Sunday, June 29, 2008

Copernican Revolution in Creationism

I am a creationist. It is common for anti-creationist speech (propaganda?) to say that creationists are like old dogs. And we all know how hard it is to teach them new tricks. In other words, so goes the allegation, creationists just believe whatever the Bible says and their thinking never changes.

But I got to tell you, that I, for one, have undergone tremendous change over the years in my own thinking on the issue of creationism. I guess the first cardinal point in my own journey came when I took an introductory-physical geology course at a secular university. This served two functions in my journey as an evolving creationist, if you'll pardon the very bad pun. First, it got me to question the faithfulness of extreme creationists (a la Ham, Hovind, etc.) in their quotation of evolutionary sources. Second, I had the opportunity to observe first hand that evolutionary scientists are not the blubbering idiots that extreme creationists seem to think they are.

About this same time I went to hear Kent Hovind speak. During the Q & A time I asked him why he tied the big bang in with evolution. As I remember, he said it was the beginning of the process (which he denied ever having occurred) culminating in macro evolution. But I had come to be open to the big bang. It was useful apologetically a la kalam cosmological argument. Furthermore, I could not see in the Bible where it says God absolutely could not have created the cosmos 6000 years ago by means of the big bang (I have since come to see that if there was a big bang-and it seems essentially certain that there was-it must have been billions of years ago).

During my years as an extreme creationist I did not give Dr. Hugh Ross a fair hearing. I saw him as a kind of heretic (though his heresy was relatively minor). I remember reading one of his books and thinking he was compromising the Scripture to be too accommodating to heathen science. Later on, however, I started to see that he was on to something with his view of an old world. And this brings us to the second major turning point. I still have some more thinking to do on this point but I am willing to admit now that it is more or less certain that the cosmos is billions of years old. And what is more, this seems to me to be consistent with the Bible if not explicitly taught by it.

So geology 101 and Dr. Ross giving me permission to be an old-earther (and retain orthodoxy at the same time, which is very important to me) were the first two steps. And may I say that I am still a work in progress when it comes to creation/evolution? And may I further say that when one critically reflects on the problem for oneself it seems that one shall see that creation/evolution is an incredibly complex issue? In fact, with one notable exception it is probably the most complex issue in all of Christian apologetics.

One of the reasons why it is so complex is that everybody defines their terms differently. For example, what exactly is evolution? An extreme creationist would perhaps take evolution to mean macro evolution. They do admit theistic micro evolution but deny that they are theistic evolutionists. This makes no sense to me. And in my informal debate with a naturalist, I get the impression that he (exapologist is his username online) thinks that Dr. Behe denies evolution. He, Behe, even accepts macro evolution. Even common ancestry of all species. Rather, I think I'm right in saying that he defines evolution, when denying it happened, as naturalistic evolution. The point is that people in the debate need to start carefully defining their terms. So far very few, if any, have done so.

And that is the first step in any debate if real progress is to be made. Instead what normally happens is people just talk past each other and often agree more than they think (though they probably do have significant differences as well).

As was said above, my perspective has changed a lot over the years on the question of creation/evolution. What is my point of view at present? I answer that, I do not see a conflict between evolution and the biblical account of biological origins but neither am I persuaded that all species share common ancestry. I find myself leaning towards, though not yet totally embarrassing, progressive creationism. By 'progressive creationism' I mean that God created the various kinds of animals in progressive stages. So maybe He waits for the trilobites to become extinct then a thousand years later He creates angle worms, for example.

I would say, that while it is vitally important that God created the cosmos out of nothing and that He now sustains it and rules over it, it is relatively less important (though still fairly important) when and how He did it. This is my Father's world. He is thus free to intervene in a miraculous way at any point in time that He so wishes. That is also vitally important. I think I've hurt a lot of ears in this post but it is an honest revelation to you, dear reader, of where I currently stand. This is a fascinating area of inquiry. I therefore look forward to reading any and all comments you post to this entry at this blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Has anybody out there in the blogospere ever heard of a older RPG called "Golvellius: Valley of Doom"? I beat it today! It is a pretty neat game. It is like a Sega version of the original Zelda game. But it has its own feel as well entirely different from Zelda. I was surprised at how long the game was. Anywho, let me know if you've played it before and what you thought of it. Please and thank you.

