Some years ago I spent time on lists and forums. That has been replaced with blogging, but many of the conversations are the same because people grapple with basic concerns and because many of the cultural challenges are still the same as they were in the year 2000. I have decided to post this essay on my blog because it is pertinent to some of the discussions I find myself in at this time.
Below is something I worked on in response to discussions on the validity of the Bible. These are reasonings rather than proof in the scientific sense.
You need Christians like me. Your system needs us: Christians who believe in their God and the validity of their scriptures. You need us to volunteer in hospitals, visit the lonely and elderly, man soup kitchens and homeless shelters, help feed the hungry, share with the poor, giving sacrificially-so they might have shelter and clothing; give time, goods, and counsel in a thousand services to maintain and strengthen our society. You need us to raise our children with love and training so that they will be contributing to society after us. And in our belief system, we strive to do these things because we believe such actions please our God, our scriptures are full of directives and practical measures to show love and kindness to our fellow man, and how to live in a way that recognizes human dignity and worth. We believe we can sacrifice ourselves in this giving because we believe the reward from our God is sure and eternal. So, it is beneficial for you that we believe as we do and function as optimally as possible in carrying out these actions. The cudgels and pokers used to cow Christians and gut their faith works against this.
The difficulty is that your system cannot control us, your system that holds that all is made of time and chance. We keep insisting that our final allegience is to our God, and placing the requirements found in our scriptures above yours, and refusing to give creedance to your philosophies. We refuse to bow to Caesar, although we will obey him under our God. Thus, the cudgels and pokers.
The trouble with the system that holds ideas of the world and all its inhabitants being no more than chance combinations of molecules, that any or no idea of God is acceptable, that one persons ideas and actions are as good or as meaningful as anothers, (etc. ) is that while sounding equable, it gives no foundation to its adherents for a functioning society. A life of slacking is as good as a life of diligence-it is the individuals choice. A choice for abortion is equal to a choice of giving birth; a choice of philanthropically giving is equal to keeping ones wealth to oneself; an act of kindness no better than an act of cruelty. Of course, not all those adhering to this foundation live this way, many, many are giving and kind and selfless- but there is nothing in their system to warrant it. Why is it good to be kind? It just is…it is because I feel it is. Why is it good to help the impoverished and displaced? Or any other good work? Because they are humans.
Now, we enter another problem with this system of thought. What differentiates the humaness? How are these sets of molecules any more meaningful or important than any other set of molecules in the universe? Why should human life have any more meaning than a snake, or a tree, or the soil? All being interchangeable it will all come out in the wash……….won’t it? As long as people adhere to concepts of human worth, kindness, generosity, all the concepts we consider worthy, then society functions and holds together. As soon as groups of people decide, more and more, that there is just as much to gain and nothing to lose by destroying life or neglecting needs or obligations involving others, then some real problems arise. We are seeing this already, why are teen mothers leaving their babies to die in trash cans? Morally is it a difference to have an abortion rather than kill your baby with neglect or action at the birth? Why do students feel they can harm or kill a teacher? Or another student causing them mental pain? On what, O TIME/CHANCE adherents do you base your arguments? To what may you appeal? What if these persons JUST DO NOT CARE? So you bring out your authoritarianism, because in the end that is all you will have left. It is so because I say it is so, and I have all the guns.
So in the end, you are left with individuals desperate to find meaning and worth for their lives. Agonizingly desperate. I think this is one reason so many are looking into nature religions, they are hoping for some sense and peace and meaning; but they are still functioning in this system, and all they have is a palliative, an anaesthetic to ease their mind and give them direction…even though they cannot say it is anything more than an illusion -based on their system. Now, if you will stay with me I would like to quote one of your own and speak to you of some of the issues facing us, especially women.
Where Are We Going?
In a book I am reading , a published author,an eminent biologist and an athiest, Francis Crick is quoted and commented upon. I would like to quote here and add some of my own observations. The book I am reading is ‘Back to Freedom and Dignity’ by Francis Schaeffer and he quotes Francis Crick:
“I think one has to say that scientifically, astrology really is complete nonsense. I have tried very hard to think of a way it could make some sense and it’s too much. I wonder whether people who think that way should be at university.”
At this point, Schaeffer takes issue with the idea that one should be shunned from a university based on their beliefs. This is pertinent as an indicator of the arbitrary manner of judgement that is often applied to people in lieu of real standards.
