Those of you with particularly acute memories may recall our old friend Paul Cohen. He runs an evangelical website
and engaged with me in a sort of dialog about evolution and religion. I say a "sort of dialog" because, in all honesty, I'm not convinced that we're communicating terribly well. If you don't remember this, that's okay, because the last exchange
was way back in July of 2007. Don't worry, I had to look it up too. As you might guess, I had come to the conclusion that Mr. Cohen and I had concluded our conversation since I hadn't heard from him in about two years.* It goes without saying that, in this, I was wrong as I recently received an e-mail from Mr. Cohen that rather circuitously pointed me to a page where he has been archiving his "debates" with a number of other internet personalities.**CORRECTION:
Mr. Cohen has sent me another e-mail asserting that he originally made me aware of this response back in 2007. As I said, I went back through my old e-mails and couldn't find it so I'm just going to assume that it got sucked into my junkmail folder and I didn't notice. Given that his most recent response to me (of today) also ended up there, I think this totally plausible.
In any case, I apparently have quite a prominent place on this website:
And, to quote the marked section:
Some evolutionists may not be lacking in intelligence, but all are lacking in spiritual life that comes from the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. What follows is a discussion with professed atheist, Drek, about how his arguments for evolution collapse because essential components, beginning with God, are missing. Drek’s unbelief and other forms of entropy are no match for the power of Christ. By laying down His life and raising it from the dead, He is the Creator and Sustainer of all life.
“If He sets His heart on man, if He gathers to Himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to dust” (Job 34:14-15 MKJV).
Leaving aside the reference to "unbelief" as "entropy," a perversion of the concepts that makes my head ache, I was curious and hit the link for "The Organizing, Sustaining Power of God." As you might guess, it led to me a transcript of our discussion
with one little difference: it includes a new response to my last post.
Now, at this point I found myself torn. On the one hand, after reading this response I am essentially convinced that any further debate between Mr. Cohen and myself is- in a word- futile. The reasons will become clear if you read his reply. For those without that kind of time, I will sum it up by saying that Mr. Cohen is so convinced of the worthlessness of human reason that there is simply no way to have a discussion about the subject of evolution with him. I rather suspect that he would claim that I am so blinded by sin that it's equally pointless to have the discussion with me but, hey, since he keeps coming along and bugging me I think I'm free to consider this discussion to be- as a whole- his fault.*** In any case, given the pointlessness of further engagement, I really wasn't sure I wanted to spend time reacting to his most recent commentary. On the other hand, my fetish for honesty and fairness leads me to think that if he has taken to time to respond, then I should at least post his response here. And if I do that, I may as well comment on it. And so, dear readers, you find yourself imperiled by the continuation of a conversation from two years ago. Goodie.
You pretty much know the drill- his stuff is block-quoted, mine isn't. If he is quoting my earlier comments I will attempt to bold within the block quotes but, hey, no promises. I'm nothing if not lazy.
And so it begins...
Although we have different viewpoints, because coming from different places spiritually (Heavenly vs. earthly), I appreciate your civility, and the consideration you have given to the words and details of this correspondence, though you are spiritually impaired in comprehending (not a putdown). You are closer to the Kingdom of God than many professors of Christ.
Uh... thank you?
Yes, here is another long letter. You are laboring under misperceptions, and it is of great benefit to you and others to have them answered. I am glad to do this.
You say that your hope in this correspondence is that I “may be swayed to the position that faith and science need not be in conflict.” Let’s define what we are talking about here. Science is knowledge attained through study or practice, and the systematic use of that knowledge to explain natural phenomenon. As such, it is governed by men of fallible senses and motives.
I hate to disagree this early into your letter, but I... well... disagree. Science is not a body of knowledge so much as an approach to discovering knowledge. The information so generated- the theories, hypotheses, and facts- are the products of science rather than science itself. This is an important point that is often missed when we use the term "modern science" to mean "things we currently believe to be true because of scientific investigation". Put another way, science is to knowledge as a trial is to a verdict. That said, I agree that science is governed by fallible human beings but I would extend that to all domains of life. I would, for example, apply the potential for error to your confidence in your faith equally as well as to the products of scientific investigation.
True faith is the sure knowledge of what cannot be studied or observed by the physical senses, the spiritual realm of Heaven, which comes from within. Faith is an unmerited gift given by God through Jesus Christ, Who is the Express Image of God and His Mediator with mankind. Jesus Christ is the conduit between Heaven and earth, bringing man the knowledge of God, in Whose image man was made, and realizing this image in substance through the new birth from above, available in this present world for those He chooses.
Eh. You're using an unacceptably narrow definition of a common word. Most often "faith" means "belief that is not based on proof" although there are a variety of other meanings, including the one you suggest. When I use the word faith, assume I mean the broader definition I provided above.
God, in contrast to man, is infallible in motive, wisdom, and knowledge.
So we are told. Given that he's not accessible for testing, it's rather difficult to say for sure one way or another.
Now back to your statement. What is the relationship between faith and science, and is there a conflict?
Faith has no problem with science or any facts of truth derived therein. How could it? True faith is the domain of Jesus Christ, Who declared that He is the Truth, and He is. By Him, it is written, all things consist. Jesus Christ is the foundation and substance of all true science, being the Creator and Sustainer of everything. The only thing true science can do is reflect something of Him as its Creator. He is not in conflict with Himself, and neither are those who are truly with Him.
Conflict is born from beneath, coming from men, not science, and the so-called science that they believe in and practice.
In one sense, I'm forced to disagree with you: science as a method for uncovering knowledge is largely opposed to faith in the sense in which I use the term. It is for that reason that I usually view science and religion as occupying non-overlapping magisteria. That said, you then more or less invoke the enlightenment ideal that the study of the natural world should, itself, be the study of god (e.g. know the creation, know the creator). I have always found this notion appealing, which was in fact one thing that drove me from theism in the first place. The universe is a sublimely beautiful and complex thing and the most devout, in my experience, are often the most eager to deny it. In effect, by lowering their gaze from the natural world, they ignore what should be god's greatest testament. Alas, you seem to be on your way to saying that humans suck and therefore science sucks, so I think we have not really discovered common ground here.
