Donny's Ramblings

To Carrie, Regarding Atheism

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FYI: this 5,080 word article is what I promised to write in regards to Carrie’s post, Finding Atheism. In it you may find parts that offend you, but I kindly ask that you please DO NOT respond without reading the entire post.

Carrie,

I used to hate being told I was wrong. That’s not the case anymore. I contemplate what people say and am very open to change. More and more I realize how clueless I really am, and how clueless even the “experts” are. Some realize that. Many do not. So, please, take this for what it is: my thoughts for TODAY… thoughts which may change as early as tomorrow. And if they DO change tomorrow I WON’T apologize for that. I’m at peace with change.

And I’m also at peace with “faith”. All of us have faith. We’re (eventually) addressing Atheism with this blog post, and I’m going to state something very obvious: I’m not a scientist and neither are you (right?). But I don’t think it would be incorrect to say that you choose to believe (have faith in) the things [you are told] scientists have said in regards to naturalism, evolution… even oxygen. I think it’s safe to say that neither of us have conducted our own scientific research on a level that could possibly result in concrete evidence to prove anything at all. For example: I take scientists’ word on the percentages of gases that make up the air we breath, our atmospheric gases. I’ve never tested that for myself (and furthermore wouldn’t know where to start). But I have no problem believing nitrogen makes up approximately 78% of the air we breath while oxygen makes up 21% with other gases making up the remainder. I have faith that whatever scientists reaching this conclusion did so in a reliable fashion.

But I’m also aware that scientists make mistakes. Throughout my life I’ve heard story after story of new scientific theories disproving old scientific theories. As I get older and gain experience I’ve also become a bit more skeptical on, well, nearly everything. I wonder how often “studies” have reached conclusions based on pure scientific process rather than the need for the next infusion of cash in the form of grant money. Richard Dawkins will tell you that our modern understanding of evolution (don’t you just love how he says that word? Very cool!) only bears a minor resemblance to the thoughts of Charles Darwin. The point? Many people put their “faith” in our scientists despite the fact that science is constantly changing, with new “proof” regularly disproving old theories.

Unfortunately, religion doesn’t appear to be so flexible. It’s as if some of us (the creation) seem to think we have the Creator all figured out. Despite human failings, I have faith in God. I just don’t assume I know very many details about Him (pardon my reference to a particular gender – it’s a habit).
From the blog post I’m responding to, it appears to me that you currently have faith in the writings of Richard Dawkins, trusting that he and those who agree with him have some sort of authority on the topics about which they’ve written. And that, dear Carrie, is okay with me. I’ll listen to (read) your opinions, and trust you’ll listen to mine as well.

So in starting this post: first of all I’d really like to thank you for the post you wrote that inspired this post of my own. I have so much to say on this topic and have been going back and forth since May 7th, the day you published your post, on how to do it. I’ve literally been typing notes in google docs since that day. The challenge will be keeping this post shorter than the average novel. 😦 I’ll probably have to add more thoughts via comments on this post, so I hope you check back on it from time to time.

Posting this letter on my blog, where it can be read by anyone who wishes to read it, may end up financially costing me. Potentially quite a bit, actually. Some of the things I’m about to write might anger some religious leaders. I’ve had private discussions about certain issues that will come up in this post, with Pastors, and have been warned that publicly voicing this would likely result in fewer speaking engagements (I’m paid to speak at churches and universities across the country) and jeopardize publication of the book I’m writing.

But I’m okay with that.

In my head I keep hearing the words of my dad… At the end of September 2006, when I called to tell him that I’d surrendered my life to God, one of the first things he said was, “Just be true to yourself.” For a former Pastor to say that seemed a little odd at first, but as time goes on I have begun to understand how deep that sentence really was, and I just would NOT be living up to “being true to myself” if I didn’t voice my thoughts.

I guess I’ll start with some doubts I’ve had regarding Christianity. Yes, yes, I know… your post is about atheism, so why go into Christianity or the Bible? Don’t worry, I’ll come back around to atheism eventually, but I feel it’s an important part of what I am trying to say to first delve into Christianity and the Bible for a bit.

It’s my fear, however, that those who begin reading might become discouraged by the length of this article, annoyed when I speak of my own strong doubts, and choose not to follow through to the end where I come to the best “conclusion” I can personally reach, in which I share why I very strongly believe there is a God after going through years of struggle.

If you’ve read my story you may already have a clue as to how much I used to hate Christians. If not, I’ll briefly summarize my bio:
I was raised a Pastor’s son, witnessed quite a bit of hypocrisy in dad’s churches, grew very bitter with the whole “Christianity” thing, and did some relatively cruel things on a regular basis in an effort to vent those frustrations. I not only hated Christians and thought Christianity was BS, I also looked for opportunities to “repay” Christians for the lies I’d believed growing up.

Coming from that perspective, I understand why you won’t respond to quotes from the Bible. That type of thing used to irritate the crap out of me, too. I hated (and still do) when people would try to prove the Bible by quoting scripture. In my opinion, that was similar to ME writing a book about myself in which I claimed to be God and when asked for proof of my statements I refer to my book with an “enough said” attitude. Such a stance makes no logical sense whatsoever and is a perfect example of circular reasoning.