[Crick,again quoted:] “Nonetheless, you must realize that much of the political thinking of this country (the USA) is very difficult to justify biologically. It was valid to say, in the period of the American Revolution, when people were oppressed by priests and kings, that all men were created equal. But it doesn’t have biological validity. It may have some mystical validity in a religious context, but when you ask what you mean by all people being created equal, it is not the same as saying that they should all have equal opportunity. It’s not only biologically not true, it’s also biologically undesirable. If you had a population in which everybody was the same, any biologist would say that it was a very bad situation, that it was too homogenous. You must have variety in biological situations. Yet, this is not the sort of thing that is regarded as particularly tactful to say. But sooner or later people have got to be saying these things. We all know, I think, or are beginning to realize, that the future is in our hands, that we can, to some extent, do what we want.
Now, what is happening at the moment? What is happening is that we know that with technology we can make life easier for human beings; we can make changes. What we are really doing is learning to tinker with the system. But there is very little thinking at the fundamental level as to what sort of people we would like to have. In the long term, that is the question you are bound to come up with.”
…..”It’s the aim of medical research to try to cure as many diseases as possible, in particular cancer and heart conditions. Those are probably the major killers. But what is going to happen under that situation? What is going to happen is that you can easily work out the age distribution, under a stable population, from the death rate. It means that gradually the population is going to become very old. What medical research is aiming for is to make the world safe for senility.”
….”We’ve just seen that the discussion as to how many people there should be in the world has now, as it were, become quite acceptable. It is not acceptable, at the moment, to discuss who should be the parents of the next generation, who should be born, who is to have children. There’s a general feeling that if we are all nice to each other and if everybody has 2.3 children, everything will pan out . I don’t think that is true. For good genetic reasons,even though you have more medical care, transplantation of organs, and all these things, it would be an unhealthy biological situation. Some group of people should decide some people have more children and some should have fewer….You have to decide who is to be born. Biology is indeed a revolutionary subject when you look at it this way. It is, in fact, the major revolutionary subject. It is the one that is going to make the new concepts which will come into social thinking. Biology is not simply, as it were, what you think you can do with herds of cattle. There are much more intricate things involving people at the psycological level interacting in society, but I don’t think you’re going to solve all these problems by just tinkering with the genetic material. I think it will turn out that thinking along these lines will have to take place, and if you don’t do it in this country, it will start in another country.” [unquote]
This quote was taken from a lecture given sometime past, but the thoughts are not essentially different from any we might hear in a university or the media today. these thoughts raise many issues, but I would like to focus on the last paragraph, because of its pertinence to women. If such thinking is inherent in the general system of thinking (and I can find no reason why it couldn’t be) then what do women, by virtue of their biological make-up become? We become the breeders, or even worse -useless and defective for breeding . It becomes the sum of our existance, and now dear feminists, where is any idea of self-actualization at all? If a woman is considered valuable genetic material, where are her dreams of deciding for herself whether to have children, or to spend her life in other pursuits? Or the woman who desires children, but is considered a social liability genetically? In China we see how a society deals with pregnant women who are deemed as not contributing to the good of society as a whole. Forced abortions. Forced sterilizations are not unkown in modern history, either.
In the light of these things, I have no qualms, no hesitations, no apologies for my belief in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, or the idea that the writing of the Bible could not only contain truth, but The Truth, and the very words of God. And in the light of believing these things I will recognize the right of man, individually or corporately, to accept or reject these things, but to his own hurt. I will have to trust God to not allow the hurt to end in destruction, a trust no different than I hold today.
Now, for the question of which system of thought is right (accurate,true) or provable. I hold that you can neither prove your system unequivocally, and that I cannot prove mine. What I submit here is that my system produces results that TEND towards the benefit of mankind. As a “system” its weakness has always been that its adherents fail in applying its truths. But I have also submitted to you that the weakness of your system is that more proponents will succeed in carrying out its implementation. We may all come to a worse case, and that is that both systems discarded out of hand will lead to a system that will make the Nazi and Stalinist regimes look like child’s play. And the Bible has some things to say about that,as well.
Of course, this begs the question: is Christianity merely a system? And, outmoded at that? If not,why not? As the thoughts continue….. ?