Without faith, a man lives for himself and by himself. He is subject to his own prejudices and is driven by his own desires. He cannot surmount these things. They taint his being and all that he touches. There is nothing pure with him. He is out of harmony with the Law of God, and thereby with all of nature. That is how it ends up that man is such a destroyer. Man employs his science in destruction, wittingly or not.
We have an organic farm and health business. We are intimately involved in, and familiar with, what goes on in the realms of scientific agriculture and medicine, and we, along with many others, shake our heads in amazement at the stupidity and wickedness of men and what they do with their scientific knowledge. They use it to put toxins, destroyers of the first order, on the land and in people’s bodies. The harm done in the name of science has been very great. You say you have faith that man can understand the world he lives in. If you are satisfied with the results of man’s understanding, then your standards leave much to be desired. There is something much better, which is possible by the knowledge and understanding that comes from God and a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
I find it amusing at this point that we are having this discussion- and you are advancing such an argument- via computers and the internet. If you truly believe that science has brought nothing but wickedness, I wonder about your continued use of its fruits. Why not follow the example of the Amish who, whatever you think of their theology, at least practice what they preach? More importantly, however, I should observe that life spans and standards of living have, on the whole, been improving for centuries. It is certainly the case that our technology has created new problems for us but, at the same time, its benefits have been dramatic. Were we to discard our science and technology we would lose one set of issues but return to another (e.g. endemic disease). On the whole, I believe that our science and technology have improved human lives and continue to do so. You are, of course, entitled to a contrary opinion.
Does that mean all science and what scientists do is bad? No. It means that man cannot tell what is good or bad, not knowing his right hand from his left, though he figures out advanced physics and biochemistry. Man lacks wisdom. Man lacks the ability to do the right thing for himself, whom he loves, much less others, whom he does not. Man lacks faith. Man lacks God.
That is the missing link.
We are in agreement that advanced capabilities cry out for wise application. Yet, I am unconvinced that moral doctrines developed millennia ago are the proper place to find that guidance. Perhaps they would suffice if I wanted to know how to go about selling my daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7-11), but not if I want to know how to balance the needs of the environment against the needs of the economy. And, in any case, given that I am entirely unconvinced of the existence of god, deriving correct action by essentially seeing what you feel like strikes me as a singularly unwise approach.
Because you are disconnected from God, you stumble around in the dark trying to explain things that you do not comprehend, being deceived into thinking you do. Knowledge has given you a drunken man’s confidence. Though you have a grasp on many scientific terms and matters, you lack the basic wisdom and knowledge that comes from knowing the truth, which serves as a compass to know where to go and what to do with what you know. Your viewpoint is wrong because you are in wrongness. That will not change until you have faith, not a religion, but the authentic faith of God through Jesus Christ.
Well, I suppose trying to explain what you don't understand makes more sense than trying to explain what you DO understand. Flippancy aside, your claims really make little sense. Someone can be right even if for the wrong reasons. The sky is blue, things do fall, the world is round- these are facts regardless of the "rightness" of my "faith". Moreover, there is a difference between what is and what should be. For example, it may well be that we evolved from earlier species over millions of years. That may be a fact. Such a fact would not, however, tell us definitively what we should do in the future. Likewise, even if you believe that your god is the source of all morality that does not in any way alter the fact that evolution can, and does, occur.
You have become what the Bible calls a fool – one who says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). You buy into evolution, which is total nonsense and is proven so, time and time again, though fools cannot see it.
As rhetorical strategies go, asserting that anyone who disagrees with you is a fool because they disagree with you is bush league. As a further side note, I have yet to see anyone "prove" to me that evolution is nonsense- and many have tried including yourself. Then again, given that you accuse me of being a fool, I suppose that is unsurprising.
Because I have the faith of God through Jesus Christ, I know the truth. I have no need to know all the latest scientific discoveries and controversies to know that God created the Heavens and the earth. It is not my faith in God that is irrational, and it does not come into conflict with science, but your faith in human intelligence and knowledge comes into conflict with both God and truth.
As an important point, I do not think that belief in evolution and belief in god must necessarily conflict. That said, you're right, I do have confidence in human intelligence and knowledge and I think that if god created us with such faculties, then they were intended to be used.
Is it more rational to have faith in the creature, who provably errs every moment, than to have faith in the One Who has proven Himself faithful and true and without error? While we do not use the Bible to trump scientific discovery, you use scientific discovery to support untenable theories to trump God.
The difference, Mr. Cohen, is we know fallible humans exist while god remains safely out of sight. Given a choice between trusting the scientific endeavour and something that is likely imaginary, I choose science and mankind. And your insistence that evolution is "untenable" does not make it so. So far your arguments against it have revealed that your comprehension of it is seriously flawed.
You are applying a limited human mind and knowledge outside of the Foundation laid by the Creator, and this has caused you to misplace the facts like the team of blind men that examine an elephant, each a different section, ending up with an absurd composite picture. They believed in the whole, as you say scientists do today, or they would not have tried to make a complete picture. They explained as accurately as they could the parts they examined, just as you and your fellow evolutionists are doing with the same result – no resemblance to reality. Showing that various fields of science are interrelated is very different from understanding how and what do to about it, and doing it. Your confidence in man’s ability to properly harness and use his scientific knowledge is entirely misplaced. The evidence of the harm done to nature by man and his science is copious and ever mounting.
We also did harm to the natural environment before science. The main issue has less to do with science and more to do with population size and density- consider the Mayas for example. Your use of the blind men and the elephant analogy is one I often invoke to explain why science is a collaborative endeavour. Where we differ is in my belief that we can assemble an accurate composite picture versus your belief that we cannot. This is, however, not really important. You present no arguments for why I should accept your faith claims as opposed to those of the Buddhist down the street. You doubtless feel that your faith is incomparably better than his. So be it, I suspect he feels his is incomparably better than yours. I, as an atheist, see little to allow me to choose between two equally devout persons who have no solid evidence to support their claims. From my perspective I am not choosing between human faculties and god, I am choosing among various human beliefs- your faith being simply one of a vast possible number.
You point out that “Nebraska man,” which turned out to be pig’s tooth, was acknowledged as an error in short order, as other mistakes and hoaxes have been, like the Heidelberg, Piltdown, Peking, Neanderthal, and New Guinea (usually exposed against the wills of the speculators and “discoverers”). The point that matters is that there are yet many scientists persisting in trying to prove men came from apes, seeing missing links when such do not exist except in their imaginations. So I do not agree with you that scientists are doing their job well. The definition of insanity is that you keep doing the same wrong thing over and over.
