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I look forward to speaking with you on various subjects and topics that are relevant to our “origins”. I truly believe that the question of where we came from is of utmost importance to my (your?) generation. You will see in the following letter some of the reasons why I view this topic as not only fun, but also fundamental to the survival of western society as a whole. To quote John Dewey [the “father” of progressive education, or, public education]: “There is no God and no soul. Hence, there are no needs for props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable [i.e. unchangeable] truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes” (I will comment on the “natural law” that Dewey was speaking of later in this post). The creation-evolution question, then, is the center of debate to my relativistic generation who has lost truth in the full sense of the word. If evolution is true, then there is no “real” truth… CS Lewis pointed out that even our ability to reason would be called into question if atheistic evolution were true: “If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents - the accidental byproduct of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else's. But if their thoughts — i.e. of Materialism and — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.” To show how this thinking has impacted our society, I would like to bring us back to the 60’s and compare that generation of kids to ours in an attempt to show how much damage the excluding of God (and the Natural Law which will be discussed shortly) from our society, via materialism, has done. The leading LISTED offenses by teachers in the 60’s was as follows: 1) talking; 2) chewing gum; 3) running in the halls; 3) wearing improper clothing; 4) making noise in class; 5) not putting paper in the waste basket; 6) getting out of turn in line. In the 60’s, a movement was started that reached into and affects our generation’s outlook on life due to the philosophical changes that naturally followed it. This movement adopted the peace symbol as its flag, soto-speak. This symbol says a lot as to what this new belief system represented. The symbol itself dates back to Nero’s reign over the defunct Roman Empire and its persecutions of the Christian peoples. Nero chose this symbol as the masthead of his movement to destroy the Christian belief system. The symbol itself is called the “broken cross of Nero” and was adopted by Nero to show the defeat of Christianity by turning the cross upside down and breaking it. The sexual freedom movement adopted the symbol as representing the destruction of the same Judeo-Christian belief system, not by death, but by erosion. Except they added a circle around it to signify its destruction on a worldwide basis. Symbols are powerfully meaningful, and speak of the intent of the adopters of it. Now fast forward to the 90’s, which is only 30 years after the before mentioned movement was “began”. What are the complaints most frequently lodged by teachers of today? Lets see: 1) rape; 2) robbery; 3) assault; 4) personal theft; 5) burglary; 6) drug abuse; 7) carrying of weapons; 8) absenteeism; 9) vandalism; 10) murder; 11) extortion; 12) gang warfare; 13) pregnancy; 14) suicide; etc.. This is the fruit of taking God (absolutes) out of our kids only after thirty years of trying – can you imagine what the teachers will be complaining of in another thirty years. If only Dewey were alive to see the fruits of his removal of truth and Natural Law that has created my morally relativistic generation. What is this Natural Law that Dewey reference to anyway? [CS Lewis, not me] Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very
2 important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?” – “That’s my seat, I was there first” – “leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm” – “Why should you shove in first?” – “Come on, you promised” – “Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine.” People say things like that every day, from educated grown-ups to little children. Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of behavior that he expects the other man to know about. And the other man seldom replies: “To hell with your standard!” nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard [thus proving the standard], or that if it does there are some “special” excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off from keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much like both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they REALLY agreed. And they had. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of understanding or agreement as to what Right or Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a hockey player had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of hockey. Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the “laws of nature” we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong “the Law of Nature,” they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law – with great difference, that a body could choose to disobey or obey this Law of Nature. [CS is tight!] This is what Dewey was making reference to. It is called the Law of Nature because people thought every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual her and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are color-blind. But taking the human race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behavior was obvious to every one. And I believe they are right. If they were not, then all the things we’ve said about WW2 were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy was in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazi’s at the bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practiced? If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have fought the war, we could no more have blamed them for what they did than the color of their hair. Think, if you will, of a country where people were praised and admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. Where two plus two equals five. If you study history, mankind has always had the Law of Human Nature instilled in us. This is what Dewey wanted to erase! Hitler said: “If you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, the people will believe it.” Materialism is the loudest longest lie I know of that us Gen X’ers are dealing with. It is, I feel the root cause of a lot of our worlds problems. All that aside for now, I would like to set up some simple rules for future talks. Rather than throwing out a myriad of questions all at once, lets deal with one question at a time. We can discuss until the person answering is satisfied with and thoroughly explained his case and believes the other party grasps the meaning of it even if the other party doesn’t agree. I will send one more paper on the redshifts, but would like to steer clear of astronomy (if possible) due to its theoretical nature, i.e. Dark Matter, eleven dimensions at the first .000003 seconds of the Bib-Bang (BB), etc.. I would like to, if possible, stick to what we can see and feel… the Earth and the Earth sciences. I love tangibility. But we can get into proving or disproving the existence of God, but we would have to take some time to separate
