What you believe and why

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Administrator2, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Administrator2

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    ADMINISTRATOR

    When the evolution-creation thread began, the initial exchanges showed who believed what then. That was almost a year ago. Maybe it's time again. Tell why you believe what you believe regarding evolution and creation. Personal attacks will not be allowed on the board but respectful questions and even challenges are fine. Joe Meert has initiated this thread with the following post.
     
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    JOE MEERT

    Michelle and I were conversing about these comments with some wonderful friends the other night and concluded that the atheist could equally argue that 'only fools believe in God'! It's not the best argument nor is it one that I feel any need to trot out. The assumption is that somehow atheists wake up one day and say 'Gee there is no God'. My
    own personal experience is quite different. I was raised by Christian missionary parents and spent many of my early years helping to spread the gospel and help those who needed help. I was 'reborn' in the early 1980's and have studied the Bible and the teachings of many other religions as well. My decision that there is no god has not been reached lightly. In fact, I would probably be classified as a weak atheist since I must allow for the possibility that some higher being exists. My decision was not reached by talking with other atheists. In fact, i've found that atheists (unlike most religions) don't work at converting people to their way of thinking. Global atheism is not an underground movement. I look at the world today and I see most hatred and intolerance arising from people who claim to believe in God. That belief is somehow translated to 'My god is right and I'll kill you for thinking otherwise'. In fact, the sheer number of people who claim to hold the 'singular truth' is one of the most compelling arguments against a singular religious truth'. That I have not found any of that evidence compelling has led me to where I am today. You can argue that this is a foolish conclusion on my part and trot out a bible verse to support your argument, but that is hardly strong apologetics. I 'lost the creator' as you put it, because there is no evidence to support the existence of
    any creator. Interestingly, the intelligent design argument is more problematic for a creator because it makes that creator a sort of bumbling "Tim the Taylor" type creator (see http://www.indstate.edu/gga/pmag/id.htm ).
     
  3. Administrator2

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    THE BARBARIAN

    I believe that God did create the universe, and uses nature, including
    evolution, as His means of creation.
     
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    HELEN
    I'm a young creation creationist. I do believe that the God of the
    Bible created the universe and the world and all life precisely as He
    has said He did in the Bible. I believe it because it makes sense of
    what we actually see in our own experience as well as because I know God
    and I know He knows how to communicate clearly to all us humans, so I
    know I can trust what is written in the Bible.
     
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    BARNABAS

    Since we are talking about belief and the reason for it, I was amazed to read Joe Meert's "testimony" about how he changed one of his belief system for another, which motivated me to share with the readers the reason why I believe the way I do. You may find this entirely opposite to that of Joe's account. Here it is, in a nutshell:

    It goes back to my maternal Grandfather, who was living in a town with a population of about 500. He was born in the eighteen hundreds, the son of a wealthy landowner, who cared for his father's estate. As most of his contemporaries, he liked to drink a lot in the local tavern and when his spirit soared high he liked to show off his strength by beating the living day light out of anyone who dared to challenge him. He was the strongest man in town, and no one dared to oppose him even when he was drunk. While his contemporaries carried small axes or the pin of a yoke in their booths, and used these devices to make a point in their arguments, my Grandfather was famous of not using anything else beside his bare fists. Specially on weekends, when they rewarded themselves for the hard labor and drank themselves to excess, fights were a common occurence around the Main Street Tavern. The local constables only came out when the fights were over and they had to take somebody to the hospital, about 10 miles up the highway.

    Even after he got married, my Grandfather carried on with his tradition and lived a life of debauchery. My Grandmother was a petite lady but pretty feisty herself and she was not afraid to stand up to her husband. Naturally she knew just how far she could stretch the limit without being clobbered, and she used her craftiness masterfully. They had three girls, pretty as flowers, but Grandfather could not be dissuaded of his lifestyle. It was at this time that the young men of the town established two drinking bands, and my Grandfather became the leader of one of these gangs.