Science is a self-correcting system. It does not claim to never make mistakes, and explicitly includes features to help fix them as soon as possible. I remain of the opinion that the Nebraska man is a good example of such mechanisms in action. I feel I should point out, however, that there is at present no good reason to believe Neanderthal
to be either a mistake or a hoax. No good reason, that is, unless your mind has already been made up for you by your faith. Moving beyond all that, however, your implication that scientists are insane because they continue trying to discover knowledge despite mistakes is simply ridiculous. One may as well accuse a child of being insane for continuing to try to learn to ride a bicycle despite many previous failures. Sometimes failures mean you should not attempt a thing, but often they simply mean that the thing you are attempting is very hard.
Evolutionists fit this definition as they keep looking for evidence of what never happened in the first place, which is proven over and over when the “facts,” as with Nebraska man, are exposed to the light of day. How did they lose their minds? By not being connected to God, the Creator, but actively denying His Person, Authority, and Ownership. Thus:
“It’s written, I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots. So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense?” (1 Corinthians 1:19-20 MSG)
I would answer the apostle Paul's final question with "No."
That wisdom and scholarship includes much of what you term “religious belief.” You have wrongly interpreted faith to mean “religious belief,” which is not the same thing at all. The faith of Christ, as I have said more than once, is the gift of God revealing Who He is and bestowing on man the power to believe and obey Him and to understand. Faith is focused on God. Religious belief is focused on man and includes whatever men believe, which is as varied as humanity. When these beliefs are generated by men, it is called “Babylon” by God, which indicates a whole lot of babble and confusion.
Intriguing. Would you then claim that all beliefs are flawed things focused on man and only certain types of feelings are pure and directed towards god? Because, I have to be honest, you're not making a ton of sense here.
Religious belief, as you note, is irrational, but that is because its propagators are irrational, and not necessarily because people have all their facts wrong. In this respect it is no different from evolution, which, although it has some facts right, is also a belief based on man’s wrong thinking and doing. There is a kind of perverted faith associated with all such beliefs, perverted because centered on man’s knowledge and ability to use that knowledge for good. It is a black faith based on darkness, which is irrational by the standard of true rationality, the faith of God that is light.
And it is this paragraph that makes me pity you. It appears that you actually believe that your own ability to think, to accumulate knowledge, and to try to do good is "a black faith based on darkness". This makes me tremendously sad. Your ability to think and reason is such a significant part of the human experience, to reject it as little more than a source of potential sin is heartbreaking to me. As a side note, however, I don't agree that religious belief is always irrational, nor do I agree that a belief is irrational simply because the mind that produces it is irrational. The madman sometimes speaks truth, even though he be mad.
Trying to persuade you by debate to forsake evolution is a vain task when you are steeped in, and fully committed to, this irrationality. That would make us no less foolish than you, putting our trust in man. What needs to happen is the opposite - the false confidence in what you trust must be destroyed.
And so far you're doing a lousy job.
Let me put it this way. You thought that I wanted to convert you to my way of thinking. I am not, however, at all interested in having you agree with me about evolution. That is not the issue. Beliefs, as I have just pointed out, are not synonymous with faith. The carnal man cannot give or receive the mind of God, Life Himself. The words that I am speaking to you are spirit and life. These do not come by believing in creation or joining a church or praying or studying or reading the Bible or witnessing or many other activities. They come from God through Jesus Christ, Who was raised from the dead. You, being dead, cannot resist Him Who is alive from the dead. He overcame your condition and has complete control over, and access to, your being. You can argue, yes, deny, and scoff. But He is doing as He will with you, and right now you are being seeded by the Word of God. You were made that way – like soil for plants; it cannot be otherwise.
Well, I'll let you know if I ever break into flower but- and I have to be honest- you are not the first to attempt to plant such seeds. I wouldn't hold my breath were I you. Curiously, however, if you do not wish to convert me, why engage in this discussion at all? That is to say, if you don't desire to have any particular effect, then why bother? Is it simply because your faith impels you, no matter the outcome? Doesn't that strike you as a little bit silly?
Thus far you have been exposed to religion but not Reality. You say you have been exposed to God’s word, but the Word of God is Jesus Christ, not religion or religious beliefs in a book, even the Bible. Religion and theology are man’s attempt to understand and imitate God, which is no better, and often worse, than your own conjectures about God and theories of evolution. You do not presume to know; you only conjecture and use logic, while others presume to know God when they do not. They act as if He is with them, even murdering in His Name, and they are held more accountable. That is what the Bible calls taking the Name of God in vain, because the one naming Him does not produce the results of a right relationship with Him by faith.
If we agree on nothing else, Mr. Cohen, then we agree that killing in the name of god should most definitely be viewed as taking god's name in vain.
You inferred from what I wrote in my letter that God is in complete control. That is correct. Your conclusions, however, as stated here, do not follow:
“If one dies a sinner then, logically, it was because god willed one to sin. Is it then logical for god to punish that which he intended to happen? Obviously not. Logically, then, a universe with an omnipotent, omniscient creator god is one in which either there is no sin, or god punishes sins that his creations had no choice about committing. If god is perfect and merciful, as is often claimed, then the latter option would appear to be untenable, leaving us with the conclusion that sin is impossible.”
You seem to be somewhat familiar with the Bible. Perhaps you did not know that this question is answered there. I am quoting a lengthy passage, but it is worth it. Please read carefully:
Romans 9:10-23 EMTV
(10) And not only this, but also Rebecca having conception from one man, our father Isaac;
(11) for the children not yet being born, nor having done anything good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might abide, not of works but of Him Who calls,
(12) it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
(13) As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
(14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Absolutely not!
(15) For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”
(16) So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God Who shows mercy.
(17) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very thing I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
(18) So then He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
(19) You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has ever resisted His will?”
(20) But indeed, O man, who are you to be answering back against God? Surely the thing formed will not say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”
(21) Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and the other for dishonor?
(22) But what if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make known His power, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath having been prepared for destruction,
(23) and so that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.
While man may have no choice as to what he has been made, it is not correct to assume that he has no choices in life. It is written:
“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 HNV).
