Intelligent Design, The Science of it All

Objective Truth part five

PART V

There are only two types of causes, natural and intelligent.  Common sense tells us the Grand Canyon had a natural cause and Mount Rushmore had an intelligent cause.  We have a natural ability to spot intelligent design even in the simplest form, like a footprint in the sand or a heart carved in a tree.  The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program would be thrilled to hear even a very simple organized message from outer space on one of their radio telescopes.  They would immediately know that it indicated intelligent life.  So if a simple message from outer space or the words on this page require intelligence, what about the most intricate design known to man?

SETI-Antenna-array

The search for extraterrestrial life began over fifty years ago.  The SETI Institute has methodically searched the heavens for extraterrestrial intelligence for over twenty-five years and found nothing.  There is no evidence of intelligent life “out there.”  According to these esteemed scientists, our galaxy is 12 billion years old. Some estimate that a civilization as advanced as ours, or more advanced, would colonize the entire galaxy in 5 to 50 million years.  Even if they did not want to “leave home,” they could use self-replicating space probes— sophisticated machines that can explore and reproduce themselves on alien worlds.  Such “Von Neumann probes” would allow an advanced civilization to explore the entire galaxy without leaving home, perhaps in less than a million years.  We have found no aliens, we have found no probes, we have found no signals.  So where are they? One or 5 or even 50 million years is a blip compared to the 12-billion-year age of our galaxy (just 1 percent of 12 billion years is 120 million years).  As we will see in chapter 12, our Earth is special.  Surely an advanced civilization, or its probes, would have reached Earth millions if not hundreds of millions of years ago.  An extremely advanced civilization might be able to alter the position or color of stars. Our telescopes reveal no evidence of that.  We have found absolutely no evidence that intelligent life exists anywhere else in the universe.  Of course, this evidence is inconclusive; it does not prove that life or even intelligent life does not exist “out there.” Perhaps there are a vast multitude of advanced civilizations that, for whatever reason, have no desire to make their presence known.

Or you could go with the theory of a comic strip characters Calvin and Hobbs—“ The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.”

In actual SETI research, scientists are looking for more subtle indicators of intelligence, namely, unnaturally modulated and focused radio signals. 12 Either way, SETI does presume that the presence of a complex and specified pattern would provide grounds for suspecting the existence of an intelligence. Moreover, SETI seeks precisely to establish the activity of an intelligent cause in a remote place and from a remote time in which intelligence is currently unknown.

Arguably, the unnaturally modulated electromagnetic signals that SETI scientists are looking for represent an improbable pattern, but not necessarily evidence of digitally encoded, functionally specified information. Some have noted this difference in the criterion that SETI uses to detect intelligence in order to discredit ID proponents who have cited SETI to legitimate design reasoning in biology. But, if anything, the SETI standard for detecting intelligence constitutes a less demanding threshold for detecting intelligence than that used by ID advocates. Whereas SETI requires only evidence of a channel of communication (i.e., an unnaturally modulated signal), I would argue for a design based upon the presence of functionally specified digital code within the communication channel.

In 1996 a SETI research group scanned all 202 of the solar-type stars within 155 light-years, listening for intelligent electromagnetic signals. They found none.  The latest SETI search effort places the minimum travel distance much farther away than 250 light-years.  A spacecraft traveling at 1 percent the velocity of light (nearly 7 million miles per hour) would require 25,000 years to traverse 250 light-years.  And this makes for a quick trip.  The odds of the travelers surviving so long in radiation and sustaining the journey’s supplies— not to mention psychological isolation— seem utterly remote.

Most scientists feel that the earth is the unique treasure of one planet in a billion trillion possible necessary combinations of temperature, size, gravity, rotation the so-called “Goldilocks” zone.

“The odds of these 122 constants that make it possible for our existence, being precisely as they are at 1 chance in 10138 power.  In mathematics this means: 1 chance in 1 with138 zeros after it.” Dr. Hugh Ross.  NOAA places the odds of being hit by lightning at 1 in 1,000,000 or 1 with six zeros after it. Your odds to win the California Super Lotto are 1 chance in 41,416,353 or a 4 with approximately 7 zeros after it.

“The laws [of physics] seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. The universe must have a purpose.”  Paul Davies: British astrophysicist, Davies, P. 1984, Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature.

