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Deluded by Men

19 Dec
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I have been studying and commenting upon a video series on YouTube: Why I Am No Longer a Christian, produced by a young atheist named Chris. In two of his videos: Deconversion—Other Christians (part 1 & part 2), Chris didn’t really come out and say that he was disappointed with other Christians, but he left that impression, in that he but not other Christians he knew personally had the courage to pursue the truth no matter where that journey ended. Therefore, if not in word, at least by implication Chris seems to agree with his professor friend that Chris’s Christian friends were like other theists who were ‘deluded automatons.’

On the other hand, I have discovered in my own Christian walk that every intellectually inclined author whom I have read has come up disappointing me in one way or another. I am surprised with the seemingly premature subjective conclusions made by Christian and non-Christian authors alike. Almost every author I’ve read, no matter what his worldview, who has not disappointed me in one way or another, when that one was appealing to my reason or intellect. Men, no matter who they are, will disappoint at least some people. No one is able to fully convince everyone of his point of view about everything, while appealing to their reason. So, if non-intellectuals disappoint and are considered deluded automatons (according to Chris and his professor friend), how much more should intellectually inclined authors be considered disappointing and foolish when their conclusions are so obviously premature and subjective?

I could put forth an example here of an author mentioned by Chris in his video series. In 1879 Robert Ingersoll published his book entitled, The Mistakes of Moses. Sometime I would like to do a series of blogs on this book, but for now a few observations will have to do. In his book Ingersoll criticizes biblical writers’ terminology as unscientific and even ridicules the Biblical writers’ explanations. Nevertheless, if I were to examine his work only from the standpoint of today’s scientific understanding, I could point to great errors and even ridiculous notions of understanding the creation of the earth and our solar system. For example, Ingersoll believed the universe was only 5 million light years in any one direction or 10 million light years in diameter. Yet, today, scientists believe the observable universe is at least some 90 billion light years in diameter. Five million may have been very scientific in Mr. Ingersoll’s day, but his figure is at least as ridiculous to modern readers as what he presumed Moses’ explanations were in his day. Moreover, Mr. Ingersoll laughs at Samson and his foxes, but considers the Nebular Hypothesis scientific. Even modern science would largely agree with him. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem possible that a nebula (cloud of dust and gas) would contract into our sun when clouds naturally expand. Although tentative calculations have been made by British astrophysicist and mathematician, James Jeans, for a massive enough nebula to collapse instead of expanding, it seems to fall apart when placed within the timeframe of the Big Bang Theory. Jeans nebula would have to be about the same mass as a globular cluster (hotter than 100,000 of our suns) in order to collapse into a star. The truth is, according to Harvard Professor of Science, Abraham Loeb, “we don’t understand star formation at a fundamental level.”[1]

I could go on to show other problems with the Nebular Hypothesis, but the point is that Ingersoll’s remarks are both premature and subjective. There is no proof for how a star is formed. Yet, believers in creationism are criticized as deluded automatons as though their critics had everything figured out. They don’t!

Personally, I feel drawn toward apologetics, probably because I love puzzles and mysteries. I am delighted to find my faith questioned in order that I may find a satisfactory answer to those questions—not necessarily to convince my opponent, but to satisfy myself that my belief in that particular matter is sound. My problem is that I am not so tuned in to objectivity that I am able to question my faith on my own. Rather, I do better when I can see what non-Christians come up with in an effort to refute my Christian faith. They provide the ‘extra eyes’ I need for a more thorough objectivity.

I used to peruse the Christian discussion boards, so I could debate with other Christians or non-Christians. It wasn’t long before I discovered that I preferred to debate with people who completely rejected Christianity, like Jews or atheists/agnostics. I soon discovered that neither do Christian apologists have all the answers, at least not in the books I had bought and read. There was still a lot of mental gymnastics I had to answer on my own. I didn’t mind that so much, because I wanted to own my understanding. I didn’t want to be too dependent upon any one author. Nevertheless, I found it very disappointing that often their arguments were so easily dismissed in the real world (but they are getting better at what they do). Some authors’ arguments were so out of date that I found myself embarrassed with how swiftly I was put in my place by more proficient debaters from the opposing flanks, equipped with more reasonable data. What I disliked most about those Christian authors was their books remained on the market, even though it was embarrassing to repeat their arguments on a public forum. Sometime later, however, I learned that it was not necessarily the author who controlled such matters. It was the publisher who allowed the books to remain on the market. So, I guess it is better to blame the publishing houses for profiting on outdated arguments that I found embarrassing to present to unbelievers.

The point is that it is folly to place one’s trust in men, whether we are speaking of a popular individual or the current “answer for everything” developed in the schools of men. We will fail one another, intellectually. I will fail you, and you will fail me—sometime on some subject matter. We all end up disappointing one another, perhaps even deluding ourselves that what we currently believe about God or science is the “answer to everything!” This is what I perceive occurred to Chris. His Christian brethren didn’t fail him in how they treated him or how they lived as Christians, at least this wasn’t his argument. Rather, he perceived they failed him, because they were not as intellectual as he perceives himself to be, and on this premise alone he seems ashamed to be numbered with them.

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[1] Quoted by Marcus Chown, “Let there be light”, New Scientist—February 1998.

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2 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2014 in atheism, naturalism

 

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2 responses to “Deluded by Men

  1. Brian Howell

    December 20, 2014 at 12:56

    A pleasure to brush by you again, Ed. It seems we’ve drawn some similar conclusions about our understanding of the God we serve, and the world He seeks. While I can’t resist the temptation occasionally to scrap with others on the internet, honestly and ultimately, for the satisfaction of knowing I can outwit others in a theological/philisophical game of chess, I’ve become bored with such activity because it doesn’t seem to be an efficient means of leading others to Christ. There are rare exceptions, but for me, it’s largely a form of entertainment that does nothing to further the Kingdom.

    It’s not knowledge, obviously, that keeps men from salvation. It’s a hard heart toward submitting to God’s sovereignty; whatever else it hides behind, that’s essentially the rub. The average person out there would rather continue his delusion of control, to his own destruction, rather than submit to his Creator and live abundantly forever.

    That doesn’t negate our Savior’s charge to us to be witnesses for the Good News. But more and more as I age, I’m convinced that that witness has to begin with our own obedience to God’s love.

    “If we speak in the tongues of angels, but have not love…”

    I’m learning that the hard way, but God is growing me up in Christ, inch by inch. May the blessings and promises of Christ Jesus be upon the hearts of you and yours, Ed. Or, dare I say, “Merry Christmas!”

     
    • Eddie

      December 21, 2014 at 06:17

      Greetings Brian, and welcome. Thanks for your comment and Merry Christmas to you too.

      Looks like we attend the same school: “I’m learning the hard way…” If my heart is so hard that this is true about me, how does God ever get through to folks who simply don’t want to listen. It amazes me to think about the subtle power of God, like a light turned on in the darkness, something clicks in the hearts of folks who need him. It pleases me to think we can have a part in that, but I’m glad, if I do, I don’t know of it occurring often. I’ve been an arrogant fool for many years, but God has me working on a better way on the down side of life. I just wish it didn’t take so long for me to understand.

      You are correct, knowledge has little if anything to do with the rebellion of mankind. I have had recent discussions with facebook friends, but even when they have no answers, they cling to their disbelief, saying: “well I guess I’ll just have to study more for the next discussion…” It is, indeed, the heart. It always is–mine, yours and theirs. While we need to have ours expanded, they need to open theirs.

      Lord bless you, Brian in all you do for him.

       

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