Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

The Atheists Are Coming!

April 26, 2008

             I’ve been reading with much interest the books and ideas of various atheists: Richard Dawkins, the renowned evolutionist; Sam Harris, the atheist Christianity-slayer; and Christopher Hitchens, the spouter of all things horrible against religion. It was with some trepidation that I picked up Sam Harris’s book first at my local Borders, called, “Letter to a Christian Nation.” His stated purpose was to pound the final nails into Christianity’s coffin. He seemed very confident he had the arguments, logic, and facts to finally put the whole Christ-myth into the dirt for good.

            As a Christian, I read with some anxiety. What would he say that might derail my faith of more than thirty years?  I’ve always worried somewhere in the back of my mind that someone would come along who would blast Jesus to pieces.  They’d find the real tomb he was buried in and his bones would still be there with his coat – “Jesus” stitched over his chest pocket. Or some “gospel” that had the true story of him being just a regular guy who did nothing but hang around with fishermen, but who told such great tales that the fishermen had to write him up and embellish the book. 

            Nothing like that has ever happened, although a recent movie documentary and book tried to show someone had found Jesus’ bone in a crypt in Nazareth. Sorry, that one didn’t fly, although the media made much of it.

            Yet, as I delved into these atheists’ books, I worried that they’d made some incredible discovery that would do just that: prove the whole history of Jesus was bunk! 

            So I read avidly searching for what it was. Nonetheless, when I put the book down, I sat there absolutely stunned. I said out loud, “This guy doesn’t have anything. Not a thing.” 

            I moved on to Richard Dawkins’s latest, “The God Delusion.” When I finsihed, again I was astonished. “How can these educated men believe this swill?” I asked myself. It really was startling how feeble their arguments and “proofs” were. I’d heard many of these ridiculous arguments in my first few years in seminary and had them debunked years ago.

            For example, Dawkins made much of St. Thomas Acquinas’ argument from causation, that every effect demands a cause equal to or more powerful than itself. Dawkins poses the question, If everything goes back to the first cause—God—then what caused him? Dawkins seems to think this sophomoric argument quite potent. The problem is that Acquinas argued that an “Uncaused Cause” was the first cause: God himself, the one who was never caused, made, or created, but always was. Dawkins seems quite satisfied that he has destroyed Acquinas and God in his little question, but really it’s all quite foolish. Just about anything that exists today had a “first cause” or “uncaused cause” in some sense. The lightbulb’s first cause was Edison. Many of the peanut’s first “inventions” came from George Washington’s Carver’s discoveries. Even Post-It notes has a “first cause,” if you want to look at it that way.

            When Dawkins uses his evolutionary beliefs, he stretches it even further. He admits the “beginning of life” should cause some real “awe” that it happened. Unfortunately, he has no idea how it happened, but he’s sure one day we’ll find out, without the need to invoke God. In the recent movie, “Expelled,” Ben Stein even gets Dawkins to admit that perhaps the first cause of life in our universe was caused by elite beings from another universe, who themselves came about through some evolutionary process! How convenient. Dawkins goes on like this page after page: “they’ll find the evidence” for the tremendous gaps in the fossil record. And, “those gaps will be filled.” And, “we’re seeing more every day that shows the truth.”

            Unfortunately, he never quite arrives at the “facts” so indisputable that everyone would heartily agree to them. 

            I only read a little of Hitchens. He sounded like a cross between a little boy having a tantrum and the Cowardly Lion, screaming, “I won’t believe. I won’t believe. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t. “ 

            Nonetheless, these books are big bestsellers. People rip them off the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and Borders like cancer victims in search of the cure. After reflecting on them, my conclusion was that anyone who knows anything of history, theology, and Christian faith, it’s all twaddle, to say nothing of illogical and without any real facts to back up their so-called research. However, I also see that if you know little to nothing about the Bible and the God portrayed in it, these works would be very convincing — especially if you’re just looking for a reason not to read the Bible or pursue the truth or not repent of the sins you know to be sins but would be happy to learn from the atheists that those are “just choices we all make, nothing wrong at all.” 

