Four Revolutionary Words

August 8, 2010

Every once in a while, I get to teach my kids from the Bible. They look at me kinda funny because I almost always read from the book of Genesis, which I consider one of the greatest books ever written. No matter if you think it fiction, history or poetry, the book of Genesis is where the ca-ca hit the fan in civilization.

I start my kids off by preparing them to not be believers in God. I tell them that this book is mocked as false by some people in the world, that they might one day lose their job in a university setting for claiming this book is true, and that it can be a difficult book to believe. I also remind them that while our family observes the Christian religion, that they can never be made into Christians by someone else. Nobody can really explain what makes some people believe Genesis while others doubt, but the answers and explanations for belief I’ve heard so far all ring false.

Dumb people neither necessarily accept nor reject the book. Smart people neither necessarily accept nor reject the book. Both smart and dumb people who reject Genesis are not generally people I want to be like. Most of my heroes (with the exception of Aristotle who didn’t likely have access to the book) all read and enjoy the book of Genesis.

I never tell anyone to believe in the Bible out of hope or wishful thinking. Nobody should make an irrational jump into anything, especially into a world view, religion or philosophy. My kids are treated with the same respect I would offer to anyone else, they deserve an education, not a religious bumper sticker. The Christianity I had been exposed to for most of my life was a form that came from believing Baby Boomers. Like all things Baby Boomer, it was perhaps the most irrational form of Christianity known to man. It’s a deliberately feelings based, illiterate, squishy belief structure that should be rejected whole cloth. Baby Boomers are the gift that keeps on taking.

Back to my kids. I like to think about kids who were around before the book of Genesis was written over 3,300 years ago. I put the Bible behind my back and say, “Let’s pretend that this story didn’t exist. What do you think we would believe about how we got here?”

I get out the whiteboard and start drawing whatever they come up with. I draw little cave men and show them making up stories about where the world came from. We also go over the competing creation stories that Moses would have encountered in Egypt of their sun god Ra rising from the chaotic waters for the first time.

My point is that the best way to prepare my kids for the Paganism and Pantheism they will likely encounter as adults is to educate them about the Paganism and Pantheism of the past. The competing creation stories before Genesis came along would worship deities that were dependent or associated with the material world. The best story going before Genesis came along was to worship creation or a creator that was essentially created.

Fast forward 3,300 years or so and if you remove the Bible from the conversation of creation and you have Materialist scientists saying almost identical things as the ancient Pantheists and Pagans:

“The world was not made by the gods, but instead was the work of material forces interacting in nature.” – Carl Sagan

In short, nothing really changes. There is either a creator of the materials or the materials are all there ever was, is, and will ever be. If the materials don’t require a maker then they essentially are God in that they perform the same acts of creation. The materials are no less miraculous in this cosmology, just more irrational.

Finally, I read my kids those first four words of Genesis, “In the beginning, God…” and I stop. Within four words the Bible has already pissed off most of my employers, most of the philosophers I read, many in the arts community and many of my neighbors here in Los Angeles (come on, you live a city named after angels). There’s little more offensive than to claim that God existed in history, is really there and that this can be known.

I’m not sure if Moses was into debate, but he sure threw it down with those four words. The rest of the world largely deified creation and worshipped it then Genesis comes along and says that man can no longer worship the creation. He had to worship the Creator. Of all the Creators in the world we could have gotten, we had to have a jealous one. “In the beginning, God…” is where it all began. You wouldn’t have Western Civilization if those four words weren’t written. Without them, you and I wouldn’t likely even be here.

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58 Responses to “Four Revolutionary Words”


  1. You’d be a great homeschooler, Doug. ;) Wonderful lessons here–and excellent preparation for the coming adult world.

    –Susanne

  2. Lev Says:

    Whew. Alright, I really feel like I have to communicate my own thoughts into words here too. First off, let me say that I have the utmost respect for you, and I love reading your blog. You really think about things, and that’s always refreshing to read.

    My main gripe, apart from the timetable of creation so bluntly not panning with scientific evidence, is just the idea of God creating in general, which is what you talked about here, and which is really the big point. I don’t see how the amazing can be made palatable by superimposing another level of complexity on top of it. I don’t worship matter or the natural forces that created life, I merely find life and its existence beautiful, and just as humans are bewildered by what its starting point could possibly have been, I am similarly, if not more so, bewildered by God and how He could have begun. The concept of God escapes this critcism because we are not meant to understand God or his ways, but I have to keep in mind that it is still a concept that I am thinking of, and I have to believe that we humans are still responsible for the concepts we hold. Whether or not there be a God, I have no way of knowing. I have had no spiritual revelations myself that have made me go “there is a God, distinct from the simple beauty of life and existence, responsible for all this.”

    To me, assuming creation says that the beginning of the universe is far more complex that it would have been anyway. God has intelligence and awareness. He is an entity that is necessarilly complex, perhaps the most complex of any hypothetical entity. He made a decision to make man. I don’t see why others don’t find that all so incredibly arbitrary and confounding. You are merely explaining the universe by supplanting actual understanding with “He did this.” Okay … but the universe still happened, which is a pretty insane thing, and now you have to explain this “He” to me. Apart from why he was even imbued from the start with intentional desire to birth man, I have to ask: where’s His beginning? Always was, was He? You could feasibly say the same thing about the universe itself for God’s sake. God being around, chilling, on whatever plane of existence and awareness he may be, sounds so much more unbeilavable to me than the inherent balls-out insanity of the birth of the universe in the first place. So yes, it is difficult for man to comprehend how this all got to be, but I fail to see how it is easier if we throw God in the mix. If God is the answer to all this, then fine, I am wrong, but I have to tackle this problem from a rational standpoint, and God seems far more like an arbitrary addition to the mix than an explanation.

    • Josh Says:

      Lev,

      One of the major breakthroughs in the process of science was the realization that to get anywhere, scientists must make the assumption that God had no impact on observed events. It’s the separation of the natural from the supernatural. Science is explicitly, intentionally limited to focus only on the natural.

      In most situations, this works great. There’s not much difference between “X was the cause of Y” and “Assuming no supernatural influence, X was the cause of Y” in everyday life, even to the most ardent Christian. But there’s a problem when situations arise for which a believer in the supernatural explicitly believes in a supernatural influence. Science can’t provide answers in such situations, by its very nature (no pun intended).

      And it gets worse when scientists forget about the assumption all together. Science can’t prove the non-existence of God; it doesn’t deal with God. Science can’t prove the falseness of the Genesis creation story; it can’t disprove supernatural causes.

