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Granville Sewell on the backlash against ID

Why Are They So Angry?
Granville Sewell

There are a lot of articles out there on the web intended to refute my writings on Intelligent Design, but if there is one that isn’t full of anger and personal insults, I haven’t located it yet. Other ID proponents have experienced similar reactions to their writings, and must have also wondered, why are they so angry? I think we all know that the source of this anger is not, as our critics claim, a fear that drawing the obvious conclusions from the scientific evidence for design in Nature threatens the foundations of science.

It is clear to me that we will never reach many of these people by simply uncovering more evidence, or strengthening our arguments: the better our logic, the more angry they become. The source of this anger no doubt lies outside the world of science.

MORE: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/sewell/articles/anger.html

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45 Responses to Granville Sewell on the backlash against ID

  1. I’ve noticed that many of loudest atheist come from strict religious upbringings.

    I wonder if I might not be one if I had not been raised with an emphasis on a loving, forgiving God.

  2. Loving and forgiving – but also just. The Bible continually reminds us that Jesus will judge the earth at the end of time. And – contrary to Sunday School lessons – Jesus actually talked more about Hell then he did Heaven. Scary…

    If I didn’t have a balanced understanding of God’s grace, atheism might sound more attractive then it does.

    I think the problem lies with Christians not teaching the whole truth about what they believe. Some swing one way and relentlessly preach hell and judgement without grace. And some emphasize a Mister Rogers God that doesn’t care about justice and righteousness. Both ring false to the atheist at heart.

  3. Sewell is awesome.

  4. The idea of an eternal hellfire where God tortures people forever is probably near the heart of atheism. They see it as a contradiction, and they are right to because it isn’t, in fact, sensible. If that pagan myth is ever banished from Christianity, and people see that God isn’t some vindictive dictator, they’ll like Him a lot better than they do now. It certainly made a huge difference in my faith.

  5. I can’t speak for Sewell in particular, but in my experience scientists are angered by the claims that the ID movement has overturned decades of scientific research without actually doing any of their own.

  6. faithandshadow:
    “If that pagan myth is ever banished from Christianity”

    Of course this kind of statement ignores the fact that almost everything we know about this “hellfire” was stated by the Commander and Chief of Christianity Jesus Christ.

    In fact, count them, you find almost exactly 2 times the number of references to hell by Christ than his references to heaven.

    So, if the God of Christianity was mistaken on this one point, perhaps he was mistaken on all or others. In any case, we all lose and Chrisitanity falls. For, if the gospel records are not in fact accurate we have no other complete and reliable sources to know anything about Jesus Christ.

    Thus, such a statement either denies that Christ spoke these things – in which case we end up with no further complete and reliable sources of anything about him; or, admitting that he said, it accuses him of being a pagan in promoting a “pagan myth”.

    And furthermore, the references to “hell” in scripture go back way before the time of Christ.

    You cannot pick and choose amongst the commandments or words of Christ – taking those you like and ignoring those you don’t. He does not offer such paltry allegiances.

    Hell is the penitentiary, the insane asylum, of the moral universe.

    If there is no hell, there ought to be one.

    Otherwise no real justice will ever be done for the infinite dammages laid upon the universe by the rebellious who have disobeyed the law of love to do what is right in their own eyes.

    As the author of the Ecclesiates said, “One sinner destroys much good”.

    This “pagan myth” theory of hell is by no means Christian. Not can it ever be, not while admitting the truth of our most reliable sources of historical information about him – the scriptures and especially the gospels.

    But if one denies that then there is little left to go on is there.

  7. I love this comment:

    It is clear to me that we will never reach many of these people by simply uncovering more evidence, or strengthening our arguments: the better our logic, the more angry they become.

    Sewell has backwards. What frosts us, Mr. Sewell, is that when the logically fallacies Dawinists employ to bolster their case are clearly spelled out, they simply refuse to admit it. “Better logic” on the part of Darwinists would mean fallacy free logic!

  8. Chris Hyland // Nov 24th 2006 at 2:53 pm

    I can’t speak for Sewell in particular, but in my experience scientists are angered by the claims that the ID movement has overturned decades of scientific research without actually doing any of their own.

    Comment by Chris Hyland — November 24, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

    How many ounces of gold were produced by the critics of alchemy? Were alchemists angered by the man on the street who scoffed at their enterprise?

  9. I didn’t say anything about hellfire. I said about God torturing people for eternity. Read before you react, all right?

  10. Chris Hyland:
    I can’t speak for Sewell in particular, but in my experience scientists are angered by the claims that the ID movement has overturned decades of scientific research without actually doing any of their own.

    In my experience that is total laughable nonsense.

  11. I am not a theologian and I do not feel comfortable talking about theology, I would much rather talk about the scientific evidence for design. But after 30 years of frustration, it has become clear to me that there are limits on the persuasive power of logic and evidence; sometimes you just have to try to understand why your critics are so angry.