I actually find your interpretation of scripture to be at odds with scripture itself, which indicates that god may set a man up for the express purpose of being laid low. The man's choices in such a situation are rather constrained and, indeed, the notion of choice in the absence of alternatives is effectively meaningless. By way of example, imagine I were to breed terriers for aggressiveness. Eventually, I might end up with a particular dog, a sort of personal creation, that was given to being aggressive. Now, imagine that I were to train that dog to be aggressive until it was four or five years old. I now have a dog that is bred and trained to be aggressive as, indeed, many terriers were historically. Now, having reached this point, I spend several years faintly admonishing the dog for doing what I have bred and trained it for and, one day, when it acts aggressively, I beat it with a club. I suppose one might say that the dog had a "choice" as to whether or not to be aggressive but most observers would probably agree that the fault was in me, not the dog. Yet, you ask me to believe that god created us to be inquisitive, intelligent, and gregarious. Then, you ask me to believe that he "blinded us in sin," or created the conditions for us to learn certain lessons. And finally, if we act in a manner consistent with that creation and teaching, then we are the ones at fault and should be grateful for judgment? I cannot find this logic to be anything but flawed. It is, of course, the case that humans should not simply do whatever seems to be "instinctive" (as though that term has much meaning for a species with the ability to learn that ours has) but if an intelligent, responsible agent shapes a lesser being to have certain characteristics, then the fault for that is not the lesser's but the greater's. This is all beside the point, however. My issue is fundamentally not that god is or is not just- my issue is that god almost certainly does not exist in the first place. And the properties of a non-existent being are entirely irrelevant to questions of morality.
You are living in ignorance of the spiritual realm, though from there the entire course of your life is directed. Therefore, how much do you think you can understand of life when you are in the dark about Him Who is directing it? You are in death, where it is said, “The dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
You are also in error because of your knowledge of religion, which, once again, does not correlate with reality. You think that being subjected to vanity, to sin and loss, is not good, but God says otherwise. He says it is the only way you would ever come to know the hope of being set free from corruption and to have and appreciate the liberty that is in Him. There is no understanding or appreciation without disparity.
This reminds me of the man who smashed himself in the face with a hammer over and over because it felt so good when he stopped. I do not need to burn myself in order to understand that it is bad. Likewise, I do not need my children to play in traffic so that they understand that it is dangerous. Am I truly to believe that an all powerful god could not come up with a better way to show us darkness than by casting us into it?
How will you learn, also, if not through discipline? What you call punishment is what the Bible calls judgment, which serves to bring every sinner into correction, to learn and do what is right in the sight of God that good might result:
“If our evil deeds show how right God is, then what can we say? Is it wrong for God to become angry and punish us? What a foolish thing to ask. But the answer is, ‘No.’ Otherwise, how could God judge the world?” (Romans 3:5-6 CEV)
It is a privilege, not a curse, to be judged, a good thing and not bad. Though painful and not pleasant, it is still necessary and good. The Bible says that judgment begins at the house of God. You have everything backwards, being in your carnal mind that is at enmity with God, because sitting in His seat and acting in His place as God. That is what happens when men eat from the Tree of Knowledge. You, like the serpent, may ascribe evil motives to God, rather than recognizing and knowing those motives come from within you.
I ascribe no motives to god and couldn't as I do not believe in any such creature. My point is not that he or she is evil as depicted but, rather, that the depictions are inconsistent. This is as much a problem as a triangle with more than three sides.
Yes, I agree with you that “amateur philosophizing will get us nowhere,” but in this respect you will have to speak for yourself. We know whereof we speak. We are not giving opinion.
Using the royal "we" now, eh? Quite humble of you. Alas, having given me such a long lecture about the fallibility of men, perhaps you might take your own advice and ponder the idea that you may be in error despite your confidence to the contrary. Everyone, after all, believes themselves to be correct, which is why it's so damned annoying when we turn out to be wrong.
I also agree with you that a healthy disrespect is due men’s opinions, both yours and mine. But I am speaking here by the revelation of Jesus Christ, and I am telling you what He has shown us. At this time you have more respect for your opinion than for Him, the Truth. So if you think of yourself as dirt, what does that make Him and the Truth in your eyes?
At the moment, you should note, I have no way to distinguish the revelation of god from the ranting of a crazy guy who found me on the internet. That is to say, you claim to be speaking with the authority of god, but so does the Imam three houses over. Your confidence in your statements does not distinguish you from that Imam or any other religious person. Quoting the bible is no more impressive to me than quoting the Quran or the Torah.
I wrote that when repentance comes, you will be humbled as a little child in spirit, and I quoted the Lord Jesus’ words about how it is to such that the Father reveals Himself, to which you wrote:
“It always makes me nervous when people glorify the wisdom of a group that has to be taught not to eat paste. This is not to insult children, but rather simply to observe that the simple views of children are as often charmingly wrong as they are deeply profound.”
Neither Jesus nor I glorify the wisdom of children. You quite missed the point. We glorify the wisdom of God, which is given to those who are humbled to be like children, not ruled by pride, ego, and false humility that prohibit one from receiving the Truth. It is to the humble and lowly that the Father reveals the secret things of life, and to whom He gives wisdom in all things.
Well, I'm sorry if I misunderstood you. Perhaps you ought to consider whether you wrote it sufficiently clearly?
Therefore, this statement of yours is not true, “I think it rather obvious that creation does not prove itself, however, as quite a few people do not believe in it.”
The vast majority of people have not been humbled to be as little children to know or see God and believe in Him. Not knowing the Creator, many believe in evolution and other lies, having the Truth hidden from them. This is also the will of God:
“But we speak wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, those being brought to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, having been hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age has known. For if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8 LITV).
Does that mean we ought not speak to those not perfect in heart towards God and man? As you note, we do preach to those not perfect. Is this preaching of truth therefore contradictory, as you suggest, to my declaration of the fact that the creation is already manifest to all? No, it is consistent with what I am saying. Men have been blinded by their self-reliance on knowledge, which came as a result of jettisoning God from their midst.
I think you are doing violence to the very meaning of "self-evident" but I see little use in arguing the point. I will simply say that asserting that anyone who disagrees you is simply deluding themselves is also- rhetorically speaking- bush league.