      To take it to the stupidest extreme, science can’t prove that Moses was on drugs on Mount Sinai, as a certain psychologist has claimed ( http://hftp.blogspot.com/2008/03/moses-was-on-drugs.html ). The most it can do is say, “Assuming no supernatural influence, Moses was on drugs,” a useless statement.

      So how CAN we approach such situations in a rational manner? Philosophy can provide a lot of help, but mathematics can also provide insight. There’s a great book out by Ralph Muncaster called “Dismantling Evolution” which applies math to evolution, and actually calculates the probability of the atheistic evolution of intelligent life. I don’t have the book in front of me, but the resultant probability is something like 1:10^50. Keep in mind, Muncaster is not a seven-day Creationist, but an old-earth Creationist who is sympathetic to theistic evolution.

      Basically what I’m saying it that you and I can agree on the scientific theory of evolution, stated as “Assuming no supernatural influence, life evolved on earth naturally through the synergy of mutation and natural selection.” You apparently see this statement as proof against God, while I claim this is irrefutable proof that God must exist.

      • will le fey Says:

        OK.

        The chance of winning the lottery is low, but if you bought lottery tickets every day for the next million years, the chances of you winning the lottery are not low, neh?

      • tennapel Says:

        Like if we buy lottery tickets the unicorns exist for the next million years, the chances go up? Which other principles of physics will be reversed if we give it enough lottery chances? It all sounds like an avoidance of a certain conclusion that has nothing to do with data, reason etc.

      • Josh Says:

        Will,

        The odds of winning Powerball, according to one website, is 1 in 175 million (1.75*10^8).

        The odds of intelligent life occurring naturally _anywhere_ in the universe, according to Muncaster’s well-researched book, is 1 in 1*10^144. To (very roughly) extrapolate your million years analogy, the universe would have to be something like 1*10^142 years old.

    • Bethany Says:

      You say you don’t worship creation, and merely find it beautiful, yet you take the word of science (which tends to a priori assume that the supernatural is not part of the equation) above the word of God who, as you say, is “necessarily complex.” In addition to His complexity, He is, by definition, all-powerful, all-knowing and eternal. That is, he is self-existent.

      This notion is not so difficult to believe when you realize that when you ask the question “Where did this all come from?” and then follow the answer all the way back, you have something that is either self-existent or self-creating. Considering that everything we know and experience in this universe depends, like dominoes, on the preceding cause, this statement of self-creation or self-existence should not be taken lightly. Whether or not you choose to worship, I think it is undeniable that something of that power and authority is worthy of worship and faith.

      Science will not be able to tell us whether the universe is self-existent or created, because that refers to the genesis, the beginning, the causeless effect, the unrepeatable. Simply, science can’t go that far.

      Now, there are two issues involved here. One is whether God did it, the other is how He did it. Christians fall on both sides of the how question (old v young earth, etc) but all agree agree that it was God who did it.

      If you are truly searching, I beg you not to get hung up on the particulars of the creation story. That is the beginning, not the end, and we are much closer to the end than the beginning. Examine the rest of the Bible, see the epic redemption story it tells. Learn that perhaps one of the most important lessons of the creation story is that where God is willing, He is able. He is willing and able to save you from your sin and all its grisly consequences, all he asks for is faith.

      Please, read the Bible with an open mind. You will find that God defies all expectation. That is one thing that I love so much about Him.

      • Lev Says:

        One thing in particular from your response struck me as being especially compelling, and that is that matter at its birth had to be either self-existant or self-creating. To that all I can say is:

        A) I certainly do not believe in matter creating itself,
        B) but I can believe in infinity.

        First and foremost, according to the Big Bang theory, it was an incredible amount of energy and heat that initially existed and then gave way to matter. So there was a point in time without matter, and that does make perfect sense. But this is just sidestepping the obvious question, what about the energy? Well the only real answer to that question *that I can see* is that the universe is infinite. So I suppose, yes, that energy was self-existant, insomuch as there was always energy. As humans have no experience with infinity, that’s a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, but infinity is a necessary concept in mathematics, and I think the most likely solution to how our universe could have come to be.
        And yes, the reality is that I truly have no way of knowing what took place at the origin of the universe. It’s all theories. Theories that are ingrained in logic and rational thinking. To say that God did it, I find, is a cop out. Is it the only solution? Well I suppose it is the only one that doesn’t require evidence, and thus is “proven” from the point of inception.
        And I simply don’t find God an easy concept to swallow in the first place. It demands faith in something that is apart from anything humans could comprehend. God is like infinity personified. Frankly, if you can believe in God, why couldn’t you just believe in an infinite universe? It’s the simpler solution, and Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution is most likely the correct one. You have already assumed infinity in believing in God, so don’t say that an infinite universe is improbable.

        And in response to the last portion of your comment, I put much more credence into Christianity for its moral and ethical teachings than for its moral and ethical teachings because God said so. I will also say that, yes, I do pick and choose what aspects of Christianity I agree with, because I refuse to follow rules that I fail to see the logic behind, or that I see flawed and ignorant logic behind. And I do not mean to say that Christianity is without some beauty and righteousness. I simply don’t find it beautiful or righteous for the more theistic reasons to find it so, because I fail to see why moral teaching no longer becomes moral teaching simply because there is no God to watch over you if you’re bad or reward you if you’re good. If anything, that should dilute the message more than anything else.

        There are devout Christians who truly believe they are devout Christians, yet are terrible, ignorant, prejudiced people. In my eyes, it is not Christianity that makes people good people, but the people themselves that make people good people.

        And if we’re talking about spirituality, I do not dismiss it and even consider it a necessary element of human living. I am okay with accepting some otherness, whether it be a manifestation of my brain or some actual, distant entity, but I find it difficult to accept an otherness so specific and arbitrary as the Christian God.

      • tennapel Says:

        Lev,
        I can believe in an eternal future but there can be no eternal, physical past. By physical, I include the concept of time as energy. If there is an eternal physical past, then an eternity would have taken place before we got to today. Meaning, we could never have gotten to the present, because an eternity would have to take place first.

        An eternal past is not rational.

      • Ryan Says:

        Lev, Doug already got at this, but I wanted to highlight your own claims a bit more.

        You say you can believe in the concept of infinity because it exists in mathematics, but you’re making a huge leap to say, “Therefore, it exists in the physical world, and the universe has been eternally existing.” How does conceptual infinity prove physical infinity in any way? It doesn’t even suggest that it’s possible.

