I do understand your concern with preachers (and even believers) who mouth off prayers in the public (and even in private). When I first came to the Lord, I used to attend a prayer meeting with our local congregation. There was one particular believer who felt the need to take control of the prayer meeting and pretty much speak for everyone. He would even walk around giving words to those in attendance, which were supposedly the result of God speaking through him. I used to literally HIDE from this guy beneath the pews, because I hated to hear his phony-bologna prophecies.
One day, after a particularly embarrassing lying word from this brother, I pretty much stopped the show. I stopped the guy midsentence and told him, [i]Why are you speaking for God when you are clearly wrong[/i]? This man turned red with what seemed to be both embarrassment and frustration. I told him, [i]Look, I know you seem to be a sincere guy, but you are clearly putting words in the mouth of God that are not his[/i]! This really upset him. I told him that I wanted to continue attending the prayer meetings, but I didnt want to be hunted down by a would-be prophet who cant even get the smaller details correct. Of course, this didnt go over too well with the brother. He warned others about not heeding the words of the prophets. I just shrugged my shoulders and told him that a true prophet wouldnt worry about someone proving his words.
So, yes, there is an issue with the wrong manner of conducting public prayers. But as you are aware, there are many instances in the Bible where public prayers were given. Both the Old and New Testament are filled with examples of believers praying in public. There is a difference, however, from the motives between the Pharisees and prayer offered in humility.
Quote:Actually, I dont think that it is quite so CLEAR as you claim.
I get very confused about Christians who claim that the Bible is God's literal word, dismiss the mountains of evidence for evolution, and yet swear oaths and readily attend Church services filled with public prayer that is a pile of lofty b.s. The words of Jesus are clearly meant to be taken literally, and the story of Creation is also clearly meant to be metaphorical and a parable.
One of my undergraduate degrees is in Electrical Engineering. As a requirement for EE, I took several classes in the more advanced sciences, including Inorganic Chemistry, Bio Chemistry, and Advanced Physics. Believe it or not, several of my professors were believers (including one who was also a licensed Baptist minister). There is never a clear consensus with science.
Recently, former Vice President Al Gore received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the cause of global warming. His film, [i]An Inconvenient Truth[/i], also won this years Academy Award for BEST DOCUMENTARY. Al Gore has consistently claimed that his facts were above reproach. In various publications, Gore claims that it is the clear consensus of the scientific community that global warming not only exists but that it is undoubtedly the result of mankind. Gore also claims that the clear consensus is that many people will die if something is not done to stop this warming trend. His claims are extremely calamitous, and certainly worth looking into.
There is a surely a consensus amongst scientists that global warming is measurably taking place. However, there are many scientists even some that Gore quotes who do NOT believe that global warming is largely due to the contributions of mankind. Even fewer believe that it will result in worldwide catastrophe. Many scientists are quick to point out studies about global warming at the turn of the 19th-20th Century. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were scientists who predicted global COOLING as a result of studies that predicted that the world was growing colder. In the 1990s, the measurements once again indicated global warming. In Texas, we experienced one of the coolest and wettest summers in nearly 100 years even though my parents experienced a very hot and dry summer in the north.
Even now, there are quite a few scientists who believe that global warming is a result of the transit of the Earth as it revolves around the sun. Solar activity is the primary source of heat upon this planet. If our planet veers just a bit during its rotation around the sun (pulled away by the gravity of outer planets), then it will certainly affect our climate (and make it cooler). If the outer planets are far enough ahead (or behind as we revolve around our solar orbit), they can react with the gravity of the sun and actually tug the planet a little closer to the sun, thereby HEATING the planet just a bit. Scientists have been noting such changes on the planet Mars. In some years, its ice caps (possibly water or dry ice) are much larger than other years. This past year, the ice caps on Mars were almost non-existent. However, they have already grown larger than they were the previous year.