    As we were putting the finishing touches on the plans to serve 250 Thanksgiving Day Dinners, I brought up Intelligent Design.

    What Sewell said is just about exactly how I put it- ID is for those not comfortable with religion and/ or the YEC PoV but not willing to blindly accept the purely materialistic PoV.

    Next I plan to show them what ID is about. I will start with my 3-hour ID challenge, and go from there.

  12. second post:
    “I didn’t say anything about hellfire. … Read before you react, all right?”

    Compared to first post : “The idea of an eternal hellfire…”

    Read your own words before you backlash. All right?

  13. “In my experience that is total laughable nonsense.” Obviously some scientists are thicker skinned than other so it doesn’t bother them. This is just my experience of course the scientists you talk to might think differently. What I haven’t seen any evidence of is that scientists see the evidence for design in nature and ignore it because it will change the foundations of science. I have several colleagues who see the evidence of design in nature but they are theistic evolutionists so they don’t think it’s science.

    “How many ounces of gold were produced by the critics of alchemy?”

    I’m afraid I don’t know much about alchemy but my understanding would be that it’s critics would have to prove that you couldn’t produce gold. Having said that scientists have turned lead into gold so the alchemists have the last laugh, although I don’t imagine they got their moneys worth.

    “Were alchemists angered by the man on the street who scoffed at their enterprise?”

    I don’t know whether that’s a good analogy or not. I guess in the blogosphere the idea is best put by David Heddle, but it is simply that if ID wants itself to be considered a scientific theory it has to do the research. I’m told by people here that it is being done so this might not be a problem soon but it is right now.

    Of course there are a lot of ID supporters that agree with that basic point, but the general impression given by the movement is that they think they deserve a place at the table with apparently barely having done any science to try and prove their ideas.

  14. Chris Hyland:

    I can’t speak for Sewell in particular, but in my experience scientists are angered by the claims that the ID movement has overturned decades of scientific research without actually doing any of their own.

    Chris Hyland points out a common attitude. You see, Darwinists own all, of the data of empirical science and they alone have total freedom to (mis)interpret it. No one else has the right to interpret published data. Other people have to go and get their own data. By this standard Max Planck was a thief because he found the quantum mechanical explanation of blackbody radiation without doing any of his own measurements, unfairly overturning decades of hard-won research based on assumptions of classical electromagnetism. I guess he did so out of shear laziness, piggybacking on the hard work of others without lifting a finger himself. Planck should be ashamed.

  15. Chris Hyland wrote, ” . . . the general impression given by the movement is that they think they deserve a place at the table with apparently barely having done any science to try and prove their ideas.”

    It’s a good thing ID and it’s close cousins have been at the table inspiring medical discoveries for over a hundred years. The assumption that unexplained biological entities (fluids, structures, processes) exist for a purpose has parented most medical breakthroughs.

    If scientists really rejected ID, then they wouldn’t bother looking any deeper into “junk DNA.”

    Neal Roys

  16. People looking dor specific “ID research” are missing the point. The point is, of course, for a scientist to conduct scientific research and be allowed to reach a design inference if that is what the data affords when considering all the possibilities.

    Ya see it was scientific research that led Gonzalez and Richards to a design inference for our universe. They basically told us where to look and what to look for if we are trying to locate a habitable planet- that is habitable for complex living organisms.

  17. Chris Hyland

    If these so-called scientists understood that ID is the theory that certain patterns found in nature are best explained by intelligent causation then perhaps they wouldn’t feel that so much work in science has been overturned.

  18. Matteo

    I fixed a formatting error in your comment.

    You hit the nail squarely on the head. Very nice.

  19. “By this standard Max Planck was a thief because he found the quantum mechanical explanation of blackbody radiation without doing any of his own measurements, unfairly overturning decades of hard-won research based on assumptions of classical electromagnetism.”

    The difference being that (I’m assuming) scientists agreed with his ideas. The idea the ID people should do more research is based on the idea that they haven’t proved their point. Of course if someone else uncovers something that proves ID I’m not going to complain that it doesn’t count because an ID scientist didn’t do it, but that hasn’t happened yet.

    “It’s a good thing ID and it’s close cousins have been at the table inspiring medical discoveries for over a hundred years.”

    I can’t off the top of my head think of any recent medical discoveries that are based on the idea that we were intelligently designed. I don’t see how the assumption that unexplained processes have a function counts.

    “If scientists really rejected ID, then they wouldn’t bother looking any deeper into “junk DNA.””

    Well they do and they are.

    “If these so-called scientists understood that ID is the theory that certain patterns found in nature are best explained by intelligent causation then perhaps they wouldn’t feel that so much work in science has been overturned.”

