Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On Science and Christianity

I know, I wasn't planning on writing much this summer, but this is a topic that has been weighing on my mind, and I was so excited, I just had to write down what I was thinking. 

We were very excited to have Ken Ham speaking at a church in our area one recent Sunday, and I was very stirred by his message. It clarified what I had been pondering over the past few months, and gave me renewed determination and courage to stand for what I believe.

For those who might not have heard of Ken Ham, he is a Christian scientist who believes in a 6-day creation period and an earth that's about 6,000 years old. He founded Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry to help equip Christians to defend our faith and share the gospel effectively. His ministry built the Creation Museum (which I still haven't visited yet) and their latest project is building a full-size reproduction of the Ark. Yes, Noah's Ark.

Why is Genesis so important? See, our society currently is pushing "scientific" things like an earth that's millions or billions of years old, and evolution as a "fact." The sad thing is, that so many Christians think that we can just fit that in with the Bible. We feel pressured to, because as Ken Ham pointed out, if you do not accept the current scientific beliefs as true, you will be ridiculed, mocked, scorned, called names like "anti-intellectual" and worse. We have our pride. No one wants to experience all those unpleasant consequences for nothing. So we've begun to wonder, why is the Genesis account of creation so important, anyway?

Well, answering that question was basically Ken Ham's entire message, and I'm not going to try to replicate all of it in a blog post. The part that really grabbed my attention most was his extremely popular castle illustration. I've seen it before, but this time it fit so perfectly with what I'd been mulling over, it was a light-bulb sort of moment!


Notice that the cannonballs aren't aimed at our little "Christian" flag. Satan doesn't care if we call ourselves "Christians" as long as our faith in God (and His word) isn't thriving. As a matter of fact, I think one of the deceptive places Satan likes to have people is smugly thinking that they are Christians when they actually aren't, so they can ignore the gospel message and arrogantly believe whatever they want in the name of Christ. Look at the little Christian guy in the diagram firing his cannon at the castle's foundation. That's what Satan can trick fake Christians, or even just weak Christians into doing. It's a stealthy attack on Christianity.

Really, I don't think it actually a very sneaky attack, we're just not doing a very good job being "wise as serpents" (Matt. 10:16)  If you think about it, it's obvious that the attack on Genesis doesn't stop with Genesis, the attack is on Biblical authority versus modern "scientific" authority. Current science says the earth is really old, the Bible says the earth is relatively young. If we fit in the millions of years, what's to stop them from convincing us to reinterpret other things with a modern secular science viewpoint?

It's already happening, just look at the churches in our country: homosexuality is spreading quickly, and becoming acceptable even among Christians. The Bible says homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22), dishonorable and debased (Romans 1:26-28), but "science" and modern society claim that people are born homosexual, and that their unnatural behavior should be accepted as good. Pedophilia and bestiality are on the way, folks. Don't even get me started on transsexuals.

How far will we let them go? As Christians, we have a faith that is founded on and surrounded by things that cannot and should not be explained scientifically. For example, my family has been studying Genesis 17-21 lately, and how the birth of Isaac was pointing toward the miraculous birth of Jesus. Sarah was 90 years old (Gen 17:17), she was past menopause (18:11) and she had been barren her entire life. How scientifically possible is it that she could bear a child?! But nothing is impossible with God. (Matt. 19:26) How scientifically possible is it that a virgin could conceive our Savior? And yet it was prophesied (Isaiah 7:14) and fulfilled in Jesus (Luke 1:34-35).

If we reinterpret everything in the Bible so that it fits with science, we end up with a Savior who was "just a good man." He couldn't have been fully man and fully God, because that's not scientific. He couldn't have healed the lame, sick, and blind, raised the dead or cast out demons (I don't think demons are even scientific in the first place) with just a word, a touch. He couldn't have taken our sins upon himself, he couldn't have died and then ROSE from the dead! That doesn't happen scientifically!

Romans 4:16-25 says:

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness[c] of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (emphasis mine)



So ultimately, the question isn't actually "how important is Genesis?" but rather: "who will you choose to believe?" Do you believe God, or science? Where is your faith? Is your faith in God's word, or man's explanation? Friends, we must be strong in faith, and able to defend and believe the Bible above science. If we don't, our foundation will crumble, and we'll lose our faith. Science can only be as knowledgeable as the men who study it, but we have the word of God, He who created everything, and who has supernatural power outside of human constraints. Which do you choose?


18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. - John 15:18-19

Jesus warned us that the world would hate us. We can't be true Christians and fit in with the world.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:18 

They will call us many horrible names, and say terrible things about us. That's just light persecution. Someday we might be tortured and killed for our beliefs. Are you ready to take some verbal abuse? In Acts 5, the apostles were beaten for telling people about Jesus. Verse 41 says that they left after their beating "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name." For the name of our Savior. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9
 

14 comments:

  1. Wow! That's so cool that Ken Ham came to speak at your church! We've been supporting the AiG ministry for many years, and even went to the Creation Museum when it was first opened. It was amazing! We hope to take our kids there on our next big family vacation. I got my science curriculum from them this year, and it has been my son's favorite subject so far.

