Thursday, September 26, 2013

Christian Simplicity

Some things that are believed to be true for years can be proved false in an instant with the smallest amount of evidence.  It was believed for years, for example, that there was no such thing as a black swan.  Then one turned up.  All it took was one.

But there does appear to be a way to hold on to cherished beliefs, even after they are proved false.  This is done through language.  It might be said, for example, that there is no such thing as red bluebirds.  That's easy enough to believe, and easy enough to fix too if you think no bird should be denied blueness.  This is done simply enough by redefining the word blue to include red.  Then we can look around and find that there are lots of blue birds, many of which had never existed before.  But then we might well discover that we have extinted the red bird, which is good I suppose, if you don't happen to care much for red birds.

This is much like what is happening to marriage.  When we decide that marriage means something that it has never meant, we might well discover our language to be inadequate to describe something that had up to now always been.

So much of life is much simpler I think than we give it credit.  It is the language, it seems, that tends to turn in on itself.  There are many Christian teachers, for example, who somehow confuse many by their teaching.  But like the black swan, one verse in the Bible can easily make them false teachers, unless, of course, you change the meaning of the words.  At that point, while you might then find a planet full of Christians, you might be hard pressed to find a Muslim, or a Buddhist.

I find myself similarly dismissing more and more "truths" out of hand these days by simply holding them up to the mirror of scripture.  What's left is not all that complicated really, as long as the language you're thinking with is trustworthy.  It is a difficult and wonderful battle, both within and without, for sure, but there again, the assurance of victory and glory does not weigh on our ability to fight it, and that's some excellent news, ain't it?  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Modern Christianity's Confusing Message

God loves you.  Oh, he loves you so much.  You just need to know just how much he loves you!  (whisper Oh, and by the way, you really ought to accept His love by saying this little prayer here, or he will burn you for eternity in Hell.

Does this make sense to anyone?  Anyone at all?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Darwin Quotes

I don't personally like bumper sticker wars.  Some put an ichthys on their bumper, then others put a response, then others put a response to that response.  I personally find it all petty and missing the majesty and indescribable awe of an all powerful, omniscient, immanent, transcendent, holy and Righteous God.

But, all of that notwithstanding, the next time you see one of these:

...let it remind you of a couple of quotes.  These are excerpted from Darwin's book "The Descent Of Man" chapter 6:

“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed. The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected."
And also from the same chapter:
“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. ‘Anthropological Review,’ April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.” 

Such quotes demand a defense by those who cling to his theories.  They are weak, and they are here.