposed to believe that eyes, brains, a neurological system are all the products of mindless events, which is contrary to everything we know about life.  If you went to the moon and found a computer there, or even something as simple as a table and chair, you would say that someone had been there.  You would not say that these things evolved by chance over millions of years.  Yet this is the essential premise of evolution.  Like finding a Michaelangelo painting in the ground and asserting that this formed naturally by nature without any human involvement.
I can understand the idea of design with regard to the world not being evident to everyone, so I suggest intelligence as the more fitting word.   
The sixth impossible miracle.  As evolution would have it, it would seem to me that humans are a product of chemical reactions, and these would govern the actions of the being.  But humans have thoughts.  Are thoughts just a response to a chemical reaction?  How would my thoughts in response to your thoughts be caused by chemicals?  There is no physical interaction.  I hear or see words, and my mind chooses how to respond.  It is not instinctive; it’s deliberate.  It can go either way.  I can choose how to respond. 
There is a self that can think and choose a course of action based on reason and not on chemical impulses, and this is separate from any physical processes.  So a human being is not simply the sum of all the chemical parts.  There is something more that nature can neither explain nor provide: a soul.
So because of these six impossible miracles, I cannot accept the idea that all of life and the world as we know it is the result of mindless, random events.  There is a God who made all this. 

When I realized that I believed in God, I realized also that the most important thing in life is to know this God and to serve Him.  Everything else is just temporary.


5 comments:

  1. So how can we answer this question of whether there is a God? One way is to consider the alternative and try to understand how all this, life and the world, came to be without a God. In one word, they call it evolution.

    Just so you know, this is a BIG misconception that will get you quickly dismissed by most non-believers when you discuss these issues with them.

    Evolution specifically deals with how living organisms replicate and diverge over time once they already exists.

    Evolution doesn't address how living organisms came into existence in the first place. That is abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is related to evolution, but nonetheless is a distinct problem domain that deals in different phenomena.

    Furthermore: Many people who believe in God, and who believe God created life, also believe that evolution is an accurate description on how populations of organisms change over time.

    This distinction between evolution and abiogenesis is very common among scientifically literate nonbelievers. If you confuse the two terms by treating them as one all-encompassing subject, this will be viewed as a sign that you lack understanding of the subject matter you are criticizing, and as a result they will feel justified in not taking you or your arguments seriously.

    If you want to be taken seriously by non-believing readers, then you need to get a grip on this distinction between evolution and abiogenesis, and address your arguments against the position that the non-believers actually hold.

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  2. Thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate that.
    I am aware of the distinction between abiogenesis and evolution, but I was not aware of the importance that evolutionists place on that distinctions at the time I wrote this article. For most people not close to the debate, there is really only one problem and not two: did God create all this (both the origin of life and its present form) or did everything just happen all by itself?
    The focus of the article was on the existence of God and how there are what I see as impossible leaps between various stages in the whole process of how life is purported to have started and progressed. And I admit not having determined exactly where the distinction is between the origin of life and evolution.
    As I noted in the article, there would have had to have been three “impossible miracles” right at the start of the whole life process: the start of life itself, the ability to create energy, and the ability to reproduce, all of which are unique and not dependent on the others.
    This ability to create energy doesn’t seem inherent to the idea of the beginning of life, but it certainly is necessary for it to exist beyond a few moments. So that suggests to me that this initial life form needed something to change very soon after its inception.
    But it wouldn’t be evolution until it had reproduced. And that would have required energy.
    So by focusing on the question of whether natural processes could have accounted for all these necessary steps in the origin and development of life, it seems I blurred some distinctions that some people think I shouldn’t have.
    Thank you for calling my attention to this and the helpful advice.

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  3. You're welcome. :)

    And I admit not having determined exactly where the distinction is between the origin of life and evolution.

    It might help if you think of 'evolution' as an abstract concept that describes more than just living organisms.

    Evolution is the consequence of having a population of things with the following properties in place:

    1) Reproduction
    2) Reliable heredity
    3) A low but nonzero mutation rate
    4) Limits to the total population size

    In computer programming we can create 'genetic' algorithms and then breed, test, rank, cull the unfit, and re-breed them over successive generations. The result is an evolved algorithm that has been optimized to fit the problem domain. This is a common solution applied very successfully to all kinds of engineering problems that deal in chaotic systems that cannot be modeled easily using mathematics.

