Category: intelligent design

A Call to Churches to Create Careers in Apologetics

This article discussing emerging church staff positions crossed my desk and caught my attention. According to the article, prevailing trends in society and in the Church (Institutional) we can see these positions being developed or created:

The Network Administrator
The Multicultural Children’s Director
The Chief of Staff
The Operations Pastor
The Creative Arts Director
The Boomer Director
The Spiritual Growth Pastor

I think this list, though not portrayed as comprehensive, is probably pretty accurate. Given my background, I noticed that one position is not mentioned: Apologetics Director. I think that is pretty accurate, too.

I find this to be pretty interesting and indicative of the state of the Church, Inc. today. Not to take away anything from the positions mentioned above or positions that may already exist, but we live in a society where Christianity is being deliberately attacked at a number of levels. At the same time, the culture itself represents challenges to Christianity less intentionally, in the form of hundreds and even thousands of new world views for Christians to encounter and have to deal with.

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Climategate to be followed by Evolutiongate?

From US Congressional Committee Report: INTOLERANCE AND THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE AT THE SMITHSONIAN (full report):

In a series of emails on August 30, Dr. Ferrari and Dr. Sues discussed the Smithsonian’s procedures for hiring and firing a Research Associate and how Dr. Sternberg was approved for his RA position. Sues lamented that “The Sternberg situation could not have been prevented by senior management because his CV looks credible and does not reveal his interactions with the creationist movement.”44 Dr. Sues seemed to be suggesting that if Sternberg’s supposed interactions with the “creationist movement” were known, he would not have been approved as an RA, and the “situation” would have been prevented. [More…]

Dr. Ferrari’s comments also suggested a very real bias in the selection process: “I wonder, however, if we might consider a more open process of vetting nominees? For example, while a post doc here Sternberg was listed in an advertisement in the NY Times as a scientist at the Smithsonian Institution who did not believe in evolution. I saw that page and certainly would have spoken up had I known he was a prospective research associate.”45 Ferrari seemed to be suggesting that questioning evolution would disqualify a candidate for a position.

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Another V Reaction as a Christian apologist

The beginning of the episode starts off with a Catholic priest taking confession from one person after another that has been knocked around a bit by the implications of the arrival of Visitors from space. Their faith has been rattled, for example. Or, they are impressed by the ‘miracle cures’ that the Visitors are able to perform. I have already touched on this in my two previous posts but I’d like to approach it again from a different angle.

Is it really the case that space Visitors will serve as a stumbling block to faith in God? I contend that we cannot actually know that until they arrive (if they exist and if they come) and that our speculations in the meantime are inferences from what we already believe about reality.

In light of the Visitor’s ability to perform miracle cures, I would like to reflect on a quote common in atheistic thought (If I recall correctly, even Dawkins cites it in his Delusion). Arthur Clark said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

This sort of feeds into chronological snobbery of our modern age (and perhaps some past ages) which tries to dismiss the views and experiences of those in the past as being from an “ignorant gaggle of Bronze age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, murdering, genocidal goat-herders.”

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How the Placebo Effect Proves there is a God

We are all aware of the placebo effect. This is often described as being the result of ‘sham’ or ‘fake’ treatments or pills with the fact being that the body would have ‘healed itself on its own’ or has its effect because the illness was ‘only in their mind.’

All of these attitudes represent a materialistic outlook, if not outright reductionism. This hard core atheistic outlook has been at the bottom of scientific development in all fields since the early 1900s, and this has certainly spilled over into medicine. This has sometimes been to the detriment, and even the embarrassment, of scientific progress as described in a book that is still one of my favorites, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz’s The Mind and the Brain. The book charts the history of brain science up to the point where it was finally admitted that thought itself appeared to be able to shape the matter of the brain.

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The Theological Implications of Finding Alien Extra-Terrestial Life

I have already addressed this in several places- here, and here- so I won’t dwell on things much. Instead, I want to reflect on an article I just read regarding the Vatican participating in an astrobiology conference to discuss the question.

In my previous posts, I argued that if aliens appeared, they might fly in the face of current expectations that are drenched in an evolutionary (and atheistic) outlook. Namely, we may find that these intelligent agents believe in God. They may not, as Richard Dawkins smugly posits, inquire first as to whether not humans have ‘discovered’ evolution. Let us allow that it is a possibility… but they may also possibly have a concept of God and creation that is identical, in theological principle, to what we see in the Christian Scriptures. Naturally, they may have a belief system identical to other systems.

My point is that they may deviate a great deal from the common narrative of aliens either being hostile consumers of resources or super-intelligent, highly technological and benevolent agents that have transcended petty human foibles and myths. In this narrative, both sides assume not just evolution but atheistic presuppositions.

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Some More Thoughts on ABC’s Visitors

So ABC’s “V” was on again tonight. I enjoyed it. It lacked the same punch as the first episode but I still liked it. It seems a little hurried to me. Maybe there are too many commercials? I’ve seen other hour long shows that seemed to really carry a narrative so I know its possible. I can’t put my finger on it with “V” but it isn’t enough (yet) to push me away from future viewings.

In my previous post, I hoped that I would see some metaphysical conversation. Perhaps its too early in the series, but there wasn’t much in that regards. Ie, unlike the first episode, this one seemed to lack substance. It still got me thinking anyway. I will now outline some of those thoughts.

The visual effects are far superior to the previous incarnation of the series. Indeed, far superior to any show from the 80’s and earlier. The miracle of CGI!

But isn’t it interesting that we are able to recognize that just because the space ships we see hovering over American cities in this show, despite their incredible life like detail, are fictional? This uncanny ability (most) people have is interesting given our “Seeing is believing” society. There is a great deal on television, movie, and computer screens that appears to be absolutely real. Yet, we know it isn’t.

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Atheism as ‘Gateway Drug’ to Drifting Away

As of this writing, I am facilitating a course/discussion regarding the decline of Christianity in America. Someone made a point in the discussion that is similar to one I’ve made previously… but I can’t find where I made it so I’m making it anew. 🙂

The question begins with a look at the measured increase in self-identified ‘religious nones’ in America since around 1990. (This data can be found linked to here.) In 1990, some 8% of Americans identified themselves as having no religion. Today, that figure has doubled. In the meantime, there has been a drop in those identifying themselves as Christians, from about 86% to 76% of the nation’s population. Some back of the napkin calculation suggests that some 30,000,000 fewer people call themselves Christian than did in 1990 with a significant portion of these falling into the ‘religious none’ category.

However, of note, the number of outright atheists has seen only a moderate increase. Even many of the ‘religious nones’ say they believe something.

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Fall 2009 Online Academy Offerings

The Fall 2009 session of Athanatos Online Apologetics Academy is set to begin Nov. 2. This session includes several new courses and several new instructors. Two courses are available for free. All are listed below:

http://www.academyofapologetics.com/fall2009/

Nov 2nd – Basic New Testament Greek Part 1
Nov 2nd – Reliability of the New Testament Documents
Nov 2nd – Origins: A Survey [Creationism/Evolution/Intelligent Design]
Nov 4th – Jesus According to… [Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc…]
Nov 4th – Studies in Atheism
Nov 9th – The Death of Christianity [FREE!]
Nov.16th – Christ Promised in the Old Testament
Nov 23rd – Hitler and Christianity [FREE!]
Nov 30th – Study in Alleged Bible Contradictions
Nov 30th – Basic New Testament Greek Part 2

www.academyofapologetics.com

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