CHRISTIANITY BUILT MODERN SCIENCE & HOW RELIGION IMPROVES SUCCESS, HAPPINESS, SEX, FREEDOM, MORALITY, INTELLIGENCE & MANY OTHER PRACTICAL THINGS IN LIFE
How much would you pay for these things:
- decade(s) of extra life
- heightened sexual pleasure
- extra energy
- fewer sicknesses and less or zero risk of many serious diseases
- (as a result of the above) significant amounts of extra money (~2,000/year on average according to CNN)
- up to 50% greater levels of happiness
- significantly greater levels of success in most areas of life
- up to 35% less risk of divorce
- the development of most human rights
- the development of modern science
- the development of public education
- the ability to explore the universe without any limits
- eternal life
- and more?
I wish I could go back in a time machine to Queen Elizabeth and take advantage of that offer :). What would I say? I’d start off by tell her about God’s promises here and then explaining how research has been confirming these claims in literally 100s of areas:
- "If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18:5
- “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
DECADE(S) EXTRA HEALTH
Let’s start off with a tiny intro to biblical health confirmed by secular science and then we’ll go to the development of modern science (or you can skip to that section 1st if you wish) and others later. Dan Buettner, who is NOT religious heads the non-religious scientific Blue Zones foundation which studies longevity and happiness and works/ed for National Geographic, explains a few of the biblical principles that are helping one group of Christians live ~10 years longer than anyone else in the USA, THESE DAYS and his research has been reported on National Geographic and by many national news networks. These benefits don’t come unless God’s principles are followed, just as he claims above. But for those who do, there are many benefits. This benefit alone makes it VERY worth your while to spend significant time reading this page and others you will find in this book. But, I assure you that this benefit is only one of a myriad of benefits that respecting and following God’s principles which the Bible calls, “the beginning of wisdom”. Dan Buettner, in a talk given at a TED conference, says:
This is a heterogeneous community. It's white, black, Hispanic, Asian. The only thing that they have in common are a set of very small lifestyle habits that they follow ritualistically for most of their lives.
1) They take their diet directly from the Bible, Genesis: Chapter one, Verse , where God talks about legumes and seeds, and on one more stanza about green plants, ostensibly missing is meat.
2) They take this sanctuary in time very serious. For 24 hours every week, no matter how busy they are, how stressed out they are at work, where the kids need to be driven, they stop everything and they focus on their God on Sabbath, which is from the Bible, their social network, and then,
3) hardwired right in the religion, are nature walks. And the power of this is not that it's done occasionally, the power is it's done every week for a lifetime. None of it's hard. None of it costs money.”
“(at the end)…They all tend to belong to a faith-based community, which is worth between four and 14 extra years of life expectancy if you do it four times a month [depending on how close you and your faith community follow biblical health principles]. Each of these cultures take time to downshift. The Sardinians pray. The Seventh-Day Adventists pray…But when you're in a hurry or stressed out, that triggers something called the inflammatory response, which is associated with everything from Alzheimer's disease to cardiovascular disease. When you slow down for 15 minutes a day you turn that inflammatory state into a more anti-inflammatory state.”
The TED video doesn’t go into much detail on biblical health principles. The videos “Turn Back the Clock” here give a better intro and more will be below:
(a pdf version is at: http://eslmission.truth-is-life.org/resources.php?id=22 . Open the file: “How to Achieve Maximum Health”)
The video shows several centenarians living a very active life. My grandpa is at present 104 and still going strong. He played basketball into his 80s and at 101 he was helping me string Christmas tree lights around the house in the snow.
I asked him what was the secret of his long life and he said:
1) God’s blessings from following His principles in the Bible.
2) Not smoking or drinking alcohol (or doing drugs).
3) Being vegetarian.
4) Exercise and
5) A wife who didn’t nag him ;).
The Bible has over 40 specific testable health recommendations, none of which are harmful, which are designed to prevent sickness and disease (not just cure it expensively after you get it which is the target of much modern medicine). And for literally millenia, the only people who were gaining many decades of life were those who took God's promises and principles seriously. Could the same thing be true now in other areas? Almost certainly yes.
The National Institute of Heath and National Cancer Institute and other major secular organizations have funded quite a few studies on Adventists to learn why the practices they follow derived from spiritual sources are so advantageous to health:
- http://www.nih.gov/ (search for "Adventists" for yourself if you wish)
There are 300 peer reviewed studies on Adventists' health here:
There are at least 40 principles in the Bible that contribute to longevity , some much more detailed and surprising than the above and we will look at them more in detail in another section.
THE DANGER OF RIDICULING ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE
Before going further, we need to deal with the problem of elitism. Some people may say, oh, that’s just so obvious. Who doesn’t know that? Well, until recent decades the vast majority of people had no clue that these practices were important or what value they had and even now it is not hard to find many who are unaware of the importance of these habits.
When people look at the Bible & other things, many parts seem simple (although some parts are quite complicated) & the temptation to arrogance kicks in…how could something from so long ago and that appears so simple still be useful for us today? But, it was Einstein who said,
1) "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.” &
2) "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Einstein
Much of the Bible is written in simple language. Why? In law, surgery, some parts of science & other areas, it’s OK to have a few elite knowing the complex truths & then producing products for the masses or using their skills for those who need them. There’s no need for all to know complex truths. But, in other fields, it’s starkly different. In communication, literacy, health, theology & many other areas, if each individual doesn’t know the truth, they will suffer in many ways. So, God put some truths of the greatest value in the Bible in simple language so that even simple people could understand & choose to follow them.
Here are two more intellectuals on the value of simplicity:
- “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Da Vinci
- “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.” C. W. Ceran
This is precisely what God did. If he hadn’t, billions wouldn’t have known how to have the best life on this earth. But, there is quite enough in the Bible for the most sophisticated mind as well. It has value for people of all IQ levels.
God could have put the equations of relativity in the Bible without any difficulty or instructions on space travel. No problem at all. But, He gave us a brain & wanted us to enjoy the thrill of discovering the universe & creatively adapting what we learn about it. He put some crucial basics in the Bible that science now proves are very crucial for life, health, rational thinking, science, etc. and did make certain pretty sophisticated scientific testable claims in certain parts. But, He left quite a bit for us to discover. The Bible doesn’t claim that it has all knowledge. It just claims that it is the beginning of wisdom. Sadly, modern culture still hasn’t caught up to this “beginning of wisdom” in certain areas.
Prejudice against simplicity & traditional knowledge have killed literally millions & science has been stunted by this grave sin against knowledge.
1 MILLION SAILORS DIED DUE TO REJECTING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Between 1600 & 1800 over 1 million sailors in the British navy died from a disease called scurvy. Doctors & scientists had no idea why. But, in 1535, the answer had been found & written down. French explorer Jacques Cartier’s ships were frozen in the ice off the St. Lawrence River. Scurvy began to kill some of the sailors. There were 110 sailors & 25 had already died. Many others were very sick & going to die. But then a friendly Indian showed them a cure: tree bark & needles of the white pine - both rich in vitamin C. These were stirred into a drink for the sailors & all the sailors immediately recovered. Cartier reported this to the doctors & scientists back in Europe. But, they laughed at the ignorant Indians & didn’t study this natural solution at all. Only about 200 years later did scientists realize that scurvy was caused by a vitamin C deficiency. The Indians natural remedy was a perfect solution. But, because the scientists & doctors were too proud, over 1 million sailors died of scurvy even after the cure had been found.
The same thing with similar results has happened when people arrogantly discredited biblical knowledge because it seemed simple, when in reality it was very crucial for life as we will discover later.
Lord Atterbury, a contemporary of Newton, said, "Modesty teaches us to speak of the ancients with respect, especially when we are not very familiar with their works. Newton, who knew them practically by heart, had the greatest respect for them, & considered them to be men of genius & superior intelligence who had carried their discoveries in every field much further than we today suspect, judging from what remains of their writings. More ancient writings have been lost than have been preserved, & perhaps our new discoveries are of less value than those that we have lost."
THE BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW BUILT MOST FOUNDATIONS & BRANCHES OF MODERN SCIENCE
How often have you ever heard comments like these?
- “Religion put us in the dark ages, science got us out. Science would have happened earlier if it wasn't for religion.” gregr***
- “Why don't you understand that when religion ruled science didn't progress? Dark Ages anyone?? Spazz***
- “Religion has nothing to do with science unless you burn the book and see how much energy you set free or something like that.” realbo***
- “The Bible hasn't made any useful predictions anymore than Nostradomus has. Nor has it led us to any discoveries in science.” Latho***
- “Religion can't be a part of science because religion starts with a product and conforms evidence to match that product, while science starts with a question and the answer comes from the evidence.” Himes***
- “Religion and science can get along like cats and dogs, As long as they stay away from each other.” tallliza
- “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” atheist
Do you agree with any of these? If so why? Is your view based on evidence or just something you’ve accepted because it’s a popular notion? Let’s take a pop quiz. Which do you think is correct?
a) There is a war between religion and science with religion hindering science at almost every step.
b) Christianity has been deeply involved in supporting and advancing science with large sums of money and human resources for millennia, often based on biblical principles.
c) Christianity always supported every conceivable advance of science.
a) The Bible and Christian scholars taught that the earth was flat.
b) The Bible & almost all medieval Christian scholars taught that the earth was a sphere.
c) The Bible taught nothing about the shape of the earth.
a) Quite a few scientists were persecuted and killed by churches in the middle ages for their scientific ideas.
b) Only 1 scientist may have been persecuted in the middle ages for his scientific ideas & only 1 major scientist was killed during that time.
c) The church never persecuted any scientists...except maybe Frankenstein.
It may surprise you, but in all 3 cases, B is correct. It may also surprise you to find out that pretty much no scholar in the field of the history of science would agree with this notion that a monumental conflict or war has been going on between religion and science for centuries as is popularly believed. And the fact is that without Christianity, modern science exist, or would be centuries behind where we are now and mostly stymied. Dr. Hannam has degrees in physics and history from Oxford and London universities and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Cambridge University. He summarizes the view of most scholars in the field this way:
David Lindberg, Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Wisconsin states,
Steven Shapin, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego writes,
In 2011, Dr. Hannam published, “The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution” This and his book “God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science" which is based on his research as well as highly regarded academic work by the world’s leading historians of medieval science such as David Lindberg, Edward Grant, William A Wallace, Alan Debus, John North, Lynn Thorndike, Anneliese Maier and Lynn White. It has been reviewed very positively by major secular organizations:
- “Well-researched and hugely enjoyable”. New Scientist
- “It is engaging, informative and I heartily recommend it.” says Ruth Francis, Head of Press for Nature http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/10/ruths_reviews_gods_philosopher_1.html.
 Colin A. Russell, "The Conflict between Science and Religion" in Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, ed. Gary B. Ferngren (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), p. 7.
This modern myth of religion and science at war is called the conflict thesis and even though popularly accepted, it has been almost completely debunked by leading historians of science and many others who have investigated the facts. Scientists of the middle ages would be completely dumbfounded by this accusation that Christianity and science are at war...people like Nicole d'Oresme, Albrecht of Saxony, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Thomas Bradwardine, Jean Buridan de Bethune, John Philoponus, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, Theodoric of Fribourg, Roger Bacon, Thierry of Chartres, Gerbert of Aurillac, William of Conches, John Dumbleton, Nicholas of Cusa and 100s of other medieval scientists. These churchmen and many others were intensely interested in examining the physical world scientifically and did it with the full political, religious and financial support, financial of the church.
The church like every educational and scientific establishment in history did have to decide what it understood to be the truth since it was running all the schools and wanted to avoid propagating errors to the best of its ability. It’s decisions on that were informed by the studies of scholars in many fields. That same thing is done in modern times by every educational and scientific establishment on the planet. The establishments BOTH in history and modern times have certainly made mistakes in what they thought was right. That can not be disputed. Every year and sometimes even every day, we are finding out that some of our views are not correct. This is one reason why it’s good to question all establishments, political, educational, scientific and religious. NO establishment is infallible and this is very easy to see from the records of history. So, we need to avoid being so naïve that we just trust anything modern establishments say, because it is certain that they are also wrong in some things they teach.
The church of the middle ages did make some serious errors (many of these were the result of ignoring the Bible to follow pagan philosophy). Some think that if God inspired the Bible, that it would make Christians perfect on every idea. But, while the Bible does have 100s of fully testable and practical scientific concepts in it that were and are crucial to enable a high quality of life on earth as 1000s of scientific studies have proven decisively, the Bible does not anywhere claim that it explains all science. God gave us minds to use and He gave them to us for a purpose, to USE learning about the world around us. Many skeptics claim that Christian science was only “God did it” and being lazy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Henry F. "Fritz" Schaefer, five-time Nobel Prize nominee, world-renowned chemist explains the kind of “God did it” science that Christian scientists have always done,
Einstein, while not a Christian, (but also angrily rejecting the label of atheist) spoke similarly saying,
This idea of a war between science and religion is a figment of the imagination based on distortions of history made popular by the same writers who invented the flat earth myth below and certain others. Scholars in the history of science cite historical records showing that Christianity, Judaism (and Islam to some extent) have been integral in pioneering much science throughout history. Far from repressing science, the Bible and Christianity from ancient history up to the present has been one of most important pioneers of numerous practical scientific concepts as well as being undoubtedly the biggest supporter of science overall in history, actively advancing it in many areas with unrivaled amounts of manpower, financing, facilities, instruments, training, political support, building science centers, universities where scientists could be trained and experiments done and in other ways.
The Middle Ages, Mr. Hannam writes, were a time of many intellectual triumphs. Among the inventions were eye glasses, mechanical clocks, the windmill, the blast furnace, cameras, most kinds of machinery, and the industrial revolution itself. “All owe their origins to the forgotten inventors of the Middle Ages.”
Maybe the most shocking fact of all is that it was actually the philosophy of creation science that was responsible for giving incredible motivation to scientists to study and understand the natural world. Dr. Hannam who is himself an evolutionist, not a creationist, points out that:
Without the crucial contributions of Christianity that often derived directly from the Bible, modern science and most of it’s methods for checking and critiquing claims of truth and verifying theories, simply wouldn’t exist. Dr. Gauch Jr, explains that medieval science made incredible progress in the most crucial area.
Some will claim that all this is just some genetic fallacy, that it’s incidental that modern science developed along with Christianity, just lucky timing. There is not the slightest truth in this. We will later list many scientific principles in the Bible, but here’s a bit that connects to the modern scientific method above.
Christians frequently read about Daniel in the Bible and it could not have failed to influence their thinking since one of his stories in Daniel 1 is one of the most popular stories in the entire Bible. Israel had been taken captive (due to refusing to follow God’s law and losing his protection) and Daniel was taken to Babylon. While there he was required to eat the king’s food, which was forbidden by biblical health guidelines. He couldn’t just say, “My God says not to eat this food.” They likely would have just chopped off his head and laughed later. He had to invent some way to show them that God’s instructions were best.
So, he basically invented the modern scientific method. What he tested may seem obvious to us now, but remember that this was in the time when nobody had ever used the scientific method before and there was no way to know what was best. Most thought that the royal diet with pork, alcohol and all sorts of other delicacies that we now know to be harmful to health were the best diet imaginable. Dr. Grimes reports how Daniel pioneered the first use of the modern scientific method.
Since nearly all historians reject this conflict myth, why do people think there was a conflict? Dr. Hannam explains:
What about the flat earth allegation in #2? Here, even non-religious scientists like Professor Stephen Gould of Harvard, admit that,
Professor Jeffrey B. Russell, historian at the University of California Berkeley (who has also taught at Berkeley & Harvard) proved in his book, “Inventing the Flat Earth” that John Draper, Andrew White & Washinton Irving (who wrote fairy tales like Rip Van Winkle) promoted this myth in their books in the 1800s and atheists & agnostics from then on have gleefully trumpeted this fable in order to malign pre-modern civilization. Washington described a commission of ignorant and bigoted members deriding Columbus for claiming the Earth is spherical. But, there is not a shred of evidence for this claim. The real issue in the 1490s was not the shape of the Earth, but its size, and the position of the east coast of Asia. Russell states,
Historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers point out that
Even as early as 1945, the Historical Association of Britain listed this myth as the second of 20 in a pamphlet on common errors in history. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1985), Colliers Encyclopaedia (1984), The Encyclopedia Americana (1987) and nearly all scholars of history are on record debunking this idea as the ignorant myth that it is. See also:
In actual fact, Galileo was a very firm believer in the Bible and his real crime was being provocative, confrontational and especially challenging Aristotle’s views of the solar system which the religious establishment of that time had accepted as fact. While Aristotle had some ideas right, ironically, it was when Christians freed science from major errors of Aristotle that modern science was really able to take off and advance. Galileo’s actual view was that,
“the Holy Bible can never speak untruth—whenever its true meaning is understood.” Galileo
So, it is very wrong to misconstrue this unusual case as a conflict between the Bible and science. The general public is unfortunately largely unaware of this. Why? Here are 2 major reasons:
1) Governments forbid schools from teaching anything about religion due to the idea of church and state separation (in later sections you will see America’s founders had no problem with government and religion working together to advance knowledge in many areas. They mainly wanted to forbid any group from using the government to persecute opponents from political, religious, or other ideas.)
2) Unfortunately, atheism is deeply involved in promoting destructive ignorance in this area as well as many others. Leading atheists who have the responsibility to know better, have long used this canard to deceitfully disparage religion. One typical example is Daniel Dennet who says that
Regarding question #3, did churches persecute or kill scientists for their science? Dr. James Hannam writes,
Actual conflicts between real science and the Bible are almost non-existent. Some will cite very abnormal cases such as Galileo, abortion and the stem cell debate. These sensational cases are the exceptions, not the norm. But, they get 90% of the media coverage while the vast majority of the fully documented agreement between the Bible, science and history goes almost totally ignored and unreported. Equally important to remember is that , in case after case after case, when the Bible and the views of scientific establishments conflicted, over time the Bible’s view was vindicated. Here are just a couple of many cases:
A) ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSE: For millennia, steady state was the dominant view among scientists. The Bible speaks of an expanding universe over a dozen times. Only with Lemaitre and Hubble in the 20th century did science finally catch up with the Bible.
B) DIET: As Daniel proved to the Babylonians and as National Geographic, Blue Zones, the NIH, etc. confirm, the vegetarian lifestyle and many other health principles that the Bible promotes are ideal for health.
C) SANITATION LAWS: The Bible had laws on crucial sanitation areas that were not verified by science until 1000s of years later and not followed by most until the late 1800s. Dr.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tMIg1MFuRY (To see the situation in the 1800s explained by the BBC’s Blood and Guts Series on Semmelweis and Lister where ½ the patients were dying because doctors were ignoring the Bible’s instruction to wash their hands, see:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6-FjtpdePA & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T73PYNyyeiI )
D) ORIGIN OF LIFE: The act of creation/biogenesis VS. abiogenesis/spontaneous generation, because both of these questions deal with the same question, the origin of life.
See these links for quite a number of specific details on Christian creation scientists who advanced science, often using biblical philosophy or specific scientific concepts.
CHRISTIANS BUILT THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE
Do you use a cell phone, the internet, a remote control or a TV? Everything from radar to satellites & spacecraft and aircraft communications – every means of transferring information through air or space rests directly on the work of the devoted Christian scientist James Maxwell who also labored to build the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge which was at the hub of of many major discoveries in atomic and nuclear physics.
Dr. Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate, paid his respects this way: “From a long view of the history of mankind–seen from, say, ten thousand years from now– there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics.”
