Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Climategate Quote of the Day

arroba Email

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”

–Leo Tolstoy

How can you be sure it wouldn’t have borne greater fruit under a different religious tradition? The fact is that other religious traditions didn't. Just look around the world. Judaism and Christianity have produced more prosperity, more justice, more freedom, and more civil rights (especially for women) than any other. You might be interested to know that two of the most influential people in my conversion to Christianity were Michael Medved and Dennis Prager, both religious Jews. These guys are better Christian apologists than many Christians. GilDodgen
Gil, Thanks for taking the time to address such a personal question. So, through introspection you found a shameful distance between yourself and Christ's expectations for human rectitude as outlined in the bible. Why choose to believe that the bible has any authority in such a matter? Why not another religious litmus test of character - perhaps one that might not have compelled so much shame? You argue that western civilization has borne fruit under Judeo-Christianity. Why not be a Jew? How can you be sure it wouldn't have borne greater fruit under a different religious tradition? Is this a fair synopsis: You were not a believer and were unbothered by evidence of fine-tuning and the origins of biological information. You observed that western civilization was strongly influenced by Judeo-Christianity and you think well of that civilization; so, you thought that Judeo-Christian belief might have some merit and that the bible was a privileged religious text. You discovered that according to the bible you weren't such a great guy. You chose to adopt Christianity (perhaps a specific sect?). In the context of your new faith, fine tuning and the origins of biological information became affirmative evidence of the Christian deity. I am not trying to pick a fight. I am genuinely interested in how you arrived at your beliefs and how you reconcile science and faith. Michael Michael Tuite
Michael Tuite: There are thousands of religious traditions with regard to which you remain an atheist, however. Why was Christianity a more rational choice than all the others? What is it about fine-tuning and information processing machinery that compelled you to embrace the New Testament as opposed to all the other options? The answer to this question is simple. When Jesus was asked how to identify false prophets He replied, "You will know them by their fruits." The fruits of Judeo-Christianity in Western civilization are obvious. But there is another, even more compelling and obvious message in the Gospel of Christianity, and it it is antithetical to contemporary political correctness: I'm not okay, you're not okay, and there is nothing we can do in our own power to make us okay. Anyone who denies this obvious truth is completely out of touch with his sin nature. Just do a personal inventory with brutal honesty and you'll discover that you are not the saint you claim to be. The Cross of Christ is a litmus test of one's willingness to make an honest, personal inventory of his life. I did this, and I was very ashamed. GilDodgen
Michael Tuite, I forgot my most important point in my last entry. The kind of ignorance, which does not care to understand opposing perspectives, is actually an anti-Chrsitian ignorance. The familiar "God said it, I believe it, and that's good enough for me" mentality is anti-Christian. When Darwinists refuse to look at the arguments for ID, and when climate scientists refuse to look at opposing data, they are doing anti-science, the kind of science that stems from a rational Christian perspective on inquiry into truth - "know your enemy." CannuckianYankee
Michael Tuite, You raise some interesting and valid questions. I think there seems to be a conflict between many modern perceptions of New Testament based religion, and the faith that is actually expressed in the New Testament. While the NT documents miracles, it does so with the understanding that such miracles are the work of an ominipotent God, rather than the work of human beings apart from God. The NT is a rational treatise into the efficacy of God's work among humans. It is not an esoteric treatise, but a rational one. A perspective of history is important in the NT, and the believer is encouraged to question, doubt, investigate thoroughly before committing to acts of faith. Faith is not simply something one exercises because some religious person who spoke well, demanded it. Thus, Christianity is a rational faith - not irrational. If Christ was not raised from the dead according to the New Testament scriptures, then Christianity is dead. Any person claiming to believe in Jesus, yet not believing in the physical bodily resurrection in space and time, is not a New Testament-based Christian. Many modern perspectives on Christianity, however, include all sorts of esoteric non-verifiable systems of belief, which while based in a mythologization of the NT, are not driven by the truth claims in the NT. So true biblical Christianity encourages rational enquiry, not merely faith for faith's sake. It matters that Jesus resurrected physically. As such, rational thinking Christians are well within their faith to explore and understand the cosmos from that perspective and be scientific while doing so. The only exception would be in accepting materialistic perspectives, which deny the very God they profess to believe in. So while there are thousands of religious traditions, there are few religious traditions, which actually encourage rational inquiry, and which appear to agree with scientific sensibilities. While there are many Christian-based sects, which discourage inquiry outside the sect - (for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses), they are outside orthodoxy in their beliefs. Given that New Testament Christianity actually encourages rational inquiry, it is no surprise then, that many of the great scientific thinkers prior to Darwin were Christians. I'm not certain what Tolstoy was referring to in the above quote. It could be applied to practically any belief. Beliefs are curious things we invest a lot of ourselves into, and are difficult to change. Christianity allows people to look at alternatives to belief. It encourages Christians to be prepared to give a thorough and rational defense of the faith - which really requires the Christian to fully understand opposing perspectives. CannuckianYankee
Touche, GIl! Turnabout is fair play. There are thousands of religious traditions with regard to which you remain an atheist, however. Why was Christianity a more rational choice than all the others? What is it about fine-tuning and information processing machinery that compelled you to embrace the New Testament as opposed to all the other options? Michael Michael Tuite
Might it not equally describe those who reject fragments of modern science that they perceive to conflict with deeply held religious beliefs? Very good point. I was once a deeply religious atheist who rejected the fragments of modern science that I perceived to conflict with my devout beliefs (e.g., the fine-tuning of the laws of physics which suggested long-term teleological cosmological design for life, and the information-processing machinery of living systems). As a result, I concluded that my religion of atheism required more faith, in the light of the evidence, than I could muster. GilDodgen
For example: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs
“I don't think … [global warming] is quite, frankly, among most people, in dispute anymore.”
In reality,Rasmussen polls reveals:
Americans Skeptical of Science Behind Global Warming Thursday, December 03, 2009 Most Americans (52%) believe that there continues to be significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming. While many advocates of aggressive policy responses to global warming say a consensus exists, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of adults think most scientists agree on the topic. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure. . . . Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data.
Unfortunately, Tolstoy was wrong, but refused to admit it. Mung
Off Topic: The Origins debate audio has been posted at American Freedom Alliance. This is the Saban Theater debate in Beverly Hills (Monday, Nov 30, 2009) featuring Stephen Meyer, Donald Prothero, Michael Shermer, and Richard Sternberg. Here is the promotional page. Apollos
Not to mention the Church of Darwinism. Berceuse
Stan, Might it not equally describe those who reject fragments of modern science that they perceive to conflict with deeply held religious beliefs? Michael Michael Tuite
That quote perfectly describes many in the Church of Global Warming. Brilliant! Stan McCullars

Leave a Reply