            More recently, I read Dinesh D’Souza’s, “What’s So Great About Christianity?” another bestseller. It annihilated the arguments of these atheists, showing the logical and factual fallacies in their writings. A fascinating read, D’Souza repeatedly shows that the very foundations of western civilization hearken back to Christianity, from it’s influence in scientific discovery, to education, to health care, and so on. D’Souza shows that if atheists succeeded in their stated mission of eliminating Christian truth from the world, they would be knocking the foundation of human freedom, discovery, and exploration out from under them. This would undoubtedly lead to a world like that under Hilter, Stalin and Mao who used the “truths” of Darwinian evolution and atheism and a rejection of all things religious to murder millions and create a world as backward and evil as any we’ve ever seen.  

            Thus, I’d like to challenge you. If you’re looking for reasons to reject God, Jesus, the Bible, and all things Christian, any one of the atheists’ books will probably satisfy you. They provide just enough supposed “truth” to let you feel you’re okay and don’t have to ever worry about heaven, hell, judgment, God, Jesus, or any fire-breathing Christian cornering you at a party ever again. 

            On the other hand, if you want some real truth and “meat” to chew on for the rest of your life, as well as spiritual grist that may ignite faith in you or bolster your present faith, try D’Souza.

            In the Bible God invites all of us, “Seek me while I may be found.” His promise is that “you will find me if you search for me with all your heart.” But if you really want an out, if you demand, “No, I want nothing to do with you, God, and I want some reasons to justify that conclusion,” then God will let you find it in Dawkins, Harris, and the others.

            God simply will not force himself on anyone.  

The Implications of Darwinian Evolution

April 7, 2008

             I have studied the theory of evolution as set forth by Darwinians like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris for years. Some like Dawkins argue that evolution is “proved.” For him, there is no God, no supernatural, nothing beyond this world. All things happen by the processes of natural selection, survival of the fittest, and random change brought on by mutation. Everything in life, from amoebas to DNA to human emotions and religious impulses can be explained by these mechanisms. 

            Against such a point of view are other scientists who, in frustration with the lack of proof and evidence, have come to other conclusions. Scientists like Stephen Jay Gould(“punctuated equilibrium”), Francis Crick(“panspermia”), and Francis Collins(“theistic evolution”) cannot subscribe to the above views for various reasons.

            I’m not here to argue who is right. What I’d like to do is consider the implications of true Darwinian theory as set forth by Dawkins, whose writings about it are bestsellers.

            To do that, let me tell you about a real life incident concerning a friend whose daughter was gang-raped in her college dorm room by three football players. They targeted her because she was a Christian and a virgin. As they repeatedly raped and sodomized her, they mocked her religious and sexual morals. She now struggles with alcoholism, doubt toward God, and a deep bitterness about life. The culprits, later caught doing this to other women, suffered minimal consequences. One plays in the NFL today for millions of dollars a year.

            What does a Darwinian really have to offer this girl? Just think it through with me for a moment. 

            First, what happened to her happened because she was weak and they were strong. Survival of the fittest. They were more fit than her and by it advanced the species.             Second, if she asks, “How can I get my life back together?” the Darwinian has to answer, “You can try, but since you’re so weak, you’re being weeded out from the herd. Death is all you have to look forward to. And good riddance.” 

            Third, if she says, “Who will make this right for me?” The Darwinian answer again is, “No one. There is no such thing as justice or redemption in this world. There is no God or afterlife. You’re on your own.”

            I cringe at those answers, but I don’t really think a Darwinian would say any of the above. He couldn’t because it’s too callous and horrific even to consider speaking aloud. But really what else does his worldview have to offer?

            In contrast, as a Christian I can unequivocally say to this girl, after weeping with her and just being there, perhaps for a long time, “We live in a fallen world and bad things do happen to good people in it. But you can trust that God will be with you through this. He will comfort you supernaturally through his people. Somehow he will make even this work for good in your life, and show that to you. In the end, if those rapists never repent, he will punish them with eternal hell. At the same time, he will take you to his heaven where you will never experience pain or anguish again. He will wipe every tear from your eye, and help you understand his plan for your life. You will live in the company of those who will love you forever and nothing like this will happen to anyone there ever again.” 

            To me, that encapsulizes the Darwinian view and the Christian view. One might appear nice in theory, but can it work in the real world?

            The other? Well, you be the judge.

            My friend says they’re working through the pain with their daughter. It’s slow going, but there’s a lot of love to go around. She trusts that God will not only get her through this, but her daughter, too. In the end, no matter what happens, she knows this world isn’t the end for any of them, and that is to her strong comfort indeed.