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    1. I can't wait to go to the Creation museum! I hope we'll get there soon, but we might wait until the Ark is finished. We've been wanting to go for years, but haven't made it yet.

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  2. Lizzie, I know that we completely disagree on all of this stuff, but there are two issues here I cannot remain silent on. It is *completely unacceptable* to imply - in any way - that consensual same-sex intercourse is connected to child molestation and/or the abuse of animals. Homosexual relationships are between two people who are both *agreeing and wanting* what is occurring (regardless of the value judgment attached to the behavior). Pedophilia is the abuse of a child who is powerless to fight back, both physically and emotionally. Bestiality is the abuse of animals who are verbally not capable of giving consent. Please do NOT talk about homosexuality in the same sentence, paragraph, or blog post as pedophilia and bestiality.

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    1. Becca, since you know that we disagree I am surprised that you think you have the right to assert that it's "completely unacceptable" for me to say what I have said. I can (more rightfully) assert that it is completely unacceptable for you, as someone who claims to be a Christian, to go around defending homosexuality when it is clearly condemned as sinful in the Bible. As a Christian, I will only consider reprimands from other Christians based on Scripture, not personal opinion or what is "socially acceptable." Therefore, I will continue to consider homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality as similar, and reserve the right to include them in the same blog post, paragraph, or sentence whenever I choose.

      I am willing, not only to imply, but to directly state that homosexual behavior has much more similarity to bestiality and pedophilia than otherwise: all three are all perversions of God's design for sex, they are all condemned as sinful in the Bible, they are all physically damaging and unhealthy for at least one party. Certainly, they can be lined up in a progression; homosexuality, by human standards, is arguably less wrong than pedophilia and bestiality for the reason that you explained, but they are all sin in God's eyes, and all are part of the category of sexual immorality. I think homosexuality just leads the way in the decline.

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    3. There is a HUGE difference, and the difference is consent. In other words, can and do all parties enter into the sex act as fully informed persons who are signing on of their own volition to the act about to take place?

      Sex without consent is morally wrong— I think we can all agree on that. There are a number of situations in which sex cannot, by definition, be consensual.

      One might argue, for example, that you cannot fully consent to sex with your boss, your teacher, your doctor, your priest, or anyone else who is in authority over you, because the balance of power is skewed. A person who is profoundly mentally handicapped (to a point where they are not developmentally an adult) also cannot consent to sex, neither can someone who’s severely intoxicated, passed out, or has a gun to their head. (Note: this list of circumstances in which consent is impossible is by no means exhaustive; these are just examples.)

      Arguably the two groups who are the most incapable of giving informed consent to any sex act are children and animals. Children and animals, by definition, cannot consent to sex. Animals cannot communicate well enough with humans to have a conversation about sex, boundaries, consent, and so forth. There is a power differential between an adult and a minor that makes consent impossible in that situation. Having sex with a child or an animal is a form of abuse, and rightly so, because one party can consent to the sex act in question and the other cannot.

      Homosexual sex between consenting adults, on the other hand, is really no different from heterosexual sex between consenting adults.

      (We’re assuming, of course, that all participants are at least 18, there is no major power differential, boundaries have been clearly established that are amenable to all parties, proper safety measures are in place, and all parties are fully aware of their own and each other’s STD status.)

      As an adult (I’m twenty-two), I am capable of consenting to a sex act with most other adults most of the time. (Exceptions would be the ones we’ve already discussed: my priest, my professor, my doctor, my boss, etc. or if I was super drunk, roofied, unconscious, coerced, etc.) I am capable of saying, “Yes, I would like to x, y, and z with this person” or “No, I do not consent to do x, y, and z with this person.” or “I would like to do x and y with this person, but not z.” and I can do so as a fully cognizant decision-maker. I am capable of weighing the pros and cons, as well as my own feelings and desires, and making my own decision.

      Now, whether this hypothetical person with whom I am consenting to engage in certain sexual acts is male or female has no bearing on whether or not she (or he) and I are engaging in a consensual act. In the end, religious views aside, what ultimately defines whether a sex act is moral or immoral is whether both parties can and do give full, informed consent to the act in question.

      All forms of rape— whether we’re talking about stranger rape, marital rape, date rape, acquaintance rape, or the two examples you gave (pedophilia or bestiality)— are inherently immoral because they involve a party who does not or cannot consent. That’s really not a difficult concept. Sex with a child cannot, by definition, be consensual, and is therefore inherently immoral. Sex with an animal cannot, by definition, be consensual, and is therefore inherently immoral. Sex in any situation where there are not two consenting equals but a perpetrator and a victim is inherently immoral.

      Bottom line: Sex that is not consensual is inherently immoral.

      Consensual sex that you personally happen to think is kind of icky— whether for religious or other reasons— is not inherently immoral.