If you just look at the evidence from science, and assume no divine intent, it appears unlikely we will find another planet equally capable of sustaining life over billions of years in the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

Don’t tell me amino acids can be created by accident.  Don’t tell me about “billions and billions” of years for life to arise.  Don’t tell me about “countless” stars and planets in the universe.  It all doesn’t matter.  Using simple concepts of number— exponents— one can expose as false claims that life arose by accident. You cannot seriously expect to get a specified protein of 75 linked amino acids in the history of the universe, except as a product of already existing life, even if you assume that everything in the universe is made up of amino acids and even if you assume that amino acids will freely combine into 75-unit chains.  Period.  And there actually is no dispute about this fact.  Of course, it takes more than one functional protein to create life.  If you use blue-green algae as a model for the first life-form, it takes perhaps 2,000 functional and exquisitely coordinated proteins.  Yale physicist Harold Morowitz calculated the likelihood of life arising by chance as one in 10 to the one hundred billionth power (one in 10100,000,000,000).  We will get into that in more detail in the Part VI

Statistical zero, where scientists usually write something off as impossible, is 1 in 10to the 50th power, or 1 with 50 zeros after it.

There are relatively few atheists among neurologists and brain surgeons and among astrophysicists, but many among psychologists, sociologists, and historians.  The reason seems obvious: the first group study divine design, the second group study human undesign.

monkeysinternet

Someone once said that if you sat a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, one of them would eventually type out all of Hamlet by chance.  However, when we find the text of Hamlet, we do not wonder whether it came from chance or monkeys.  There are all kinds of debates on this concept and I am not sure I really want to discuss it, but it did seem somewhat appropriate here and leads to my conclusion for this part.

Why then does the atheist use that incredibly improbable explanation for the universe?  Clearly, because it is his only chance of remaining an atheist.  At this point, we need a psychological explanation of the atheist rather than a logical explanation of the universe.  That is an objective truth (subjective conclusion though I believe it to be the truth) that is true for me and you, even if you do not want to believe it.

ADDENDUM 

I find myself need to make a clarification for the second time in my blogging career.  I certainly did not think that anybody would mistake the joke I made about subjective truth with the point of the Objective Truth in part V of the series I am writing.  Below is the original text with the corrections below it.

<< Statistical zero, where scientists usually write something off as impossible, is 1 in 10to the 50th power, or 1 with 50 zeros after it.

There are relatively few atheists among neurologists and brain surgeons and among astrophysicists, but many among psychologists, sociologists, and historians.  The reason seems obvious: the first group study divine design, the second group study human undesign.

Someone once said that if you sat a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, one of them would eventually type out all of Hamlet by chance.  However, when we find the text of Hamlet, we do not wonder whether it came from chance or monkeys.  There are all kinds of debates on this concept and I am not sure I really want to discuss it, but it did seem somewhat appropriate here and leads to my conclusion for this part. 

Why then does the atheist use that incredibly improbable explanation for the universe?  Clearly, because it is his only chance of remaining an atheist.  At this point, we need a psychological explanation of the Atheist rather than a logical explanation of the universe.  That is an objective truth (subjective conclusion though I believe it to be the truth) that is true for me and you, even if you do not want to believe it. >>

The inference to the subjective conclusion was the need of a psychological exam for the Atheist.  The objective truth was the concept of statistical zero.  We will be examining the mathematical probabilities of some of the chance happenings claimed by evolutionary scientists and the convoluted statements to try to dismiss the Objective Truth of statistical zero.

 

 

 

 

Intelligent Design, The Science of it All

Objective Truth part Four

There are barriers in the search for Objective Truth- many deliberate, some simply the result of circumstances.  Scientific literature is, well written for scientists.  Academics write mostly to impress others in academia.  It is often poorly written and ridiculously opaque for the general public.  Even where the text is readable, it tends to be one-sided because the authors need to present one point and cannot expand to related disciplines.  So in presenting their thesis they may confuse fact and fiction, knowledge and belief, and not acknowledge, or properly state, opposing facts or views.  I’m not saying it is deliberate, but it might cost them grant money.

One way around this is to write a book and you can say it goes all the way back to Darwin, when he published his book “On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.”  Darwin proposed a comprehensive interpretation of many diverse lines of evidence.  He also argued for the superior explanatory power of his theory and its two key propositions: the creative power of natural selection and the descent of all life from a common ancestor.  He also argued against the explanatory adequacy of rival interpretations of the evidence and refuted arguments for them.  This was the first of many books that have accomplished the same concept.  It has made many scientists and pseudo-scientists rich and famous.