    Most of the people I’ve spoken to do understand. It’s not that they think science has been overturned it’s that they seen no reason based on the evidence to infer ID, which is why they don’t take kindly to being told they’re supressing the truth.

  20. Sewell writes: ‘The idea that all non-Christians are “condemned” seems to run contrary to everything else Jesus taught about a loving and forgiving and just God, and it is impossible to overstate the damage this idea has done to the relations between the Christian church and the outside world. I find this idea just as offensive as Darwin did.

    ‘Fortunately, in the very next verse John clarifies: “this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world and men preferred the darkness, because their deeds were evil.” Clearly this was written as a condemnation of those who, like the religious leaders of his day, rejected Jesus because they did not like what he taught, about humility, about loving God more than money, about loving your enemy. It was not written to condemn the 10th century American Indian who did the best with what light he had, or the 21st century American whose only exposure to Christianity is through TV evangelists. If light has not come into their world, they cannot be condemned for rejecting it.’

    One view among students of the Bible is that God, being infinite in love, wisdom and justice, has his own just and right way of dealing with all of those in the past who “did the best with what light [they] had.” But for everyone in the past 2000 years who has heard of Jesus Christ, the paradigm has shifted. The question is, “Who do YOU say Jesus is?”

    That is the question Jesus asks his disciples (and us) in the New Testament book of Matthew (chapter 16, verses 13-20): “Who do you say I am?” And it is Jesus himself, not his followers, who made it plain (John 14:6) that he is the only way to heaven and eternal life: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    Sewell’s Jesus “taught about a loving and forgiving and just God” but in the Bible he also points out that the choice and responsibility to receive or reject God’s love and forgiveness rest with each individual.

    “Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God,” Jesus says in John 3:3-7, “. . . What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be astonished that I said to you, ‘All of you must be born from above’.”

    It is not the Church, or priests and bishops, who declare being “saved” via a spiritual rebirth to be the only way to heaven. Jesus did. The book of Romans, (ch. 10:9-10), gives a concise example of how to access this salvation:

    “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

    Emotional and intellectual pride unfortunately inhibits many from taking the step. Human nature misleads us into thinking we are good enough and actually pretty decent, and God will surely let us in, impressed as he will be by our various credentials and worthy achievements? And then there is the common error, made by the likes of Dawkins, Harris and others of that frame of mind, that all religions are essentially the same and are just different paths to the same delusional destination.

    Well, either Jesus is who he says he is, and who the Bible declares him to be (the creator Logos by whom, through whom and for whom the universe was brought into existence, John 1:1-14), or he is a deranged liar and a charlatan.

    If indeed he owns it all, then he is justified to declare, as he does in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    Christianity does not exclude anyone from eligibility and access to heaven, contrary to a widespread misrepresentation by those who mock and scoff at it. And so, back to Sewell’s quotation of John 3:18. He, however, should have put the quote in its entire context, beginning at verse 16:

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    There are no modifiers in that statement. You’ve heard the name. You believe, you’re saved. You disbelieve, you’re condemned.

    The inevitable question why Jesus is necessary for salvation needs some understanding of the Bible’s theology of sin. Human beings are sinful by nature, thanks to the devil, the original hacker, who found an open portal (Eve) and through her introduced the virus of disobedience into the human family. The corruption wreaked on God’s pristine operating system by Satan’s sin virus needed a patch, which was duly supplied by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus’ death was to satisfy the demands of God’s law that he, a holy God, cannot in any way tolerate or accommodate sin, and anyone who sins must die.

    God’s love for humankind was proved by he himself providing the proxy payment for our sins. If anyone accepts the done Jesus deal, he or she is saved from personally making the payment for their sins when Jesus returns to end time as we now know it, and to judge the living and the dead. A loving God does not send people to hell. People make the choice to receive or reject God’s terms for avoiding hell.

    Each and every one of us has broken one, several or all of God’s laws. We are, in ourselves, totally unrighteous and unacceptable by God. Jesus, then, is the only mediator between God and man, as explained in 1Timothy 2:3-6: “ . . . God…wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth. There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus. He gave himself as a ransom for all people, a fact that was acknowledged at the right time.”

    Or Acts 4:12, “There is no salvation by anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”

    Christianity does not, and Bible-believing Christians do not, force anyone to believe as they do. But they are required, by Jesus no less, to share the gospel (“good news”) that light has come into the world. Just before he visibly ascended out of their sight, he gave his original disciples the so-called Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16: 15-18.

    “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  21. Christians throughout history have been given bum rap for condemning all those who do not follow Jesus. As has been written in previous comments, Jesus is the exclusivist and the fire and brimstone preacher. His disciples are only reflecting his words.

    I agree with Sewell, but agreeing with him also means that ID in America will largely be viewed as an outgrowth of fundamental Christianity. It is viewed that way because it is that way. So, rejection of ID is mostly a religious phenomenon.