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    4. A child who is raped has committed no sin, just as an adult who is raped has committed no sin. However, anyone who engages in any activity which God says is sinful has committed sin, whether they did so with warm, fuzzy feelings or not.

      It does not matter if a human being finds something icky or not, what matters is whether or not the Bible says it is a sin. In I Timothy, for instance, homosexuality is listed as a sin, along with lawbreaking, rebellion, killing your father or mother, murder, sexual immorality, slave trading, and lying, and perjury. The Bible doesn't say any of those is worse than any other, it says they are all contrary to sound doctrine, all ways of being sinners.

      Look at some of the things listed there. Homosexuality is equated with lying. Lying is just as much of a sin as homosexuality, as murder. The Bible says, in James, that if someone obeys all of God's laws except one part of it, they are just as guilty of sin as someone who has transgressed all of God's laws. So a liar is as much a sinner as a murderer or a homosexual or a rapist or a thief or a person who habitually takes God's name in vain. In God's eyes, all are equally guilty.

      Which means we're all guilty. Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Which is why all people need a savior, who is Christ, the LORD.

      People say homosexuality is not a choice, it's something they're born with. People can also be born with a genetic predisposition for addiction. Kleptomaniacs have a mental problem they are born with. Does that mean it's okay to be a drunk or an addict, or to steal, just because you were born with a desire to do so? If you're born with a terrible temper, is it okay to beat your kids? If you're born with a desire to have sex with little girls, is that okay? This is the slippery slope -- not that two consenting adults doing whatever they feel like doing is the same as a child being raped, but that if "I was born this way" because the reason "it's okay to do what God says is a sin," then who's going to pick and choose which of those desires people were born with is wrong? Either we believe that what God says is wrong, or we end up believing nothing is wrong.

      Lizzie -- I'm sorry for hijacking your comments. If you want to delete this, you can.

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    5. Ah, yes. The "clobber passages". Every literal-inerrantist's favorite way to use the Bible as a weapon. I refer you to this amazingly well-done post by a good friend of mine, which looks at each of these passages as a biblical scholar:
      http://gaychristian.tumblr.com/clobberpassages

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    6. You've got me! I believe that the Bible is inerrant, that when it says something is a sin, it literally is a sin. I refer you to Martin Luther: "I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God."

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    7. Great response, Hamlette! I appreciate you taking the time to type all of that out so fully, you said exactly what I wanted to say much better than I could have said it! =)

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    8. Okay, then by your definition of what it means to be a Christian, you are free to consider me NOT one. I have no desire to be that kind of Christian, if it means condemning my non-straight friends and equating their relationships to the abuse of children or animals. To me, the love and acceptance of Christ is a far more powerful message than the 6 passages that appear to address homosexuality. (In actuality, they really don't refer to it because there was no concept of sexual orientation 2,000 years ago (same-sex intercourse was seen as the result of excessive lust by men who also had sex with women), and there *was* no cultural equivalent to loving, committed, mutually-consenting same-sex relationships like we have today.)

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    9. The gay-rights agenda has done a great job convincing our society that a homosexual is defined by their sin, and therefore, if a Christian dares to say that homosexuality is a sin, immediately all the gay supporters insist that you're "hating" gay people because of their sin. I am not condemning all the people who claim to be homosexuals, because I don’t believe that their sinful desire is a part of who they are – I believe they can be free from their sin, just like anyone else who is saved is free from their own sins. I refuse to inexorably link a person with their sin. God is able to love and accept everyone today because Jesus died to separate us from our sin, but sin is still not acceptable to God, and those who do not repent of their sin and receive God’s free gift will not be forgiven.

      There is no such thing as a "loving" homosexual relationship today, because as I already mentioned earlier, homosexual "sex" is extremely damaging and that CAN NOT be considered loving to cause damage to your partner. I believe that because of a lack of faith and belief in the Bible Satan has been able to deceive our society into accepting homosexuality as another way of “loving” but no matter how it’s packaged, sin is sin. Your contorted view of the Bible is based on man’s flawed scientific reasoning (which is what my entire blog post was actually about) and you’re trying to make popular opinion fit with the Bible instead of taking the Bible as the ultimate authority. That one major disagreement (as you pointed out at the beginning of our friendship) is going to be the basis for almost everything we disagree about.

      I came across this scripture lately and thought it fit our society's problems.
      Isaiah 5:20-21: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!”

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  3. Becca, to add to what Lizzie was saying, there was an equivilant in the day....Plato writes a billion times about male to male relationships in the Greek world....so even from a secular perspective I don't get your point about it not being cultural from that period. Homosexual relationships were very much a cultural thing there, some even seen by the pagan world as a deeper love than a male to female. Note the pagan part as I don't really believe this to be the case, but there are whole passages in...I believe The Symposium, though it's been a while since I've opened my Plato....about homosexuality and it's levels. So your point about cultural isn't even valid since it was clearly cultural....

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  4. Totally unrelated, but I tagged you with The Janeite Tag. Play if you want to!

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