I find it odd that man is perfectly content to believe what his brain tells him about the world around him but finds it difficult to perceive the Maker of both the world and his brain. Some of us discover that God is all around and seeks to communicate with us. Others will not accept a God who has not erected neon signs in his own front yard proclaiming His existence.
According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
2 a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b : an intricate and difficult problem
We all run across conundrums. For some, a conundrum could be as common as which invitation to a Senior Prom to accept or whether to offer to host a surprise birthday party for a friend. Some conundrums are questions of personal morality, such as whether one should report a neighbor when it appears he is abusing his family or whether he should remain neutral to the people around him. For others, the matter of the very existence of a Creator God is a conundrum. Naturally, such a person would also find the existence of the Universe and in fact their own existence to be yet another conundrum and then the conundrums multiply exponentially from there. Atheistic scientists have massive difficulties with which to deal, as Douglas Wilson explains beautifully during a dialogue with Christopher Hitchens in the book, "Is Christianity Good for the World?" To quote Wilson:
"...I quite agree with you that we ought not to "resist evidence that may at first sight seem unwelcome or unsettling," but this is not a deep agreement, for we immediately differ over which one of us is failing to honor this quite obvious principle. I have shown that you have refused to consider evidence for the fact that your assumption of what the Universe actually is does not allow for valid descriptions of that Universe to arise from within it. If one were to spill milk accidently on the kitchen floor, and someone came in and wanted to know what had happened, the one thing we would be sure of is that such an enquiring mind wouldn't ask the milk. The milk wouldn't know. It's the accident!"
You see, the existence of the Universe is not a conundrum to those who accept the idea of a Creator God. If God created the Universe, then the existence of said Universe is not unreasonable. That the Universe obeys sets of laws and that the systems within said Universe seem to follow logical patterns is to be expected, since a Logical Mind thought it up in the first place. That living creatures would all carry the imprimateur of their Maker (DNA) would also be unsurprising. In fact, great scientific minds such as Newton and Mendel and Lord Kelvin were certain that God had created the Universe and all things within it and were therefore willing to study said Universe with a reasonable expectation that they would find logical answers to their questioning minds.
The milk doesn't know, but the one who held the glass would have the answers. Correct? Capiche? Comprende? If the Universe is an accident, by what right would anyone expect it to be comprehensible or logical? If the Universe simply happened by random circumstance as a side effect of chaotic existence, then order would be unexpected and logic would be rare if not impossible. Order comes from order, chaos arises from chaos. This is why we expect tornadoes to destroy houses rather than build them, why hurricanes wreck ships rather than construct them and why one does not throw pieces of glass to the floor in the hopes that a vase will be made thereby.
I was reminded of a post from some time ago, this one about natural selection and canards, because some spammer posted an ad in the comments and I had to go erase it (the spam).
Excerpt in italics:
"I have done the due diligence to understand the basics of Darwinism, although I now disagree with the concept. I have studied hopeful monsters, punctuated equilibrium, phylogenitic trees and bushes, natural selection in conjunction with mutation, the whole big mess. In fact, I was once a believer in it, and that is one reason why I know it pretty well and also why the absurdity of the concept is so obvious to me now.
One commenter admitted his prejudices up front, at least, although he himself is blind to his own handicap:
Commenter: "Naturalistic materialism is of course the default setting for scientific work, regardless of whether it's carried out by an atheist or a member of any religion you care to name."
Gee, I bet Copernicus and Newton and Lord Kelvin and most of the great scientists of the last millenium would be surprised to learn that they just didn't understand science and made the awful mistake of believing that, since the Universe was created by a logical being, it would have consistent and logical laws of operation that could be discovered and used by mankind to understand and utilize nature better.
No God, no basis for even being certain that there is a real creation. Could we not be a dream within a dream? Those who do not believe that a logical God created a logical Universe, by what line of thinking do they come to the idea that natural laws exist and can be discovered? In point of fact, scientists who believed in God dominated science in the last one thousand years and it is they who came up with the scientific method and made the foundational discoveries of science that today's scientists take as givens."
Going back to that time reminded me of an entire set of commenters who have since moved on to other things. Getting on with his life, I suppose, and hopefully still drawing breath is a blogger who authored the Pooflingers blog. There have been no posts there since November so perhaps Matt has given the project a rest. After all, there is a time in a boy's life when saying "poop" in public is hilariously funny, maybe until second grade or so (much older if marijuana is involved) and then the boy eventually becomes a man. Matt at Poofllingers was quite good at congratulating himself for having slain the so-very-stupid radar at the game of logic when writing on his own blog. However he was quite unable to carry on a serious discussion for long in the comments page on my blog because unfortunately his condition prevented him from seeing his own folly. In the world of the atheistic scientist, the Law of Abiogenesis and the laws of thermodynamics and in fact many laws of operational science are abandoned for a game of what ifs and just supposes. The fool is inevitably drawn back to his folly.