What was Maxwell’s inspiration? “I believe, with the Westminster Divines and their predecessors ad Infinitum, that ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever.” Near the end of his life, he wrote simply: “The only desire which I can have is like David to serve my own generation by the will of God, and then fall asleep” Hutchinson, Ian (2006), James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition, [On-line], URL: http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/maxwell/
Bible believers pioneered these things and MANY more besides:
MODERN SCIENTIFIC METHOD: Daniel in the Bible did the 1st experiment
with a control group in history, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon.
“Around 600 BC, Daniel of Judah conducted…the earliest recorded clinical
trial. His trial compared the health effects of a vegetarian diet with
those of a royal Babylonian diet over a 10-day period. The strengths of
his study include the use of a contemporaneous control group, use of an
independent assessor of outcome, and striking brevity in the published
report.” Dr. David Grimes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7501328
PEER REVIEW PROCESS: Henry Oldenburg, a theologian, creationist and
founding editor of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society,
pioneered this in 1665.
FIRST PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATION: The first peer-reviewed publication
may have been the Medical Essays and Observations published by the Royal
Society of Edinburgh in 1731. The present-day peer-review system
evolved from this 18th-century process.
FIRST SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY IN HISTORY: The first scientific society in
history, The Royal Society, was started by John Wilkins and other
creationists. Wilkins published ideas on how speciation must have
happened based directly on the Bible account of Noah’s flood, Genesis
references to variations within kinds and observations of nature.
- OCCAM'S RAZOR: John Ockham pioneered Occam’s razor
(although we see hints of it before him going back to the Greeks and
before them in the Bible).
- FALSIFICATION: Falsification
was pioneered by G. K.
Chesterton (but again there were hints of it before him..and explicit
cases of it in the Bible. See for example, Malachi 3:8-10 where God
tells people to test His promises regarding tithe, or Deuteronomy 28
where God makes many specific predictions about what will happen if
Israel follows His laws and many other examples.).
- MANY SCIENCE MAGAZINES: Many science and research magazines
were founded by Christian scientists, historians and scholars.
Scientific American for example was founded by Rufus Porter (1792–1884),
who thought that science glorified the creator God. In the very first
issue, his editorial stated:
‘We shall advocate the pure Christian religion, without favouring any particular sect …’
And he wrote an article ‘ Rational Religion’, where he wrote:
‘First, then, let us, as rational creatures, be ever ready to acknowledge God as our Creator and daily Preserver; and that we are each of us individually dependant on his special care and good will towards us, in supporting the wonderful action of nature which constitutes our existence; and in preserving us from the casualties, to which our complicated and delicate structure is liable. Let us also, knowing our entire dependence on Divine Benevolence, as rational creatures, do ourselves the honor to express personally and frequently, our thanks to him for his goodness; and to present our petitions to Him for the favours which we constantly require. This course is rational, even without the aid of revelation: but being specially invited to this course, by the divine word, and assured of the readiness of our Creator to answer our prayers and recognize our thanks, it is truly surprising that any rational being, who has ever read the inspired writings should willingly forego this privilege, or should be ashamed to be seen engaged in this rational employment, or to have it known that he practices it.’
- MOST BRANCHES OF SCIENCE: Due to biblical principles, religious,
Bible believing scientists and intellectuals pioneered the majority of
the fields of science and countless other concepts in science. Here are a
• ENCYCLOPEDIA, SCIENTIFIC. The first scientific encyclopedia featuring articles, pictures, alphabetical entries--was prepared by a minister, John Harris.
• PHYSICS. Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Thompson (Kelvin), Tait, Lemaître and MANY more.
• SCIENCE&ROCKETRY: Galileo, Johannes Kepler, Dr. Wernher von Braun, father of space science, 1st NASA director most responsible for putting men on the moon.
• GENETICS: Gregor Mendel
• COMPUTER SCIENCE. Blaise Pascal, Charles Babbage, etc.
• ANTISEPTIC SURGERY/BACTERIOLOGY VACCINATION. Joseph Lister, Louis Pasteur, Anton von Leeuwenhoek, Edward Jenner
• RELATIVITY THEORY. Einstein built his theory of relativity on the work of three men, two of whom were Christians: Bernhard Riemann & James Clerk Maxwell. He also used the work of Michelson-Morely & Morley was a Christian.
• CHEMISTRY: Robert Boyle is called by some the Father of Chemistry. Michael Faraday, John Dalton, a Quaker, gave us the atomic theory behind chemistry
• SYNTHETICS: George Washington Carver
• ANESTHESIOLOGY. Crawford Long, James Young Simpson
• GEOLOGY. Nels Steno the Father of Geology.
• THERMODYNAMICS. James Joule and Lord Kelvin
• WAVE THEORY OF LIGHT. Thomas Young, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, etc.
• FIELD THEORY. Michael Faraday first envisioned field theory.
• OPTICS. George Berkeley idealist philosopher and Christian bishop, showed how images form upside down in the eye.
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Dr. Raymond Damidian
See more at: http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm
To demean Christianity as atheism constantly does is like demeaning Thomas Jefferson who pioneered democracy or to be a base ingrate and reject the loving parents who gave you life.
Please don’t fall for the atheistic fallacy that these scientists invented science in spite of Christian and creation science. There is not a particle of truth in that and this is well documented by historians of science and even evolutionists.
There is no accident that out of 1000s of cultures, it was the Christian creationist one that built modern science. After all, the Bible contains the 1st use of the modern scientific method in all history in Daniel 1.
WHY CHRISTIANITY HELPED PROMOTE MUCH PROGRESS IN SCIENCE
Dr. Loren Eiseley, a professor of anthropology, evolutionist and a science history writer, summarizes historical reality,
Peter Harrison, (Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford) writes,
As Prof. Harrison explained:
Stephen Snobelen, Assistant Professor of History of Science and Technology, University of King’s College, Halifax, Canada, writes in a similar vein, and also explains the somewhat misleading term “literal interpretation”:
And Prof. Snobelen explains the reason why: scientists started to study nature in the same way they studied the Bible. I.e. just as they studied what the Bible really said, rather than imposed outside philosophies and traditions upon it, they likewise studied how nature really did work, rather than accept philosophical ideas about how it should work (extending their allegorizing readings of Scripture to the natural world).
Even Einstein who had strong tendencies towards intelligent design but was not a Christian, wrote that,
GENERAL BIBLE PRINCIPLES THAT STIMULATED SCIENCE
Many skeptics claim that Christians are using a genetic fallacy when they claim Christianity built modern science. They allege that it’s just incidental that science developed under Christianity. This is no more true than a genetic fallacy alleging that Darwin was unimportant to the the concept of universal common descent. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Numerous nations and empires in history have had much power and money and control and should have been able to do what Christianity did in areas ranging from modern science to health to human rights. But, they did very little to nothing to develop modern science. It is really deplorably irrational to say that it was only because Christianity had power that it developed modern science when 1000s of other cultures with power in history didn’t. The reason they didn’t is because their philosophy stymied the development of science. Another one is because those in power cared very little for the general population whom they often considered just pawns to be used by those in power.
Here are some of the Bible principles that were critical for the development of modern science. These are only general principles. There are many other very specific scientific ideas that the Bible pioneered, some of which will be listed later:
- TRUTH/WISDOM, NOT MONEY, IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL:
Proverbs 18:15 says that “Wise men and women are always learning, always looking for fresh insights”. This inspired Bible thinkers like Solomon and Christians to pursue knowledge about nature, human rights, law, relationships and so many other things.
Making money is a gift of God the Bible tells us (Deuteronomy 8:18). So, money itself is not evil. Like many things, it can be used for good or evil. But, the Bible also tells us that loving it too much is the root of all evil and will pierce us with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10). To be wise, we need higher goals than just making money and the Bible gives us the right priorities in this area. It understands the need for money, but warns us not to make it into an idol. Many times the Bible tells us that finding truth and wisdom are the most valuable objectives. Jesus tells us that the truth will make us free.
"For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it." Proverbs 8:11
The wise priorities of truth and wisdom above money have directly motivated many Christians to contribute vast sums of both money and energy to building public education, hospitals, science centers, promoting human rights and so much more instead of just hoarding it and using it selfishly.
- PROVE TRUTH BY EVIDENCE, NOT JUST BLIND HOPE
When God asked Israel to believe in Him, He didn’t ask for blind faith alone, He gave them much overwhelming evidence (see my page on faith and evidence here: http://www.truth-is-life.org/GoodFaithNeedsEvidence.html). Consequently, when Daniel went to Babylon, he knew he couldn’t just say believe God’s principles without evidence. So, h e proposed an objective test that was the first known use of the modern scientific method in history. In contrast to many mystery religions of the time, Daniel, based on God’s example of providing evidence for claims, demonstrated evidence for His claim about God’s dietary instructions.
“Around 600 BC, Daniel of Judah conducted what is widely regarded as the earliest recorded clinical trial. His trial compared the health effects of a vegetarian diet with those of a royal Babylonian diet over a 10-day period. The strengths of his study include the use of a contemporaneous control group, use of an independent assessor of outcome, and striking brevity in the published report.” Dr. David Grimes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7501328 (Dr. Grimes actually goes through comparing Daniel’s experiment to the 32 point structured format for reporting randomized trials that experts suggest today).
Grimes DA. Clinical research in ancient Babylon: methodologic insights from the book of Daniel. Obstet Gynecol. 1995;86(6):1031-1034.
REASONABLY SKEPTICAL & TEST EVERYTHING: It’s an ironic fact that
the Bible many times tells people to be skeptical and question things
and not to believe just anything they hear. Quite a few times in the
Bible God says that He is testing people. He tells them to test prophets
to see if they are true and false (Deuteronomy 18:21). He says that we
should not trust only 1 witness to convict someone of crime. We need at
least 2-3 witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15; 17:6). There are many other
examples of the Bible telling people to test different things. God even
says that we can test Him in different ways (Malachi 3:8-10) and Gideon
tested God (Judges 6:36-40). Even Habbakuk a prophet questioned God
(Habakkuk 1 and 2) and so did others such as David in the Psalms. Paul
writes “But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.” I
- WEIGH ALL THE EVIDENCE: But,
rejecting and ignoring evidence is the opposite extreme and just as bad
if not worse. In Proverbs 20:8, Solomon tells us that wise judges,
“weigh all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.” The
Bereans were commended because they didn’t just believe what Paul said
when he first came to them. They investigated to see if what he said was
true and after that agreed that Paul was correct.(Acts 17:11). In
Isaiah 41:21-29 and other places, God challenges Israel to show any
pagan gods that has provided as much evidence as he has that they are
So, the Bible has a perfect balance. Be skeptical and question everything, but be sure to follow the weight of evidence you know about to distinguish the good from the bad.
HISTORY: In a cyclical view of history, all new ideas will be lost in
time. This causes there to be much less incentive for being innovative,
creative or finding truth since it will be lost in not too long in the
cycle of history. The Bible’s linear view of history fostered a culture
where innovation could progress and multiply.
For example, in Deut. 30, God says, “19Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him."
“The Chinese make an excellent case study in the stillbirths of science. For the Chinese culture experienced long centuries of relative peace, material prosperity, active social interplay, creativity of mind, and contact with other cultures.
The French sinologist, M. Granet, noted that "the conviction that the All and everything composing it, having a cyclic nature" was what stymied the Chinese awareness of causal links between events. Thus, there was nothing odd, as far as the Chinese were concerned, in attributing the political failure of a prince to the fact that human sacrifices took place at his burial. As Granet noted, the Chinese were not interested in causes and effects, rather "manifestations, whose order mattered little, conceived as they were separate, but grafted nevertheless on the same root. Equally expressive, they appeared interchangeable." Thus, as historian of science, Stanley Jaki points out, "if at a particular time, a mountain collapsed, a river ran dry, a man allegedly changed into a woman, and a dynasty came to an end, the Chinese sage took all these as equally significant indications of a "change of order" both in the cosmos and in history, without feeling any urge to search into a causal relationship among them."
It's hard for us to appreciate this mentality given that we have been shaped to think in linear terms. But if you can begin to grasp it, you will see how awful it is for the development of science. Yes, the Chinese and many other cultures would keep records about the position of the stars. Yes, they would invent calenders and be able to make predictions. But none of this had anything to do with trying to understand how nature works. It had nothing to do with science. And for thousands of years, it never anticipated science. It was simple record-keeping so that they could recognize the "signs of the time" and situate themselves in the rhythmic breathing of the eternally cycling Universe.”
… What matters is that cyclical thinking was a great hindrance to the birth of science. It was very powerful and channeled much thinking and creativity away from a scientific pursuit. This is one reason why Greek science, which started with such promise, died. This is why astrology eventually overshadowed astronomy, so much so that even Ptolemy would consider his Tetrabiblios to be of far greater importance than his Almagest.”
Herodotus wrote history in an epic manner as manipulated by fate. Thucyclides described historical facts realistically and scientifically, but like any Greek thought that history repeats itself. He wrote, "The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content." (Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War [London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1948], p. 11).
The cyclical view of history considers that human effort is limited or useless to change the course of fate. The Bible however is filled with injunctions and warnings from God that human choices have a great deal of influence on the future.
- QUESTION ALL
ESTABLISHMENTS: The Bible frequently demonstrated the importance of
people questioning the establishments of its time, educational,
politican, religious and scientific, etc. This happened in at least 3
1) Prophets challenged kings and priests in regard to their hypocrisy. You can see the prophet Nathan strongly condemning the most famous king of Israel for his adultery in 2 Samuel 12. In most other nations, nothing would have been said to the king and if anyone had dared say anything, the critic would have gotten his head lopped off. The prophets and priests frequently challenged leaders to have greater integrity throughout Israel’s history (others including generals like Joab had power to challenge leaders as well).
2) Religious establishments challenged people to not just accept ideas from other cultures, but to question them very seriously and to not become enslaved to ideas that would harm them. It was ironically because the church proclaimed certain aspects of Aristotle heretical, that it freed scientists and philosophers to begin to consider other options and this laid the foundation for modern science. See Dr. James Hannam (Ph.d. from Cambridge in the history of science):
MODERN SCIENCE'S CHRISTIAN SOURCES
3) God’s truth frequently challenged the status quo and motivated people to think beyond what was normal for their time and place. This happened in Israel’s history and esp. Christian history as Christians frequently took Jesus instruction seriously that the way people treated the poor and unfortunate was the way they treated God.
NATURE WAS HONORABLE: The Bible’s view of the world as a place created
and designed by God with order inspired rational investigation. Many
religions didn't value this much if at all and some even considered it
forbidden by the gods as their secret.
John Ray (1627-1705), the great biologist, advised a friend, “What time you have to spare you will do well to spend, as you are doing, in the inquisition and contemplation of the works of God and nature."
Kepler wrote in 1598,
“Since we astronomers are priests of the most high God with respect to the book of nature, it behooves us not to think of the praise of our abilities, but above all of the glory of God. . . . Enough for me is the honor of guarding, with my discovery, the door of God's temple, in which Copernicus serves before the high altar.” Johannes Kepler
Kepler like many great creation scientists “incorporated religious arguments and reasoning into his work, motivated by the religious conviction that God had created the world according to an intelligible plan that is accessible through the natural light of reason….Much of Kepler’s enthusiasm for the Copernican system stemmed from his theological convictions about the connection between the physical and the spiritual; the universe itself was an image of God, with the Sun corresponding to the Father, the stellar sphere to the Son, and the intervening space between to the Holy Spirit.” See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler
PEOPLE TO ADMIT CONFESS ERRORS & MAKE THEM RIGHT: In cultures where
“face” is critical, it is embarrassing to admit errors & frequently
hidden. This hinders science and sends it down many false detours. But,
the Bible’s position on sin, pride and the human condition as well as
its admonitions to strive for perfection created an environment where
admitting mistakes was an act of integrity and continual improvement was
imperative. Personal prestige and honor were not supposed to be the
main aim. Truth and progress were far more important.
OUR TALENTS WELL: All through the Bible, God tells people that they are
accountable for the talents that God has given them (Matthew 25:14-28).
This is quite a strong motivation to use our minds, intelligence and
other skills and talents to benefit others and improve their lives. A
number of leading Christian writers have understood these biblical
principles to mean also that intellectual laziness is a type of sin,
since reasoning power is given to all.
Florence Nightingale for example wrote of nurses as the “handmaidens of the Lord” Our work is not done for money alone. It is a service to God. This view was a powerful motivation to use all our talents to their fullest potential.
& A STRONG SENSE OF JUSTICE & FAIRNESS: The Bible’s strong
emphasis on justice and fairness everyone regardless of whether they
were rich or poor, Jew and foreignernot, was a powerful incentive to be
creative and inventive. Most cultures in history were organized on a
hierarchy of power and those lower on the totem pole didn’t have a good
chance of getting justice. For example, Socrates criticized the idea
that might makes right in his day that was widespread. But, the Bible
insisted on equal justice for all & condemned oppression of
foreigners and partiality.
SUMMARY OF DR. HANNAM'S PRESENTATION AT THE ROYAL SOCIETY
Dr. Hannam gave an overview the book mentioned above in a presentation at the Royal Society (1st scientific society in history which was started by a creationist Christian John Wilkins who also published ideas on speciation in the 1600s, LONG before Darwin.) about how Christianity and the creationist view of the world laid the foundations of modern science that no other culture ever achieved (Dr. Hannam is not a creationist. He’s an evolutionist. But, he agrees that the creationist view was fundamental to the development of modern science. This makes the claim even stronger since it is admitted by an evolutionist). Watch it here and a rough summary of it is after the review of the book belw:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-k24Q01vck or download it at: http://tinyurl.com/68s462b
(A short text summary of the presentation is below)
-------REVIEW FROM AMAZON.COM OF DR. HANNAM’S BOOK (Royal Society presentation below)-----
Maybe the Dark Ages Weren't So Dark After All...
Here are some facts you probably didn't learn in school:
• People in the Middle Ages did not think the world was flat--in fact, medieval scholars could prove it wasn't;
• The Inquisition never executed anyone because of their scientific ideas or discoveries (actually, the Church was the chief sponsor of scientific research and several popes were celebrated for their knowledge of the subject);
• It was medieval scientific discoveries, methods, and principles that made possible western civilization's "Scientific Revolution".
…In The Genesis of Science you will discover:
• Why the scientific accomplishments of the Middle Ages far surpassed those of the classical world;
• How medieval craftsmen and scientists not only made discoveries of their own, but seized upon Eastern inventions--printing, gunpowder, and the compass--and improved them beyond the dreams of their originators;
1. How Galileo's notorious trial before the Inquisition was about politics, not science; and
• Why the biblical theology of the medieval church was not an impediment, but a direct inspiration for the development of modern science.
Provocative, engaging, and a terrific read, James Hannam's The Genesis of Science will change the way you think about our past--and our future.
The below is a rough summary of Dr. Hannam’s presentation at the Royal Society (with a couple comments by me identified by ***):
ATTITUDE OF MODERN PEOPLE TO MIDDLE AGES:
- A distinguished journalist from the Guardian described the middle ages as “largely illiterate brutality”.
- Sagan’s book Cosmos has a timeline of great discoveries in science with many up to the Greeks in 415 AD, then 1,100 year gap until we get to Copernicus in 1543. This makes it seem as if nothing happened in the middle ages and the church hindered or harmed science when this is almost completely a myth.
- People think that they were only studying how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, but the 1st person to talk about this in history was Henry Moore in the1700s).
- Voltaire wrote, “Medieval philosophy, bastard daughter of Aristotle’s philosophy, badly translated and understood caused more error for reason and good education than the Huns and the Vandals.”
Most in modern times have believed these and similar myths. But, they are all completely wrong. Unfortunately though, their views have influenced even some Christians to think similarly. These also are some other problematic views:
1) The Cambridge historian Herbert Butterfield write that the scientific revolution…”outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom.”