We are not telling people what they do not know, but rather something they have chosen not to know. There is a difference, and it is not a strange thing that people are in denial and ignorant of many things they can see and know, when they have chosen to be blind. This is a commonly known phenomenon and is the basis for interventions, for example.
God intervenes in the charade of men living as if He is not there. That charade is epitomized by the teaching of evolution. God sends men to speak the unpalatable truth. It is unpalatable because it calls people into account for their ways before God. They know He is there, because He made them and has not left them without a testament of His power and Presence. They do not know He is there, because He has blinded them in their sins. They have chosen their sins so that God may some day judge them for their good.
So, we know he's there, but we don't know he's there because he blinded us with sin, and we CHOOSE sin so that we may be judged for sinning? So, basically, we're in a sadomasochistic relationship with god? Have I got that right? Moreover, if we sin it's what god wants (because he blinded us) and if we don't sin it's what god wants (because sin is bad) so how is choice even at issue here?
That requires men of God laying their lives on the line for their fellow man, just as Christ did for them, to bring men out of their hideous unbelief and destructives. What man can figure out the wonderful ways of God? But we have witnessed His testimonies and His ways, beyond our understanding, as have many saints.
I will tell you this: Being fully submerged in it, you have no idea of the power and perniciousness of unbelief. You are as unaware of faith and light as deep-sea fish are of the earth and sky.
You do realize there's ground under all that water, right? Many fish are probably not unaware- on some level- of that fact.
When I pointed out how little scientists, including you (whether you call yourself one is not an issue), truly know about life, being unable to make a single cell, let alone a fully functioning organism, you made this observation:
“As for your contention about ‘duplicating’ cells- I rather doubt that you are capable of duplicating the computer you are presently working on. You have, after all, a working example; what’s so difficult about duplicating an integrated circuit? Does your present inability to duplicate your computer mean that the capability to do so is forever beyond your grasp? Of course not- it simply means you are presently incapable of it.”
You are actually making my point very well. I cannot make an integrated circuit, but the possibility exists that I could learn to do so. However, with living things, no man can duplicate what God has made. I am not even addressing the matter of also making your own raw materials. I would grant you, and all of your evolutionary scientists, to use all known elements at your disposal, and you still cannot and will not make a living cell. Perhaps you think millions of years would help, as in your theories? It won’t. There is nothing new under the sun.
My point, Mr. Cohen, is that many things seem impossible until we learn how to do them. It is, for better or for worse, notoriously difficult to know if a thing is impossible until you've actually done it- at which point you know it to be possible. Until a thing has been shown to be possible the set of things that can be done but haven't yet and the set of things that cannot ever be done are virtually indistinguishable. As I said in my last response to you, one of our differences is that we both have faith but I tend to have faith that we CAN (e.g. eventually learn to create cells) while you appear to have faith that we CANNOT. Nevertheless, both are on some level positions of faith. I appreciate your confidence that humans will never be able to make cells but you have given me no reason to believe you are correct aside from your vehement insistence, which is entirely unconvincing. There was a time when powered flight seemed to be impossible and yet, still, we now fly. What might now seem impossible that, a century hence, will have become commonplace?
You really don’t know what you are talking about, but instead of admitting it, you claim that you do not think too highly of your own opinion. Drek, you have a ways to go before you begin to learn that:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7 HNV).
Is an opinion worth holding that cannot tell the difference between the Almighty Creator and physical processes? You ask:
“Do you know where ‘god’ comes from? If he/she/it can be eternal by your fiat, why then cannot physical processes?”
God is not eternal by my decree! He is! How revelatory a statement! It precisely sums up the position of those who exclude God from His world, His people, and creation. They do so by their own decree (fiat)! This is the physical processes reigning supreme, calling the shots. They are now God, eternal, all powerful, the creators of life. This is not humility; it is the very opposite. And you said you disagree with the Scriptures I quoted to you? Take another look; you are in agreement:
“For when they had come to know God, they did not give Him glory as God nor render Him thanks, but they became absorbed in useless discussions, and their senseless minds were darkened. While boasting of their wisdom they became utter fools, and, instead of worshipping the imperishable God, they worshipped images resembling perishable man or resembling birds or beasts or reptiles” (Romans 1:21-23).
My point was not that you could or could not make god eternal by decree. My point is that logically if we accept that one thing can be eternal then other things can perhaps be eternal as well. Nevertheless, that isn't the point. If you believe that efforts to understand are inevitably failures then we have little to discuss.
Dr. Prigogine is one of those, apparently, who also has supreme confidence in physical processes. But as I said about him, just because he is right about one thing, and I agree with that, does not mean that I am obliged to endorse his support of the unproven theories, to which he subscribes in order to circumvent acknowledging the Creator’s handiwork and Being.
That isn't the point, Mr. Cohen. I don't really care if you agree with him, I simply want you to correctly represent his statements and work. You now admit that Dr. Prigogine is not arguing against evolution. Thank you for finally being honest on at least that point. Whether or not you believe that his arguments are compelling is an entirely separate issue.
The original writer to whom I responded with Prigogine’s quote wrote this:
“Complexity is not only possible; it is unavoidable. Otherwise, snowflakes would be impossible, yet there they are.”
I answered with Prigogine’s quote because it correctly admits that the formation of snow crystals cannot explain the presence of living matter. From there, Prigogine may go on to speculate about the origin of biological systems, but that has nothing to do with the business at hand, and nothing else is implied or inferred.
As we agreed last time, yes, the formation of ice crystals explains snowflakes, not the emergence of life. Nevertheless, ice crystals do prove that what we often think of as "patterns" can emerge naturally and without deliberate design.
I credit you for trying to illustrate what you accuse me of doing:
“If I might illustrate the problem a bit more vividly, your colleague Victor Hafichuk in his treatise on evolution remarks, ‘He [a critic of creationism] speaks of ‘anxiety’ among religious people, and that their sad condition leads to reactions contrary to those things they find a threat. He is right.’ Were I to quote merely that section of Mr. Hafichuk’s work, it would appear that he agrees whole-heartedly with the critic of creationism. I might use this quote to ‘show’ to others that even creationists acknowledge that their faith brings them no joy, and that they strike out at others because of fear. However, your colleague follows his statement with: ‘But I know in Whom I have believed, and know that He will keep me regardless of the darkness and foolishness of this world. So it is with all those who have not dead religion, but true, living faith.’ These additional passages are key to understanding Mr. Hafichuk’s argument and honesty requires that they be included. Likewise, in order to understand Dr. Prigogine’s work you must present the full quote, not simply those sections that appear to agree with your own perspective.”