    It doesn’t have to be that way as those of us interested in ID from more philosophic positions
    testify.

  22. Chris Hyland:
    It’s not that they think science has been overturned it’s that they seen no reason based on the evidence to infer ID, which is why they don’t take kindly to being told they’re supressing the truth.

    Do these people realize the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck?

  23. 23

    Borne …

    The emphasis and context of my first post is obvious–its about eternity, not hell-fire.

    God isn’t going to torture people for all eternity. Not only is that not consitent with His love or the idea of justice, it would make Him worse than Hitler. Even the dumbest Darwinian atheist can detect that moral flaw in God’s creative; you’d think the majority of Christians could figure it out too.

  24. faithandshadow,
    When, you say God, I am assuming you mean some other God that the Christian one, because the God revealed by Jesus in the New Testament certainly does envision hell. If you do believe in another God, what is your source of confidence in revealing his nature?

  25. Faithandshadow: “God isn’t going to torture people for all eternity. Not only is that not consitent with His love or the idea of justice, it would make Him worse than Hitler.”

    I agree with bj; you must be referring to a god other than the one revealed in the Bible. The Christian scriptures are clear-cut that those who take the Jesus option which guarantees entry to heaven will live there for all eternity. Those who reject God’s way of salvation will languish in hell, forever.

    Jesus gives a preview of Judgment Day, and its aftermath, in Matthew 25: 31-46. His words leave no doubt that the final separation of good and evil, sin and holiness, will be irrevocable, for all eternity. To the hell-bound, He will say (verse 41):

    “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the ETERNAL fire prepared for the devil and his angels . . . Then they will go away to ETERNAL punishment (46), but the righteous to ETERNAL life.”

    It would be interesting to know the theology on which you base the assertion that separating the good from the evil is tantamount to God torturing people and is inconsistent with His “love or the idea of justice” and “would make Him worse than Hitler.”

    Students of biblical theology speculate that one of the conditions that make hell a truly horrible place is the absence there of God and His restraining love. Evil reigns supreme in hell and those who go there experience it to the unmitigated full, down to every last dreadful shudder. Over and over again.

  26. Emkay,

    Your last post was excellent. But it would have been even better if you had added, at the end, “By their own choice to reject God.”

  27. Emkay,
    I am not a believer in the reliability of the scriptures of the revealed religions, but I think I can be logical. I do not understand how individuals make assertions about the character of God without some source of authority that can be relied upon like scripture. Without that you are thrown back upon your own mind, and why should anyone think that you could reason your way to understanding God.

    Regarding the doctrine of hell, from my experience a great deal of current Christian practice is to teach and preach a kind of grandfather Christian God who exists to love you and meet your every need, especially material ones.

    In the bible, I find another God revealed by Jesus. He is rather austere, demanding total self- sacrifice and duty here with the reward of heaven later. Consider the very difficult lives of the early Christian witnesses. Jesus was one tough cookie in his demands. Then, came an evaluation to see if your life reflected the kind of sacrifice that you said you would give when you became a disciple. I don’t see how an American Christian is going to pass muster while living in comfort ,even affluence, all their lives while not giving everything they have to reach those living in other lands who are much poorer and hellbound according to Christian doctrine. If those people are going to hell surely the ones who didn’t sacrifice all to reach them should also. I doubt that the general excuse that we should try and do better but we are all weak sinners is going to considered a valid excuse. The Matt. 25 evaluation is based upon behavioral performance not excuses. I am thinking that many American Christians are going to have a big surprise when they experience the evaluation that you describe in Matt. 25. Am I wrong?

  28. Sewell wrote:
    Quote:
    It is clear to me that we will never reach many of these people by simply uncovering more evidence, or strengthening our arguments: the better our logic, the more angry they become. The source of this anger no doubt lies outside the world of science.
    Unquote.

    It seems to me that Sewell overlooks some basic elements of the controversy ID is doing its best to propagate. Doesn’t Dembski’s word about ID being a ‘ground-clearing operation’ point to something somewhat different than just a scientific schism?

    I am not familiar with anything Sewell has written, but I often find creationists making explicit claims to the effect that arguments in favour of evolutionary theory are nothing but atheism.

    Need we doubt that scientists supporting the theory of evolution do this simply because they find the evidence convincing?

    But I wonder, isn’t Sewell is a little out of touch with reality when referring to “more evidence, strengthening of arguments and ‘bettering of logic’?”

    The way I see it, and please correct me if I am wrong, there is little, if not simply no evidence whatsoever for ID. I have read “Darwin’s Black Box” many times, and what I get out of it is mostly annoyance over Behe’s propaganda style. Nor does Behe’s testimony at Dover quite strengthen my opinion about ID as anything even remotely like science.

