is anyone getting tired of this yet? (yes): Bryan College “takes a stand” on creationism

Whatever.

Here’s the article.

Another college feels it needs to take a “stand” on the Bible–meaning recommitting themselves to a view of the Bible that is inexcusable for an institution granting academic degrees, whether in Bible, the sciences, Christian thought, or anything else.

Professors at Bryan College are understandably worried about their jobs. They will now be required to educate students while at the same time holding to views that are very difficult for educated people to hold.

They will have to choose which side of the line to stand on, for “Bryan’s statement of faith, more than 80 years old, isn’t allowed to be amended or changed, according to its charter.” It can, however, be “clarified,” i.e., tightened so crafty, progressive professors who want to find ways to grapple with scientific facts (yes, “facts”–you heard me) within their conservative tradition will no longer be able to get away with it.

Hence the original statement:

“that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death;”

is “clarified” thus:

“We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

So, that’s that.

I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it again. A school can govern itself any way it wishes and can believe what it wants to believe. It can govern itself intellectually back into the Stone Age for all I care (provided that Stone Age didn’t begin more than 6000 years ago), and students and their parents are free to pay nearly $30,000 a year for the right.

The shame, the travesty, and I will even say the injustice, is that thoughtful people who are academically trained in various disciplines, who are supportive of their tradition, who have given their lives to be thoughtful men and women of faith, and who in their experience and wisdom see the need to bring their disciplines into some conversation with that tradition, are barred from doing so, because…well…we just don’t do that around here.

This is what a dying tradition looks like.

 

Here's something new: Genesis is in "crisis" and if you don't see that you're "syncretistic"
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creating Adam, again and again
  • ajl

    This is a dying tradition we are witnessing. More and more of these schools are doubling down on the creation issue as you illustrated here – being even more rigid in their view of the creation narrative. They are also competing for a shrinking population. And the irony is that they are creating that shrinking population by being so rigid.

    So, with a smaller pool of applicants espousing those beliefs what is the answer? Yep, get even more narrow to carve out a niche into the remaining population pool. We may be seeing a bit of a death spiral coming.

    Some schools will survive (i.e. the big ones like Liberty), but the smaller schools will have a tough time keeping their doors open.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      > dying tradition

      More so that you might think. What is dying is the belief in the supernatural.

      Americans’ Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines
      Belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution rises
      New York, N.Y. – December 16, 2013
      harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1353/Default.aspx

      “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.” ~Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

      • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

        I’ll add the Huffington Post’s 2/6/11′s The Complicated Connection Between Religion and the Paranormal:

        What Bader, Mencken and Baker find in their research is that both individuals with no religious beliefs and the most committed individuals — those who attend services weekly — are among the least likely to hold paranormal beliefs. Those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God are also highly unlikely to hold paranormal beliefs.

        It is in the middle, among people who have an interest in religion but who are not regular attenders, that there is greater belief in the paranormal. Belief in paranormal topics is at its highest level among people with more liberal views of the Bible, researchers said.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          Resurrection is paranormal, i.e., outside “the range of normal experience or scientific explanation.” That research suffers from poor definitions.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If you collapse categories, you destroy communication. Consider Nietzsche’s “There no facts, only interpretations.” That could be taken as a complete denial of objective reality; this would probably have torpedoed science if it had been fully accepted.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            • I believe in Ghosts! = paranormal.
            • I believe in the Holy Ghost! = not paranormal?

            If you exclude categories, you destroy communication.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            The difference is between:

                 (1) one intelligence being in indisputable control
                 (2) multiple intelligences warring with each other

            This is illustrated brilliantly in Isaiah 45:7, which is oft-cited by atheists as evidence of God creating evil. And yet, if we do a bit of research, we find this Hermeneutics.SE answer to the question What did Isaiah intend with his unusual usage of “create” in Isaiah 45:7?:

            However, Isaiah is addressing himself to a different question than the one you’re concerned with. According to Zoroastrian theology, light and darkness and good and evil are created by two separate deities who are constantly in competition with each other. The creation story in the book of Genesis is parallel in many ways to the Zoroastrian creation myth, and is also a polemic against the notion of more than one God and the notion that some of God’s creations are “evil.”

            The Bible holds that Yahweh cannot be effectively challenged. He apparently gives his created beings much freedom, but none offer a true challenge to him. Good and evil are not equally matched. This is in contrast to many religions out there.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            The Bible holds that the Yahweh skygod was plagiarized from earlier Ugaritic tablets, as Dr. Smith (Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University) demonstrates:

            For example: “[T]he priestly theological treatment of Israel’s early religious history in Exodus 6:2-3 identifies the old god El Shadday with Yahweh:
            ·
            And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shadday, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to them.”
            ·
            This passage shows that Yahweh was unknown to the patriarchs. Rather, they are depicted as worshipers of El. In Israel El’s characteristics and epithets became part of the repertoire of descriptions of Yahweh. Like El in the Ugaritic texts, Yahweh is described as an aged, patriarchal god …, enthroned amidst the assembly of divine beings”
            ·
            Mark Smith (2001) The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts. Oxford University Press, p. 141.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I don’t see a problem with the facts you cite, although I probably disagree with your interpretation thereof. It may help to know that I am probably in large agreement with Peter Enns’ Inerrancy: I think someone forgot to tell the Bible.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Just out of curiosity, how do you interpret the polytheistic origins in biblical texts differently?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You may find this comment interesting. I think God is reaching out to be people in all sorts of ways. He called Abraham out of the land of Ur, out of a land of polytheism. So I’m not sure how to answer your “differently”; differently from what/whom? My “probably” in my comment above is due to the fact that I’ve not exhaustively compared my viewpoint to Enns’ viewpoint.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I meant differently from Brian Bowman, since you said, “I probably disagree with your interpretation thereof.”

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            His interpretation is likely that religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input. This is likely false, which Keith Ward illusrates in Is Religion Dangerous?

                The reason why it is not possible to give a general answer to the question, ‘Does religion make people more conservative or more radical?’ is that religious institutions are made up of people who already have certain moral and political opinions, and will seek to mould the institution accordingly. Their children in turn will be moulded in part by those institutions, but they will also encounter many different attitudes in the general culture. So, apart from a very detailed analysis of particular histories and cases, there is little that can be usefully said in general about the social effects of religion. (Despite this, I will return to the subject in chapter 10.)
                In some contexts, religious institutions can become centers of social dissent, and even revolution. During the years of Communist occupation, the Catholic Church in Poland became a focus for anti-Soviet feeling, and was a major cause of the collapse of Communism in Poland. It was a radical social force. But since that happened, the Polish Catholic Church has come to be seen by many as a conservative force trying to enforce strict sexual control and traditional family values. Radical nationalist groups have even appealed to ‘Catholic loyalty’ in attacks on Muslims, foreign workers and immigrants—on all things that they feel to be alien cultural influences. Thus in a very short space of time a major religious institution can move from being a focus of radical political thought to being a morally ambiguous defender of conservative national values.
                The lesson is: do not generalise in abstract terms. See religious movements in their historical and social context. And acknowledge the inescapable diversity of human political, moral and religious attitudes. This might make it sound as if religious beliefs are not primarily important and we can explain religion very well simply in social terms. But that would be the opposite error. It is an error to see religion just in social terms. But it is equally an error to think that religions add nothing to the social context. They do add something, but what they add depends not the context and on who is doing the adding. (48-49)

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Right … I’ve read some of Ward. I find the “possibilities” that he suggests a bit vague. The clear textual evolution of the Old Testament from early polytheistic beginnings to later deuteronomical and post-exilic revisions, makes the supernatural OT miracle tales fairly unlikely (I think the same of NT miracle tales).

            I think I understand that there are current forms of Christianity that simply see biblical miracle tales as human attempts to capture some more holistic “ground of being”.

            But that’s a rather new way of viewing scripture, isn’t it?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Ward may be vague, but that is better than making wrong statements. Many atheists and skeptics make statements that simply aren’t supportable by the evidence, like:

            religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input.

            If I ask, “How would you know?”, I never get a solid answer. It’s just vagueness, like “evolutionary psychology can explain it, or will explain it”. This is a just-so story until backed up by evidence, evidence which has been tested in a crucible. For now, it is largely one just-so story against another just-so story, except that the atheist/skeptic argues that his is better because of <insert dogma here>.

            But that’s a rather new way of viewing scripture, isn’t it?

            Is what? I believe in miracles. I believe in tremendous power. But I believe it is to be used to bring about unity in diversity on the earth—shalom. Not magic tricks. Or even true, healing miracles, that merely serve to let people continue to do what they want to do.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            How would I know that there is no supernatural input in the world?

            I suppose I don’t “know”. I simply see no evidence for it.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            All evidence is viewed through a grid of presuppositions. Logical Positivism failed; Quine’s Two Dogmas is true. Even scientists are accepting this; see Hawking and Mlodinow’s model-dependent realism. The idea that we objectively observe reality is foolish and absurd. What we can do is truth-seek. You might like my Phil.SE question, “I trust my senses” — Why does this tend to be restricted to the external senses?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I’m familiar with Hawking and Mlodinow’s model-dependent realism. Hawking and Mlodinow would find your co-opting of the view to support theism most amusing (and ultimately silly), since the models they describe relate observations to observed behavioral rules, i.e. evidence garnered from the external senses.

            The real and important difference between actual evidence (what you call evidence restricted to the external senses), and what you might call spiritual senses or religious experiences, is that actual evidence is repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers. As Keith Ward points out, “The omens are not good for the very specific claims that many religions make about God, spirits and the afterlife. Each cultural tradition builds up an increasingly detailed set of such claims.”

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Is ‘love’ “repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers”?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Is “love” a single person or entity?

            Or is “love” a word used to describe a variety of emotions and physical sensations, some shallow, some with deeper imprints on our personal experience?

            Category confusion just highlights your confusion. It elucidates nothing. I’m not a reductionist. I’ll happily sing-along with “What the world needs now is love, sweet love”. Because poetry and abstract expressions are valuable in describing our experience.

            Is your “God” an abstract word describing human emotion and experience?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            God is abstract as Jesus was when he came to earth.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Exactly. When you talk about God or Jesus, you are talking about a person – you not talking about a descriptor for a feeling or an emotion.

            Which is why asking if “love” is “repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers”, is an evasive bit of category confusion that makes no salient point.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            How was it evasive? You said this:

            The real and important difference between actual evidence (what you call evidence restricted to the external senses), and what you might call spiritual senses or religious experiences, is that actual evidence is repeatable, measurable, and verifiable to all observers.

            You are saying that the particulars are more ‘real’ than the universals, that particles-and-fields are more real than personality, and this means love takes a distinct back-seat in the way you think about the world. In the way I think about the world, love is much more important than the substrate upon which we live. We would still be minds if we were silicon-based or quantum computer-based or whatever. So while the laws of physics are wonderful to discover, the laws which govern minds are so much more important!

            If you give particles and fields priority over people and what makes people people and not animals, you dehumanize people.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Now who’s arguing with straw men!

            At what point did I prioritize particles and fields over people? At what point did I say love is less important than scientific studies. Don’t put words in my mouth.

            I said (quite clearly I think) that love is a different category of word, an expression for something that is abstract. I never said that abstract things are unimportant! Far from it! Love is an abstract idea that I fully celebrate – so you can shout that last little sermon to someone else, thank you very much!

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I am sorry that I came across as putting words in your mouth. Sometimes I construct a model of what I think the other person is saying, and sometimes I extend it a bit to try and advance the conversation more quickly. This has offended you; my apologies.

            I’m getting the sense that our mutual understanding of each other is greatly diverging. Unless you can help me rectify this, I think we should let this tangent die. Perhaps at a later time, I will be better able to discuss this stuff. Perhaps not.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Well, for now, just keep in mind that if someone asks for evidence of God, it makes no sense to ask “what’s the evidence for love” or “what’s the evidence for hope”, unless you want to argue that God is an abstract concept like love and hope.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            The thing that keeps tripping me up is that love et al seem much more important than particles and fields, to our lives. It’s kind of like thinking of an algorithm independent of what programming language it is written in or what chip it is running on. Don’t get me wrong; I love science. But particles and fields are often elevated above other things in discussions like this, such that if they don’t exist, whatever it is that is being talked about collapses into nothingness. I know this is hyperbole, but it’s the holistic sense, or intuition, I get.

            It’s almost as if love is ‘real’ because it supervenes on particles and fields; since God doesn’t supervene on particles and fields in this way (he is spirit), he is therefore not real. It just seems like a kind of reductionistic bent. It seems like saying that parts are more real than wholes, instead of the more natural thing to me, which has wholes being more real than their parts.

            Maybe this makes me a Platonist? But the ironic thing is that I’m bad at theory until I’ve looked at enough particulars and can partly derive the theory—the universals—from real data, from the shape of real data.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I don’t know why this trips you up. I don’t know many people (do I know any?) who devalue love and joy because of particle physics. One might as well devalue oneself, in favor of the atoms that comprise your body. Doesn’t make sense. Who does that?

            But love, hope, joy, are words that we use to describe our human experiences. That’s how we use these words on a daily basis. And we use them inconsistently from culture to culture. You probably already know that there are four different Greek words in the New Testament that are all translated to “love” in our English translations. They each have distinct nuances of meaning.

            These human experiences are vital to us. Who would argue that they are not? It is not that they are somehow “unreal” while particles are “real”; they are a completely different category of word. “Love” and “joy” are abstract concepts that we use to describe the enormously complicated and important emotions and experiences that make us human.

            I could be wrong, but I don’t think that you think of God as an abstract concept, do you? You’re trying to somehow place “God” in a category with “love” and “joy”, but “love” and “joy” are not a spirit, by anyone’s definition. Everyone that I know who believes in God and the spirit world, believe in them as phenomena, not abstract concepts for human experience.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I’ve made some progress on this. Beauty is deeply related to love. Beauty, I think can exert a true attractive force on us. Only real things can do this, only real things can exert actual forces.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Yes, beauty is another example of an abstract noun.

            abstract – existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence.

            And yes, we are motivated by thoughts and ideas; thoughts and ideas are powerful, especially when we share them collectively.

            But, again, I don’t think you mean to imply that God is an abstract noun. A spirit is not an abstract noun. This is not theology or philosophy. It’s basic grammar.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            So I’m just imagining that I’m being pulled, attracted by beauty? It seems like that in my mind, but it’s not really happening? If it is not a figment of my imagination, then what is doing the pulling? Randomness that happened to evolve into a state that happens to be pleasing to my eyes somehow, and causes me to seek more beauty? This seems highly implausible, although I will grant that we don’t really know the probabilities, so this implausibility is a bit subjective. On the other hand, why would evolution favor any beauty other than that which signifies genetically fitter potential mates?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You said above that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is not fully true, citing an article about scientists espousing beauty in scientific theory.

            But the old adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” does not mean that beauty does not exist; it means that we have aesthetic differences of opinion, which is as true in the sciences as it is in art.

            If you are “pulled” toward a pretty girl in exactly the same way that gravity pulls you toward the ground, then you have a problem. If you are describing the fact that all of us enjoy moving toward beautiful things, then you are describing normal humans moving towards the object of our desire – which is nothing like gravity. If you would like scientific explanations for the interplay of beauty with evolution, may I suggest “Finding Darwin’s God” by Kenneth Miller (you’d like him – he’s a Christian) or “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins.

            Like all abstract concepts, we use the word beauty to refer to all sorts of things for which we have fond feelings. Are not the evolutionary advantages for such feelings obvious?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            But the old adage “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” does not mean that beauty does not exist; it means that we have aesthetic differences of opinion, which is as true in the sciences as it is in art.

            The true question is whether one’s sense of beauty can be truth-seeking. See my Phil.SE question, “I trust my senses” — Why does this tend to be restricted to the external senses? Beauty could easily be a sense, an input to the brain. It is not necessary that each of us see things precisely the same—indeed, if that were true, the world would be pretty boring! Instead, you need something akin to the blind men and an elephant, where each person’s observations overlaps with enough other people such that the entire surface can ultimately be pieced together, cooperatively, with people trusting one another.

            If you are “pulled” toward a pretty girl in exactly the same way that gravity pulls you toward the ground, then you have a problem.

            Thoughts can be pulled; a force can be exerted on them which causes them to change, and in a specific direction. I claim, toward more order. Surely thoughts have some sort of inertia and thus momentum, given that they supervene on particles? The change of a thought is a true change in configuration of particles and fields. And thus, a true force is exerted, not an abstract one. A force toward beauty. That is, unless:

            “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

            To illustrate: some people, when they read what I write, can only see the bad stuff. It’s as if they only have eyes for what is ugly, or what agrees with them. For these people, beauty does not seem to exert any force. They seem somehow ‘cut off’ from it—at least the beauty which goes more than skin-deep, or the beauty which is somewhat marred.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Again, I refer to “Finding Darwin’s God”. (I’m not being facetious, I think you’d really like Kenneth Miller). There are good evolutionary reasons that beauty can lead to food, or sex, or water, or groups, or symmetry, or “truth”.

            When you use words like force and inertia and momentum to describe our thought processes, you are merely using these physics terms in metaphoric ways. You may not think you are, but “force”, “inertia”, and “momentum” have very specific definitions in the physical sciences, and I can assure you that these definitions do not apply to thoughts.

            But, hey, I don’t mind using physical terms in metaphoric ways – we all do when we talk about abstract nouns like beauty, love, bravery, hope, etc.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            When you use words like force and inertia and momentum to describe our thought processes, you are merely using these physics terms in metaphoric ways. You may not think you are, but “force”, “inertia”, and “momentum” have very specific definitions in the physical sciences, and I can assure you that these definitions do not apply to thoughts.

            Do you deny that thoughts are made up of particles and fields in our brains, and that when our thoughts changes, those particles and fields change as well?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You can also find thoughts and ideas stored in the ink and pages of books, on the magnetic bits of computers, and on laser discs of sound systems. But a neuron in the brain is no more a “thought” or “idea” than a blot of ink, a strip of magnet, or a light cell. The idea is more than the sum of the physical parts that record it.

            Heck, I would have thought a religious person would agree with this. We are more than the sum of our parts. Saying that something is abstract doesn’t meant it isn’t real or important.

            In fact, I’m at a complete loss as to why you are so determined to prove that abstract nouns are not, in fact, abstract! Abstract ideas are wonderful! They are real, important, influential, passed along in writing and art and shared through generations.

            But an abstract noun is an abstract noun, as any grammar teacher will tell you from grade school through graduate school. I really don’t understand why you’re trying to turn them into physical things.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You can also find thoughts and ideas stored in the ink and pages of books, on the magnetic bits of computers, and on laser discs of sound systems.

            I don’t think those are the same category of thoughts as exist in people’s brains. They are approximations thereof. They are pictures of a thing, not the thing.

            But a neuron in the brain is no more a “thought” or “idea” than a blot of ink, a strip of magnet, or a light cell. The idea is more than the sum of the physical parts that record it.

            I agree that one can get nonlocal emergent behavior. So instead of talking about a single neuron, how about some subset of the neurons in one’s brain. Can subsets of these neurons fully represent thoughts?

            Heck, I would have thought a religious person would agree with this. We are more than the sum of our parts. Saying that something is abstract doesn’t meant it isn’t real or important.

            Are you a Cartesian dualist?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No, I’m not a Cartesian dualist.

            I’ll tell you what, I’m starting to get bored with this discussion, and this is why – I have no idea where you are going!

            Are you trying to convince me that a set of neurons constitute the physical presence of an abstract thing like love, beauty, or hope? Are you trying to say that the neurons that store “beauty” ARE “beauty”.

            If you have a point, could you go ahead and make it – because this is frankly tiresome.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I thought I was very clear.

                 (1) thoughts are made up of particles and fields

                 (2) a change in thoughts is a change of configuration of particles and fields

                 (3) a change of configuration of particles and fields requires ontic force

                 (4) beauty can exert such force

                 (5) beauty is ontic

            Is this wrong? If so, where have I erred?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            As I said in my other comment, beauty has many different definitions depending on context. So beauty is not a force exerted on thought, beauty is, itself, a thought. We have thoughts which assign the word “beauty” to different aspects of our experience depending on their context. I look at a freshly cooked sprig of asparagus and think “beautiful”. My daughter looks at the same item and thinks “yuck”. I look at my wife with memories of our years together and think “beautiful”. The stranger she accidentally cuts off in a traffic lane looks at her and thinks “bitch.”

            Beauty is not a force exerted on me. It is a quality I use to describe something.

            And as I’ve already pointed out, your use of the word force has no relation to it’s use in physical sciences. I am drawn to a fresh apple. But the apple exerts no force on me. It is my desire for food that moves me to the apple.