The problem is that most at the time this “scientific revolution” was happening barely noticed it and this was true for centuries afterwards. It is only in the 20th century that people began to talk about this scientific revolution. Many academics now are becoming reticent to talk much about a “scientific revolution” and what it means. California professor Steven Shapin was asked to write a book on the scientific revolution. He started it, “This is a book. The scientific revolution never happened and this is a book about it.” This sums up the view of most academics in the field of the history of science.
2) The Scientific Revolution is linked in people’s minds to the Renaissance and the recovery of Greek learning. But as Dr. Hannam points out later, it actually happened long before the Renaissance and clergy were heavily involved in the recovery of Greek learning and the Middle Ages scientists laid the foundations for modern science).
3) The scientific revolution was connected to a clean break from Aristotle in several major aspects.
4) Another mistake that people make when they talk about the scientific revolution is that they believe that science sprang into existence. But, in reality, it has kept on developing. Modern Science is done differently from when the Royal Society was done than it is now. But, “If there really was a Scientific Revolution, medieval science was the ancien regime.” This means that if we talk about a scientific revolution happening, medieval science was its foundation.
The Greeks made very admirable progress using trial and error, but Greek doctors were far more likely to kill you than cure you. In fact, with the exception of a couple rare cases (that were not followed by others), they had no way to test whether their medicine or science really worked at all. Their idea of science was basically to think very, very, very hard. And when you’ve done that, it must be true, because it is so rational. This and trial and error helped them to do some quite impressive engineering. But, when you have 2 people who have thought very hard, there was no way to test who is right and science came to a standstill. Greek science has lots of great hypotheses and figured out some theories, but no way to check which one is true.
Muslims made advances in several scientific areas as well as impressive breakthroughs in math.. Alhazen for example did work on optics that formed the foundations of optics today and contributed to Kepler’s work. But, they still thought the earth was the center of the solar system and did not make many conceptual advances over the Greeks. Science in Islamic culture petered out by about the 16th century. Science was never taught at schools. It was considered useful, but only as a hobby. So Muslims didn’t invent modern science.
(***NOTE: Atheism has existed as a philosophy for thousands of years and is nearly as old as religion…but during most of that time the philosophy has contributed little if anything to the progress of science.)
How about Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, etc.? For them and others at their time, the study of God’s creation was at the center of their thinking and directly inspired their scientific work. It was because they viewed God as the Creator that it was considered extremely valuable to study nature and figure out how an intelligent God would design things to work (***NOTE: They thought studying science would reveal more about their Maker and His care for us. They could not conceive of separating science from theology. They were crucial partners, each informing the work of the other. Studying nature was also a way to honor the God who had created it. Kepler (1571-1630), the founder of physical astronomy wrote, "Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”)
The experimental method was in use, but not widespread at this time. It didn’t become universal and widespread until the 19th century or so with scientific experiments and methods. Scientists up to the 17th century were mostly just perfecting Greek science, so, it wasn’t really modern science with peer review, control samples, double blind tests, the experimental method, published results etc. The word scientist wasn’t even used until the 19th century. Even things like the steam engines were invented by trial and error. Only years later did science figure out why it works.
The story of modern science begins centuries ago. There were contributions from Islamic natural philosophy, mathematics from India and inventions from China. But, it was mostly a European story. These are 4 areas where medieval Christianity science made unique contributions that laid the foundations for modern science:
1) CHRISTIANITY WAS OPEN TO NEW IDEAS
Christianity was open to and assimilated knowledge from other cultures (one of the biggest sins in the Bible is pride).
-They were not too proud to learn from Arabs, Byzantium, etc.
-The Carolingians mastered Roman astronomy. When Rome fell…Greek ability was lost. In 11th century, that began to change. Toledo in Spain was captured by a Christian army in 1085 with its tremendous library. They realized that this was a tremendous find and clerics from around Europe traveled there and began translating many of the seminal works of the Greeks and Arabs culture such as Ptolemy’s Almagest, Euclid’s Elements, his crowning work of geometry, Aristotle’s works, commentaries on Greek science that the Arabs had been writing for 4 centuries, Averroes work, an Arab philosophy and scientist who was far more influential for Christians than with Muslims and more.
-Middle Ages people realized that they could learn much from others. They were desperate to recover the knowledge that had been lost in the fall of Roman civilization.
-When Sicily was conquered…again the libraries were searched and analyzed and translated carefully.
-It’s a myth that we owe the Arabs for preserving Greek knowledge. Nearly all Greek originals were preserved by the Byzantium empire. The Arab contributions are their original contributions, not preserving Greek knowledge.
-Renaissance humanists didn’t do much new in mathematics or natural philosophy (science). Archimedes work was translated in the 13th century into Latin (but very difficult to understand). A humanist scholar in the 16th, tried to pass off Archimedes translation as his own translation instead of a medieval one because he didn’t want to give the middle ages Christians credit. They thought that Carolingian manuscripts were Roman originals because they didn’t want to give credit to middle ages thinkers.
2) PIONEERED THE UNIVERSITY INSTITUTION AS INDEPENDENT CORPORATIONS
A brand new institution, the university, started in the middle ages. It created a home for science and helped it flourish. The 1st university was the law school in Bologna, started in 1158, with a medical school added later. It was importantly independent of the govt. This model was very successful and continues now.
Central point: Universities were independent corporations, not controlled by got. and had no antecedents. They were not run by 1 person and since they weren’t controlled by the government, they could move easily if they wanted to. Consider that almost no top universities now are controlled by the government.
Common classes in middle ages:
Trivium: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic.
Quadrivium: Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, Astronomy.
3 philosophies: Natural philosophy, ethics, metaphysics
3) THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW HAD THE CRUCIAL FOUNDATIONS FOR MODERN SCIENCE
Christianity provided cultural and metaphysical philosophy foundations that made working in science acceptable, logical and admirable.
-Most supposed conflicts between church and state, never happened. NONE of these ever happened:
*Church tried to ban zero.
*Tried to ban human dissection.
*Banned alchemy (No. It tried to stop fraudulent alchemists selling fool’s gold as gold).
*Pope tried to excommunicate Haley’s comet.
CREATIONIST PHILOSOPHY AIDED SCIENCE (note again that Dr. Hannam is NOT a creationist)
Because nature was God’s creation and its laws were ordained by God, studying it was legitimate, respectable and very admirable and valuable. To study nature was to understand our Creator more in depth. Medieval scientists also trusted nature to be reliable and its laws to be true long term because nature was a creation of God and so we should not expect nature to be chaotic. It should have order and consistent laws that we can trust to stay the same.
Christians believe in miracles. But, this has never stopped Christians from doing science at any time. In fact as the the greatest natural medieval philosopher John Buridan pointed out, you have to know what is natural, to even be able to identify what is not natural and what is a miracle. While God is quite capable of subverting nature…that does not deter us at all from studying nature to determine its natural order and normal course. Buridan wrote, “It is evidence to us that every fire is hot and that the heavens are moved, even though the contrary is possible by God’s power. And it is evidence of this sort that sufficed for the principles and conclusions of natural philosophy.” John Buridan (1300-1362)
The criticism that Christians couldn’t do science because they thought was directly running everything was God’s will…is not true at all and doesn’t represent medieval thought.
Aristotle was adamant that you can’t use one field to prove or disprove another. He used a few math examples in his physics, but he wasn’t able to integrate the 2 as science today requires. Math and physics only became integrated in medieval philosophy:
4) CHRISTIANITY PRODUCED IMPORTANT THEORETICAL ADVANCES
Christian scientists made important theoretical advances to show that their model was working.
A) The Mean speed theorem explains how far a uniformly a uniformly accelerating object will travel. It was 1st Developed at Merton College in Oxford. Done by Nicole Oreome “On the Configuration of Qualifies” (mid 14th Century) and by William Heytestbury, Rules for Solving Logical Puzzles (Venice, 1494). Galileo unfortunately doesn’t mention his predecessors 2 centuries earlier when he writes on this topic.
B) Relative motion and the rotation of the earth
Cusa thought that the earth possibly does move and that the universe is infinite because God is infinite. Copernicus also made no mention of these medieval predecessors to argue for a moving earth. He quoted Greeks, sometimes misquoted them…shockingly attributing this idea to Virgil of all people. This was the intellectual fad of the day, attributing ideas to Greeks and ancients when actually many of them were studied by Christian scientists long ago.
C) Impetus theory
Aristotle said that no object can possibly move if nothing else is moving it. That hamstrung mechanics for ~1500 years. Buridan used impetus, similar to inertia, to argue that something could keep moving after something stopped pushing it. We call this Newton’s 1st law...but it was actually Buridan who thought of this first. “In the celestial motions, there is no opposing resistance. Therefore when God, at the creation, moved each sphere of the heavens with just the velocity he wished, he then ceased to move them himself and since then those motions have lasted forever due to the impetus impressed on the spheres.” John Buridan, Commentary on the Physics (c. 1350) No friction...so they would continue forever. “Impetus would last forever if it were not diminished and corrupted by an opposing resistance or a tendency to contrary motion.”
Will people finally give up this myth of a conflict between science and religion? We can hope that they will. Science can continue to progress. But, there is no way that ancient science could have made the transition to modern science without the contributions of Christianity. Some were very good at mathematics…but they were light years from modern science. Science does not have to stagnate. It can progess. Science in China, India, middle east, ancient Greece progressed some, but then petered out. Only western science continued to develop.
See articles at Dr. Hannam’s website with some more overviews of the topic:
http://www.jameshannam.com/articles.htm (esp. the 1st 2 articles)
My challenge to evolutionists based on the above is this:
1) We know that creation science directly inspired the foundations of modern science since many of the pioneers of science explicitly tell us this (and there are more than the above in the book and that I know of). Why do evolutionists insist on depriving people of factual information of history?
2) Creationists also pioneered and/or invented many of the processes of science (falsifiability, occam’s razor, the modern scientific method, etc.) due partly to the influence of the Bible. How can it be right to deprive people of this knowledge?
3) ALL agree that creation science has beaten quite a few of it’s rivals already. For example:
a) Creation science beat steady state when the Big Bang theory and a beginning to the universe confirmed the prediction of Hebrews 1:2 that the universe was created and so had a beginning.
b) Genesis 1 and other verses claim that life only comes from God or other life. Pasteur proved this, debunking spontaneous generation and establishing the law of biogenesis.
c) The Bible makes 40+ specific claims about health and these produce 10+ years longer life for those who follow them even today.
4) Research from the Cognitive Genesis project (www.cognitivegenesis.org), Liberty University and other places THESE days shows that students who study creation science do significantly better on science tests than the average. So creation does not hinder knowledge or studying of any kind. It helps students do better in science.
5) Creationists discovered quite a few concepts of science by reading directly from the Bible and using its ideas as a basis for research and making hypotheses.
We wouldn’t have much science today without these creationist principles. It’s a crime against knowledge and history to abusively deprive people of these facts and MANY others. Banning facts does not benefit anyone and hinders both history and science. How in the WORLD can banning facts and evidence help human knowledge make any sort of progress?
Again, Dr. Hannam is not a creationist at present largely because he has been unaware of the evidence for it that has been banned from education for political reasons. This was quite obvious in radio interview he did with a creationist pastor (who is NOT even a scientist…only a pastor…so imagine what a creationist with a science degree could do). He writes of the experience and note that Dr. Hannam has 3 degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, including one in physics. So, he is a genuine scientist. Dr. Hannam writes:
“…when I was offered the chance to discuss evolution live on air with Bob Enyart, an American young-earth creationist radio host, I jumped at it…The experience was certainly an eye-opener. Richard Dawkins once said that "if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."
It rapidly became clear that Bob was none of these things. For a start, I know a fair bit about evolution and genetics. But when it came to familiarity with the arguments, he was way ahead of me. On epigenetics, RNA/DNA chemistry, and animal physiology, I was hopelessly outclassed. Bob is not ignorant. And it is pretty clear he is neither stupid nor insane. He came across, in fact, as extremely intelligent. So perhaps he is wicked? Well, despite a brush with the law a few years ago, I am sure he is nothing of the sort. Comments such as those made by Dawkins only further undermine the presumption of good faith on the part of creationists and Darwinists. So if I had tried to win an argument on the science, he would have shot me to pieces.”
Note that just because I cite someone, does not mean I agree with all they do or say and that goes for both Enyart, Hannam and many others I cite. Nobody is infallible. But, it’s important to seriously consider what many who have spent significant time researching have discovered.
HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHAT IS TRUE?
(this section will move to the main page soon) How does one determine what is true?
This alone could be a never ending discussion. But, for me this is the
simplest way to cut through to get to truth in the fastest way.
1) WHAT WORKED BEST? Current knowledge may or may not be true. We need to follow methods, theories, worldviews, etc. that have proven to provide the most improvement for humanity and with the best track record of accuracy.
2) WHAT’S THE WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE: We must follow the weight of evidence overall that we know about without any prejudice or a priori assumptions. Anomalies, hard questions, etc. are good for further investigation and we should keep our minds open, but no rational person can use them to dismiss evidence. Only theories with BETTER and MORE EXPLANATORY EVIDENCE can replace other theories with evidence. This is why “lack belief” completely fails the test of rationality.
3) STAY OPEN: Even concepts that have been accepted for millennia have been found to be pseudo-science. So, no holy cows, no matter how much time has gone by. Anything could be wrong.
Let’s look at these a little more closely. Richard Feynman said, “All scientific knowledge is uncertain” Time and time again we have found that the established “truths” of scientific, political, educational and religious establishments is imperfect, flawed and sometimes dead wrong. NO HUMAN has infallible access to ultimate religious truth or ultimate scientific truth or ultimate truth of any sort. We grow in knowledge by many methods and this is VERY valuable. The methods that have helped us the most are the ones we should trust the most. This is why both science and the Bible have been accepted by sooo many around the world. THEY WORK and biblical concepts and Christians were absolutely crucial in the foundation of most human rights, health understanding, public education, as well as nearly all the foundations and branches of modern science and many other crucial aspects of modern life. Religion was the foundation of modern science. Even Karl Popper agrees that metaphysical concepts were crucial for the development of science.
Second, many have a fundamental misconception about how to reason rationally and use one method for religion, but completely different ones for other fields (a double standard) and yet another for “lack belief” assertions. NO worldview has all of the important questions of life proven 100% without any hard questions or anomalies. It’s really unreasonable to demand that of any worldview theistic or not before committing to follow the evidence. Hard questions are interesting and useful to point to further areas of investigations and so are anomalies. By all means continue and consider new evidence (I NEVER said to stop this). But, neither of these are used to determine what is true. It is only when these help a new theory demonstrates that it has more and better evidence on important questions that they are taken seriously. It is for this reason that atheism of all types, including “lack belief” atheism fails as an alternative to Christianity. Never at any time in history has any form of atheism or agnosticism marshaled anything close to the impressive and extraordinary evidence Christianity has been doing for MANY centuries.
Listen to Dr. Mary Schweitzer, an evolutionist who became famous for discovering soft tissue in dinosaur bones (which she and others agree should not exist by everything we know of biology and chemistry if they are millions of years old). She writes in response to a critic Dr. Kaye who was alleging that the soft tissue was only biofilm and chides him a bit and reminds him and others that he has to provide more and better evidence than the current theory before it is taken seriously:
that is not fully appreciated by the outsider is that science is a
process. One makes an observation, forms a testable hypothesis about the
observation, gathers data, and the data either support or refute the
hypothesis. It is then refined and retested. If the hypothesis is tested
multiple times, it is strengthened, and eventually moves to become a
theory, one of the strongest statements in science.
“If one chooses to challenge a hypothesis and the data put forth by another researcher to support it, one is under the obligation to
1. form a hypothesis that provides an alternative to the first;
2. reinterpret the original data presented in such a way that it __better supports__ the new hypothesis than the original, and
3. produce new data that, in addition to the original, more strongly supports the alternative hypothesis than the original. That is the progression of science. Hypotheses are continually being reformulated in this way, because science IS a process, and undergoes revision as new data become available.
She then goes into detail showing how Dr. Kaye’s hypothesis fails to answers and explain the evidence that hers does.
THIS IS HOW SCIENTIFIC AND HISTORICAL TRUTHS ARE ESTABLISHED. Speculations and hard questions are interesting, but are not the determining factor of what is truth. PERIOD. Alternative hypotheses MUST, MUST, MUST explain the data and evidence BETTER than the current one in order to be taken seriously. The current theory does NOT have to answer all hard questions and definitively refute every alternative and it may even have some falsifications. But, it ONLY, ONLY, ONLY has to have more evidence than any alternative. THAT IS ALL we need in order to make a commitment to a theory. This is an ironclad, irrevocable, inviolable principle that has been crucial for the progress of knowledge.
In the case of the Big Bang for example (which I support and is a great confirmation of the expanding universe predicted many times in the Bible when steady state was in its heyday), there are quite a number of alternative models that some people are working with and the Big Bang has very serious problems in some areas such as explaining inflation, where the speed of the expansion must be much faster than the speed of light in order to explain the size of the universe (this is called the horizon problem). A number of secular scientists are also criticizing the Big Bang model here:
But nothing has so far rivaled the evidence marshaled to support the Big Bang (which if true as most think is one very good confirmation of biblical cosmology, but other expanding universe models could also confirm the Bible). So, nothing else is being taken seriously by most physicists. They don’t refuse to commit to it because there are some hard questions, anomalies and they don’t wait until all models have been comprehensively tested. They go with the weight of evidence they have.
It’s similar in physics. The standard model can explain 3 of the 4 known main forces of nature in a single mathematical framework. There are several other alternative models that are making efforts to explain all 4 and that point out weak points of the standard model. But, so far they have not demonstrated superior confirmations, accurate predictions, etc. to the standard model and so have not convinced many scientists to switch. However,
“Outsider physicists have their own organisation, the Natural Philosophy Alliance, whose database lists more than 2100 theorists, 5800 papers and over 1300 books worldwide. They have annual conferences, with this year's proceedings running to 735 pages.”
There’s a consensus that global warming is happening by the majority of scientists (and I’ve taught my students about this many times). The U.N.’s climate policy guide forecast that the Himalayan glaciers would melt completely in 25 years, vanishing by the year 2035. But, in a Feb. 9, in Nature, GRACE satellites found the Himalayas have barely melted at all in the past 10 years. Bristol University glaciologist Jonathan Bamber told the Guardian that the level of melting was practically insignificant. But, you don’t and you WILL NOT see a mad rush of scientists giving up on the theory that global warming is a reality. Bamber also clearly stated that that the new study doesn’t alter his view that the climate is changing, and rapidly.
AGAIN AND AGAIN, we see that major theories are not challenged by alternatives, incomplete answers, hard questions, anomalies, etc. UNTIL some theory provides MORE evidence than the current theory. It may be because Sagan understood that this is the way science works that he said, "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know."
In some cases, a SMALL hypothesis or theory, such as ones with just 1 claim, that make 100% claims or claims about dates, etc. can be falsified by a anomalies or experiments or findings, such as in these 2 cases:
- Spontaneous generation (cousin of abiogenesis) was falsified by numerous experiments by Pasteur. But, it took years of experiments and decades before the scientific establishment agreed.
(with evolutionary biases) for decades thought that Mayan creation
stories were tainted by Catholic, until they found their creation story
on friezes that predated the arrival of Europeans on the continent by
more than a millennium, forcing a total rewrite of this false view.
But, major theories and esp. worldviews that have 100s and 1000s of predictions and confirmations. For more on this see Dr. Thomas Kuhn’s seminal work in the field, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” or you can see a pretty well done summary of it in 10 minutes here:
It’s sort of like a concept in network theory called graceful degradation where a computer, machine, electronic system or network can maintain functionality even when some parts aren’t working perfectly. This is how large scientific theories work.