There are other reasons that books are used to advance paradigm-shifting ideas.  New scientific theories often synthesize a broad range of evidence from many related disciplines or sub-disciplines of science.  As such, they are often inherently interdisciplinary in scope.  Modern scientific journals, typically focused as they are on topics within a narrowly defined sub-discipline, rarely permit the kind of comprehensive review and assessment of evidence that the advancement of a new interpretive framework requires.

More insidious, are the barriers deliberately constructed by those who fashion themselves to be our ruling intellectual elite.  They have fired, demoted, ostracized, and attacked dozens, perhaps hundreds, of scientists who dare to point out the overwhelming evidence that contradicts the prevailing concepts, both in physics and in life itself.  Others will say and have said to me: “whine about how the media and the courts are destroying the ability to present that concept, get in line. Our media and government are controlled by people that have their own agenda and many many things are excluded.”  Nobody is ‘whining’ however they are diligently working to get the information out so that people can, if they so desire with an open mind, understand the information they are being denied.  They cannot make an intelligent decision about Objective Truth with only part of the information available.

It would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at present is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design.  In practically every field of fundamental biological research, ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an ever-accelerating rate.”  (Biochemist and noted author Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, p. 342)

We, have a choice between wonder and acceptance, between hope and despair, between intellectual freedom and conformity.  Many individuals are persuaded to base their choice on a myth.  The myth that science has somehow displaced religion, that science has somehow triumphed over religion, that science has somehow made religion obsolete.  Contrary to what you may have only had the opportunity to read and contrary to what you may insist upon believing, science and religion are converging on the wonder of a marvelous universe, and both scientists and religious believers are in awe of its magnificent design.

The riddle of existence is as old as the human race.  Why does the universe exist? Is what we see and detect all there is, or is there some type of greater reality, of greater truth?  Why do we exist?  Can we believe we were put here for a purpose, and if so, what is it?  How you live your life perhaps depends upon your answers to those questions. Some individuals devote their lives to a calling they believe comes from God; others mock believers and follow no moral code.  Still others invent their own moral code but doubt divine intervention or design.

We are each entitled to our own views, perceptions, our own reality (no matter how far from real it might be).  I respect Atheists and Agnostics.  I do not share their point of view.  I am not troubled by Atheists, I can see how a person could conclude that there is no God, I certainly did for some 20 years of my life.  I am not troubled by Agnostics, I can see how a person could conclude that one does not know, and perhaps will never know, whether God exists.  I do reject the misuse of science in the debate.  In my view, science and mathematics strongly support belief in God.  The proposition by a small but vocal minority of Atheists, that science somehow reveals the folly of religion, is wholly false.

explain_smile

Many Atheists and even some theologians will suggest I am arguing “from ignorance.”  They will suggest that most of the incredible scientific evidence for the existence of God is but “gaps” in our present knowledge.

bridge-the-gap-failed

Failure of science or God?

Just because we do not currently know how something could have been created from nothing doesn’t mean “God did it”; just because we don’t currently know how life formed doesn’t mean “God did it,” and so on ad nauseam.  They insist I have fallen into a “God-of-the-gaps” fallacy.

god_of_the_universe.

I am insulted by that assertion.  I will place, and have done so a number of times, my background, knowledge and intelligence against anyone.  It is a tricky argument for the Atheists to use, because it assumes it is itself correct.  It assumes that science will ultimately provide a complete non-theistic explanation for all things.  It assumes belief in a “science-of-the-gaps.”  Only one can be true for you and me.

Some of the greatest current luminaries of the evolution movement, Richard Lewontin and Richard Dawkins claim the design in life is illusory.  They claim that life looks designed, but was not designed by an actual intelligent or purposive agent.  That leaves only accident as a reason for life becoming life from inanimate materials.

Before we go further, we ought to distinguish five questions that are often confused.

  • First, there is the question of whether something exists or not.  A thing can exist whether we know it or not.  That is an objective truth.
  • Second, there is the question of whether we know it exists.  (To answer this question affirmatively is to presuppose that the first question is answered affirmatively, of course; though a thing can exist without our knowing it, we cannot know it exists unless it exists. And that also is an objective truth)
  • Third, there is the question of whether we have a reason for our knowledge.  We can know some things without being able to lead others to that knowledge by reasons.  This is subjective.
  • Fourth, there is the question of whether this reason, if it exists, amounts to a proof.  Most reasons do not.  Most of the reasons we give for what we believe amount to probabilities, not proofs.  For instance, the lottery ticket I bought may win this week’s Lotto, but there is a good reason for thinking that is very improbable. That is an objective truth.
  • Fifth, if there is a proof, is it a scientific proof, a proof by the scientific method, i.e., by experiment, observation, and measurement?  Philosophical proofs can be good proofs, but they do not have to be scientific proofs.