Quite a bit of environmental laws were passed during the early 1990s. Very strong restrictions were placed upon the installation of refrigerants. Why? Scientists and Congressmen pointed to the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. At the time, scientists felt that there was a clear correlation between this hole in the ozone and the recent warming trend. Emissions laws were increased and were extended to things like hair spray and Lysol. Interestingly, within a couple of years, there was an almost immediate noticeable shrinkage of the hold in the ozone! Scientists and lawmakers declared this legislation a success. However, later that year, the hold suddenly grew larger. Then, it shrank. Then it grew larger. Then, it shrank again. After all was said and done, scientists decided that they werent entirely certain WHY the ozone was behaving in such a peculiar manner. One physicist stated that the observation of the ozone with satellites is only a couple of decades old. He reasoned that this may have ALWAYS been the trend!
Why am I saying this? Because science never clearly establishes anything but principle through observation. Such principles are observed, but changed they have a tendency of being reinterpreted over time. This is true of evolution. This is true of astrophysics. Most biologists certainly embrace the theory of natural selection as espoused by Darwinism. However, there is quite a bit of debate that goes on amongst even evolutionary scientists as to the extent of the process. Some evolutionary scientists argue that the evolutionary process is due to cause and effect. Something causes a change in the biological process which then creates the effect of changes in offspring. Scientists point to widespread increases in certain diseases or conditions (such as autism) as the possible result of chemical reactions possibly including the fluoride in the toothpaste of our grandparents! This reaction causes changes in the epigenome as it alters the sperm that becomes the catalyst for life. This, however, is not evolution in the Darwinian sense.
Darwin argues for NATURAL SELECTION, or, a vast evolution of a species caused by a shift in the needs of the species itself. Primordial soup gave way to ocean life to amphibians to earth life to variation of species. The major roadblock for evolution is the lack of fossil record. If the culmination of the species of the entire world is the result of such evolution, then every single species should have links between them. These records do not exist. There are certainly a very few partial fossil records that have been found after years of search for missing links (such as the Leakeys [i]Lucy[/i]). However, even these are not conclusively considered interspecies finds. None of these records consist of entire finds. Rather, they consist of incomplete skeletons. There is a great deal of scrutiny that is displayed even before these findings are released, because there have been many false positives found. These false positives typically end up being another species of already discovered primate. Some scientists have even pointed at Lucy (the most famous and widely embraced fossil evidence) as being the damaged fossil record of a possible subspecies of primate, rather than a link between primate and homosapien.
For years, scientists believed that Einsteins theory of Special Relatively was firmly established and proven through years of space travel. Einstein hypothesized that the speed of light, and not time or distance, was the sole universal constant. However, they now realize that light is NOT the universal constant that Einstein suspected (it can speed up and slow down). Space is also filled with many gravity induced bends (caused by unseen dark matter) in the space-time continuum. The [u]principles[/u] proposed by Einstein may certainly exist, but the theory itself is at least partially flawed. Even the theorized constant of the speed of light is itself based upon a measurement of distance divided by time.
The point that I am trying to raise is that there is NOT a clear consensus in the scientific community, let alone the Christian community. A great deal of our earthly science is based upon the premise of an ancient universe. We measure the distance of stars by how long we think it takes for light to travel from them. Now that we realize that light can speed up (like when it penetrates a pool of cesium particles), how does this change our understanding of far reaching distances? Biological and geological sciences are based upon the approximated age of the Earth. This age has changed often due to scientific advancement and discovery. It is largely based upon the estimated half-life of carbon atoms. But what if this estimation is wrong or altered by other forces? And what is the starting point of this half-life the formulation of the Earth or the creation of the atomic bond?
Within the Christian community, there are people who believe in a literal six-day creation. There are others who believe in six-ages (each day is an age) of creation. And then, there are others who believe that the Heavens were created first and then the Earth. Genesis 1:1 states: [i]In the beginning, God created the heavens AND the Earth[/i]. Some hypothesize that God created the universe first, and much later, the Earth. Some even believe that there was a period of chaos between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 (
[i]and the Earth was [/i][implied: BECAME][i] without form[/i]). They believe that this was the period of time in which the war between angels took place.