There are times when greed, pride, prestige, tradition, fallacies, personal agendas, promotion possibilities and others interfere in this objectively rational process of advancing truth and actually cause science to regress. That’s reality. But, the above principles are the accepted way in nearly all fields to make the most rational and beneficial decisions and they must be used in the worldview area as well. By normal reasoning, lack belief fails when there is even ONE credible piece of evidence for Christianity and the truth is we have literally billions and in my last post and esp. this one, there are already quite a few very important ones.
There’s another issue here as well. We have to make a choice between these:
a) DOUBLE STANDARDS: Carl Sagan’s “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”,
b) The foundation of science and rational thought, “Follow the weight of evidence WHEREVER it leads.” or
c) A PRIORI FALLACIES: a priori methodological naturalism or a priori theism
There is no way to reconcile Sagan’s principle with the foundation of science. It's a double standard fallacy. The only way it is not a double standard fallacy is if Sagan equates extraordinary evidence with being the weight of evidence. But, for most atheists that I have met, their “extraordinary evidence” means that they have to see God directly in order to believe he is real. This standard would destroy MUCH in both science and history textbooks if applied consistently.
Anomalies, hard questions, unanswered questions may be valid areas for further research and investigations. But they should do nothing to stop us from deciding on the weight of evidence we do have available. This is what atheism profoundly fails to understand and is also why it is profoundly irrational, anti-science and anti-history. This is one of its main tactics in convincing people to leave Christianity, but it’s an irrational one that is not used in other fields.
Applying this to worldviews, if someone wants to challenge the Biblical theory/account, they need to find an explanation that has MORE or BETTER evidence and matches all the available physical data and credible witnesses BETTER before it is taken as a legitimate contender. Speculations, hard questions, speculative hypotheses etc. don’t matter at all in terms of what theory we commit to. It is only when they have MORE and BETTER evidence that they are taken as legitimate contenders. If any form of atheism can’t explain the evidence better than Christianity, it’s not something any rational person can follow. PERIOD.
Christianity actually has been producing VERY extraordinary amounts of evidence for centuries/millennia and it got started precisely because it had over 500+ eyewitnesses of Jesus resurrection that believers could tell skeptics to go and talk to themselves. Compared this to the fact that we have only ONE primary source for Alexander the Great and the evidence for Jesus' resurrection is extraordinary in every sense of the word (see my page on resurrection for more details). It would be the most insane stupidity for people at that time to be Christians if Jesus hadn’t really risen. They were risking death at both the hands of the Jewish AND Roman authorities for belief. When you realize that many figures in history have less than 5 primary sources supporting them and some have none, the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is QUITE extraordinary, esp. since it even includes hostile witnesses. It’s precisely because it was so strong that many former skeptics became believers. Simon Greenleaf, pioneer of Harvard and author of a legal textbook and former atheist is just one of many one of them. of Jesus though is so powerful that it has convinced many atheist historians, legal authorities and others whose job it is to know what counts as solid evidence.
For example, Simon Greenleaf, Harvard professor of law who wrote “A Treatise on the Law of Evidence”, (considered by many to be one of the greatest legal volumes ever written) determined to expose the "myth" of the Resurrection. His students challenged him to use the same methods to determine truth in the court to analyze the evidence for the case of the resurrection of Jesus. He documented why the gospels must be accepted as factual if consistent standards used for other historical works are used and wrote:
"it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . ." Simon Greenleaf, “An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice”, p.29.
His book is available on google books if you want to read it. Read esp. pg. 7-10, 21, 36-38 and others to see how concerned he is about an objective investigation free from bias as much as possible. After looking at all the evidence, he came to the conclusion that according to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for most events in history. It has met the standards of history and even surpassed the double standard demand that extraordinary claims produce extraordinary evidence.
HOW DOES SCIENCE WORK (observational, inferential, explanatory, etc.)
It’s important that we review what science is, what constitutes evidence and what evidence we consider true. Why? Because unfortunately, bias and fear are so strong with some people that they will just claim that rival ideas don’t have evidence. The reality is that this is seldom true. People just want to build straw men of rival views in order to make it easier to reject them. Most of the time many hypotheses, even including false ones, have some evidence. It is HOW MUCH evidence and what quality of evidence a hypothesis or theory has that counts. This is often called the weight of evidence.
One very good way to judge a person’s integrity and/or grasp of science is whether they can admit that some rival ideas have evidence. If a person can’t admit this for any rival view or for views that have adherents among respected scientists who have shown they are committed to following facts to the best of their ability, then it’s very likely that this person does not understand science or objectivity very well.
There’s another important issue that needs to be clarified. Many people say things like this:
“Witnesses are not even close to being reliable forms of evidence.” Vynj**
While the historical method overtly uses witnesses much more, it is important to remember that science also depends on witnesses. Nothing at all can be done without using our senses and interpreting that through our senses. And that requires witnesses. Every scientific researcher who has done experiments of any kind has been a witness and testifies to that in published papers.
In a number of cases, this argument is used as a form of arrogant elitism where the senses of those in one country or background are somehow credible while those of another are not and things they have seen are considered impossible just because a person from one background has never experienced or had exposure to something. This is a serious problem for science and advancing in knowledge. An example os this is that when European scientists of the past first heard accounts of gorillas, pandas, komodo dragons and many other real creatures that didn't exist in Europe, they discredited them because no white person had seen them. Numerous people from Asia and Africa had seen them and testified to this, but western elitism couldn’t trust those witnesses. After many years, the native observers were proven correct. See this link:
The point here is that we can’t simply discredit witnesses or evidence because we have biases against an idea. Assumptions like this are likely to cause us to believe fiction. In some cases, this may not be very harmful. But, in other cases it could be very harmful. Rejecting credible witnesses such as ones with a good track record of accuracy and especially the testimony of several independent witnesses is usually a detriment to scientific discovery and advancing in knowledge.
The historical method and legal systems both have methods to check the credibility of witnesses. Just assuming that because I haven’t seen or experienced something isn’t one of them. Review the historical evidence section (coming***) to see the techniques used to do test credibility. The truth is that all have biases. Some have less and some have more, but experts on all sides agree that all are biased. We need to recognize that other views have evidence and often credible witnesses as well that need to be considered fairly.
Let’s move on to defining science. Science is usually defined as “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”. The scientific method is one of the most useful ways to discover facts and truths and usually has ~5-7 steps depending on how you separate them.
Let’s review them them briefly, but with a twist. Most people don’t know this, but the 1st scientific experiment with a control group in history using the modern scientific method is found in the Bible in Daniel 1. “Around 600 BC, Daniel of Judah conducted what is widely regarded as the earliest recorded clinical trial. His trial compared the health effects of a vegetarian diet with those of a royal Babylonian diet over a 10-day period. The strengths of his study include the use of a contemporaneous control group, use of an independent assessor of outcome, and striking brevity in the published report.” Dr. David Grimes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7501328 (Dr. Grimes actually goes through comparing Daniel’s experiment to the 32 point structured format for reporting randomized trials that experts suggest today).
Grimes DA. Clinical research in ancient Babylon: methodologic insights from the book of Daniel. Obstet Gynecol. 1995;86(6):1031-1034.
Daniel was a captive Israeli in Babylon and he had seen firsthand the results of Israel’s disobedience to God’s laws and the tragic results that it had in the real world for Israel. Time after time, when Israel rebelled against God and ignored his principles, they became weak and vulnerable and were taken captive when other nations attacked. When they were following God’s principles carefully, no one had been able to beat them. The pattern repeated itself again and again for centuries throughout Israel’s history. It was observable and tested many times.
Based on this consistent pattern in Israeli history, Daniel reasoned that laws of God related to individuals and not just nations, such as the ones regarding diet, could also be tested and verified in the real world as beneficial. The Babylonians ordered the captives who had been chosen to study the best of Babylonian knowledge to receive the King’s own food (which was almost certainly a heavily meat and alcohol based diet). Most would see this as a tremendous privilege. But, for Daniel it presented a quandary. He knew that the ideal diet that God had given in Eden was vegetarian. But, if he rejected the king’s food, he would likely be seen as an ingrate and possible even expelled or worse.
How could he convince the Babylonians to let him follow a diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, etc. He couldn’t just tell them to trust what God said in the Bible. They would just laugh, esp. since in those days victor in war was often attributed to the power of a nation’s gods. Daniel had to figure out some demonstration that would be convincing to the Babylonians in the real world. He came up with the idea of using a version of the modern scientific method. But, he came up with the idea between 5-600 BC, over 2,000 years before regular scientists started using this method in the 17-1800s.(See Dr. Hannam’s presentation at the Royal Society: http://tinyurl.com/68s462b).
This story is quite a famous one in the Bible and inevitably had an influence on Christians who read it frequently. It probably was a factor in helping them develop the modern scientific method (graphic from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_scientific_method.shtml ).
Here’s what Daniel did:
DANIEL'S SCIENTIFIC METHOD/THE MODERN SCIENTIFIC METHOD
1) ASK A QUESTION/OBSERVE A PROBLEM/PHENOMENA: Look around at society, nature, philosophy, etc. and find a question or problem to solve.
EXAMPLE: 3 of Pasteur’s daughters died from a disease.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Daniel had a problem. He was a captive in Babylon and his captors were demanding that he eat the king’s food, which was a violation of God's health principles. There was MAJOR pressure to eat the King's way…but was that best for him while studying in Babylon's university and would it honor God? This was a big problem for him. What should he do?
2) GATHER INFORMATION/RESEARCH OTHER ANSWERS: Read what others have thought about this problem and evaluate their views. Try to develop better answers of your own or improvements on theirs.
EXAMPLE: Pasteur looked at what scientists thought caused disease and evaluated them.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Daniel could observe what the Babylonians boys were eating and he could make educated guesses about the effect it was having on them. He already knew about the ideal diet in the Bible.
3) DEVELOP A HYPOTHESIS: Make a testable and falsifiable claim about what you think is a better answer to the question or problem. Make predictions about what we should see if this hypothesis is correct.
EXAMPLE: Pasteur hypothesized that there might be an invisible cause for disease.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Daniel made a hypothesis that God’s diet would be healthier over 10 days than the King’s diet and asked the supervisor to test this idea out for 10 days.
4) TEST THE HYOTHESIS WITH EXPERIMENTS: Design experiments or other kinds of tests and evidence to check if your answer is the correct one. If possible, your hypothesis should be observable. But, at least it should make predictions that can be falsified or confirmed. Do your best to rule out other factors that could interfere or make the results ambiguous. Using control groups, double blind tests, etc. is highly recommended.
EXAMPLE: Pasteur set up experiments to find the cause of chicken cholera and later anthrax in sheep and others. He hypothesized that there should be some difference between the healthy animals and sick ones that could be seen with a microscope and probably in the blood.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Daniel’s supervisor agreed to do the experiment and they carried it out. For 10 days, A control group of Babylonian boys followed the conventional wisdom that was accepted by most health professionals the world over until the late 1900s AD! They ate a typical highly meat based diest (including biblically unclean meat) as well as drinking significant amounts of alcohol. Daniel and his friends ate grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables and drank water…a very simple diet.
5) ANALYZE THE RESULTS/REVISE/DRAW CONCLUSIONS: See if your hypothesis was confirmed. If it wasn’t, revise it and repeat steps 3 & 4. If it was confirmed, you have found evidence that your answer may be correct and true.
EXAMPLE: Pasteur found that the chickens and sheep that died had bacteria in their blood that the healthy ones didn’t.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: 10 days later, Daniel and his supervisor observed the results of the experiment and compared the two groups. They both agreed that the boys who had followed God’s diet were significantly healthier than those who followed the Babylonian diet. Daniel and his friends were allowed to continue following God’s diet.
6) REPORT RESULTS: Write about your results so others can learn about them and test them independently for themselves. In recent times, this has been done through peer review and publishing in journals, books and media of different types.
EXAMPLE: Pasteur wrote about his results and presented on his experiments in scientific settings.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Results kept coming in in favor of following God’s diet. 3 years later Daniel and his friends took the final test at Babylon’s university and not in their own language. They not only had to study in a foreign country, they had to do learn that country’s language at the same time, a very challenging task. The king himself who did not believe in God gave them their final test. He was so amazed at the difference that he called them 10 times wiser than anyone else (probably metaphorically speaking). Remember that the Babylonians were the #1 world empire at that time...much like America now..and Israel was a conquered nation (due to their king's and leaders and some others' disobedience of God). But, God's diet won out over the smartest ideas of the greatest thinkers of the time. Daniel reported these results about the results of following God’s principles versus Babylonian principles in the book of Daniel, chapter 1.
Interestingly, about 2600 years after Daniel’s experiment, researchers in the USA conducted a similar experiment (Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJ et al. A low-fat vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in a randomized clinical trial in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1777-1783.). The study compared a group that was following Daniel’s diet with the standard dietary recommendations of the American Diabetes Association, which allows people to eat controlled portions of food similar to the king’s food of Daniel’s day. The study though focused on people with type 2 diabetes, a disease linked to obesity and a fatty diet. The subjects were randomly assigned to either the Daniel-type diet or the ADA diet, but was longer in order to see improvements in the subjects’ glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c) and check how much weight they lost and what prescription drugs they could stop taking.
Not surprisingly, Daniel’s diet was far more effective than the ADA’s standard recommendations. Not only that, the participants were more successful at sticking to the Daniel-style diet. This may be due to the fact that although people’s food choices were limited, their portions were not. The ADA dietary recommendations are about portion control, which most people fail to control. The Daniel diet focuses on eating healthy types of food.
7) JUDGING WHAT IS TRUTH: This step is not often listed as part of the scientific method, but it’s the most crucial step. We look as objectively as possible at all the evidence, experiments. We see if it can be repeated and replicated by other researchers and with different kinds of tests. Then we follow the hypothesis with the greatest weight of evidence and implement these ideas in our scientific recommendations, education, laws, etc. But, it’s important to still keep our minds open to more evidence in case we are wrong. We are not infallible. After discussing the types of evidence, we’ll deal with this crucial step in much more depth.
3 MAIN TYPES OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Most scientists agree that there are 3 main types of scientific evidence that the above scientific method can help identify.
1) DIRECT EVIDENCE (sometimes called observable evidence, but all 5 senses can be involved): The 1st and most easily confirmed type of scientific evidence is evidence that is consistently true and testable in the past, present and future. This evidence can be recorded, measured, quantified, qualified, etc. with the 5 senses or these senses can be used to gather data from devices like a microscope, telescope, geiger counter, anemometer, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, Raman spectrometer and others.
Many scientific concepts in textbooks are based on repeatable direct evidence.
a) Galileo dropped 2 weights from the tower to test Aristotle's claims that objects of different weights fell at different speeds.
b) Pasteur observed certain microbes in chickens with chicken cholera and didn't see those microbes in chickens without the sickness. So, he used the scientific method to do rigorous tests on that and discovered these microbes were the cause of chicken cholera. He also used direct evidence to debunk spontaneous generation, pioneer the law of biogenesis, discover chirality and other things.
c) Some scientists thought phlogistan was released in fires and waas a good explanation for combustion and rust. Through experiments they falsified this hypothesis.
People today can repeat all these experiments and recheck the results of scientists in the past as well as modify or add to them at times.
EXAMPLES: We have direct evidence that supports Boyle’s law, Newton’s laws of motion, photosynthesis, evaporation, gravity and almost all scientific laws. We have indirect evidence through machines of radiation, x-rays, anti-matter and geological movement miles under the earth’s crust.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: We have numerous profound confirmations of Bible science statements about preventative medicine, physics, that life is composed of invisible things, wind and ocean currents, biogenesis, speciation from species to ~family levels and many others often against the conventional scientific wisdom of that time and 1000s of years before science figured them out.
But, while observable science deals largely without what is observable and repeatable, it often goes beyond this.
Richard Dawkins agrees saying, “"The refusal to believe in anything you cant see with your own eyes is absurd."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU9qVxEwE9g (Note that the commentary in the video is unfortunately straw manning Dawkins…he is not admitting that atheism is absurd in saying this. There are a number of straw men that some Christians use unintentionally that I'm critique in my book, such as this. But, still Dawkins quote is very solid. He's of course referring to universal common descent. But, if says that things can be true even though we can’t see them on his side, then the same argument must be allowed for his rivals too.)
2) INFERENTIAL EVIDENCE (forensic, historical, logical, etc.): There is a very big difference between history and science. Scientific truth is supposed to be based on hypotheses that are repeatable and testable. But, the people living in the past and the events that happened then obviously can’t be repeated. So, does this make science impotent to tell us anything about events in the past? Well, science is more limited here, but scientists have found a way to use science to help understand the past better, especially in combination with historical evidence.
We look at processes and events in the world around us now and other data and look at the results they cause. Then we use these results to make predictions about the past and what we should see if similar events happened in the past. If we find confirmation of our predictions, this adds credibility to our hypothesis about what likely happened in the past. Logic can also be very useful in this area to rule out certain hypotheses and show that certain things are wrong. When these are combined with artifacts and credible witnesses, the evidence can become quite strong.
But, inferential evidence is usually more questionable than direct evidence because nobody can test events in history with any of our 5 senses. More significant is the fact that scientists must make guesses, assumptions and extrapolations and sometimes are unaware of and do not take into account different factors. This makes this type of science less accurate and much more likely that mistakes will be made in this area than in others. The level of speculation in this type of science increases exponentially when we don’t have any similar examples in real life to base our predictions upon. All kinds of things could interfere that we just don’t realize.
Probably most importantly, proving that something COULD happen in a certain way, does not necessarily prove that it DID happen in this way in the past. Dr. Ambrose makes this point succinctly,
“We need to remember that the only evidence about the way events occurred in the past is found in the geological records. However sophisticated advances in molecular genetics and molecular engineering may become eventually, the fact that a genetic change or even a new species might be generated eventually in the laboratory does not tell us how new species arose in the past history of the earth. They merely provide possible mechanisms.” Dr. Edmund J. Ambrose, Emeritus Professor of Cell Biology, University of London ,The Nature and Origin of the Biological World, John Wiley & Sons, 1982, p. 164
So, inferential science is more susceptible to bias, interference and many unknowns and as a result is much more likely to be proven wrong over time than observable science. So, in this area, it is even more crucial that we be absolutely sure we are not using any fallacies of any kind to reduce the possibility for error.
But, while there is greater potential for error with inferential evidence, it has proven quite useful and helpful in learning about the past and adding to the weight of evidence. When inferential evidence is combined with artifacts and credible witnesses, it can become quite a powerful and strong form of evidence and it has become quite widely used. Popular science shows ranging from Discovery Channel shows to CSI as well as most of forensic science deal directly with historical events and who did what in the past. They have to use inferential science to build a scientific case and prove what happened to the best of their ability.
EXAMPLES: Nobody experienced the Big Bang, the continents of pangea separating, a large comet hitting the Yucatan peninsula, the creation of life, universal common descent, Alexander the Great's armies attacking enemies or many other things in the past with any of their senses. But we make predictions about what we should see if these things occurred and look for confirmations of these predictions. If bias and fallacies don’t interfere, the more confirmations we have that are confirmed and the fewer that are falsified, the more likely a hypothesis or theory is to be correct.
Most forensic science as well as much in the fields of geology and paleontology and other fields and nearly everything in the field of evolutionary biology rests mostly or solely on inferences since historical events can't be directly observed.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Bible science science has vast inferential evidence supporting it, sometimes exclusively. Researchers have found evidence of God coming down on fire on Mt. Sinai and very strong evidence of rocks burned from that event. They have found chariot wheels at the site where the Israelis crossed the Red Sea and they were dated to the correct time period. The fossil record, especially the Cambrian explosion gives very powerful inferential evidence for creation science. And there’s much more.