        Everything we know about matter and energy says that it cannot be self-creating or self-motivating. You must have enormous faith in the Particles to say, “Well, it must have just always existed somehow, even though this contradicts all physical science and evidence (that I’ll also be throwing against the existence of God, by the way).” Who’s clinging to a cop-out?

      • Lev Says:

        Doug, that reasoning does appear sound. I can totally see where you’re coming from, as a spectrum of infinity can never be divided into anything but infinity. One half infinity is still infinity. So you take time as being infinite, and attempt to pick a particular point in that time. As that point can’t be relative to anything, it conceptually has no position on that scale. If we have at least a definite start point, you can place it relative to that. This is conceptually very sound. A workaround is that all of time, at some arbitrary point, goes back to the beginning, making time ultimately cyclical. I’m not saying I’d necessarily go with that, but it is one sort of workaround.

        However, to that, I’d like to bring up that our physical universe shares the same dilemma. How far can one travel in the deep reaches of space and reach the end? There are two options that I see. 1) It is infinite in all directions, or 2) At some arbitrary point it goes around to the other end. And in fact, theoretically, there is no actual thing as position assuming that space is infinite, yet we are here, at actual positions relative to the Earth. Why our galaxy is where it is and how you’d write its coordinates absolutely (not just relative to our sun) is perplexing. When we get right down to it, things are only in a position relative to other things, not the edge of space. In that sense, points of time only have a position relative to other points in time. I think this analogy works, especially if you picture time as a fourth-dimensional projection of space.

        So could our galaxy not exist merely because there is infinity before it? Perhaps, to a traveller attempting to reach it, if they could even comprehend infinity.

        It’s difficult to say what makes sense in infinity, as one can’t ever really experience it.

        In response to Ryan, I never said that infinity’s existence in mathematics proved its existence in the physical world. I agree that a thing by concept alone does not necessarily exist, just as God does not necessarily exist merely because we have a concept of Him, as Kant “proved”. But I did bring up infinity’s relevance to mathematics because we use mathematics to help explain our physical world. it may very well be math’s parallel to God, and nearly as difficult to prove or disprove, but it is at least rooted in basic logic. And I agree, just because the number two exists does not mean that it is possible to find the physical representation of “two” anywhere in this universe, but there is such a thing as two things, is there not?

        In addition, energy always existing does not in any way contradict “all physical science and evidence.” Where do you get that from? There is no evidence against infinity. In fact, there’s a lot that suggests it.

        And ‘faith in particles’? What? “Oh, particles, you are so amazing for having the power to exist for all of eternity!” Particles are whatever they are, man. If they were, then they were. It’s more a question of time and if infinite time makes sense than if particles have the power to be infinite.

        Tell me where God fits into basic logic and how He is a simpler, more straight-forward concept than infinity, and then maybe I’ll have to admit that I went through hoops and ladders merely to disregard God. And for what reason? Because I’m just that scared to admit there is a higher power? What motivation could i have other than merely wanting things explained? God does not explain, it excuses.

      • tennapel Says:

        Lev, if you’re having to embrace a looping universe to avoid the God conclusion then I don’t see how you can claim it’s a more simple, more straight-forward concept of infinity. You may not want to follow where simple logic leads, but you can’t claim the high ground of evidence when there is nothing but science fiction that would suggest a looping universe.

        It still doesn’t avoid a physical, perpetual motion machine. You’ve just removed it one step back. But it’s still a far broader breech of science than a powerful, supernatural mind that creates nature. Nature can’t create itself, nor can physical energy exist in an eternal past, even if that past is looping.

        I can’t get into your intent for why you won’t swallow God as a conclusion, but if this God exists, then the most popular document on this being claims that men who reject him hate him. That’s on the table. So if I had to guess why you come up with looping universes instead of grasping God it’s rational that you’d do it because you hate him and don’t want to submit to him. That’s not outrageous if you think about it with an open mind.

      • Lev Says:

        When it comes down to it, I see the situation thusly: Whether or not God created the universe, we cannot know for certain. The best evidence for God is that the creation of the universe appears inherently inexplicable. In the face of the inexplicable, man says God did it. Man’s perception, however, is not fool-proof. The degree to which the workings of God are beyond humanity is just as much credence I put into claiming you know what happened and how it was done. You do not know. It could have been a supernatural force, yes, but that is incredibly general. It does not need to be God as you perceive him. You do not know the accuracy of the Bible. Man knows very little in the grand scheme of things. All we have is what is observable, so that’s what science comes from. It’s our only method understanding the workings of the world.

        Now, do I hate God? I’ll have to think hard about that, but I will say that my initial inclination is simply that I am indifferent to God. I don’t find God relevant to me. I neither definitively believe in or not believe in Him. It’s just not an issue on the table for me. I have to consider it, of course, but every time I do, it just seems foolhardy. It’s as if you are demanding me to consider if I live in the Matrix. If I do, well that sucks, but as there’s no way for me to find out either way, it’s not relevant to me. I shall continue to lead my sad, delusional life in some computer-created dream world. Very sad from the perspective of outside the Matrix, but to me, reality.

      • Josh Says:

        “All we have is what is observable, so that’s what science comes from. It’s our only method understanding the workings of the world.”

        There’s your assumption, Lev, and it’s exactly where the disconnect is. I’ve already mentioned philosophy and mathematics as complementary methods for understanding the workings of the world, and there’s also direct perception just to name one more. The claim that science is the only correct way to perceive the world is an unfounded belief. It’s unprovable by science itself. Just like it’s silly to use the Bible alone to vouch for the infallibility of the Bible, it’s silly to use science alone to vouch for the supremacy of science. By limiting your perception of the world to those things provable by science, you’ll either end up intellectually inconsistent or find yourself rejecting science itself and descending into nihilism.

        Unless you’ve studied Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, though, that may not be all that persuasive to you. So let me just say: you’ve decided how you’re going to limit your perception and discovery of truth, and you’re STARTING from the standpoint of God’s nonexistence. Don’t be surprised when no one else is convinced when you present it as your conclusion.

      • tennapel Says:

        On what grounds can you say that we can’t know for certain? The best evidence for God is that the universe is here, and it demands certain truths. It being inherently inexplicable didn’t keep you from positing a looping universe mere minutes ago. “God did it” isn’t a default position where there is no evidence, it’s an adequate explanation. We’re using reason, and you may not like the answer, but that doesn’t mean it’s not rational. And if certain things are unknowable and inexplicable, it sure doesn’t make your case that you claim I don’t know. You use the same tools you claim don’t exist to refute my position, which ends up refuting the premises of your own position.

