So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Presuppositional Approach to Creationism...

Here's an extensive post that I posted as a response to some silly arguing on another blog...I kinda got 'in the zone' and figured that I'd share some decent writing with some of my other readers. Here it is:

Now as for this whole creation/evolution debate, this is as silly as it is useless. I won't really shed any new light on the issue, but I do have SOMETHING to say:

In a nutshell, and as much as I understand things, the debate is NOT about evidence. It's NOT about "scientific evidence" versus "creationist evidence". The issue isn't even a 'scientific' issue. It's a philosophical one. It's not a point of 'our evidence' versus 'their evidence'. It's all about interpretation of data to turn 'data' INTO 'evidence'.

When either side looks at any 'fact of nature', they see it through a philosophical (and theological...though that term is not very tasty to some) lens that helps them to interpret it and fit it into their greater picture of reality.

When an atheistic evolutionist see a flower, he sees many things. He sees photosynthesis, cells, etc. The creationist sees the SAME data. The observations differ in their INTERPRETATION of that data.

The atheistic evolutionist, by fidelity to his naturalistic worldview, is committed to explaining said flower's existance in purely naturalistic terms. There's no space for any sort of divine miracle or supernatural process because such activity is presupposed to have not occured, as a philosophical starting point to his scientific enterprise. The evolutionist has his starting point that EFFECTS the data (like it or not there is no such thing as 'neutral observation'). IF, however infinitely remotely, that flower were placed there by God (or aliens, or whatever 'supernatural' method was involved), that evolutionist would have absolutely no way of ever arriving at that conclusion because they START with the assumption that the supernatural is impossible; only the natural is involved.

The creationist, on the other hand, has a different starting point. He starts with the authoritative self-revelation of God; ie. the Bible.
Regardless of where the creationist thinks the flower came from, he's bound by his other fidelity; fidelity to the Bible. If the Bible says that God created it 4000 years ago in 1 day, then that is a statement about the ultimate reality as it applies to that flower and it is one that he is fully rationally justified to believe (I'll illustrate this further on).

The evolutionist does not start at the same philosophical starting point as the creationist, so it's no surprise that the creationist and the evolutionist arrive at different interpretations of the data. One sees matter, energy, space and time. The other sees all of the above PLUS God orchestrating it all.

The REAL question is WHO has a more objective position from which to view the facts about the flower? Even more so, who has a more objective position from which to comment on the origins of the flower?

The evolutionist observes the flower in the present and then through logical extrapolation creates a likely scenerio of that flower's origin. The creationist, on the other hand, observes the flower in the present and then seeks an answer to the origins question in the only existent document that claims to be a historical eyewitness account of the ONLY observer of that event in time.

In all reality, both sound kinda silly. In the first place, the scientist is making an educated guess on something that he can have essentially absolutely no REAL data on. It's like hearing a noise in the bathroom and then speaking authoritatively on what's going on in there without ever looking into the bathroom to SEE what actually happened. Was that sound a mouse? A magazine falling off the rack? A pipe? An open window? Is there someone IN the bathroom? Two people? Seventeen people? The Detroit Redwings? Was the wall knocked down and the noise actually coming from outside? The evolutionist can listen closely, examine the door, perform logical extrapolations and take all the measurements in the world...but until he opens the door and looks into the bathroom himself, he'll never be doing anything more than simply guessing as to what happened...and there are a LOT of people doing a LOT of guess work.

Funny thing is, due to the nature of the debate, the evolutionist can NEVER EVER have a chance to 'peek inside the bathroom' to see what actually happened. There's a door seperating the evolutionist from the bathroom, and that door is 'time'. No way in, unless you have a time machine.

To keep using my stuid example, the creationist also has NO access to the bathroom. He cannot 'open the door' to see what happened. He can also listen closely, examine the door, perform logical extrapolations and take all the measurements in the world, but he's no better off than the evolutionist...except for one thing. The creationist is in touch with a person who claims to have been in the bathroom when said noise occured. The creationist didn't see him in the bathroom (for such is impossible), and he didn't see him open the door and come out. But, the eye-witness claims that he was there, saw what happened, and can even tell the creationist what happened.

NOW, who would one listen too?

The person who is guessing or the eye-witness? I mean, the witness is either lying, insane or actually telling the truth. So what do you listen to? The educated guess or the possible eye-witness account?

They BOTH take faith...but which faith is more firmly placed?