    Thinking of evolution in this abstract way can be helpful for understanding where abiogenesis ends and biological evolution begins. Basically, if one of the four items above is missing, then it's not quite evolution yet. (Note: There's always a limiting factor - if it seems like there isn't a limiting factor, then you're either missing something OR time and speed of replication is the limiting factor)

    The question of abiogenesis therefore becomes: How do we build a naturalistic pathway between pre-biotic chemistry and get to the smallest possible unit that is capable of replication with heredity and some kind of mutation rate? The term often used for this primitive unit is proto-cell.

    Once such a proto-cell comes along, we have a basis for evolution to kick in. Evolution can then do the heavy lifting over millennia to gradually advance the proto-cells into something that is more recognizable to us as simple organisms, and so on until we get to modern life.

    When you say 'evolution' what we think about is that part of the problem - how things reproduce and change over time. When you dismiss evolution because you think that the naturalistic formation of a proto-cell is impossible... Well, that's when we start to think that you haven't researched your terms very well. :P

    Hope that clarifies things a little better.

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  4. Another reason to get that distinction right is because there are many people who believe that God created the first proto-cell, but chose evolution as the method to grow that proto-cell into morally meaningful life. One of my IRL friends and I have discussed this in the past. His position was that God needed a method like evolution to ensure that humanity would be capable of free will.

    His argument was that if God was too directly involved in our biological design, then that would have made us essentially divinely crafted robots incapable of true free will. What God instead wanted (according to my friend) was to have a meaningful relationship with a species of morally meaningful agents capable of free will. Therefore, God could not tinker with us directly: He needed an alternative to divine engineering.

    To his mind it is *exactly* as if a human engineer wanted to create a solution for a specific problem without predetermining the final design. In his view, evolution is the perfect and obvious answer for God to resolve that particular problem. Basically, he sees the realization of divine intent even in unguided biological evolution.

    I am an atheist, so of course I don't hold to that view myself, and I can't personally defend it against any theological objections you may have. However, the fact remains that when you treat 'evolution' as being in opposition to God, you unfairly and prematurely dismiss a large number of people who believe in both God and evolution.

    Better by far to be precise and specify that it is abiogenesis with which you have a problem. This removes any confusion and keeps things focused and on-point.

    So like I said. That's another reason for you to make sure that you've got a handle on the distinction between abiogenesis and evolution... It's not just the atheists that will roll their eyes at you when you do this. Plenty of theists will be irritated as well. :)

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  5. Hey again Larry. Hope things are going okay with the troubles health troubles you mentioned in a recent post on your blog. I know it can be tough.

    Not expecting a response from you any time soon or anything, so don't feel rushed or obligated to get back to me. I understand what it's like when things get busy.

    The reason I'm commenting is because Hemant Mehta recently posted a video on YouTube called 25 things that DON'T DISPROVE Evolution.

    It's a very quick list through of 25 arguments that people who disagree with evolution frequently raise as objections against evolution... And none of them are good arguments.

    The video itself doesn't explain why all of the things Hemant lists don't disprove evolution, but he's not setting out to do that. He's just listing them. If you want more explanation on any particular one, then I'm ready and willing to give more background information on any of them if you want to receive an argument for why one of those items do not disprove evolution.

    I think this video could be useful to you, because on the subject of engaging with people who accept evolution to discuss your objections against it with them, this is a very good resource you can use to prime yourself before wading in.

    If you find yourself making an argument that appears in that list, then there is a good chance that the people you are talking to have already heard your argument (or something very much like it) before and already dismissed it as being a poor objection.

    Which isn't to say you cannot make those arguments. You can of course do whatever you like. But ideally, you should prepare for the possibility that they will probably have already thought about your argument against evolution, and may already have very good reasons for thinking it is not a very good argument.

    So it's worth doing a little bit more research on any of these topics before you raise them in a debate, either in person or online. Because you might find that the counter-arguments are actually quite good, so you can save yourself some hassle there by weeding out any of your arguments that have strong rebuttals. This will make the arguments left over look stronger.

    Alternatively, if you discover the counter arguments and think they are themselves bad, then you can research why you think they are bad ahead of time and have an answer ready in the event that one of your opponents gives that counter-argument.

    Therefore, going in blind to the counter-arguments of your opponents on any of the 25 issues mentioned in Hemant's video would leave you worse off than if you researched them first.

    Conversely, researching it first by considering what the counter-argument of someone who accepts evolution might be before moving in can only help you by weeding out your weaker arguments, and strengthening your ability to deliver any arguments you may have left over.

    Your message can only get stronger and more concise for researching the counter-arguments of your opponents on these frequently raised issues.

    Again: Hope everything's going as well as possible for you and the people in your life. All the best, Larry.

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