To make this situation equivalent, my intention in quoting would have been to deceive, which it was not, as explained. I am not leading others to the conclusion that Prigogine does not agree with evolution. That is not the issue, and one could not rightly assume that from my quote. It really does not matter what his opinion is regarding that. I am not appealing to opinion or theory. All I am pointing out is that conventional scientists admit that the mechanism by which snowflakes are formed is not a viable explanation for the existence of biological systems, which phenomenon my correspondent incorrectly treated as admissible support for such. I ask you not to falsely accuse me of deception, deception being abhorrent to us (not your accusation); however, if you insist, so be it; it is nothing new to us by any means.
I agree that I will not falsely accuse you of deception. However, I believe my accusation is not false, I believe your use of Dr. Prigogine was deceptive and continue in this belief. I will readily add that I think it quite possible that the deception was not deliberate, but you have continued trying to make his work fit with your views throughout this discussion and seem resistant to conceding that you were- intentionally or not- misleading the reader. Surely, given your lengthy criticism of flawed human nature, it is not too much to admit that you were possibly misleading your audience by presenting his quote as you did? I am content to let our audience- if indeed we have one- decide for themselves who is in the right. If, indeed, such can be said of either of us.
Furthermore, your understanding and conclusion about Mr. Hafichuk’s quote is in error. It can stand quite alone without the misinterpretation you attribute to it because it is not saying what you think it is saying. Taken at its plain meaning, it is not a criticism of, or disagreement with, creation. It is only an agreement with the observation one made of the anxiety that exists with the religious, who are threatened by ideas contrary to their doctrine, which is a sad thing. It is sad because their trust is not in God, Whom they profess, and instead of living faith, all they have is dead religion with doctrines, which, though true, do not bring life. As I told you in my last letter, many who profess the Creator do not know Him or believe in Him. They are “Christian” atheists.
Fine. It was intended only as an example. I disagree that your taking Dr. Prigogine at his "plain meeaning" produces a correct interpretation, however. You are, in my view, playing rather disagreeable games with language.
You ask if I am suggesting that God (Jesus Christ) sustains all life moment-to-moment. I am not only suggesting it; I am stating it as categorical fact, as testified many times in Scripture. Here is one instance of such:
“He is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. He created all things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers- everything has been created through Him and for Him. He existed before everything and holds everything together” (Colossians 1:15-17 GW).
Here is another:
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being...” (Acts 17:28 KJV).
I am fairly sure those passages are meant metaphorically rather than literally.
I did not say there is anything in thermodynamics that makes life impossible, only that thermodynamics cannot account for the existence of life.
There is nothing in thermodynamics that explains the existence of life, but we are in agreement that there is nothing in thermodynamics that makes life impossible. By the same token, thermodynamics is entirely consistent with evolution. By that I mean actual evolutionary theory, not the caricature
you present on your website.
“The Bible, written by men of God (and sealed in many cases with the earnestness of their blood, unlike your careless case),” to which you ask: “So the bible was written by men, not by god?”
Yes, men of God:
“God, Who in various ways and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by the Son, Whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2 EMTV).
“For we are not as the rest, corrupting the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17 EMTV).
God is also speaking through us by the Son.
Okay then. The bible is the word of god as interpreted, and written down, by men. By extension, the bible- from which you draw many of your claims- is also fallible. I am pleased we've made this progress. Indeed, you imply that you view the bible as fallible above, yet draw much of your "support" from quoting it. How, then, do you distinguish the good bits from the flawed bits?
As for this observation:
“I think it inaccurate, by the way, to suggest that men and women have not died for science- they have and continue to do so. I could say that this is because they believe the learning is worth the price but, as likely as not, it’s frequently just because scientists are too curious not to poke puzzles with a stick. Every cause has its martyrs, Mr. Cohen, including human learning.”
I did not suggest that people have not died for their beliefs, but said that you are not putting your life on the line for what you believe, and are therefore careless. Nor am I suggesting, as you also say, that it would be worth it for you to do so. It would not. It is only worth it to die for the Truth, and that is even necessary.
I think you misunderstand- scientists can and do put their lives on the line in their work. I have not, it is true, but when was the last time you were faced with execution by lions for preaching? A microbiologist who goes into an area suffering an Ebola outbreak is most assuredly risking his or her life. I do not mean to diminish the sacrifice of christian martyrs, but it seems petty to brush aside the heroism of scientists so casually.
It is not worth dying, though, for what one presumes to be true facts. Galileo, for instance, relented before the brutal inquisitors who demanded, under threat of death, that he recant of his public stance that the earth revolved around the sun. Who can blame him for recanting (though supposedly he muttered under his breath, “For all that, the earth still moves”)?
But it is worth dying for the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, you must take up the cross and die in order to come to Him in the first place, and then, being dead to the world, physical death is possible to embrace, even joyfully. That is the big difference between scientists (along with others who have died because of their beliefs) and the saints of God. The martyrs of Christ knew what they were getting into, and gladly did so for the honor and privilege of identifying with Him. They were dying for Someone, because in and one with Him, loving Him because experiencing His love for them, which is much different than dying for a theorem or doctrine:
If you're arguing that what makes the martyrs different from scientists is that they were glad to die, then you're right, they are dissimilar from each other. I will refrain from making the unflattering comparisons that spring to mind at this juncture out of respect to many Christians I know and like. I must, however, point out that anyone who dies for a cause is always dying for what they believe to be true- whether they are correct about those things is quite another issue. Put differently, one who dies for a cause is always "dying... for what one presumes to be true facts."
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord GOD: therefore turn yourselves, and live” (Ezekiel 18:32 HNV).
But: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints” (Psalms 116:15 KJV).
You ask me if thermodynamics was initiated with sin. I did not say that. I said the second law of thermodynamics is not greater than God, but the effects of it, degradation and decay, were visited on Adam after he sinned and was separated from God. Listen to this:
“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17 HNV).
