Saturday, December 08, 2007

assumptions of faith

Everywhere I look there are people debating the existence of God. Many discussion boards have some faith related topic as well. And though many posts are not worth anyone's time or energy, there are a few interesting thoughts. So, since I haven't written here in a while let me respond to one of them:
"And while the object of faith is not logical, faith itself is an evolutionary byproduct that is itself constrained by logic. Everything in this universe is constrained by a logical model." Alexander Ross, in Facebook group (six degrees of separation) asks for one logical reason to believe in God.

While he or anyone may assume that our universe is "constrained" by a logical model, we have no proof of this, especially in the area of faith. "For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." What we can know (at least in part) is that what is measurable can, to some degree, be explained by a logical model. Why is that so when we, as logic driven humans, had no part in the origin of the universe? By what freak of "chance" did our universe ever depend on logic for its existence!?
The "constraining" element by definition would be something which is outside of our understanding.

Now we can address the realm of faith. For just as science attempts to create logical models for physics and biology and language attempts to create logical models for communication, so does theology attempt to create logical models for faith. (Remember also that science cannot address origins because it is outside of its realm of measurability.) So what many attempt to do is create a logical model for faith based on the "constrained" assumptions of science - and arrive at no solution. If we begin with the "constrained" assumptions of theology, we are at least comparing apples to apples.

So what are the theological assumptions we can begin with? One, it is necessary to have this discussion in the first place. Two, there is a problem with the world which is called by various names though it is really the same thing: deception, pride, selfishness, abuse, corruption, evil, sin. Three, there are many who claim that they have found the answer to this problem but have either proved themselves false or have been proven insufficient for the need. Four, there should be one solution which is universal and timeless, which by its existence negates all other options (and being TRUE would be forever intolerant). Five, if a solution to the problem exists, it must come from beyond or above the material world and the knowledge contained in it in order to triumph over it for the good of all.

These theological assumptions lead us to the realm of faith. Faith in what or Who does make a difference because it will lead us to think and act in specific ways. If you believe that there is no God, then you will act as if nothing we do or say has any ultimate value or meaning. If you believe that there are many gods (like the pantheistic Greeks) you may behave as if you are a god yourself, which is nearly the same as believing there is no God at all. If you believe that there are many gods (like primitive tribes), you will forever live in fear of the possibility of offending one of them. If you believe in the god of Islaam, you will (among other things) follow Mohammed's example (scary!) If you believe in the Christian God, you should act as if each person is a sinner fallen short of God's glory and are equal in the need for pardon and a restored relationship with Him. This last has proven to be the effective solution to the issue in assumption #2 (above).

It is interesting to note that every person and group falls on one of two sides: truth seekers and truth suppressors. Truth seekers tend to believe that they are finite and cannot claim to know everything but are interested in learning and the promotion of learning. Truth suppressors tend to claim that they know in order to gain personal, political or even religious power.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." Romans 1:17 ... That is the way I want to live and it appears that faith is an indispensable element.
But all this talk is silly when we compare it to real people of faith! Take a look at what is happening to those who believe around the world at and try to tell them that God does not exist!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fractured Education

One of my goals this summer is to catch up on the reading that I never can get to during the school year. Part of that, of course, is current events. It is amazing to see how inconsistent people can be in their ideas and it shows up at all levels of society. Probably it is related to pervasive postmodern culture which has no problem with conflicting "truths" all being true. The obvious result is, "If they conflict, then one is really very false or both are false!"

Take a look at this simple example in the area of education. An article in "Christian Today" talks about the debate in Germany over the possibility of allowing theological questions about the origin of the world into biology classes. An interesting issue, no doubt. The very nature of biology leads us to ask questions about origin; and the classroom is one important venue for the sharing of ideas in a free society, right? What really gets me though is a comment by a member of the Protestant Church's theology committee! He says, "Frau Wolff is ignoring the differences between natural sciences, religion and philosophy. That does not correspond to the Protestant view." What is that!? If he believes that God made the world and everything in it, then what exactly are those differences? It would be helpful to know what "differences" he refers to. Is it differences in fact or differences in method? Either way these fields of study, taken honestly, should cross paths periodically and support a cohesive view of the true human condition and the world we live in. Is it acceptable to say that God made us in religion class, that we are a product of chance in biology class, and that we "made" ourselves in philosophy class? That approach is part of what I call fractured education.

I'll leave the resolution of the issue to your own detailed research. But, take into account another little article from "The Christian Science Monitor" - a site I RARELY read! An article about a linguistic project talks about the probability of a common language root. Sound familiar? Take a peek at Genesis 11:1. Then there is a comment about human genetics tracing its ancestry "to as few as 1,000 individuals". The years may need some adjustment, but it is very interesting to see how science falls into line with biblical truth. Of course I don't want to "prove" the Bible through science, we must come to God in faith, but it supports the idea that fractured education is a worthless means of learning!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Silas walking

From his first steps, back in April, there has been a huge change in his security and stability. Yesterday he was pushing his stroller around on the grass. But he still can't do steps going up or down. Running isn't too far off though! He loves to carry things too. The other day he had a big ball and a water bottle in his hands and a coaster in his mouth. Sometimes he picks up things that are quite heavy just to move them to the other end of the house. I think he takes it as a challenge; he wants to see how much he is capable of doing. He walks a little funny though. It's like he's been on a horse too long and can't get his legs straightened out again - it's probably just the diaper...

Paul talks about walking and running in Philippians chapter 3: "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us." It makes me wonder how I walk. I don't walk bowlegged but I do want to walk steadily and purposefully. I want to set an example in my walk, admitting when I walk in the wrong direction. Most of all I want Silas to walk how Jesus walked, loving and honoring God first, caring for the needs of others, and being thankful and satisfied in little or much. But for that to happen we have to be purposeful in how we walk and what we teach him. It won't just happen naturally because there are too many other influences and distractions. There is too much in our human nature pulling us in the other direction. And we need help from God's Spirit working in us and friends, family, and teachers around us.