What was especially frustrating is when I’d try to have a logical discussion with a Christian, and that Christian just could NOT get the fact that I didn’t view the Bible with the same level of respect they did. For them, the “circular reasoning” argument just did NOT sink in. “But it’s the Bible! It’s God’s word! etc etc etc”. Many simply couldn’t understand that I did NOT believe it was God’s Word (in fact, to this day I still have huge doubts on whether or not the Bible is “God’s Word”, but we’ll get to those in a minute).

My heart began softening when I met a group of people who came into the porn conventions, setting up their booth alongside our porn booths. XXXChurch wasn’t like those judgmental hypocrites constantly standing outside the building holding signs and screaming at us about the quick trip to hell we’d receive upon our deaths. These people were inside telling us there was nothing any of us could ever do to make God love us any less, and that he simply wanted more for our lives. Over the years I viciously attacked this group, yet they continued to respond with love. I started thinking differently and came to a revelation. To others, this might not be a big thing, but to me it was HUGE:

I discovered my real problem was not with God, but with those who claimed to represent Him.

There was no way I wanted to embrace any sort of Christianity, but the wheels had begun spinning in my mind. I decided that I’d start doing a small bit of spiritual exploring. I decided to give God a shot again. Sometimes I had strong doubts about whether or not God existed, but I prayed anyway. I had email conversations with a few Rabbis. Those Rabbis opened my mind a little more, and I began to realize that even the things I was taught about the Bible itself were often in conflict with Jewish perspective on scripture. I’m not just talking about the whole “Jesus” thing either. I’m talking about interpretation of events written about in the Old Testament. Since the Old Testament was written by Jews, how much audacity does it take for someone to tell them they misunderstand their own sacred writings?

The Jewish perspective on scripture made much more sense to me. I ordered a few thousand dollars worth of books. I discovered Jewish Mysticism. I read up on Kabbalah. These new perspectives were fascinating, even if I wasn’t ready to believe any of them. I love learning, there are few things I enjoy more, and I really felt a change inside as I learned a new perspective on “truths” I’d been taught all my life.

My love for learning is why I also listen to Richard Dawkins speak. Quite often, actually. I love finding videos of him on YouTube. There are dozens and dozens of them. Even though I disagree with Dr. Dawkins’ conclusion that God does not exist, I really enjoy his style. He is so well spoken. He is so academic. He is so passionate. He brings a smile to my face in many ways.

But I often wonder if even Richard Dawkins’ true problem is with the existence of God, or if it’s simply with Christians/other religious people. Like you and I, Richard Dawkins has a background in Christianity (in one of the videos I’ve watched he discussed his mother taking him to Christian churches). While MY frustrations greatly influenced my decision to destroy lives producing porn, I wonder if it’s possible Richard faced some of the same frustrations we’ve experienced, which resulted in following the paths that led him to the “atheist” conclusion. I’ve seen Richard Dawkins on more than one occasion mention the possibility that advanced alien beings may have seeded our planet. This doesn’t sound like a man who really rejects creationism, per se. Instead, it sounds like a man who rejects the “Creator” as religious people champion Him.

But I’ll get back to that later. I’d first like to voice more of those doubts about Christianity that I mentioned before.

CHRISTIANITY AND MY OWN DOUBTS

Some of them have been resolved. For example: I’ve received a satisfactory answer as to why a loving God would allow innocent people to experience hardship or death (free will explains that one – free will is very deep and very powerful). I’ve also reached a resolution within myself on all the violence that took place in the Old Testament. Doubts such as those now make sense to me and are no longer an issue.

But I’m still working on other doubts. Let’s start with authorship of the New Testament and the books ultimately chosen to make up the Christian Bible.

I enrolled in a Seminary program this past October. When I finish this program, I’ll receive my degree from Hope International University. The first assigned course of my education was Church History. Rather than settling for reading the two textbooks the class required I dug deeper, finding information I’ve never previously heard anyone address.

Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel written (Mark is widely believed to be Peter’s interpreter while Peter was imprisoned in Rome). Most believe this FIRST book of the New Testament was written, at the earliest, after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. A big red flag goes up inside my head when I think about the fact that the FIRST Gospel was written 40 YEARS AFTER Jesus’ crucifixion. I wonder how the author was able to quote word-for-word conversations after so much time had elapsed. Heck, I can’t remember word for word the conversations I had earlier TODAY.

Of course, there’s always the cliché “God authored the books and used men to pen them” answer, but that response just doesn’t satisfy me, particularly so when considering a bit of information I’ll soon share with you.

The Gospel of John is believed to have been written in 90-100AD, and many Christians believe John actually wrote it. That blows my mind. John walked with Jesus, after all. How old was he when he did so? 20? 25? Add another 60-70 years to that, and then research average life expectancy for that time period, and it seems to me that John would either be very dead or else he was a very, very, very, very, very old man for his time. He must have had a remarkable mind if he could recount the words of Jesus word-for-word after all that time.