            At any rate, even I were to grant your train of logic, why is it important to you that beauty is ontic – is that part of a larger point you are trying to make?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I believe that there exists a force that can make thoughts more beautiful. This leaves open the question of what it is that exerts this force. It must be ontic, for thoughts are ontic! Thoughts must be ontic if [Cartesian] dualism is false.

            Now, you might say that beauty evolves. I’ve never come across the idea; evolution is generally seen as purposeless; if it turns out to statistically arrives at beautiful results, that would be eerily close to a purpose: to increase the amount of beauty in the universe. That would be an eerily God-like behavior.

            Now, I believe we have the free choice to reject the influence of the force of beauty. Consider:

            “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

            You have the option, when you consider an idea or a person or whatever, whether or not to see possible beauty, or only to see wrongness. If all you ever see is wrongness, how great is the darkness. For example, when I discuss online, many atheists and skeptics prefer to exclusively note what it is that I’ve got wrong. You, to your credit, have noted possibly agreement on at least one occasion, although I recall you declining to elaborate. Anyhow, there is the question of whether one is able to see possible beauty (or marred beauty, or incomplete beauty) and let the force of beauty increase it, or to reject the force and even focus on ugliness, instead.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I see; you are making an argument for beauty as a type of physical force because it becomes for you an argument for God.

            I thought it might be something along the lines.

            There is no logic to your argument that beauty is a force like gravity, as I’ve already pointed out – in fact, you could have substituted any abstract noun you liked in the place of “beauty” – courage, love, hope, bravery, peace – because our thoughts about abstract ideas can always lead toward actions. We often say metaphorically that abstract things have a “force” in our lives, but nobody (except you, I guess), would mistake this use of language to mean that an abstract noun is like gravity. Category confusion.

            I’m not quite sure what to make of your last paragraph. It sounds like your suggesting that someone who thinks your comments are incorrect, fails to see beauty, and is therefore full of darkness.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If thoughts can become more beautiful, a force ontically equal with thoughts must be involved. If thoughts are physical, so is that beautifying force. You appear to be resisting this argument with all your might!

            As to my last paragraph, I do not claim my arguments are perfect. I merely point out that many people, instead of focusing on (1) how the arguments could be made better, choose to (2) focus on anything and everything that is wrong with the arguments. There is a place for both (1) and (2), but if all you ever do is (2), then I believe that saying of Jesus’ applies. A person who practices (2) exclusively only has an eye for the ugly, for the imperfect. But everything is imperfect. And thus, darkness.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Bless your heart, Luke, just because you find a silly argument convincing doesn’t mean everybody else is resisting it. I had to laugh out loud when I read that comment. :)

            Trust me, it doesn’t take “all my might” to point out that beauty is an abstract term that we use for a range of completely different descriptors. You haven’t even defined your use it. It doesn’t take all my might to point out that all sorts of sights, smells, ideas, rationales, both physical and abstract motivate us to do things, but such motivations are not in any way, shape, or form an exerted “force” akin to gravity or inertia. In fact, I have to say, Luke, the idea is plainly silly.

            But, if you think you’ve made the next great philosophical leap, by all means, submit your argument to the Philosophical Quarterly. I have a feeling you won’t make it to or past peer review.

            So to help you with your last paragraph, not all arguments can be made “better”. In fact there have been many scientific theories (the steady state theory, the miasma theory, etc.) that have been disproven by the evidence and completely tossed out. Far more hypotheses and philosophical notions have been tossed out for lack of evidence or poor argumentation. This is an expectation of the field. So sometimes option (2) (focusing on what is wrong with the argument) is the only option available. There is no way to make a poor argument, biased by a desired result, “better”. There are some arguments for God out there that deserve respect and have even been nuanced by philosophers and theologians over time. I’m afraid yours is not one of them.

            And since you haven’t answered one of my objections, but only repeat the same odd notion while insisting that I’m “resisting”, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

            But, if you disagree, by all means prove me wrong! Send it out to theologians and philosophers; get their feedback. I’ve already given you mine.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            The saddest thing about this comment of yours is that you probably didn’t think it would be hurtful, and don’t care if it was. I hope that I am wrong.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Seriously?

            If your feelings are this easily hurt, I would suggest that you toughen up or avoid grad school.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Prediction verified. I think we’re done?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No. One more thing, Luke. If you think taking offense at someone else’s criticism, even strong criticism, earns you the high ground or the moral ground, then you are more than silly. You are childish.

            It’s time to grow up.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            There is criticism, and there is spirit behind the criticism. I don’t mind the former; it helps me refine ideas, reject bad ones, and adopt new ones. The latter is tedious, and to those who have not developed thick skin, extremely detrimental. Perhaps you believe the following maxim?

            Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

            I despise that maxim. With our words we can bless people, and with our words we can curse people. Words are the most powerful instruments in existence.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You have made it evidently clear that you have great trouble rejecting bad ideas, without feeling insulted. You ignore the arguments of others, insist on your own ridiculously biased notions, and suggest that criticism against you is “dark”. No wonder people finally use strong criticism with you.

            I stand by my opinion. You are childish.

            It’s time to grow up.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I do have a penchant for trying very hard to see the possible beauty in an idea. I also do this with people. Or at least, I now know clearly that I ought to try to do this with people, at every opportunity I get.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I have no doubt that you are a beautiful person. The strong criticism of ideas is not an aspersion on the beauty of our humanity.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            1st Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite biblical passages. It is hanging on a placard in our home.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            And yet you don’t care one whit when I feel as if you are explicitly not loving me in your harsh, critical, not-uplifting, not-building-up responses. I mean, that dude on the internet just needs to grow up. I would love to hear your interpretation of what that section I quoted means, because we appear to have very divergent views on it.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            This pales in comparison to some of the harsh criticism I have received In my life from friends and family that love me deeply. And in instances in which they were completely right to criticize.

            If your manner of dealing with criticism is to accuse the critic of being unloving, then your problem is not a lack of love, it is a lack of maturity.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            So much for being tender-hearted. I can go 100% cold if I need to. See this scene in Equilibrium. But what you are describing is callousness, even if only in a small area. I would highly suggest watching that movie.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You’re making it extremely difficult for me to take you seriously, Luke – you want me to learn a moral lesson from this badly-acted, over-the-top, action flick? I hope you don’t come after me with modified Beretta pistols like Christian Bale!

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I did not expect you to learn a moral lesson from it. I know how to take criticism harsh enough to make people want to kill themselves. I know how to be tender-hearted, as well. You seem to think tender-heartedness = childishness. I find that disconcerting.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Tell you what, Luke, why don’t you take the last word on this thread. I’ve said all that I have to say.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I like your nick. It’s very apt for our discussion; I wouldn’t even be surprised if it provoked me to think of beauty in the first place. :-)

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I encourage you to see beauty as possibly objective, even if none of us can see the entire elephant. There is beauty inside of you. See:

            For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Rom 1:20)

            For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

            The bolded words are the same, and I think the better translation is ‘masterpiece’. For more, see my Hermeneutics.SE question, What would be a good translation of ‘poiēma’? The folks there have resisted my preferred ‘masterpiece’, but I resist that. A block of marble was a masterpiece to Leonardo da Vinci because he could see the beauty within, and bring that beauty out. God views us this way as well:

            “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

            The pearls are people, and they are seen to be ‘fine’ before being purchased. Jesus saw us and valued us while we were still enemies of his, and chose to die for us. He wants to gently transform us into beautiful masterpieces. Not forcibly, and not into something we are not. Into something we always were. We can choose to view and interact with others like God is described as interacting with us. This would spread the kingdom of heaven; it would be glorious.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You are not being consistent in your use of words. “Beauty” can be objective (after a fashion), important, influential, true, a quality that can be seen – it can be all these things, but it is still an abstract noun. Just like bravery, love, courage, hope, etc.

            You can see the beauty of rainbow, you can see the love in someone’s actions, you can see the hope in the eyes of a cancer survivor – abstract nouns are observable. They are qualities that we use to describe people, places, things, events, and actions. You can even say they are real! But these abstract nouns are not, in themselves, physical (or even spiritual) substances. In fact, until you, I’ve never heard anyone try to argue that they are.

            Even if I believed that God was the creator of the universe, and that he inspired truth in those 1st century letters that you are quoting (and that belief is what’s most important to you, isn’t it?), even then, I would still tell you that beauty is an abstract quality – an idea, not a physical substance or force.

            Your insistence that beauty is not abstract neither helps nor hurts the argument for God. It is irrelevant to the argument for God, and it is a poorly conceived argument to make.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            “Beauty” can be objective (after a fashion)

            What do you mean by this?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I mean that people sometimes set their own objective criterion for determining whether something should be deemed “beautiful”. most famously, perhaps, in the application of the Euclid’s “golden ratio” in art.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            How is this a valid use of ‘objective’? I thought if something is wholly relative to a person (with no metaphorical Lorentz transform to translate to someone else’s conceptions), that ‘subjective’ was the appropriate word to use?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You are applying only one narrow definition of the word “objective” for which there are several valid definitions, including:

            limited to choices of fixed alternatives and reducing subjective factors to a minimum

            Even when those fixed alternatives have been determined by humans, the word objective is still used. That’s how educators use the term to denote an “objective test”. The questions and answers are determined by teachers, but they are fixed so that all students are assessed by exactly the same objective criteria.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Are not the evolutionary advantages for such feelings obvious?

            It seems a stretch to say that recognizing genetically fit potential mates translates to recognizing beautiful physical theories. I’m not ruling it out, but it seems a bit of a stretch.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Mates are not the only things in nature for which beauty holds an evolutionary advantage. You should really read up on this.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            My wife had Finding Darwin’s God; I looked in the index and there was no entry under ‘beauty’; can a discussion of beauty be found in this book, or are you referring to other books/articles?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Oh dear, are you one of those who reads a book by index entries? There is no chapter on beauty. But beauty is entangled with other abstract notions in discussions of natural selection and higher functions – perhaps most noticeably in chapters 8 and 9.

            But really, before you try to make sense of the evolution of beauty, you need to ask yourself what you mean by beauty. Don’t we use the word rather freely to describe a huge variety of very different experiences. When we say that a woman’s figure is beautiful, do we mean the same thing in saying that a newborn baby is beautiful? Is it the same thing we mean we call a scientific theory beautiful?

            Just look at how many ways we define “beauty” in a dictionary:

            a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.

            a combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.

            denoting something intended to make a woman more attractive.

            an excellent specimen or example of something.

            the pleasing or attractive features of something.

            the best feature or advantage of something.

            This is the nature of abstract nouns: we can use them with a plethora of different meanings.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Oh dear, are you one of those who reads a book by index entries?

            This was insulting. You suggested I check out evolution & beauty. That’s fine, but you did nothing except for pointing to an entire book. That’s a big time commitment! I don’t see why it was unreasonable for me to:

                 (1) show that I tried
                 (2) request some help

            I read a lot of books; I’ve read a lot about evolution, having gone from creationist → ID advocate → some kind of evolutionist. I would rather not expend the several hours to skim an entire book when you could easily give me a pointer to where I could read, more specifically. Instead of doing this graciously, you caricature me as someone who uses book indexes to find things… and clearly portray that in a bad light, for some reason.

            Don’t we use the word rather freely to describe a huge variety of very different experiences.

            Yes. It’s complicated. So?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You don’t have to read a book suggestion. That’s up to you. But unless we’re talking about a textbook or encyclopedia, I never suggest book browses; I always suggest book reads. Authors rarely write books to be browsed; they are building a case, chapter by chapter, and I prefer giving them my full attention.

            I can’t help it if you feel insulted, when no insult is intended. That’s my honest opinion.

            My point about beauty is not that it’s complicated. It’s that it is entirely different things depending on context.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Yes! Evasive!

            Love is abstract. You are pretty clear that your version of God is not abstract.

            Abstract ideas are important and valuable (I never said they weren’t), but you obviously don’t provide evidence for abstract ideas like love and joy, the way you do for non-abstract phenomena like gravity, particles, historical persons, and (in your case) God.

            So don’t try to evasively confuse the issue by accusing me of making value judgments. I have a graduate degree in the fine arts. I most certainly value abstract ideas.

            But unless you are arguing that the word “God” is an abstract expression, then, yes – you were being evasive.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I’m sorry I come across as evasive. Because I do not yet know how to avoid this competently enough, I will cease this tangent for now.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Religion is a purely human phenomenon, with no God-input. If you have evidence to the contrary, pray tell.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You’d have to tell me if any evidence could possibly suffice. Recall Clarke’s third law: miracles won’t suffice. So how would we tell God-input from no-God-input? I think it’s actually a terrifically hard problem. Surely no god-of-the-gaps type solution is sound? So what evidence would work? What I can point to is the triad Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23, articulated in Francis Schaeffer’s The Mark of the Christian. Unity amidst diversity of people would be amazing, especially if it increased without bound. But would even this constitute evidence? I’m not sure.

            I’m a little worried that nothing would suffice for you, Brian. But I also know very little about you, so perhaps you could shed some light on the situation?

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            You don’t have any evidence, right? So quit trying to weasel out of that and blame me for your lack of evidence.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Can you tell me why you would be convinced that God exists or that Jesus is God if you had been present for all of the events recorded in the gospels? I cannot simulate your point of view and reach the state of being convinced. Perhaps you wouldn’t? I mean, couldn’t Jesus have just been an advanced alien?

            It is possible to never interpret the evidence properly; insane people are excellent examples of this. Now certainly I could be the one who is insane; I have been called that plenty in my life. But I really do suspect that nothing would convince you; that you are asking me to follow Sisyphus. Roll that stone up for me!

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Aaaaaaand you still have zero evidence for your claims.

            P.S. You’ve falsely assumed I’m an atheist. I’m not. I’m a Christian as Thomas Jefferson defined the word, lacking any belief in the supernatural, which I assume you consider essential.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I have no evidence that you are asking me to do something that is possible. Some people revel in giving others impossible tasks; I’m not sure whether you are one of them. You are matching that model increasingly well, I must confess. I don’t like being Sisyphus.

          • Klasie Kraalogies

            Brian, would call yourself a “cultural” Christian then? I was just wondering…

            Another question: Are you familiar with the works of the philosopher George Santayana?

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            No, it’s a pejorative term coined by fundamentalists and charismatics. It also misses the point that Jesus would be very surprised today to see Platonist* dogma attributed to him.

            Other than knowing a few of his famous sayings, I’m not familiar with Santayana. From reading on wiki, perhaps I should be, and also Spinoza, whom you mentioned (I think it was you) once to me.

            * Gregory Lawrence Knittel (1993) The Euthanasia of Platonic Christianity: Thomas Jefferson, Plato, Religion and Human Freedom. San Jose State University. scholarworks.sjsu.edu/etd_theses/689/

          • Klasie Kraalogies

            I don’t see it as a pejorative, but I get where you are coming from.

            I think you will enjoy Santayana….

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Of course, if free will and evil do not offer a true challenge to Yahweh, this only exacerbates the theological problem of evil.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            How so? If God is truly free, then certainly he can make truly free beings? And if there is value in those beings being truly free, then he cannot control what they do, lest he make them robots. I suspect there is a logical contradiction in your formulation of the problem, but do feel free to flesh it out.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            There are all sorts of ways to flesh out the problem of evil. My thought was that if free will isn’t a challenge for God, then presumably he is powerful enough to prevent evil while at the same time allowing free will.

            One might define free will as the ability to choose good or evil, but this doesn’t preclude the possibility of preventing other individuals from being harmed by evil.

            Of course, if you see the ability to do evil to other persons, as inherent in free will, then I suppose the problem of free will is not “exacerbated”.

            But it’s still a problem.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            My thought was that if free will isn’t a challenge for God, then presumably he is powerful enough to prevent evil while at the same time allowing free will.

            There is a logical contradiction: either God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls. I do not believe God can create square circles. I do not believe he can merely nix every evil choice in the bud. I do not think this makes sense if one explores the idea thoroughly and tries to construct a realistic, possible world in which moral evil is prohibited but moral good is possible. There is a question here, “Is there sin in heaven?” I do not know enough to give this question a good answer.

            One might define free will as the ability to choose good or evil, but this doesn’t preclude the possibility of preventing other individuals from being harmed by evil.

            I do not believe it is possible to allow true love, without allowing true hurt.

            But it’s still a problem.

            No doubt! But saying that the resolution is that God doesn’t exist is not a solution. And Jesus offers a profound solution, one that we are called to walk in, like Paul:

            Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, (Col 1:24)

            The song Jesus paid it all is potentially deceptive; it threatens to make meaningless the following:

            The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Rom 8:16-17)

            I believe that Christians are called to continue Jesus’ program of reconciling the world to him, and that this involves “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus”. Why the cross? Because there is much evil in the world and Christians are called to redeem it, sucking it out of the world and somehow mystically taking it to the Cross. Someone’s got to suffer in order to make things better. Christians are called to voluntarily suffer, even though they don’t ‘deserve’ to. Jesus didn’t deserve to suffer, either. He led the way (in particle-and-field reality, replete with resurrection); we are called to continue in his path.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I generally don’t presume to deny the existence of God, since the the multitude of definitions for God is too large to address.

            I don’t particularly see the sense in the version of God you’re describing, though. I don’t see anything inherently profound about the concept of rejoicing in suffering.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            One rejoices in suffering if that suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future.

            Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Yes, I know that’s the Christian belief. There’s nothing particularly rational about it.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            There’s nothing rational about happily paying the price to get something one deems worth it? Seriously?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Quite seriously!

            How convenient that you’re now referring to “suffering” as the softer “paying the price”. Yes, there’s nothing rational about promoting “suffering” to pay for an imaginary Valhalla.

            Not rational for two reasons:

            It is not rational (and there is no evidence) that such an imaginary afterlife exists.

            It is not rational that the entrance “price” (your word) for such a place is suffering.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Do you know of secret ways to fight evil and make the world a better place that do not cost anything, that do not ask people to sacrifice time, energy, money, health, and even their lives? If so, please do share! I do not know of any such ways, but if you have some excellent secrets I am all ears. I do look for how to make the world a better place in more and more efficient ways, but I have yet to find zero-cost ways. Perhaps you have?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I can think of all sorts of ways to better the world that require hard work, thoughtfulness, time, and even personal sacrifice. I perform my share of them. If you would like to call any of these “suffering”, fine, but I don’t perform them to follow Christ, and I don’t find the image of a man being tortured to death a particularly inspiring metaphor for acts of kindness.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I don’t “perform them to follow Christ” if I understand what you’re saying. I opt to suffer because that is the cost required to fight evil and make the world a better place, a place a little more like the kingdom of heaven.

            The image of Jesus being tortured to death is not meant to inspire in the way you seem to think? Instead, it is an illustration that the innocent must suffer voluntarily in order to fight evil. This is the only way to fight evil without using evil. If you use evil to fight evil, evil wins. (source)

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Yes, I can see how your personal motivation for making the world a better place is tied to your Christian beliefs, but there are quite a few of us in the world who work to make it better without the need of Christian beliefs.

          • Sven2547

            Explain how cancer makes the world a better place in any sense whatsoever.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I do not have a good answer to this. It is an ‘irreducible complexity’ right now. It is a huge problem, but I’m not going to discard my understanding of the world because of it. There is too much else that still makes sense.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I might add that while I work hard and make many sacrifices to make the world a better place (I’m not bragging, most of us do), I do not do any of these things to gain entrance to an afterlife. I do them to make the world better in the here and now or for the future of our children on earth.

            Your taunts about “secret ways” notwithstanding, the sorts of sacrifices I am describing here are not what you had in mind when you said “suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future”, so don’t talk to me about “straw men”.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            the sorts of sacrifices I am describing here are not what you had in mind when you said “suffering is a necessary step toward a glorious future”

            Why are you so sure about this? If you’re going to insist that you knew exactly what I meant to say, I will be unable to communicate to you.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            If you were discussing the betterment of mankind on earth, great – but I don’t equate all sacrifices for good as “suffering”, nor do I associate them with an ancient Roman cross, so you can see how you confused me.

            And don’t pretend you haven’t made huge assumptions about my intent, indeed, more demeaning assumptions – proposing below that I devalue love and personality and human worth.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If you were discussing the betterment of mankind on earth, great – but I don’t equate all sacrifices for good as “suffering”, nor do I associate them with an ancient Roman cross, so you can see how you confused me.

            Confusion is part of life! But it does seem that you don’t hold to the orthodox understanding of Jesus’ death—that it was necessary to make things better. This is the case regardless of whether one holds to penal substitution, Christus Victor, or something else. The “cost of discipleship” bit in Luke 14:-25-33 is a cost, a cost to fight evil. This is what Jesus said when he said “pick up your cross”.