See also: http://gscim.com/Sci/Philosophy/Historical_vs_Operational_Science.html
3) EXPLANATORY EVIDENCE: These are usually concepts that try to integrate many facts into a framework and overarching method of explanation and they are often ideas that try to incorporate facts from several scientific fields or across all fields, often at the level of worldviews. In some cases, they are concepts that we can not test directly or indirectly in any way…but since they are best able to combine lesser facts in a rational overall view or framework, they are considered rational and scientific.
John Timmer writes, “In this sense, theories serve as intellectual frameworks that link and make sense of what would otherwise be a dissociated collection of facts. In the absence of the framework of plate tectonics, for example, it would be impossible to provide a single explanation for the existence of mid-oceanic ridges and the ring of fire, or link that to the location of the earth's oldest rocks in Austrialia and the Canadian Arctic.”
EXAMPLES: The popular series “How the Earth Began” has many examples of this type of evidence.Stephen Hawking's recent book (The Grand Design) has some very interesting science in it and near the end, he proposes a multi-verse as the explanation for a number of problems and facts that he has pointed out. He thinks this is scientific reasoning and thinks it is likely since he thinks it explains what we see best. Yet, no one has any way to test the multi-verse directly or inferentially. String theory is similar and so are several other concepts in science that we have no way to test at all, but to some these seem to make good sense of the data we have. (Note: I’m not against string theory or the multi-verse, but neither solve the problem of atheism in the area of abiogenesis or the demand that it must provide more evidence than it’s rivals to be rational and scientific. Without evidence, atheism is no different from any fairy tale.)
This area of explanatory science can be also be susceptible to prejudice and bias esp. when it’s on controversial, idealogical and esp. philosophical ideas that can bias the proponents.
Hawkings and atheists have deep prejudice against religion and for emotional reasons are looking for anything that can help them escape the powerful arguments of the fine tuning of the universe that enables life to exist on this planet and many other strong arguments for God. This is the motive for their multi-verse concept. In a similar way, religious people have biases towards religion, but they are not trying to avoid the weight of evidence like atheists are. They are actively following the weight of evidence.
(Note: In Hawkings book, he also lists myths from around the world and then against all logic associates those with Bible stories that have much hard scientific, archaeological or historical evidence supporting them for the vast majority of its claims (much more than anything of a similar historical age) as well as an unrivaled track record of accuracy. To compare myths with ZERO evidence to biblical stories based on evidence shows a VERY serious lack of integrity.)
--Life originates by biogenesis or from intelligence, not without intelligent involvement (abiogenesis).
--Animal blood and fat are not healthy for human beings.
--Animals that don't chew the cud and divide the hoof are generally riskier to eat.
--Sealife that doesn't have fins and scales is generally riskier to eat.
--Dozens of other specific health instructions designed to be understood by simple people, but important for their lives.
--That we should see a a fossil record with numerous species all suddenly appearing without ancestors, but also generally graded in layers from e incredible design we see in nature.
--The Cambrian explosion and the fossil record.
--The universe had a beginning.
--The universe expanded from a smaller state.
BIBLE EXAMPLE: Christianity predicted and/or explains a vast amount of testable data and credible historical facts such as these:
--Why functioning systems always come from intelligence.
--Why human populations go back to a single couple including mitochondrial Eve.
--Why languages around the world have so many similarities and how both the physical structures and the specific brain areas could both be set up to work in perfect harmony.
--Many symbiotic relationships in nature.
--Why there are so many mass burials of fossils often caught in action (eating, pregnancy, etc.) all around the world, often in similar layers.
--The origin of objective morality.
--Specific prophecies covering 1000s of years.
--The possibility of thought and why human beings can engage in rational thinking, understanding math, science, nature, simulating future outcomes using the frontal lobe, etc.
--How fearful uneducated men who had just seen their leader (Jesus) killed in humiliating ways, could suddenly change into men unafraid of death who built the largest religion in history.
--Why the Bible was the foundation for science, many important health practices, many human rights movements.
--Numerous eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus.
And there are literally 1000s of other additional facts that Christianity combines in a framework with far more explanatory power and more contributions to the good of mankind than any other worldview has come anywhere close to matching. This is why Christianity has been so persuasive to millions throughout history, including many elite scientists and historians, including some who used to be atheists.
!!!BENEFITS OF FOLLOWING THE BIBLE IN REAL LIFE NOW!!!
Here are some ways that science has proven that religion improves life. A short version first and then a longer version after that.
1) What improves and empowers life on earth the most? Science has proven conclusively in many areas (including with causal research) that following biblical principles produced incredible pragmatic benefits in THIS life and ability to greatly empower people that are unrivaled overall to my knowledge and it can do that for anyone who follows it as it has for millions of others.
A) RELIGION IMPROVES HUMAN RIGHTS:
Christianity pioneered most human rights because ancient people, as Dr. Rene Girard of Stanford and others point out, didn’t have a concept of human rights or equality. In human rights for example, most ancient cultures believed in karma, fate and that kings were God (so they couldn’t be questioned), so compassion for the disenfranchised just didn’t exist because that was where everyone thought they deserved to be. Human life was not respected. The powerful used the powerless no different from beasts of burden.
Biblical concepts and charges from prophets/Jesus, such as Matthew 25:31-40, James 1:26-27 and countless others charged Jews/Christians with uplifting the downtrodden. This and Jesus example as the innocent victim of the lower classes is precisely why nearly all human rights until modern times were pioneered by Christians as Rene Girard, a former atheist and professor at Stanford rightly points out.
Most of those concepts originated from the Bible.
B) CHRISTIANITY BUILT MOST MODERN SCIENCE:
Christianity built most modern science (many Bible verses and specific concepts were crucial for the foundation and advance of modern science and some are listed in this link. We also have w/billions of confirmations of scientific biblical claims):
www.truth-is-life.org/ScientificEvidence.html (still in process)
C) GOD CHANCES LIVES NOW:
Christianity has changed billions of lives for the better. It’s made mistakes to be sure (but in research for example, 4% of priests have made some kind of sexual mistake with children (largely because the Catholic church goes against the Bible and forbids marriage for the clergy), but 9-10% of teachers have been involved in sexual mistakes..so to be consistent, you’ll have to fire all teachers if you want to get rid of all pastors/priests). Here are just a few examples of countless lives that have been improved by God.
Christianity also built public education, medical care, economic rights (lifting 1.3 billion out of poverty in the last 23 years)& more and MUCH of this is directly due to biblical concepts (see sites and post below).
D) RELIGION IMPROVES HAPPINESS:
A recent systematic review of 850 research papers on the topic concluded that "the majority of well-conducted studies found that higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, positive affect, and higher morale) and with less depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse." Moreira-Almeida, Alexander; Francisco Lotufo Neto, and Harold G. Koenig (September 2006). "Religiousness and mental health: a review". Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [serial on the Internet] 28 (3): 242–250. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462006005000006. PMID 16924349. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-44462006000300018&lng=en&nrm=iso
E) RELIGION (esp. Christianity) IMPROVES SUCCESS IN MANY AREAS OF LIFE
This video describes how positive attitudes and happiness have a dramatic effect on happiness. Shawn says the research shows we need to focus on being happy first since that drives many kinds of success. http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html
Connect this with literally 1000s of studies above that show religion improves happiness (and there are very specific reasons it does so from Bible principles) and the result is that religion also is a direct help in improving success. 80 years of research also shows that religion improves self control significantly and this is a major factor in many kinds of success.
And for most Christians, esp. intellectual ones, fear plays almost no role in their belief, myself included. Christians have absorbed religion’s values and these bring many benefits and experiencing these benefits helps us want to change more and more to follow God as we understand Him to experience more benefits and wisdom since as in science, discipline brings greater amounts and quality of freedom into our lives.
F) CHRISTIANITY/RELIGION IMPROVES MORALITY
I agree with Ben teaching abstinence and no birth control, etc. could increase teen pregnancy and abortion. Quite logical. But, I find it a bit odd that he uses correlational studies in terms of causal ways, but tries to reject those same kinds of studies when they point to God without any justification. Some studies atheists refer to such as the ones on prisons are just surveys (and some are DEAD wrong) without any analysis done to rule out factors as is crucial to do. They also ignore the fact that many prisoners “convert” for benefits in prisons as well as the fact that they are there because they DISOBEYED the Bible..which clearly can’t be trumped up into being caused by religion. At best you could say churches weren’t effective at opposing the evidence of media that is astronomically powerful in causing people to commit crimes. His surveys there could just as easily show that being black or having big toes cause violence.
Btw, the Bible nowhere forbids birth control (nor does it even mention the term abortion which is why I’m neither pro-life or pro-choice. But, since the fetus does have human traits and since abortion has connections to mental problems and cancer, the Jewish position seems wisest to me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism_and_abortion#Orthodox_Judaism, see also the conservative and esp. reformed positions there.)
In addition to many studies by atheists such as Guenter Lewy in his book, “Why America Needs Religion” agreeing that Religion has many moral benefits for society (again his book is on google books for free. Read esp. from page 95.). Here are some others.
Belief in God Improves Moral Behaviour among youth.
These are graphs from the study on 2500 adolescents I mentioned above which I should have included in the last post. Christian Smith and Robert Faris. 2002. Religion and American Adolescent Delinquency, Risk Behaviors and Constructive Social Activities. National Study of Youth and Religion. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A few example charts are here:
Belief in God Improves Prosocial Behaviour (moral behaviour) In 186 Societies.
Roes and Raymond (2003) found that across a sample of 186 human societies, belief in watchful, moralizing gods was positively correlated with measures of group cohesion and size. In addition, experimental research reveals that even subtle reminders of God and religion also promote prosocial behavior (e.g., Pichon, Boccato, & Saroglou, 2007; Randolph-Seng & Nielsen, 2007; Shariff & Norenzayan, 2007; see also McKay, Efferson,Whitehouse, & Fehr, 2011).
G) CHRISTIANITY/RELIGION IMPROVES HEALTH
The Bible had laws on crucial sanitation areas that were not verified by science until 1000s of years later and not followed by most until the late 1800s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tMIg1MFuRY (DON’T MISS THIS. Compare it to the situation in the 1800s explained by the BBC’s Blood and Guts Series on Semmelweis and Lister where ½ the patients were dying because doctors weren’t washing their hands:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6-FjtpdePA & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T73PYNyyeiI )
Ben claimed that health benefits weren’t connected to the Bible at all. This is just 100% false in every particle.
Dan Buettner, who is NOT religious and who works for a non-religious scientific foundation and works/ed for National Geographic, agrees that the studies are sterling and that the benefits are due to religion. He says:
[color=#BF0000]In America here, life expectancy for the average woman is 80. But for an Adventist woman, their life expectancy is 89. And the difference is even more pronounced among men, who are expected to live about 11 years longer than their American counterparts. Now, this is a study that followed about 70,000 people for 30 years. [u]Sterling study.[/u] And I think it supremely illustrates the premise of this Blue Zone project. [/color]
This is a heterogeneous community. It's white, black, Hispanic, Asian. [color=#BF0000][b]The only thing that they have in common are a set of very small lifestyle habits that they follow ritualistically for most of their lives. [/b][/color][color=#BF0000][b]They take their diet directly from the Bible.[/b][/color] Genesis: Chapter one, Verse , where God talks about legumes and seeds, and on one more stanza about green plants, ostensibly missing is meat. They take this sanctuary in time very serious. For 24 hours every week, no matter how busy they are, how stressed out they are at work, where the kids need to be driven, they stop everything and they focus on their God ([color=#BF0000]on Sabbath, which is from the Bible[/color]), their social network, and then, [color=#BF0000]hardwired right in the religion, are nature walks[/color]. And the power of this is not that it's done occasionally, the power is it's done every week for a lifetime. None of it's hard. None of it costs money.
“(at the end)…They all tend to belong to a faith-based community, which is worth between four and 14 extra years of life expectancy if you do it four times a month. [/color]
Each of these cultures take time to downshift. [color=#BF0000]The Sardinians pray. The Seventh-Day Adventists pray. [/color]…But when you're in a hurry or stressed out, that triggers something called the inflammatory response, which is associated with everything from Alzheimer's disease to cardiovascular disease. When you slow down for 15 minutes a day you turn that inflammatory state into a more anti-inflammatory state.”
H) RELIGION IMPROVES ECONOMICS:
In Leviticus 25, Deuteronomy 15, and other places the Bible lists at least 13 economic principles that God promises can reduce and even end poverty if followed(see: http://blog.truth-is-life.org/the-bible-economic-rights/). Professor Dent (a politics lecturer at the University of Keele in England) began talking about canceling debt for poor nations based on the Bible’s Jubilee principle of canceling debt for poor people after 7 years because he thought it would give relief to millions who were in unfair debt slavery for money they had never benefited from (http://cases.som.yale.edu/jubilee/). His students, pastors and churches quickly joined this Jubilee based campaign, forming its bedrock activist base and called it the Jubilee2000 campaign. NGOs and many others joined as well and eventually it inspired the ONE campaign with 400 NGOs and numerous politicians, businessmen, actors and singers promoting the cause (google “DEBT CANCELLATION AND CIVIL SOCIETY: A CASE STUDY OF JUBILEE 2000” by Nick Buxton) and influencing the adoption of the Millenium Development Goals.
This campaign has now achieved these results:
• 18 countries debt has been cancelled.
• ~$107 billion of debt has been cancelled in the last 10 years!
• Aid has been doubled to $50 billion!
• Millions of lives have been saved & 42 million more children are now in school!
• 1.3 billion (yes, with a B) have been lifted out of poverty (TEDxChange: Melinda French Gates http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEPjEimKrJs...also at www.ted.com)
Melinda Gates says, “We’ve made more progress in the last 10 years than in any other period in history combined.” And it all started with a Christian professor and churches taking a couple biblical economic principles seriously (and there are others that could be far more beneficial than even these).
See more at http://www.jubileeusa.org/, www.makepovertyhistory.org, www.one.org, www.oxfam.org/
q) Man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are only beginning to probe the complexity of the DNA molecule, the eye, the brain, and all the intricate components of life. No human invention compares to the marvelous wonders of God’s creation. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=238
r) The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:10-12). Starting with the studies of Albert Einstein in the early 1900s and continuing today, science has confirmed the biblical view that the universe had a beginning. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=346
s) The earth is round/spherical. Isaiah 40:22 says that God “sits above the circle on the face of the deep”. The word, circle here is khug/chuwg in Hebrew and can be translated as circuit, circle and also sphere (Hebrew doesn’t have a word that only means sphere. Both “chuwg” and “dure” can refer to roundness/circuits or to sphericity). At a time when many thought the earth was flat, the Bible gave evidence that the earth is spherical.
Christopher Columbus used Isaiah as the basis for his explorations sailing west to get to the east. He wrote in his diary: “It was the Lord who put it into my mind – I could feel his hand upon me – the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies … All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me … There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures… For the execution of the journey to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied.”
”The learned of Israel say, "The sphere stands firm, and the planets revolve"; the learned of the nations say, "The sphere moves, and the planets stand firm." The learned of Israel say, "The sun moves by day beneath the firmament, and by night above the firmament"; the learned of the nations say, "The sun moves by day beneath the firmament, and by night beneath the earth." Pesahim 94b (from Wikipedia)
Jeffrey Burton Russell is a professor of history at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He says in his book Inventing the Flat Earth (written for the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's journey to America in 1492) that through antiquity and up to the time of Columbus, “nearly unanimous scholarly opinion pronounced the earth spherical.”
http://www.geocentricity.com/astronomy_of_bible/flatearth/doesbibleteach.html, http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c015.html, http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c034.html http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/dome_of_heavens.html http://www.trueorigin.org/flatearth01.asp
***The scripture for instance that you partially cited as being done with a compass at Job 26:10 "He has described a circle on the face of the waters"... ends with the words.."to where light ends in darkness." At the point just beyond where the suns rays become tangent to the earth there is darkness, and following that umbral line around the earth indeed describes a circle..the one where light ends in darkness. That statement in Job would in fact make no sense if the earth were flat.
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Discuss:Does_the_Hebrew_word_Chuwg_mean_a_flat_circle_like_a_coin_or_a_sphere_Isaiah_C40_verse_22#ixzz1QEjgrZ22
Bible Rejecter: If the earth was not flat how could all the people of the world (“every eye”) see Jesus descend from the clouds of Heaven as it says in Matt.24:30 and Rev.1:7.
Bible-Believer: The world doesn’t need to be flat for all its peoples to see the same thing in the sky! “All the people of the world” see the same sun, moon and constellations all the time. When the sun, moon and stars disappear, Jesus will appear and replace their light (Matt 24:29-30) for up to 24hrs. It is at this point that all the earth sees Him and mourns. Besides Jesus will be returning in a generation that has satellite T.V. The dead bodies of the two prophets of Rev 11 lying in Jerusalem will also be seen and heard about by the whole world (Rev 11:9-10).
In his book "A Brief History in Time" Stephen Hawking refers to the "Circle of the Earth". If circles are only flat, then Stephen Hawking must think the Earth is flat then, right ;)!?***
t) Hydrological cycle described (Ecclesiastes 1:7; Jeremiah 10:13; Amos 9:6). Four thousand years ago the Bible declared that God “draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man” (Job 36:27-28). The ancients observed mighty rivers flowing into the ocean, but they could not conceive why the sea level never rose. Though they observed rainfall, they had only quaint theories as to its origin. Meteorologists now understand that the hydrological cycle consists of evaporation, atmospheric transportation, distillation, and precipitation. Solomon, in a single verse, describes the circulation of the atmosphere as actual observation is now showing it to be. That it has its laws, and is obedient to order as the heavenly host in their movements, we infer from the facts announced by him, and which contain the essence of volumes by other men. " All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; " " Into the place from whence, the rivers come, thither they return again."
u) Matthew Maury was a devoted Christian who worked in the US navy and the founder of modern oceanography and hydrography. One day he was sick and his young daughter read to him from the Bible to encourage him.She read to him from Psalms 8. She came to verse 8 where it says that there are “paths in the sea”. Maury suddenly realized from his work in the Navy that this could be very useful. If God had said there were “paths in the seas” then they must exist and there must be some kind of river in the sea that could help ship captains move more rapidly in their journeys.
He started doing experiments to find these paths God had mentioned.He also read that Solomon spoke about air currents in Ecclesiastes 1:6 and started doing experiments to learn about these as well. Directly due to biblical inspiration, He made many charts of both the ocean and wind currents and these became extremely valuable to ships all over the world. Before Maury made these charts it took ships about 180 days to sail from New York to California. But, Matthew’s charts helped ships reduce that time by 50-60 days and even more. This has saved millions and even billions of dollars in money and time for captains every year. It was so important that several business groups gave him awards and and about $100,000 (in today’s money). Columbia University awarded him an honorary doctorate and in 1851, president Fillmore stated the president of the United States honored him for his work. Matthew’s science work that was inspired directly from the Bible continues to benefit our world now. Almost every ship that sails and every airplane that flies saves much time and money from Maury’s charts that he developed based on the Bible.
When Maury was asked if the Bible and science had any connection, he answered:
“You ask about the "harmony of science and revelation, and wish to know if I find distinct traces in the Old Testament of scientific knowledge, and in the Bible any knowledge of the winds and ocean currents. Yes, knowledge the most correct and reliable. ("A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury" by Diana Fontaine Maury Corbin. 1888 AD, p158)
"As our knowledge of the laws of nature has increased, so have our readings of the Bible improved.- The Bible frequently makes allusion to the laws of nature, their operation and effects. ... And as for the general system of atmospherical circulation which I have been so long endeavoring to describe, the Bible tells it all in a single sentence: The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits."" - Ecclesiastes 1:6 (M.F. Maury, Physical Geography of the Sea and its Meteorology, 1888 AD, 21 edition, p82, section 216)
Maury died in 1873. A monument erected in his honour in Virginia, reads: ‘Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, the Holy Bible, Psalm 8:8; Ecclesiastes 1:6.’ Read the Bible carefully. It has many secrets for life. If you study well and follow it, there are many rewards these days as well.
