I do take an occasional peek over the fence to see what is on the other side, and why not since I once lived there myself. If I am going to be skeptical, then I should also be skeptical about my own position just as much as any other, and so listening to what is being said, and understanding what the counter arguments actually are is part of that process.
So over on the Christian Post we have an article by a rather prolific contributor, Dan Delzell a pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. In this he presents an article entitled “Why Evolutionists and Atheists Long for Certainty“. Side note, it has been my consistent experience that anybody deploying the term “Evolutionists” is guaranteed to be an anti-science religious nut, so even the title itself, is sufficient evidence that I really am on the right side of the fence.
Anyway, let’s see what he is saying …
In some ways, evolutionists and atheists are similar to those who believe in creationism and Christianity. Man longs for certainty. And if he is unsure about God, then he is prone to grasp for certainty in science.
Oh dear, not a great start at all, it assumes that people either believe in God or “believe” in science, and yet we know that it is not like this. There are plenty of religious people who are, quite rightly, confident that what science reveals about the world around us is not wrong, and it is not because it is a “belief”, but rather because it demonstrates this with verifiable objective evidence.
What comes next it utterly bizarre …
But since science cannot prove evolution or atheism, man must resort to believing that human beings evolved from apes over billions of years.
Essentially what he is claiming is that every university on the planet is wrong, millions of biologists are delusional, and instead his belief that has no evidence at all is right. I’m sorry but this guy has no excuse, because all he needs to do is to go to google and type “Evidence for Evolution”. As for science “proving” atheism”, that is another truly bizarre statement to write. He has a god claim, as do many others, and because he cannot provide any credible evidence for that claim, his claim is dismissed, and that is atheism. The burden of proof is his.
Christians find certainty in God’s Word and in the cross.
… for cultural and emotional reasons, not because any of the claims can be demonstrated to be true …
We also find certainty in the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible
… any yet when you critically examine such claims they rapidly fall apart, I’ve not yet found even one example that can withstand any truly honest analysis (feel free to drop a comment if you have one) …
and in the fact that God grants eternal life in heaven to those who accept Christ as Savior
How exactly does he know this fact, what evidence can he provide to verify it is true? (and no, the bible is not “evidence” it is simply a claim). He does try to answer this …
the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to believers through the Scriptures which He inspired to be written
You would think that an all knowing, all powerful god who can do anything would also know that this is quite frankly absurd and is not sufficient to convince me, but apparently not.
Evolutionists and atheists were all little children at some point. Unfortunately, many of them were not led by their parents into the arms of the Savior. You know, the way Jesus welcomed little children to come to Him when He walked on the earth. There are plenty of people who never progress beyond what they learned from their parents. They get stuck in the rut of unbelief.
… except that I used to be a born-again baptised-in-the-spirit Christian and was once quite sure that it was all true. I’m not alone, there are many who once sat on that side of the fence, but have gradually woken up to the realisation that none of it is true at all. I did try, I really tried, and was completely immersed in it, and also a string of other beliefs (but that’s another story), until I learned to think critically and came to terms with the realisation that humans inherit these cultural artefacts and dive into them for emotional reasons without appreciating that none of it is in any way real at all.
Without God and His Word, man is left to devise whatever parameters make sense in his mind.
Rather ironically, those that do truly believe can’t agree amongst themselves on what god is actually saying or what parameters he defines, hence we have a huge diversity of conflicting beliefs, so with or without belief in a god, people are still simply selecting the stuff that makes the most sense. Personally, I’ll go with embracing a degree of certainty that the things that the scientific methodology has yielded are not wrong, and is always open to modification if new evidence turns up. As for anything and everything else, I am content to bask in the honesty of uncertainty, and am no longer satisfied by easy answers that are akin to wishful thinking.
Thankfully, some of these folks come to meet the Savior later in life in spite of never having been led to Christ by their parents.
… and thankfully today, many wake up, start to think for themselves, see the light, and step out of the darkness of cultural superstition. We have a rapidly rising tide of “nones” because there is a new flow of information that punches the full conversation through the previously impenetrable bubble of belief that used to insulate many.
And people on both sides of the spectrum are left scratching their head at how the other side could ever believe such a thing.
It’s easy for many unbelievers to place their faith in evolution and atheism. Likewise, it’s easy for believers to place their faith in the Savior of the world. It comes back to what you have been taught, and what you choose to believe based upon the knowledge you have been given.
Well no … when it comes to specific things, no “faith” is required. He is of course right in that people on both sides do indeed scratch their heads and wonder how those on the other side can actually embrace such thoughts, and he appears to assume it is simply a matter of people lacking a bit of information, but that is not what is going on at all.
- Present non-believes with religious claims, and nothing happens, they don’t rush out to convert.
- Point out to believers that they have no evidence for their claims, and they don’t think “Gosh that’s right, I have no reason to believe any of this”
In some ways, men are not really that different from one another. We all just want to be certain of what we believe, and we want to be certain that what we are believing is the truth.
So in many ways it all comes do to how we work out what it really true. For the religious, even if they don’t come to terms that it is like this, they do lean very heavily upon human emotions – “I have faith” and “I know Jesus is real” actually translates down to “I’ve had an emotional experience, and I feel these emotions when I think about God, and so that convinces me it is true”. The problem is that human emotions are not a truly reliable means for working out what is true because we are so easily prone to being fooled like that. If indeed we become aware of how biased and partial we can be, then it opens us up to the possibility questioning such feelings. Even then it can be challenging because we also have a very heavy emotional investment in specific ideas and so we find it hard to cope with the idea of putting that aside.
The beginning of human wisdom is doubt. We all hold specific ideas to different degrees of certainty, and often take a cue from those around us and crowdsource that degree of certainty. I would however argue that the true human spirit is our ability to rise above such cultural certainties that we emotionally anchor ourselves to, swim against the tide, and challenge the prevailing status quo. We all have this possibility within, and yet many hearts faint at the very idea of doubt.