Rest in peace righteous rocker. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review of Rambo

John J. has come full circle. John J. Rambo that is. And sure enough, by the end of the 4th Rambo movie, he's walking down the long road. And he's on his own-dah...dah dum.

I grew up in the eighties and was a huge fan of Rambo. But this newer movie was very different from the others. "First Blood," the first movie, was a rather good movie-the most unique of the four. As a kid I watched it with much pleasure. Apparently what happened next, was that it made some money and so the movie-makers decided to morph Rambo into an action hero franchise and market him to kids. The second movie was cheesy (though I did not notice as a child) and the third one was even worse. And then there were the Saturday morning cartoon incarnation of the Rambo universe. That was definitely marketed towards kids.

Now, all of us kids-mostly boys-grew up with Rambo. He was our hero. Fast forward to today and Stallone hasn't done anything lately (accept, of course, "Rocky Balboa," and, if you go back a little farther, "Spy Kids 3-D") for movies. All the old franchises are being resuscitated lately and, of course, the boyhood fans are now adults. So I guess Stallone thought he'd come out of retirement once again to revive his second major serial character only this time make it more edgy and adult oriented.

Most parents would not be comfortable allowing their children to watch the new one, I think. That is how edgy and adult oriented it is. There are plenty of f-bombs in the film and also much gore. Of course, in a Rambo movie, you would expect to see a lot of violence. But did we really need the 27th decapitation? Wouldn't the first 26 (primarily by gunfire) suffice? Still, Rambo and his buddies are hardened assassins so you would expect a good deal of swearing and, when people step on landmines or have their heart literally blasted out of their ribcage with a canon, one would expect to see blood.

And there was certainly a lot of blood, and severed limbs (not just heads) in this movie. In fact, I think that, apart from some horror movies, this is probably the goriest movie I have ever seen. Even horror movies aren't normally this gory. "Dead Alive" (sometimes also called Brain Dead) certainly was more gory and "Evil Dead II" was as well. But "Saw," for example, was slightly more tame than Rambo part four it seems. Even the Kill Bill movies were relatively tame compared to this movie.

This, as it seems to me, is not necessarily a bad thing. As I almost said before, this new Rambo movie is more realistic than the other Rambo movies. He actually talks in this one and he does not take on the military of an entire country on his own. Rather, he is fighting a Burmese army as, for all intents and purposes, a Burmese soldier. So it is two armies fighting each other not one man, who doesn't talk, fighting an entire country and winning.

Another difference from the older movies was that Stallone does not appear shirtless in the movie in a state of hyper-saturation from body oil. Considering his age that could be a good thing. That being said, however, his short sleeve T-shirt reveals arms which do look quite buff. Also, there did not seem to be as much action for Rambo to do. The last 15 minutes or so I got the impression that Stallone is old and since it is his movie anyways, he would just stand behind a very large gun and shoot a lot of bullets (while making a tomato paste out of the enemy). Keep in mind that this is after an hour of him leaning against the motor of his pontoon boat.

One part that surprised me was that even the Burmese children were portrayed as getting killed. Very rarely do we see children getting killed in an action movie or any kind of movie in general. I think that anachronism was wholly intentional. There are some third-world countries which heavily persecute Christians. In the Rambo movie, Christian missionaries are going into Burma to help them but many of the Burmese are already converts. And they are being persecuted by a dictatorial government. There is one memorable quote in the film where Stallone's character says, "live for nothing, or die for's your call." Could it be that Rambo was coming around to the missionaries point of view that Christian and medical aid to Burma was a helpful-worldchanging kind of thing? At any rate, what I am trying to say is that it seems the movie is not merely "let's shoot lots of bullets" but actually trying to expose the plight of persecuted Christians in places like Burma. I may be reading into it what is not there but that is the impression I felt while watching the movie. Perhaps the six o'clock news, in real life, was not covering persecution of Christians (and perhaps others) and their martyrdom like they should have, in my estimation. Who better in the fictional world of movies than Rambo to draw our attention to the barbarism against fellow believers and save the day?

