Thursday, March 31, 2005

Contrarian View From the Pew: The Theory of Christianity

Several years ago I became interested in evolution. I had a feeling I needed to be able to understand and explain the science behind the theory. The more I read about evolution and the more I challenged some of the assumptions of evolutions at an online discussion forum, the more I realized many of the claims made by Darwinian evolutionists were based on faith more than actual science.

Something more interesting than what I discovered about evolution happened, though. By being critical of the claims of evolution, I also started to realize that there are many claims made by Christians and Christian Pastors that are based more on wishful thinking than is actually supported by the evidence.

Paul McHugh writes in the weekly Standard an interesting article called Teaching Darwin. Mr. McHugh does a very good job of describing the controversy behind the science and assumptions of evolution. He concludes his piece with this paragraph:

“Scientists as they engage in dialogue with others should abhor attempts to close off the conversation by excessive claims for any privileged access to truth. Scientists should tell what they actually know and how they know it, as distinct from what they believe and are trying to advance. If all of us, scientists and non-scientists alike, accepted that guiding principle, the 80-year history of attempts to use law to stifle the teaching of science--stretching as it does from the courtrooms of Dayton, Tennessee, to those of Cobb County, Georgia--could perhaps finally be brought to a close.”

I’m not sure the controversy regarding evolution will ever end, at least not in my lifetime. However, I do think if we replace the word “Scientists” with “Christians” in the above paragraph, believers would have a much better chance of fulfilling the great commission. We should be diligently presenting and arguing the facts. However, when we present theory as fact, we are doing more damage than good to our cause.

6 comments:

Derek Simmons said...

David:

I like your idea of switching out "scientist" for "Christian" in the article, and of expanding the concept of theory/fact distinction to evangelism. What are the most common theory/fact failures to distinguish you see Christians making?

Yours in Him,
Derek

David M. Smith said...

Hi Derek,

Good question! I sometimes hear things like, “God never gives anyone more than they can handle”, which seems to boarder on the nonsensical to me. I know why people say it and I even know why they believe it, but I don’t know how we can know if God is working in our life or someone else’s life when adversity comes our way. I don’t know if he is trying to grow me or if he is trying to use me when I have difficulty or even if my difficulty is part of his plan for me or if it is just a part of random chance.

The two biggest things I think most believers state as fact that is completely faith is when we claim the Bible is 100% the word of God and when we claim to know who will make it to heaven.

I believe the Bible is the word of God, but using verses in the Bible that were written before the entire Bible was compiled does not make inerrancy a fact.

Hammertime said...

David,
I like your take on the first part and those types of sayings.

However, your two "big things" are big indeed.

Consider this:
1) If the entire Bible isn't true, which parts are not? Who decides? How are they qualified?

2) "we claim to know who will make it to heaven" Does that mean that we say only those who are serving Christ will, or those who claim to know the hearts of others?

Thanks for fielding my contarian questions!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Hammer,

My point wasn’t to criticize the belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God or to criticize the belief that a person must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because I do believe both. However, my point was to show that both of these beliefs are based on faith and not on an objective fact that can be proven.

I do think that claiming the Bible is the inerrant word of God is the same factually as claiming that humans descended from primordial soup. Both may be true and neither could be true. There just are not enough objective facts to prove either.

Hammertime said...

Oh, OK. I think the same thing. Too bad the evolutionists won't admit it.

That said, all the darn facts in the world about Christianity don't matter much without those two "faith" items, methinks.

Teresa said...

I agree wholeheartedly! It is difficult sometimes not to interject our "feelings" into truth and later in life, if we have not been dilligent in reading "truth" for ourselves, we need to go back and figure out what has been "told" and what is actually truth from scripture, the WHOLE scripture.