    As a result none of the young men dared to venture to the other part of town alone, they usually traveled by pairs. When the two groups met, however, the result was the flow of blood on the streets. It was a curious situation because the town was priding itself to be God fearing. They even had a large steeple church to prove it. But it was all for a display, prestige and status. No one really believed deeply, they just went to church because that's what their fathers, and their fathers did before them.

    The leader of the other group was a hard headed boy named Steve. He did not like being second fiddle to my Grandfather and he swore to his friends that one day he'll kill Alex Furka (the name of my Grandfather). As it happened Steve's older brother was an officer in the army and he came home for a short furlough. Steve seized the opportunity, stole his brother's side arm and showed it to his friends. "I am going to kill Alex with this gun," said he as the gun was going from hand to hand among his friends. They were all seeing blood, and they were psyching themselves up for the occasion. The word got around in the small town of what Steve was up to and it got into the ears of my Grandfather's best friend. He ran over to caution his friend, and to warn him that a gun is not an ax and he cannot dodge the bullet. My Grandfather was just returning from the field and was about to take the harness off the horses when his friend ran into the courtyard with the disturbing news. But instead of thinking about this rationally my Grandfather's blood boiled over and said, "What?! He wants to kill me? I'll kill him with my bare hands." And with that he was slapping the horses and raced across the town. But I am getting ahead of myself and forgot to tell you about a certain change in my Grandmother's life, prior to this incident.

    One day there was a colporteur coming to town selling Bibles and talking about God's saving grace. His name was Michael Kornya. When a stranger came to town all the women folks and their children would run out to the street to see what's is going on. My Grandmother was no exception. She was listening intently upon the simple words of that farmer traveling-evangelist. The words were heavily laid on her heart. She recognized that the marriage she had was not going well. They had three beautiful children, but the husband was almost never home. They had no family life. There was something missing, and although she talked to the older women and hoped to change it, they only reassured her that these things were always this way and she should accept it as a way of life. However, my Grandmother could not accept that and she was dreaming about something better. The word of the traveling farmer grabbed her heart. All of a sudden she understood that what's missing from her life was God. They lived a life like animals, getting up early in the morning, work all day, and go to bed at night. No weekends, except Sunday morning when the town folks would go to church. But she couldn't even do that because her husband would not allow it. When the man finished his tale, and asked if anyone would like a Bible, my Grandmother was first in the line. She also had personal questions and she was drinking in every word this man was saying. The story of Michael Kornya's conversion is another story by itself. In a couple of months the man came back, and by then my Grandmother was systematically reading her new Bible. She was full of questions but received all the answers from this kind man. And when her heart was broken under the heavy weight, she asked if there was hope for her. At this time the man shared the love of God with my Grandmother and upon the profession of her faith he baptized her in the river Berettyo, just outside of town. From that moment on the life of my Grandmother changed dramatically. Instead of fighting with her husband she became kind, loving, and went out of her way to please him. My Grandfather didn't know what was going on and when he found it out he became furious. He thought that she lost her senses. In fact he made her life so miserable that she had to work twice as hard as before, and she never had a moment to breathe. He made sure of that. But my Grandmother would not waver, she was solid like a rock. There were other folks in town who accepted the saving grace of God and they got together to talk about the joy of their Bible reading discoveries. They banded together without any leader, just to share their joys and sorrows, and were strengthened by each other's faith.

    When my Grandmother heard the essence of her husband's anger, and that he was about to go out the gate with the horse buggy and confront Steve with his gun, she ran before the horses and held them down. My two aunts and my Mom ran also and surrounded the buggy. My Grandfather jumped off the buggy, grabbed my Grandmother (probably lifting her off the ground with a single hand) and said, "If there is a God in heaven as you believe it, then he better kill Steve, because if not I will!" And with that he threw aside his wife and the kids and raced out the gate with full speed. In a few minutes he was in front of Steve's house. My Grandfather didn't even think about the facts that Steve didn't have to get close to him with the gun but shoot him from afar. He only thought about his rage and that he wanted to do the harm first. When he kicked in the gate and scaled the steps to the house my Grandfather has met a couple of crying old ladies. One of them recognized him and said, "Alex, Steve is dead!" And with that she started to cry heavily with the other women, as they together were trying to console Steve's mother. Our Grandfather often told us this story, but when he arrived to this part he always stopped and waited until he regained his voice again. At times we grandkids could even see his eyes shining, as if he would fight off some tears.

