Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monkey Madness (part 2)

Question #1

Student: "My theory, or belief, for how life began involves a supernatural act. I believe God, a divine being, created all plant, animal, and human life on this planet in the beginning of time on Earth. I realize that this view is sometimes ridiculed and labeled as a "myth" or "fairy tale." I would like it if you, Mr./Ms. ____ (professor/teacher/indocrinator), would just give me a simple summary of how you think life began on this planet."

Thoughts to Consider
No one was there when it all started. Whether it was billions of years ago or 6000 years ago, we can still be confident that no one alive today was anywhere close to the events that launched this whole process! Therefore, right off the bat, we know one thing for sure. Everything about the origins of life is educated guesswork at best. Theory! Neither side can be dogmatic about much of anything. So, then, it comes down to how evidence is interpreted.
This leads to some follow-up questions that students can always ask, all based on whether evidence is interpreted in an objective, sensible manner.

Now, when a teacher does honestly answer this student's question and includes things like life arising from nonliving matter, primordial soup, a moon-like object breaking apart and then combining with other "space rocks" to form another ball of rock that continues to grow and morph into a suddenly life-sustaining planet on a defined orbit (another proposal I've heard), etc., then it will be up to that student to determine whether the answer sounds more like science or science fiction.

Below is an excerpt from a PBS website that is about a NOVA special considering how life began:

In a nutshell, what is the process? How does life form?
The short answer is we don't really know how life originated on this planet. There have been a variety of experiments that tell us some possible roads, but we remain in substantial ignorance. That said, I think what we're looking for is some kind of molecule that is simple enough that it can be made by physical processes on the young Earth, yet complicated enough that it can take charge of making more of itself. That, I think, is the moment when we cross that great divide and start moving toward something that most people would recognize as living.

The truth is that the more you read responses from evolutionists about how life may have begun, the more you will find there is great uncertainty, and even disagreement, among many of them. Of course, to their defense, there can't be much certainty about something no one was around to observe.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monkey Madness - The Creation/Evolution Debate Rages On (part 1)

At one time, I was really big into Christian apologetics (defending the Christian faith). While I am still interested in some of the arguments out there on all sides, I'm just not as concerned now with the idea of having to "defend" Christianity. Christianity, as a religion, actually may not be all that defensible anyway. At least not anymore than any other religion. Jesus, on the other hand, is still worthy of worship and allegiance. I like Carl Medearis' book, Speaking of Jesus, on this matter.

There is, however, still one topic that has quite a strong hold on me when it comes to defending biblical history. The funny thing is that it is not so much about my desire to defend anything religious or spiritual as much as it is a preoccupation with simply standing for truth. When it comes to learning, people should be entitled to draw their own conclusions when presented with facts objectively. Granted, that rarely happens these days, but we can still fight for it.

So, what is the one topic? It is that hairy, controversial, highly politicized and grossly misrepresented debate of creation vs. evolution. It is hard to say exactly why this topic still matters so much to me. I believe it has something to do with how aggressively and pervasively the unscientific theory of evolution has been pushed on this generation. Personally, as a parent, I am simply hoping for one thing when my daughter enters a science classroom - that they will teach her science!

In our efforts to make a much greater place for the next generation to become free and fruitful, there must be assurance that children and youth will have the freedom and opportunity to explore science and history and other areas in an honest manner.

Along these lines, here is the start of a series of posts related to thoughts about the entire creation vs. evolution debate, how it affects public education, and questions that students may consider asking their teachers in a variety of settings when challenged with particular assumptions.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Christian Leadership

I usually like to do more than just share another person's blog post, but this one by Frank Viola entitled "The Myth of Christian Leadership" is so good at explaining such a valuable truth in a succinct, yet thorough, manner. So, you might consider checking it out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Synchroblog Activity - "What Would You Say?"

Today's post is a "synchroblog" activity from the blog of Frank Viola. Read through it and consider posting a comment on his blog, or responding to my comment on my blog. Hope you find it thought-provoking.

The following exercise is from the synchroblog at http://frankviola.org/2012/07/09/gospelforthemiddle

Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.

One of Fielding’s cousins is a practicing Christian. They see each other once a year. Fielding’s cousin has shared Christ with Fielding many times over the years. Whenever they’ve talked about spiritual things, Fielding shows interest.

Felicia grew up in a Christian home. She’s received Christ, but she isn’t evangelistic and is overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two small children. She would love to find a church nearby for the spiritual support and instruction, but none exist.

Fielding has no college education. While he is capable of reading, he is not a reader. He doesn’t use the Web either. He’s a man who works with his hands, both for his career and for recreation. He’s an “outdoorsman.” He hunts, he builds, he does manual labor, etc. In his spare time, he helps his elderly parents with various building projects.

Fielding is not an atheist. Neither is he an agnostic. He believes in God. He believes Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. He hasn’t fully surrendered his life to Christ, but he is not sure what that looks like exactly. His children know a little about the Lord, mostly because of what their mother has taught them.

Recently Fielding asked this question:
When I’m with my cousin once a year, I want to learn more about God. But when I come back home, and I’m around everyone else, my mind is off of God, and I am back to working, raising my kids, and helping my parents. Someone needs to come up with a solution for people like me . . . people who are in the middle. (By “in the middle,” Fielding means someone who believes in Jesus, but who isn’t fully absorbed in the faith yet either. They simply don’t know enough nor do they have any spiritual support system around them.)

Relocating is not an option for Fielding and his wife. Even if they wanted to relocate, they don’t see a way they could do it financially.

Remember: Fielding and his wife don’t personally know any Christians. None of their extended family or coworkers are believers either. And the nearest churches (which are an hour away) aren’t recommended.

Question: If you were Fielding’s cousin, how would you instruct him and his wife the next time you saw them?