            You seem to think that I’m just suffering so I’ll go to heaven. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I suffer when it is necessary to fight evil, to return good for evil. Many people are kept from fighting evil because it would be too costly. You do realize this, right?

            And don’t pretend you haven’t made huge assumptions about my intent, indeed, more demeaning assumptions – proposing below that I devalue love and personality and human worth.

            I looked to see what assumptions I might have made, and found the following:

            LB: Would Jesus appearing to you change anything in your life? If he showed up and tried to describe what true love, building-up love is, would you say that you want it, even if that required giving up some ideas about is and ought you may hold?

            bq: I’ve raised a loving family in my lifetime, and we do what we can to help the world around us – I doubt you have anything to teach me about “true love”.

            LB: I never said I had anything to teach you about true love. I said Jesus does. I’m not Jesus, I’m just Luke Breuer.

            LB: If you give particles and fields priority over people and what makes people people and not animals, you dehumanize people.

            What assumptions was I making, beau_quilter? Did I miss some things that I said which were offensive? I do not mean to offend; sometimes I jump a bit ahead in my model of the other person, based on my extensive experience with talking to atheists and skeptics on the internet. I generally see this as speeding up the conversation, but as with any speed-up, sometimes one makes mistakes. I could not do this, but it’d make things a bit tedious, I would think. :-/

            I endeavor to offend less and less and discuss better and better with people who hold beliefs very different than I do; if you can help me do this better, I would welcome it.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I’m not sure what you mean by an “orthodox understanding of Jesus death”, but I’m not a Christian, so it doesn’t hold any particular meaning for me.

            Don’t worry. I’m not offended that you thought I dehumanized people by giving “particles and fields priority over people.” It simply wasn’t an argument that applied to me, just as you’ve confirmed that Heaven is not a major motivator for you.

            As far as the line about Jesus showing up to describe “true love”, I found it more humorous than offensive. If someone showed up and told me he was Jesus Christ, far from taking his advice, I’d more likely recommend him a therapist.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I’m sorry, but I actually am having issues understanding precisely what it was that I said, which imputed moral failure to you. Would you quote two or three specifics? For example, I said “If” very intentionally:

            LB: If you give particles and fields priority over people and what makes people people and not animals, you dehumanize people.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            “imputed moral failure”? I have no idea what you mean by this.

            And I don’t know who you could be describing with your “if” statement. Who gives “particles and fields priority over people”? Noone I’ve ever heard of, unless you mean some physicist at at Cern lab who needs spend more time with his kids.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You claimed:

            And don’t pretend you haven’t made huge assumptions about my intent, indeed, more demeaning assumptions – proposing below that I devalue love and personality and human worth.

            I meant “imputed moral failure” to “made huge assumptions about my intent”. Perhaps you don’t call that “imputing moral failure”, but I do. However, it is not clear that I have done what you claimed! Again, see that “If”. So, please show me what I did that you are construing as “made huge assumptions about my intent”, so that I can learn not to do it again, to you or to other people. I don’t want to make this mistake, but I need help to see how to not make it. :-(

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            There was no “if” statement at the beginning of your comment:

            “You are saying that the particulars are more ‘real’ than the universals, that particles-and-fields are more real than personality, and this means love takes a distinct back-seat in the way you think about the world. In the way I think about the world, love is much more important than the substrate upon which we live.”

            … and, of course, I wasn’t saying anything of the kind. More to the point, who WOULD say that love “takes a back seat” to particles-and-fields in the world? Sounds like a straw man to me.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            My apologies. I ought to preface such statements with, “My current model of you is…” People often do not do this to me; instead they often assume they understand what is in my mind, instead of granting me the dignity of explaining what is in my mind. Sadly, I copy that way of treating people, much too often. Please forgive me.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            But, forget about me, who are you talking about anyway? Who would go around saying that love is less important than particles? You seemed to be arguing with an attitude that nobody has.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            On Randal Rauser’s blog, I am in discussion with someone who thinks that utility is more important than beauty. Perhaps I said what I said because of these connections in my head:

                 (1) particles and fields ↔ utility
                 (2) love ↔ beauty

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            … ok …

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            It appears that you didn’t actually want an answer to your question. Ok.

            P.S. I get it. I’m a monster. Or so many would say. Perhaps you’re different. But you clearly didn’t want to actually understand me.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Your a monster? No, I didn’t call you a monster; but you are showing signs of being a drama queen.

            I don’t want an answer? I don’t want to actually want to understand you?

            You gave me answer. I said ok. What more do you want?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            My apologies for coming off as a drama queen. I took “… ok …” to be a sign of not-caring, but apparently you did not mean it to come across that way. Please forgive me.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No problem.

          • Carlos Bovell

            To Beau:

            I think you perhaps misunderstand what many Christians believe about Jesus Christ. Jesus is not going to just show up and claim he is Jesus Christ like the UPS guy just shows up and tells you he has a package for you. Much rather, he will “appear” to you and you will know right away that either something is unmistakably “off” about reality or something is fundamentally wrong with your mind.

            In other words, you will not be recommending Jesus to a therapist but rather wondering whether you yourself require a therapist because what has just transpired–Jesus appearing to you, revealing God’s love, God’s forgiveness and acceptance to you–transcends reality as you heretofore knew it while somehow profoundly understanding that the experience you just had was somehow more real and more alive than everyday waking reality could ever be.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Trust me, Carlos, I’m not waiting for Jesus to show up like the UPS man.

            In the meantime, I find the forgiveness and acceptance I receive from good friends and family quite fulfilling.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Just to parse out your free will rationale a bit more … you say …

            “God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls.”

            Interesting that your “definition” of free will leaves no middle ground here. I don’t completely control my children, but I can prevent them from hurting themselves. I just don’t see why an all-powerful God couldn’t allow free will while preventing holocaust.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Oh, God could indeed have prevented the Holocaust. But guess what, the reason the Holocaust happened was that we humans were terrible specimens. Had God prevented it, we would not have known it. We have repeatedly ignored the illustration of the human condition spelled out in the Bible, and history. What is left for God to do, if we won’t listen, than to let terrible things happen? The alternative is permanent baby-hood, where we humans don’t have a flying f*ck what it means to treat the next guy with dignity.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No. Still doesn’t make any sort of sense.

            If God had not allowed the beings he created to perpetuate a holocaust, we would all be babies? We would have no sense of human dignity if God didn’t allow the most horrific of human atrocities?

            It’s clear that you believe this nonsense; no reason for me to.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            So which evils does an omni-god allow, in your model of what an omni-god would do. None whatsoever? I couldn’t for example, give candy to all of the kids in a classroom except for one? That is evil, in my view. Would the world you describe disallow it?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I don’t entertain a model of a world with a benevolent god overlooking it – that’s the model that makes no sense. The world I can see just has humans struggling imperfectly along at the culmination of a 100,000 years or more of cultural evolution.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            The only way you can say a model makes no sense is if:

                 (1) it is disastrously incoherent
                 (2) it does not match reality well in any respect

            You have demonstrated neither of these. It is a straw man to make up a bad version of (2), say it doesn’t match reality, and declare victory. You’ve got to try really hard, giving it your best shot. Have you done this? If so, would you be willing to share about your attempt to do it?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            But how is your model coherent? How does it match reality?

            Where is the evidence for the most vital elements of your model, a benevolent god and afterlife.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I don’t have evidence of the afterlife, other than Jesus’ resurrection. And if you don’t buy that it happened, I’m not interested in convincing you. Convincing you of facts will not convince you to follow Jesus. But I am willing to defend intricate connections between the following triads and reality:

            Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23
            Mt 5:23-24, Mt 18:15-20, Eph 4:25-27
            Mt 7:1-5, Mt 23:1-4, Gal 6:1-5

            Would you like me to? If so, pick a triad. All three triads help me understand reality better, by giving me better ways to think about it and act in it.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No, I don’t buy that 2,000 year-old resurrection story, and if that’s all the evidence you’ve got for an afterlife, it’s a pretty poor case.

            You don’t need to defend the bits of wisdom offered in these passages to me. I’ll happily concede that there are true and wise sayings to be found in the bible – just as there are true and wise sayings to be found in Plato, the Tao Teh Ching, and the Bhagavad Gita.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            What it sounds like is you’re willing to grant anything except that an omni-god exists and cares about us. That, you will have none of. Would Jesus appearing to you change anything in your life? If he showed up and tried to describe what true love, building-up love is, would you say that you want it, even if that required giving up some ideas about is and ought you may hold?

          • Sven2547

            What it sounds like is you’re willing to grant anything exceptthat an omni-god exists and cares about us.

            Does your god care about my coworker who has terminal cancer? Did your god care about my friend’s grandson who died at Sandy Hook? Does your god care about my young cousin who is rapidly going blind and nobody can figure out why?

            Your god is indistinguishable from nothingness.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Rational arguments cannot counter the searing losses which you have described. I believe humans are made of heart, will, and mind, all unified by soul. Rational arguments work for the mind, but not for the heart.

            Cancer is wrong, Sandy Hook was wrong, and I would argue even death at all is wrong. Tears are a required response to all of these; without tears, I am but a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. Wrongness must be grieved, must be engaged with the whole being, not just the intellect.

            After grief (to the extent it ever ends), there is the question of what to do next. My answer is to fight the wrongness. This is what Jesus did, and I think we are called to follow in his footsteps, denying our wills in our Gardens of Gethsemane, and picking up our crosses. The only solution to the problem of evil of which I know is to fight, to conquer. I believe this is why Revelation contains “one who conquers” 7+1 times. Giving up the fight is what lets evil continue and grow. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

            What else can be said?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No, I’m not willing to grant just ANYTHING.

            I don’t grant astrology. I don’t grant miracle healings. I don’t grant arks that ride out world-wide floods. I don’t grant bigfoot or lochness. There are lots of things I don’t grant.

            And they all have one thing in common – no evidence.

            I’ve raised a loving family in my lifetime, and we do what we can to help the world around us – I doubt you have anything to teach me about “true love”.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I never said I had anything to teach you about true love. I said Jesus does. I’m not Jesus, I’m just Luke Breuer.

            As to the evidence; I would ask you what the evidence is for hope. Why hope for better things? Why hope for what mankind has never been able to do? And yet, I do hope for these things. I hope for the realization of e.g. Mt 5:43-48, Jn 13:34-35, Jn 17:20-23. The NT describes a kind of “unity in diversity” of people that is both fabulous, and otherworldly. And yet, I hope that it can happen. Do I have evidence? Only the smallest of slivers. That is good enough for me. If it is not good enough for you, then ok?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Category confusion, yet again.

            Check our discussion of “love” below. One would think you knew the difference between abstract concepts such as love, hope, joy, etc. and non abstract phenomena such as gravity, particles, and historical events.

            You’ve already said that you don’t think God is any more abstract than the personhood of Jesus.

            So why do you persist in equating evidence for God with evidence for abstract concepts like hope and love?

            I have hope for many things – hope for the happiness of my children, hope for peace in the middle east, hope for the impoverished. Hope can be a fine, motivating part of life.

            But I don’t hope for fairy godmothers, or fountains of youth. I don’t hope for an afterlife.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I think love is more real than gravity. As to the afterlife stuff, I barely think about it. I try to create heaven on earth, small step by small step. I refuse to do it like Hitler, Marx, Pol Pot, etc.: forcing others to suffer. Instead, I choose to suffer in order to fight evil. This is Jesus’ example. Anything else is fighting evil with evil.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Certainly I can say that the concept of love is more important to me on a daily basis, enters my thoughts more often, than the phenomenon of gravity. Is it more real? I have no idea what it would mean to compare the reality of love and gravity.

            Not everything we do for good is a struggle. I work hard to care for my family and give a portion to important charities. I volunteer for the community, sometimes in ways that require a bit of sweat. And sometimes I may sacrifice a little more to stand up for justice. My nephew has sacrificed much more to fight for our country overseas and I honor him for that, though I don’t always agree with the battles our leaders have chosen to fight (my nephew has the same quandaries). There is some suffering involved in all of this, certainly, but not all of doing good requires suffering. In fact, I would say that giving of your time, money, and labor to serve other people is quite often a joy – not an act of suffering.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            In fact, I would say that giving of your time, money, and labor to serve other people is quite often a joy – not an act of suffering.

            Well, scripture does talk a lot about having joy in the midst of suffering, almost as if one can morph one’s expectations such that it is no longer even suffering. I’m not sure my interpretation of scripture and your position are so far apart.

            One could ask how much MLK Jr. suffered, or how much Gandhi suffered. William Wilberforce seems to have suffered a lot. Not that we all need to be like these folks, but I’m just trying to sketch out the space here, the space of suffering-for-a-purpose, and I’m guessing not suffering needlessly, or ‘inefficiently’.

            I think returning good for evil is pretty hard to do without suffering at least a little bit. Does this make sense?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Makes sense, but seems a bit simplistic to me. If you try to blame all the problems in the world on the most horrific despots known to history (Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.) then it’s easy to think of these as “evil” men, and describe our struggle as against “evil”.

            But most actual people that we have to deal with in the world cannot be described as “good” or “evil”; their needs and motivations are more complex than this.

            I think Charles Dickens gave us the best characterization for those things we must beware in this world: not evil, but ignorance and want:

            “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it.”

            I find it very telling that Dickens doesn’t describe ignorance and want as our enemies, but as our children. It’s a way of thinking that vitally changes our approach to the problems in the world.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If you try to blame all the problems in the world on the most horrific despots known to history (Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.) then it’s easy to think of these as “evil” men, and describe our struggle as against “evil”.

            I’m not trying to do this. I think most evil comes from lack of sufficiently strong good intentions. This seems to best explain the Milgram experiment, Stanford prison experiment and The Third Wave. In most cases, evil is at most a slow decay. I mostly hold to Socrates’ “Nobody willingly does evil.” Much of evil is nonlocalized: think mob mentality or how no single person could have fought the US government’s total ignorance of software development when it came to the Obamacare website. If any one person had spoken out, that person would have been silenced and quietly replaced/fired. See: institutionalization.

            Racism is fostered in strong ‘fields’, kind of like iron depositing in a strong magnetic field will be very magnetic. The ‘fields’ are not caused by any one person: they are all of society. This is probably one of the reasons that people say “society corrupts people”. The funny thing about this statement is that society is made of people. I was always amused by Milton Friedman pointing out that when the government funds something, people fund it, through taxes. People pay taxes.

            An insidious aspect of nonlocalized evil is plausible deniability, and versions of the Nuremberg defense. I mean, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! It is the resistance to joining them which often results in suffering. You’re fighting the current. Once you’re in excellent shape, perhaps this ‘fighting’ turns into mere expenditure of energy. I’ve seen this change happen in me, when I get grief for what I write on the internet. It’s more of “gah, not this again” instead of *angry*.

            Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger File captures the above gloriously. Gravedigger is the attack-the-church version of The Screwtape Letters. In it, the solution to corrupting the church is via society; Guinness refers to The Social Construction of Reality. All that’s needed is to slightly poison the knowledge and wisdom passed down from generation to generation, and one can subtly alter the meanings of words and, over enough generations, subvert what once was.

            But most actual people that we have to deal with in the world cannot be described as “good” or “evil”; their needs and motivations are more complex than this.

            Yep, this is a reason for verses like:

            About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:11-14)

            From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor 5:16-17)

            Viewing people as 100% good or 100% evil is terrible; it is quite literally dehumanizing, or at least god-izing (100% good = Jesus, 100% evil = Satan). Instead, people are alloys of good and evil, with intention being very important as well.

            I find it very telling that Dickens doesn’t describe ignorance and want as our enemies, but as our children. It’s a way of thinking that vitally changes our approach to the problems in the world.

            That’s a neat quotation! It fits pretty well with my view of things. Sin can be seen as wrong satisfaction of desire, a wrong satisfaction based on wrong belief. In the Bible, sin is a function of the person’s entire being; actions are rarely sin until they’re placed in some narrative (in After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre talks about intelligible actions).

            Now, I’m guessing you have a category for negligent ignorance? An example of this might be drunk driving. The person didn’t mean to cause any damage. So not all forms of ignorance are excusable. Exactly which ones are is a very curious question.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Quite a bit I would agree with here. Quite a bit that I would not agree with. Too many rabbits to chase for the comments section of a blog.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            That’s a shame; the above is very much an area of active research for me. I don’t claim that it is all right; it is simply the best I can do without further help.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            What’s a shame?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            That you won’t point out what you think I’ve got right and what I’ve got wrong.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            But you are clearly working from a very different set of premises. I don’t think that the struggle between good and evil is a useful way of viewing the world, and I see even less use for Jesus, God, and Satan. After that, what’s left to comment on?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            What if we view the world in terms of what is beautiful and what is ugly, but instead of looking skin-deep, we looked soul-deep? Furthermore, what if we focused on what could be beautiful in ourselves and other beings, and try to encourage that beauty? Part of this means letting the other person express his/her idea of beauty, and enhancing that, instead of trying to shape him/her into our own image.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

            Why don’t we view the world in terms of reducing the amount of suffering in the world and improving quality of life for everyone?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            These are good things to do. But how? And in particular, how do we know that we are doing enough to counter the… ‘moral entropy’ that is happening? For example, it is easy for wealthy people to give a bunch of money to charity, but what if their family, generations back, made lots of money from oppressing massive numbers of people? Then that wealthy person has benefited vastly, and many others have suffered. And yet all that is “in the past”—except perhaps the oppression caused parents to drink, abuse their kids, etc. So it seems like there are great ‘debts’ which have been accrued in the past. How do we deal with them, in a way that promotes progress and not stasis, or perhaps slower decay?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Regional violence, huge gaps between the rich and the poor, substandard healthcare availability, terrorism, ecological destruction – all worthy of our attention.

            “Moral entropy”? Not even on my radar; I’ll let you worry about that.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You’ve never observed a society decay, in real life or in history books? As to the problems, that’s fine, but defining the problems is much easier than pursuing solutions in a way which will likely be effective.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Well, who wouldn’t agree with pursuing effective solutions?

            As to societal decay, empires certainly fall, but I think that has less to do with decay than with political struggles. I also think that in the long run, society is slowly improving. There are still atrocities in the world, of course, but Stephen Pinker, among other sociologists, makes a well-researched argument in “The Better Angels of our Nature” that statistically, humanity has become less and less violent throughout it’s history. Even the horrors of the mid-20th century world wars, while terrible, did not turn back an overall steady decrease in the percentage of the world population killed by violence.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Well, who wouldn’t agree with pursuing effective solutions?

            Those who do not want to make the requisite sacrifices. Consider the ultra-rich: why ought they give up their riches—any of their riches? Sure, I’ll bet you can come up with reasons, but are they compelling reasons, to the rich?

            As to societal decay, empires certainly fall, but I think that has less to do with decay than with political struggles.

            You don’t want to class ‘political struggles’ as a kind of ‘moral decay’? Political struggles seem the result of people not being able to get along. I thought morality included a strong component of people getting along?

            Stephen Pinker, among other sociologists, makes a well-researched argument in “The Better Angels of our Nature” that statistically, humanity has become less and less violent throughout it’s history.

            What metric you use is all-important. Consider a future state of the universe, with one quadrillion populated planets and a unified government. Now let us suppose that every year, the most evil planet is obliterated, Vorlon-style (that’s a Babylon 5 reference). According to Pinker’s metric, this could be a more moral situation than our current situation. And yet, my intuition is revolted at this. So I don’t think it’s good enough to be able to arrange some things so that percentages are going down. It is still possible to de facto enslave people, without forcing them to shed a single drop of blood. Does Pinker’s measure cover this? I haven’t read the book, so I do not know.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Actually, yes, Pinker’s book does deal with slavery, and with concern for even small percentages of violence, and with a healthy dose of skepticism towards his own thesis. It’s an important work, rather formidable in it’s assessment of all the relevant data, and it’s having a profound impact.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            As to what you say about the decay of society – yes political struggles are violent; but this doesn’t necessarily indicate decay. Most empires were born, grew, and sustained on the strength of far more violence than that which resulted in their decline. The decline of an empire doesn’t necessarily mean more violence than you had before. It often simply means your troupes are spread too thin, or your population is shifting their loyalty to a better provider, or any number of other reasons.