        Further, you don’t know my knowledge of the accuracy of the Bible. You didn’t even ask because your own hardened presuppositions disallow curiosity on the matter. Man does indeed, know very little, but he knows even less when he denies what reality clearly shows.

        And I haven’t quoted a single scripture in all of this discussion (other than the four revolutionary words) so don’t try to hang the anti-science label on me. I’ve only inferred from what is visible and applied physics to demonstrate that matter doesn’t create itself. That’s not radical and it shouldn’t be just a Theistic proposal. And science is just one of many ways we understand the workings of the world. If you believe murder is wrong and can come up with a scientific proof for your knowledge of this fact, let me know.

        You’re claim that God isn’t relevant to you as some claim of neutrality on the subject is betrayed by your claim that considering God is foolhardy. Pull up your pants, your bias is hanging out.

      • Lev Says:

        I certainly posited, but I did not claim to know.

        As for the Bible comment, I did not mean to suggest that you were ignorant. I did not mean to make any statement as to how accurate you believe the Bible is. I merely brought that up because the Bible is what shapes the Christian perception of God, but that is fallible. Any specific perception of God is inherently fallible.

        Why I think that a theory not grounded in the supernatural is more logical than a theory grounded in the supernatural is because the latter can be anything and does not demand actual rules.

        Why I don’t find God to be the result of logically sound reasoning is because that process explains something in this world by going out of the context of this world. Once it’s outside of the context of this world, it no longer needs definite laws. It only needed the law of there needing to be an explanation. But there are still scientific truths to discover, and the lack of definite knowledge should not demand assuming the otherworldly. To a man a thousand years ago, this laptop I am typing on is most certainly ‘otherworldly’. Furthermore, even if the origin of all that we know is in fact the result of a supernatural force, why that force must be the Christian God is beyond me.

        Also, I’m sorry that I seemed to have accused you of not being anti-science. I did not mean to do that. I’m just saying that the physical world is understood through science. Where the beginning of everything physical comes from might not be capable of being explained through science, but it potentially is. You seem to *know* that the beginning of the universe is inherently inexplicable, but you really don’t need to jump to that conclusion. It hinders progress otherwise. And we might never be able to find that hypothetical scientific solution, but we will try. The theories I mentioned are also not inherently wrong, just as God is not inherently wrong. I agree that a cyclical universe has little grounding outside of science fiction, but it is also not automatically wrong. But let’s not talk about that at the moment. I agree, it’s not grounded in very much. However, don’t dismiss time simply being infinite just yet. That is a leading theory among many modern-day theoretical physicists who clearly think it complies with the laws of nature.

        As for your challenge of proving that murder is wrong, I submit that you have me there. I acknowledge that all is not explained through physical science. The spiritual and moral worlds are understood better through philosophy, and philosophy allows heavy debate, far more than science, but it still utilizes logic. Humans come to conclusions through logic, which, I will add, does not have to be independent from our emotions.

        But God *is* the result of logic, you say! If you look at the reality of the situation, it demands there be a God, right? As you know, what I say to that is that a solution of God is not practical because it is just the result of not seeing at that moment a reason that extrapolates from the laws of our experience in this world. The very concept of the beginning of the universe is particularly philosophical, yes, because it must ask the question of whether something came before the physical, and if so, must then bridge the gap between our science that defines that physical and whatever came before. If there is a bridge, it is reliable, but if all you come to is “God did it,” then my response is just “well, okay, but how does that broaden my understanding?” One can always say “God did it” to anything when you don’t know the answer otherwise. Simply because of that, it does not convince me when it is used. And note that this still all assumes that there was a time before our physical world, and we also do not know that.

        All of human understanding I find comes from some sort of experience. Even the abstract and conceptual is rooted in some experience. Even answers found through math are found through our experience of them being consistent, and of math being able to represent things that are physical, as we can tell from our experience. Logic is always with some grounding such as that. Accounting God with the creation of the universe goes outside of all possible experience. Because of that, It’s as possible as anything else we haven’t disproven, but we also can’t know that it is true until we have that experience of seeing God do something, and that is the only thing that could even begin putting us on a track of being able to prove it.

        You might want to say the same thing about infinity, but that is at least dependent on math, which is in turn dependent on our experience of math being a consistent way to describe, or in the least approximate our physical world. I don’t mean that infinity must be actual and evident in the physical world, but it has more grounding that God, which doesn’t even have the backbone (albeit a potentially fallible backbone) of mathematical logic behind it. i do believe that math is a man-made construct, but it is a construct that extrapolates from experience. Our perception isn’t always accurate, though, and that’s where flaws lie. But again, our experience is all that we have to go off of.

        God is only an extrapolation of human experience in that we don’t know things and that seems to infer a God.

        Another point, I never claimed matter created itself. I agree, it is not a radical and necessarily Theistic proposal to say that matter could not have created itself.

        And the reason that I said considering God was foolhardy is because there is no way of knowing either way. Perhaps my understanding is wrong, but I always thought that God could not be proven or unproven. What makes religion meaningful to the religious is faith, not proof. After all, with proof, what is the need for faith?

      • Medicine Melancholy Says:

        When people as questions like “What was before the universe”, they’re misunderstanding. Likely, there is simply no such defined time.

        The universe can’t have existed for infinity in it’s current form because of Olbers’ paradox and the second law of thermodynamics.

        In reality we don’t even know what time is, really.

        The idea of God solves nothing. The main issue is one of complexity. Evolution is too complex, yet the being that created everything, that’s okay.

        If there is any kind of God, he probably grew up with the universe himself.

        If something is eternally existing, you have to ask how did it get there? The distinctions you make are not universally accepted. We have no evidence of “Self existent” beings”. And don’t give me “the evidence is all around you” when there are so many explanations that fit that just as well.

        It bothers me when people who don’t really know anything about physics claim to have a better answer than those with do, and proceed to back it up with rather simplistic logic and little evidence.

        I don’t you know much about concepts such as the paradox I mentioned yet you still think the Bible is better at determining the nature of the universe than science.

    • Lev Says:

      To Josh, I am starting from my own experience. From that I can tell that much of experience may be flawed, but I also admit that to function I must assume something. I assume science is correct because as far as my experience has ever told me, it works, just as much as I assume my thoughts and emotions are real because I have never found them not to be. I assume people are real as I have never found them not to be. Etc. To start from either the position of God existing or not existing is to start at an arbitrary conclusion. That is incredibly illogical. I did not start from the belief that God does not exist. I don’t care if God exists. My experiences have never lead me to believe either way in God.

