Category Archives: Religion

A Creation/Evolution Debate

On 26 September, 2015, I posted a link on my Facebook page: 10 Misconceptions About the Theory of Evolution.

The post has generated a long discussion. I am posting redacted parts of  it here now to make it easier to read. I welcome readers to add their thoughts to the discussion.

I apologise for the length of this article!

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October 21, 2015 — Back to the Future Day

When I was still living at home, my parents subscribed to the Reader’s Digest, which I devoured every month. I remember reading an article about a teacher in 1960 who asked his sixth-grade students to write their predictions about what life would be like 25 years in the future. He collected their compositions, placed them into an envelope, and promised not to open it until 1985. A quarter of a century later, he kept his promise. As he looked at the juvenile handwriting, he was also amazed at how eerily accurate some of the predictions were.

In 1985, the first of the Back to the Future movies came out. I went with my sister and a friend and —  inside a packed cinema — we watched Marty McFly travel back to 1955, interfere with his parents’ meeting, fix things up, and travel back to a better 1985.

Four years later, we saw Marty McFly travelling to October 21, 2015 (TODAY!!) and fix his kids’ problems. In Back to the Future II, we saw the movie writers’ predictions about what life in 2015 would be like. Some of the things they predicted are too weird and totally wrong, eg the fashion (Phew!) Some of the things are in the making, eg, flying cars and self-lace shoes, proving that life imitates art. Some of the things are amazingly accurate, even though they looked improbable at the time, eg, video phone calls.

My father once predicted that we would one day be able to have long-distance phone conversations and be able to see the person we are speaking with on screens. I thought such an idea was completely possible — after all, we saw such things on sci-fi movies and TV — but I never thought I would see it in my lifetime. And now, here we are. The smartphones we have today are more powerful than the computers they used to send man to the moon. When I heard this, my mind was blown.

What things are in store for us in the future? What would you like to see happen?

I would love to see a change in education. I predict the schools of the future will be a place where people take more responsibility for their own learning. This is, in fact, happening now. But, I foresee more of it happening.

I would love to see an end to Young-Earth Creationism. This movement that is causing a lot of people to become (or remain) atheists has got to go. I’m predicting a can-no-longer-be-ignored piece of evidence to finally, finally, put this ideology to rest. And then, the rest of us Christians had better be there to help with the fallout.

I would love to see computers get smarter and get better at spellcheck and grammar check. Please.

I would love to see a viable treatment, or better yet, a cure for Neurofibromatosis. The gene responsible for this disorder has been identified. Doctors are working on a treatment. So there is hope.

Dear YEC Friend – #13 A Matter of Interpretation

A continuation of a series of letters I have written to a fictitious young-Earth Creationist friend. While the ‘Friend’ is fictitious, it is based on observations of, and interactions with, people who hold young-Earth ideas.

You can click on the Category Letters to My Young Earth Creationist Friend or go to the Page to find more.

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Dear Friend,

I think the main reason why YECs find the idea of an old earth — and its cousin, evolution — to be illogical is that it is incongruous with their interpretation of the Bible. So committed are they to their particular interpretation of the Bible, that it is difficult for them to see things any other way.

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Dear YEC Friend – #12 The Bible Tells Me So

A continuation of a series of letters I have written to a fictitious young-Earth Creationist friend. While the ‘Friend’ is fictitious, it is based on observations of and interactions with people who hold young-Earth ideas.

You can click on the Category Letters to My Young Earth Creationist Friend or go to the Page to find more.

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Dear Friend,

“Compromising Christians”

In response to my last letter,  you said that there is no room for “maybe”.  God told us how he created life, the universe and everything in it very clearly in His Word. If you opened the door to allow for even the idea that the earth could be more than 6000 years old, you could no longer be a consistent Christian.

I see that Ken Ham (and his cronies) have done their job well in convincing their followers of the Dogma of Young-Earth Creationism™ . He calls people like me “compromisers”. I guess that means people who have no integrity, who aren’t intellectually honest. The “official” stance is that it isn’t a salvation issue, but I don’t think anyone is fooled. Oh, yeah, you told me once it is a salvation issue. I’m glad you are able to be honest enough to say it.

To you, not interpreting Genesis (and passages that allude or refer to it) literally is “fracturing” God’s Word. I have already addressed this issue, so I won’t rehash it here. Many YECs have been taught that if Genesis 1-11 isn’t straight history, then Christianity isn’t true. Unfortunately, this kind of teaching is not winning any souls to Christ. In fact, it is turning people away. It is turning a lot of Christians into atheists. YECism is doing the opposite of what it intends to do!

And that is why I think YECism is a dangerous doctrine. It requires believers to accept something as an integral part of the faith which is provably false!

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Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 109 – Isle of No Return, Part I

I listened to this episode here.

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Creation Works. Through these CDs,  they hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

NOTE: The producers of this series neglect to reference their information in any form.  No references is ever given either on the CD or in the Study Guide for ANY information presented in the series.  Even the voice actors of the series are not given any credit anywhere.

Plot Summary:

The Creation Response Team accepts a challenge to a competition with the Explorer’s Society, which pits their creation worldview against this evolutionary team at an undisclosed location. But will the CRT’s snap decision lead them to victory, or defeat, as they fight to stay alive on Snake Island? (Taken from here.)

Review:

Overall, the story is somewhat engaging. I think it really depends on one’s tolerance for such stories AND one’s predisposition to like/dislike anything produced by a YEC organisation. Yes, I freely admit prejudice comes into play here.

