Tag Archives: science

Thoughts on the Deniers of Christianity

7 Feb

It is hard to visit sites that feature religious commentary without running into comments from the deniers of the faith – those who would claim that science has overcome religion, and that religionists are a dying relic, ignorant believers in ridiculous myths.

It seems to me, though, that their argument fails on fairly basic grounds.

I daresay that at one time or another, all of that which is now called science was unproven (in the rigorous sense).  Mankind’s understanding of the world was based upon experience, repeatability, and theory.  Men made use of scientific principles over many millennia before they were proven in a rigorous manner – we based our use upon evidence accumulated over time.  Would our complainants argue that gravity could not be relied upon just because we could not see it or mathematically prove its existence?  Without accepting observational evidence that all planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, would we ever have developed rigorous mathematical models that prove exactly how the planets and other heavenly bodies move through space?  Recently, scientists reportedly found proof that the Higgs-Boson particle actually exists – before this it was only a “theoretical” particle.  And how about the Big Bang Theory itself – how would one ever prove that the entire universe sprang from an unimaginably huge explosion of a very small densely packed object that contained all the matter that is currently contained in that virtually limitless universe?

A person could go on and on about things that were believed/known before the scientists were able to absolutely prove them, from fields of medicine, mechanics, physics, etc.  The noted atheist and crusader against Christianity, Richard Dawkins, even admitted that “something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe.”  Thomas Aquinas would say that this something “we call God”.

And yet, when it comes to postulating the existence of God, the deniers among us are quick to say that we must be fools for believing some crazy theology that has not been proven by science to be true.  But there are many mysteries in this world that have not, as yet, been solved by the scientists – wormholes, extra-terrestrial life, evolution of life at the deepest parts of the ocean, how weather patterns evolve, etc.  That does not mean that these things cannot, or do not, exist.

It seems to me that what deniers of Christianity do not understand is that Christians do not base their faith in God on vapor – on nothing but dreams, unwarranted hope, and fear of death.  Our faith, according to that most famous of Biblical passages, is based on “substance” and “evidence”.

Now, I know that modern translations most often swap out the word “evidence” for something softer in tone, but harder to acquire.  But I really like the word “evidence”.  Why?  Because, I believe the faith of Christians is, in fact, based upon convincing evidence.  The evidence bound up in the New Testament teachings, actions, personal witnesses, promises, spiritual gifts, and personal commitments, even unto death.  The evidence bound up in the experiences and lives of so many Christians through the growth years – a time of great spiritual blessings and horrible persecutions.

Then there is the evidence and testimony of some of the greatest minds to have walked the earth – Augustine, Aquinas, thousands of brilliant unnamed soldiers of Christ, up to our own time with people like John Bunyan, C.S. Lewis, and many others.  And I believe that a Christian does not have to believe unthinkingly, but can call upon the promises of scripture to acquire those proofs that are meaningful to him/her.  John Bunyan, perhaps best known for his “Pilgrim’s Progress” allegory, was at one time torn apart by his uncertainty about Christianity.  “Everyone doth think his own religion rightest, both Jews and Moors and pagans; and how if all our Faith and Christ and Scriptures should be but a ‘think so’, too?”  But as William Barclay tells it, “when the light broke, he [Bunyan] ran out crying, ‘Now I know!  I know!’”

John Bunyan had received his evidence.  For some, it is the evidence of repeated or extraordinary coincidence, a pushing and pulling, often against our will.  For others, it is the deep burning in the depths of our heart and soul as the Holy Spirit welcomes us aboard.  Many are granted various types of spiritual inspiration or convincing answers to prayer.  Still others, those with perhaps easier hearts to reach, see the evidence in the gaze of a baby, the wonder of beauty in nature, or a thousand other things.  I, myself, was “kicking against the pricks” for years before I was led into a greater light.

The point is, belief in Christianity is based upon real evidence, mostly unseen, but nevertheless convincing – not provable to non-believers (without the intervention of the Holy Spirit), but powerful enough for building a solid Faith within those whose hearts and minds who are open to the accumulation of “soft” evidence.  To say we should not accept non-scientific evidence is simply to deny that man has forever relied upon non-proven evidence to extend his knowledge and actions to the next higher level.

But what sort of omnipotent, but loving, God would maintain the veil between Himself and mankind?  Consider for a moment what would happen if suddenly mankind did find, or receive, absolute proof of the existence of God.  Would there not be chaos?  Would not the purposes of God be immediately thwarted?  Does He not have purpose for us being here, purpose that depends upon mankind’s struggle between Godliness and evil?  If He were to make Himself known to all of mankind (as He will one day – but too late then), the entire world order would collapse, as every decent man and woman would leave all behind and only seek Him, and every lost soul would redouble their evil intentions, knowing that there is no hope.