      Also, I have to admit, I don’t think nihilism is essentially wrong. But I do think it is essentially unproductive, which is why I consider myself more existentialist.

    • tennapel Says:

      I get that we can’t fully know God, but a lack of knowledge isn’t proof that we’re necessarily wrong about God. Our knowledge of God does not have to be inherently wrong, it’s no different than how wrong we can be about gravity. Given my lack of study about gravity, I’m positive I’m wrong about certain things regarding gravity, but that doesn’t make gravity inherently unknowable. Someone can jettison all logic regarding God, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to be doing that.

      There’s nothing about a supernatural God than demands we remove logic or even observation of the world from our findings. Supernature may very well leave skid-marks in the physical world that describes Godly causation. It’s no different than how we look at animals that could have evolved and reverse engineer a rational theory about what happened, even though there is no observable evidence of species being made before our eyes. We look at a mutating virus, and extrapolate man’s evolution from bacteria. It’s done all the time in science. In fact, it’s really how we know almost everything we know.

      I never said that the Creator had to be the Christian God. The presence of a physical universe only demands a non-physical Creator. We commonly call him “God”.

      “Where the beginning of everything physical comes from might not be capable of being explained through science, but it potentially is.”

      That’s all I’m saying. We’re largely in agreement if you concede this.

      “I acknowledge that all is not explained through physical science.”

      Again, we agree on the big stuff.

      One can always say “God did it” to whatever you don’t have direct evidence for. One can also say “All matter got here without a creator.” or “All species, morality and meaning are the result of purely physcial, blind accidents in the materials.” Lots of scientists do it. Some explanations have more explanatory power than others, and a supernatural Creator is a pretty dang good one. It’s not a cheat, because it’s rational to think that physical matter doesn’t make itself and that it didn’t exist forever in the past. I’m not filling in the blanks with a giant flying spaghetti monster, I’m offering a rational explanation that’s the best one going.

      “And the reason that I said considering God was foolhardy is because there is no way of knowing either way. Perhaps my understanding is wrong, but I always thought that God could not be proven or unproven.”

      A supernatural Creator is reasonably proven by existence of specified, complex, moral beings. The proof is everywhere, it’s the hypothesis that’s missing, which I just provided. You haven’t offered a refutation of my hypothesis. Running behind “our experience is fallible” isn’t enough to refute what I’ve offered.

      “What makes religion meaningful to the religious is faith, not proof.”

      Completely false. I’m a man of little faith, and it’s the proof of existence that strengthens my knowledge. The more I learn about the world, man and meaning the more convinced I become. Proof builds my faith, my faith doesn’t build my proof.

      “After all, with proof, what is the need for faith?”

      Faith is trusting in the proofs you have. You do it every day. To lean on proofs, stand on proofs, believe your proofs is faith. I don’t entirely blame you for this wrong view of faith and proof, given it’s largely been dispersed by Christians since the Enlightenment. I blame them.

      • Bethany Says:

        If I may revive this discussion with a [possibly] final point.

        On August 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm, you said:

        “Accounting God with the creation of the universe goes outside of all possible experience. Because of that, It’s as possible as anything else we haven’t disproven, but we also can’t know that it is true until we have that experience of seeing God do something, and that is the only thing that could even begin putting us on a track of being able to prove it.”

        At this juncture I would like to bring forward the fields of history, journalism, and archaeology in the discussion. I’m not entirely sure how much credence you give these fields given your heavy reliance on science, but I will assume that these fields have as much fallible and provable credibility as science, math and philosophy.

        You say that everything you understand is through experience. But you also know that there are things which are factual which you yourself have not experienced. These things you learn from other people who experience them first hand, or people you consider reliable who have learned them from other reliable sources. Modern day journalism and history books also fall in this category. Furthermore, you trust these sources because they are self-correcting, due to the community dedicated to making sure that the facts reported are accurate.

        Perhaps you would not be surprised if this is not only a modern practice, but that this community of accountability has occurred at many times and places throughout history. This is where archaeology comes in.

        There have been many documents written throughout history, some so old that originals do not exist. Many documents have been lost this way (consider Homer’s epics, only 2 books survive of many). The only books that survived are those which contemporaries, and those who followed them, considered valuable and meaningful enough to copy over and over again.

        This is the case for Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and many others. The Bible is among these kinds of documents (and if you study the facts, the number and quality of manuscripts supporting the accuracy to biblical authors’ original words meets or exceeds the standards of these other commonly accepted works).

        In addition to the Bible’s reliability to the original author’s work, the Bible has many characteristics that make it provable, historical, even up to modern journalism standards. Biblical authors name specific people who lived at specific times in places we can still find today (with a few exceptions). In addition to that, it records stories in a matter-of-fact way. It does not give great praise to the heroes, nor does it paint them in a particularly flattering light. These are the characteristics of something that is factually accurate.

        Furthermore, considering the beliefs of the characters involved, these writings would not have been passed on if contemporaries did not also find them to be true.

        Ok, so now that I have established the reliability of the Bible, at least to the author’s own words, as well as the contemporary accountability, we can turn to the content, and I can at least challenge your claim that no one has had a physical experience of God.

        The stories the Bible tells, once again, are not merely moral lessons for the teaching of future generations (and I would also like to point out that in the vast majority of these stories, faith and obedience to God is held up as the highest virtue, a virtue you will not find outside of Judaism, Christianity and Islam).

        Rather, these stories focus on concrete, physical interactions with a supernatural and culturally unique God.

        If we start with the original author’s own experiences, there is a bush on fire that does not burn, turning water into blood and other plagues, parting the Red Sea, water coming from rocks, etc. Later in the Bible, there is fire that comes from Heaven and consumes that which it falls upon, there are men who enter a furnace and do not burn, the sun standing still, and many other such encounters.

        When you move to the New Testament, you get a pregnant virgin, water turned to wine, sick healed, blind who can see, dead raised, and many, many more stories.

        Indeed, it is this very physically involved supernatural God who gets attention in the Bible. If experience is proof, God has been experienced. I would also like to point out that the same God introduced himself in real, experiential ways to people of several races and languages, both men and women, and with various occupations. All this took place over 4,000 years, and if you believe, he is still introducing himself today.

        Science cannot prove these encounters, not because they are illogical and false, but because they are the acts of one who has the wisdom to write the laws and the power to enforce them.

