Archive for the ‘Atheism’ Category

Unseen & Evil

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 by Matthew Brake

The more I talk to friends who do not share my faith and who lean towards critical realism, empiricism, and logical positivism, the more I realize that there are two problems with my faith.

1. I can’t see God.

I can’t prove God exists. I can infer that God exists because of the grandeur of the universe, but an atheist looks at the vastness of the universe and sees a cold, harsh place that doesn’t seem to point to a personal God.

I can appeal perhaps to personal religious experiences which have been formative for me, but when I look at many of those experiences, while they were personally encouraging to me, they could be as open to interpretation as the ending ofPan’s Labyrinth. (Was she crazy or did she see something? Who knows).

I can appeal to the miracles that friends of mine claim to have performed/seen–but am I unspiritual to wonder if they’re exaggerating?

Even if they were, I can understand the incredulity of someone listening to a third person account of such an event.

The biblical writers seem to ponder the invisible nature of God (warnings against idolatry, Paul’s comments in 2 Corinthians 4:18, Hebrews 11:1, etc.), but is that enough when you’re trying to have meaningful conversation about God with friends who only trust the scientific method (which evaluates the physical seen world)?

 2. The universe is harsh.

Evil, pain, and suffering exist in the world, and if you buy into theistic evolution and an old earth (disclaimer: I do), then you’re left with the problem that for 100,000 years before Abraham, people were dying at 25 of hunger, disease, and brutality.

 Does this point to a loving and benevolent God?

The Hebrews had a couple of different ways of processing evil in the world.

One way was proverbial wisdom (if you do right things, life goes well. If you do bad things, not so much).

Another way of dealing with evil was contemplative wisdom.

Contemplative wisdom acknowledges life as it actually is.

It readily admits that sometimes, no matter how many right things you do, good people still suffer.

Ecclesiastes pretty much says, “None of this makes sense. Obey God anyway.”

Job concludes, “Good people suffer. If God’s real, then shut your mouth.”

This can help one to see that the Bible (thankfully) offers no pat answers to the problem of evil, but it can leave a person dissatisfied.

 Now What?

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Confessions of an Evolving Christian

Saturday, April 24th, 2010 by Jason Wermuth

For the past few months I have been thinking a lot about the issue of evolution and the Church. Many Christians today are wholly sold on the idea that evolution is a giant lie perpetuated by the new atheists and angry scientists who hate God. I actually bought into that idea until I started to meet and hear many Christian intellectuals who had no problem reconciling their beliefs with a concurrent acceptance that evolution is simply the method that God used to do the work of creation. My immediate reaction to this idea was a series of “what-ifs”: What if God did not actually breathe the literal breath of life into Adam’s nostrils at the moment of creation? What if Adam was not the first man? What if we had a common ancestor? What if what I have been taught for years was wrong? The questions kept coming and so I began a search for answers. Many of these questions were addressed in the video discussion last Sunday, on Mike DiFuccia’s post, so I will not recap his highlights, but I do want to discuss my journey thus far and where I am right now. I hope you will enter into the discussion (with charity) and perhaps we can think about this issue together as we all seek God’s truth wherever it is found.

In my quest for truth, I first came to acquaint myself with the Intelligent Design (ID) movement. I immediately thought, “these guys must have the answers!” They are (mainly) Godly  people who are also world class scientists and philosophers. After watching films such as Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and Unlocking the Mystery of Life and reading many articles on the issue, I was more or less convinced that the Intelligent Design argument was at least worthy of listening to more. As I did more research, however, I came across many scientists, many of whom happened to be Christian, who questioned the conclusions of the ID movement. One such scientist was Francis Collins who recently wrote The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. In this book, Collins outlines his proposal for theistic evolution, which he calls BioLogos. From here I began reading material from his BioLogos foundation and was surprised to find that there are actually many evangelical Christian scientists, biblical scholars and pastors who adhere to the BioLogos explanation of theistic evolution. In a video on YouTube, Collins made a staggering statement that I had heard from many atheists, but never from a scientist who was Christian, he states that “[Evolution] is a theory in the same sense the gravity is a theory.” I can understand a scientist who is not a Christian making such a claim, but I had to try to figure out why a committed Christian, who also happens to be a world renowned Geneticist and former head of the Human Genome Project, would also need to make such a claim; why not simply accept the ID arguments? Furthermore, why does a Christian, who happens to be a scientist, start a foundation to try to help Christians understand why their faith in God does not require them to deny the “facts” of evolution? These are not questions that I have the answer to yet, but I think that we as Christians need to begin to pay close attention to these sort of developments and not bury our heads in the sand.

Click below to continue reading (it gets better):

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Did Darwin Kill God?

Sunday, April 18th, 2010 by Michael DiFuccia

Last year the BBC aired, “Did Darwin Kill God?”  The program is narrated by Conor Cunningham, assistant director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. Cunningham, who claims to be a Christian, also refers to himself an “admirer” of Charles Darwin, and believes that creationism and intelligent design are “nonsense.”

Below is an excerpt from the synopsis of the program found on the BBC website:

“There are some who believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution has weakened religion, fuelled in part by Richard Dawkins’ publishing phenomenon The God Delusion. Conor Cunningham argues that nothing could be further from the truth.

Cunningham is a firm believer in the theory of evolution, but he is also a Christian. He believes that the clash between Darwin and God has been hijacked by extremists – fundamentalist believers who reject evolution on one side, and fundamentalist atheists on the other. Cunningham attempts to overturn what he believes are widely held but mistaken assumptions in the debate between religion and evolution.

He travels to the Middle East where he shows that from the very outset, Christianity warned against literal readings of the biblical story of creation. In Britain, he reveals that, at the time, Darwin’s theory of evolution was welcomed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches. Instead, he argues that the conflict between Darwin and God was manufactured by American creationists in the 20th century for reasons that had very little to do with science and religion and a great deal to do with politics and morality.

Finally, he comes face to face with some of the most eminent evolutionary biologists, geneticists and philosophers of our time to examine whether the very latest advances in evolutionary theory do in fact kill God.”

The full program can be found here on youtube.

So….what do you think about what Cunningham is proposing? Does he have a point? Or do you believe that just as all creationists are theists and all evolutionists are atheists?