    But yes, any (as contrasted with ‘more’) evidence might help; I sincerely believe that. But strengthening of arguments alone won’t ever get you anywhere. There is nothing like facts to convince people like me – and I am not even anything like a scientist. As for ‘the better our logic’, you lost me there. To me there is only one kind of logic – the right one. I see it like Boolean algebra; it simply is true or false, not anywhere like poor, better, best. I f you have not been applying proper logic yet, maybe it is because proper logic won’t get you where you want?

    Sewell’s words simply don’t ring like they are based on a secure platform.

    Quote:
    What is it about fundamentalist Christianity that they find so unattractive?
    Unquote.

    Sewell is certain that he knows the answer. So I might perhaps just as well keep shut; he wont’ listen? But anyway: To me, it not about what is unattractive in fundamentalist Christianity’ – it simply is about fundamentalism itself, hook and sinker. I have for a long time considered not only ID, but creationism as a whole as having just this one and only aim and purpose, like AiG expressly claims: To uphold the authority of the bible.

    Maybe Sewell’s opinion is different, I don’t know. I nevertheless suspect that there may be more like a strong religious conviction rather than a genuine interest in scientific research and discovery behind his interest in the subject.

    Quote
    The idea that all non-Christians are “condemned” seems to run contrary to everything else Jesus taught about a loving and forgiving and just God, and it is impossible to overstate the damage this idea has done to the relations between the Christian church and the outside world. I find this idea just as offensive as Darwin did.
    Unquote.

    Well and good. I am old enough to remember the heated debate that ensued after a very influential professor of Theology here in Norway, probably sometime in the 1950’s made a statement on national broadcasting saying that un-baptized babies went straight to hell if they died. Yes, I am absolutely against all kinds of fundamentalism, and I think lots of people have a strong dislike of fundamentalism, for very good reasons.

    Quote:
    I am not a theologian and I do not feel comfortable talking about theology, I would much rather talk about the scientific evidence for design. But after 30 years of frustration, it has become clear to me that there are limits on the persuasive power of logic and evidence; maybe we need to try to understand why our critics are so angry.
    Unquote.

    Well, I have yet to see anything resembling evidence for design. I don’t consider arguments about Irreducible Complexity, the Explanatory Filter, mousetrap analogy, cilia, bacterial flagellum, Cytochrome-c, Design inference or whatever ‘evidence.’ I believe that equating our knowledge about designed and manufactured artefacts with anything in biology is a false proposition to begin with. Anything that follows defaults to nonsense. But evidence, I just love evidence. Feel free to present all that you have, I will read it.

    I am no prophet; I don’t know, but here are my two cents opinion: If there is anger, it is because of the massive effort aimed at convincing people that there are scientific evidence for ID while in fact ID is not being researched, is not being taught – because there is nothing to teach. Maybe telling people the simple truth about the Kitzmiller case instead of all the apologism and false accusations against the court and the judge might help in clearing the air a little.

  29. Dizzy

    The inner workings of the simplest cell consists of hideously complex machinery driven by digitally encoded programs and data. We know that machinery of this nature can be created by intelligent agents. No other way of creating this kind of machinery has ever been demonstrated. While that’s not proof of design it’s certainly evidence in favor of design. If you don’t agree then you’re either in denial or simply ignorant of the parallels between intelligently designed machinery and the machinery we find inside living cells. Which one is it?

  30. bj,

    I have found the Christian Bible and Christian theology to give the most comprehensive and logically consistent analysis of why the world, and the human condition, are the way they are. The doctrine of creation, corruption, redemption and final restoration are well laid out in both the Old and New Testaments. The choice and responsibility we each face personally is to either believe or not believe that the Bible is the Word of God and should therefore have authority over our individual life.

    You’re right about the caricature “God” preached through the so-called health-and-wealth prosperity “gospel.” That Santa-like “God” has arisen to a great deal because of over-emphasizing the love of God and minimizing or ignoring altogether His other requirements as revealed in scripture. This kind of doctrinal and theological error arises when individuals embrace not the full counsel of God, but pick and choose the parts of the Bible they prefer and build their own religion on those.

    As for today’s Christians sacrificing to advance God’s kingdom, most research data I have seen by groups that monitor Christian giving paint a dismal picture. For example, this statement by Julia Duin, (Philanthropy, May 2001), at http://www.generousgiving.org:

    “It turns out that Americans give 14 times as much money to religious charities than they spend on sports. In philanthropy, the single largest category of giving is religion. But today, in a time of soaring individual incomes, religious giving is down as a percentage of income, especially among Christians. Nearly every denomination agrees that giving is nowhere near the Old Testament tithe.” Juin quotes Catholic giving at 1.5 percent and mainline Protestant at 2.9 percent.