        If you start with the evidence, and not the assumption that God doesn’t exist, these interruptions of normal physical laws certainly point to a powerful extra-physical force and will. After a being such as this acts, I for one am inclined to take what he has to say about himself and the universe quite seriously.

      • Medicine Melancholy Says:

        Doug, what’s with this we business?

        The people that do that actually have an understanding of the natural world and largely have come to the conclusion that intelligent design is not the case. What’s worse is that creationists are largely some of the most either dishonest or delusional human beings that focus on the tiny minority that disagree, and try and make out the scientific consensus to be bunk and down to some insane liberal conspiracy.

        Even if some degree of “Faith” might be nice, this has dangerous implications.

        Faith is all well and good for individuals, but you can’t make scientific progress based on faith. And people like yourself who take offense to creationism not being taught on an equal podium with evolution are very much trying to push us into an intellectual dark age.

        You don’t need proof to believe in gods and fairies and it can be a nice comfort to humans bored with the apparent nature of reality. But when you start making “rational” decisions about the nature of reality and what we should do based on that, that’s when it becomes dodgy.

        What you say IS a cheat because again you still have to explain where the creator comes from. Making it “Non physical” doesn’t explain anything, the same logical ideas of complexity apply.

        It’s not the most logical explanation. If it is, then why do people who actually study the universe and how it works for a living tend towards thinking that’s unlikely? It doesn’t mean they’re right – but there still has to be a very reason why they’ve missed this so utterly.

        Again, it’ll all fall back on some ridiculous soshalist conspiracy.

        Morals are a perfectly logical concept for beings that possess any degree of empathy. There are scientific explanations for all of these, if you bother to read them. The nature of human experience is still a complete mystery, but that doesn’t mean you have to come up with nonsense like “Evolution is false”. There is certainly some degree of room for “spirituality”, but the ignorant dogma of creationism has no place.

      • tennapel Says:

        I mean, I’m flattered. But surely the arguments in my “Four Revolutionary Words” aren’t so threatening that they justify three rants, dumping every desperate canard, assertion and Fatheist claim known to Bill Maher. Do you have any more? Is this it? Did you get it all out? I’m here to provide a dumping ground for every atheist who wants to tell me how to raise my children.

      • Josh Says:

        MM, for all your “rationality”, you’re ranting quite a bit. Furthermore, your
        “rational” arguments fail to the most cursory fallacy check.

        You’ve fallen into the very logical fallacy that I described RIGHT ON THIS THREAD. Science intentionally makes no claims on the supernatural, and can make no claims on the supernatural.

        “If it is, then why do people who actually study the universe and how it works for a living tend towards thinking that’s unlikely?” Because you’re falsely limiting your definition of “people who actually study the universe” to scientists, who by the tenets of their field of expertise CANNOT use that expertise to posit the existence (or non-existence) of a Creator. Anyone who uses their credentials as a scientist to make claims about God is no scientist.

        As to the rest of your rants — in the real world, there’s not much of a market for the scalps of straw men.

    • Lev Says:

      First off, let me say that I was scared for a bit that you were legitimately offended and/or angered by my comments. But by your last response, you do appear to be truly calm and considerate. Thank you for that. Also, I take back my faith vs. proof point. I am used to debating people who had held that view. Although, I do want to say (as you said) that faith in proof is what any person has. Because of that, there is clearly still something special and different about faith in God. Faith in proof is what allows science to be reliable. Your ‘proof’ is not scientific proof, and I’ll touch upon that later. I do want to restate, though, that I respect your thoughts. I am not rebutting out of blind stubbornness, but rather wanting to actually flesh out my thinking and how it clashes with yours. Maybe the best conclusion we can come to is a better understanding of what the exact disconnect is, and to come to piece with that.

      Anyway, having said that, it appears that we have some dilemmas here. Mainly, I find God to be the lack of an answer whereas you see it as THE answer. Neither matter nor energy created itself, so you say that something else had to create it. That means God.

      To that, I say that you can’t just keep going back. The beginning of our universe is the beginning of our universe, and thus the extent of our understanding of it. We can understand it if it’s infinite, but if you assume that there was a point before everything that is, that point is, for all intents and purposes, non-existant to us. If we can have understanding of it, then it is in our universe, and we had just underestimated the scope of our universe. But to go hypothetically to a point before everything is akin to considering what happens after you die. It is, by definition, out of our awareness. If it turns out to be in our awareness, then we had underestimated the scope of our awareness (at no fault of our own, because we have no precedent for our awareness extending any further than the length of our own life.)

      This is all that we can empirically KNOW. Where God is demanded as an explanation is outside of the grandest theoretical extent of our universe, meaning we cannot actually know of God. It is just our explanation for the inexplicable. I still stand by that. The reason you believe it is a definite answer and not an excuse is because there are supposedly definite signs of God. So I’ll go back to your point of how neither matter nor energy could have created itself. This assumes that there was a time in which there was nothing. We can’t operate logically if there was a time that was nothing. The beginning of our universe is the beginning of our universe.

      As far as comparing “God did it.” to “All matter got here without a creator.” or “All species, morality and meaning are the result of purely physcial, blind accidents in the materials.”, well, yeah, the first of the latter is just as much of a fruitless assumption to make. Whether or not it got here with a creator, we shall explain what we can, extrapolating from empirical knowledge outwards. As for the second of the two, that is simply unfair, because our observation of the world does demand that it all begins with atoms and particles. It *is* incredible for blind accidents in the materials to result in all species, morality and meaning, but that does not make it unbelievable. It makes it amazing and awesome, but the fact that it can also be explained makes it far more beautiful in my mind that God simply having been able to do whatever the hell He wanted. You can’t explain morality and meaning through natural science, but the mechanisms that allowed humans to conceptualize those concepts were initially rooted in the physical.

      Now because I know you will still have your grievances, I feel like I should at least lay them out cleanly and tackle them in that way. I’m going to be repeating myself, but I really should make my thoughts more concise than the rambling in the rest of this and my other posts.

      Evidence that God is the creator:

      1) “Physical matter doesn’t make itself and it didn’t exist forever in the past.”

      2) “A supernatural Creator is reasonably proven by existence of specified, complex, moral beings.”

      My rebuttal to the first is that physical matter, or more likely, energy, just simply existed at the beginning. Its existence might extend infinitely into the past if time extends infinitely into the past, a concept which I am not as prepared to reject as you. And if time does have a definite beginning, as I said earlier, there can’t be something before that beginning, just as our consciousness most likely doesn’t exist after our brain stops working.