            Is there immorality in the world? Well, yes, though I doubt my view of morality is completely aligned with yours. Is morality in steady decay? No, I don’t think so. Some empires should fall. It’s not necessarily a sign of more or less morality that political landscapes change over time.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Why are your measuring moral status by amount of violence? Earlier, I thought we had established that the likes of Hitler, Pol Pot, et al don’t really capture the moral situation properly. Instead, I cited Socrates’ “Nobody knowingly does evil.”, and argued that lack of sufficiently strong good intention is the culprit. If we use that as a crucial input to the “moral status” metric, it seems like we could easily find a “moral decay” which is both existent and meaningful.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Violence is not the only measure of morality, but it is certainly a clear one, perhaps the one that is most easily measured. Violence is not merely the realm of the Hitler’s and Pol Pot’s – it happens in all societies to a greater or lesser degree.

            I don’t agree that “lack of sufficiently strong good intention” is “the culprit”, and even if it were, how would you use it to measure moral decay?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            One measure is how much effort people put into voting for good political candidates. What do you think “the culprit” is? I’ve said a bunch about my views; may I hear a bit about your own?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            How do you decide which is the good political candidate? That’s what people are arguing about in the first place. I don’t think our work is to find a “culprit”. As I’ve already said, I think our work is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for society. How to go about it? Some of the most effective means come from international relief organizations and international peace initiatives. I personally promote Doctors Without Borders among other organizations. Closer to home, I work with Habitat for Humanity. But there are many other avenues.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I don’t find it meaningful to talk about morality in terms of decay. If you take our nation for example, it seems to me that, as many problems as we have, the U.S. is a far more moral society than it was at it’s founding:

            We no longer enslave a huge percentage of our population.
            We no longer prohibit women from voting and holding public office.
            We no longer permit child labor.
            Virtually all children now have free access to education.
            Virtually all children now have access to medical care.
            We no longer segregate our society by race.
            We no longer decimate the native population under the slightest pretext.
            A far higher percentage of our population is included in election processes to choose their own representatives.

            and the list goes on.

            By my measure, our nation has experienced enormous moral growth, not decay.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Where did I say the US was decaying morally?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Where did I say you said the US was decaying morally?

            That was my example, not yours.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            I have no idea why you picked it as an example, then. I talked about empires which have collapsed and you resist it being described as ‘moral decay’, and then you suddenly switch to the US and how it is morally progressing. It seemed like a bit of a non sequitur.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I already explained to you that empires (with their brutal and violent subjugation of indigenous populations) can be far more immoral at their rise than at their fall.

            The U.S. is a perfectly good example of a trend of moral growth. It may not follow logically from your statements, but it follows logically from mine. (You’ve been concerned with moral decay – I’ve brought Pinker’s research into the conversation.)

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

            This isn’t fully true. See In Search of Beauty:

            My colleagues and I in fundamental physics are the intellectual descendants of Albert Einstein; we like to think that we too search for beauty. Some physics equations are so ugly that we cannot bear to look at them, let alone write them down. Certainly, the Ultimate Designer would use only beautiful equations in designing the universe! we proclaim. When presented with two alternative equations purporting to describe Nature, we always choose the one that appeals to our aesthetic sense. “Let us worry about beauty first, and truth will take care of itself!” Such is the rallying cry of fundamental physicists.

            The reader may perhaps think of physics as a precise and predictive science and not as a subject fit for aesthetic contemplation. But, in fact, aesthetics has become a driving force in contemporary physics. Physicists have discovered something of wonder: Nature, at the fundamental level, is beautifully designed. It is this sense of wonder that I wish to share with you.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I’m going to answer you below. I can’t keep jumping around like this. Why don’t we keep our comment conversation on one thread?

          • Sven2547

            There is a logical contradiction: either God can create first-cause beings whose actions he by definition cannot control, or God can create beings whose actions he completely controls.

            This is basically restating the omnipotence paradox. Unless the omnipotence paradox can be overcome, God is logically disproven*, since the concept of omnipotence is inherently self-contradictory.

            *if one defines “God” as omnipotent

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            What, precisely, is your definition of ‘omnipotence’? My best guess comes from Kenneth Pearce and Alexander Pruss’ 2012 Understanding omnipotence.

          • Sven2547

            Pearce and Pruss define omnipotence in a novel way that imposes limitations of will.
            But an omnibenevolent being has an unlimited will for good.
            Thus we circle back to the Problem of Evil.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            If you are in control of the definitions, you get to define your way to victory.

          • Sven2547

            If you are in control of the definitions, you get to define your way to victory.

            You have just described Christian apologetics for the last 1900 years. That’s why it’s such a worthless discipline. It exists solely to argue something into existence, rather than going through the rigor it takes to prove something exists.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            You are that acquainted with Christian apologetics? Consider, briefly, that most of everything is crap. Call it Pareto’s principle, call it whatever you want. Most stuff out there is of low quality. Given this, what is the best Christian apologetics you know of, out there?

            My biggest critique of Christian apologetics is that in my admittedly biased sampling of it, it prefers theory almost exclusively over and above experiment. This is very Aristotelian. I prefer to mix theory and practice properly; it works in software design, in science, and I believe, Christianity.

          • Sven2547

            I haven’t seen one that can address very basic problems with god’s hypothetical existence, nor one that doesn’t resort to fallacy, lies, straw-men, or general brazen stupidity. I could no sooner choose a “favorite” apolegetic than I could choose a favorite method of torture.

            How about you? Any favorites?

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            My favorite so far is Keith Ward, although Randal Rauser’s Faith Lacking Understanding and Theology in Search of Foundations look promising. I haven’t dug into them enough yet. Other than that, I like some of Francis Schaeffer’s stuff. CS Lewis is good in some places, although he tends to be vague. His Till We Have Faces is fantastic, but not really apologetics per se. Other than that, I’m not sure! There’s so much crap out there. There are so many Christian apologetics books that just give easy answers, answers which would be trivially shot down in any serious discussion.

            You didn’t answer my question; can you pick no “best Christian apologetics you know of”? Nothing whatsoever qualifies?

  • http://rachelheldevans.com Rachel Held Evans

    Bryan College is my alma mater and we are devastated by this development. The faculty is totally demoralized and some of the best and brightest will lose their jobs over this sudden change. The mark of a quality education is teaching students how to think, not what to think. Devoted Christians hold a variety of informed views around origins and the interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, and students deserve to be exposed to those views. Shutting out those who believe science and faith to be compatible does a grave disservice to students, and I fear many will go on to struggle with serious doubts about their faith when they are confronted with the evidence upon graduating. Dan and I are saddened by these changes and we grieve with those forced to leave a school they love as a result.

    It seems to me that Christian education is at a crossroads. Some schools will move forward and remain academically relevant, while others will go the way of fundamentalism.

    By the way, Pete, you should know that your work really made an impact on me when I was struggling to make my way outside this world. You helped restore my love for Scripture and taught me to honor it for what it is, not what I’d been taught to force it t be. So thank you for that.

    • John Hawthorne

      Peter, I think you just got all the credit for Rachel’s break from her early training!

      Seriously, though, Rachel — your point about a bifurcation in Christian higher education is on target. The schools that can figure out faithful discipleship without these rigid attempts at control will serve the Church well in coming decades. The ones that create structures to inhibit conversation and intellectual discourse will be seen as faithful in the short run but do serious damage over the long haul.

      • http://theburningquestions.com/ Jordan Bates

        So wait… Peter influenced Rachel who triggered Ken to write an article which prompted Bryan College to buckle down under pressure? I’m… really impressed, actually.

      • Jack Heller

        John, guess who else attended Bryan College. Class of 1985.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      Do you believe literally in any supernatural accounts in the Bible, and if so, why some over others?

      Understanding biological evolution precludes belief in either the virgin birth or the resurrection.

  • Jacob Lupfer

    This is a bad development, but truly there is nothing new under the sun. Colleges affiliated with Baptist state conventions have been dealing with similar issues (often to much greater degrees) ever since the Fundamentalist Takeover/Conservative Resurgence. I notice that the Council for Christian College and Universities has been silent on fundamentalist encroachment at member institutions. The fact that you have some evangelical colleges happily employing women as Bible professors and presidents, while others are reverting back to literal-Bible fundamentalism, shows that this is just another fault line in the broader schism within evangelicalism.

    See my Save OBU blog, which has chronicled such encroachments at Oklahoma Baptist University, Cedarville University, Shorter University, and elsewhere: http://www.SaveOBU.blogspot.com.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist

    Chin up, Dr. Enns. I know this kind of development hits home for you, but marketing took over academics quite a while ago. At least they are being open about it, and not sneaky.

    • peteenns

      Thanks :-) My chin is up, though.

  • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

    At what point do such closed-minded, unscientific approaches to learning cause an institution to lose it’s varied accreditations:

    http://www.bryan.edu/accreditations

    How can anyone argue that academic freedom exists in “school” such as Bryan? How can anyone take a “biology” degree from Bryan seriously?

    • Ivan A. Rogers

      Biological evolutionists have hit a brick wall. All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life. But most evolutionists are not informed on this and those who are will deny it on a stack of Bibles (pun intended). Diehard evolutionists still insist that their nearest relatives were hairy, stinky, grunting, slobbering, knuckle-dragging, cootie-picking primates. Oh, well, if they insist, who am I to second-guess their miserable self-image?

      • peteenns

        Although, you’re not a scientist, right?

      • Sven2547

        All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life.

        Funny; I’m not hearing any expert in genetics say anything of the sort. “ALL the latest studies”, you say? Can you cite even ONE?

        Genetics is some of the strongest evidence for evolution, not against it. What, you think it’s just a coincidence that we are so genetically similar to other primates? Do you really think that genetic similarity has no bearing whatsoever on shared ancestry?

        • Archaeologist

          Of course you won’t. Most geneticists are unbelievers who will refuse to prove the Bible true.

          There is no evidence for evolution in genetics.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Au contraire.

            Nachman, M. W. and S. L. Crowell. 2000. Estimate of the mutation rate per nucleotide in humans. Genetics 156(1): 297-304.

            Elena, S. F., V. S. Cooper and R. E. Lenski. 1996. Punctuated evolutioncaused by selection of rare beneficial mutations. Science 272:1802-1804.

            Boyden, Ann M., Junhao Mao, Joseph Belsky, Lyle Mitzner, Anita Farhi, Mary A. Mitnick, Dianqing Wu, Karl Insogna, and Richard P. Lifton. 2002. High bone density due to a mutation in LDL-receptor-related protein 5. New England Journal of Medicine 346: 1513-1521

          • Sven2547

            A lie, followed by another lie.
            Scientists follow the evidence. If the field of genetics proved the Bible true, what would they gain from hiding it? Why would they remain non-believers if they knew their position was false?

          • Archaeologist

            Yet the Bible doesn’t say ‘follow the evidence’ does it?

          • Sven2547

            So you’re telling me that by deciding to follow the evidence, scientists are already being prejudicial against the Bible?

          • Archaeologist

            What evidence are the following??? They are using the natural method which allows them to misidentify the evidence they come across. BUT God did not say origins came about the natural way…

            He said it was done via his power by speaking–the supernatural way …thus your supposed experts are following the wrong method and the wrong evidence to the wrong conclusion.

          • Sven2547

            By the “natural method” being the observable, testable scientific method? The one that’s self-correcting and actually has practical use?

            He said it was done via his power by speaking–the supernatural way …thus your supposed experts are following the wrong method

            Such circular logic. ‘My interpretation of the Bible is right, therefore you must be wrong’. If you think reading Genesis is “science” then you’re off your rocker.

          • peteenns

            Neither does the Bible say, “Read me as a science book.” The impasse here is that you feel the Bible answers scientific questions by how it depicts physical reality (which includes a dome over head, a flat earth, no outer space, etc.) My sense is that this is where the impasse is, and which will not be addressed given the direction of the current comments here.

          • Archaeologist

            The mistake you make is assuming that origins was done the scientific way and it wasn’t. i was done the supernatural way as God said.

          • Archaeologist

            i = it

          • Guest

            Of course you won’t.

            Then why did you say

            All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened, especially in the creation and development of sentient life.

            if you won’t accept anything offered by actual experts in the subject at hand?!

          • Archaeologist

            who is the greater expert? God or some human unbelieving scientists?

          • Sven2547

            You are not God.

          • Archaeologist

            You ignored my question. Who is the better expert God or unbelieving humans?

            Didn’t say I was God.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > Who is the better expert God or unbelieving humans?

            Can you provide a single article or book that God wrote?

            P.S. People who write books and then claim that their God wrote them do not count. I can do that here myself. “God wrote this.” Yay, it has to be true, because that’s what it says.

          • Sven2547

            God has not weighed in on the subject of genetics. Humans claiming to speak for God have.
            Given that human experts have actually shown their work, I’m going with them. Human science gets results.

      • Klasie Kraalogies

        Bearing false witness is a sin, or so I thought…. Or is it ok when used against the infidels?

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        > All the latest

        Cites? Just one cite?

      • Archaeologist

        Having studied genetics I can say that that is true. Genetics does not support evolution in any way shape or form. It takes a lot of eisegetical work on the part of evolutionists to shoe horn their false theory into the field of genetics.

        The complexity alone in the microscopic world testifies against the evolutionary theory and points everyone to God and his creative genius. The mere fact that a person dies if they miss one or more chromosomes denies an evolutionary process and development.

        Genetics have shown Darwin to be wrong concerning the different races of humans. Yet no evolutionist will admit that fact. They cover it up and continue on their way.

        Evolution has no room for disease, sickness or death and cannot pinpoint their origin rendering their existence as evidence against the evolutionary process. Genetics proves Genesis chapter 3 not overthrows it.

        Yet again, those who take science over God’s word will ignore that fact.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What a bizarre claim!

        • Klasie Kraalogies

          As I replied to Ivan: I thought bearing false witness is a sin?

        • Sven2547

          Evolution has no room for disease, sickness or death and cannot pinpoint their origin rendering their existence as evidence against the evolutionary process.

          Are you joking? Evolution explains not only diseases, but why they adapt so quickly. Many modern infections are immune to the antibiotics we used 50 years ago. Why? Evolution.

          Genetics have shown Darwin to be wrong concerning the different races of humans. Yet no evolutionist will admit that fact. They cover it up and continue on their way.

          To the contrary: I’ve never heard one “evolutionist” deny it. Darwin had some quirky ideas about race. That doesn’t mean evolution is bunk.

          Having studied genetics…

          Based on your paltry knowledge of the subject, I guarantee you have never studied genetics at a professional level, nor at a graduate level at any school with a respectable science program. Maybe Liberty University, Bob Jones U., or some other Christian diploma mill.

          • Archaeologist

            No Sven, it doesn’t. If you read the books by Ridley and others you will see that they constantly say they do not know the source for any disease, let alone death.

            Evolution explains nothing. The ‘explanations’ depend solely upon speculation. Immunity isn’t evolution in action. You cannot ink that to the evolutionary process. Humans become immune to certain diseases yet do not pass that trait down to their children.

            Contrary to popular thinking, change is not evolution in action.

          • Sven2547

            If you read the books by Ridley and others you will see that they constantly say they do not know the source for any disease, let alone death.

            WOW, we are exploring vast depths of craziness here. Are you actually denying germ theory, and also suggesting that modern science doesn’t know why people die?! Am I understanding you correctly?

          • Archaeologist

            No you are not and you are willfully twisting my words. I said nothing about how people die, I was speaking on the ORIGIN of disease and death and evolution does not explain how they came into existence and there is no room for those two things in the evolutionary theory.

          • Sven2547

            there is no room for those two things in the evolutionary theory

            The more you talk, the more obvious it is you have no idea what evolution is. Disease is obvious: it’s generally caused by either pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites), genetic disorders, or the body’s reaction to other foreign substances (like how asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma). All of these things work perfectly within the framework of evolution, so I fail to see what you couple possibly mean here.

            Death is an even bigger example. Not only is death accountable within evolution, evolution is impossible without death. In the absence of death, populations aren’t going to evolve, since undesirable traits never get weeded out. The old would just continue taking resources from the young. You have no flipping idea what you’re talking about here.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Ridley? Dr. Matt Ridley, the author of Genome?

            This is the Ridley who wrote, “Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.”

            This is the Ridley who wrote a beautiful description of our close ancestral and genetic relationship with chimpanzees:

            “If you held hands with your mother, and she held hands with hers, and she with her, the line would stretch only from New York to Washington before you were holding hands with the ‘missing link’ – the common ancestor with chimpanzees.”

        • jonphillips

          Because you studied it, therefore it’s true. Yeah right.

          You set up a premise that one must choose between God and evolution. It’s possible to choose both.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Evolution does away with the Pauline magic show of salvation. There was no single breeding pair of humans circa 4004 B.C., or anywhere close. There was no “Adam” other than mythological.

            • “just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” Romans 5:19

            • “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” 1 Cor 15:22

            Pauline soteriology requires literalist creationism, (or at least a literal Adam.)

          • Archaeologist

            No, I am just stating that I have studied genetics thus I have an informed opinion and have looked at the evidence.

            The claim by beau quilter is misleading as the majority of genetic studies published come from evolutionary thinkers thus they are not going to say they or their theory are wrong and it is impossible to quote from a genetic study since most of you refuse to accept the Christian scientist’s work proving evolution false.

            His demand is unrealistic but it is par for the course by those who do not want to hear the truth.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            MY claim is misleading?!

            It was Rogers who said above, “All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened” …

            … which, far from being misleading, is a blatant lie.

          • Archaeologist

            he is right as I said. Anything about evolution has to be read into the studies and is not evident from them.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You clearly don’t read many genetic studies, do you? Try reading Frances Collins, a Christian, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the head of the Human Genome Project. His work very directly connects evolution to its evidence in genome studies. You are obviously poorly read on this topic.

      • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

        Can you cite any such genome sciences and studies that make such a claim?

      • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

        “All the latest genome sciences and studies demonstrate conclusively that evolution cannot have happened”

        Didn’t your mother teach you not to tell lies?

  • http://opensauce.no-ip.biz/ Rick Allen

    I’m not allowed to be on my church’s staff or electoral role because I can’t sign their faith statement. The clauses I can’t sign are regarding marriage being a creation ordinance in genesis, and the in-errancy of scripture as outlined in the Chicago statement.

    • Ross

      That situation was the same for me. It was very uncomfortable, after yet another painful “split” of the congregation, “inerrancy” was raised into the statement of faith. I tried to resist this and couldn’t in clear conscience ascribe to it, so became “unsuitable” to lead a home group and effectively marginalised. Luckily I can and did leave and can worship and be a full member of a congregation close to home.

      If belief in inerrancy is a definition of being an Evangelical, then I am definitely not one of those. I wonder what, if any value there is to the term “Evangelical” any more. In many respects it seems to represent what I believe, in a belief in a real God and a high view of scripture, but looking at what the term often seems to relate to I wonder if it is just a simulacrum of the real thing.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        I’ll ascribe to inerrancy if churchgoers will admit that they worship Satan and the Lord as one. ;)

        ● II Sam. 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

        ● I Chron. 21:1 And SATAN stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

        And they are one. “Satan” is merely a metaphor for slander. Apparently, even God tells lies and slander to provoke good folks.

        The term “devil” is a development into English of the Greek word diabolos…Diablos was used to translate the Hebrew word satan…Diablos and its related words denoted something or someone “slanderous.” Socrates declared that the reason he had been condemned at trial was the “slanderers” (diabolai)….

        ~Gregory Riley (2001) The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins. “Chapter 4: The Devil, the Demons, and the End of the World.” HarperCollins. pp. 95-96.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    Peter Enns would rather get his knowledge of “Origins” from Charles Darwin who was NOT a scientist and whose highest earned academic degree was in the field of (gasp!) theology. Here following is something most evolutionists would rather you didn’t know:

    Charles Darwin rejected both the positivistic outlook and the biblical literalism that were championed in his day. Although he is usually thought of as subversive to all creation theories, an examination of his personal writings and his major work, Origin of Species, shows this view to be incorrect. He related some themes of biblical theology to natural selection in a sophisticated manner. His formal education gave him excellent preparation for the religious aspects of this endeavor, since the only academic degree he ever earned was in (gasp!) theology, after a three-year course of study at Cambridge University.

    • peteenns

      A couple of points, Ivan. I hear what you are saying, but there is no need to personalize this as if “I” am getting some private knowledge somewhere. I am part of the 99%, as it were. Second, and related, neither I nor anyone else is getting anything from Darwin but from 150 years of scientific advances in fields and by means Darwin never could have conceived of.

      • Sven2547

        I was about to post, but you said it better than I would have.

        Adding onto that thought: creationists (and theistic evolutionists) seem to love latching onto Charles Darwin, as if discrediting him as a person somehow discredits the huge and well-established scientific field of evolution. It’s like criticizing a modern jet fighter because of a design flaw in the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk Flyer.