    And Gene Edward Veith (World Magazine, October 22, 2005) on the same website, writes:
    “Of every dollar given to a U.S. Protestant church, the average amount that goes to overseas missions is two cents. In 1920 the church gave 10 percent of the total offering to missions, compared to today’s 2 percent. The church’s current spending practice seems to indicate an increased emphasis on internal operations and programs over the broader mission of the church. In addition, individual Christians do not even tithe, giving less per capita than Christians gave during the Great Depression. It is to our shame that we are so stingy with our money toward God.”

    As for surprises on Judgment Day, Jesus in Mark 10:31 gives a cryptic glimpse of that: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

  31. Emkay,

    I agree with your above post, but was wondering if that survey you cite distinguishes between “mainline” Protestants and “fundamentalist” or “Evangelical” Protestants. I imagine the latter two groups (if distinct from each other in the surveyor’s mind) would show a much higher percentage in giving.

  32. Thanks Emkay,
    I appreciate your thoughtful response. I still don’t understand why, if Christians believe in hell, they don’t reduce their style of living to a simple and modest level and then tithe a much larger percentage of their income (20, 30, 40%) to save people from hell if they expect to avoid the same themselves. That kind of behavior would just seem to be a logical result of their beliefs. It might also catch the attention of those who carefully look at consistency of professed belief and actual practice.

  33. bj,

    “I appreciate your thoughtful response. I still don’t understand why, if Christians believe in hell, they don’t reduce their style of living to a simple and modest level and then tithe a much larger percentage of their income (20, 30, 40%) to save people from hell if they expect to avoid the same themselves.”

    I tithe 10% of my net income, and have done so since I was saved in October of 1989, even when I was homeless. Now that I am on better financial ground, I also give quite a bit to those in need, beyond what I set aside for tithes. And, I live quite simply and frugally (I am buying a $50,000 home, with monthly payments of around $375; and I am buying my mother a newer car [her old one was a loaner, and rather ratty] for $125 per month; other than this, my monthly expenses are just utilities, groceries, Internet, phone [cell and land], and gas), really (not like those in Third-World countries, though). I haven’t kept exacting track, but I’d guess my total giving to the Kingdom of God (including giving to the poor) would end up being between 15-25% of my net income. And, I completely agree with your basic point – it’s been one of my primary “messages” to Christians who are well off, and was one of the specific points I made to the pastor of Eagle Alliance Church in Indianapolis, Indiana back in 1997, when I happened upon his church during its “building phase”. One of the church’s information pamphlets was quite proud of the fact that the church was committing 4% of the funds raised for their new church building (a multi-million dollar project, which included space for several basketball courts, one or two swimming pools [or saunas, or something along those lines], etc.). I told the pastor I thought that was really pathetic, and asked him how he could justify such extravagant expense on a mere structure when those funds could be so effectively used to reach the lost, especially those in poorer countries who do not have access to the resources we in the United States have. He pooh-poohed my point, of course.

    That kind of behavior would just seem to be a logical result of their beliefs. It might also catch the attention of those who carefully look at consistency of professed belief and actual practice.

  34. Dizzy:
    The way I see it, and please correct me if I am wrong, there is little, if not simply no evidence whatsoever for ID.

    What is the materialistic alternative for what we observe if not sheer-dumb-luck?

    Dizzy:
    I have for a long time considered not only ID, but creationism as a whole as having just this one and only aim and purpose, like AiG expressly claims: To uphold the authority of the bible.

    I have always known that ID has nothing to do with the Bible. I also know that the only people who try to say that are always the people who know the least about ID.

    Dizzy:
    I believe that equating our knowledge about designed and manufactured artefacts with anything in biology is a false proposition to begin with.

    Then what is your evidence that our existence is do to sheer-dumb-luck? I don’t care what you believe. Your faith is obvious. However it is also obvious that it is blind faith…

    But anyway- scientific research led to the design inference and the book “The Privileged Planet”. The data presented in that book demonstrates the design inference extends beyond biology. Read it. Perhaps you could provide a valid scientific explanation for the data that excludes intentional design or Special Creation.

  35. Douglas,
    Data on the same http://www.gerenerousgiving.org site [subject heading, “Statistics & Trends, topic: “Charitable Giving (Evangelicals)”] do indeed indicate that Evangelicals give more than other Christian groups. Some of the survey findings presented:

    “In 1996 individual Americans donated more than $125 billion to nonprofit organizations. Of those donations, a majority of the dollars came from born-again Christians. Although they represent only 38 percent of the U.S. adult population, their per capita giving is several times that of nonbelievers.25

    The percentage of U.S. born-again adults who tithed was 12 percent in 2000, 14 percent in 2001, and 6 percent in 2002.37

    In 2001 evangelicals gave a mean of $3,601 per capita to nonprofit organizations, which is high when compared to other demographic groups.8

    In 2001, evangelicals gave four times as much, per person, to churches as did all other church donors in 2001. Eighty-eight percent of evangelicals and 73 percent of Protestants donated to churches.8

    In 2001, the proportion of tithers was higher among born-again Christians (14 percent tithed) than among non-born-again adults (5 percent).8
    From 1968 to 2000, members of evangelical Protestant denominations gave larger dollar amounts and larger portions of income to their churches than did members of mainline Protestant denominations.26”

    bj,
    You’re very gracious; thanks. Credit goes to good and patient teachers. Your insight about the chasm between the talk of a majority who profess Christianity and their walk is right on the money.