Regardless of what we believe, there is no clear consensus in such matters. There is still much room for debate. I understand that there is quite a bit of rhetoric from believers that have little understanding of scientific principle. However, there are believers who are astutely aware of the issues invoked by modern science and still hold to a Biblical account for Creation. In fact, one of my University Physics professors who specialized in Special Relativity teaches a class about the limits of scientific theory.
Sadly, you are correct in mentioning the great amounts of preachers who are ignorant of science, yet still feel the authority to speak of issues in which they are not properly educated. They do give believers a bad reputation. I implore believers everywhere to not make a conclusion until they are aware of the facts. But one fact does remain: God did create the world. The world is not a great, cosmic accident. Man did NOT evolve from monkeys. Neither man nor monkey evolved from the living plasma supposedly created from primordial soup. Rather, God created man in His image and likeness.
I apologize for straying from the theme of this thread (public prayer). However, I thought that your comments were worth commenting on.
| 2007/10/23 13:03||Profile|
you clearly have a good deal of education about science. and yes, theories and the evidence and intpretations of these that underpin them are changing. nevertheless, dna evidence shows clearly that we are not related to "monkeys", but are related closely to chimpanzees. the study of dna is the major change that you do not mention in how we view our relationship to other animals in God's kingdom.
for me science has proven that the big bang was the means God employed in creating the world (and subsequently the earth). evolution is the means by which animals developed and, eventually, we humans. take a trip to the grand canyon and you will see numerous layers of sedimentary rock that built up over the ages and also the river that cut through these layers of rock over many more ages. the earth is indeed very old; old enough for evolution to bring forth the life that God commanded to arise.
the bizarre ideas put forth to explain things like dinosaur skeletons (baby dino on the Ark!?!?) show the desperation that literal Creationists go to in order to make their interpretation of Genesis hold together.
I think Jesus told us that we should view the stories "from the foundation of the earth" as parables. (my previous post citing this was taken down??) He spoke in parable to tell us how God has communicated through the Word.
Yet, it could well be that there was a great flood and an Ark built by Noah. it could have occurred in the known world and involved saving breeding livestock, as well as Noah and his family. (a meteorite hitting the Mediteraneon Sea would cause such a phenomena.)
but none of this really matters to me. Jesus, His teachings, His life, and His sacrifice and resurrection do matter. the promised presence of the Holy Spirit where two or more are gathered in His name does matter. our salvation by Grace does matter. and Truth does matter.
The real danger of biblical literalism is that it claims that God spoke and acted in our world within the confines of the words of the Bible, as interpreted by strict constructionalism. God is put into a straightjacket by doing so. and when this straightjacket is removed, what will underpin the beliefs of those who rely upon this manner of viewing the Bible? this is shaky ground upon which to pin a belief system. if Genesis is confounded in this view, all of the Bible becomes suspect. (because "all of it is true, or God is a liar") (someone actually said this to me once.)
the most important thing about Christianity is that we have been commanded to love our enemies, to love God with all our hearts and all our minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. the rest of it really doesn't matter much, because if you don't follow these teachings, you will be lost forever.