See a more detailed version of Maury’s experience here:
Here is Psalms 8 that inspired Maury.
1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
v) Sexual promiscuity is dangerous to your health (1 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 1:27). The Bible warns that “he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body,” and that those who commit homosexual sin would “receive in themselves” the penalty of their error. Much data now confirms that any sexual relationship outside of holy matrimony is unsafe. http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/news/20050126/sex-habits-linked-to-early-death-disability
w) When the Bible was written most people believed the universe was eternal and unchanging. Science has proven them wrong, but the Bible correct. See the section on creation science for more on this.
x) The earth free-floats in space (Job 26:7), affected only by gravity. While other sources declared the earth sat on the back of an elephant or turtle, or was held up by Atlas, the Bible alone states what we now know to be true – “He hangs the earth on nothing.” http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=20124
y) Creation is made of particles, indiscernible to our eyes (Hebrews 11:3). Not until the 19th century was it discovered that all visible matter consists of invisible elements. http://education.jlab.org/atomtour
z) The Bible specifies the perfect dimensions for a stable water vessel (Genesis 6:15). Ship builders today are well aware that the ideal dimension for ship stability is a length six times that of the width. Keep in mind, God told Noah the ideal dimensions for the ark 4,500 years ago.***
aa) Incalculable number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22). At a time when less than 5,000 stars were visible to the human eye, God stated that the stars of heaven were innumerable. Not until the 17th century did Galileo glimpse the immensity of our universe with his new telescope. Today, astronomers estimate that there are ten thousand billion trillion stars – that’s a 1 followed by 25 zeros! The Bible compares the number of stars with the number of grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17; Hebrews 11:12). Amazingly, gross estimates of the number of sand grains are comparable to the estimated number of stars in the universe. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=57
bb) Air has weight (Job 28:25). It was once thought that air was weightless. Yet 4,000 years ago Job declared that God established “a weight for the wind.” In recent years, meteorologists have calculated that the average thunderstorm holds thousands of tons of rain. To carry this load, air must have mass.
cc) Jet stream anticipated (Ecclesiates 1:6). At a time when it was thought that winds blew straight, the Bible declares “The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit.” King Solomon wrote this 3,000 years ago. Now consider this: it was not until World War II that airmen discovered the jet stream circuit.
dd) God has created all mankind from one blood (Acts 17:26; Genesis 5). Today researchers have discovered that we have all descended from one gene pool. For example, a 1995 study of a section of Y chromosomes from 38 men from different ethnic groups around the world was consistent with the biblical teaching that we all come from one man (Adam) http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/OneBlood/index.asp
ee) Robert Boyd’s book, “Scientific Facts In The Bible,” found in the Library of Congress, says this concerning the land and its Sabbath:
A sure-fire remedy for pest control was given centuries ago, yet we are plagued today with insects, ofttimes with no remedy. Moses commanded Israel to set aside one year in seven when no crops were raised (Leviticus 25:1-24). God promised sufficient harvest in the sixth year to provide for this period. Following this plan, here is what would happen insects winter in the stalks of last year’s harvest, hatch in the spring, and are perpetuated by laying eggs in the new crop. Now, if one year in seven no crops were raised, there is nothing for the insects to subsist upon and the pests are controlled by this method. Our method today is “crop rotation,” but we are still pestered with insects. “God’s ways are not man’s ways” (Isaiah 55:8, 9). Man will never approach God’s method. “Then there was the ‘Year of Jubilee’ after every seven Sabbatical years [every fiftieth year], which served to eliminate the insects with had a cycle of seven years or more or less, and which were not affected by the one year in seven.”
ff) Soil conservation (Leviticus 23:22). Not only was the land to lay fallow every seventh year, but God also instructed farmers to leave the gleanings when reaping their fields, and not to reap the corners (sides) of their fields. This served several purposes: 1) Vital soil minerals would be maintained. 2) The hedge row would limit wind erosion. 3) The poor could eat the gleanings. Today, approximately four billion metric tons of soil are lost from U.S. crop lands each year. Much of this soil depletion could be avoided if God’s commands were followed.
D) EVIDENCE FROM SOCIAL SCIENCE (history, language, psychology, morals):
a) Our ancestors were not primitive (Genesis 4:20-22; Job 8:8-10; 12:12). Archeologists have discovered that our ancestors mined, had metallurgical factories, created air-conditioned buildings, designed musical instruments, studied the stars, and much more. This evidence directly contradicts the theory of evolution, but agrees completely with God’s Word. http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i2/civilizations.asp, http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=74
b) The Journal of the American Medical Association wrote that "If, hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United States, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults" (June 10, 1992). In the Bible, the solution is given. Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) We become like what we habitually admire. So, judge the books, TV, music, games and all media that you use carefully. It will likely have an effect on your actions.
c) Animals do not have a conscience (Psalm 32:9). A parrot can be taught to swear and blaspheme, yet never feel conviction. Many animals steal, but they do not experience guilt. If man evolved from animals, where did our conscience come from? The Bible explains that man alone was created as a moral being in God’s image.
d) We often act and imitate the things we watch and see and read. So, we should be careful what we put in our minds! Scientists now know that a lot of violence and crime is caused by media. The Bible told us more than 2000 years ago to focus our minds on good and pure and true things. (Philippians 4:8).
e) Love explained (Matthew 22:37-40; 1 John 4:7-12). Evolution cannot explain love. Yet, God’s Word reveals that the very purpose of our existence is to know and love God and our fellow man. God is love, and we were created in His image to reflect His love. http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=522
f) The real you is spirit (Numbers 16:22; Zechariah 12:1). Personality is non-physical. For example, after a heart transplant the recipient does not receive the donor’s character. An amputee is not half the person he was before loosing his limbs. Our eternal nature is spirit, heart, soul, mind. The Bible tells us that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
The Bible has at least 13 different laws of economics that are very critical for our time. God’s economics say that
• Every person is God’s child and has a right to own some land or resources that God created.
• We must give 10% of our money (tithe) to help the poor and do God’s work. Be generous to needy.
• We should not charge interest.
• We should never give money to someone who is lazy.
The Bible says that if we follow his principles, there will be no poor people. Deuteronomy 15:4 “However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.” This has NOTHING to do with communism or capitalism. It’s God’s way and it works.
Poverty is a major cause of violence, terrorism and war. If people gave tithe, shared with the needy & poor, and followed other Bible principles, there would be no poverty. Thus there would be almost no instability and crime, terrorism and war would all be vastly decreased. Here’s what happened when principles like these were followed.
Confucius said, “When the Great Way prevailed, the world community was equally shared by all… Thus evil schemings were repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless elements failed to arise, so that outer doors did not have to be shut. This was called the age of Great Harmony (Ta Tung).”
The UN estimates that most world poverty could be ended for about $80 billion. This is not hard to provide:
1) If only America gave 20% of its military budget or
2) If all nations gave just 10% of their military budget or
3) If people in developed nations gave just $100 a year or
4) If the funds given to study evolution could be diverted to solving poverty,
Any of these and others could end world poverty in a very short time.
Over 30 countries/territories who have tried sharing nature as God instructed, have been able to escape from extreme poverty quickly. See a much more detailed explanation of this here:
The Bible, America's founders and redistribution of wealth (especially part 2A and the section on Jubilee and Land Rent)
LONGER VERSION coming (MUCH BETTER VERSION COMING SOON)
RELIGION & SELF-CONTROL***
Decades ago, Walter Mischel was researching what influenced certain children to delay gratification better than others. He found that how much self-control the children possessed had strong connections to which students had higher grades in school and which were better in social competence as they grew older
A recent study at Duke confirms the importance of self control not only in better cognitive and social outcomes in children and teens, but also in many other factors and into adulthood. “…following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.”
Now what helps people develop self control? One of the biggest factors if not the biggest factors is strict and sincere religious belief that seems to empower people in a similar way to how the scientific method and it’s strict principles empowers people to advance in knowledge and practical applications. As early as the 1920s, researchers found that students who spent more time in Sunday school did better at laboratory tests measuring their self-discipline. Subsequent studies showed that religiously devout children were rated relatively low in impulsiveness by both parents and teachers, and that religiosity repeatedly correlated with higher self-control among adults. Devout people were found to be more likely than others to wear seat belts, go to the dentist and take vitamins.
Psychologists Dr. Michael McCullough & Brian Willoughby at the University of Miami reviewed eight decades of research and concluded that religious belief and piety promote self-control (http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Papers/Relig_self_control_bulletin.pdf ). They and other researchers have repeatedly found that devoutly religious people tend to do better in school, live longer, have more satisfying marriages and be generally happier.
Dr. McCullough said, “For a long time it wasn’t cool for social scientists to study religion, but some researchers were quietly chugging along for decades. When you add it all up, it turns out there are remarkably consistent findings that religiosity correlates with higher self-control.”
Dr. McCullough explains one reason it seems to help,
“Brain-scan studies have shown that when people pray or meditate, there’s a lot of activity in two parts of brain that are important for self-regulation and control of attention and emotion,” he said. In a study published by the University of Maryland in 2003, students who were subliminally exposed to religious words (like God, prayer or bible) were slower to recognize words associated with temptations (like drugs or premarital sex). Conversely, when they were primed with the temptation words, they were quicker to recognize the religious words.
**Christianity more effective than psychology, witch doctors.
What makes Christianity more powerful at changing lives is not just self-control. It’s the reality that there is a supernatural power, the God of the Bible, aiding us in controlling self as Christianity has long emphasized. Many, including people with very strong bodies and minds, were completely unable to overcome destructive habits on their own. Psychology was of little or no help to many cases. Only recognizing God as real and connection our lives to his power was effective.
In one personality study, strongly religious people were compared with people who subscribed to more general spiritual notions, like the idea that their lives were “directed by a spiritual force greater than any human being” or that they felt “a spiritual connection to other people.” The religious people scored relatively high in conscientiousness and self-control, whereas the spiritual people tended to score relatively low.“Thinking about the oneness of humanity and the unity of nature doesn’t seem to be related to self-control,” Dr. McCullough said. “The self-control effect seems to come from being engaged in religious institutions and behaviors.”Does this mean that nonbelievers like me should start going to church? Even if you don’t believe in a supernatural god, you could try improving your self-control by at least going along with the rituals of organized religion.But that probably wouldn’t work either, Dr. McCullough told me, because personality studies have identified a difference between true believers and others who attend services for extrinsic reasons, like wanting to impress people or make social connections. The intrinsically religious people have higher self-control, but the extrinsically religious do not. Dr. McCullough’s advice is to try replicating some of the religious mechanisms that seem to improve self-control, like private meditation or public involvement with an organization that has strong ideals.Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear God’s wrath, but because they’ve absorbed the ideals of their religion into their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an aura of sacredness. He suggested that nonbelievers try a secular version of that strategy. “Sacred values come prefabricated for religious believers,” Dr. McCullough said. “The belief that God has preferences for how you behave and the goals you set for yourself has to be the granddaddy of all psychological devices for encouraging people to follow through with their goals. That may help to explain why belief in God has been so persistent through the ages.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/science/30tier.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1318755923-tXJIxU/u2j+P1stliskdTQ
MARRIAGE, FAMILY & SEX
Professor W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia analyzed data from three national surveys and published the results in "Is Religion An Answer? Marriage, Fatherhood, and the Male Problematic" He compared secular marriages to Christian marriages and found these results for people who attend church regularly (this is only ATTENDANCE, imagine what it would be if it counted people who followed God’s principles as all genuine Christians are supposed to do):
• 11% more Christian men are very happy in their marriages.
• Christian men and women are 35% less likely to divorce.
• Christian father spend about 2 hours a week more with their kids and are ~65% more likely to praise and huge their children often compared to fathers who don’t have any religious affiliation.
"[R]eligious men (and their wives) enjoy happier marriages, they are less likely to father a child outside of wedlock, and they are more likely to take an active and affectionate approach to child rearing, compared to secular or nominally religious men," Wilcox wrote. "Therefore, any effort to strengthen men's ties to their children and families must acknowledge and incorporate the important role that religious institutions play in directing men's hearts toward home."
**Pastor Warren 1 out of 1,105 get divorced if following 4 habits.
GOD’S PRINCIPLES HEIGHTEN SEXUAL PLEASURE
Aldous Huxley and other atheists have candidly stated things like this:
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption . The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do... For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." [Grandson of evolutionist Thomas Huxley, Aldous Huxley was one of the most influential writers and philosophers of the 20th century.]
While certain religious people at times have had dysfunctional attitudes towards sex, the Bible actually revels in sex in the right time and place and has several r & x-rated sections (see esp. the Song of Solomon). It is kind of ironic that numerous scientific studies show that restricting sex to marriage causes both marriage to be far happier and and sex to be incredibly more fulfilling and pleasurable. It also is crucial to the progress of society. The Bible does limit sex to marriage, but, the sexual satisfaction that results is far greater. Redbook magazine in September of 1975 reported a study on the sexuality of 100,000 women. They found that: "Sexual satisfaction is related significantly to religious belief. With notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman's religious convictions, the likelier she is to be highly satisfied with the sexual pleasures of marriage." Robert J. Levin and Amy Levin, "Sexual Pleasure: The Surprising Preferences of 100,000 Women," Redbook. (September, 1975) p. 52
William Mattox, Jr. of The Family Research Council reported a poll of 1,100 people about their sexual satisfaction. Those who felt sex out of wedlock was wrong reported ~31 percent higher sexual satisfaction than those who had little or no objection to sex outside of marriage. Mattox noted that the survey "found that strictly monogamous women experienced orgasm during sex more than twice as often as promiscuous women." It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if women are enjoying sex more, there man will be getting more of it and thus much happier as well . This is even truer if both spouses follow Paul’s admonition not to deny each other sexually (1Corinthians 7:2-5).
National Institutes of Health researcher David Larson says that couples who don't sleep together before marriage and who are faithful during marriage "are more satisfied with their current sex life and also with their marriages compared to those who were involved sexually before marriage." "The Hottest Valentines: the Startling Secret of What Makes You a High-Voltage Lover," by William R. Mattox Jr., The Washington Post, Feb. 13, 1994.
The Bible teaches that God invented sex for our pleasure and happiness which may be why sex in marriage has so many health benefits for us. http://www.forbes.com/health/2005/10/05/cz_af_1005healthslide_2.html?thisSpeed=6000.
In addition to these benefits, God’s principles on sex can easily prevent most STDs saving millions of lives. Another interesting fact comes from Dr. J. D. Unwin, a secular scholar and historian who studied the rise and fall of eighty civilizations. He found that when sex becomes common outside of marriages, the society begins to decay and creative development is reduced. He concluded, "Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation."
You are probably assuming that Dr. Unwin was a solid Christian and that’s why he said the above. No, he was not a Christian at all. He was a proponent of Freud and a British anthropologist who attempted to prove Freud’s theories true with empirical evidence. He studied 80 civilizations and found that “history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.”
Dan Buettner says, “People who are religious worldwide are happier than people who aren't religious.” And the happiest people socialize ~7-8 hours a day.
Sex and marriage are only two of many Christianity influences in this section that contribute directly to happiness. Evangelicals are 26 percent more likely to describe themselves as "very happy" than Americans as a whole, according to a Pew Research Center survey and those who read the Bible and go to church are happier by a similar margin than those who don’t. Many studies have found that religion helps to increase happiness by ~20-30%. Not only do children of religious people behave better than their irreligious peers, but they are also happier. A study from the University of British Columbia found, "Children who were more spiritual were happier. Spirituality accounted for between 3 and 26% of the unique variance in children’s happiness depending on the measures.”
Holder, M. D., B. Coleman, and J. M. Wallace. 2008. Spirituality, Religiousness, and Happiness in Children Aged 8–12 Years. J Happiness Stud DOI 10.1007/s10902-008-9126-1.
There are many documented reasons why religion improves happiness. The most important are these:
1) Religious people have advanced knowledge on what really makes life work the best. Those who follow this superior wisdom gain many benefits.
2) The Bible emphasizes a lifestyle of using our lives, bodies and talents to enrich the lives of others. When we think first of others happiness, it is often reciprocated and everyone is much happier.
3) The Bible helps us have a balanced perspective on money. Money is a very useful tool. But, an excessive focus on trying to become wealthy as the #1 goal of life is inversely related to happiness and pierces people through with many sorrows as the Bible says.
See also http://www.bluezones.com/2008/01/abcs-2020-the-happiest-places-on-earth and www.bluezones.com/2011/02/fox-friends-–-world’s-happiest-people/ for more lessons on happiness.
Jews and Christians pioneered the concept of public education fueled by the faith's embrace of equality, since we believe all were created in God's image and have a right to knowledge and a decent start in life. Christian influence led to the first universities, in Paris and Bologna, then Oxford and Cambridge along with Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Ewha, Yonsei (in Korea), and numerous others. Ellen White puts it eloquently, “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness--godlikeness--is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress.” http://www.whiteestate.org/books/ed/ed1.html
Christian education continues to be significantly more effective than average. ~51,000 students in Adventist schools in America were studied for 4 years. The longer students studied in that Christian educational environment, the higher they achieve in both achievement and ability above the national average. The trend in US education is for a decrease. And the highest score? It was in science and Adventist schools teach creation science which baffled some of the researchers who are NOT religious.
http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/, http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/docs/jae200871020506.pdf, http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/docs/United_States_3rd_yr_Results2009-add.ppt & http://www.cognitivegenesis.org/site/1/docs/CG_Updated_4th_Year_Results_3.11.ppt (slide #30+)
Cognitive Genesis video
Sorry for the late responses and still quite busy.
***Much content similar to to link you gave below on health research IS on the site, esp. in the powerpoints. But, some is still coming in future publications. I will e-mail them and ask them when they expect it to come out and how to access it. But, quite a lot of information is already available similar to your link on the Cognitive Genesis website.
All testing materials were made by, all tests sent to and evaluated by Riverside Publications since CognitiveGenesis does not distribute, collect, or report results for the achievement and CogAT testing (which I believe is to ensure objectivity and accusations of the precise type that you have made). Riverside Publishing is a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company, one of the nation's leading sources of information through publications and services.:
Here's a summary of how testing was done.
There are actually 3 research studies going on, valuegenesis, cognitivegenesis and physical genesis (only the 1st section is completed...testing is done for the 2nd, but still processing the data it looks like and the 3rd should begin in the near future). Here is a summary of the findings so far:
The contributions of Christianity to art, music and creative expression have been incalculable. Any survey of art and music is filled with productions and compositions that were directly inspired by Christianity and touch hearts and minds to this day. Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, said, "I really do not know what will remain of civilization and history if the accumulated influence of Christ, both direct and indirect, is eradicated from literature, art, practical dealings, moral standards and creativeness in the different activities of mind and spirit."
The church is a place that has fostered the development of many talents in many people as above. This is not just limited to the arts. The frequent chances that church gives people to perform in art, but also to speak, to improve leadership skills, to resolve conflicts, to make an impact on their community and many others have been crucial to the development of many world class leaders, politicians, human rights activists and many more as well as numerous singers, artists and entertainers. This was an even more crucial benefit before public education existed, but is still extremely valuable. The interesting events, worship and activities for fun and for service to others bring a whole slew of benefits to those who participate in the community of the church ranging from health to growth in leadership skills and awareness of human rights issues among others.
