Saturday, August 28, 2010

The scientific limitations

There is a saying that, "Knowledge is power." It is true that proper knowledge does bring the force of truth behind it and in that way it represents strength. Today, we have many that bow at the feet of scientific knowledge, as if it is the sole possesor of all that can be known. This view of science is called scientism. But, I contend that science is severly limited in the scope in what it can show, which runs counter to many within the scientic community.

Scientific leaps have brought great benifit to all, especially in the field of medicine. We should all rejoice at the fantastic discoveries and advances that science has brought to the world. The big problem comes when individuals assume that either science has all the answers or that science is best qualified to answer all questions.

There are a multitude of things that science can not answer. For example, mathematics and logic can be grasped without science showing the way. Science does not explain logic or mathematics and no theories or proofs exist for either. Something else that cannot be proven by science is my own consciousness. I have a first person awareness of what is taking place within my mind, where science always has to take a third person approach. Science has knowledge of objects from a third person perspective. Science will never be able to measure or give the reason for the love I have for my family. Science cannot account for why a moral law is in existance. We intutitivly know good and evil, but science has no way to explain this. Finally science itself cannot prove that it is the only way by which we can have proper knowledge. The scientific method cannot be used to show that science is the king of how we are to understand the world.

If science is limited, it is incumbent upon all of us to seek other forms of knowledge. Science is helpful for understanding, but it in no way is able to provide ultimate truth.
  • A great video showing the limits of science

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can we talk?

Acts 17 has much to say to the Church today, especially in how to dialogue with others. Paul was eloquent in showing Christians how to deal with unbelievers. In Thessalonica Paul enters familiar ground - the synagogue - to visit with his people, the Jews. Paul was a scholar, being a Pharisee with extensive training and was able to reason with the Jews on three occasions (Acts 17:2). Paul was passionate about leading his people to the Messiah (Acts 17:3). Paul was more than willing to challenge those who were familiar with the Scriptures.

How does this apply to the Church today? First, leaders in the Church need to challenge the Saints. One problem within the Church is that God's people lack basic Scriptural knowledge. Many times, it seems, the American church is content to just just show up and go through the motions. As Paul challenged his people, we need to do the same. Secondly, the message needs to be delivered with a sense of urgency. Verse three states that Paul was explaining and proving, on three occasions, the good news of Jesus. Paul was uncomfortable knowing his people were traveling a road away from Christ. How comfortable are we in our pews knowing that some in the church may not be right with God (Matthew 7:21-23)?

Later Paul travels to Athens to talk to the unbelieving gentiles. Paul finds himself face to face with the gentile scholars. Paul again is passionate and urgent in wanting to share the good news of Jesus. Verse 16 indicates that Paul was greatly distressed, in seeing the many idols. When Paul converses with the Greek philosophers, he speaks nothing of Scripture. For the Greeks, Scripture is irrelevant. What does Paul do? Paul reasons with the people on their level to explain and prove that Jesus was the Christ. Paul even quotes two known poets (Epimenides and Aratus) to make his point. Many times, when Christians dialogue with non-Christians they are uncomfortable. They (Christians) are uncomfortable because they either try to share Scripture, which may be hogwash to the unbeliever or the Christian is mute, not knowing what to say. All Christians should be familiar with the other side's issues, as Paul was, in order to share the good news.

In Thessalonica, Paul used special revelation to reason with individuals. Special revelation is God's word. When dealing with the people of Athens Paul appealed to natural revelation. Natural revelation deals with how God has revealed himself in creation. Christians need to understand how to dialogue with individuals based upon the individual or audience that is being addressed. Most importantly, Christians need to be passionate about sharing Jesus. One word of advice, Paul was not content with being a pew sitter, he knew the importance that knowledge provides in communicating with others (2 Timothy 2:15). Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts, but the Holy Spirit uses the individual person of God when talking to others.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who decides?

California's Proposition 8 has generated much controversy of late. Recently Proposition 8 was overturned by a Judge. Proposition 8 was voted on by the people, and made the marrying of same sex individuals illegal. The Judge's decision argued that those who voted for proposition 8 were basically intolerant and that gays/lesbians have a right to marry.

This case is just one of many in the country today that has moral implications. In our country's desire to become more and more secular, power seems to drive the decisions that are made and not natural law. Positive law or man-made law now seems to be rule of the day.

Proposition 8 is just one of many cases that divides the country. For example, the mosque that is to be built near ground zero, though not illegal, begs the question, "What is the right thing to do?" It seems to me that if a Christian church building were to be placed in Kabul, Afghanistan, there would be a tremendous outcry from the entire Muslim community. Likewise, abortion and fetal stem cell research is pushed though irregardless of the moral implications or the will of the people.

In, How Should We Then Live, Francis Schaeffer describes the breakdown of society since the advent of Christianity. [1] Schaeffer points out how man has pulled away from God through politics, science, education, and the arts. He rightly diagnoses how man through time has willfully made the break from God. He calls this human condition "autonomous man."

So, it is in the present where we find autonomous man. Autonomous man has assumed the position of who decides what is right and wrong. Autonomous man is in direct conflict with God to the point where autonomous man says he is god. Who decides? Unfortunately, it seems the autonomous man with power gets to cast the deciding vote in our country today.

[1] Francis Schaeffer's, How Should We Then Live

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Chinese Buffet Christian

Living in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages. Recently, I traveled back home to Houston for a visit, which is considerably larger that the town I live in presently. One of the advantages of a big town are the many restaurants. While in Houston, I was able to visit a large Chinese buffet restaurant and I couldn't believe the choices. That one restaurant had more choices of food than the entire town that I live in.

Today's Christian culture is much like the Chinese buffet. There are too many so called Christians who simply pick and choose what they want to believe. They will take a little bit of heaven, but leave the hell verses of the Bible alone. They will take a little bit of tolerance, but disregard the passage where Jesus told the adulterous woman to, "sin on more (John 8:11)."

Christian scholar, J.P. Moreland refers to these individuals by saying they take a smorgasbord approach. This is exactly what author Anne Rice did recently. [1] According to Rice, "she refuses to be "anti-gay ... anti-feminist", and has left Christianity. The main problem with Rice's approach concerns her rejection of God's inspired word. Rice does not have a problem with Christianity, but with God. She fails to recognize that sin is our problem in life and that God is not dependent on us, but we are dependent upon His holiness and mercy.

What if the Chinese Buffet in Houston had a million choices that had food filled with poison, but only one choice that was actually good for your body? Wouldn't you want to know which food was safe to eat? A Christian is someone who takes the Bible as God's inspired word. Man was created in God's image, not the opposite. The Chinese buffet Christian wrongly assumes that we are God, and that we know what is best. Be careful what you consume.

[1] Anne Rice's rejection of Christianity