      To the second, my response is that the existence of complex, moral beings does not inherently necessitate a creator. It just means that you underestimate the capability of the natural world to sustain itself and for infinite complexity and beauty to arise from chaos. I would even prefer to see nature spiritually than to look to God, who is an arbitrary manifestation that exists wholly apart from our world of awareness. If you see God as nature, than I can actually agree with you, but you have to remember that nature can be explained.

      • TenNapel Says:

        “Where God is demanded as an explanation is outside of the grandest theoretical extent of our universe, meaning we cannot actually know of God.”

        Lev, I don’t know where you get this but it doesn’t make any sense. You seem to have a lot of preconceived notions of God that aren’t very well thought out.

        If a being external to our universe wants to be known, He can be known. There’s nothing inherent about God, or anything outside of the material universe, that is necessarily unknowable. There is a false definition of knowledge that claims something can only be known if it’s physical. But you know that murder is wrong, and you know it directly, yet that property has no physical presence in the universe. Truths tend to be immaterial, in fact, we only know physical properties because of immaterial truths that put them in context.

        There is no war between knowledge, God and science. There is only conflict among Materialists because they demand that all non-material be called false. That’s a religious statement I don’t subscribe to. You can’t even embrace causation, observation, or simple inference without using immaterial ideas. Science has a parasitic relationship with non-physical propositional statements.

      • Lev Says:

        Firstly, that was not a preconception, but the result of some thinking and consideration of God. I’ll explain later.

        Secondly, the building blocks are what is physical. the immaterial is initially *allowed* by the physical. It’s like unlocking a key. We would not have had the ability to contemplate philosophy if it weren’t for our brains existing in the first place. I agree that it is man that manufactures and considers concepts, not atoms, but the atoms compose the man that does that. We can generate concepts as abstract as we want them to be, but the nature of the physical world is a definite thing, and that physical world is the initial gateway through which we perceive everything. There is objective science for the physical world. We explain the universe through science, not the supernatural. We explain morality and other such concepts through philosophy, but as the beginning of the universe is a physical event and not a conceptual one (we assume) it should be explored through science. Extending before the point of beginning is nonsensical, because as far as we extend merely makes that point the newly realized beginning. Beginning is beginning, there is no before beginning.

        So back to God being outside the extent of our universe … God is demanded as an explanation when we ask “what was there before the beginning?” But this is a point outside of the grandest theoretical extent of our universe.

        So then the only other place that I can see God somehow being evident in our universe is on the conceptual plane, the one dominated by our thoughts, because after all, our thoughts aren’t physical so some supernatural power must endow us with them. Well, no … the countless connections and electrical impulses and biological manifestations that compose the brain are what allow us to think.

        This doesn’t mean that our thoughts are arbitrary and that without the one definite word of God we are all lost to a nihilistic despair, coupled with murder and debauchery. Logic is still a thing. We acknowledge logic. This world has a logical order from point one, there is no reason it must stop when we start thinking. So man has logic. We have emotions too, and instinctual urges, yet somehow it all works out. I mean, those involved with the writing of the Bible sure knew that murder was a bad thing.

        So yeah, the immaterial is a pretty impressive thing, but it’s not supernatural. It’s not God. Unless you just want to call it that. And if you want to, whatever, go ahead.

      • Lev Says:

        By the way, I acknowledge that you might have better things to do than debating with some annoying, miscellaneous commentator who can’t get it into their mind that God is evident all around them.

        You do a very cool thing for a living, and I do want you to get back to that. I am sincerely a fan. You are far more skilled than me, and that is reason alone to look up to you. And perhaps more essentially, you are truly creative. Just to bring the point home, I do not want your lasting impression of me to be some random douche.

        So rebut if you want to, but I in no way hold you to it. I understand your main points: matter could not have created itself, we exist and are even thinking about this, etc. There probably won’t be much to change you from seeing all that as irrefutable evidence of God, or me from failing to see how that in any way suggests a God. And I did explain myself … extensively (at least word count-wise, you can debate the substance of it.)

      • tennapel Says:

        ” the immaterial is initially *allowed* by the physical.”

        But we’ve already agreed that matter (the physical) can’t make itself. It had to be predated by a Mind. The physical is allowed by the immaterial, not the other way around. It’s likely the same way for everything. Without an immaterial relationship, state of mind or meaning there isn’t even a need for the physical to incarnate.

        Or as C.S. Lewis said, “You do not have a soul, you are a soul. you have a body.”

        ” Beginning is beginning, there is no before beginning.”

        But there must be adequate cause for the beginning. Something for whatever reason you refuse to address. This is a pretty inelegant dodge on your part. It’s perfectly rational to ask, “What is the adequate cause of the Big Bang” then you say that only God can be demanded when we ask what was before the beginning. For the record, there whole wings of universities dedicated to the question of what caused the Big Bang. Perfectly scientific. The question doesn’t just exist to create room for God. It’s a legit, rational, necessary question.

        “Well, no … the countless connections and electrical impulses and biological manifestations that compose the brain are what allow us to think.”

        That is materialist drivel. People have Out of Body Experiences on the operating table and they see things they couldn’t know. The mind appears to live at least for a short time independent of the “connections, electrical impulses and biological manifestations”. Trust me, Lev, Materialism makes people dumber. It’s not good science, it’s bad philosophy.

        “So yeah, the immaterial is a pretty impressive thing, but it’s not supernatural. It’s not God. Unless you just want to call it that. And if you want to, whatever, go ahead.”

        I didn’t defend supernature (which is identical to the immaterial) as if it were God. I only use it to refute Materialism as a World View. If you believe in immaterial then you’re not a Materialist. Not all immaterial things are God, but He’s one of the immaterial things.

  3. Bethany Says:

    That sounds like a great exercise for teaching kids about the Bible and creation. I hope I remember it when I have my own.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Lev: “In the beginning, matter created itself” is a rational standpoint?

  5. Scott D. Says:

    Doug –

    This has been the way I teach my kids about about faith, the Bible, and God. I get flak from my parents about it, but my wife and I want our kids to have a genuine faith rather than to ride on our coattails. Thank you for this encouragement.

    My Pentateuch professor at (then) Multnomah Bible College would teach in this manner: He’d explain, with as little bias as possible, all of the sides of an argument and point out both the strengths and weakness of each. Then, and only then, would he state which side he held to and why. I try to do the same when explaining the Bible and Xtian faith to my children.


  6. The benevolent intelligent design of the universe is evident with the ancient mapping methodology explained in article #2 at http://iceagecivilizations.com, and Noah’s Ark has been found (http://noahsarksearch.net/eng, so these are bright days for biblical young earth creationism.