    There is little else that shouts “bogus” louder than a declaration not matched by actual practice. That’s what makes the “reverse tithing” of Rick Warren, author of the best-selling ‘The Purpose Driven Life,’ all the more out of the ordinary.

    He gives away 90 per cent of his earnings from the book to evangelical causes and lives on 10 per cent, and takes no pay from his church.

  36. In my last post, #34 in this thread, the last portion,

    “That kind of behavior would just seem to be a logical result of their beliefs. It might also catch the attention of those who carefully look at consistency of professed belief and actual practice.”

    was not mine – I just failed to clear it out after a copy-and-paste.

  37. I mean, post #33 in this thread. Won’t someone please monitor me?

  38. Hi Douglas,
    Thanks for your response and personal example. Yours is just what I was talking about and it is very impressive to me. Your illustration concerning the building program is especially telling.

    Hi Emkay,

    “You’re very gracious; thanks”

    Your very welcome. I did believe that Evangelical giving would outpace traditional Protestant denominations so credit has to be given where due. And I had heard of Rick Warren’s example which is quite impressive.

  39. Chris Hyland,

    “I can’t speak for Sewell in particular, but in my experience scientists are angered by the claims that the ID movement has overturned decades of scientific research without actually doing any of their own. ”

    That’s a bizarre statement. While it may or may not be true that ID advocates spend time doing science, Darwinists make a positive claim about nature, and they are obligated to demonstrate it. Skeptics of that theory need not prove an alternative. And making the idle claim that NDE is the “best we’ve got” (based on a commitment to non-intelligent causes) may sound good to the true believer, but it is not a validation of the theory. I, myself, would have no problem embracing NDE if it were demonstrated to be “true.” And extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution doesn’t count. That, like so such swirling around NDE, merely assumes NDE is true in the first place.

    At any rate, how one views NDE is pretty much irrelevant to lab work and field work. Evidence is evidence. I can believe the earth is flat and still verify the equations that govern gravity. There is no such thing as NDE lab work and NDE field work. There is only NDE interpretations based on a prior commitment to a theory. Oh sure, the guy doing the lab work may believe in NDE, and may be expect ing certain results, but evidence is evidence. Some of us find no compelling reason to accept much of the NDE interpretations. For me, more and more the hard evidence seems to point to a very sophisticated information and process control system, that was initially setup by someone.

    Time will tell.

  40. Dizzy:

    “I have for a long time considered not only ID, but creationism as a whole as having just this one and only aim and purpose, like AiG expressly claims: To uphold the authority of the bible.”

    Creationism, or “creation science?” Yes. ID? No.

    I, myself, couldn’t care less about supporting the authority of the Bible, especially someone’s interpretation of it. It’s a straw argument. And if you use it you will just look foolish to agnostic ID friendly folks like me.

    As to be expected there are some Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others who are interested in ID, as well as atheists and agnostics. Why? Because ID is interested in finding signs of design. If finding signs of design makes someone feel better about their faith, what difference does that make? Likewise, believers in NDE include Christians, Jews, and many atheists, such as the atheist evangelist Richard Darwins, the one who said, “Darwin enabled me to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”, etc. I couldn’t give a rat’s butt if Dawkins is an atheist or if he worships trees, or how Darwin makes him feel. NDE does not stand or fall on the likes of Richard Dawkin’s and his idiotic philosophy. What I’m interested in is the hard evidence, and how best it can be understood.

    Creationism starts with scripture and tries to make the hard evidence fit. ID starts with the hard evidence and is looking for signs of design. They are not the same. Simple as that. Anything more than this is just propaganda. Get over it.

  41. “Do these people realize the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck?”

    I’m sure the atheists see it that way, but the theistic evolutionists probably don’t.

    “Skeptics of that theory need not prove an alternative. And making the idle claim that NDE is the “best we’ve got” (based on a commitment to non-intelligent causes) may sound good to the true believer, but it is not a validation of the theory.”

    I’m talking about claims of positive proof of intelligence not just criticisms of evolution. The situation’s the same though I guess, the case was made and soundly rejected by the scientific community. If it was me and I was sure that I was right my first thought would be what research I can do to further test my ideas, as opposed to that there was a conspiracy against me.