First, there is a big difference between idiocy, ignorance and folly. Someone who has an insufficient mental capacity might be described as an idiot. However, someone who is capable mentally but does not care to learn about a particular subject could be described as ignorant. I am not an idiot, but I do not know a great deal about floral gardening. I do not know which flowers are annuals and which are perennials nor do I much care. I leave that aspect of the appearance of our home to my wife so I am willingly ignorant about flowers. My wife does know which will spring up again and which she must purchase and plant each year, so she is not ignorant in this area of expertise.
Folly is the particular condition of fools. The man with the highest intellect living on the planet today may well be a fool. There are plenty of people at all levels of intelligence who are fools and plenty who are not. Matt the former Pooflinger may well be more intelligent that I am but at least back in those days he was also a fool. The Bible describes a fool thusly:
Psalms 14:1 (NKJV) The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
So by Biblical standards, an atheistic scientist is a fool. He cannot believe that God created the Universe nor can he believe that God created all life. He is unable to conceive of the Noahic Flood as a real event nor does he take the Book of Genesis as history. So he must concoct long and unreasonable and incredibly and absurdly complex explanations for how everything came from nothing (in complete opposition to the findings of operation science), how life came from non-life (again disputed by operational science) and how there happen to be millions of different forms of life that all use the same basic blueprint to reproduce and exist.
In one way, I was sorry to see most of the foolish commenters leave because they provided a foil for my posts and sometimes actually had an actual point to make that caused me to review my beliefs on a particular matter. I did toss out all of Russ Humphrey's and Josh Hartnett's conjectures concerning God-driven big bangs and white holes in part due to commenter feedback and thereby simplified and solidified my stance on light and the week of creation.
I am most sorry that so many scientists are fools because so many resources are devoted to foolish pursuits like attempts to prove evolution (macroevolution), stifle creationism and locate alien intelligence. There are entire agencies devoted to keeping any teaching of creation science out of schools, for instance. Is this not darkness raging against the light? Think of all the radio telescopes pointed outwards towards the stars continually searching for an intelligent pattern amongst the noises of outer space? Suppose these people and these billions of dollars and hours had been devoted to finding more uses for the noses of dogs besides tracking and sniffing for explosives and drugs, more cures for diseases drawn from plants and animals, better and more efficient energy usage and et cetera? What if time and effort was being spent studying how weather patterns are driven by the sun and the oceans and clouds rather than trying to prove that mankind is artificially warming up a planet that has been cooling for the last nine years?
What shall we therefore do?
Most of us can have little or no effect on the ruling paradigm but we can make sure our own thinking is logical and anyone that we may mentor or teach is taught logically and honestly. For this to be true requires us to be true to ourselves and make sure our own thinking is logical and honest.
This brings me to yet another life experience. Most jobs have shortcuts and specialized knowledge that is particular to the job. Before the invention of the air-powered nail gun I could have determined whether a man was a carpenter or not by simply listening to the sound of him pounding in a normal construction grade nail into a couple of two-by-fours. Before nail guns, no carpenter worth his salt took more than two or at the most three strokes to drive a nail. Most could do it with one small stroke to set the nail and one to drive it in. Amateurs might take five, six or seven hits with a hammer to drive in the same nail.
I might still be able to sort carpenters from non-carpenters by simply asking one to measure something with a 25 foot tape measure and then observing how he retracts the tape. Anyone who does not put his index finger under the lip of the opening to absorb the shock of the metal tape-end retracting into the measure is obviously not a carpenter. A person who does this is at least used to using the tool and therefore might be a carpenter.
A person who works in the field of steel tubing production would know what a turkhead is and also what a floop is whereas the typical man in the street would have no idea. Because I have worked in many fields working jobs that got me covered in grime from head to foot and also working jobs that required that I wear a suit and tie I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things that I have been able to apply to life lessons for my children, my grandchildren and my students. Which brings me to the first job I ever worked that issued me a paycheck...as a charcoal grill steak chef.
The administration of meats
Without going into long, boring detail, a steak in the possession of the grill chef had two possible destinations - a plate or the garbage. While in process said steak would be kept in one of four possible places - the meat locker, the small refrigerator next to the grill, the front part of the grill where the coals were hot and the back portion where the coals were simply warm. To simplify the discussion we can call the last two spots the front burner and the back burner.
Steaks kept too long in the meat locker would begin to go stale after a long time. Steaks kept in the upstairs fridge went bad quickly. Steaks cooked on the front burner were prepared to order and served. Any steak put aside on the back burner temporarily while another steak for the same table was being cooked would remain in the same state for a short period of time. But if a steak was put back there and forgotten it would get overcooked and dried out and suitable only for the garbage.
