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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wisdom, intellect, folly and stupidity. The Big Game of Worldviews.

The Bible says: 

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

As the story goes, an exasperated Chicago Bear's Coach Mike Ditka asked his quarterback, Jim McMahon, whether he was ignorant or apathetic.   McMahon immediately fired back, "I don't know and I don't care."   Somehow those two won a Super Bowl together.

It seems that many people equate football players with being big dumb guys, but football is a very cerebral game.  It is to some extent like chess played at high speed with continual collisions that can be health-and-even-life-threatening.   So a professional football player makes a decision to endanger his health for the sake of money and fame and quite often for the love of the game.   For some, being able to make money playing football is well worth the risk and the physical attrition.   It is hard to explain the camaraderie and excitement of being part of a team and beating the other guys, being a winner, playing the game hard and right...unless of course you have done it and know.  I do miss being able to play team sports now.  There is a time to everything and my time is done.  But on the field of play, even though it is to some extent a field of battle, there is mutual respect that can be earned and given.  I never minded someone getting in a good hit on me as long as it was legal and I tried as best I could to hit someone just right in order to separate them from the ball and maybe consciousness for awhile. 

This field of battle is the war of worldviews.   It is amazing that now about 8,000 or so visits are taking place in a month's time to the blog.   There are 30 some-odd constant readers although only a few comment.  There are in the vicinity of 1,000 visitors who come now and then.  Most that comment disagree tremendously with me.  In order to do so, they must understand my position and make their position clear on the particular issue.   Often, though, commenters bring some of the same old tired comments along with them, like the younger child mother has tasked them to watch, and then parks that comment in thread after thread, often wearing different clothes but the same nonetheless.  Usually it involves personal attacks against me (imagine that?  I'm a great guy and people LIKE me!) or my sources of information.  That is what is happening.

What am I for in no particular order...
  • Truth
  • The God of the Bible and salvation through Jesus Christ the Messiah
  • Freedom of worship
  • Free speech
  • Democracy and Capitalism
  • The Judeo-Christian ethic and the rule of law
  • Love
  • Family
  • The United State as founded, a Constitutional Republic with three branches of government all limited in scope and much power ceded to the States and individuals
What are my opponents for, to a great extent?
  • Atheism
  • Socialism
  • Secular Humanism
  • Neo-Darwinism
  • Censorship
  • Fake Science (Darwinism, Anthropic Global Warming)
  • Strong Central Federal government at the expense of States and individuals
  • Banning of worship
  • Situational, dynamic ethics
Now, I suspect that most who disagree with me still are in favor of love as they define it and the care for their families as they define them.   A few who I strongly disagree with might make good dinner companions and a few I would not care to spend time with.  My attempt is to demonize bad science and bad philosophy without demonizing the person himself.   Although I have had some rather strong comments pointed at two or three commenters it does not mean that I wish them actual harm.   Rather I would like to destroy their arguments and also try to get them to behave in a civil manner.  A very good blogger, Gregg, who does a weekly column on Creationism (that is the topic at the moment) moderates all comments and tosses out all the ones with snarky or ad hominem attacks because he wants his blog to be G-rated and friendly.   It is his wife's blog that he guest posts on, so I sure understand that.

But this blog is like football.   You can get your licks in hard as you like, as long as they are clean.  I think I am beating the commenters much like the Bears walloped the Redskins in 1940.  But some of them think that they are ahead.  It would not appear that a final score has been posted but the crowd that is watching the game is growing.  Cool beans!  