    “I, myself, would have no problem embracing NDE if it were demonstrated to be “true.” And extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution doesn’t count.”

    I think a lot of modern research for example of the evo-devo variety takes the position that the variation that leads to small scale changes such as colour etc is different from that that eventually leads to species change. That doesn’t imply ‘hopeful monsters’ it just means that the phenotypic effects of a mutation lie on a continuum so its not so much a difference of kind but of degree. Obvioulsy there are different types of mutations (point mutations, duplications etc) but the type of mutation isn’t correlated with the effect.

    “There is no such thing as NDE lab work and NDE field work.”

    There is lab work and field work based on predictions from evolution though. I guess that fieldwork would involve looking for fossils in particular locations.

    “There is only NDE interpretations based on a prior commitment to a theory. Oh sure, the guy doing the lab work may believe in NDE, and may be expect ing certain results, but evidence is evidence.”

    I’m sure that in a lot of cases a particular experiment is not a test of evolution, and its results are interpreted using the theory, but not every experiment is designed to be a test of evolution. On the other hand many are, and it would certainly be possible to discover something that disproves evolution in an experiment that isn’t testing for it.

    “Some of us find no compelling reason to accept much of the NDE interpretations.”

    I think that one good thing that will come out of this whole thing is an overhaul of how evolution is taught to students, which I think will help in a lot of cases. Of course I would be naive to think that it will help in all cases especially as a lot of people on this site for example have read a lot more than most people learn in school. I would be interested in what evidence would convince you that would be possible for scientists to gather (assuming evolution is true of course).

    “For me, more and more the hard evidence seems to point to a very sophisticated information and process control system, that was initially setup by someone.”

    For me we are still far away from the point where ‘set up by someone’ is the most parsimonious explanation. Personally I can imagine seeing something that ‘evolution couldn’t possibly produce’, but I’ve seen some pretty impressive things and it hasn’t happened yet.

  42. Chris Hyland,

    Thank you for participating in this blog. I believe your comments and critiques are helpful. Please continue to help shape the dialogue.

  43. Chris Hyland,

    “Chris Hyland, Thank you for participating in this blog. I believe your comments and critiques are helpful. Please continue to help shape the dialogue. ”

    I agree.

  44. “Do these people realize the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck?”

    Chris Hyland:
    I’m sure the atheists see it that way, but the theistic evolutionists probably don’t.

    That doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t the TE’s “see it that way” also? Obviously TE is NOT a materialistic alternative of ID.

    Chris Hyland:
    I’m talking about claims of positive proof of intelligence not just criticisms of evolution.

    Science is not about “proof” however positive evidence/ data supporting ID has been presented. However no one has ever presented any positive evidence/ data that our existence is due to sheer-dumb-luck.

    Chris Hyland:
    The situation’s the same though I guess, the case was made and soundly rejected by the scientific community.

    Now what are you talking about?

    Chris Hyland:
    If it was me and I was sure that I was right my first thought would be what research I can do to further test my ideas, as opposed to that there was a conspiracy against me.

    But there aren’t any objective tests for Common Descent. Yet look at its place in science.

    The debate is NOT about “evolution”. The debate is about the mechanisms involved.

    And there still isn’t any way to objectively test the premise that, for example, chimps and humans shared a common ancestor.

  45. “Why wouldn’t the TE’s “see it that way” also? Obviously TE is NOT a materialistic alternative of ID.”

    TE’s believe that God was involved with the process of evolution somehow, but that this isn’t a scientifically valid inference. If you want to know how they square this with theology I’m the wrong person to ask.

    “Science is not about “proof” however positive evidence/ data supporting ID has been presented. However no one has ever presented any positive evidence/ data that our existence is due to sheer-dumb-luck.”

    I haven’t seen any evidence that isn’t a rewording of ‘biological system x has some kind of similarity with man-made system y’. On the other hand we have plenty of evidence that the mechanisms of evolution we are aware of have been a major force in the shaping of genomes. I guess it’s debatable whether or not that counts as evidence that our existence is due to sheer dumb luck.

    “”The situation’s the same though I guess, the case was made and soundly rejected by the scientific community.”

    Now what are you talking about?”

    The arguments that the theory of evolution in fundamentally inadequate and that there is scientific proof that intelligence was involved have been rejected by the scientific community. You can argue that there are a couple of scientists that support them or that the rebuttals are wrong but they’ve still been rejected.

    “But there aren’t any objective tests for Common Descent. Yet look at its place in science.

    The debate is NOT about “evolution”. The debate is about the mechanisms involved.

    And there still isn’t any way to objectively test the premise that, for example, chimps and humans shared a common ancestor. ”

    Just to clarify, are you saying that we have the evidence such as pseudo genes and the chromosomal evidence but we can’t infer common descent because it’s still possible that the similarities were created by some intelligence?

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