    My Grandfather said, he didn't know how he got home. The horses knew the way. When he got off the buggy and headed to the house. My Grandmother looked at him and she started crying. She thought that he killed Steve. My Grandfather remembered his angry words to his wife when he said, "If there is a God in heaven as you believe it, then he better kill Steve, because if not I will!" His own words were pulling him down like heavy weights. He couldn't escape from his own anger, and that Steve was dead. He knew that he didn't do it but his wife did not. They cried in each other's arms for a long time, until he regained his voice and told her that he did not kill the man - but yet he was dead. Later they learned that while the young men were examining the gun and passed it from hand to hand, one of them accidentally pulled the trigger and shot Steve right through the heart. When the colporteur returned to town my Grandfather listened to him as well. For some strange reason everything the man said made sense, and my Grandfather gave his heart to God also. He was baptized the same day, and became a new man. His father did not want to believe the change in his infamous son and did everything in his power to discredit him. He would go to bathroom in the middle of the living room and through the crack of the bedroom door he would look at the reaction of his son and wife. But my Grandparents stood the test, and as a result of their godly example my great-great Grandfather come to accept the love of God also before he died.

    This is the reason of my belief, because I was raised up by my maternal Grandparents after the war. My father was killed by the Russians during WWII as a mistaken identity, and my Mother was hit by a bomb shrapnel which was dropped by the Allied forces against the Germans. She was not able to care for the large family we had and I was loaned to my Grandparents. Ever since I can remember I could see my Grandfather live what he was preaching. He never worked on Saturday and Sunday, yet his field was the best looking always. His produce was the first to go from the local market, his animals obtained the best price, so much so that people often asked about his secret. He was telling everyone that it is due to his personal faith and belief in God, the creator of the universe, and nothing else. He was never short of a story when we young people gathered around the fireplace and sheared off corn from the cob for animal feed. Although we heard this story many times over, we often asked him to tell us the times when he was young, and when he met God. So, as you see, I believe because I have observed my Grandfather's life. He was an open book to me, and actually he was the first Bible I have ever read. That is why I believe the way I do. And I have never regretted for choosing a life to believe in my Creator and my Savior.

    P.S. On second reading I discovered some spelling errors and came back to correct them. [​IMG]

    [ March 15, 2002, 09:36 AM: Message edited by: Barnabas ]
     
  6. Administrator2

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    RADIOCHEMIST

    This sounds like an interesting topic, so here is what I believe and
    the reasons for it.
    I grew up in a family that took the bible literally and believed in
    what would now be called "Young earth creationism". As a lad, I was
    an avid reader and at the age of 8 or 9, I became interested in
    science and the scientific view of the age of the earth and related
    matters. In spite of the influence of my family, I never had any
    confidence in the literal interpretation of the bible, nor the
    young age of the earth. To me, even the appearance of the earth
    supported the scientific view that the earth is very old. The
    scientists talked of the "old worn down mountains" such as the
    Appalachian range (200 million years old) and compared them to the
    young looking Rocky Mountains whose age is believed to be 20
    million years old. That seemed to make sense to me. I read a little
    of Darwin's theory and that also seemed to make sense. And I was
    very much aware of the lack of scientific knowledge among those
    who refused to accept evolution. I figured their opinion was acquired
    almost entirely without examination of the evidence and was worth
    very little.

    In 25 years of experience in science, that includes
    a substantial amount of experience with radiometric dating methods,
    I have not seen the dishonesty or incompetence in science that is
    often claimed by creationists. I have far more confidence in the
    mainstream scientific view, than I do in the amateurish objections
    of creationists, especially in those areas that are within my
    expertise. If I wanted to be religious, the poor quality of the
    writing that I have seen in the creationist camp would be a major
    obstacle in accepting their religious views. Creationist writings
    may have some influence on people without a scientific background
    but such writing creates a highly negative impression on those
    who are well educated in science.