| 2007/10/23 14:51|
Quote:I apologize for using the word monkey. I meant to use the word as a descriptive term (like man meaning mankind and monkey meaning primate) rather than from a purely Latin-scientific etymology. Actually, the DNA differences between man and chimp are [url=http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2833.html]greater than first thought[/url]. In the 1970s, it was believed that humans and DNA shared 99% of their genetic makeup. After more study, it has long been believed that chimps and humans shared more than 98.5% of our genetic material. More recent studies suggest that the similarity is actually less than 95%. This is the result of a leading DNA expert at Cal Tech, Roy Britten, who actually measured the first number (98.5%) and became suspicious of it two decades later. His estimate now has it lower than 95%. [url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=9D0DAC2B-E7F2-99DF-3AA795436FEF8039]Subsequent studies[/url] show there to be about a 94% similarity. When all is taken into account, this is at least a three to four fold increase than what was previously thought. Recent fossil discoveries also indicate that homosapiens lived before the oldest known chimp fossils. As a result, some evolutionary biologists are now considering the notion that chimps and humans may not have even evolved from the same common ancestor, or that the separation took place at a much earlier stage. Of course, most Christians firmly believe that there was no evolutionary link at all. They are simply the result of similarity of design (like the similarity of design between a dolphin and a whale). But similarity doesnt equate to linkage. A 6% difference is quite drastic particularly when you realize that differences in race equate to less than an almost immeasurable 0.0000000000001% difference.
nevertheless, dna evidence shows clearly that we are not related to "monkeys", but are related closely to chimpanzees. the study of dna is the major change that you do not mention in how we view our relationship to other animals in God's kingdom.
Regardless of the similarities and differences in DNA, the fact remains that humans also share incredible DNA similarities with common earthworms. These similarities in DNA structure dont necessarily translate to common ancestry. It just means that the DNA is similar in structure. All living things are comprised of similar elements. We are all largely carbon-based creatures. Some designs are more similar than others but again, that doesnt equate to similar ancestry. However, the theory of evolution and natural selection is based upon one (or possibly, a few) primary living organisms evolving through natural selection into the millions of species present today. It is my belief that the science of evolution is simply the science of observing similarities between living things (including their DNA/genome makeup) and theorizing various possible ancestral links between them. It does not explain the continued existence of lesser evolved life forms (like plankton) or the inability of other strands of the evolutionary web to develop into higher intelligence.
There are studies that indicate a similar notion to evolution that deals with a cause and effect change in species. Are animals passing more than just ingredients to their posterity? Do animals pass along changes of the epigenome within the sperm? Recent studies have indicated that certain immediate changes are made by the environment upon the epigenome. These can be seen as quickly as in the children, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of human beings. There are links that prove that individuals with drug or alcohol addiction can produce an addiction within their children or grandchildren. How is this possible? By mutating changes in the epigenome. The same is true with cancer. We have known for years that cancer can run in the family. Why? Recent studies are considering whether or not a smoker today is altering the epigenome to an extent that it increases risk of certain diseases (like cancer) to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Similarly, there are indications that Europeans developed a resistance to diseases like Smallpox, which might have been passed down to our grandchildren. But this is not to be confused with evolutionary biology. Rather, it is a result of the cause/effect relationship between our environment and our biological makeup (and how that makeup is passed on to our posterity). Some scientists have gone so far as to use this change in epigenome as to explain what was once considered instinct. What causes an animal to search for the milk of its mother? Is this mere instinct or is this related to changes that were passed on biologically within the cognitive inheritance of a creature? The same is being theorized as to why certain animals (like Pit Bulls or Beta fish) retain their alpha male aggression.
While I dont know all of the science behind this, I am very much aware of the limits of scientists in such matters. One of my best friends is a senior scientist for GlaxoSmithKline at the Research Triangle in North Carolina. He is a great chemist and a strong believer. He is a rather firm believer in a literal six day idea of creation. Like you, he does not believe that we should place God in a box. But this goes both ways. We can easily attempt to confine God to a box of our limited understanding of science, or by our supposed advanced understanding of science. Most scientists are quick to point out that what is accepted fact today may be dismissed next week, next month or next century. Besides, God is [u]not[/u] confined to the laws of science or nature. He invented these laws and processes. God is no more confined by the laws of science any more than an author is confined to the paper in front of him or the readers knowledge of the book. The Author can change the rules as He sees fit even if it contradicts what is expected, approved or commonly accepted.