Kendall Park, Jim Brenan, and Jonathan Park are on Ilha da Queimada Grande, a snake-infested island off the coast of Brazil. They are competing against a “Evolution” team. The team that makes its case — and survives — wins. How and why these people agree to go on such life-threatening adventures again and again — and bring children along — is a matter of suspending belief. The women and girls do not go along this time (phew!… I think).

As always, it is good to remember the basic premise of the creators/producers of this series. There are two — and only TWO — worldviews: Creation and Evolution.

Creation: The universe and everything in it was created by God over a six-day period about 6000 years ago. Genesis 1-11 is to be interpreted literally. Science must be done with the Bible in mind. We know scientific findings are correct when they agree with the Bible. If they do not agree with the Bible, it means we are not interpreting the evidence correctly. Creationists are godly and GOOD.

Evolution: A man-made theory about how life, the universe, and everything came about through random, chance processes over millions of years in an attempt to disprove God. Anything and everything that does not agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is lumped as “Evolution”. People who believe in evolution are called “Evolutionists” and are, at best, misguided, and at worst, EVIL.

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Modesty

It looks like the Modesty Police in Malaysia is hard at work making sure people comply with attire that is deemed appropriately modest.

Make clear what is acceptable to be worn at govt premises

On June 8, a guard at the Wangsa Maju Road Transport Department office asked a woman to put on a sarong before she could be served.

On June 16, another woman was denied entry into the Sungai Buloh Hospital for wearing shorts, but was allowed in after she wrapped her legs with a towel.

Barely a week later, two women were denied entry to the Selangor State Secretariat building as their attire did not cover their knees.

On June 24, a woman was denied entry into Penang’s Balik Pulau Court Complex for wearing a skirt deemed too short.

On May 7, a man was denied entry into Kuala Lumpur Inter­national Airport’s lost and found department because he was wearing shorts and sandals.

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Thoughtful Thursday: Answer This, Creationists!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is God of Evolution.

His latest post is entitled 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer.  While I think the word “no” in the title might be slightly off — in his blogpost, he does mention some YECs attempts at some answers — the article is pretty spot-on. Perhaps a more accurate title would be: 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationists Can Answer Satisfactorily.

If you are not familiar with Tyler Franke’s style of writing, be prepared for some pithy humour which may, or may not, border on snarky depending on your tolerance level.

In summary, here are the questions:

1. What was the point of the tree of life?
2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?
3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?
4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?
5. How did Adam and Eve know what death was?
6. If the punishment for eating from the tree was that Adam and Eve would physically die … why didn’t they physically die?
7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?
8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?
9. Why is incest wrong?
10. And finally, if it is so vitally important that Christians take Genesis literally, why did Jesus never once instruct us to take Genesis literally?

Moody Monday: What’s the Deal with the Duggars?

I first heard of the Duggars when they appeared on a television special. There they stood all in a row in age order, smartly and modestly dressed, saying their names one by one for the camera. The youngest one or two at the time were too young to say their names, so one of the parents spoke for them and Michelle ended the lineup by putting an affectionate hand on her belly and said, “…and this is Jackson!”

They looked like such a sweet, adorable, Christian family! And they home schooled!!

What was there not to like?

Quite a bit, as it turns out.

At first I thought they looked so nice. A bit weird in the fashion department, but okay.

Later, I learned that they home schooled with Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute materials. Warning bells. And that they subscribed to Christian Patriarchy and all that entails. Huge warning bells. And then the television show that put them in the limelight. You know the tune.

“They’re a clean, wholesome family,” people said.

“The Duggars are upholding good, conservative, Christian values,” people said.

“I’d rather watch the Duggars than all that other junk that is on TV,” people said.

“The children are modest, well-behaved, role models,” people said.

Let’s talk about that. (Cue the “Good Mythical Morning” music. Or the “Twilight Zone” theme. Take your pick. I recommend the latter.)

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Summary Saturday

Interesting articles around the web this week:

Lucid dreams and metacognition: Awareness of thinking; awareness of dreaming

I am a lucid dreamer. Many times, while dreaming, I have become aware of being in a dream. Sometimes I do things I wouldn’t normally do in real life. Sometimes I wake up. Mostly, I get really interested and step back from the action and see what unfolds.

Countering False Claims … Again

In which Ken Ham falsely claims that there are two different kinds of science … again.

Newsboys’ Co-Founder is now an atheist

Before watching God’s Not Dead, Newsboys was only a very small blip on my radar. After watching God’s Not Dead, they became a bigger blip.

Movie Review: God’s Not Dead

God's not deadThis movie came out almost a year ago. I did not watch it then, and really had no intention of watching it at all. Christian movies, generally speaking, are poorly made and/or are too preachy. There is one film in particular that many have lauded, but I have yet to be Courageous enough to watch.

When my church said that it was going to show God’s Not Dead at the evening service a couple of weeks ago, I wrestled with whether I should go along to watch it or not. I was somewhat disturbed that the pastor would ‘allow’ this. After the morning service, I went up to him and asked him if he had seen it. He said that he had not (!) but that he’s heard good things about it. (For one thing, a fellow parishioner had gone up to the pulpit some time last year to encourage everyone to go see it.) I told the pastor that the movie has had mixed reviews.

“Well, I don’t expect non-Christians to give positive feedback,” he replied.

“Actually, the negative reviews came from Christians.”

*Raises eyebrows.*

So, to go or not to go? On the plus side, it wasn’t going to cost anything money-wise. On the other hand, the movie is nearly two hours long, and that is two hours I would never get back. In the end, the plus side won and, armed with notebook and pen, oldest son and I went.

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