Many of the human rights values of modern people were derived directly from the Bible and did not exist in other cultures for most of history. Many ancient cultures saw no problem with going to war as a hobby, gladiator games, infanticide (common even into Greek and Roman times), slavery and other violations of human rights. In Socrates time for example, most believed that “might made right” and few questioned it. Socrates however did challenge it and irritated some people with his concepts of justice and idealism and what was moral and this is one of the main factors why his death was demanded. (Waterfield,Robin. Why Socrates Died:Dispelling the Myths. New York:W.W.Norton and Company, 2009)
See more details here about the human rights concepts of ancient cultures:
http://international.aish.com/seminars/worldperfect/ or more quickly here:
Most people don’t think higher than human rights than what the society or people around them tell them. This becomes a kind of tyranny of ignorance. Regrettably, some Christians have done that as well. But, many Christians have been at the forefront of challenging society to advance in morals and human rights far higher than the status quo on a host of fronts.
The Bible condemned kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), oppression of foreigners (Exodus 22:21), stated that all were equal (Galatians 3:28, Romans 3:29), gave women rights vastly superior to any culture of the time in Prov. 31 (Compare this to Greek culture which treated women only a little higher than animals whose existence was mostly for the purpose of having babies and raising children. They were kept at home and mostly banned from participating in intellectual or political life), tells us that true religion is to take care of widows and orphans (James 2) and even has an economically explosive solution to synergize the liberal human rights concerns with conservative free market priorities in its Jubilee economic system. Directly due to principles such as these, Christians pioneered modern democracy and equality under the law, the abolition of slavery, movements to stop human trafficking and the sex slave trade as well as establishing orphanages, hospitals, hospices, homes for abused children, care centers for all types of abused & injured people and being at the forefront of countless disaster relief efforts.
In addition to the innumerable ways that Christianity has pioneered human rights and general welfare, it is well documented that religious organizations, esp. Christian ones are usually the most efficient way to help those who are suffering and to empower them and inspire them to become independent and self-supporting.. Governments are famously wasteful in many areas, including helping people. Dollar for dollar, almost no one gives a better return on money invested than Christianity on average.
Here are just a few specific examples of how Bible believers have confront injustice, human rights abuses and abusive states and their practices throughout history.
1) A Christian monk was the main inspiration for ending the gladiator games in the 5th century that had been famous in Rome. Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria (393-457) writes what happened in his Ecclesiastical History (which covers the period of time up until ~429 A.D):
"Honorius, who inherited the empire of Europe, put a stop to the gladitorial combats which had long been held at Rome. The occasion of his doing so arose from the following circumstance. A certain man of the name of Telemachus had embraced the ascetic life. He had set out from the East and for this reason had repaired to Rome. There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavoured to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another. The spectators of the slaughter were indignant, and inspired by the triad fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death. When the admirable emperor was informed of this he numbered Telemachus in the number of victorius martyrs, and put an end to that impious spectacle."
Theodoret of Cyrrhus (Cyrus), Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXVI: Of Honorius the Emperor and Telemachus the monk.
2) When Hitler came to power, many Christians opposed him when he tried to take over control of the official churches. Those who opposed Hitler became the confessing church and strongly resisted his manipulations. People like Pastor Martin Niemoller defiantly proclaimed “Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Führer.” and millions of Germans echoed these sentiments. Hitler raged back: "It is Niemoller or I.”
Hitler and the Nazis were master manipulators like many politicians the world over. But, when they got enough power, they implemented their real goals and replaced Christianity with a bloody Nordic religion in order to train the young to be more violent and willing to fight for the Nazis.
Christianity was ridiculed as weak, and original documents at Rutgers show that the Nazis were planning to destroy/eradicate Christianity completely.
They tried to twist some Bible verses to support their ideas true. But, the Bible is very clear, including after Jesus time that God loves the Israelis and all nations.
Romans 3:29, Romans 1:16, Galatians 3:28
There are even 10 prophecies that were fulfilled by them becoming a nation again in 1948.
The main inspiration for Hitler and the Nazis was evolution. They wanted to create a race of supermen by killing off the inferior races. Darwinian concepts fill Mein Kampf.
See videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TruthIsLife7#g/c/96053FC031731C65
and “The Fruit of Evolution”
Many Christians opposed the Nazis and quite a number were directly involved in helping Jews to escape the Nazi death camps. People like Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom, John Weidner (an Adventist who saved ~1000 Jews and others), Maximilian Kolbe (a friar who saved many people, including ~2,000 Jews), Oskar Schindler (of the famous Schindler’s list who saved ~1200 lives, but he was not a very faithful Christian), Hugh O'Flaherty (an Irish Catholic priest who saved about 4,000 Allied soldiers and Jews), André and Magda Trocmé (A French pastor and his wife who led the Le Chambon-sur-Lignon village movement that saved 3,000-5,000 Jews) and many others.
After seeing Christians challenge the Nazis and rescue more of his people than anyone else, Einstein wrote of that time, "Being a lover of freedom...I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom, but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly." (Religion: German Martyrs, Time, Dec. 23, 1940 , The Evening News, Baltimore, April 13, 1979.)
See also “The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity” by Bruce Walker
3) Decades ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, saying, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Many Christians are involved in this campaign. Just as happened in the abolition movement, some Christians followed their traditions instead of the Bible and were slow to change. But, many Christian leaders and denominations have strongly promoted health care and established very cheap or even free hospital care for those who are sick.
4) The recent worldwide Jubilee2000 (www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/, www.jubileeusa.org) campaign and subsequent ONE campaign (www.one.org) to cancel debt and free economically oppressed people was started by churches taking seriously some of the Jubilee system’s economic principles. Christians led the fight against segregation, the Nazis, communism and other oppressive regimes.
Again, there have been at times Christians who followed the status quo. How many of you would be willing to sacrifice your homes, all your money, your life and the lives of your friends and family to help strangers as many Christians have done? It’s not easy…and understandable that many people would not want to risk so much for strangers. But, more than anyone else, it was Christians who thought deeply about the Bible and what God expected of them and compared it to their culture and led the fight to confronting injustice and abuse and stimulate their societies to moral and human rights progress. I am not aware of any organization in history that has challenged the status quo as much as Christianity, especially in terms of human rights.
***FREEDOM OF THOUGHT:
Atheists like to say they are “free thinkers” and that atheism is a philosophy that promotes freedom of thought. But, the historical record shows that in all 22 cases where atheism was the official view of a state ranging from the French revolution to Stalinist Russia, the only freedom of thought tolerated was that which followed the party line. Just as bad, when atheists get power in academia in western countries, they have actively tried to ban, suppress and distort the evidence for religion. The only free thought that atheists with state power (and often the same is true of atheists with academic power) have cared about in the historical record is atheistic thought. People often believe a myth about religion killing billions of people throughout history. This is a myth even if you include the inquisitions and crusades (which was done by a church that officially says it can replace the laws of God in direct violation of Jesus clear principle in Mark 7:5-13.)
Vox Day, in The Irrational Atheist, lists 22 atheistic regimes that committed 153,368,610 murders in the 20th century alone:
What percentage of these killings were due to religious democide? It is less than 3% of the totals. The surprising thing is that these killings occurred during a period of time when virtually all the peoples of the world were involved in some sort of religion. Here is the data for the 20th century:
Murders by Atheists (20th Century)
Country Dates Murders
Afghanistan 1978–1992 1,750,000
Albania 1944–1985 100,000
Angola 1975–2002 125,000
Bulgaria 1944–1989 222,000
China/PRC 1923–2007 76,702,000
Cuba 1959–1992 73,000
Czechoslovakia 1948–1968 65,000
Ethiopia 1974–1991 1,343,610
France 1793–1794 40,000
Greece 1946–1949 20,000
Hungary 1948–1989 27,000
Kampuchea/Cambodia 1973–1991 2,627,000
Laos 1975–2007 93,000
Mongolia 1926–2007 100,000
Mozambique 1975–1990 118,000
North Korea 1948–2007 3,163,000
Poland 1945–1948 1,607,000
Romania 1948–1987 438,000
Spain (Republic) 1936–1939 102,000
U.S.S.R. 1917–1987 61,911,000
Vietnam 1945–2007 1,670,000
Yugoslavia 1944–1980 1,072,000
Selected Pre-20th Century Democide and Totals1
Cases Years2 Democide3 Religious?
China 221 B.C.-19 C. 33,519,0004 No
Mongols 14 C-15 C 29,927,000 No
Slavery of Africans 1451-1870 17,267,000 No
Amer-Indians 16 C-19 C 13,778,000 No
Thirty Years War 1618-1648 5,750,000 No
In India 13 C-1 9 C 4,511,0005 No
In Iran 5 C-19 C 2,000,0004,5 No
Ottoman Empire 12 C-19 C 2,000,0005 No
In Japan 1570-19 C 1,500,0005 No
In Russia 10 C-19 C 1,007,0005 No
Christian Crusades 1095-1272 1,000,000 Yes
Aztecs Centuries 1,000,0006 Yes
Spanish Inquisition 16 C-18 C 350,000 Yes
French Revolution 1793-1794 263,000 No
Albigensian Crusade 1208-1249 200,000 Yes
Witch Hunts 15 C-17 C 100,000 Yes
Total For All Cases pre-20 C 133,147,000 2,650,000
Hypothetical Total 30 C B.C.-19 C A.D. 625,716,0007
International war-related dead 30 C B.C.-19 C A.D. 40,457,0008
Plague dead (Black Death) 541 A.D.-1912 102,070,0009
1. Adopted from STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE.
2. Unless otherwise noted, years and centuries are A.D.
3. Unless otherwise noted, these are a best guess estimate in a low to high range.
4. Excludes democide in China by Mongols.
5. An absolute low.
6. A very speculative absolute low.
7. From STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE.. Calculated from the 20th century democide rate and the population for each century since 30 B.C.
8. From table STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE. Total undoubtedly inflated by democide.
9. A minimum: includes plague dead in circa 541-542 A.D.; 1346-1771 in Europe; 1771 in Moscow; 1894 in Hong Kong; and 1898-1912 in India. From Duplaix (1988, p. 677-678).
What percentage of these killings were due to religious democide? It is less than 3% of the totals. The surprising thing is that these killings occurred during a period of time when virtually all the peoples of the world were involved in some sort of religion. Here is the data for the 20th century:
20th Century Democide1
REGIMES YEARS DEMOCIDE2 Atheist?
U.S.S.R. 1917-87 61,911,000 Yes
China (PRC) 1949-87 35,236,000 Yes
Germany 1933-45 20,946,000 No
China (KMT) 1928-49 10,075,000 No
Japan 1936-45 5,964,000 No
China (Mao Soviets)3 1923-49 3,466,000 Yes
Cambodia 1975-79 2,035,000 Yes
Turkey (Armenian Genocide) 1909-18 1,883,000 No
Vietnam 1945-87 1,670,000 Yes
Poland 1945-48 1,585,000 Yes
Pakistan 1958-87 1,503,000 No
Yugoslavia (Tito) 1944-87 1,072,000 Yes
North Korea 1948-87 1,663,000 Yes
Mexico 1900-20 1,417,000 No
Russia 1900-17 1,066,000 Yes
China (Warlords) 1917-49 910,000 No
Turkey (Ataturk) 1919-23 878,000 No
United Kingdom 1900-87 816,000 No
Portugal (Dictatorship) 1926-82 741,000 No
Indonesia 1965-87 729,000 No
LESSER MURDERERS 1900-87 2,792,000 ?
WORLD TOTAL 1900-87 169,202,000 107,047,000
1. From STATISTICS OF DEMOCIDE.
2. Includes genocide, politicide, and mass murder; excludes war-dead. These are probable mid-estimates in low to high ranges. Figures may not sum due to round off.
3. Guerrilla period.
See also: http://creation.com/christian-vs-evolutionary-atrocities
Some will blame this on power. Power is a factor, true. But, power only enables people to attack people and ideas that they think are most harmful and damaging in political, religious, scientific or other ways. Those who dissented from atheist regimes were vigorously persecuted in a variety of ways. In the worst cases, in less than 100 years ~1-200 million who dissented, largely for religious reasons, were killed. This is more than all cases in all history COMBINED.
Some say this was because of communism. But, there are Christian communists and communism is not anti-religious. Here’s one story of what many experienced while living under an atheist state was like.
As a boy, Alexandr dreamed of being a famous writer. He wanted to write the history of the great Bolshevik Revolution. But, after criticizing Stalin to a friend, he was sent to prison for 8 years & for the first time saw what was really happening under the Marxist and atheist regime.
In the prison, Alexandr met many people. Most prisoners lived by the rule of "survival of the fittest." But, the Christians lived very differently. Their only crime was thinking differently from the state and they often suffered more than others, but, they had faith that helped them endure the tortures. But even when they were starving, they often shared what they had and encouraged others. Eventually, Alexandr became a Christian.
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn did write a history. But, he wrote a history of the suppression of freedom, including religious freedom that happened under that atheistic regime based on personal experience and the experience of many others. His book, “The Gulag Archipelago” won him the Noble prize for literature in 1970, but more importantly changed the course of history.
The editor of the New Yorker newspaper, David Remnick, wrote, "No writer that I can think of in history, really, was able to do so much through courage and literary skill to change the society they came from. And, to some extent, you have to credit the literary works of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn with helping to bring down the last empire on earth."
Solzhenitsyn’s truth helped bring freedom to millions of people. This confirms what Jesus said in John 8:32 “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
In his Templeton Address of 1983, Solzhenitsyn concludes, “While I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened. Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.” http://www.roca.org/OA/36/36h.htm
There have been many experiments with many new ideas in the 20th Century. But when they have forgotten God, many have caused untold tragedy and harm to human life and freedoms.
Some will say, “Oh, but you can’t blame atheism for that. It’s power that kills people.” If you use that argument, then you can’t blame any Christian organization for any abuses either. It was only power that made them do it. Power is a factor, yes. But, the truth is that power only enables people to carry out their visions, goals, philosophy, etc. This naturally means that they will try to fight or suppress those who oppose them. This becomes especially dangerous when someone with power thinks there is no higher authority or moral code than themselves. When that is true, woe to anyone who stands in the way.
Christians have misused power to be sure. This can never be condoned. But, it should be put in perspective. The research shows that only ~2-3% of killings in history were for religious reasons and far, far less than the number killed under atheism in just 100 years. And these killings were mostly by an organization that burned Bibles and any who wanted to read them in their own language and that put man’s wisdom and traditions above the words of God. In these and other ways this system parallels what atheists have done. This group even claimed to be God on earth with authority to change God’s laws as they wished in direct contradiction of Jesus words in Mark 7:5-13 that doing this made worship useless. It was Protestants like Roger Williams and Ann Hutchinson who pioneered the freedom for all to believe or not believe in God as they chose. Ironically, the freedom of non-belief that atheists treasure is directly due to the group that they harshly and unfairly criticize the most.
PURPOSE & IDENTITY:
Christianity and knowing God gives us purpose in life. On February 7, 1837, Florence recounts, "God spoke to me and called me into his service." She believed God wanted her "to do something toward lifting the load of suffering from the helpless and miserable." For 7 years, that service wasn’t exactly clear to her, but she knew God had a purpose for her life. Soon, she began “cottage visiting” - taking food and medicine to poor servants and farmers who lived on the family's lands. She also became involved in the social issues of the time and said that social action was "mankind creating mankind." She believed that, "Mankind must discover the organization by which mankind can live in harmony with God's purposes." The purpose may be to improve local conditions or ones in a far off foreign country. It may be in science, education, evangelism or even in cooking healthy food for the sick. But, God has a purpose for you.
Gandhi humorously said, “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it.” There is a lot of truth in this. Things that may seem small on earth, may prove much more important in heaven. Some for example have thought that the work of mothers is not worth. But, in reality it is more important than the work of presidents. It is one of the most important factors in what the next generation will be like.
Pastor Rick Warren writes in the Purpose Driven Church, “In the great commission, Jesus said, ‘Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you.” This commission was given to EVERY follower of Jesus, not to pastors and missionaries alone….Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them. Although it is a big responsibility, it is also an incredible honor to be used by God…”
William James wrote “The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.” The truth is, only the kingdom of God is going to last. Everything else will vanish. There are not even very many businesses that have lasted longer than a century. Napoleon lamented, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have founded empires. But upon what did we rest the creations of our genius? upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love….I die before my time, and my body will be given back to earth, to become food for worms. Such is the fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ. . .There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”
This is why it is essential to live purpose-driven lives—lives committed to God’s purposes of worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, ministry, and fulfilling our mission on earth. The results of these activities will last—forever.
According to Hitchens and other atheists, we are just “stupid mammals” who are poorly evolved. In Christianity, human beings are the crowning act of the creation of the world with enormous powers of reasoning, dignity and an incomparable destiny.
SACRIFICE & ADVENTURE:
Some people ridicule Christianity for encouraging submission and humility toward others. (Ephesians 5:20). But, it is precisely submission to wisdom from God and science that empowered many of society’s most important advances. Learning from imperfect teachers, parents, scientists, historians is a crucial foundation for progress. If we think that’s important, it’s far more important to trust and learn from the ultimate source of wisdom, God, to make the most progress and use our minds as He intended.
Knowing that there is a God, that this life is only a tiny part of our existence and that God expects us to use our minds nd talents to care for others is a tremendous motivation to advance knowledge and human rights. Countless Christians have sacrificed money, time, property, friends, home cooked food and other comforts of home and sometimes life itself to advance the rights and knowledge of others. They sacrificed enormously to advance science, medical knowledge, health, teach literary & technical skill, spiritual knowledge, morals, the truths of the Bible and so much more. The misery and ignorance in the world would be multiplied numerous times without their sacrifice.
Just one of many current examples of how Christian faith has motivated problem solving and advances in science is Steve Saint. He grew up as a missionary and saw the difficulties of reaching people in remote jungles. So, he invented and built the first FAA certified flying car in history!
Christianity is not just sitting in church pews and heaven will NOT be a place to sit on sanitized clouds playing harps for eternity. Christianity has always been active in solving some of the greatest problems in the world There are sacrifices to be sure in doing this. But, it’s also an adventure and very fulfilling to pioneer advances that enrich people’s lives in so many ways. David Livingstone writes after a life of sacrifice exploring Africa,
"I personally have never ceased to rejoice that God has entrusted me with His service. People talk a lot about the sacrifice involved in devoting my life to Africa. But can this be called a sacrifice at all if we give back to God a "little of what we owe Him"? And we owe Him so much that we shall never be able to pay off our debt. Can that be called sacrifice which gives us the deepest satisfaction, which develops our best powers, and gives us the greatest hopes and expectations? Away with this word. It is anything but a sacrifice. Rather, call it a "privilege"!"
The ironic thing is that this sacrificial type of living often brings rewards on this world as well. The reason is very simple. It’s because as President Coolidge “No person has ever been honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
SPIRITUALITY & ETERNAL LIFE
This concept of peace beginning with right thinking relates directly to heaven. The reason heaven will be so perfect is because everyone will finally “GET IT” that God’s ways are always best. The evidence above alone should be enough to convince any rational person to be a Christian and that Pascal’s Wager is the most rational decision anyone could possibly make. Why be biased against all these benefits? There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain both in this life and for eternity. Compared to eternity, this life is just one drop in all the oceans and that life will not have any of the many abuses, limitations, restrictions and hinderances that hamper us on earth. It is the ultimate freedom and nothing can be more valuable. Faith in this based on evidence has enabled Christians to sacrifice home, money, power and even life to improve the lives of others.