3 why I believe the Bible to be true as compared to the Hindu Vedas, the Koran, the writings of Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster, the Book of Mormon, etc., etc.. I will quote the Bible here and there; I will be putting an authority to these quotes that you won’t understand unless you see why I accept it as authoritative (whether you agree with it or not). If you wish to just ask one question for now, and forgo the above till later, feel free to do so. I hope these future talks will turn into a friendship that will span a lifetime. Some day we will go out, drink some beers, and laugh at the years of “shootin’ the shit”. I am happy to hear that you are open to alternative views, or at least considering them. But I am a firm believer in truth! We don’t create truth; we merely discover it. I would consider if two plus two equals five; but the FACT that it equals four is always going to be what we find. It’s a Law, and its something that we didn’t “create”, its something we discovered (per-say). SeanG Out! P.S. I want to make clear that an individual may be asking questions or making statements about the Bible without really wanting the answers or coming to a point of understanding about the topic which they purport to be refuting. You could be naming off some supposed discrepancies in the Bible – supposed because it is possible that the error isn’t with the text, but how the individual is reading the text – thinking they are unanswerable or that the main thesis of the discrepancy is irrefutable. If that is the case, the answer has been assumed before the question has been asked. An individual may do such things in an attempt to discount the bigger picture involved in the debate as a whole, i.e., that the Bible actually is the breathed word of God. I will answer only three questions on the topic of discrepancies in the Bible. Why only three? Because a person could just ask question after question and not come to the conclusion warranted by the evidence presented. The problem isn’t with the topic or evidence that is being discussed, the problem might well be that said person just doesn’t want to believe, no matter how much evidence he or she finds. Let me explain with an analogy by John Warwick Montgomery (my favorite apologist) cited in the book Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics: Psychological Prejudice But even a sound epistemic system, flawless deductive reasoning, and impeccable inductive procedure does not guarantee a proper conclusion. Emotional bias or antipathy might block the way to the necessary conclusion of the research. That thinkers may obstinately resist a logical verdict is humorously illustrated by John Warwick Montgomery’s modern parable: Once upon a time (note the mystical cast) there was a man who thought he was dead. His concerned wife and friends sent him to the friendly neighborhood psychiatrist determined to cure him by convincing him of one fact that contradicted his beliefs that he was dead. The fact that the psychiatrist decided to use was the simple truth that dead men do not bleed. He put his patient to work reading medical texts, observing autopsies, etc. After weeks of effort the patient finally said, “All right, all right! You’ve convinced me. Dead men do not bleed.” Whereupon the psychiatrist stuck him in the arm with a needle, and the blood flowed. The man looked down with a contorted, ashen face and cried, “Good Lord! Dead men bleed after all!” Emotional prejudice is not limited to dull-witted, the illiterate, and poorly educated [that’s DeezNutz, just joking]. Philosophers and theologians are not exempt from the vested interests and psychological prejudice that distort logical thinking. The question of the existence of God evokes deep emotional and psychological prejudice. People understand that the question of the existence of God is not one that is of neutral consequence. We understand intuitively, if not in terms of its full rational implication, that the existence of an eternal Creator before whom we are ultimately accountable and responsible is a matter that touches the very core of life. So you may know the answer before you ask the question, thus allowing experience or
4 bias rule your logic. This is why I think that if I can answer three “Biblical contradictions” in a logical way that show that in fact you may be misreading it (or not allowing the panorama of scripture to interpret it), then I would hope you could conclude to investigate the subject more deeply. Is the Bible Allegorical, or Literal? Although some view the Bible as allegory, I believe a literal interpretation is the only interpretation that does justice to the facts [for example, see links when you get to letter two]. There are several reasons for accepting the Bible literally. The Bible purports to be the Word of God (by the way, no other text in history makes this statement). Over and over we find such phrases as “the Word of the Lord came unto Moses,” “God spoke,” “thus saith the Lord.” When God spoke, it was in real-life situations, not in a mythological never-never land as in the mythical narratives. The Bible views itself as a non-fiction book. When the writers cite other persons or events in Scripture, they cite them as real, not imaginary, or allegorical, as in myths. For example, Jesus referred to Jonah (Matthew 12:39) as a sign of his resurrection. The write of Hebrews cites many great Old Testament men and women of faith (Hebrews 11) as examples to the believer. Nowhere is the story of Abraham or Samson looked at in any way but factual. The nature of God, as revealed in the Bible, makes it clear that He has the ability to communicate with people. Since God created mankind for the purpose of establishing a relationship, it naturally follows that He would use an understandable method. Consequently, we do not need to look for some strange hidden meaning to what Scripture says for it is very plain. There is no double-talk or weasel-wording in Scripture. The message is clear. This leads to another question that need to be explained… Is Everything in the Bible to be Taken Literally? When I say that I take the Bible literally, I do not mean that figurative language is absent from the Bible. However, to interpret figuratively we must find good reason in the passage to justify doing this. Some types of writing by their very nature tend to exclude the possibility of figurative language. These include laws, historical writings, and philosophical writings. For example, “Martin Luther was like a bull in a china shop.” A good rule for interpretation is, “If the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense lest you come up with nonsense.” The words of a given text should be interpreted literally if possible. If not possible, one should move to figurative language. Usually there are clue in the text or context itself, unlike myth. Sometimes there will be a definition explaining the metaphor. For example, when the Book of Revelation speaks of the dragon (Revelation 12:9), the dragon is defined to the reader. Knowing the culture to which the text was written also will help, for the more one knows about language and thought forms of a particular period, the better chance one will have to determine how to interpret a given passage (for instance, John 8:58). Many have built a straw-man argument out of the teaching of literal interpretation, alleging that we have to take everything in the Bible literally, e.g., “the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12). The Bible contains definite types of figurative language, including metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and anthropomorphism. But all of these are easily detectable and separable from the literal text itself. This is the entire prelude to your questions on the Bible and contradictions in its text. You brought up Genesis 1 and 2. This is a great example of a contradiction that seems apparent, but upon careful study using the rules of language, you will see that in fact it is speaking of the same creation event. I will send it along next, till then, God bless.