When commenters tell me that I am stupid, they are referring to my intellect.  I am not going to start comparing IQ and ASVB and ACT and SAT scores with them so when they do that it tips you off that they are lacking an actual argument.  Intelligence is rarely the problem when it comes to making important decisions in life.  Smart people do dumb things all the time!   Intellect can help you comprehend difficult problems and serve as an entry into certain fields of study/careers.   But probably the academics of the world have a somewhat distorted view of how to measure intelligence.  Should it really be just about asking and answering questions?  Is it simply a combination of math and language skills?  How do we measure the artistic IQ of a Rembrandt, the athletic IQ of a Michael Jordan, the mechanical IQ of the Wright brothers?  Was Freddie Mercury a musical genius because of his remarkable voice?  There are a lot of self-satisfied intellectuals out there who couldn't do an oil change on their automobile for the life of them and there are lots of artists who cannot remember what 6 times 8 equals.  Intellect has its place but it is not the only secret to living a good and successful life, it is simply a gift given by God.   Those who work at polishing their gifts get more out of them.

I cannot paint a decent painting even at gunpoint.  My handwriting is miserable, so I print most anything I actually write without a keyboard.  I am mechanically inclined enough to have gone into a field like auto repair tool and die, but I don't enjoy it.  I could sing (and still can) very well but have no gift for any instrument other than my vocal chords.   I was a mediocre keyboard player, a bad guitarist and at best an average drummer.  I did build houses to make money but it didn't thrill me.  Writing for a living was fun.   Being in charge of a huge silo full of equipment and switches and bins and various devices and knowing exactly what to do to make it all work right was fun because it was a challenge to the mind and the body, so that job was fun as well.   Now I work in IT and when it is good, it is very good but it can also be frustrating.  

But this blog is, like my teaching and work with teens, more like a ministry.  It certainly isn't a job and I sure do not get paid anything.  So it really is about as close as I get now to actually playing a game of basketball or football  (American Football rather than Futbol).  I try to have some fun with it but I really am serious about it at the same time.

It is likely that the commenters who dislike me and what I say have lots of friends and probably have good jobs and have families and don't kick dogs or rob banks.   Most people who are real miscreants aren't going to be looking at a worldview blog.  They may even think that they know the truth and are asserting the truth they believe when they make comments.   Just because a guy disagrees with me that doesn't make him a bad guy and it isn't my place to judge people anyway.   But rather I will just let the Bible define terms:

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Who is a fool?  Is he someone who is just not smart, in other words, stupid?  Is he someone who is not learned, so that he is ignorant?

Psalm 14:1-3

For the director of music. Of David.
 1 The fool says in his heart,
   “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
   there is no one who does good.

 2 The LORD looks down from heaven
   on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
   any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
   there is no one who does good,
   not even one.

By that definition, everyone who denies God is a fool and everybody on earth falls short of the definition of "good."   What?  So what is the Bible definition of "good?"  Well, when God created the Universe and the Earth and all the inhabitants, God said in the first chapter of Genesis, and verse 31:

 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 So all of creation and all of the Universe was not only good, it was very good.  Until of course that little problem in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve wanted to "be like God" to know good and evil and to be able to make judgments about right and wrong.  They wanted to be equal to God and this was an impossibility but instead they turned what was "very good" into "cursed."  Death and sin entered into the world.   The righteousness of man is of no avail:

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all like an unclean thing,And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

The meaning of "filty rags" is really nasty, by the way.  So no matter how good a man tries to be, he cannot be good in the eyes of God without being judged to be not guilty.   Jesus Christ entered into the court of God, took sin upon Himself and curses upon Himself and death upon Himself and received the appropriate sentence of death.  But then He arose from death with a gift to give to all mankind - We could be judged to be free of wrongdoing by allowing Jesus to stand in our place and by receiving His Spirit within in place of the dead, sinful spirit we are born with.  We can be declared "without sin" just as Jesus did live, for He lived without sin and did everything He was supposed to do.  