God says, “I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live.” Ez. 33:11 He says “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. (Deut. 30:11,19)
It’s pretty much a no brainer. Get the best benefits in this life and eternity to boot. What do you have to lose by investigating the evidence fairly without any biases against the evidence for God?
THE VALUE OF PRAYER:
“Action without prayer is arrogance, prayer without action is hypocrisy.” Jose Zayas
Some criticize prayer for not producing all the answers they want. But, if that means God doesn't exist, then your parents also don't exist since good parents certainly don’t answer yes to everything their kids ask. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of prayer. Soren Kierkegaard is right when he says that, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
***google: "Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer and the Existence of God" godandscience. Note that the Bible says that God does not usually answer prayers from people who are intentionally sinning.Most studies don't consider this.Testing for God’s existence by prayer is kind of like testing for parent’s existence by whether they always say yes to their kids. Would a teacher reward a student for intentional disobedience? God usually doesn’t either because it harms rationality & more.
Whatever or whoever we spend a lot of time with, our thinking and actions become molded by that. Much research on media proves this conclusively. So, spending time with God in prayer has very positive effects on our thinking and behaviour. Prayer has other purposes as well as the Bible states. But this communication with the God of the universe is essential in changing our thinking. Since thinking changes actions this communication with God directly affects our choices and progress as well as helping us to avoid causing and experiencing different kinds of suffering.
This idea that thinking affects actions was also pioneered by the Bible but well known and documented among the ancients and in science.
• Confucius said, "If there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there be beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world."
• Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Jesus said, "It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder…envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. "Mark 7:20-23 Paul gave us the way to stop violence. He said, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure…whatever is admirable…think about such things.”(Phil 4:8) Stanford’s experiment shows that it works.
• Buddha said, “The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings.”
Prayer is the primary way we interact with God at a personal level and develop our relationship with Him. It is not just some vending machine where you put in a prayer and get anything you wish out of it no matter how silly. Like any good parent, God isn’t just a yes-man. While we can certainly make requests and God does answer, prayer is much more than that. It is communion with God where we we give thanks, reflect and meditate on truth and areas of our lives that need to improve, where we need to overcome sin and harmful behaviours and a time where we can share our worries and concerns with a wise all knowing Creator. Dale A. Mathews, M.D. author of “The Faith Factor” writes about this, "Prescription medications now form the medical cornerstone for recovery from mental illness, but psychotherapy, support groups, and the resources of faith [including prayer] appear to help people change their thought patterns and make constructive changes in their lives." Prayer is a significant factor in improving mental health.
Dr William Sadler, Practice of Psychiatry wrote,
"Prayer is a powerful and effectual worry-remover. Men and women who have learned to pray with childlike sincerity, literally talking to, and communion with the Heavenly Father, are in possession of the great secret whereby they can cast their care upon God, knowing that He careth for us. A clear conscience is a great step toward barricading the mind against neuroticism."
He continues: "Many are victims of fear and worry because they fail properly to maintain their spiritual nutrition…The majority of people liberally feed their bodies, and many make generous provision for their mental nourishment; but the vast majority leave the soul to starve, paying very little attention to their spiritual nutrition; and as a result the spiritual nature is so weakened that it is unable to surmount its difficulties and maintain an atmosphere above conflict and despondency." [William Sadler, M.D., Practice of Psychiatry, p. 1012-1013]
What was Dr. Sadler’s prescription for his patients? "Daily, systematic Bible reading".
Jesus said : "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the word giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27 KJV) Prayer helps give people who know God a peace through whatever happens that nothing in the world can destroy.
Prayer and learning to communicate with God has also done amazing things. In the book “Forever Ruined for the Ordinary: The Adventure of Hearing and Obeying God's Voice" a 70 year old woman from New Zealand shares her experience about how she felt God telling her to go to a nearby mountain and giving her the name. It was 30 miles away and she didn't have a car. But, she obeyed the voice…and went to a nice viewpoint on the mountain. There she met a young man and she said to him, "Young man, God has sent me nearly 30 miles to talk to you. It must be important. What's the matter?". The young man told her he had climbed the mountain trying to find a place to commit suicide. Quickly, the woman shared the basics of the gospel and how it meets every human need. They young man believed in Jesus and committed his life to Him. The young man's first act as a new Christian was to help the old lady down the mountain and drive her back home! Prayer does work. But, like anything, it takes time to develop the relationship and become sensitive to God’s promptings.
ETHICS & MORALITY
What is morality and where does it come from? The worst idea in all of psychology is the idea that the mind is a blank slate at birth. Developmental psychology has shown that kids come into the world already knowing so much about the physical and social worlds, and programmed to make it really easy for them to learn certain things and hard to learn others. The best definition of innateness I've ever seen -- this just clarifies so many things for me -- is from the brain scientist Gary Marcus. He says, "The initial organization of the brain does not depend that much on experience. Nature provides a first draft, which experience then revises. Built-in doesn't mean unmalleable; it means organized in advance of experience."
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html Harm-care: Avoiding hurts, fairness-reciprocity, group loyalty-cooperation, authority-respect-based on deference and love, purity-sanctity--controlling your desires to attain virtue.
Liberals are sometimes more open (exception of missionaries), but have mostly 2 track morality. Conservatives have a 5 track morality.
"If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against, the struggle between for and against is the mind's worst disease."
Many atheists these days such as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Chris Hedges, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and others claim that Christianity in particular is morally inferior to atheism. A typical comment is this:
“You blame atheists for being immoral, but we're generally smarter, more loyal to our partners & less in prison/criminal.” Ash***
Yet, quite a number of atheist researchers have come to the conclusion that religion is essential as a bulwark to protect the morality of society. Dr. Guenter Lewy professor emeritus of the Univ. of Massachusetts, a relativist and secular humanist decided to write a book refuting the idea that skepticism has contributed to the moral decline of the United States titled Why America Doesn’t Need Religion. After doing much research and reviewing many statistical studies showing the crucial importance of religion for society, he abandoned his original goal and changed the title of his book to: “Why America Needs Religion”.
The back cover summarizes his conclusion about religion even with its imperfect people.
“Lewy describes the moral crises caused by secular modernity and points to the role of religiousness -- especially Christian religiousness -- as a bulwark against today's social ills."
Another atheist, Bruce Sheiman (with degrees from Fordham and Northwestern University) wrote a book, “An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity is Better Off with Religion Than Without It” There are quite a few others who have written similarly.
Others argue that atheists can’t be moral, or at least have no objective basis for morals. Are either of these true?
Well, 1st , if God really is the creator of life, nobody could technically be moral or even alive without Him. 2nd, if Christian theology is correct (and the testimony of Satanists concurs), supernatural forces influence us by sending thought impulses to do different things. We have the power of will to choose which to follow. 3rd, many of the advances in morality in history were pioneered directly due to biblical principles. Thus, many aspects of modern morality would simply be unknown to us without Christianity. But, 4th, the Bible also teaches that God has given life, a conscience and freedom of choice to all, regardless of belief. There are also other factors that significantly influence morality including the influence of family, friends, society, media, culture, education and more. So, people in every group, including atheism, can be and are admirably moral. But, the influence of Christianity in general is a far more significant factor in improving morality than atheism as much research, including research from atheists, documents.
There is a cogent and logical argument that objective morality does not exist without God. Morality can be your opinion and personal view. But if you have enough power or smarts to get away with something, there is no philosophical reason not to do so in atheism, since this life is all there is. Dr. Provine, an atheist who is a professor at Cornell, states: "Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent." William B. Provine, Professor of Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 'Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life', Abstract of Will Provine's 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address.
Evolution and atheism are not the same thing, granted. But, Provine is right that they have a powerful connection:
“As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.” Will Provine, No Free Will. Catching Up with the Vision, Ed. By Margaret W. Rossiter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999) pS123.
Probably the most important point in this is that without God our morality will be enslaved by the tyranny of our own ignorance. If we are our own highest moral authority, essentially our own gods, we will seldom if ever rise above whatever the conventional morality or immorality of our generation is or our own opinion. Also, if we think we can get away with something on this earth and thus escape the consequences, this will have a significant impact on increasing the number of people willing to do immoral things.
The Bible says this about its purpose:
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
“The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:11. Meaning that all God does is for our good and to help us avoid harm.
The Bible is given as a foundation...it says it's the beginning of wisdom, not the end. It was designed to empower us to the highest degree, just like the limits of the scientific method have empowered much progress in that direction.
It's a vital foundation to point us in the right direction, help us avoid the worst harm to knowledge, life, relationships, help us have better health and longevity and happiness so we can live longer and think and act a lot more as well as avoiding wasting time and money and most importantly to help us know the Creator and eventually be able to live forever.
I had a friend with similar opinions as you do regarding relativism for a while. I agree with relativism in preferences and some areas, esp. cultural. But, relativism becomes quickly unsustainable when a person experiences a trauma themselves whether it's torture, rape or genocide, down to things like gossip and cheating. I honestly find it a bit ironic to see teachers saying that there is no morality or right and wrong when that's their whole job.
The biggest problem is that people make judgments of what is moral based solely on their own knowledge..and this is a type of tyranny of ignorance. We do things that we don't realize are harmful and hurt others. If we can find a higher authority that has more knowledge and morality than our society does, then we will certainly cause less harm and do more good. The Bible (esp. when not cherry picked and misused...some have taken events in history in the Bible as license for them to do something...which is just utter nonsense) has proven to promote far higher morals than individuals or societies
In a debate at Stanford, Dr. Will Provine, a Cornell biologist and evolution supporter, outlined concisely what Darwinism means for human values. He flashed a list on the screen:
Consistent Darwinism implies "No life after death; No ultimate foundation for ethics; No ultimate meaning for life; No free will."
The only reason for insisting on free will, Provine added, is a cruel desire to blame people for their actions and lock them up.
In a dramatic rebuttal, captured on the video, a young Hispanic man from the audience challenged Provine, saying, "My background is murder and rape. I once thought that was okay, because who cared about life?" But now, he went on, I realize that "life does matter" and "there are absolutes." The man's words were a stunning reminder that the origins debate is not merely academic; it involves the most fundamental principles by which people live and die.
If evolution is true, then natural selection, not our free choice, is what controls our destiny. There is no ultimate meaning or purpose for our lives, although people can and do make create purpose subjectively without belief in God. In addition, there is no objective reliable moral compass. Again, people can and do make up their own subjective morality, but it’s only an opinion and nobody has any responsibility to follow that opinion.
There are so many reasons not to be biased against mountains of evidence in favor of atheism.
Lee Strobel experience is an example of this. After learning about the Miller-Urey experiment in highschool, he became an atheist. He went to the university of Missouri, the best journalism school in the country, then got a job for an Arizona newspaper. His editor told him,
"We want people that for them: God is number one, family number two, and then their job." Strobel thought, "Is he nuts? My job is number one, my wife number two, and everything else is after that.” He continues, “I went to Yale to get my masters in law, came back as a legal editor, covered federal courts, covered criminal courts, covered the Illinois Supreme Court and really enjoyed it but without God, without a moral framework, my personal life was out of control, the drinking, the carousing. I had no moral framework of how to do journalism so I would do whatever it took to get the story. I would steal; I would commit a federal crime by stealing federal documents from the courthouse. I made friends with the court clerk, and he allowed me to go by myself into the court files; and so I would go in there, and I would beat the competition all the time by finding all this wonderful stuff in the court files that no one knew about. So when I would find something particularly juicy, I would slip it under my vest, and I would steal it so when the story broke, the competition couldn't find the documents. Then I gave it a day or two, then I put it back. I figured it was worth it because I never got caught.
I would lie. I remember covering stories at the police headquarters, I would call the witness to a crime and I would say, "Hello this is Lee Strobel calling from police headquarters." Well the implication was that I was with the police department. I intentionally misled and deceived them, because I figured they would tell me more than if they knew I was a reporter. There was nothing that I wouldn't do in pursuit of a story. I would step on my colleagues, in a very Machiavellian way. I, behind the scenes, destroyed the career of one of my colleagues because he was in my way. By the time I was done with him, he was fired from the Chicago Tribune. That's a terrible thing to do, to destroy someone's career; but I did it. And I didn't care. It didn't bother me one iota, because he was in my way. Get rid of him, destroy him...and I was able to do it. He got called on his honeymoon to be informed that he had been fired from his job...a terrible thing. But, as I said, I had no moral sense of right or wrong. If something was in my way, I got rid of it…That was my atheistic mindset: completely focused on achieving my goal of success at the Chicago Tribune.”
Jeffrey Dahmer, the murderous cannibal, stated:
If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then…what is the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought…I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime.
Jeffrey Dahmer did become a Christian, but it happened in PRISON, AFTER he committed the crimes.
Many serial killers like Ted Bundy had no morals because of what they were taught in school about evolution, relativism and such. Bundy, "I learned that all moral judgments...are subjective...&that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you."
It would be wrong to stereotype all atheists by Strobel’s or all evolutionists by Dahmer’s case as it is wrong to stereotype any group by a few individuals. But, there is a significantly higher tendency for those who think they will never be accountable to God for their actions to do whatever it takes without regard to morality to gain selfishly in this life.
Many many large studies confirm the fact that Christianity has a very significant and positive impact on morals. (VIDEO SUGGESTION: Have several of the charts at this link flying on and off the screen:
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/religion_as_child_abuse.html (short summary)
http://www.youthandreligion.org/publications/docs/RiskReport1.pdf (full report)
In one of the largest studies of its kind on 2500 youth, the University of North Carolina showed that church attendance had a dramatic influence in reducing crime and increasing morality in over 30 behaviors.Those who attended church weekly in the left column had significantly less immoral behaviour than those on the right who didn’t go to church. Keep in mind that this is ONLY attendance. Just as attendence at a science lecture doesn’t make you a scientist, so too church attendance doesn’t make you a Christian. These numbers would be dramatically higher if they compared those who were genuine Christians obedient to Christ to those who reject Christ. But even attendance makes an impressive difference.
Christian Smith and Robert Faris. 2002. Religion and American Adolescent Delinquency, Risk Behaviors and Constructive Social Activities. National Study of Youth and Religion. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Marcello Pera, a well known European intellectual and atheist, recently released a titled "Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian". He has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the university of Pisa and concentrated on the works of Karl Popper. He says Europe must call itself Christian because it's exactly what can bring the continent together. Pera notes that Christianity's concept of the human person as created in the image of God is not something found in other cultures, and said that this exists "prior to the state's intervention." “If we prescind from these Christian principles”, he warned, “we will have destroyed our constitutional heritage”.
In the book's introduction Pera writes: "My position is that of an atheist and a liberal who asks Christianity about the reason for hope." He says that we must ask ourselves "who we are, what do we believe in, what is my identity, our identity; if I do not ask these questions, I do not know how to defend myself from those who attack me and I do not even know what to teach." One of the inspirations for writing the book was realizing that modern civilization and many of it's principles, values and ethics, simply would not exist without the influence of Christianity.
Many liberals speak and care passionately about the human rights of others. While there are good points that both conservatives and liberals make, the facts are that it is conservatives (often religious believers) who are the ones who contribute most to the improvement of quality of life for others. Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." He found that
• conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
• Conservatives are more likely to volunteer their time (67% to 44%), and volunteer more of their time (almost twice as much) and give more blood.
• Religious people are statistically more likely to give than secularists (91% to 66%)
• Religious people are even more likely to donate to secular organizations and unknown recipients than secularists.
The single biggest predictor of someone's altruism is religion and America is largely divided between religious givers and secular non-givers although there are some positive improvements happening among secularists.
A survey of 1,600 Canadians asked them what were their beliefs about God and what moral values they considered to be "very important." The results of the survey are shown below:
1. http://www.centerforinquiry.net/uploads/attachments/Social virtues linked to faith.pdf
Christianity’s contributions to fighting addictions and substance abuse are phenomenal and more effective than anything else known. ***
In an article about a gang rape of an 11 year old girl, Are boys and men being taught that women are to be respected and protected and that a female's body is sacred, a child's body especially so? Well, you won't find that message on any recently produced music videos. We live in a hyper-sexualized culture where the prevailing message is: Sex is like fast food, gorge on it thoughtlessly and damn the consequences.
There are many other studies showing that religious individuals are more likely to act in an ethical manner than those who are not religious:
VIDEO (Scroll these studies during the next paragraph)
1. Data on religion and crime, drug use, teenage pregnancy, divorce:
Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami.
Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association, 2009, Vol. 135
2. Data on religion and altruism:
Empathy, Altruism, and Religion, Journal of the American Sociological Society, 2009
3.Data on religion and smoking during pregnancy:
Southern Medical Journal:, July 2008 - Volume 101
Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy: Independent Associations with Religious Participation
Gillum, R F. MD, MSPH; Sullins, D Paul PhD
4. Priming study:
Nonconscious influences of religion on prosociality: a priming study
Isabelle Pichon, Giulio Boccato, Vassilis Saroglou
European Journal of Social Psychology, 2007
5. Effect of prayer on the blood flow in the brain
Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications
Michael E. McCullough, University of Miami.
Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association, 2009, Vol. 135
Some cite statistics that show there are Christians in prison. That depends HUGELY on your definition of what a Christian is. A person who claims to be a scientist but doesn't follow the scientific method would never be counted as a legitimate scientist. Neither would a doctor who refuses to follow the principles of medicine. In the same way, someone who claims to be a Christian but who rebels against God’s principles or Bible doctrines or believes that it's not important to follow God's laws cannot be considered a Christian. This is not a “No True Scotsman” fallacy (as some wrongly allege) any more than the scientist or doctor cases above. Here are some reasons why that prison statistic is problematic.
1) Making lists without rigorous scientific testing, control groups, etc. is not scientific evidence of any sort. You could just as easily say: The more firemen fighting a fire, the bigger the fire is observed to be. Therefore firemen cause fire. You could also say that since there are more blacks in prison than whites, blacks are naturally more violent than whites. These are all cum hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies. Many careful secular studies have done this and did rule out other factors and showed that Christianity significantly improves morals as cited above.
2) This list doesn’t consider list WHEN the person became a Christian. It also doesn't measure how much a person's morality improved before they were Christian or atheist as compared to afterwards.
3) Christians actively reaches out to drug dealers, gang members, and all sorts of dysfunctional people. It works to empower many in the lowest strata of society and help them become less destructive, more moral and more constructive and productive. This is something that society owes a HUGE debt to Christianity for. But it takes time to change them...so we would expect to find more crime in those types of groups than others. This does not change the fact and research above that Christianity directly improves morals as MANY studies prove.
4) Some Christian denominations have for centuries said that we are "under grace, not law" and so obedience to God isn’t important. Just have faith. This is absolute lunacy. The Bible states decisively in John 14:15 and many other places that if someone is joined to Christ and loves him (ie. is a genuine Christian) that they will obey Him. This is inevitable if there is a real connection there. Hebrews 10:26 states that Jesus blood on the cross and forgiveness is useless for those who intentionally rebel against obeying God. If someone claims to be a scientist and rejects following the scientific method, would we count that person as a scientist? NEVER. In exactly the same way, it's really wrong to count someone as a Christian who believes that obedience is not important.
5) Most of the people who are atheists became that way after years of indoctrination by numerous secular professors. It is difficult to deny all the evidence from our senses, the scientific method, historical method and logic for God without this. But, the fact that they had money to pay for higher education means that they are usually more economically stable than the average. Better education, better economic power and better economic stability all reduce tendencies to criminal behavior.
Economic status plays a HUGE role in crime, more than most other factors. There's also the issue of who is committing the bigger crime...those who deprive people of economic justice in order to live lavish lives or those who are like a grandma in Chicago just stealing some food so their grandkids could eat (the judge in that case famously fined the audience for allowing this situation to exist). See my economics playlist for a short presentation on this.