        • Klasie Kraalogies

          I like that last sentence especially…

          • Sven2547

            I need to find who first used that comparison because it’s really good. I do not deserve credit for it.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Orville converted back to bicycles on his deathbed. ;)

  • Randy Hardman

    Like @RachelEvans:disqus this story hits home to me on a personal/insider level. While I was never a student at Bryan College, I worked on their campus every year since 2006 and have developed strong relationships with many of their professors, some of which will now be removed under this position. I’ve been watching this whole thing happen–I saw hints of it last year–for the past week and a half and have spoken with a couple professors and alumni who are just…as Rachel said…”demoralized.” Prayers are going out to the school, but please keep the faculty who will likely lose their jobs due to this in prayer as well.

    Rachel, how much of this, do you think, has anything to do with your association with Dayton and Bryan, Eisenback and Ken Turner’s work with Biologos?

    For the record (or selfish endorsement), I’ve just written on the topic from the perspective of a somewhat…kind of..not really, but partly “insider”: http://thebarainitiative.com/on-bryan-college-and-creationist-politics/

    • http://rachelheldevans.com Rachel Held Evans

      I don’t think it has as much to do with me as some folks seem to think. I suspect it has more to do with Bryan and Ken’s work and some guests they’ve had on campus lately…combined with the president’s general fundamentalist posture.

  • Collins

    Pete, what do you think that the more “progressive” minded professors will do? Is it just going to be like the great purge of the SBC with a mass exodus? Or do you think that there will just be people that have a HIGHLY nuanced understanding of the word “formed” in the clarification?

    • Andrew Dowling

      Honest question . . why is Bryan College the employer of choice for more “progressive minded” professors? As an outsider (from conservative evangelicalism) I just don’t understand why moves like this come as a surprise to anyone. Did Bryan start super conservative and then gradually become more moderate (as things often do, especially in academia)?

      • Sven2547

        “More progressive minded” is relative here. Nobody can accuse Pat Robertson of being a “progressive”, but even he rejects YEC.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

    When a college believes in supernatural explanations, why would anybody expect them to not believe in one particular supernatural explanation?

    If evolutionary facts trump creationism, then gravity facts trump the ascension, biology facts trump virgin birth and resurrection, and physics and chemistry trump miracles.

    Sure, they’re doubling down. Doubling down on the supernatural.

    • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist

      I don’t think your second paragraph equates, Brian, although I won’t argue with your larger point. I believe you are missing a major premise or two.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        There has to be a First Adam for the Pauline “Second Adam” Salvation Magic Show to work correctly. That “First Adam” is what Bryan College and Ken Ham are trying to preserve.

        If we evolved (we did), there was no Adam, except allegorically, and no actual fellow committing disobedience, and thus no original sin. Nor is any salvation necessary.

        • “just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” Romans 5:19

        • “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” 1 Cor 15:2

        That is why literal creationism is so vital to faith. Evolution proves there was not a single breeding pair 6000 years ago. There was no Adam. Thus, no original sin. Thus no need for Pauline salvation.

        Suits me. I’m a Christian without all that pauline salvation baggage.

        • “Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Corypheus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” ~Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson’s Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)

        • “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, May 21, 1803

    • Matt Jacobs

      Firstly, I have never heard a Christian say “evolutionary facts trump creationism”, because many Christians don’t believe there is a conflict between the two.

      Secondly, a belief in natural law not only isn’t a problem for miracles, it’s necessary. A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing if there isn’t a known law for how conception occurs, and resurrection isn’t very impressive if there aren’t natural laws regarding death and decay. The same applies to all miracles.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        Not a conflict between creationism and biological evolution? Weird, that’s what this post is all about.

        > A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing

        True, back in Jesus’ day, such stories were a dime a dozen. Do you believe all of them? If not, why not?

        • Matt Jacobs

          “Not a conflict between creationism and biological evolution? Weird, that’s what this post is all about. ”

          Then you failed to read it. This is about a college administration attempting to force a conflict where many professors do not see one. As the article says, these professors are attempting to bring known facts “into some conversation with [their] tradition.” Just because you want there to be a conflict doesn’t mean there necessarily is one.

          “> A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing

          True, back in Jesus’ day, such stories were a dime a dozen. Do you believe all of them? If not, why not?”
          This attempt to dodge my demonstration that your claim regarding theology vs. science was false is not terribly subtle. I don’t see a reason to chase rabbit trails for the sake of your ego.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Just because you don’t want a conflict doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

            And you’re dodging that Jesus was just another of many virgin birth stories back in the day. Again, do you believe them all? If not, why should I believe your silly story?

          • Matt Jacobs

            When a large portion of Christians agree that it’s a valid Christian theology, it’s a pretty good sign that the conflict isn’t all that unresolvable. http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx
            http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/publics-views-on-human-evolution/

            Funny how the moment I point out that your claims regarding natural law “trumping” miracles was bogus, you suddenly are very interested in my opinion virgin birth mythology. I’d be more inclined to indulge in rabbit trails if your topic change weren’t so obviously solely about avoiding your failure.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            A large portion of Christians agree? Your logical fallacy is Argumentum ad populum‎.

            You’re the one avoiding any mention of the virgin birth “miracle,” which I’ve addressed all along (see the root comment of this thread.)

          • peteenns

            Brian, as moderator–to you and others–let’s tone down the rhetoric and fuel down the vent session.

          • Matt Jacobs

            “A large portion of Christians agree? Your logical fallacy is Argumentum ad populum‎.”
            Not quite. My point was that, as I’ve already pointed out, evolutionary creationism is not as devastating to Christian theology as you would portray it, nor is the conflict as necessary as you seem to desire. I’ve explained why, and shown that it’s not an unusual viewpoint.

            Hm. Let’s check your root comment regarding virgin birth, then.
            You: “biology facts trump virgin birth”.
            My response: ” virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing if there isn’t a known law for how conception occurs.”
            You then decided to pretend that only half of my response existed, quoting only “A virgin birth isn’t particularly amazing”, and suddenly, you’re talking about virgin birth mythology, rather than science vs. faith, the original topic.

            I enjoy letting a good discussion wander, more than most, but I’m less inclined to indulge in rabbit trails when they are an attempt at deception, and the rude tone does not help.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I’ve shown you why Bryan College made the decision they’ve made.

            “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve.” [Bryan College]

            Which is an attempt to defend this:

            “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

            Paul’s salvation theory is premised on that. A theory can be destroyed with a single premise being disproven.

          • Matt Jacobs

            “A theory can be destroyed with a single premise being disproven.”
            Sure, if it’s a premise. However, if all you’re doing is portraying an illustrative metaphor as if it were a premise, then you haven’t done all that much to damage the actual argument, have you? As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, Romans 5:19 starts off with “just as”, indicating a metaphor, not a necessary premise. The same exact word is used frequently to start of metaphorical comparisons. http://biblehub.com/greek/5618.htm

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Is Luke’s genealogy of Jesus to Adam also an “illustrative metaphor?”

          • Matt Jacobs

            It could be interpreted as a literal family tree or as more of a figurative lineage.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            So Jesus is “The Son of God” in only a figurative way? Just like I too am a Son of God?

            I like your thinking; it is beginning to parallel Alan Watts’. We’re all Sons of God, and we need to quit putting Jesus on a pedestal. Thou art God, Sxepto.

          • Matt Jacobs

            Were you under the impression that Jesus’ “Son of God” title has anything whatsoever to do with his lineage as claimed by Luke 3? Not following your logic there.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I suppose the proper pedigree could have been written just to take up space.

            Luke’s purpose in putting the genealogy here is to show how…
            The genealogy of Jesus shows Him to be God’s promised Savior for all people. [original emphasis]
            bible.org/seriespage/lesson-14-genealogy-jesus-luke-323-38

            He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God.
            Luke 1:32-35

            Of course, the proper context is realizing that different gospels had competing theological purposes between various early Christian factions, as Randel Helms explains so well in “Chapter III, Nativity Legends,” (p. 43) in his text Gospel Fictions.

          • Matt Jacobs

            Luke’s genealogy seems mostly interested in creating a sense of continuity, of a fulfillment of a promise, as was said.

            You don’t need Randel Helms to tell you there were competing factions of Christians. Acts and Paul’s letters talk about them. As to whether the Gospels represented different factions, it’s an interesting thought, but I tend to take the conclusions of literary criticism with a grain of salt. http://xkcd.com/451/

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I truly doubt the genealogy was written for the vague generalities; genealogies are meant as a literal pedigree, from the first literal Adam to the second literal Adam.

            Or can we interpret both men’s existence metaphorically? Or do you limit metaphorical interpretation to just Adam? If so, why?

          • Matt Jacobs

            It’s a reference to the creation mythology of Genesis. When Luke was written, it would have been referenced as-is. Once you drop the position of Biblical inerrancy, it’s not all that big a deal if Luke referenced Adam, whether or not you believe an actual Adam existed.

            As pointed out, the wording around the “second Adam” very strongly indicates it’s not literal. http://biblehub.com/greek/5618.htm You keep trying to address Biblical Literalist positions long after it’s been clear I’m not one.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Do you really think Luke thought of Adam as mythological when he penned that genealogy? If so, what evidence do you have that Luke considered Adam mythological?

            Did Luke also consider “virgin” as mythological? “Son of God?” How do you separate Luke’s mythological pen from his literal pen?

          • Matt Jacobs

            “Do you really think Luke thought of Adam as mythological when he penned that genealogy? If so, what evidence do you have that Luke considered Adam mythological?”
            You misunderstand. My intent was just the opposite, that it doesn’t matter if Luke thought there was a literal Adam or not. When you stop worrying about inerrancy, it’s OK to understand that Luke was writing from his own knowledge and experiences.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I’m not worried about inerrancy. I don’t care if Jesus ever existed as a real man or not.

            But you are worried about inerrancy, at least in addressing certain dogmas. Is sin a literal concept, or a vague myth or metaphor? Was the resurrection literal to you? How about the ascension?

            Or is no core dogma really all that important, and can be interpreted mythologically or metaphorically?

          • Matt Jacobs

            “But you are worried about inerrancy, at least in addressing certain dogmas. Is sin a literal concept, or a vague myth or metaphor? Was the resurrection literal to you? How about the ascension?”
            I’m not sure you understand what inerrancy is. Inerrancy is a doctrine that the Bible is 100% factual. You seem to be under the impression it’s all or nothing, but there’s no basis for that dichotomy.

            As for your questions, they are not worded so well. I believe sin is real, but I’m not sure how you would apply the word “literal” to it; it’s often discussed in metaphorical ways. It’s similar with the resurrection and ascencion. I believe they happened, but “literal” misses the point that the authors of the books of the Bible often wanted to use real events in symbolic/metaphorical ways.

            “Or is no core dogma really all that important, and can be interpreted mythologically or metaphorically?”
            Again, this goes straight back to a slippery slop fallacy, in which you’re trying to make non-literal interpretations of particular passages automatically apply across the board. You’ve given no reasons why this should be so, but just assume it.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            What you misconstrue as a slippery slope fallacy is merely consistency.

            Right now, you’re stuck with this:

            “as in [historical/mythological] Adam all die, so in
            [historical/mythological] Christ all will be made alive” ~1 Corinthians 15:22

            You’re also stuck with a supposedly real Jehovah making covenants with mythological people, especially Adam and/or Noah.

            Dispensationalism fail.

          • Matt Jacobs

            “What you misconstrue as a slippery slope fallacy is merely consistency.

            Right now, you’re stuck with this:

            “as in [historical/mythological] Adam all die, so in

            [historical/mythological] Christ all will be made alive” ~1 Corinthians 15:22″
            Correction: you’re stuck. I addressed that a long time ago. It’s a metaphorical comparison. It’s completely irrelevant to a metaphor whether or not Adam actually existed.

            And no, just because 1 Corinthians 15:22 is a metaphor doesn’t mean the whole Bible is, because the rest of the Bible doesn’t start with “as in” (ὥσπερ http://biblehub.com/greek/strongs_5618.htm ), also found in Romans 5:12,19 and Matthew 12:40. He’s saying “like”, as in “in the same way” or “similar to”. Nothing in those passages says that Jesus’ salvation is dependent on Adam’s sin.

            “You’re also stuck with a supposedly real Jehovah making covenants with mythological people, especially Adam and/or Noah.”
            So? I don’t find that particularly problematic. Mythology is about stories to explain current situations (fact or fiction is beside the point). Those stories explain existing covenants.

            “Dispensationalism fail.”
            Assumption fail. I’m not a Dispensationalist.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            ὥσπερ is a horribly thin read.

            My JD tractor is “like” or “similar to” a New Holland model. Nothing metaphorical intended. Quite literally, they’re both diesel, both have 3 point hitches, both have loaders, hydraulics, etc.

            And you don’t even use ὥσπερ consistently.

            —does that start Luke’s genealogy that includes Adam, whom you insist is metaphorical? No?

            Covenant fail then. A supposedly real Jehovah making supposedly real covenants with mythological people fails.

          • Matt Jacobs

            “ὥσπερ is a horribly thin read.

            My JD tractor is “like” or “similar to” a New Holland model. Nothing metaphorical intended. Quite literally, they’re both diesel, both have 3 point hitches, both have loaders, hydraulics, etc.”
            Then please, explain to me what makes Adam and Jesus (or Jonah and Jesus, in Matthew 12:40) so similar that a metaphor is unlikely? I’ve given reasons why it is one, so please, give me an actual counter-argument as to why it isn’t, without resorting to slippery slopes, false dichotomies, or assumptions of Biblical literalism.

            “—does that start Luke’s genealogy that includes Adam, whom you insist is metaphorical? No?”
            You’re insisting I think he’s metaphorical; I didn’t say that. I said the passage of Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15:22, and Matthew 12:40 are using metaphorical connections. (Yes, I realize that you were attempting to mock me with your frequent use of “metaphorical” outside the context of the verses I was referring to; I just didn’t care all that much, so I wasn’t in a hurry to correct you.) Adam is part of the creation myth in Genesis; it may, or may not be literal, but that was never all that important, anyway. We can draw some rather useful metaphors from it, but that doesn’t mean it ,or Adam, for that matter, is metaphorical.

            “Covenant fail then. A supposedly real Jehovah making supposedly real covenants with mythological people fails.”
            Incorrect. The covenants were not solely with mythological people (who may or may not have existed). Just because they began there doesn’t mean they ended there, too.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Sxepto, 6 hours ago: “it doesn’t matter if Luke thought there was a literal Adam or not.”
            Sxepto, now: “You’re insisting I think he’s metaphorical; I didn’t say that.”

            So which way is it?

          • Matt Jacobs

            Um. are you under the mistaken impression that the only two options are literal or metaphorical? “Metaphorical” does not mean “non-literal”. Literal and metaphorical aren’t even mutually exclusive.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Um. Are you under the impression that playing games is a form of discussion?

          • Matt Jacobs

            Words do have meanings. It’s getting a little unclear what your point is when you are using “metaphorical” in ways that don’t really make sense by any typical meaning of the word.

            So, no games; your previous comment seems to assume that literal and metaphorical are antonyms, which is very much not the case.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Words do have meanings, indeed. Except with you.

            “Whatever.” ~Peter Enns

          • Matt Jacobs

            Then please explain how I am incorrect. My interpretation is that you insinuated that “metaphor” and “literal” are mutually exclusive here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2014/03/is-anyone-getting-tired-of-this-yet-yes-bryan-college-takes-a-stand-on-creationism/#comment-1274155796

            Clearly, they are not. Saying A is metaphorically like B does not make claims as to the existence, or non-existence, of either A or B.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Perhaps it’s your station in life to correct this University of Chicago professor.

            Second, if Adam and Eve were metaphors, and the source of original sin is mysterious, then we have no idea why Jesus died. After all, his death and Resurrection occurred precisely to save us sinful humans from the transgressions of Adam and Eve. If you have to turn that story into a metaphor, then Jesus died for that metaphor. That’s not too palatable to Christians.

            An easy and sensible way to solve this conundrum is to assume that the whole scenario is concocted: humans don’t have original sin; there was no Adam and Eve; and the Resurrection and divinity of Jesus were fictions. But Christians won’t have that, for the meaning of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection is the final, non-negotiable “truth” of Christianity. You can see everything else as metaphorical, but not that. For if you metaphorize Jesus, you’re basically abandoning Christianity.

            Scientists Try to Reconcile Adam and Eve Story, Whiff. Again.
            Jerry A. Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
            newrepublic.com/article/115759/adam-eve-theologians-try-reconcile-science-and-fail

          • Matt Jacobs

            Note he’s a professor of Ecology, not Theology.

            As I’ve mentioned, several times, sin is about what we do, not what Adam did (Romans 7:18-20). Original Sin is, oddly enough, not found in the Bible. It’s a creation of Augustine of Hippo, based on how he interpreted certain passages of Paul’s. As pointed out elsewhere in this blog, it’s a shaky theology. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2013/02/5-old-testament-reasons-to-rethink-original-sin/ Not all Christians subscribe to it.

            As a result, removing Adam requires rethinking some traditional Christian (specifically Roman Catholic) theologies, but it doesn’t change what you think.

          • Ross

            Brian, sorry to butt in again. I was wondering if you don’t like our inconsistency here? I admit that I’m not consistent, I don’t think the bible’s consistent and heck that’s not easy to deal with. I still believe in “God”, a metaphysical/supernatural being and feel that he can communicate with me, and I with him despite these inconsistencies.

            The current metaphor I’m thinking of regarding the bible is that, very loosely, it’s a bit like an MP3 copy of, a vinyl record of the tapes of, the concerts of the Grateful Dead. Track 13 sounds a bit like Fire on the Mountain, but it’s nowhere near like being at Radio City Music Hall in 1980.

            There is history in it, metaphor in it and all sorts of stuff, sometimes history is also metaphor. I find life’s like that. When I go to the Social Security Office to plead they give me some unemployment money, this is a real historical act, but I’m definitely dealing with at least a metaphorical hell or demon, if not literal.

            You may feel we are just making this up as we go along, personally I need some help to make this life up as I go along, I appeal to my friends, my intellect, my scripture MP3 and also the supernatural God for help.

            I don’t know if you think I should be doing it this way, but that’s where I at least, am at. And you know what, on occasions it really does seem very real and it works!

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I’m cool with nothing being literal in the Bible, as long as you are.

            “as in [mythological/nuanced/metaphorical] Adam all die, so in [mythological/nuanced/metaphorical] Christ all will be made alive” ~1 Corinthians 15:22

          • Matt Jacobs

            False dichotomy. You seem insistent that I must fall into an all-or-nothing stance, but I see no reason why that is necessary.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Is it this way for you?

            “as in [historical/mythological] Adam all die, so in
            [historical/mythological] Christ all will be made alive” ~1 Corinthians 15:22

  • Daniel Merriman

    I live about 75 miles from Dayton, and local cable TV is inundated with ads featuring their President extolling the virtues of a Christian education. At least locally, Bryan has always been known as far out fundamentalist, to the point of people saying that their being accredited was a joke. I am sure that this will be upsetting to many people, and for that I sympathize, but I suspect that many parents will applaud.

  • Archaeologist

    Good for Bryan College. Christian universities and Bible Colleges need to stand with God and the Bible. Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

    What is sad is that supposed Christians like Enns and Herd are actually criticizing this move when they should be standing with God and his word. We now know the master they serve and it isn’t God.

    Those two, and people like them, are simply Jesus’ fair weather friends who refuse to pick up their cross and follow Him. Read the rest at

    http://theologyarchaeology.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/taking-a-stand/

    • Carlos Bovell

      Anyone who disagrees with the anonymous “Archaeologist” regarding academic freedom is a hypocrite? Enns, et. al. are “supposed Christians” because academic freedom does not mean the same thing to them as it does to you?

      Mr./Ms. Archaeologist, you may want to take a moment to try to take a more objective look at how you are representing Jesus in your anonymous, inflammatory accusation against Enns and particularly in your equating Jesus’ invitation to take up our cross and follow him with cleaving to fundamentalist interpretations of scripture.

      • Archaeologist

        I said, those who disagree with the fact that teaching the Bible as true is part of academic freedom is a hypocrite. Why? Because they are restricting their definition of academic freedom to only their approved subjects and censoring out those they do not like.

        Mr. Enns is supposed to be a Christian and on God’s side yet when a university decides to side with God he is against the move. There is nothing inflammatory in that comment, he has shown that he does not side with God.

        We know this because, God did not provide any document, ancient or modern that ‘corrected’ Genesis 1. There is no ancient manuscript in any textual record that shows God saying anything different than what he said in Genesis 1.

        The information contradicting Genesis 1 comes from false teachers and other unbelievers so the source of that information is evil. Those who side with evil are not siding with God.

        Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with God even when science says otherwise.