evolution_vs_science

We know that only intelligence produces information, and we have now found information in the universe and in life.  Life has been replaced by knowledge that all living creatures run off the same operating system and are built using a tremendous amount of information.  This reasoning is focused and direct.  It is a positive argument, based on finding in nature the type of information and complexity that, in all human experience, come only from intelligence.  To me, design is the only plausible explanation for the creation of the functional nanotechnology in all cells, and the stupendous creation of human beings and the human brain.  You can choose to believe in “cumulative selection,” but I find that an illogical fairy tale that collapses upon even cursory examination.

I believe I have logically laid out the premise that I will point out objective truth in the remaining articles.  It was necessary to lay in these four articles the foundation of the ideas and the concepts that will follow.  Some of these are:

  • A fundamental premise of science is that everything that comes into existence had to have a causal event. What we know points directly to the existence of a supreme Creator outside of space and time to a first cause.  It does not conclusively prove that God exists but it certainly suggests that it is a viable probability.  As an objective truth one has to decide to believe in this first cause or to personally decide what other alternative belief such as an infinite multi-verse which just exists for no reason and that it is more plausible.
  • We know our universe is incredibly fine-tuned for life as we know it, all other possible planetary bodies have any one of a number of problems that would, if life was possible, cause ‘life’ to be incredibly different than what we know it to be. The alternative would believe and infinite multi-verse, and that the laws and constants of physics can have and might possibly in the future change.
  • All life is incredibly complex. There is not even a “mildly plausible” theory for the origin of life by undirected, natural means.  There also, is no expectation of any new laws of chemistry or physics to explain the origin of life.  There is information stored in the same form and manner in the structure of all life on this earth and this good definitely point to the existence of a God.  There is no Atheist explanation for the origin of life, there just is not any.
  • We know the technology of life is far more advanced in many ways than any human programming and knowledge. The Atheist belief that new functional nanotechnology – “life” – arises from random combinations of atoms, is irrational.  As an objective truth, this would point to the existence of God.
  • We know that there are complete unanswered puzzles in the emergence of brand-new species. The neo-Darwinists will speak rapturously of the power of natural selection, but we all know that “cumulative selection” is a fairytale, and the fossil record and other facts of science do not agree with the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.
  • We know that the earth is special but how special still hasn’t been determined.
  • Incredibly complex mathematical concepts and ideas underlie all of physics and may be the foundation of existence. Objectively, the truth of these known facts point to God.

First, we will deal with the science of some things, then the mathematical probability and then how they relate to each other on a philosophical basis.  It will be objective and you can decide if you wish to believe the truth or not, even though it is true for everyone else.

Biblical Discussions, Intelligent Design

Objective Truth- part three

PART III

We want to know if the facts say that God exists and the Bible is true, for the last time.  To do so, we must be willing to consider the evidence in an honest and impartial manner.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher adapted this from an earlier quote by William Paley, an 18th century British theologian, In A View of the Evidences of Christianity, 1794.

As Christians, we do not claim to be Jesus and thus perfect.  Instead, we claim to need Jesus because we can recognize our imperfections.  As we get deeper into the facts and thereby the truth about Jesus, we will not indisputably prove that Jesus and therefore God exist, but instead will attempt to provide confirmation beyond a reasonable doubt.  A reasonable doubt is based on reason and commonsense after an impartial examination of all the evidence.  Very little in life is convincing beyond a reasonable doubt.  If we lived requiring that type of proof before making a decision we would do nothing.  There still is no guarantee that you will not be in a car accident or someone shoot you at a convenience market by accident.

Outright contempt of the matter prior to a thorough investigation and wanting proof  beyond all possible doubt are really about our will and desire to ignore the truth and do what we want to anyway.  I have had many discussions with Atheists and non-believers and the for the most part they claim to know that God does not exist, but they have no evidence to support their beliefs- the saddest attempt is to say “there is no scientific proof.”  Most of what I have discussed and have seen written ends up pretty much being “I just don’t want there to be a God.”  Most of the Atheists and non-believers will NOT look at the evidence impartially- they are just looking for ways to continue to justify their beliefs.