(As an aside, steaks that began to go bad were scraped and cooked when a well-done steak was ordered. In other words, I was told to use the oldest meat for well-done steaks, since these were the ones that were frankly being overcooked anyway and it was thought the customer would not notice any problems with the meat. They never did. So if you like steaks well-cooked, you would be wiser to order a steak medium-well rather than well done just in case that particular steakhouse has a similar policy.)
Steaks, like conundrums, eventually went one of two places. They were either served to consume or they wound up in the garbage. Yes, sometimes a top steak had been left unused for so long it was obviously too spoiled to cook and it would have to be thrown out. Before a steak was served it would be in the meat locker, the fridge, the front burner or the back burner (actually the hot part of the grill or the warm part of the grill)
People like to think that they do one of two things with conundrums, either solve them by thinking them through or that they put them aside "on the back burner." But that is not true. The back burner is where you put steaks that are about ready and there they are kept warm until the rest of the order is ready to be served. When a thought is put on the back burner it is sitting there waiting to be addressed while your mind deals with an immediate problem and it is then moved right back to the front burner for processing.
What people actually do with conundrums is put them back in the fridge, where they remain. If meat stays in the fridge for a long period of time it spoils. When people put conundrums aside for long periods of time, much of the information and thought processes that went along with that conundrum are forgotten and that conundrum is never again placed on the front burner but rather it is eventually tossed aside. The world is full of people who have tossed aside difficult issues, preferring not to think of them at all. It is rather interesting to note their reactions when you bring up something that is for them a conundrum. You often get angry or evasive answers from them and often they will say something like "I put that on the back burner because I just don't know what to think" and what follows is an explanation that boils down to "I don't know so I am just going to go along with what the group thinks."
Groupthink is most often stupid, witness the current US Administration and the steady media drumbeat for the faked global warming 'threat' which is in fact a pack of deliberate lies and misapprehensions. Actors appear in commercials asking for donations to save the Polar Bears when the population thereof is actually growing and thriving. How many statisticians saw the "hockey stick" graph and knew that it was a fake but kept quiet because they did not wish to go against the flow? Shame on all of you who knew better but kept quiet!
Cook your conundrums!
Those who are wise do not allow conundrums to be forever placed in the fridge, nor do they cast them aside to seek out new thoughts from the meat locker of life. A conundrum should be placed on the grill and cooked until done. If you set it aside for a more pressing matter you had best address it again and soon. Meat left on the back of my grill unused would get overdone and dried out and would be fit only for the garbage. Why allow the challenging questions of the day to go unanswered? Is ignorance actually bliss? I think not. Ignorance tends to lead people to make bad choices. People who are ignorant about driving on snow and ice wind up in the ditch if not the morgue. People unaware of dangerous neighborhoods wind up getting mugged and their goods taken from them.
Most times when someone tells me that they have put a concept "on the back burner" I know they frankly do not wish to think about it at all. People have the right to be willfully ignorant. But it is irresponsible of them to assert that they believe what the group believes and yet be unwilling and unable to defend their position.
Application to Science
As I have pointed out many times, there are various canards that are passed off as good science. There is no scientist alive today who can fully explain and defend a Big Bang scenario that fits the evidence. There is no scientist who can tell you how life might have come from non-life and not one of them can demonstrate a single creature that has evolved observably from a different kind of creature. Macroevolution, the beginning of life and the beginning of all material existence - all of these are explained by fairy tales that are both untestable and unproven and yet the majority of the scientists in the world at least profess to believe in them. That it is career suicide to assert a belief in God as Creator of all things means that quite a few scientists who actually believe in God keep it on the down low, at least until they either have tenure or enough grant money or fame to withstand the censure of their peers. Go watch the movie, EXPELLED (no intelligence allowed), with an open mind before you assert otherwise.
Christians are among the worst offenders when it comes to back burner thinking. How ironic that Jesus declared Himself (in the book of Revelation) to be "Alpha and Omega" and yet it is the first and last books of the Bible that are most often subject to mindless groupthink and contain the major back burner issues of Christianity. Perhaps the two most controversial subjects amongst normal Christians are how to apply what God says in the first book of the Bible and in the last. There are few points of view more groundless than that of a theistic evolutionist who claims to be a Christian, for instance. If God had allowed death to go on for millions of years and man to have evolved, then the story of Adam and Eve and The Fall would be a fairy tale and Jesus Christ would have no basis for ever being born into the world, no reason to say what He said, no point in allowing Himself to be crucified and no benefit to anyone else when arising alive from death three days later. But Christians who believe in evolution are unwilling to carefully study the matter and back burner their questions.
