Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brain Dump

Nothing new to report on the home improvement front, and not much going on with the kids, but I've been having a lot of deep thoughts lately. This post is definitely one to skip if you are because, you probably won't be able to follow my leap-frog like thought process; but, it's my blog, and I'll brain dump if I want to.

I've recently become familiar with the term Naturalism. According to wikipedia, Naturalism is a philosophy that posits a particular picture of reality, being, and existence that typically excludes the supernatural. In lay-man's terms Naturalism is the belief that being and existence do not occur outside natural law and the observable universe.

Does that mean no heaven?? How depressing.

The afterlife aside, I am confused by scientists that dismiss the supernatural so easily. Not because I believe in the loch ness moster, and not because I believe in ghosts or even creationism, but because I believe that the only consistent and unchanging thing about science is the fact that we continue to prove we do not know everything. Daily the unseen becomes seen. Daily the observable universe expands. Natural law is not a finite set of rules guys. There isn't one concrete set of rules you can reliably hang your hat on for the rest of eternity because pesky little things like space, time and gravity have been shown to be inconsistent thanks to all your hard work, no less!

It's just sad to me when people say they don't know everything, but act like they know enough to say there is no God or afterlife. What a subject to come to a conclusion on. I mean, genes, molecules, viruses...these are frontiers that no scientist in his right mind would say we've seen it all. Yet, the frontier of an afterlife or higher power is wrapped up; the book is shut.

I'll be the first to admit the supernatural, and religion are slippery slopes. There are a lot of stupid, fanatical and superstitious people out there that give spirituality a bad name. I believe whole heartedly in a God. I believe whole heartedly in an afterlife. I'm not 100% on any of the details, but it seems in the history of man, no other belief has been so universally held as one in a deity and an afterlife. It takes many shapes and forms in many different cultures, but every continent, every race, and just about every society from the smallest tribe to the largest empire believed in a higher power. That says something to me. That says that something deep down in our make-up wants to believe (maybe even senses?) there is something bigger than us out there. That this life is not the end. To take it one step further, it is a yearning that does not seem to diminish with time or scientific discovery. Religion has not died out since the discovery of the cell, the atom, evolution or even DNA. Every one of these discoveries, and countless others like it, should have profoundly negated religion, but religious beliefs have persisted in the face of every major scientific discovery. Everything that should have convinced us there is no God, hasn't. My point is, there are observable things going on here....just not under the microscope.

The trouble with God is he is judged by the most vocal of his followers, and sadly, the most vocal are often the least educated. As much as I admire the spirit of anyone speaking up for what they believe in, I wish a few more smart Christians would speak up from time to time. I don't claim to be the smartest of Christians, but I am smart enough to realize the world as we know it was not created in 7 days. The whole idea of a 'day' wasn't even created until around 3500 B.C. with the advent of obelisks that tracked the sun's movement, and the whole idea of a '24 hour' day (or even an hour for that matter) wasn't created until 1500 B.C. (or later) with the advent of sun dials. And even if God, for some reason was privy to the current form of time keeping, the sun wasn't created until the fourth 'day' of the creation story, so how then, if it were a literal story, would the first three 'days' be marked? So, no, the creation story in the bible is not a play by play on exactly what happened at the dawn of life much the same way Revelations will not be a play by of exactly what goes down if an asteroid ever hits the earth. It doesn't mean God didn't create the universe or earth or everything else, it just means the story is not a literal translation of how it happened because you have to remember, the target audience was the illiterate commoner of 1400 B.C., not the 21st century scholar. But, if you ask me, the creation story does correlate very closely to what we do know about evolution. Eerily so for a document that was written thousands of years before Mr. Darwin came along. I mean, for a writer (or writers) who knew nothing about natural selection and gene mutation, primordial soups and such, the author or authors of Genesis did a pretty good job explaining to the common folk how we could go from nothing to something.

Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with all of this, I just know that everything I believe about God and Christianity has been wavering lately. I believe in God, I am just having deep issues with the whole Christ thing and I don't like such huge aspects of my belief system being up in the air, and I'm eager to reconcile these uncertainties, but not sure that I will like what I find if I go looking for answers. Other thoughts have been heavy on my mind, like what I want to be when I grow up (I'm leaning towards flight attendant), or how it is that I can be 30 years old with an amazing husband, house and kids and still find a zillion reasons to be insecure, but I think that's plenty of brain dumping for one day.


P.J. and Nola said...

But how was there evolution in the world before there was sin? Don't you have to have death for evolution to occur? The world was perfect before sin, and death didn't exist until there was sin in the world. Sin didn't happen until everything was already created. HMMMM...Deep thoughts...

Just a small family said...

I don't think death is a requirement for evolution, but I do think birth is. As for sin, I don't think it existed before man, but I also don't know if the world was necessarily perfect in the modern sense of perfection. I think the earliest of man or monkey, had no concept of sin. I think there was a moment in the evolutionary process, when modern man came to sense a difference between right and wrong, and in that moment, not only were we set apart from our animal counterparts, but 'sin' became defined (doing something wrong) as well as imperfection (anything that is not right). Like I said, it's just speculation, and honestly it's the first time I've ever thought about it. I'm sure from a theological standpoint, I'm way way way off.

The Nall Knoll said...

I like you're 'brain dump.' At least you're thinking, which is better than most people, especially us scatter-brained mommies! As for smart Christians, I would recommend both Dinesh D'Souza and William Lane Craig. Similarly to you, D'Souza doesn't think evolution threatens Christianity. I haven't read his book, 'What's so great about Christianity,' but have listened to some podcasts from itunesU of talks he gave at Wheaton & really enjoyed them. Craig is a philosophical apologist and I'm reading his book, 'Reasonable Faith.' He also has a Defenders podcast that we enjoy listening to. R.C. Sproul has a podcast called Renewing Your Mind that is pretty good, too. My next book to read is called, 'Smart Faith: Loving Your God With All Your Mind' by Moreland and Matlock, which is about the anti-intellectual movement in lay Christians in the 20th Century and what we need to do to thwart it personally. Anyways, just wanted you to know that there are plenty of smart Christians out there who can answer most of your questions just as rationally and evidentiary as anyone else, they're just hard to find!
xoxo Erika

Just a small family said...

Erika! I should call you. You are always such a good resource, and friend :)