If there is no objective or universal truth, then any claim to have objective truth will be treated as nothing but an attempt by one interpretive community to impose their own limited, subjective perspective on everyone else.  The very concept of objective truth is grounded in the Christian conviction that, an intelligent designer created the universe.  The very idea of objective truth – a truth that is “out there” – makes sense only on the basis of a Christian worldview.  In evolutionary concept of the mind undercuts our confidence in the objective truth of our moral beliefs as well as the objective truth of our mathematical or scientific reasoning.

knowledge-vs-wisdom

Wisdom or sapience is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.  Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance, and to avoid wrongdoing.  This implies a possession of knowledge or the seeking of knowledge to apply to the given circumstance.

Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard.  Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of “truth to self,” or authenticity.

Confirmation bias occurs when we selectively notice or focus upon evidence which tends to support the things we already believe or want to be true while ignoring that evidence which would serve to disconfirm those beliefs or ideas.  This bias plays a stronger role when it comes to those beliefs which are based upon prejudice, faith, or tradition rather than on empirical evidence.  A good example would be how people notice when they get a phone call from a person they were just thinking about but don’t remember how often they didn’t get such a call when thinking about that person.  “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.” Our biases are some of the non-smart reasons we have for arriving at beliefs; the confirmation bias is perhaps worse than most because it actively keeps us from arriving at the truth and allows us to wallow in comforting falsehood and nonsense.

It is precisely because of the strength, pervasiveness, and perniciousness of this kind of bias that science incorporates the principle of independent confirmation and testing of one’s ideas and experiments. It is the hallmark of science that a claim should be supported independent of personal bias, but it is a hallmark of pseudoscience that only true believers will discover the evidence, which supports their claims.  This is why a Christian’s faith is based upon verifiable facts and evidence.

In a very real and important sense, it is possible to say that, scientifically, God does not exist — just as science is able to discount the existence of a myriad of other alleged beings   All such statements are casual short-hand for a more elaborate and technical statement: “this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe anything or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful.”   What should be most obvious about the more technically accurate statement is that it isn’t absolute.  It does not deny for all time any possible existence of the entity or force in question; instead, it is a provisional statement denying the existence of any relevance or reality to the entity or force based on what we currently know.  (Not withstanding black holes, black matter, black energy, black light, wormholes, etc which scientists insist cannot be detected, measured or proven- but have to exist to make both sides of their equations equal).

Nothing in science is proven or disproven beyond a shadow of any possible doubt.  In science, everything is provisional.  Being provisional is not a weakness or a sign that a conclusion is weak.  Being provisional is a smart, pragmatic tactic because we can never be sure what we will come across after the next experiment.  This lack of absolute certainty is a window through which many Atheists try to slip their lack of a ‘god’, but that is not valid.

The other reason people deny there is an objective truth is because they are skeptical that we know the truth.  I accept that we never know what the truth is for sure.  We can be mistaken.  But to be mistaken, there has to be an objective truth! The idea of a mistake is that there is an objective truth and we have it wrong.  Denying there are objectively true ideas also denies that there are false ideas and mistakes.  Consequently, it prevents us from finding and correcting our errors, because errors are deviations from the truth and they say there is no truth to deviate from.

Part of the issue is the idea that knowledge is justified, true belief.  It is easy to lapse into relativism with that conception of knowledge because that kind of knowledge is impossible to come by, so one might think that opinions are all we have.  Justificationists pave the way for relativists by denying that imperfect knowledge is knowledge at all.

Here is an argument that objective truth must exist: Communication relies on there being an objective truth.  When I say something, you hear it.  We are in a shared world.  What you hear is not random; it has to do with what I said.  It is not based on your whim or subjectivity.  What you hear is a close approximation of what I actually said, because you seek the truth of what I said and it is there to be found.  Communication is only possible when there is one single truth of what is being said for all the people communicating.

Knowledge is created by imaginative and critical thought.  The key ingredients are both creativity and criticism.  We need numerous ideas, including ones that are not obvious.  In addition, we need error correction to get rid of flaws.  With those two components, we can improve our knowledge and learn new things.

You have a right to believe.  Not just a legal right, but an intellectual right.  Parts of our society, certain vocal Atheists and much of our mass culture, suggest and sometimes even loudly proclaim that belief in God is outdated and somehow intellectually inferior.  That worldview is false.

Just as you have a right to believe, you have a right not to believe.  I’m not out to mock or demean Atheists and Agnostics (but I will certainly exercise my right to free speech and question and poke fun at some of their statements).  Many are careful thinkers, very moral and very responsible.  I will present the evidence, their arguments, and my arguments, and encourage you to decide for yourself.