No – irrefutable proof will come, but it will only come as the final stroke of midnight is sounding and, in all likelihood, will be the last and greatest of all the absolute proofs presented to mankind.

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On Being a Successful Human

19 Nov

I admit that I’m an old math and sciences guy, and my career followed the technical track.  However, the more I have aged, the more I have appreciated the value of the humanities, discipline I absolutely shunned in college.  I don’t think I’ve seen the value statement put quite as effectively (in few words, that is) as Kevin Cool put it a short piece in the most recent issue of the magazine Stanford.

A couple of excerpts from Cool’s essay:

“We need people who know how to write computer code, build space rockets and perform heart surgery.  All of these are important and desirable skills.  What humanities education provides that these don’t, necessarily, is a handle on what we value (philosophy), what mistakes we’ve learned from (history), how to understand other cultures (comparative literature) and how to interpret and describe what we encounter from day to day (English).  You know, how to be a successful human.  .  .  .

“Education is for life, not just for the first five years out of school.  And the humanities are great investments for the long term.  They teach you to think critically, measure nuance, calibrate tradeoffs and make a persuasive argument.  .  .  .”

My own life’s walk has been slowly transformed from reading (and enjoying) technical texts and manuals, business-related texts, and publications like Scientific American, to an even greater enjoyment of world and American history, philosophy, religion, politics, etc.

Some of the greatest lessons I have learned from this broadening view of the human experience include:

1.   If I had to choose among all the times of man to walk the earth myself, this amazing era would be the time – from the standpoint of relative peacefulness, relative happiness, relative freedom, etc – “the old days” were horrible for then great mass of humanity;

2.  In spite of all the advancements in medicine, pure science, biology, electronics, etc., we are really no smarter than men and women of old, and there are few “new” humanistic or philosophical thoughts that have not been thought of long ago;

3.  Although somewhat controlled in most parts of the earth today, mankind across all classes still has great capacity for incredible cruelty, stunning oppression, and utter disrespect for human life;

4.  The Christian religion, with all its faults and horrifying missteps and cruelties over two millennia, has also been a tremendous force for good (and perhaps the greatest force for good) in the history of the world.

The Meaning of the “God Particle”

10 Jul

Great column by Dennis Prager in The Jewish World Review.  Dennis is a columnist and radio show host in LA.  The full text of his piece can be found at

 http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0712/prager071012.php3

 His column is titled “The “God Particle and God”, in reference to the Higgs boson particle that, until recently, existed only in theory, but had never been observed.

 Excerpts:   [Bolding is mine]

 They found the “G0D-Particle.”   .  .  .  .

Those scientists and science writers who have likened this discovery to the discovery of DNA are wrong. If significance means relevance to the human condition, the discovery of DNA merited a ten out of ten and the Higgs boson might merit a two.

 This does not mean that the search was either a waste of time or money. Both the time and money invested were necessary because satiating human curiosity about the natural world is one of the noblest ambitions of the human race.

 But scientific discovery and meaning are not necessarily related. As one of the leading physicists of our time, Steven Weinberg, has written, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

And pointlessness is the point. The discovery of the Higgs boson brings us no closer to understanding why there is a universe, not to mention whether life has meaning. In fact, no scientific discovery that will ever be made will explain why there is existence, render good and evil anything more than subjective opinion, or explain why human beings have consciousness or anything else that truly matters.

The only thing that can explain existence and answer these other questions is G0D or some other similar metaphysical belief. This angers those scientists and others who are emotionally as well as intellectually committed to atheism. But many honest atheists recognize that a G0Dless world means a meaningless one, and admit that science can only explain what, not why.

In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, Woody Allen, an honest atheist, made this point in his inimitable way. Allen told the interviewer that, being a big sports fan, and especially a New York Knicks fan, he is often asked whether it’s important if the Knicks beat the Celtics. His answer is, “Well, it’s just as important as human existence.” If there is no G0D, Allen is right.

One must have a great deal of respect for the atheist who recognizes the consequences of atheism: no meaning, no purpose, no good and evil beyond subjective opinion, and recognition of the limits of what science can explain.  .  .  . 

Not only is science incapable of discovering why there is existence but scientists also confront the equally frustrating fact that the more they discover about the universe, the more they realize they do not know.

I happen to think that this was G0D’s built-in way of limiting man’s hubris and compelling humans to acknowledge His existence. Admittedly, however, this doesn’t always have these two effects on scientists and especially on those who believe that science will explain everything.

So, sincere congratulations to the physicists and other scientists who discovered the Higgs boson. We now think we have uncovered the force or the matter that gives us the four percent of the universe that we can observe (96 percent of the universe consists of “dark matter,” about which scientists know almost nothing).

Ironic as it may seem to many of these physicists, however, only if there is a G0D does their discovery matter. Otherwise, it is no more important than whether the Knicks beat the Celtics.

[End of Excerpt]

 Well said, I think.  What are YOUR thoughts?