Sunday, March 30, 2008

The New Priests of Materialism

To continue my answer to the friend who asked me how I reconciled the natural record with the Biblical account of Creation...

On the one hand, I believe the Bible lays out a timeline in which the creation of the earth precedes the creation of man by an unknown, possibly very long time which could account, to some degree, for the geologic ages science hypothesizes. That's not to say I believe evolution was the mechanism by which the plants and animals have developed. Frankly I think that takes more faith than believing God's word.

My thought, and what I told my friend, is that ultimately it depends on what you are going to make your final authority for truth. Is it going to be the Word of God (rightly divided and taught from the original languages) or will it be the natural record?

Antagonists protest that the word of God was "written by men". I would respectfully submit that the natural record has been observed and recorded by men, as well, the facts that comprise it having been observed, assembled and evaluated by men. If the word of God is not to be trusted or believed because it was "written by men," why should we trust or believe the natural record which has also been written by men?

Furthermore, while the Bible claims to be the word of God communicated through men who were believers filled with the Holy Spirit, the natural record makes no such claim. Yet I am being asked to believe, by faith, that it is true. In fact, I'm being asked to believe a number of things by faith:

1) That all the pertinent data needed to answer the question of where we came from can be gathered by men -- souls in fragile bodies of water with such severe limitations we not only can't leave the planet without dying, we can't even live on the greater part of its surface area. Men who are subject to disease, dementia, aging, etc, limited in their five senses and who live only a century at most, yet presume to make assumptions and draw dogmatic conclusions about events that occurred billennia ago.

2) That all the pertinent data has indeed been gathered.

3) That that data was gathered in accordance with proper technique and scientific method.

4) That man is able to correctly evaluate that data because he has the necessary frame of reference and understanding to do so.

5) That the men who have assembled the information and have evaluated it and come to conclusions, have done so from a totally unbiased desire to know the truth, whatever that may be.

6) And that they have arrived at their conclusions from an honest review of data that is actually there, not just that which they wish was there. Or believe one day will be there.

Even without considering any of the so-called "evidence" this seems like a lot of things to take on faith, especially coming from a discipline that denigrates faith and likes to put forth the deception that everything they say is based on hard fact. Well, even if it is -- and I don't believe so -- much of what they claim "proves" evolution, makes no sense to me. I really don't know what they are talking about, and cannot follow their justifications.

For example, scientists have calculated the precise moment of the Big Bang, we read, down to the very second. This is an event they say occurred BILLIONS of years ago. Common sense resists the claim that because some man manipulated a bunch of numbers, this now "proves" not only that the Big Bang occurred, but when. And how.

The mathematician/physicist may believe the accuracy of his calculations, and others of his discipline may agree, but not being a mathematician or physicist myself, it's all gobbledygook to me. Thus I can only take their word for it. I have to believe, by faith, that they know what they're talking about and that they're right, because I have no ability to determine the soundness and accuracy of their calculations for myself.

Ditto paleontologists' assessments and claims regarding the fossil record. I'm not a paleontologist, so I don't know what the fossil record really has to say. I can only believe that those people who are experts in the matter, have done everything right and are therefore correct.

Which draws a very neat parallel with the insiders of a religion -- eg, the temple priests who served the pagan gods. Or the oracles who would tell people what would happen or what did happen as they supposedly heard from the gods. The people couldn't prove otherwise. They had to take it on faith.

We're in the same position today, only now it's scientists and "experts" who have become the priests of the new religion of materialism. And evolution is a part of that religion. Which many of its proponents freely admit.