The very day Adam ate from that tree, death set in. What is physical death but the result of the inexorable process of the second law of thermodynamics?
“To Adam He said, Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19 HNV).
Death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). All men have sinned (broken God’s Law of Good, Right, and Life) and have fallen short of the glory of God (Who is eternal life). When sin is done away with, so is death:
“And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying out; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 EMTV).
You're splitting hairs here. The second law is about friction, not so much about breakdown. In any case, you now seem to be arguing that god shielded Adam from the second law while he was in the garden. In other words, the law existed but god didn't permit it to be applied. The difference between that and the beginning of the law is immaterial.
Jesus Christ brought mankind the forgiveness of sins, to put the sins away and to make the way for man to re-enter into union with God. As many as believe on Him and receive Him are reconciled to God and receive a new nature, which is eternal life:
Just to be clear, those are the sins that god uses to blind us and which we retain so that we can be judged, right? So, Jesus was doing a bad thing, then?
“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 EMTV)
You blame God for this fall from life in the garden, at least you reason it this way (if, you presume, God exists, Whom you deny):
“...as we’ve previously discussed, sin cannot have been anything but a consequence of god. Therefore he isn’t above sin. Except he is, because he’s perfect. Except that we do whatever it is that god intends for us to do and, therefore, sin because we’re meant to. And... yes... the logical inconsistency just made my brain bleed.”
You need a new brain to have the true perspective. The view from above shows there is no inconsistency or unfairness whatsoever. It shows that everything God does is right and everything man does is wrong. That is the entire testimony of the Bible. God is not the one who sinned. Man sinned and fell into a perpetual state of wrongness. Is God therefore responsible? Certainly, inasmuch as He made man, He made the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and He made the serpent. It is all His work. He made these things knowing man would fall. Here is His purpose:
And this, as a side note, is why I believe further discussion between us is pointless. You believe that everything man does is wrong. How, then, could we ever have a productive debate if you believe a priori that I must be wrong? As a further side note, it must be terrible to loathe yourself with such passion.
“For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of Him Who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21 ASV).
Right. Hammer... face... feels good to stop. We've been over this before.
He is taking the object of His affection (man) through the process of learning both good and evil, reward and consequence, building it all into his nature as He forms man in His image. All things are necessary.
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36 MKJV).
I say that God is responsible. As the Creator of man, and the One subjecting him to futility, He must be. But His responsibility extends far beyond what you see. God has not left man to his own devices forever. He, in the Person of Jesus Christ, did what no man could do. He delivered mankind from sin and death by His own sinless sacrifice. There is not a single thing anyone could do to deliver him or herself from this condition. As all have been born in sin and sold out to it, so in Christ, the sinless One, will all be born again, made alive and delivered from the body of death, whether in this life, or in the ages to come.
This is roughly equivalent to spreading a horrible disease so that you can then be a good guy by curing everyone. I am less than taken by this as moral behavior. When I was a believer, it troubled me considerably that the differences between god and a petty, egotistical tyrant were effectively zero. I honestly think part of what drove me from faith, as you call it, is that it demanded my conception of god be too narrow and silly.
We have all been very willing subjects of sin, choosing our ways above God. No one can say he or she is innocent. Everyone has not only been born into sin, but has also sinned. Neither trying to cover over the fact by being religious, nor denying sin exists by becoming philosophical, nor admitting it and indulging it to the max gets anyone out of his or her damnable condition. There has been nothing we could do about it. And none of us has the free gift of grace in Jesus Christ coming to us, and we cannot do anything to get it. That is what makes it grace. It is purely God’s doing and call. You are totally at His mercy, whether you know it or not, like it or not. It is the way things are (Here Is the Way It Is).
Well, okey-dokey then. I suppose I'll just keep doing what I'm doing since I don't seem to have much choice. Kinda seems a bit pathetic to say we're just god's marionette's, though, doesn't it?
When God’s grace appeared to us, He turned us from our sins and the arrogance of thinking we were in charge. For a time He let us have our way, walking in delusion and deceit. We repented and believed, because He drew us to Himself and revealed Who He is and what we are, which is worthless “drek.” He did that for us, and He will do it for you and for everyone else, in his or her time. We are all made of the same material. If He died for one, He died for all. Isn’t that wonderful? That is why we are sent to preach the Word of God, the authentic Good News of Jesus Christ.
That's not a reason, that's a string of unrelated assertions.
So is He unfair? Hardly. Your eyes have just not yet been opened to see Jesus Christ as He is:
“Riding the clouds, He’ll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed Him will see Him, people from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament. Oh, Yes” (Revelation 1:7 MSG).
Not seeing Him, you do not believe He was raised from the dead or that He did any miracles. You say:
“I explain it the same way you explain Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, the faith of the ancient Greeks and other faiths: the miracles of Jesus are fictitious. Remember, Mr. Cohen, you and I are both atheists: it’s simply that I doubt the existence of just one more god than you do. This is not to say that the teachings of Jesus are foolish or useless- some of them are quite wise- but only that I strongly doubt the purported miracles of Jesus in much the same way that you likely doubt the existence of Sasquatch.”
There is a tremendous difference between any claims of miracles in the religions you mention and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You owe it to yourself to at least know what you are talking about before bringing up invalid arguments. The case for the resurrection is considered to be of legal quality (by many qualified legal experts – there are many articles and books on the matter if you care to read about it), not that we need men’s word for it, or take men’s word; the faith of Christ comes by knowing Him firsthand, from His appearing to us by His Spirit. That is how we know Him, and how He has confirmed His Godhood with many, many proofs and also the truths in Scripture. Someday you may read bookfuls of the proofs in our lives, if you wish, Lord willing we publish it.
Good luck on the bookfulls of proofs. More importantly, however, what do you mean about "legal quality"? The authorship of a number of books in the bible is quite disputed. Several of the Pauline Epistles, for example, are generally agreed
to have not been authored by Paul. Moreover, the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus
calls quite a bit into question, including the supposed resurrection itself. (You can see the Codex online here
.) The bible contains much of merit but it is, nevertheless, a document that has been subject to considerable revision, embellishment, and probably creation from whole cloth during the millennia following the time of Christ. I have reason to doubt its veracity.