        • Carlos Bovell

          I think from the way you are expressing yourself that maybe the Bible has become your God. There are many places in your comment above where you appear to hold “God” and “the Bible” to be synonymous.

          For example, you appear to me to be saying, “Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with the Bible even when science says otherwise.”

          And in the context of our present discussion, you appear to be meaning: “Taking up one’s cross also means one sides with my interpretation of the Bible even when science says otherwise.”

          Is this your position then: “Everyone who does not read the Bible the way I do is not on God’s side.” I mean, imagine that somebody else had written that comment. Wouldn’t it come across as at least a little grandiose?

          • Archaeologist

            you are wrong, the Bible is God’s word and since God wrote the Bible then we have his revelation to us about things we did not observe.

            The theory of evolution does not have such an author and is merely a construct of sinful man because they reject the truth.

            Your distortion of my words is very apparent. Jesus stood with his Father and taught creation. If Genesis was wrong, do you not think that Jesus would have corrected it during his time on earth?

            Do you not think that we would have ancient manuscripts with Jesus teaching something different? We have the Gnostic gospels thus if Jesus did teach something different than Moses then we woul dfind some fragment or full mss. with that difference.

            BUT Jesus said if you do not believe Moses how will you believe my words? There is no alternative to creation or Genesis 1.

          • Bryan

            God did not “write” the Bible, as you say, but worked through vessels who did “write” it.

          • Archaeologist

            God wrote it, the people jotted his words down, they did not edit or add their own words nor change anything God told them to write.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > God wrote it, the people jotted his words down

            How did that process work exactly? How could it be differentiated from auditory hallucinations, which can be a symptom of psychosis?

            “Were you there?” ~Ken Ham

          • Bryan

            That is the most ridiculous assertion I have ever heard. How could you prove that they did not edit anything. I can already see that you are a few thousand pages shy of reading any academic material. Just look at an apparatus to any OT or NT bible and you will see a whole lot of variation. You can only make this claim due to a philosophical premise which cannot stand. It is quite impossible to prove that they didn’t alter anything because there are no originals to compare with.

        • Bryan

          Apparently you have bypassed any sort of hermeneutic here and when you read scripture, no interpretation is required, meaning is just plain or immediate. Therefore, you stand with God on all matters while all others who do not have your ‘gift’ of immediacy must listen closely to all you say for fear we may be reading scripture wrong. After all, a loving God would hold us accountable for our mistaken readings, uncertainty or, in this case, our humanity.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

      You remind me of what John Calvin said:

      Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.

    • Sven2547

      Part of academic freedom is teaching what the Bible says, anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

      In a theology, philosophy, or literature class, sure. In science, absolutely not.

      • Archaeologist

        Yes in the science class because evolution and other alternatives are not the source of origins thus they are not scientific but false teaching and lies.

        • Sven2547

          What does “science” mean to you?

          • Archaeologist

            Evolution isn’t science. There has not been one scientific evolutionary experiment to date. All the experiments conducted for evolution have been attributed to that theory but not one is evolutionary.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Au Contraire.

            Macnair, M. R., 1989. A new species of Mimulus endemic to copper mines in California. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 1-14.

            Van Valen, Leigh M. and Virginia C. Maiorana, 1991. HeLa, a new microbial species. Evolutionary Theory 10: 71-74.

            Wake, David B., 1997. Incipient species formation in salamanders of the Ensatina complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 94: 7761-7767.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Tip of the iceberg, mon’ami, tip of the iceberg!

          • Sven2547

            There have been many, many scientific observations testing and confirming evolution to date. Even Darwin’s observations of finches are a simple example. Lenski’s e.coli was more sophisticated. The discovery of DNA and its study have all confirmed evolution scientifically. Population drift within humans and many other species. Ring species. The fossil record. Vestigial features. The examples are endless.

            Again: what does “science” mean to you? I ask because you seem to be operating under a bizarre definition of science.

          • Archaeologist

            No those are attributed to evolution but not one of those ‘observations’ can confirm that evolution was actually responsible.

            DNA does not confirm evolution nor does anything you cite because you cannot prove evolution was a part of the development. DNA actually confirms that evolution is impossible and false.

            No, I am not operating under a bizarre definition of science I include the truth that lies come from science like any other field.

          • Sven2547

            No those are attributed to evolution but not one of those ‘observations’ can confirm that evolution was actually responsible.

            How so? Support this claim.

            DNA does not confirm evolution nor does anything you cite because you cannot prove evolution was a part of the development. DNA actually confirms that evolution is impossible and false.

            How so? Again, support this claim. Your denials so far have been no more sophisticated than “Nuh-UH”.

            No, I am not operating under a bizarre definition of science

            Well for starters, science follows the evidence, whereas you are already on-record claiming the Bible trumps evidence, so I again ask what does science mean to you?

          • Klasie Kraalogies

            Google LTEE, run by William Lenski and colleagues.

    • jonphillips

      What is sad is supposed Christians like you…

      • Archaeologist

        If you are a Christian, why are you siding with secular science over God and his word? It demonstrates that you do not believe the very God you claim to serve and follow.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          God and his word?

          The Bible is a collection of books written by people.

          The best information comes from the ‘Verse. The one ‘Verse, the universe.

          The best way to “read” the “Verse is via science.

          So why do you have a problem with reading the ‘Verse?

          • Bryan

            It seems as though much of your thoughts come from the centuries old theology vs science divide. If you want a good read on bridging this gap, (which many theologians are engaging) I would highly recommend Nancey Murphy’s, “Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism”, where she uses science as an arbiter between these two dichotomies to find a third option that is much better.

          • Archaeologist

            No, my thoughts come from being taught the truth by the Holy Spirit . If you are unwilling to divide science into true and false teaching then you are unwilling to be honest.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            The Holy Spirit, she whispered in my ear and told me that you’ve “adopted a religion about Jesus instead of the religion of Jesus.”

            So we’re at an impasse.

            The tie-breaker will have to be the publicly verifiable evidence that science uses.

          • Bryan

            That’s interesting. So what do we use as the arbiter of truth if I make the same claim? If I say, “That’s puzzling, because the Holy Spirit taught me the opposite” then we arrive at the same impenetrable conclusion. Science cannot be divided so easily as you suggest. You can disagree with some of the conclusions in the scientific community without throwing into an either/or category. I’m pretty big on science providing me with a flu shot (I think that’s true).

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I think I’ve already bridged that gap in a way that aligns with about 12′ stack of anthropology and related books* I’ve bought and read over the last three years.

            I consider the Genesis mythology to be a poignant narrative of the Neolithic revolution, i.e. “The Fall” (Myers, 2005) is equivalent to “the worst mistake in the history of the human race.” (Diamond, 1987)

            I had actually thrown away my bible 20 years ago, but upon reading Mennonite theologian Ched Myer’s “The Fall” I purchased one again. I went with the Green Bible. Actually two Bibles. Because of the Jefferson Bible, and how it’s purpose relates to Myer’s insights, I have once again actively called myself a Christian these last couple years—albeit not a typical Platonist—worshiping only the Nature’s God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.
            _____________
            A partial list of the 12′ stack:
            • Marshall Sahlins (1973) The Original Affluent Society: Stone Age Economics
            • Paul Shepard (1973) The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game
            • Elman Service (1975) Origins of the State and Civilization: The Process of Cultural Evolution
            • Richard Lee (1976) Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors
            • Marvin Harris (1977) Kings and Cannibals: Origins of Culture
            • Jack Goody (1977) The Domestication of the Savage Mind.
            • James Axtell (1986) The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America
            • Jack Weatherford (1988) Indian Givers: How Native Americans Transformed the World
            • Mark Nathan Cohen (1989) Health and the Rise of Civilization
            • Peter Wilson (1991) The Domestication of the Human Species
            • Jack Weatherford (1992) Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America
            • Paul Shepard (1998) Coming Home to the Pleistocene
            • E. Fuller Torrey (2002) The Invisible Plague: The Rise of mental Illness from 1750 to the Present
            • John Gray (2003) Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals
            • Richard Lee (2004) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers
            • Kirkpatrick Sale (2006) After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination
            • Charles C. Mann (2006) 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
            • E. Fuller Torrey (2008) Schizophrenia and Civilization
            • Jared Diamond (2011) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

          • Bryan

            There’s a healthy list! The subtitle to Murphy’s book describes how modern and postmodern philosophy set the theological agenda. Many assumptions are loaded because of it. Your citation of the “fall” is interesting. This is an old Augustinian paradigm and quite a few OT scholars (Carr, Charlesworth (NT), Brueggemann, et al.) do not read a fall in Genesis. It is highly problematic.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Well, I understand “The Fall” the same way Daniel Quinn uses it in his novel Ishmael to explain the neolithic (agricultural) revolution; it’s not theological.

            Ishmael makes the point that this story of the Fall of Man, which the Takers have adopted as their own, was in fact developed by Leavers to explain the origin of the Takers. [...] To begin discerning the Leavers’ story, Ishmael proposes to his student a hypothesis: the Takers’ Agricultural Revolution was a revolution against the Leavers’ story.
            /wiki/Ishmael_(novel)

            Reading Ishmael it is the main reason I bought that stack of books. I didn’t list it, because it’s a novel. ;)

            And I read Ishmael because I have an agriculture degree, own a farm, and know that there is something horribly wrong with what we’re doing to the land.

            That’s why I’ve embarked on a now 14 year quest to turn my farm from an industrial soil nutrient-mining operation back to its natural fertility.

            I’m transforming myself from being Cain, the first farmer, the first city-builder, and the first murderer, into more of an Abel, representing the people who once sat under this oak tree 180 years ago, before we killed off their way of life, trying to be more of a “Leaver” as Quinn puts it.

            Humankind’s destiny is the same as the trees’, and they’re not faring so well these days.

            That’s my farmhouse in the background.

          • Bryan

            Interesting reading. The land looks beautiful.

    • Lamont Cranston

      Please never stop preaching! When intelligent people hear what you have to say, they will want nothing to do with you or your “savior” whatsoever. You’re doing great work!

      • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

        Yes, because it’s so much easier to claim that those to whom you are opposed have satan as their master …

        than it is to actually have an intelligent conversation about your views.

        • Archaeologist

          You want an intelligent conversation? Then start with Hebrews 11: 1-2 and see where you can shoe horn your evolutionary thoughts into that passage.

          You see, God does not include science in the discussion, he calls for faith and a choice. Why are you trying to force science into the discussion when it is not allowed?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            Why would I want to shoe horn a modern scientific field with the evidence of hundreds of thousands of research papers in support, into a passage from an anonymous 1st century letter writer?

          • Archaeologist

            Moses wasn’t anonymous. Modern scientific research is conducted by people who reject the Bible who were not there at creation and made extraordinary claims about origins and life development that they cannot verify or support.

            How would humans living so long after the fact be able to ‘discover’ how everything took place given the large amount of wars, invasions, natural disasters and other events that have trampled all the evidence and corrupted what is found?

            That is a leap of faith not even Christians can make. You do not have any scientific evidence supporting evolution. All it is is a bunch of people rejecting God’s truth trying to rewrite history the way they want history to read.

            Why would you believe humans over God and his word?

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            The book of Hebrews is anonymous.

            Just to save you a little time, Archaeologist, I’m not a Christian. I don’t share your presuppositions.

          • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

            “Modern scientific research is conducted by people who reject the Bible”

            I think you made a typo here.

            What you really meant to post was “My personal interpretation of the Bible explicitly rejects modern scientific research by default.”

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            “Why are you trying to force science into the discussion when it is not allowed?”

            … said the man typing on a computer invented by a gay atheist.

          • Archaeologist

            Computers and the internet were not the invention of homosexual men. ALso, who provided the raw materials and the intelligence to humans and taught them how to investigate?—- God.

            Your supposed gay man was using God’s gift of intelligence, God’s raw materials, God’s instructions on how to work with those raw materials.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            You’ve clearly never heard of Alan Turing, the gay atheist who helped us win the war against Hitler, and developed some of the first computers, computer prototypes, and computing concepts.

            It’s hard to keep science out of the discussion when you’re using science to stay in it!

          • Archaeologist

            You are distorting the facts and history to make your point.

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing/

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            I haven’t distorted anything. As your article states “his work can be regarded as the foundation of computer science…”

            Not only was Turing gay (as you would say, a homosexual), he was arrested for it and convicted!

            http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/on-this-day/March-April-08/On-this-Day–British-WWII-Code-Breaker-Goes-on-Trial-for-Homosexuality.html

          • Archaeologist

            He wasn’t arrested for being a homosexual, he was arrested for participating in a sexual act with a boy. Maybe he was a pedophile.

            He was NOT the only person working on computers. He didn’t invent the thing.

          • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

            No, he was arrested for admitting having an ongoing sexual relationship with a grown man. The vast majority of pedophiles are hetero-sexual, and it’s sickening when false allegations of pedophilia are tossed out ignorantly by people like you.

            No he was not the only man working on computers; just the one whose “work can be regarded as the foundation of computer science” according to the authorities that you cited yourself!

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > who provided the raw materials

            Stars.

          • Klasie Kraalogies

            Alan Turing

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Your faith is merely an abdication of your mind’s ability to read the ‘Verse. The one ‘Verse. The uniVerse.

            “For God so loved the Cosmos…” ~John 3:16 Better get to watching some Carl Sagan, now.

    • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

      There’s no hypocrisy in saying “you’re wrong, here’s why”, and backing it up by scientific fact.

      • Archaeologist

        except that science isn’t an authority, doesn’t have the evidence and is spewing false teaching

        • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

          Science is nothing but evidence.

          Quite literally, there is no faith involved. Just evidence.

          Methodical, observational, and objective evidence.

          The evidence of science doesn’t contradict my faith, but then again, I don’t try to force awkward interpretations of the bible, either.

          • Al Cruise

            Well said.

          • Archaeologist

            As I said elsewhere in this discussion, science is designed to find natural answers thus it is looking for the wrong evidence in the wrong places using the wrong design.

            Origins did not materialize the natural way, they began with a supernatural act that is completely outside the realm of science.

            If you are honest with yourselves, you will see that the theory of evolution is very limited and cannot go past the boundaries God has set. The hybrid experiments provide the evidence for this fact.

            Evolutionary scientists cannot break the ‘kind’ barrier. Nor can they produce one actual historical transition replicate it or observe it for origins did not happen the evolutionary way. If it did, then replicating historical transitions would be no problem for the evolutionist.

            You do not have any evidence for the theory of evolution.

          • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

            “Origins did not materialize the natural way”

            Evidence shows otherwise. That your view of God is so weak and pathetic that you cannot comprehend them existing in timescales beyond a few thousand years is quite sad.

            “The hybrid experiments provide the evidence for this fact.”

            I’m not sure what exactly you’re referring to, here, since there is no common set of experiments referred to as “hybrid experiments”. But I think I get what you’re talking about… and I would like to point out that we actually have evidence of interspecies breeding in our genetic history. Not just between the Homo Sapiens and Homo Neanderthalensis, but there is evidence of two, rather than one, genetic splits from chimpanzees, thus interbreeding resulted there.

            Indeed, the very concept of Speciation, the phenomena you refer to, is evidence of evolution. The fact is, we can and do reproduce speciation via evolution in the laboratory of very short lived animals.

            “You do not have any evidence for the theory of evolution.”

            I have nothing but evidence! There is no faith required for Evolution.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

            Evidence from a broad variety of sources, via Wikipedia.

            http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46

            Topics from the college of Berkeley.

            http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/what-evidence-supports-the-theory-of-evolution.html

            And of course, one especially for you ;) an explanation from the “[Subject] For Dummies” website! Surprisingly, it draws upon quite a bit of good research, and explains how a wide variety fields of study have provided evidence in support of Evolution.

          • Archaeologist

            You do know the difference between true and false evidence don’t you? You do know that the secular person is blind and deceived right?

            So how do unbelieving deceived blind people discover the truth over the most, holy unblind, undeceived God?

            You place science and scientists as infallible and make God fallible and incapable.

            There is no such thing as neanderthals. You are wrong about specification (to discuss either will take up too much space)

            And it takes far more faith to believe evolution than it does God. There is no evidence for evolution.

          • http://abipwu.blogspot.com Melissia

            Evidence is a body of facts and information indicating truth and validity to a specific idea or proposition. You have yet to post anything resembling evidence; your opinion is not evidence in any way. You have posted no facts, and no indication. You have provided nothing to indicate truth or validity for your point of view.

            “You do know that the secular person is blind and deceived right?”

            A religious person can be just as easily deceived, if not more so. That’s why cults form, in fact– a deceptive person tricks the faithful in to following him. But not all deception in faith is cult-related. You’ve been deceived, for example, by Young Earth Creationism. You have been blinded by your own pride and by the pride of your preacher, that you believe your own view of the bible is infallible. That YOU are infallible.

            “There is no such thing as neanderthals”
            “You are wrong about specification”

            There is plenty of evidence of neanderthals existing. And at least spell the term right. Speciation, the evolutionary process by which biological species arise. We humans have been doing artificial speciation for tens of thousands of years via the practice of animal husbandry. Humans created the species of domestic sheep this way.

            “And it takes far more faith to believe evolution than it does God. There is no evidence for evolution.”

            Aside from all the evidence that exists, including the great deal of evidence that I linked you to. You are being quite rude by refusing to even give a perusal of it. But given your arrogance, I suppose I should not have expected anything more.

        • Matt Jacobs

          You’re not an authority, either, so who’s to say you’re not “spewing false teaching”?

    • Matt Jacobs

      So who decides “what the Bible says”? You? This is the biggest problem I have with people who think they can dictate theology to other believers. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and many other great leaders spoke with authority, but that’s not the same thing as dictating. Jesus didn’t answer challenges with “you’re a hypocrite if you disagree with me”, but with a solid, difficult-to-refute argument (i.e. Matthew 22:15-22).

      • Archaeologist

        No he just called them vipers, and other bad names didn’t he.

        • Matt Jacobs

          He called them out for hypocrisy, not for asking questions or challenging him. Either way, what makes you the dictator of what is valid Christian theology?

          • Archaeologist

            Do you actually know the definition of the word ‘dictator’? All I do is just tell you the truth and leave you to exercise your freedom of choice as to which path you will take.

            I do not force you or anyone to adopt the truth but present it as part of the discussion and let you hang yourselves if you are so inclined.

          • Matt Jacobs

            That you are apparently claiming to have a lock on “the truth” kinda does say it. You’ve been saying that there is no room to dispute your interpretations, as if you have a sole direct line to God.

          • Archaeologist

            Actually God said ‘the spirit of truth will lead you’ John 14. If one learns the truth from the Holy Spirit then they have the truth. Just because you disagree with it doesn’t mean the other person didn’t learn the truth.

          • Matt Jacobs

            So you’re “the spirit of truth”, then? You’re still equating disagreeing with you with disagreeing with God (the Holy Spirit this time).

            The question remains: are you saying you’re God, or a prophet who speaks for Him? You’re not leaving a lot of room outside those two options.

          • Archaeologist

            Again, distorting what was said. Obviously you do not know how to discuss or present your side without altering what other people have said.

          • Matt Jacobs

            I’m not sure how else to interpret your comments. Your comments boil down to “I’m right because I say what God says and you don’t”. It’s a little hard to interpret that any way but that you’re saying you represent God in some special way.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          He was addressing people like you.

      • Archaeologist

        God has already decided what the Bible says, it is those who disagree with God who want to change his words and import false alternatives.

        • Matt Jacobs

          So disagreeing with you == disagreeing with God. Are you saying that you’re His designated prophet, or that you are God?

    • http://frustratedpodcast.com AnonCollie

      Also part of Academic freedom you hold in such high regard is *not* teaching what the Bible says as well. The Bible is not a be-all, nor end-all on all subjects, nor is it meant to be.

      The criticism of Bryan College is well-founded; there’s a reason academic freedom and tenure exists. Namely, it’s to allow curious minds to explore what is normally verboten by gatekeepers like you and to ask arguably the most important of philosophical and scientific questions, “Well, what if I’m wrong?”

      You call people critical of this move “Jesus’ fair weather friends.”
      I’d argue you’re acting like one of the Sadducees or Pharisees, so intent on keeping the ranks pure and adopting legalistic viewpoints on scripture, so that anyone who do not agree with you can be simply dismissed with a handwave.

      • Archaeologist

        I do not hold academic freedom in high regard, I believe in teaching the truth not the lies of the secular world.

        The Bible governs all aspects of life, all subjects to be taught and all businesses, corporations and governments are under its authority. Whether they decide to accept that authority is another matter.