We all have doubts and beliefs.  When it comes to God, you have a choice.  Atheism is a system of belief, which is why it and the word Atheist will be capitalized throughout the remainders of my writings.  Atheism may not be as detailed as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, but it can have an equally profound impact on how you live your life.  We will examine beliefs about God using reason. I have spent much of my life trying to resolve reason and belief.

Atheism may not be as detailed as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, but it does have an equally profound impact on how you choose to live your life. We will examine beliefs about God using reason.  I have been spending most of life trying to resolve the ‘so-called’ discrepancy between reason and belief.  It drove me to alcoholism, drugs, thievery, pornography, and any attempt to destroy the thoughts in my mind.  When I started to truly look at the facts, understand the conflicts and compromises, I began to learn the truth-the truth that was unavoidable.   I I have gotten there with reason and proven scientific facts.  Objective truth!  What is true for me is true for you.

You cannot doubt the existence of God unless you have some faith in the belief that God does not exist. You may say you don’t care about God, or have no need for God. If so, you are betting your life that no God exists that could hold you accountable or provide meaning and hope in your life.  Before you base your life on the belief that no God exists that could make your life meaningful, I urge you to consider the evidence that will follow in future articles.

KnowledgeInformationWisdom

Should we believe in God, or should we believe there is no God?  We are going to look at the evidence, at the facts, at what I will call the “science of belief.”  Many theologians shy away from this type of examination, perhaps in part because of a fear that their faith will be damaged by a negative answer and perhaps in part because they think the world of science and the world of faith do not intersect.  Many educated persons shun this quest, perhaps in part because they have wrapped themselves in a worldview where the existence of God is literally unthinkable.  Many others reject it because, for them, the existence of God would be an inconvenient truth-they do not wish to be held accountable.  I will use reason and modern science, (objective truth, not blind faith), to make the case for God.  You decide.

Biblical Discussions, Intelligent Design

Objective Truth- part two

PART II

‘If I only had a dollar for every time ….’  Is the typical statement of those who are fed up with the incredibly idiotic statements made by others?  Mine is “Christianity is true for you but not necessary for others.”  The problem with the people who make this statement is they have confused belief with truth.  However, belief alone does not guarantee that the matter at hand is true.  Truth, on the other hand, is not a respecter of any belief that contradicts it.  Truth conforms to reality and the object being referred to.

A pile of dollar bills

When it comes to God, we have a similar situation.  Many people have shown up who claim to know the truth about God.  On the surface, it may seem as if most of them are headed in the same direction.  However, when we look closely, we see that they all contradict each other when it comes to the most important points, like salvation.  For example, Christianity is the sole belief that teaches salvation by God’s grace, through faith alone.  The others teach works (good deeds) and specific conditions as a necessity.

Let us look at some contradictory claims about Jesus, Salvation and Eternity.  This is by no means a comprehensive list and may be wrong in some areas but this is my take on the following:

  • Evangelical Christians – One God, Jesus the Son is God in the flesh; salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone; heaven is for believers; non-believers end up in hell. An evangelical Christian is a believer who holds to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture over any other teaching or tradition, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation by grace through faith alone. I believe to be the one true Faith.
  • Traditional Roman Catholicism – One God, Jesus the Son is God in the flesh; salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus plus “good” works, sacraments and penance here and in purgatory; heaven is the final result for true believers; non-believers end up in hell; claims to be the only true church.
  • Judaism – One God; beliefs about Jesus vary from he was a great moral teacher, a pagan idol or was a false prophet; Jesus was just a man not the Messiah/ Savior that they believe is still to come; Jewish believers can sanctify their lives and draw closer to God by obeying divine commandments and good works; God will reward the good and punish the wicked; the dead will be resurrected; extreme evildoers like Hitler will have an eternal punishment.
  • Islam – Jesus was a prophet; salvation is by belief in Allah, Mohammad and many good works which the local Imam decides; true believers go to heaven; non-Muslims will all be in hell.
  • Hinduism – Jesus was a prophet; millions of gods; salvation through good works and overcoming karma; reincarnation.
  • Buddhism – Jesus was an enlightened man; many salvations possible by the cessation of desire through an eight-fold path and defined works; extinguish your ego to enter nirvana, a form of heaven. Buddha was a raised Hindu and rejected Hinduism because of the caste system.  He was actually an atheist but there are various forms of Buddhism.
  • Higher Power – Whatever anyone believes about Jesus, salvation and eternity is true. Every belief about God is true as long as someone believes it.
  • New Age – Jesus was an enlightened man/ god; salvation not needed because we are all gods like Jesus, but do not realize it; reincarnation in new life based on works; contradictions among adherents embraced so beliefs can vary widely.
  • Mormonism – Jesus is the spirit brother of Satan and was once a man like all men; salvation is by faith in their Jesus, being obedient to Mormonism and good works; non-Mormons get a second chance after death to convert; best Mormons get their own universe and become its god; worst of the worst are cast into eternal darkness; they claim to be the only true church, aka: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or LDS.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses – Jesus is the archangel Michael; salvation by faith in Jesus plus works and obedience to JW teachings; most believers live eternally on a renewed Earth since they believe heaven is full; non-believers die and cease to exist; it claims to be the only true church.
  • Atheism/ Humanism – Jesus is just a man; there is no afterlife; you die and get buried and the worms devour you.