Christian friend, lets be brutally honest. Do you put more trust in the views of Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins and a host of secular scientists who assert that evolution surely happened or do you believe the Word of God? You cannot have it both ways. God asserted that He created in six days, that Adam and Eve were real people and that the Flood destroyed and remade the environment. The lineage of Christ begins with Adam and includes Noah. Jesus spoke on and believed in the books compiled by Moses, preached that Adam and Noah were real people, referred to the Flood and quoted from virtually every book of the Old Testament. Jesus believed that the world was created in six days and in fact eventually asserted that He was the one who did the actual creating. John also declares this in the first chapter of his gospel. You will find references to the Flood and other Old Testament events in the writings of Peter and Luke and Paul and Mark and Matthew. The Bible says that you cannot serve God and Mammon. It is also true that you cannot believe both Christ and Darwin. Not without being completely illogical and deceptive in your own mind. Decide whether you will put your trust in God or men and then follow through accordingly but don't try to mix them together.
As Genesis is a difficult book for Christians who do not have this question settled in their minds, so too is the book of Revelation. Groupthink lately has made the attempt to convert the prophetic language and cryptic message of the Revelation of John into a literal description of a bizarrre future end-times world where stars literally fall to the earth and strange creatures torment men who are quite unable to resort to death as an escape from the pain and confusion. Thousands, no, tens of thousands of phony prophetic teachers have sucked millions of dollars from the wallets of ignorant masses by using false doctrines to obtain donations and vows and pledges from the masses. Perhaps the two most powerful weapons used by such men have been the prosperity gospel (Jesus wants you to be rich and completely healthy above all else!) and the use of the language of prophetic books for evil ends (God has given me the meaning of these passages and only I can tell you what it means and what you should do and when the end of the world shall be).
Guys, Jesus Christ Himself said that no man knows the day or the hour of His Coming or the end of the world. Yet Christ did proclaim that a certain end was about to come, an event that would take place within the generation of hearers as he spoke in Matthew chapter 24. Logically the events he foretold would have to be within about forty years or so of the day that he spoke the words or else Jesus would have been mistaken. Could Jesus have been wrong? Or was he speaking about events that actually would "soon" take place?
Within about forty years of the day of the death of Jesus on the cross, the city of Jerusalem was largely destroyed by Roman soldiers and the temple was thrown down stone-by-stone as the soldiers sought to collect any gold that might have melted down between the cracks of the massive stones by which the temple had been made. Only a small section of the foundation of the temple remains, all of the temple itself was torn down just as Jesus had predicted. There is a lot of good evidence that Revelation is a message from God through John to all Christians living in and around Jersusalem to flee the area before the events of AD 67-70 would take place.
Prophetic language used by John in Revelation is often an echo of language used in Daniel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel and other prophets and signified a fulfillment of the Words of Jesus that was about to take place. The language and numbers were familiar to those who had studied the Old Testament but would be gibberish to an untutored Roman so John's message was one that both Christians and Jews of the time could understand and served to warn many believers away from the slaughter to come. The destruction of Jerusalem was the most important event of the first century AD and the impact of the event was far more shattering to the world at that time than the events of 9/11 were to the 21st century world. As I have blogged previously, the idea that any New Testament books were authored any later than about AD 66 is highly unlikely because not one of them mentions the martyrdom of either Paul or Peter nor do any of them describe the fall of Jerusalem. These momentous events would not have been ignored by the New Testament writers had they happened. Would the stoning of Stephen be recorded but the crucifixion of Paul ignored? Highly unlikely.
If you are determined to be an atheist and a fool, I cannot stop you, I can only alert you to your condition. If you are a Christian willingly ignorant because you do not wish to take the time and effort to study a matter or are unwilling to go against the flow of your circle of friends, then you are not obedient to the urgency of the message of Paul, who wrote:
2 Timothy 2:14-16 (New King James Version)
Approved and Disapproved Workers
14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
I would assert that bad jokes and lewd pictures would be covered in verse 16. Some believe that making an attempt to understand and believe what God says in Genesis and Revelation is covered in verse 14 in that such things are to no profit. But my response is that God authored them, so they must be for our learning and are to our profit, as Paul also wrote to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Therefore it is both wise and profitable for someone who is a dedicated Christian to study and to understand both the first and the last books of the Bible and not simply accept conclusions drawn by others that you do not understand, cannot defend and prefer not to consider.
As to you who deny God and prefer not to consider His existence, I leave you with these words:
Isaiah 40:21-23 (New King James Version)
21 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing;
He makes the judges of the earth useless.
John 3:15-17 (King James Version)
15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
May I add that the first order of business for those of you who do not believe in God is to seriously review your point of view and ask yourself if you can explain to your own satisfaction who you are, where you came from and what meaning is found in your existence? Have you any absolute standards to which you adhere? From whence have they come?
Happy New Year!