        Teaching is very important to God, In 1 Cor. 12 we see him placing teaching 3rd in the kingdom. This high honor means that teachers have a duty to find and teach the truth and not allow academic freedom to import false teaching.

        Curious minds need to be taught how to discern between true and false teaching then instructed to rid themselves of the false ideas and go with the truth. Sadly, too many people reverse that process.

        Siding with God i snot being a Pharisee, for we are not implementing any rules above the ones God has already put in place. Those of us, like Bryan College, are in obedience to God as we remove false teaching and feed young Christian minds the truth.

        Those who side with the secular world are not siding with God and are teaching false ideas. Since God said many times throughout the Bible that HE created, who are you to disagree with him?

        • http://frustratedpodcast.com AnonCollie

          You just said in your original post that part of academic freedom is teaching the faith. Do you hold it in high regard or not? I’m confused.

          If teachers weren’t allowed to challenge status quo, as you so well put it, we’d still believe the earth is flat, disease and sickness caused by demons, the earth is the center of the cosmos, etc.

          Oh, you are so acting like a Pharisee. The Bible is a good book, or collection of books, but it was written for peoples 2000+ years ago originally. Inspired by God, certainly, but hardly dictated by God. These other peoples had their own customs, languages, traditions, and environments that they grew up in, and despite the centuries that have passed between now and then, we still don’t know every thing about them, no matter how much anthropological and archaeological research we have done. In short, the world of 1st century Palestine is nothing like the modern world, hence Scripture and it’s application has to be continually rethought as new discoveries are made about our own world.

          But clearly, since you have declared that Bryan College and you are standing with the “truth” you seem to be the sole arbiter of the truth. Come, let us add your wisdom to sacred scriptures! We shall slip you in say,…between the two Corinthians?
          How are you so confident you are siding with God and I am disagreeing with him? You cannot possibly know the mind of the divine any more than I can, and you can’t say scripture makes you right when scripture itself is hotly debated on how it should be interpreted. More simply, where did you earn your theological degree?
          (For the record? Mine’s from Saint Louis University- Jesuit and Catholic.)

          True theology takes years of study, ancient languages to master and most of all humility. Theologians will be the first to tell you that the more we know, the more questions arise about Scripture and Christianity. An absolute literal reading of any scriptures, Christian or otherwise is asking for trouble.

          • Archaeologist

            How can you be confused by a remark that is made flatly stating that academic freedom needs to include teaching the Bible as it is written to actually be academic freedom?

            You do not have academic freedom if you remove something from academics.

            You forget that the flat earth society started with the secular Greek philosophers and was considered valid science. If church leaders held that view then they were doing what you and Mr. Enns want–they were following secular science.

            Just so you know some diseases and illnesses are demon sourced.

            The Bible does not have to be rethought. That would make God unfair, unjust and a sinner. The ancient world was no different than the modern world as sin existed at that time like it does now.

            Just because you do not want the truth doesn’t mean I and Bryan College do not possess it. God is the arbitrator of truth and again, he said he created in 6 24 hour days. You are arguing against God not me.

            God reveals a lot of himself in the Bible, you get to choose to accept that revelation or not. Your theologians are incorrect

          • http://frustratedpodcast.com AnonCollie

            Again, you mark yourself as the sole arbiter of the truth, clinging to a literal interpretation of scripture. You are not, nor am I arguing against God. Just you.

            You and every pseudo-theologian who is content to swim in the kiddie pool of literalism while the adults who are willing to put in the years of study and ask the hard questions of themselves and scripture swim in the deep end.

            The Bible has to be reexamined. It does not make God unfair or unjust. If Scripture covered all things in life, as you claim it does, God would have never stopped adding to it! But it stops in the second century, and both saints and sinners back then could not fathom our world as it exists today, merely the world that they lived in.

            Scripture does not provide complete answers to modern moral questions. Jesus did not make a statement on the Internet, on modern weapons of war, on how fast I should drive my car, etc.

            While Scripture can point us in the right direction for the modern world, it is limited. Thus it has fallen to us to forge our way through the Brave New Worlds, learning new morality as we go, with hopefully the graces from God we need.

            Your sin is idolatry. You have raised the Bible as your idol, to the point that you cannot fathom existing in the world without it. The Bible is a good collection of books. It is not the only book. God’s revelation comes to us in more places than one tome.
            (And Mine is hubris, but at least I can admit to it.)

  • http://biblicalrenaissance.org/ Steve Aldridge

    As a molecular biologist and evangelical Christian (including pastoring), I had to go to a Big Ten research university to get my biology graduate degree so I could have the freedom to ask any question and do honest research for answers. This includes being mentored by professors who did not have artificial restraints on them. I cannot say the same about my seminary experience. The entire three years of seminary was based on apologetics. Any of my questions that challenged the presuppositions (including the faith statement) was met with a quick verbal “you’re a liberal,” “you don’t believe the Bible.” I’ve seen and worked on the facts of mitochondria human DNA that proves our current origins 170,000 years ago. The Christian college community is painting itself into a corner it it continues to lock onto a non-contextual interpretation of the Bible. I feel bad for the intelligent men and women who are being forced to give up their academic integrity to pay their mortgage.

    http://biblicalrenaissance.org/

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

    “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve.”

    Without that, Pauline soteriology is destroyed. (Romans 5:19, 1 Cor 15:22)

    • Matt Jacobs

      Not really. The key part of Pauline soteriology is the salvation through one man, and the corruption of our personal sin nature, not the source of the sin. As seen in Romans 7:18-20, it’s much more about our personal failings than blaming this on Adam.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

        Humans didn’t come from one man.

        Sorry, but that sinks the whole concept behind the supposed need of salvation.

        • Matt Jacobs

          “Humans didn’t come from one man.
          Sorry, but that sinks the whole concept behind the supposed need of salvation.”

          Hate to burst your bubble, but not remotely. You’re taking one verse out-of-context. Paul references the story of Adam as a way of making a symbolic link to Christ (this is sometimes referred to as “the last Adam” or similar), but sin ultimately depends on breaking laws, not on Adam (Romans 5:13). What you’re doing is like saying that proving there was no literal Jonah would disprove the resurrection (Matthew 12:38-45).

          That’s just a small piece, though. Paul’s soteriology is spelled out in the first 8 chapters of Romans, and elsewhere. Taking a small piece and declaring it vital doesn’t work all that well, because a lot of what he was doing was basically redefining existing stories for the new Christian context.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m not taking one verse “out of context.” The meaning is plain.

            Intellectual frauds like you think “context” means “in harmony with your particular interpretation of Bible,” which is not at all what “context” means.

            youtube.com/watch?v=PK7P7uZFf5o

          • Matt Jacobs

            You’re deciding that one piece of an argument that goes on for 8 chapters is somehow particularly vital, when it is very easily read as a symbolic link (something Paul did from time to time).

            Interesting that, like “Archaeologist”, you’ve assumed for yourself the authority to decide what is, and what is not, “correct Christian theology”. A large number of Christians have decided that evolution and creation are not conflicting ideas, but, somehow, you’ve decided you know better than all of them.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Did you read the original article here? Here’s a clue:

            “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve.” [Bryan College]

            The pauline salvation magic show requires it, otherwise there isn’t any sin to salve.

            “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

            An 8 chapter argument can fall apart when a single premise is destroyed. Going on for 8 more chapters won’t help.

          • Matt Jacobs

            Did you miss the part where a lot of Christians disagree with Bryan Colleges’ statement, many of whom attend or work at Bryan?

            “An 8 chapter argument can fall apart when a single premise is destroyed.”
            As I have been pointing out, much of those 8 chapters are not premises, but further explanations, metaphorical/symbolic links to the past, and so on. Taking one piece and assuming it’s a premise doesn’t really work. Your big hint in Romans 5:19 is the words “just as”, in which Paul is building a metaphorical link, not making a necessary clause in an argument.

            In fact, while my Greek is pretty poor, I made use of some tools to check ( http://biblehub.com/greek/5618.htm ), and found that, in fact, the word for “just as” in Romans 5:19 is the exact same one Jesus uses to make a metaphorical link from Jonah to the resurrection in Matthew 12:40. For you to keep insisting that the only possible reading of Romans 5 is that a literal Adam is necessary is quite absurd.

            (As an aside, perhaps I should be clear that I am not arguing that believing in a literal Adam and Eve is invalid theology, only against the idea that it is the only valid theological position. People always seem to make that mistake next.)

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Are we also to take “metaphorically” Jesus’ genealogy in Luke, which links Jesus to Adam?

            How much more of the Bible can be taken metaphorically? Anything else that science makes too difficult to take as historical? The resurrection? The ascension?

          • Matt Jacobs

            Yes or no. The genealogies in the Gospels can be interpreted as more of a figurative lineage, rather than a literal family tree. Either way, as I pointed out, Pauline soteriology does not require a literal Adam.

            “How much more of the Bible can be taken metaphorically? Anything else that science makes too difficult to take as historical? The resurrection? The ascension?”
            It really depends, but there’s no basis for a slippery slope here, as there was specific wording in Romans 5:19 to justify a metaphorical, not literal, connection.

            As I already pointed out, science is not much of a threat to the existence of miracles such as the resurrection and ascension.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Literal miracles? Why cannot the resurrection and ascension also be regarded as metaphorical?

            And what “specific wording” is in Luke’s genealogy to indicate that it should be taken metaphorically?

          • Matt Jacobs

            “Literal miracles? Why cannot the resurrection and ascension also be regarded as metaphorical?”
            I’m used to letting topics wander, but perhaps you could consider not jumping topics like you’re abandoning a ship as soon as it’s not going the way you seem to want it to. I have seen arguments that some of the miracles were non-literal, but I haven’t seen anything that makes them particularly compelling.

            “And what “specific wording” is in Luke’s genealogy to indicate that it should be taken metaphorically?”
            Again, jumping topics, I see. The genealogies in general would be a more difficult question, which can be addressed in multiple ways. Some say there was a literal Adam, and that he was just the first true “man made in God’s image”, meaning he was the first with a soul. Others may say that the genealogies are more about the descent of tribes, rather than individuals.

            I tend to agree with the interpretation that the first several chapters of Genesis were intended as a creation myth similar to other Mesopotamian creation mythologies, and the main purpose was to say who the creator is, not explain the means of creation. Certain parts of the genealogies, and the later ones as well, would also fall under that argument.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Testing how consistently your “metaphorical” interpretation applies to related areas isn’t “topic jumping.” Your trying to characterize my questioning as that shows your fear.

            If Adam is metaphorical, why cannot also sin and the necessity of salvation from Adam’s sin be metaphorical? If Jesus’ genealogy to Adam/God is metaphorical, why cannot also his divinity and divine miracles be metaphorical?

          • Matt Jacobs

            “Testing how consistently your ‘metaphorical’ interpretation applies to related areas isn’t ‘topic jumping.’ Your trying to characterize my questioning as that shows your fear.”
            Yeah, because you cutting a phrase of mine in half, in order to pretend I was making a totally different comment, or taking an argument about a specific passage that uses a specific Greek word, and trying to apply it to everything possible, are totally continuations of the same topic. Please. You’ve made your opinion of me clear, but don’t insult my intelligence by pretending you’re not avoiding topics as soon as they aren’t going your way. I don’t mind discussing the more difficult parts of Christian theology, but

            Secondly, you are apparently under the common mistake of assuming that, just because I believe a Christian theology is valid, I believe it is “THE TRUTH.” You are clearly used to fundamentalist types, such as Archaeologist, who declare they know the one true interpretation of scripture. I’m not one of those. There are interpretations I believe correct, ones I believe probably incorrect, but still valid, and ones I think are most likely not valid interpretations.

            “If Adam is metaphorical, why cannot also sin and the necessity of salvation from Adam’s sin be metaphorical?”
            I suppose, but you are assuming that the doctrine of original sin from Adam is necessary for the concept of salvation. It’s not. As I already pointed out, Paul is clear that the sin we need salvation from is ours, not Adams (Romans 7:18-20).

            “Jesus’ genealogy is metaphorical, why cannot also his divinity and divine miracles be metaphorical?”
            It’s not a matter of “cannot”, but that you have given no reason why it should. An argument as to the literal/non-literal intent of Genesis, or the metaphorical meaning of a particular passage of Romans, does not necessarily apply to the content of the Gospels, or any other book of the Bible, for that matter. They were written in different eras, by very different people, under different cultures, in different languages, etc.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > in order to pretend

            It is you pretending that your interpretative method you insist on using one place can’t be applied elsewhere.

          • Matt Jacobs

            My last comment just said that I’m not saying it “can’t be applied elsewhere”, but you’ve given no reason why it should be. Without some reasoning, you’re just throwing out a slippery slope fallacy.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Without valid reasoning as to why a passage should be metaphorical or not, you lack consistency, and you apply it merely as a convenience to dodge scientific findings.

            While you claim a “metaphorical” indicator for the Romans passage regarding Adam, you’ve been unable to provide any metaphorical indicator for Luke’s genealogy to Adam.

            Science proves there was no single human breeding pair, Adam and Eve. You call passages referring to Adam as metaphorical.

            Science also disproves resurrection, etc. Consistency would say these are also metaphorical, but you’re trying to protect your dogma by construing logical consistency as a fallacy.

          • Matt Jacobs

            *Facepalm* I gave specific reasons why a sections of Romans are metaphorical. Those reasons do not suddenly apply to everything you want it to. That’s a classic slippery slope fallacy. The same is true of the Creation Mythology of Genesis, and references to it in other books.

            “While you claim a “metaphorical” indicator for the Romans passage regarding Adam, you’ve been unable to provide any metaphorical indicator for Luke’s genealogy to Adam.”
            Maybe because you’re the one pushing the term “metaphor”, not me. Romans 5 involves a metaphor, and that’s all I was applying the term to. I’ve been trying to play along and discuss issues and interpretations regarding the non-literal interpretation of passages of Genesis, but you’re too obsessed with believing you’ve found the ultimate anti-Christian argument to pay attention.

            “Science also disproves resurrection, etc.”
            As I pointed out, science can not disprove the possibility of miracles. Historical evidence is the only means by which the resurrection could be proven/disproven conclusively, and I find that highly unlikely.

            “you’re trying to protect your dogma by construing logical consistency as a fallacy.”
            Amazingly enough, arguments based on a poor understanding of the subject tend to not be so devastating as you want to believe. I’ve seen difficult arguments from various non-Christians (and Christians, too), but you haven’t brought them. You’re a little too caught up in your own ego to pay attention to when your knowledge isn’t as thorough as you think it is. There is no single Christian theology, and no single response that would address all of those theological positions. That you insist otherwise is not helping you.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > you’re too obsessed…You’re a little too caught up in your own ego…your knowledge isn’t as thorough…

            You’re trying to protect your religious dogma with bullying, snark, and verbosity. Hey, it’s just like church! Let me know when you want to discuss ideas again, and not make personal attacks, ok?

            > anti-Christian

            You’re bearing false witness. That’s a no-no. As I’ve said, I’m a Christian, only as Jesus would have wanted, minus all the corruptions attributed to him.

            “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, May 21, 1803

          • Matt Jacobs

            “You’re trying to protect your religious dogma with bullying, snark, and verbosity. Hey, it’s just like church! Let me know when you want to discuss ideas again, and not make personal attacks, ok?”
            I’m trying to avoid being snarky, but sometimes I slip and respond in kind. Might I point out that you have been far less-than-polite, from the beginning. It’s not “discussing ideas” to call me an “intellectual fraud”, or to chop up and mis-represent my comments. I’d be interested in what, exactly, in my comments constitutes “bullying”, though. As for verbosity, yes, but arguing complex topics tends to result in longer responses. I tend to try for nuanced arguments when possible.

            “As I’ve said, I’m a Christian, only as Jesus would have wanted, minus all the corruptions attributed to him.”
            Apologies. I must have missed that comment, though, to be clear, my intent was not to characterize you, but to find a way to reference the argument, in order to explain that it isn’t as universally devastating as you seem to believe.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    When feeling put upon, Christians like to point to universities as a contribution that they’ve made to Western civilization. Fair enough, but the original Christian universities were not dissimilar from this college.

    The marvelous work that Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and other colleges with Christian foundations has come about only because they’ve dropped that dedication to Christianity.

    • Andrew Dowling

      “has come about only because they’ve dropped that dedication to Christianity.”

      Sorry, this above statement is not substantiated with any semblance of fact.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Good point. I meant to say: “has come about since they’ve dropped …”

  • Archaeologist

    One thing to consider: No ancient civilization has an evolutionary myth or record. Not even a bed time story. They all have a creation and flood story. If creation did not take place as God said then no creation story would be in existence and so widespread.

    Even though evolutionary thinking goes back to the 6th Cen. BC approx., those ideas are isolated and individualistic not accepted or promoted by the whole of society.

    Ancient man would know if they evolved or not because the history and knowledge of creation would be absent from their thinking. Evolution does not enjoy a historical foundation like creation does and it does not enjoy a textual record like creation does.

    The modern scientist can claim all scientific experiments are evolutionary BUT that doesn’t mean they are. Evolution does not have a track record it can base its claims upon and no scientific experiment has replicated one claimed historical change or transition.

    Nor can evolutionists produce anything related to the original event–whether it be the one-celled creature, the original conditions or even the common ancestors of each animal. Those are important and needed if evolution is to be proclaimed true.

    Nor can they show how the different common ancestors produced their ‘different offspring’ or in what numbers they were produced. If evolution were true their existence and record would not be such a mystery.

    Evolutionists would also not be stumped by the origins of disease, death, color, thought, intellect, and a host of other characteristics that would not exist if evolution was true.

  • Zeke

    Archaelogist may possess the scientific understanding of a toddler, but at least it’s refreshing to see someone stick to their guns and maintain a valid reason for their belief – Adam and Eve were historic people created by a deity ex-nihilo, they committed original sin, and this required a savior and a human sacrifice. The tall tales in the bible are true, and this book contains something worthy of organizing ones life around. If this foundation isn’t true, the whole enterprise crumbles. He’s right.
    I actually prefer the integrity of people like this over his “progressive” Christian brethren, backed into a corner by modern human knowledge, but still granting essential truths to a book long ago proven to be written by mere uninspired, superstitious humans typical of the period. They maintain that Adam was a metaphorical figure, despite Jesus clearly believing otherwise, yet somehow Jesus was required to atone for some metaphorical sin. They believe evolution is true, but guided by god, which of course denies the true beauty of evolution – that the complexity and variety of life on earth required no guidance.
    So Dr. Enns, who are you to tell Archaelogist that god didn’t create the earth 6,000 years ago (but in a way that made it appear billions of years old), yet have no problem accepting equally preposterous claims of virgin births, raising the dead, and numerous assorted miracles and ANE myths as truth?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…” ~Romans 5:29

      Since we now know humans did not descend from one man, the salvation magic show, based on brutal human sacrifice of a virgin, is debunked. And good riddance to the “heathen mysteries” that are an “engine of grief” to the world. Maybe we can get back to the real doctrines of Jesus’ ethical teachings now.

      “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” ~John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, September 3, 1816

      “…I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel, and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what it’s Author never said nor saw. they have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man…” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Thomson, January 9, 1816

  • Alwehbeh

    ‘All cultures are, inherently, negotiated compromises between the already established and the imaginatively possible. . . . cultures in their very nature are marked by contests for control over conceptions of reality. In any culture, there are both canonical versions of how things really are and should be and countervailing visions about what is alternatively possible. What is alternatively possible comprises both what seems desirable or beguiling, and what seems disastrous and horrifying. The statutes and conventions and authorities and orthodoxies of a culture are always in a dialectical relationship with contrarian myths, dissenting fictions, and (most important of all) the restless powers of the human imagination. Canonicity and the ordinary are typically in conflict with imaginable “otherwises”— some inchoate and even private, some vocal or even clamorous, some quasi-institutionalized as cults or movements of dissent. The dialectic between the canonical and the imagined is not only inherent in human culture, but gives culture its dynamism and, in some unfathomable way, its unpredictability—its freedom.’

    —Anthony G. Amsterdam and Jerome Bruner, Minding the Law

  • Ross

    “Crumbs Penfold”, this post has launched a fair amount of discourse and not a little unpleasantness. As someone who’s only recently re-entered the ground of the thoughts discussed by Dr Enns and only very recently started following this blog it fascinates and appals me.