    My views on evolution have not changed much since my youth. Sometimes
    I hear of creationists who insist that they were once evolutionists,
    and were converted to a literal view of Genesis by the scientific
    evidence. I really don't believe such claims, because it is clear
    in those cases that these same people are also fervent fundamentalists
    and very few fundamentalists really care about the scientific
    evidence. They are more interested in "evidence" from the bible. I also
    wonder how such people could have ever been evolutionists if they have
    always accepted a literal interpretation of the bible.

    Another factor in my rejection of creationism is the poor quality of
    the writing of virtually all of those who believe that way. Having
    acquired a substantial amount of education, I view almost all
    creationists as people who disregard all norms of scholarly standards
    in their writings on the origin of life on earth. This is often
    commented on by scientists, so I will not go into that in detail.

    I have never been fervently religious, although at a younger age,
    I was more accepting of religion than I am now. In recent years,
    I have learned that many great men such as George Washington,
    Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, were as indifferent towards
    organized religion as I am now. I am not impressed by those
    christians who say that they are christians because they see how
    religion worked wonders in the lives of other christians. We could
    say the same thing about some other religions such as Islam or
    Mormonism, for instance. I know many fine people of good morals and
    integrity who are Mormons. But I have a poor opinion of Mormonism
    as a religion and do not consider it as having God's approval.

    I do not agree with the many christians who equate
    atheism with evolution. That sort of claim is often made and to
    me it shows a type of intellectual dishonesty, because it is
    quite clear that millions of people accept both religion and
    evolution.

    In general, for me to believe anything, I must have evidence for
    it and will believe most readily things that I can see and experience
    for myself, rather than taking the word of someone who live several
    thousand years ago.

    I have been strongly influenced by the writings of Carl Sagan and
    Richard Feynman. Feynman in particular, has some interesting views.
    He says that when humans invented language, knowledge could then
    be transmitted to future generations, thus setting the stage for
    great advancements. But he says, the knowledge transmitted can
    be of two types, useful knowledge and information that has many
    errors in it. Science came along and offered us a way of separating
    out that knowledge that was accurate and useful from knowledge that
    contained errors. The process of thinking clearly and making the
    distinction between good and bad knowledge is not easy, however.

    Carl Sagan takes up this theme in his book, The Demon Haunted World.
    Science, according to Sagan, provides a candle that flickers in the
    dark, giving light to mankind. It is not yet clear whether
    the candle will continue to burn. I believe that some creationists
    align themselves with those forces that would snuff out the candle
    and return to a world where demons and spirits are accepted as
    the main type of reality. I am on the side of reason and science.
    I don't despise religion and if taken in moderation, religion
    does more good than harm. But religious fanaticism is a real
    danger to the world.

    RADIOCHEMIST
     
  7. Administrator2

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    PAUL OF EUGENE

    Well, I continue to believe in God as I have all my life. This in spite of the fact that many of my Pastors, Sunday School teachers, etc. believe and teach things that are contrary to the truth as discovered by Science. The reason, in my case, is that I believe I have direct communion with God and received direct blessings from Him. Over and over I have seen him provide for me and my family. He gives me direction from time to time although it is a very rare and precious thing when He gives me something like an order, an instruction that I should do something. I take it that I am not particularly special in this regard and that such a fellowship is available to all. Part of His direction to me has been that I should be a Christian rather than some other religion and so that is where I remain. Hmmmm - you know, I never asked him about being a baptist . . .
    I have also had a life long interest in things of science. It seems a natural way of learning about God, to understand more of His creation! I certainly have no wish to deny the obvious, that the scientific method of investigation produces spectacular results, including the discovery of a vast cosmos far greator in size and age than anything suspected by the ancients of our race, and our physical kinship with all the life on earth. God is the God of truth.
     

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