You question Paul’s assertion that over 500 people saw the resurrected Lord, saying Paul is only one witness vouching for the rest. But other writers of the Bible also testify to seeing the Lord with detailed reports of conversations and even of taking meals together. Where are the contrary witnesses to the fact that there was no body in Jesus’ tomb after the third day? Here they are:
“Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, ‘His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping.’ They assured them, ‘If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed.’ The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around” (Matthew 28:11-15 MSG).
Just to be clear: you're quoting a partisan of Jesus (i.e. Matthew) claiming that those who deny the resurrection were bribed. And this is supposed to be trustworthy? Even if every Apostle had a book in the bible asserting that a different 500 people saw Jesus, it would still be the word of 12 men, not 6000. Moreover, Matthew maligning the honesty of those who disagree with him is not the same as independent verification.
You may say the Gospel writers made this report concerning others, which you dismiss. I merely point out that the apostle Paul was not the only one testifying of Christ’s death and resurrection and the miracles. Furthermore, it is a matter of historical record that Old Testament prophets and writers prophesied by the Spirit of God hundreds of things that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, centuries, even millennia before the day of His coming, many of which were fulfilled in small detail. And the charge of tampering with Holy Writ is easily disproven as well, as with, for example, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, not to mention the reverence, skill, discipline, and determination of a great part of Jewry throughout over three millennia to keep the record as straight as possible. The record has not changed but for few, tiny, and insignificant details, which have not taken away from the truth and substance by any means. Of course, you can brush these things aside, excusing yourself as you choose; fine.
I made my case- in brief, I admit- for the flawed nature of the bible above. I do not repeat it here. Moreover, prophesy is a notoriously unreliable thing. I have not been impressed by claims that these prophecies have been fulfilled any more than I am impressed by the daily horoscope.
You do not have your facts straight about the Bible, the dates of authorship, and the alleged subsequent revisions. The Bible is by far the most studied and prevalent text of ancient times, and It is well documented and noted for Its consistency. It was written when It says It was written (the facts are there in the text itself). Your ignorance and unfounded conclusions in these matters work against you, as they must.
Again, I rely in part on the scholarship I referenced above.
No, Drek, there is no equivalence with Jesus Christ. Muhammad is still in his grave, as are Buddha and Krishna. Only Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, directing and communicating with mankind as He wills, and as He has done with us.
How do we know? We know Him; He lives today. No religion generally tries to make that claim of their religious founders, not even the Muslims, who teach the myth that Muhammad ascended to Heaven on a white horse. They never claim (that we have ever heard) that they hear his voice. We claim to hear Jesus Christ’s voice because we do hear it, as He promised (and which Muhammad never did):
“To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and He leads them out. And whenever He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, because they know His voice. But they will by no means follow a stranger, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:3-5 EMTV).
“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and hear the voice from His mouth’” (Acts 22:14 EMTV).
Many in Scripture have testified of the present, living Christ, as do we.
That must be nice for you. Or not. Who can tell? I believe there was a man named Jesus but, I admit, I do not believe that he rose from the dead and have seen no convincing evidence to the contrary.
I will not attempt to remember, as you ask, something not worthy of remembrance. There are many false gods but One True God. Atheism is the denial of His existence and not of any others that either do not exist to begin with or are not The God, though almost revered by fools as though they are.
If I believe in the one true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you cannot call that atheism. Those who believe in many gods, are, in truth, atheists, as are those who believe in any one false god, like Allah (Islam) or the false “Jesus” (False Love - The Last Stronghold), which is so prevalent in this world. There is only one Name by which men can be saved, and that is Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Spirit of the living God.
Well you're an arrogant little git, aren't you? Are you entirely incapable of conceding the possibility of your being wrong, even after spending so much time claiming that humans are terribly fallible?
If you have not, please read my testimony (Paul Cohen), because you should know that I was not raised to believe in Christ. I was converted by and to Him, which is a miracle.
I have read your testimony.
I am glad that you have found some peace in your life, though I feel great sympathy towards your (apparently former) wife who paid the price for it. I suppose this also helps me to understand you better- given that you apparently divested yourself of a wife because you believed god demanded it, the guilt you might feel if you permitted yourself to wonder if, perhaps, you were in error would likely be unbearable. And as long as we're sharing, perhaps you would like to read my "testimony"? You can find it here, here
At the end of your letter you write:
“Will my theories raise me from the dead? I actually hope not- that’s not really what they’re intended to do. Leaving aside the issue of whether I’m willing to die in order to advance the ‘cause’ of science, I will simply point out that a number of people were quite willing to sacrifice their lives for their religion with rather tragic results. A willingness to die for one’s cause, I am sure you will agree, should not be taken as the ultimate proof of that cause’s legitimacy.”
My point about your theories: If God raises from the dead, don’t you think that He is more worthy to be (and should be) consulted with, rather than you with your theories of life? He is Life.
And my point is that by knowing the creation one also may know the creator. And if there is no creator, as I believe, then knowing the creation is nevertheless important. I doubt very much any god would have created so much, so elegantly, and then expected us to ignore it entirely. Moreover, what I may or may not do if I were to be raised from the dead is an issue separate from what I do before I have such information.
Science, even if true, did not lay down its life for you. Hence, there is no reward in your laying down your life for it. There is no life to be had there. The same goes for Islamic jihadists, who provide an excellent contrast of what false religion does, compared to true. They take the lives of others in the wanton violence of men, as have Catholics, Lutherans, and many other religions; but the Lord Jesus Christ lays down His life for the unworthy in the purposeful love of God, as do those who are truly His. Those reborn in Christ bring life to the world, wielding a sword, but not one of carnal warfare. The sword of the Spirit penetrates within, removing illusions and every false thing that vaunts itself against the knowledge of God.
I believe in the worth of mankind, I believe we can make ourselves and our world better. I believe that science is a boon to this effort. I respect your beliefs, but I do not agree with them or find them compelling.
Drek* I should note that I've reviewed my e-mail correspondence over that period and can't find any trace of a further exchange with Cohen. If I am in error as to when he last contacted me prior to this most recent episode, I am sorry.
** That is, of course, to the extent that you can refer to me as having a personality in the first place.
*** I am aware of the common wisdom as to the care and feeding of trolls, though I am not convinced that Mr. Cohen should be so classified.
Labels: Drek is Annoyed, Drek is tired, religion, science