World-religions

My list indicates that several of the groups believe in Jesus, but their versions of Jesus contradict the Bible and each other.  Muslims say that Jesus existed, but he did not die on the cross and rise again.  Most religions say that Jesus was just a man, an extraordinary man maybe.  The Bible says that Jesus is God in the flesh and the only way to heaven.  Not everyone can be correct.  To come to a version of Jesus which is contrary to the Bible, people arbitrarily reject parts of the Bible they do not like and build their own Jesus.  Then they add other books with teachings that contradict what Jesus taught, and with no evidence, they claim that these are correct and the Bible is false.

If the evidence shows us that God does exist, we can utilize the law of non-contradiction, to eliminate those beliefs that contradict the truth. I want to reiterate that we should respect others and co-exist with them.  Despite what other person’s state, I do not ‘put down’ other people’s beliefs.  If engaged in a discussion about certain beliefs and they state something that I find not factual I will point it out and generally state my viewpoint.  It is unfortunate that they often take it personally and end the discussion.  Every person has the right to believe whatever they want, and no one has the right to force their beliefs on anyone.  However, the truth of the matter is simply stated in the following quote: “Contrary beliefs can exist but contrary truths cannot.”  Dr. Frank Turek, author, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.

From the above list, you can determine that the concepts of salvation and eternity are exclusive for each belief.  If someone claims (and there are many who do so) that anyone’s belief is true is actually saying that truth can contradict itself, which logically is false.  Therefore, the overreaching question is WHO HAS THE TRUTH.

There is one gotcha idea we have to bring up here.  It is a cop-out for most non-believers to claim that religion is ethno-centric, cultural and dependent upon geographic boundaries.  The claim is made that people believe what they do simply because of their country of birth, so it is not their fault if they are not Christians.  If you were born in Yemen you would probably be Muslim. While there is some validity (very little) to this statement, it does not mean that their belief is true it is illogical.  Using that type of reasoning, we would have to say that the individuals raised in Germany under Nazism were correct in their beliefs.  Or that children raised in families where the father figure was a member of the Ku Klux Klan continued believing racism and segregation is correct – it is not their fault.  The origin or sincerity of their beliefs does not prove that it is true or false.  Only evidence can do that. This fact is supported around the world by the number of individuals who have converted from their country’s primary belief to Christianity. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_converts_to_Christianity read the box on the right side of the page).

I have struggled for years with how to define my Christian faith- every non-believer and scalawag wants some kind of definition because they have at the ready a putdown or a meme they think will discredit what I have stated. Being the contrarian that I am I have now started to state: “Christian faith is action taken upon established truth.”  That makes it a little more difficult to respond on their part.

The definition implies that something had to have actually happened in history that made the first believers engage in actionable behavior.  Individuals who lived in the Middle East around 15 to 50 AD saw events, talked about them, and listened to others proclaim the miracles that Jesus performed and his resurrection.  They heard him, they saw him, and they may have participated in many of the events.  They believed it was reasonable to trust Him regarding all that He said about eternity.  Trusting in feelings or what others believe is why so many people are led astray.  The Christian faith is not an exercise in imagination.  It is based on real historical events that were seen and reported by eyewitnesses.  And that is just part of the overall proofs of His existence.

If any belief about God is false, then all the faith in the world will not make it true.  Many individuals claim that people do not rise from the dead and miracles are not possible.  Because of that, a Christian’s faith must be in vain.  If the facts say God does exist, you cannot rule out miracles, including the resurrection.  Most non-believers will have stopped reading by now, I hope they at least understood something of what I have written. The next step in trying to obtain objective truth is to examine the scientific facts to see if God exists.