It would be impossible for me to ever fully understand the nature or mind of God. An attempt to do so would render us incapable of true faith. This was what caused Gods response to Job. Who are we to contend with the Almighty? He didnt consult us when He formed the Leviathan, so why should we try to consult Him now? After millions years of supposed human evolution, we could never fully comprehend the mind of God. We cant even fully explain why a bumblebee flies. There are some things that we can simply never understand. We can attempt to understand the laws of nature, but we cannot attempt to confine natures God to those laws of which He is an author.
As a result, I prefer to believe that God is more than able to have created the Earth, and all that is in it, within six physical days. How do I explain supposed contradictions in the age of the Earth (a literal interpretation of the Bible would say that it is about 6000 years old more or less)? I really dont know. But it isnt my job or responsibility to [u]defend[/u] the science of the Bible. It is my job and responsibility to [u]contend[/u] for the God of the Bible.
| 2007/10/23 16:18||Profile|
El Paso, Texas
You ignored my post entirely, and I would like you to explain how if God used evolution, why it then contradicts the scriptures in the order of creation?
If evolution is true, it nullifies the scriptures.
| 2007/10/23 16:45||Profile|
Quote: "If evolution is true, it nullifies the scriptures."
Ben, this is exactly the kind of thinking that i am concerned about. evolution does not nullify the scriptures. rather, it illuminates upon the handiwork of God.
| 2007/10/23 17:39|
El Paso, Texas
Ben, this is exactly the kind of thinking that i am concerned about. evolution does not nullify the scriptures. rather, it illuminates upon the handiwork of God.
bubbaguy, you still have not answered my question, and the reason for that is that you do not believe the truth.
I posted an easy to understand post, you ignored it. Then I asked you to answer that same easy to understand post, and you sidestepped that quite beautifully.
You do not desire to hear the truth, but you rather desire to believe a lie. Every time you are asked a simple question, then you sidestep it.
Show yourself to be a man of character, and answer the question.
| 2007/10/23 17:49||Profile|
i guess we won't come to terms on evolution/creation. i also don't put limits upon God, but neither do i accept that God created a universe that has laws of physics and geology that seemingly stretch and morph to meet with acceptable Biblical interpretation.
the real point that i have been trying to make here is that the Christian church has been letting clear instructions on public prayer and the swearing of oaths fall by the wayside, while insisting upon what seems to be a contrived or shoehorned (if you will) view of what nature and the cosmos tell us about life, accepting only what fits with a strict and literal reading of Genesis. the juxtaposition of these two points has been ringing alarm bells in my head for some time and i am quite concerned that the Church has set itself up for a bashing at the hands of atheist, agnostic or antiChristian forces, and that this bashing will be the undoing of the faith of many.
| 2007/10/23 18:00|
El Paso, Texas
well bubbaguy, you have proved once again, that you do not answer questions.
You make a statement from scripture that may or may not be true, and if confronted you run and hide.
Prayer is misused by much of the church, but your interpretation is incorrect. You have taken one passage, and not examined it in the light of the whole new testament.
While that is an issue that concerns me, (people misusing prayer)
The greater issue to me is churches that allow their people to believe false doctrine like evolution that is contrary to scripture.
This issue is far more rampant in present day society, as very few people are praying anyway, however many have been deceived by satan into believing the devils lie of evolution.
May God open your eyes to this problem, and that you might work to teach the truth of God's word to these people who are in darkness to God's word.
| 2007/10/23 18:07||Profile|
[u][b]Acts 13:41 (NIV)[/b][/u]
" 'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.' "
[u][b]2 Peter 3:3 (NIV)[/b][/u]
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
| 2007/10/23 18:12||Profile|
the points you make in your listing are about comparing the details of scientific study with the details of an account of the creation of life written thousands of years ago. of course they do not fit together. how could they? you might as well compare Shakespear with morse code. the point i take from Genesis is that God created the heavens and the earth. that God intended for mankind to be here and live as His children, striving to love one another, overcome the adversity we brought upon ourselves, and to conquer death and hatred by honoring God and loving our fellow humans.
| 2007/10/23 18:13|