  7. Kathy Fullerton Says:

    My approach in teaching my children was to simply read through the Bible. It is amazing to do the Daily Bible because it provides thirty minutes (approximately) of old and new testament with a portion of a psalm and a portion of a proverb each day. It is shocking to see how many times in the readings, the new testament would somehow connect to whatever our old testament reading was for the day. This was without manipulation, just a result of straight reading from the beginning of each testament to the end. It was also interesting to see that the psalm would often express an emotion that related directly to the old testament story. Somehow, we all began to realize that the book was not random, but intricately designed. The message is consistent for anyone who does the work to seek it out.

    I tried to remember that Genesis would have been given as oral tradition to those initial recipients. Reading aloud to the kids mimicked this tradition. When read aloud, there is no question that Genesis is meant to be taken as history. Genesis and Revelation are the keys to understanding from where we come and where we will all eventually end up.

    After each reading, I would ask the kids what stood out to them in the story. We would discuss whatever they thought was interesting or something they had never realized. Some times they would say, I can’t believe God is allowing this, or why is God like that or why did men live so long back then? That is when the real teaching moments began. Even if every question is not answered, as you continue to read, God does His own answering. The book reveals His personality. It is the only way to truly know the One who created it all.

    Whether someone thinks this is foolish is irrelevant. Truth is truth, and ultimately, the Truth will be known by all.

  8. M Kitchen Says:

    This post made me smile.
    I can relate to everything you wrote here.
    Well said!


  9. Doug, This is very well written, and very refreshing to hear. It’s wonderful to know that someone I look up to in the comic industry loves God (and Jesus I presume)…….. (that’s where people really get offended).

    Take care.

  10. Benjamin (Benmanben) Says:

    Ah, but hope is an important part of faith. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen.”

    • tennapel Says:

      You emphasize hope, but I think the important part of that is the substance. You don’t got substance and all of the hope and faith in the world is worthless. You’re not saved by faith, you’re saved by what you put your faith in and it had better be solid.

      • Benjamin (Benmanben) Says:

        Yes, I understand what you mean.
        I just wanted to make sure you weren’t completely disregarding hope.
        I recognize that we cannot simply believe in what we individually dream to be ideal.
        But isn’t all faith a faith in God and Christ? Isn’t that TRUE faith? Faith comes from the Holy Spirit, and so it can only be in the trinity.

        By the way, are you Catholic? I understood you to be so.

      • tennapel Says:

        I’m not a Catholic. I’m Protestant. Though I admit, that my protestation is pretty mild.

        Hope is good, but it’s a secondary thing. It’s entirely reliant on the primary thing so we should always emphasize the primary thing, not the secondary one. If you chase the secondary thing, you can go wrong about primary things. But if you get the primary thing right, then you’ll often get the secondary thing thrown in at no additional charge.

  11. Benjamin (Benmanben) Says:

    Okay, I’m a protestant too.
    I was just wondering because a review of one of you comic books mentioned you were pushing “Catholic dogma.”
    I suppose many people unfamiliar with Christianity seem to think all Christians are Roman Catholics.

    • TenNapel Says:

      I’ve wanted to tell a story where the hero is an atheist, a Scientologist or a Mormon. Mostly to show that just because a hero has a culturally familiar religious world view, that the author doesn’t have to actually practice that world view. When my characters push “science dogma” nobody accuses me of being a scientist.

      There are really good reasons for characters in stories to practice Catholicism… look at The Godfather. Catholicism looks way better than any other religion going today. They have such amazing gothic iconography, architecture, rituals, it just feels ancient and literary. Showing an evangellical church or an atheist-humanist club meeting just doesn’t pack the same punch!

      Plus many of my favorite authors and thinkers were Catholic. I read a LOT of Chesterton, Tolkien and St. Thomas Aquinas. Catholics rule.

      • Benjamin (Benmanben) Says:

        But don’t you worry that people would think YOU were an athiest? It would imply that, and it isn’t good for people to see you as an athiest.

  12. Benjamin (Benmanben) Says:

    Your protestantism is pretty mild, meaning you aren’t a liberal Christian, I’m assuming.

  13. george burger Says:

    Your four words from the bible says it all (in a matter of speaking)Happy for your biblical principled information. Bible: Romans 8 says, “We are saved by hope etc.,” So those that lack faith can reach for faith through hope. So the doubter can find reassurance
    by hope that will lead to faith.

  14. Medicine Melancholy Says:

    I think it’s dishonest to say you don’t push your kids into Christianity when you use weighted language like this –

    “I start my kids off by preparing them to not be believers in God. I tell them that this book is mocked as false by some people in the world, that they might one day lose their job in a university setting for claiming this book is true, and that it can be a difficult book to believe. ”

    You’re setting them up to have a martyr complex which is one tactic I’ve noticed born agains use to pray on children.

    There’s nothing difficult to believe about Genesis if then you just need to come up with some crazy rationalisation like “Well, obviously the truth has to be confusing and complicated”, yet such complications and confusions within evolution are unacceptable.

    Someone is most likely to be a protestant Christian in the US, just as they are most likely to be a Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh in India, and this remains despite the rise of the Internet and global culture presenting everyone with many options. If you were truly offering a neutral ground, they would likely not become Christian.

    And then they would not be one of your favourite people.

    If you wanted them to make up their own minds, you would present them with many alternatives and assure them there are countless more, without favouring one over the other. Or just leave them alone.


    • I’m preparing them for martyrdom because they will likely enter into a world of work and academics by people who act like you. I mean, they let people who think like you drive a 2,000 pound bullet down the road. It’s wise to educate our kids about folks like you. That’s all.

  15. will le fey Says:

    It was also translated by the people responsible for Castlevania II, except not as amusing. No “Don’t look into the death star or you will die” or anything so wonderful.

    Gormenghast is beautifully written but it’s not my reality.

    • Josh Says:

      Not sure exactly what you’re referring to here, Will, but you do know there’s more than one English translation of the Bible, right?

  16. will le fey Says:

    re: unicorns

    Since I can’t reply directly and really couldn’t understand what you were trying to say anyway…

    depends on what you consider a unicorn.

    (a deer with a deformity)

    Ever seen an oryx? If one of them lost a horn in a fight, someone could mistake it for a unicorn.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elasmotherium


  17. […] the graphic novel series, Hero, by Stephen Lawhead, and the works of Intelligent Design propoent Doug TenNapel, such as Creature Tech. However, when I read, “John Piper is about to release his first […]


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