The answer seems pretty obvious to me. If the eye-witness is known as a truthful man, you would most likely listen to him. For the educated guesser to discredit the eye-witness, he'd have to produce some very strong data to discredit the irrefutable and clear evidence to suggest that the eye-witness IS in fact lying (or a madman).

What would be the best irrefutable and clear evidence that the eye-witness was indeed lying (or a madman)? How about corroborating testimony of another eye-witness, or better yet multiple other eye-witnesses? Or a reputable expert on mental health who can comment on the mental state of the eye-witness.

Can the evolutionist produce multiple corroborating testimonies of OTHER eye-witnesses? Not that I'm aware of. How about 'divine mental health experts'? Same story...nada.

So, both DO seem to sound kinda silly. One guy is guessing and one guy claims to be an eye-witness. The thing is, if the educated guesser is right, it's SHEER chance. Even if he's right, it kinda sounds silly to me to take a gambling shot in the dark on finding truth. But if the eye-witness is telling the truth, it doesn't sound silly anymore. THEN, he's giving me the only eye-witness account of what happened and I would definitely be justified in believing him.

None the less, it still boils down to faith...who do you believe? The 'educated guesser' or the 'eternally waiting to be discredited' eye-witness?

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Gospel According to Cindy Lauper...

Yeah. I'm on a lunch break but I had something on my mind. Today. it's no longer a question of WWJD (What would Jesus do?). No...instead now everyone is asking "How Would Jesus Market Himself"? I recently saw Revolve (the magazine 'bible') and was interested, so I checked it out. "Hmmm...That's interesting" I thought for myself. "Attempting to be culturally 'relevant' by putting the Bible into 'new clothes'...interesting!" I then saw the "New Century Version" and though "that's a strange choice of text. Why would they use a paraphrase instead of a translation?". So I opened it up and started skimming. On page 109 and you'll find this top ten list:

Top Ten Random ways to make a difference in your community

1. Plant a tree
2. Pick up someone else�s litter
3. Smile freely
4. Drop a dollar in charity boxes.
5. Offer to baby-sit your neighbors� kids for free.
6. Clip the plastic rings on soda six-packs.
7. Use washable containers instead of plastic wrap for your lunch.
8. Recycle cans and bottles.
9. Donate your old clothes to needy families.
10. Do yard work for the elderly or sick.
(Revolve, p. 109)

I was perplexed. Planting a tree is the best way to 'make a difference' in my community? Uh...I don't mean to be a punk, but if I live in a tree filled, garbage free, smiling, charity supporting, baby-sat, fish and fowel friendly, tupperware, recycled, hand-me-downed neighborhood with nice lawns, will that then get all my neighbors to heaven?

What a gong show. I mean, wouldn't the freaking gospel change my neighborhood a tad? What about inviting a neighbor to church? Why is there nothing spiritual in that list? (Well, the answer is obvious to me....but I won't say it. HA!).

Even worse, on page 286 there is a beauty tip. It says that when applying makeup, you need a strong foundation...much like how Jesus is the strong foundation in our lives. I mean, come on! Paralelling the messiah with make-up? No wonder young christrian girls are so stupid and shallow. I pity them and am engraged at those who lead them.

There are 'inserts' and 'top ten' lists on every page, but none of them talk about 'dying to self' or 'repentance' or 'sin' or 'righteousness'. In fact, none of them are spiritual at all. They're all dating tips, makeup tips, self image quizes, etc.

Oh, and it's all full of advertisments from Thomas Nelson publishers. No hiding around there..."buy my book". (Thanks Mr. Sulu)

Does the Bible need help being relevant? Does God need help being cool? Does God even care about being 'cool'? Is the truth of the Bible all about dating and make-up? Is the word no longer sufficient, perspicuous or efficaious? (Does ANYONE remember what those terms mean?) Does the Bible adapt to culture or transform culture? Can YOU answer any of those questions without using some form of the phrase "well, I think that..." or "In my opinion..."?

Have we got THAT stupid that we don't know the answers to these questions anymore? Well, Revolve gives us a blistering "yes". Chalk one up for Satan and Sung Tzu...working together successfully since 4004BC (that's a good slogan....I'm going to make a shirt!). Why attack an impenetrable fortress headon when you can erode it's foundation over time and watch it fall all by itself?

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Revolver

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Something Good from Ergun...

Here's something good that I heard Ergun Caner say today. These are some of his hints that we're in a cultural crisis. You know that North America is in a cultural crisis when...

...Kids cursing God's name in a high school play are applauded but kids invoking God's name in a prayer are suspended.

...It's safer to be in an eagle's nest than a mother's womb.