Part three coming soon.

https://larryemarshall.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/objective-truth-part-three/

A Teaser:

We want to know if the facts say that God exists and the Bible is true, once and for all. To do so, we must be willing to consider the evidence in an honest and impartial manner.

Biblical Discussions, Intelligent Design

Objective Truth- part one

Objective Truth

PART I

“Is life a glorified Monopoly game?  When you die, is everything just going back in the box?”  Dr. Frank Turck, www.crossexamined.org.  Life is not about religion, it’s about truth.

  • What is objective truth?
  • It relates to the object referred to.
  • It corresponds with reality.
  • It is telling it like it is.
  • It is true even if no one believes it.
  • Jesus and the Bible claim to be objective truths.

“Truth is true – even if no one knows it.  Truth is true – even if no one admits it.  Truth is true even if no one agrees what it is.  Truth is true – even if no one follows it.  Truth is true – even if no one but God grasps it slowly.”  Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

truth-is-truth

“Truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.”  Sir Winston Churchill, www.quotations.about.com.  Truth comes with a built-in check and balance.  It is called the law of non-contradiction.  It is a fundamental principle of thought, which clearly tells us, that opposite ideas cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense.  As an example, you cannot both be dark and light outside at the same time.  This law is self evident and undeniable.  Having knowledge of this law becomes crucial to understanding that truth does exist and it is opposite is always falls.

A brief example.  It is true that you are reading this article right now.  You are the object of the statement.  Therefore, it is true for everybody, everywhere that you are reading this article right now.  The non-contradiction is that you are not reading it, which is obviously false.  Contradictions in a statement render the claim falls.  A majority of nonbelievers say, “Truth does not exist” and insist that is a true statement.  That statement is obviously contradictory and thereby false.

How do we find truth?  We can stumble across it or we can make a lucky guess.  Generally, the three most popular methods of determining the truth are as follows:

  • Our feelings, if it feels right and gives me purpose. Hope, peace of mind, it has to be the truth.
  • Someone you trust believes that it is true, so therefore it must be.
  • Evidence and consistency that best fits the situation would be the truth.

If you were asked which one of the above items you would pick to make a decision where truth is most important.  When individuals are asked this question over 90% of them pick the third option.  Then the strange “thinking” starts taking effect.  When the same people are asked, do you believe in God, the people who picked choice number three suddenly chose one or two instead.  It would appear that a great deal of people’s belief about God is not founded on actual evidence but on feelings.

There are followers in every belief who will claim to have found the ‘truth.’  So is one belief correct and the only way to God or do all roads lead to heaven?  If we base our premise on subjective evidence such as feelings and personal experience, we will become confused because every faith has those who claim to have reached the eternal ‘truth.’  The only legitimate way to be reasonably sure our faith is placed in the truth is to examine the objective evidence ourselves, as we would with any major decisions.  Objective evidence can be examined by everyone and does not change due to emotions, feelings or personal experience.  An example of objective evidence would be scientific and historical facts.

Feelings are important (especially for ilLiberals: https://larrythecontrarian.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/debunking-illiberal-intellectual-dishonesty/ ) and can be useful when you have verifiable facts and more than one solid option but do not place them above facts.  Every belief includes views about salvation and eternity so finding the truth about God is extremely important, and making a wise decision based on objective evidence is the only sensible decision.

Many people believe faith is more important than what they place their faith in, but they are wrong.  The fact is- the object of a person’s faith is more important than the faith itself.  Faith based on evidence is reasonable faith.  So why would we rely on ‘blind’ faith to make one of the most important decisions in our lives – God’s existence, identity and our eternity?  It only makes sense to check out the facts to see if your belief is supported by evidence. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines faith as “A firm belief in something for which there is no proof” but it does not say “for which there is no evidence.

When we are confronted with a decision where we do not have one hundred percent proof, some kind of faith is very important.  Therefore, it is essential to Christianity.  Faith connects us to the salvation God is offering through grace; without faith it is impossible to be saved.  However the Bible is speaking about faith placed in the truth, which it claims to be.  The most sincere faith cannot change history (although some try) and it will not make a false belief about God true.  I know I can find atheists who will try to prove that the Greek gods Zeus and Apollo , or the Flying Spaghetti Monster is as real and valid as God, if they are not real, not even sincere faith will make them true.  But idiotic imbecilic moronic attempts will continue to be made by them.

truth_drifting

Stay tuned for part two

https://larryemarshall.wordpress.com/2016/06/04/objective-truth-part-two/