In the final analysis, I must say that though better than the second and third installments, "Rambo" is not as good as "First Blood" but it is still quite good especially for an action movie. I tend not to like action movies too much. They just seem mindless and formulaic. I think the plot line was good in theory though not fleshed out as much as it should have been. I give it three out of five stars. If you were a childhood fan like I was you'll definitely want to see it. And while not the best movie of the year (Stardust?), it is certainly worth watching, at least if you are an adult male. But again, while the first three were perhaps appropriate for younger children, I suggest you don't allow anyone in your household that is not at least a teenager to watch this film.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Atheism...What's Up With That?

Is it just me, or are there an obscene number of people, recently, coming out of the closet, so to speak, as being militantly anti-Christian? And many of these people claim to have been ministers of one sort or another. Dan Barker, John Loftus, Gary Lenaire just to name a few. Reading through their arguments for loosing their faith it becomes apparent that their faith must not have been very strong. Obviously, I am unable to peer into their heart and determine their true motivation. Nevertheless, their arguments are so bad that one cannot help but suspect either an ulterior motive or, at the very least, an extremely shallow faith to begin with.

Be that as it may, whether or not the so-called new atheist is a deconvert or not, why, even old new atheism was once new agnosticism. I mean to say, new atheism is nothing more nor less than agnosticism, albeit a militantly anti-Christian agnosticism. You see, in the good ol' days of yesteryear, an atheist was a person who said, "I know God does not exist," and, an agnostic said, "I do not know if God exists or not."

Then the atheists were defeated again and again in debate so they retreated into agnosticism. But (to save face?) they started calling themselves atheists again only with "atheism" redefined to mean "without theism" or "lacking belief in God." While it may be true that "atheism" literally means "without theism," one must not go on literal meaning necessarily. Indeed, does not "inflammable" literally mean "flame retardant?" And nobody would use an inflammable substance to put out a fire. People immediately saw through this ruse and, thus, new atheism was born. If this analysis is false, and it may be, it is certainly at least the impression that I personally have of the situation.

But new atheism is not mere suspension of judgment as I said before. Instead it includes a militant opposition to Christian doctrine and practice. Why would somebody speak out against Christian truth? Do they see it as a threat? Do they know it to be true but really really really want it to be false? Perhaps we cannot say what their true motives are. What we can do, however, is examine their arguments and see how manifestly awful they are. Now, I do not mean to suggest that I dislike the conclusions of their arguments and so I reject them on that count. Rather I mean to say that the arguments themselves are just plain bad when viewed objectively.

Take the poster child as an illustrative example. I am speaking of Richard Dawkins. In a chapter of his book "The God Delusion" he gives a critique of the classical theistic proofs. This is not arguing against Christianity per se but is a pre-requisite, perhaps, for giving a positive case for atheism. As I remember, he a. misrepresented Aquinas' cosmological arguments then argued against a straw man, b. said he did not like the ontological argument then proclaimed we should reject its soundness on the basis of his personal feelings, and c. ridiculed a modern argument which he apparently got from Swinburne (but it was a new argument and so not as distinguished as the classical proofs and, therefor, perhaps not as good as the older, more established proofs). QED? I think not.

Now, if one is temporarily suspending judgment because they have yet to examine the evidence for Christianity that is one thing. But I think the new atheists have already made up their minds in spite of the evidence. When reminded of the overwhelming case for Christianity, many of them blow of the arguments with a wave of the hands-waving at the meager supply of straws before them as they try in vain to grasp them. They refuse to see the truth it seems.

If you are a new atheist then I really don't see where you have a leg to stand on. Do you disagree? You no doubt will. Please post a comment or two explaining your own point of view.

Shalom out.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Informal debate with a naturalist

Salutations blog readers! I (evangelical) am in the process of critiquing atheistic arguments at ''

If you are interested in checking out what I have to say there, then just go to that site, click on 'Index', then click on whatever argument you'd like to read about. My own comments are posted at the bottom of the the page as is standard practice when commenting on another's blog.

p.s. I must confess that Exapopologist is eminently cordial in our dialogues together. EA, if you ever read this, I commend you for such.