...When a murder has more 'rights' than the victim he killed.

...When schools won't give out grades because they're scared of hurting kids feelings but they're happy to pass out condoms and hurting their futures.

...When we get all sympathetic over the Saudi's screaming about a flushed Qu'ran when it is illegal and forbidden to even own a bible in their own country.

...When we call terrorists who blow up day care centers 'freedom fighters' but we call pastors who build daycare center 'racists bigots'.

...When a man can sleep in a bed with many boys, admit to it happily, and found 'not guilty by reason of celebrity'.

...When blasphemy is covered by free speech but wishing someone a 'merry Christmas' is considered 'hate language'.

I hope that offends horribly. Well, Ergun does. I'm just quoting him. Ergun is the 'Chuck Norris' of apologetics and he's about the roundhouse kick your worldview. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

What's on my mind...

Good question. For those of you who have ever wondered what's going on at any given moment in my mind, here's all that's on my mind right now:

Well, life is moving along and September is closing in fast. I need a haircut. I'm kinda hungry. I need to finish my application for my student loans. Charles Billingsley is quite over-dramatic when he leads worship. Why did C.C.B. start talking about pregnancy and groaning while we were discussing the issue of speaking in tongues today? How come C.C.B. seems to be unable to think logically? Does she even really have any concern for the driving point of that biblical text? Why do so many people have such completely pigmie hermeneutics and just bend the bible to be whatever it is in the world that they want it to be? I wonder if P.H.S. thinks of me as an enemy because I accused him of hermeneutical inconsistancy? Should I have some fries or soup? Would it be wise to cancel my insurance at the start of the month? I'd love to have a few hours to ask questions to Ergun! Am I ever going to find a church that I can be 'on the same page' as? Will Chad even come back to Canada and try to get into ministry? How does a guy like Ergun Caner stand up against hundreds of thousands of Christians who think he's nuts? How will I ever do the same when it's my time to be in the line of fire? Should I wash my sheets tonight or tomorrow? Should I get up early for the gym or wait until the evening? Man my shoulders are sore. How is it that so many churches are filled with cynics and educated people and people with questions and yet nobody seems to be able to give any real answers to anything? Should I still pursue getting to know her? Or her? Or her? What does epignosis work out to mean in that passage? Is it too late to vaccum the basement?

and so on...and so on...

yeah. I have to put up a post for Camille too...I haven't forgot. I just cannot blog at work anymore because my boss didn't like it. That means that by the time I get home to actually do the post, I cannot remember what I was going to say. Hence the blogging drought. Anywho, check out my tech blog and enjoy the Chuck Norris Jokes for the next while, until I get something good up here. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Something strange I never noticed...

Man...I've been posting on my other blog for a while and had playing streaming music videos on my TV, for background music and also to kinda keep my up on pop culture (a tiny bit). Anyway, I had some country stuff playing and I couldn't help but notice how around half of them were quite religious in nature. Carrrie Underwood singing "Jesus take the wheel", or Brooks and Dunn commenting on how they now "believe", or Gretchen Wilson commenting on how she's politically incorrect in liking the Bible. Anyway, I always knew that country music was more in touch with the 'common folk', what with it being a form of folk music. I just didn't really realize how religious the common folk still were. Interesting. Maybe I will make a career for myself in country music. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Where along the way did we forget...

...that we are in a war?

...that God can see through a roof?

...that wicked men know how to smile?

...that we have something to smile about?

...that some things are worth fighting for?

...that having 'balance' isn't a biblical command?

...that people with PhD's take just as long to find Waldo as the rest of us?

...that humility and good intentions are no substitute for education and ability?

...that 'being nice' isn't the same as 'being holy'?

...that it's not possible to be 'too much like Jesus'?

...that God is smarter than everyone in the whole wide world?

...that the Bible is true?

...that life isn't always supposed to be 'all fun and games'?

...that hell is real?

...that 'new' doesn't equal 'better'?

...that 'tradition' doesn't equal 'biblical'?

...that people who lived before you did might be smarter than you are?

...that all this idiocy has happened 29 times before and has been totally dealt with by those old, dead, smart people?

...that having money doesn't make someone wise or godly?

...that having questions doesn't automatically make someone a troublemaker?

...that having answers doesn't automatically make someone a Pharisee?

...that we need to love each other?

I'm on the verge of going nuts. More thoughts need to happen and a few significant changes are going to come in my life right now. I might even drop some ambiguity sometimes...though with the reading audience I have, that most likely wouldn't be wise. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian