Scientific Protestants dissenting from the Church of Darwin

Protestants are to the Roman Catholic Church what David Berlinski is to Darwinism.

In scientific observation we have but one Master, the natural universe, and it is our only acknowledged creed-book. I have endeavored to observe materials in the natural universe as though no one had seen them before me and I am as much on my guard against observing it today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever, especially the dogmatism of Darwinism.

Click on the picture of David Berlinski below to see the video and join in the dissension.

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What is the proper relationship between religion and the government?

Is it the complete separation between church and state? Even Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists didn’t completely define the “wall” he talked about.  The wall itself seems to be penetrated at times by Jefferson’s own words in the Declaration of Independence which reveals that the source of life, freedom, and man’s ability to be happy comes from the Creator.

In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance allowed for the creation of five states, of which, Ohio was first. The ordinance states, “No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.” This predates the First Amendment to the US Constitution which was adopted in 1791. This ordinance provided for religious freedom in the territory. It further states that religion and morality are to be taught. Article three says, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” From reading the ordinance, it is obvious that this “religion and morality” was taught in public schools and paid for with public taxes.

The constitution of Massachusetts written in 1780 by John Adams asserts, “As the happiness of a people and the good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality, and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community but by the institution of the public worship of God and of the public instructions in piety, religion, and morality.” It goes on to instruct that groups, political bodies, and religious societies should carry out this public worship authorized through the legislature.

Are these legal documents breaching the “wall of separation” that Jefferson talks about? Do they violate the First Amendment? Or do these writers and framers of legal documents and constitutions understand better than we do the proper relationship between church and state? A comparison of public scenes from the 18th century and today shows us that the former had greater religious freedom than the modern people of today. I postulate that this wall of separation as is thought of in the modern sense actually inhibits the freedom of expression and freedom of worship. If you doubt my statement and begin to invoke the undefined “wall”, consider if you will ever hear in your lifetime, a speech from a government official with these words:

“I congratulate the people of the United States on the assembling of Congress at the permanent seat of their government; and I congratulate you, gentlemen, on the prospect of a residence not to be exchanged. It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the universe and imploring his blessing. You will consider it as the capitol of a great nation, advancing with unexampled rapidity in arts, in commerce, in wealth, and in population, and possessing within itself those resources which, if not thrown away or lamentably misdirected, will secure to it a long course of prosperity and self-government. May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears, be forever held in veneration! Here, and throughout our country, may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion forever flourish.”

–  John Adams, November25, 1800, the year the first Congress opened session in the Capitol.

I submit to you, the reader, we have lost some freedom when any religious expression in public places and public institutions is allowed to be defeated by a “wall”.

Separation of Church and State

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YES! I Believe in GOD!

“so you believe in the total god that tells us to stone our disrespectful children to death, dash babies against the rocks, etc?”

YES I believe in him! ALL of him, not just the part you talk about. Most of all, I believe in ALL the character of God which allows me to understand harsh laws in light of God’s perfect holiness and our evil choices. How can a perfect being allow any corruption to dwell with him? Those laws you talk of were a device to show the Israelites that NO ONE is “good” in the eyes of the Lord, and the smallest, most miniscule infraction against him (if there was no grace or mercy) should be met with death and separation from God forever. The law was given to illustrate that. It was our “teacher” to bring us to Jesus who took the punishment for the miniscule infractions that separated us. *It showed us that we cannot hope to reach God on our own by following laws.* It is by his mercy, love, and grace that we are saved through faith. And even that faith is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God. *No longer are we required to follow a list of do’s and don’ts which was never able to save us anyway.* Praise God that he provided a way!

So, go ahead and talk about stoning, it just illustrates the great gulf between you and God. Take the next step, and accept what God has done to bridge the gap.

A Changing God

I do not necessarily believe the following:

When did God decide that he would send His Son to die for our sins? The Bible says he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20) It would seem that God decided this before man took of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But maybe not. Which world was God talking about? Some people claim there are two worlds mentioned in the Bible, an old world and a new world. 2 Peter 2:5 mentions an old world. This old world was the world before the flood. The new world was the world after the flood. Psalm 24:1-2 says this new world was established on the floods.

So here’s how his works:

  1. God had one plan for creation from the beginning.
  2. Adam sinned.
  3. Man became depraved.
  4. God saw his plan was not working anymore.
  5. God sent the flood to destroy everything making a new world.
  6. God started over with a new plan. (Jesus dying for our sins)

However, the earth may have been established on the floods from the beginning of creation as suggested by this video that discusses the hydroplate theory:

So… what’s the point of believing there are two worlds?

Maybe God didn’t know that man was going to sin. And God didn’t necessarily put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there to give man a choice. I’m sure that was part of it, but God may have intended for man to eventually eat of the fruit once he had matured. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not inherently wrong. The tree didn’t bring death. Man’s actions did. Death came by sin. This may be illustrated by the following story of a little girl riding in a car with her father. She asks, “What is sex daddy?” Her father said nothing but continued the journey and eventually parked the car. He got out and asked his daughter to carry his briefcase. She pulled the briefcase out of the car and it fell heavily to the ground. She tried to pick it up but could not do so. As he watched this struggle her father replied, “Some things are too much for you to handle at this age. Just like this briefcase some subjects you will not be able to carry correctly till you mature.”

So, God may have intended for us to eat of the tree of knowledge at a certain time in the future.

Conversely, the tree of life was supposed to make man live forever. Both trees were in the midst of the garden. The principle follows that when I would do good, evil is present with me. If Adam was to choose the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was there as well. This leads me to believe that Adam had not eaten of the tree of life because man obviously does not live forever. Gen 3:22 further relates that man should not be allowed to eat of the tree of life because then he would live forever in sin. The power of life was apparently more potent than death. However, the ban might have eventually been lifted on the tree of knowledge once man had matured.

I said all this to say that God may have waited to see what man would do before he decided to send his son to die for us. But does this mean he didn’t know what man was going to do? This thought seems to violate a natural attribute of God: Omniscience (all-knowing). So… God doesn’t know the future? What am I saying?

God gave man freewill, the ability to choose. Man is the wild card of creation choosing this or that at whim. However, God does know your thoughts before you think them as evidenced in Psalms 139. Could not God have known what Adam was going to think and know he was going to sin? But if this is true, then God provided the tree planning that man would sin and accordingly, Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the “old world.”

What if it is true that God had one plan for the old world and a replacement plan for the new world. Does God change like that? Does he know the future or choose not to know? The Bible has a few stories where God changes his mind.

  1. God was going to destroy the Israelites and Moses stopped him. (Exodus 32:9-14)
  2. God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh but changed his mind after they repented. (The Book of Jonah)
  3. God divorced Israel and said he would take them back if they repented. Jeremiah 3:8-11
  4. God changes people from the outside in (Old Testament), God changes people from the inside out (New Testament)

It would seem that God’s mind can be changed by the will of man. Let me stress before we go any further that God’s character doesn’t change but his actions can be changed. I don’t know how that works if God knows the future though. It may be that this is just the way that God likes to do things: i. e. Wait and see what man is going to do.

So here are my questions to the reader:

  1. Did God change plans?
  2. If God changed plans, what was his first plan?
  3. Are there really two worlds?
  4. What do you think about the Hydroplate Theory?
  5. Does this really affect our lives?

A Kink in Evolution

Christian evolutionists believe that God created the world and evolution is the way in which he did it. I just have one question, well maybe more. At what point in time during the evolutionary process did we stand in need of salvation? I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days and I have my own theories about what Christian Evolutionists may think. I apoligize for my lack of research in this area. Usually I take from a few sources and form an opinion. However, before I share my own I would like to hear from the reader. A further question on top of the previous is: Would this mean that the species leading up to humans were without sin? At what point did sin enter the world? Does this mean the Bible is to be taken figuratively?

Do the Amish Party?

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Rumspringa (pronounced Room-shpring-a) Definition: Running around.

The Amish are a group of people who want to be different from the world. They want to let their light shine through the life they live. They don’t actively convert others to their religion. To them, a simple life that forsakes all vanity speaks for itself. Cable TV, Xbox 360’s and other gaming systems, alcohol, smoking, and even electricity are considered to be distractions that will take value away from their lives. Amish folks do not question the traditions of the church. They are content to be satisfied with the way things have always been. “Idol hands are the Devil’s workshop” is a concept they use to keep themselves busy so as not to think of or do vain things.

Generally, when you see an Amish person they are driving a horse and buggy. The faster pace of the world with their fast cars and places they have to be as quick as possible is quite foreign. The slower pace of life allows them time to meditate on God and evaluate their ways in order to be what God wants them to be.

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You have to commend them for being consistent. Generally, a religious person follows church culture on Sundays and lives in the world culture on the following Monday. At the very least, the Amish way is a consistent way to live your life. The Amish key verse is I John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

 Amish School Reopening

Amish children are dealt with in an interesting way. Until 8th grade, most Amish children are in a one-room schoolhouse. They drop out after 8th grade and get jobs. Up until the age of 16, they have no contact with the outside world. During this time, the parents bring up the children the way they think they should live their lives, and try to instill in them the values of the Amish.

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You may wonder how they have managed to stay the same throughout the years. Virtually no one questions the church or tries to change the way they do things. This is accomplished in part by a period in the Amish life called “rumspringa”. After Amish children reach the age of 16, they go out into the “English” world to experience what it is like. It’s during this time that they either choose to join the Amish church or leave it forever. This period could last anywhere from a few months to a few years. The decision is very hard for many. To leave the Amish church is to forget everything you have ever done: forget your family, church, work, friends, and your community.

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This “dabbling” in the outside world is like playing with fire. The boys dress English and drive cars. The girls typically do not. If there isn’t a party around, then they make one. Within minutes, word spreads that a party is on and Amish adolescents from miles around, and even from other states, jump in their newly acquired cars to attend a party that could number in a few hundred to a thousand. These parties include alcohol, smoking, sex, rock music, gaming, and sometimes drugs like methamphetamines. Sometimes the parties are held in a parent’s backyard. The parent has knowledge of what goes on and does nothing to stop it, for the Amish adolescents must be free to make their own choices. However, if an Amish person were to die during the time of rumspringa, hell is their destination. An Amish preacher commented on this belief and quoted “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”

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And for all that they do, the Amish children know that the church will take them back unconditionally. And the Amish church reports that currently 90% of all rumspringa adolescents come back to the church, which is the highest percentage reported thus far. When they come back they are baptized into the church and make a promise to God to follow the rules of the church for life. The ones that leave the church, choose material things and the “English” way of life over their own families.

 But is this a good practice for the Amish people? On the positive side, at least their young people are given a choice. You can’t say they are forced into their religion. However, age 16 is a time of great inner pubescent turmoil.

It does raise the question of how to keep your children in the same faith that you have as they get older.

Erik Erikson had no formal training in psychology, but was trained to be a psychoanalyst by Sigmund Freud. He stated that people pass though eight psychosocial stages in their lifetime. At each stage, there is a crisis to be resolved. The stage I am concerned with is Stage 5, which ranges from age 12 to 18. Erikson says that the question “Who am I” becomes important during this time. To answer it, adolescents increasingly turn away from parents and toward peer groups. Erikson believed that during adolescence the individual’s rapidly changing physiology, coupled with the pressures to make decisions about future education and career, creates the need to question and redefine the psychosocial identity established during the earlier stages. Teenagers experiment with various sexual, occupational, and educational roles as they try to find out who they are and who they can be. This new sense of self is a reassembly or an alignment due to the resolutions of the previous crisis and the new opportunities that are now afforded them. This will contribute to the final stage of development where the individual will look back over his or her life and accept the accomplishments, failures, and limitations that have occurred. Of course, some will be filled with regret at the way they have lived their lives.

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So, how do we deal with our young ones if we want them to grow up right? In my experience as a Christian, almost everyone has fallen away from the faith at some point in time. But this “Crisis of Faith” is not limited to the young ages. I have a friend who recently went through a crisis of faith and she is around 29 years old. She began to question what truth is and did not accept the Bible answer. The problem is that by that time she was already settled in life, had a husband, and a job, and now all that is in jeopardy. There is too much collateral damage for a crisis of faith later on in life.

 Why don’t people develop their faith personally at a young age? Well, many reasons pervade in the current day, but I believe there is a main reason: Erikson states that parents who are overly restrictive and harsh give their children a sense of powerlessness and incompetence, which can lead to shame and doubt in one’s abilities. If you aren’t given the chance to make a decision, chances are the decision is made for you. You roll through life following the beliefs that aren’t really your beliefs but you haven’t realized it yet. If you did, it would be the beginning of your crisis of faith.

Knowing that the crisis of faith is advantageous at a young age, how then as parents do we proceed? Usually, between the ages of 18 months to 3 years old is when a child starts to develop his own system of doing things. A child at this stage has the dual desire to hold on and to let go. Parents who allow their children to roam freely while at the same time provide an ever present guiding hand help the child to develop a sense of autonomy (self-governing). Now really, are they self governing at that point? No. But you can allow them chances to make their own decisions in certain situations. After all, we as parents know what our children can and cannot do. (At least, if we are looking for that kind of thing.) As the child grows older and reaches the teenage years, allow them to gradually increase in responsibility and freedom. As a parent, know that someday they will probably have a crisis of faith. And the Christianity that you want them so badly to hold on to… foster their minds to question it and be ready to answer those questions. Better it be you than someone else. Show them your faith is true, and teach them to recognize a lie. At least they will have the tools to deal with their crisis of faith properly.

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Decaffeinated Please!

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For all you people who take everything so literally, this next section is satirical.

 I do not drink coffee in church. It’s a cultural thing. Other people do it, therefore I must stray away from it. Some churches accept this culture and drink their coffee black. Still others, are even more liberal and like it with sugar and even some cream. They do this all in the name of being culturally relevant. I wouldn’t be surprised if those churches started allowing espressos in their services. I tell you, these people with their fast ideas and their caffeinated theology, they’re are all about the quick relationship with God. They know nothing of spending real personal time with their creator. That’s why these folks have itching ears, always learning but never experiencing the truth. I’m glad my church doesn’t drink coffee. Water is all we need. After all, Jesus didn’t give the woman at the well coffee.