    What I seem to see is, particularly from those who appear to be “inerrantists”, the attitudes of the Inquisition, possibly as the context is particularly, though not exclusively, American, not dissimilar to the McCarthy “witch hunts”. I also see a frustration from those who are truly trying to follow God, though cannot call themselves inerrantists (though I may be “projecting somewhat here). Additionally I think there are also some similar reflections in the opposite direction(s). Unfortunately from the outside, I think someone may just see a fair bit of hate-fuelled internecine battling. The cause of this battling seems to be the drawing up of narrow delineations of “true belief” around the inerrancy doctrine. Ultimately it’s not a particularly good “witness” and we all need to think about how we present our case in a respectful but still human manner. I don’t think expressions of frustration or anger are wrong, but if we are to love our enemy we need to be careful how we direct these feelings.

    Now whether this is the on-going rumblings of the ancient battle or not I don’t know, however from the position I was confronted with 2 or 3 years ago, I came away with the impression the battle was hotting up. Can anyone comment on that or post a link?

    Having been influenced greatly by the works of Francis Schaeffer I can clearly see a lot of what he wrote about in much, if not all of these arguments. I don’t come to the same conclusions as him, particularly in regards to inerrancy, but I did note that he felt the “camp” he represented was often ungodly in how it treated those who didn’t agree with it’s stance. Can anyone comment on how his influence may be manifesting these days?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      Quit trying to follow God via a book authored by many people with conflicting ideas of God. Little of it is useful, most of it is “dunghills.” Pick out the “diamonds”, discard the rest.

      Start relying on the ‘Verse. The one ‘Verse. The universe. Reading it one discovers the poetry of reality.

      • Ross

        Dear Brian, I find it a bit difficult knowing how to, or whether to respond. I do find your posts a bit enigmatic and have difficulty following them.

        “Science” is I think an odd term, it seems to be misunderstood and used by many on the inerrantist side pejoratively and something to be hated or shunned. However, in terms of the interesting video (which I found enjoyable) there seems to be a problem from people who are familiar with and use the scientific method to create a thing called “science” which itself does not exist.

        In terms of the book, no-one, regardless of what they think, just follows this, they all interpret it with some level of help from others. Reading the book and following the scientific method are both very similar human activities.

        I believe in a supernatural being and I believe he has communicated to us, both in the book and in the universe, now, how to find out what this being has said, or what they are like is the big challenge. This involves a fair amount of effort, because as you say, the diamonds are surrounded by an awful lot of that, which once was grass and has had the leather and beef removed.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          Science can include “a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied” and “a broad sense to denote reliable and teachable knowledge.”

          > they all interpret it

          Indeed, using the biggest weasel term of all, “Context,” which to bibliolators becomes a magic wand to neutralize troublesome passages and emphasize favorable passages.

          • Ross

            Science can include “a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied” and “a broad sense to denote reliable and teachable knowledge.”

            Although I recognise definitions of it exist I tend to find the uses and changes of meaning over time seem to have caused more confusion than clarity and its use all a bit meaningless. There are users of the scientific method, bodies of knowledge built on this, and then many poorly used terms. The scientific method is an excellent way of investigating the Universe and can tell us much with a great probability of “being right”. Additionally the scientific method has its limitations and there are areas where its application is not possible or highly problematic.

            Setting up a difference between science and religion is a false dichotomy and neither trumps the other.

            Interpretation of scientific evidence can be as good or as bad as interpretation of anything else, or at least the contextualisation of it can be.

            Have now found the source of your videos and they may replace my Orb and vino chill-out sessions.

            regards

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I’m not setting up a false dichotomy, we have religion and science address the same issue—a controversy—with totally different conclusions. Which is ascendent? Both can’t be right.

          • Ross

            Maybe it’s a semantic issue of the terms we are using, different ways of defining similar or different things maybe. In my view, there are issues that the scientific method is good at addressing and there are those to which it is not suited. Call it the difference between science or art, religion v science etc. When they address certain issues, one may be more appropriate than the other. For some issues science can say nothing, call it certain why issues, for others religion may say nothing, a lot of the how issues.

            I personally see science and religion (or science and art, science and philosophy etc) as two terms which may seem different and sometimes are and sometimes not. It depends on how you’re using the term at which time. Ultimately definitions are limited and don’t always express the concepts perfectly.

            You may be right that where religion and science discuss the same thing, on the same grounds, e.g. whether there was an Adam or not, maybe science wins. However I don’t agree that science and religion always address all the same things at the same time. That’s why I don’t particularly see science as a “thing”. It’s just a word which sometimes defines a clear thing and other times doesn’t, in the same way that religion/philosophy is a word..etc.

            If it were clearer what you mean, by stating what the “same issue” you mention is and what the different conclusions were, then maybe we find we don’t disagree. But we might just end up running around shifting goal posts for a million years. Sometimes agreeing to disagree is the best way.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            > If it were clearer

            I’ve been very clear. The issue is Adam (and Eve.)

            Pauline soteriology requires Adam’s original sin. Lukes genealogy too refers to Adam. (This is why Bryan College has made the statement it did about Adam and Eve, which is what Enns’ post is all about.)

            There was no literal Adam and Eve from which all humans descended, the science of genetics proves that no such genetic bottleneck ever existed.

            The best that “progressive” Christianity can muster is to call the First Adam “metaphorical.” But then they get really perturbed when any essential dogma about the Last Adam is questioned as also “metaphorical.”

          • Ross

            As I said, often what you are saying is not altogether clear, the issue about Adam and Eve was not in this thread, it was elsewhere, I was responding to your response to my original statement. Which was, as usual enigmatic and could be taken as fairly insulting.

            I think you need to think a bit more about why you are visiting this site and what, if anything you are hoping to achieve. Or possibly think a lot more about what people are saying and where they are placing comments before you “weigh in”.

            By making statements which appear to be purely disagreeing with others, whilst offering no, or rambling or incoherent explanations as to why you’re doing this seems to be completely contrary to the purpose of Dr Enns’ intentions of hosting the discussions.

            I get the point that you feel without the doctrine of original sin, Paul’s arguments fail. Unfortunately you are an inerrantist and I generally find that Inerrantist’s seem incapable of actually engaging in fruitful discussions where an open mind is needed. As per my first response to you, I now know that it is pointless trying to engage in any form of discussion with you unless there is some kind of shift in your approach. Apologies if this sounds harsh or unfair, but I think you need to find a more appropriate forum to profess your thoughts as you seem incapable of propounding them.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Perhaps you need to read Enns’ original post. This is in bold:

            “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”

            If you can’t stay on topic, then you should take your own advice.

    • Carlos Bovell

      It’s a family dispute, where some members keep telling other members that they’re not part of the family. Anyone who’s been involved in a family dispute will know how things can get. Our family has been specifically instructed to treat everyone with love and that that’s how everybody will recognize that we belong to the family. This is an area where we all can stand to improve.

      As far as reading goes, have you looked at Gary Dorrien’s “Remaking of Evangelical Theology”?

      • Ross

        Thanks Carlos, book now ordered. I like your family squabble analogy, oh how true!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

    > It can govern itself intellectually back into the Stone Age for all I care

    What about governing oneself intellectually back to the Bronze Age notion of human sacrifice of a virgin (upgraded to Iron Age by being nailed to a Roman torture instrument) actually doing anything good for anybody?

    I’m glad my “wee little” Bible cut out that useless brutality as a corruption of Jesus ethical teachings, because dying on a cross for my sins makes as much sense as the correlation between “hitting myself in the foot with a shovel for your mortgage.” (Stanhope, 2007)

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

    This is what a dying tradition looks like:

    “as in [historical/metaphorical] Adam all die, so in
    [historical/metaphorical] Christ all will be made alive”

    ~1 Corinthians 15:22

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Yep, “Adam” couldn’t mean “mankind”… (look at the Hebrew)

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

        Are you telling me that millions of humans in the world all simultaneously committed the Adamic “original sin” for which they needed some divine salvation? When and how did this happen?

        And “Christ” Χριστός merely means “good.” Χρ was shorthand for marking a “good” passage in a book long before Jesus’ time. Jesus Christ, it’s just Joshua the Good. (look at the Greek /wiki/Chi_Rho)

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          I don’t know precisely how it happened or when it happened. I am willing to live with mystery that, while I don’t yet understand, I hopefully will understand at some point, at least more and more.

          Thanks for the note on “Christ”; I did not know that! I also like the use of Logos, especially in Rom 9:30-10:13, v4:

          For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

          The word “end” here is telos, and it fascinates me, because ‘end’ probably isn’t the right translation. So I did some digging and found How is Christ the “End of the Law”? Being the nerd I am, I came up with the equation at the end of this comment.

          L(c) is law at some complexity level c and J is Jesus. So when someone says, “I am in Jesus”, that’s kind of like saying that every person’s birthday is in the digits of π. Except it’s not quite the right metaphor, because any succession of digits is in π, while only good is in Jesus—not evil. Now, I see only Satan as 100% evil; everyone has beauty inside him/her. But I digress. I’ll probably get lots of grief for being such a nerd, hehe.

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Oh, and I think (potential or real) infinite complexity in description is what makes one a person (or mind) and not just a thing. Yeah I’m weird, but it makes sense and I even believe I can describe why I think this. A hint: you love people by teasing out his/her complexity, his/her beauty. Agape love is building love. (1 Cor 10:23)

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            That’s pretty difficult to do when our social group size is now way beyond the neurobiological limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.

            Dunbar, R.I.M. (June 1992). “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates”. Journal of Human Evolution 22 (6): 469–493 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number

            But Jesus and other ethicists do have the best means of dealing with the Prisoner’s Dilemma in which we humans have found ourselves after The Fall, or the Neolithic revolution.

            This is why I follow Jesus and call myself a christian, not because I believe in supernatural salvation (I’m not the slightest bit interested in heaven,) but for his ethics.

            Jesus’ way helps often to overcome our “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates.”

          • Ross

            Brian, I hope you don’t mind me butting in, particularly after our last failure to communicate (blame me if you will).

            I like the Myers article you linked to, it reminds me very much of “The inheritors” by William Golding, a novel, which seems to place “the fall” at the point of Neanderthal v Homo Sapiens take over.

            I see very strong echoes, within the British Context at the disaster point of the agricultural revolution, followed by the more disastrous Industrial revolution. There seems to me a definite loss of autonomy here from those who tended the soil to a rising elite who “enslaved the masses” (not that feudalism was necessarily any freer). I believe a concurrent population explosion occurred here too, and an exponentially increasing urbanisation. This I think explains, to some part, the tremendous alienation those of us in the industrialised world face.

            I think the christian use (misuse!) of “God’s” instruction to “have dominion over the creation” seems to have also had disastrous implications here and has justified much calamity.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            No worries, mate. And you’re correct. I’ve got an agriculture degree, and have repented of row-crop raping the soil, and have spent the last 14 years restoring my farm to natural fertility. I’d like to get it back to the Oak Savannah the Indians created in my area, and we mad farmers annihilated 170 years ago.

            Industrial civilization keeps doubling down and intensifying, which is like an alcoholic going deeper into addiction to keep away the shakes.

            A good critique of Christianity’s role in “domination:”

            Our science and technology have grown out of Christian attitudes toward man’s relation to nature which are almost universally held not only by Christians and neo-Christians but also by those who fondly regard themselves as post-Christians. Despite Copernicus, all the cosmos rotates around our little globe. Despite Darwin, we are not, in our hearts, part of the natural process. We are superior to nature, contemptuous of it, willing to use it for our slightest whim.

            Lynn White Jr. (1967) The Historic Roots of our Ecological Crisis. Science. Vol. 155 no. 3767, pp. 1203-1207. zbi.ee/~kalevi/lwhite.htm

          • Ross

            I think there are some “Christians”, trying to rebalance this;

            http://www.arocha.org/int-en/work.html

            …is a popular thing amongst people I know, though I’ve not particularly delved into them very deeply. Currently my thoughts are about redemptive/return images etc in the bible linked to the garden. Such as the tabernacle and temple depicting the garden, with priests tending this, (okay they do a lot of barbecue too!). So I can see the imagery of returning to the garden here, so I think, at least implicitly, the Jewish/Christian Narrative has a long tale to tell over care for and work with the “natural/creation”. I think the Christian Industrial Domination line is a perversion and for the life of me I, can’t understand why anyone would think that continuous growth could be anything but disaster. We’re eating our world away and couldn’t care less.

            To me the “eschaton” (forgive me if I misuse the word, but I’m a high school drop out and missed out on a lot of that book learnin’) points toward a time of harmony once again with the creation/nature, though I haven’t got the faintest idea about the massive cubic city, seems a bit blingy to say the least.

            PS, do you use the oak to work with? I did a green-oak framing course once and would love to do more. Or is that a bit too much Cain like?

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Indeed, there are, and I applaud them. My only complete Bible is the Green Bible, purchased about three years ago. after having tossed my old one away decades ago. I do have a Jefferson Bible now too.

            “For God so loved the Cosmos…” ~John 3:16 Carl Sagan knows more about what God so loved than any seminary.

            > I’m a high school drop out

            I’m envious. Wish I would have had your courage to run away like I threatened to. College closes more minds than it opens with what is mainly indoctrination and regurgitation. People could do better at the public library or Kahn Academy, especially considering the price. Dang.

            > “eschaton”

            I agree, eschatology is an attempt by humans to return to the sustainable lifeways of our evolutionary niche. We yearn for that.

            But too many want to use the politics of empire to get there, and history shows they usually screw things up. My background is Anabaptist, and they certainly have made damn fools of themselves more than once, here and here, and I tell some of them “don’t immanentize the eschaton!” Just keep it simple, more like Henry David Thoreau than a wild-eyed reformer. Garden your own plot.

            > a bit blingy

            That’s succinct! I am not at all interested in any Tammy Faye Edition mansion in a pearly gated community with gold-plater streets. Worse than Vegas! I’m already planning to break out if I do get vacuumed up from being baptized. ;)

            I just started doing a bit of woodworking, making stuff for the small cottage I built for my family. (Lived in the barn for years. :) True, it is a bit to much like Cain living sedentary in a house, but they’ll kill you off like Abel if you don’t. I know of some folks who tried to live in a teepee, and CPS took away their kids. Anyway, here is one of my projects, a 97″x46″x3″ slab hand carved from a slab of walnut.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I meant to show you this pic in my last post. This ground was all in soybeans/corn for decades, pretty farmed-out. I’ve taken to Joel Salatin‘s methods for my acreage. Nature does a good job of restoring fertility if you just let her work instead of fighting her.

            It’s just a little step of metaphorical “salvation” undoing “the fall”(Myers, 2005), i.e., “the worst mistake.”(Diamond, 1987)

          • Ross

            Looks nice, looks somewhat similar to where I live, I’m lucky to live in the most forested part of the UK, although I think we also have the most industrialised farming structure in the world. I do know a couple of christians who were at least trying to make an organic go of it and supplying locally and more than a few who are very into permaculture. Is there much if any of a “Christian” move in this direction where you are?

            On my one trip to the US, well Texas that is, in 2000, the people I visited were strong “Christian Oil Suckers” with a great disdain for my views on re-cycling/re-use. In fact the difference in approach was such that I was crying in a cantina in mid Mexico after five days, which had not been part of the plan.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            Cool, Ross! Sounds like you have a nice little T.A.Z. going there.

            Unfortunately, I’ve done my share of Oil Sucking. I paid for my land burning tons of jet fuel in the atmosphere every trip. It is fun! The whole mad show is going to end soon. In tragedy. Jimmy Carter tried to tell America to not hit the gas pedal as we head for a cliff, and we tossed him out of the car. Thelma and Louise Nation. I’m now innured to it. On Thor’s Days, I indulge in the speculation that Gaia wanted humans to burn up the carbon to keep another Ice Age at bay. ;)

            You’re right, permaculture is absolutely the way to go. There are a few folks doing it. Mostly people have their noses in their smart phones electronic heroin.

            We have a tight group of dechurched neighbors here, including an ordained minister, about half who are doing the “back to nature” thing out here in the NW Ohio boondocks. We meet one sunday a month for a meal, play music, gossip (used as an anthropological term) and have some community. And we help each other out. Neighbors came and helped me move a calf from the snow to the shed. I haul manure free for another neighbor. We trade movies. My loader tractor gets used in the neighborhood quite a bit to help for free. Well, ok, I get bottles of wine. ;) And I pay back favors with homemade goats milk soap I make. It’s more of a gift economy than a market economy.

          • Ross

            I like the phrase “gift economy”, if we as “Christians” aren’t doing that then why call ourselves “Christian”. My view is that my faith is about doing. Over Christmas I tithed my time to a local “religious community” to do some carpentry and construction work, the guy who runs it sees “the gift economy” as very important to how we should live. I got a lot of great food and good discussion out of it. I really must get them to start making wine, or beer!

            My neighbour is a farmer and he’s just driven a few hundred miles to give hay to some other farmers who are flooded, this is quite natural to many who work the land, I don’t see this so much in those who work the office chair.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

            I know when and how mankind’s “original sin” happened. “The Fall”(Myers, 2005) is a story of the Neolithic revolution, which is depicted secularly as “the worst mistake in the history of the human race.”(Diamond, 1987)

            They are one and the same calamity. Of that I’m confident.

            Several salvation religions were then invented to attempt mitigating this human disaster.(Quinn; 1996, 2000) And I’ll admit Quinn on various religion origins is more speculative, but his hypothesis fits well with anthropological fact.

            References:
            Ched Myers. (2005) The Fall. Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. Edited by Bron Taylor. NY: Continuum. chedmyers.org/articles/ecology-faith/%E2%80%9C-fall%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Canarcho-primitivism-and-bible

            Jared Diamond. (May 1987) The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race. Discover Magazine. pp. 64-66. discovermagazine.com/1987/may/02-the-worst-mistake-in-the-history-of-the-human-race

            Daniel Quinn. (1996) The Story of B. The Boiling Frog. pp. 258-259 oilcrash.com/articles/frog.htm

            Daniel Quinn. Our Religions: Are they the Religions of Humanity Itself? Fleming Lecture in Religion. Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas (October 18, 2000) ishmael.org/Education/Writings/southwestern.shtml

          • wolfeevolution

            By the way, I’m just lightly skimming the comments here so I may be missing something but I believe Brian was wrong about Χριστός; the Greek word that means “good” is pronounced the same way but spelled with an eta, not an iota.

            (I’ve heard it said that this could potentially be what Paul meant to say by “To live is Χριστός; to die is gain”: “living is good but dying’s even better.” After all, Paul dictated his letters, so homophones could easily have been mistaken….)

          • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

            Ahh, thanks!

            Χρηστός, chrēstos

            Χριστός, Christos

  • Barry_D

    If I were a professor there and threatened, I would sue the school; they are in violation of the terms of employment.

    • Ross

      I am not an academic professor, but was recently removed from an educational establishment, after more than a year of protracted unpleasantness. The situation was plainly unjust, but not of the same kind as we are talking here. However, up close and involved there are rarely clear lines, everyone has a viewpoint and it is not easy to see round. In terms of suing, after much pain and anxiety, it is very hard to stand up further and prolong or exacerbate the situation. The only people who win in legal cases are the lawyers.

      I can understand many of the pressures and pain that many may be facing, what I learnt is, if you have searched and searched yourself and know you are “doing the right thing”, then the suffering may be sharing in or alongside, that of Jesus.

  • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

    I was thinking again about the Bryan College move this morning, I wonder if this is more than just a purported stand on the meaning of Genesis. I wonder if this is a calculated move to force the resignation of unwanted professors.

    • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

      Well, consider:

      Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

      The rules for excommunication are very severe: (i) immorality worse than the surrounding culture; (ii) seared conscience; (iii) divisiveness. Are the Bryan College folks adhering to these? If not then they are ‘scattering’, it seems.

      • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

        Just two thoughts – just questions not challenges:

        If you put this in terms of excommunication, aren’t you making Bryan College a church instead of a college? Or perhaps you believe that christian colleges should operate in the same way that churches do?

        Do you think that teaching a biblical interpretation of Adam which is not literal, would be ‘scattering’?

        • http://labreuer.wordpress.com Luke Breuer

          If you put this in terms of excommunication, aren’t you making Bryan College a church instead of a college? Or perhaps you believe that christian colleges should operate in the same way that churches do?

          They seem to be calling themselves a church in the very act of asserting this doctrine as necessary for unity, aren’t they? Maybe ‘church’ isn’t the right word here. But does it matter? The idea is that a group of people has decided how everyone needs to think the same—dimensions along which no diversity is allowed.

          Do you think that teaching a biblical interpretation of Adam which is not literal, would be ‘scattering’?

          I’m not convinced that it necessarily scatters. One of the ideas behind Christianity, as it seems to me, is that it allows a tremendous amount of diversity, with the unity being Jesus and nothing or nobody else. So is a literal Adam necessary for Jesus to be Jesus? I don’t think so, but I know some do.

  • Preston Garrison

    413 comments. Nope, Pete. They’re not tired of it, apparently.


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