Mark 7:37
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Many of us know John 3:16, but consider the verse in context:

John 3:16-18 (New International Version, ©2010)

 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

Luke 18:19
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

We are all born sinners and all condemned already without the intervention of the Creator God by the works and obedience of Jesus Christ.  Jesus challenged listeners to understand that only God was good and if He, Jesus, was without sin and going about doing only good then He was the Messiah, the Son of God walking as a man, come to redeem mankind so that everything could be very good again.   God has promised a new heaven and a new earth:

Prophesied by Isaiah the Prophet hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.  Confirmed by the Apostle, John, after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 65:17
[ New Heavens and a New Earth ] “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

Revelation 21

A New Heaven and a New Earth
 1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 

So here are some definitions to consider in the light of Biblical teaching:

Ignorance is a lack of knowledge and is corrected by instruction and learning
Stupidity is a lack of ability to understand
Mistakes are made by people of all kinds
Sin is something man is born to do and no man can be good enough to escape it
Wisdom comes from God and is available to those of various intellectual capacities
Folly is the thinking of the ungodly and no amount of intellect can overcome it

God has not only made His creation to be exceedingly beautiful even in a fallen state, He has signed His work like an artist incorporates a signature into a painting.   Some call it DNA.  I call it "God's Signature."  We also see grandeur in the vast and marvelous Universe that is viewable by us because we are in just the right place to have maximum viewing while being in minimal danger from various rays and particles and large objects,  Our Solar System acts a a filter to draw big space travelers into a gravity well like Saturn's or to get caught up and bounced around by the asteroid belt before successfully making it to Earth.  

Right now, looks to me like the Darwinists are blind to the obvious.   They build fairy castles in the clouds of their imaginations that do not translate into the world of reality.  

The Christian trusts in Christ for salvation, God for morality and wisdom and seeks to be led by the Holy Spirit of God to do what God has called him to do and to use his gifts accordingly.   Whether you are a Christian or not you still have been gifted.   Your special set of gifts are given to you along with the freedom to choose whether or not to worship God and how you are going to use your gifts.   Some may call them talents or aptitudes.  If you do not use them and polish them they will not be of much use.  If you use them for evil purposes there may be retribution under the Sun or you might get away with it.  But nobody leaves this place alive.   God is waiting for all of us, either to welcome those who have already been judged to be righteous by faith in Jesus Christ or to judge those who have turned their backs on God.

Romans 6:23 (New International Version, ©2010)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Revelation 20:14 (King James Version)

 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

My greatest accomplishment was no accomplishment at all, it was being willing to declare that my best was not good enough and that I could not accomplish my own salvation.   On the day that I gave my all to Christ and admitted that I was incapable of good but that God was indeed both Just and Able, on that day I became a Christian.   There is nothing I have ever done or will do that has brought more honor to God than to have made the decision to give myself to Him.   The best things I have ever done since then are simply to let God use me to bring others to a relationship with Christ.  My entire family is Christian, everyone old enough to understand, and that is better than fame or money or anything else.   Nothing anyone can say about me is as bad as I am without God and nothing anyone says about me now matters compared to what God thinks of me.   I seek to please God and to do His will with my life.   I may not be smart and I may make lots of mistakes, but the important thing?  I am wise with the wisdom of God! 

Romans 10:9 (New International Version, ©2010)

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Proverbs 1:1-7 (New International Version, ©2010)

Proverbs 1

Purpose and Theme
 1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:  2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
   for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
   doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
   knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
   and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
   the sayings and riddles of the wise.

 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
   but fools despise wisdom and instruction.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"What are my opponents for, to a great extent?

This item belongs in the other list, things you are for. Sorry, but you're an adult and you made your decision. Actions speak louder than words.

'My attempt is to demonize bad science and bad philosophy without demonizing the person himself."

Then why oppose an open discussion on science?

And exactly how do you think calling atheists evil doesn't amount to demonizing them?

"Usually it involves personal attacks against me (imagine that? I'm a great guy and people LIKE me!) or my sources of information. That is what is happening."

Identifying something as a lie is not a personal attack against you. Maybe you are a great guy IRL (although you'd be the first great guy that I've ever run across that goes around calling himself "a great guy"), but in real life, when somebody points out an error in something you've said, do you just blow them off? Or call them a liar or declare victory and leave the room?

Because that's the kind of behavior you've been presenting on the blog. I suspect you don't treat people in real life like that... and have them still liking you.