I am also a bit peeved when I hear people make an Idol of the Bible, equating it to God and claiming it is infallible. Unless “infallible” means something other than what MY dictionary tells me it means (“incapable of error”) the Bible is NOT infallible, because the Bible most of us hold in our hands DOES contain errors. Here’s one of them:

Remember the story of the woman caught in adultery? Remember the famous “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” quote? Well, that story probably never happened. Those readers who don’t believe me may want to check this out: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/aprilweb-only/117-31.0.html (or simply search google for the background on this).

There are several other small errors as well, but I’ll not go into them. Plenty of books exist that discuss such things, and basic google searches for errors in the Bible will provide a wealth of starting points for those looking to research them. Instead of discussing errors, I’ll move right along to the decisions on what books are included in our New Testament.

Have you ever wondered who decided which writings to incorporate into the Bible, and which to leave out? And why/how such decisions were made? I surely did! After all, there are literally LIBRARIES of “gospels” and “apocrypha” written during the first centuries following Jesus’ crucifixion. And while many religious organizations might want you to believe the Bible was put together by God in a very orderly, easy process, this simply isn’t true. Groups of Christians disagreed with each other right from the start, beginning with the Disciples/Apostles themselves.

There is strong evidence, for example, that Jesus’ own disciples, especially John and Thomas, were at odds with each other. There exists a “Gospel of Thomas” that predates the Gospel of John. Where the Gospel of John taught that we should believe in Jesus alone, the writings attributed to Thomas say Jesus taught us to know that we could seek to know God through our own divinely given capacity since we’re all created in the image of God. Just as there were many people who think the Gospel of Thomas is heretical, there were just as many (in those early days) who thought the same of the Gospel of John. I could go on and on about how differently our faith would look if we carefully considered all the gospels most of us don’t even know exist. Maybe some other time.

The Gospel of John also contradicts the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke on a handful of issues (such as the timing of when Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple – Matthew, Mark and Luke make it his LAST public act, while John makes it His FIRST). While I don’t want to go into all of them due to the fact that this article is already so long many people might refuse to read it, I’ll mention one of them I personally found interesting:

In Matthew, Mark and Luke it is said that Jesus appeared to the ELEVEN remaining disciples after his resurrection (one was dead: Judas), while in the Gospel of John it says he appeared to TEN (in John, Thomas was not there). The Gospel of John is also the only place you’ll see Thomas referred to as a doubter. There has been quite a bit of discussion (particularly amongst those educated in Ivy League departments of religion, as several Professors of Religion from those schools have written books on the “lost gospels”) that this is further evidence of a dispute between Thomas and John.

Disputes were very common amongst early believers. Opinions were split nearly 50/50 when it came to what was “true” and what was not true. It wasn’t until after the Nicene Council in 325 AD that we actually even had a “Bible” as we know it today. From the books I’ve read on the matter (several of them), that decision was very politically motivated. 1800 “Bishops” were invited to attend that Council, but fewer than 320 showed up. And those 320 decided what would be included in our Bibles and what would not. Many of the gospels they decided not to include were declared heretical and ordered to be destroyed (some of the writings ordered destroyed were instead buried and preserved, although there is no doubt the ordered destruction was successful in many ways and we’ll never read some very important thoughts of early Christians).

Emperor Constantine even gave political incentives that included land grants and financial gain to those who went along with the Council’s decisions. Some of those who did not agree were physically abused, had property taken and some even lost their lives. Over time we’ve been encouraged to believe this was all inspired by God and that things are as they were meant to be, but I often find myself questioning that line of thinking.

If one reads a broader account of literature that was written within those first centuries after Jesus’ crucifixion it’s impossible not to realize that even early Christians could not agree on what Jesus himself actually said. I’ve been reading on this topic since this past October, and many of the “heretical” writings paint a TOTALLY different picture than what is currently taught in churches.

DESPITE ALL OF THIS one thing IS certain: there is a TON of evidence, both inside and outside the writings of Christians, that indicated Jesus walked the earth. Even non-believers that lived while Jesus was here have written not only that he existed but that He is said to have performed miracles. And because of the evidence based on the writings of both Christians and non-Christians, I firmly believe in Him. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share with you the literature I’ve read that has helped me reach this conclusion.

(As for my personal belief in regards to Jesus: I firmly believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that He paid the price for all of mankind – past, present and future).

NOW I FINALLY ADDRESS ATHEISM

DESPITE all that I just wrote I want to point out to you that even if you feel the Bible is totally wrong about Jesus, about God’s “rules”, about how we should connect with Him, what we should or should not do with our lives, or anything else within its pages for that matter, that does NOT mean God does not exist. Personally, I don’t think humans are capable of comprehending God. I very briefly mentioned this earlier, but I want to reiterate it now, and I hope you take a moment to let this thought sink in:

It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.

For God to have created everything we know, God would have to be way beyond our human understanding, and not bound by time or the dimensions we’re aware of (I’ve been told scientists have found evidence of at least 10 dimensions – yet most of us can only comprehend 3 of those).

In nearly every culture throughout history, there is some sort of belief in a “higher power”. And there are numerous belief systems to define the “rules” in regards to that higher power. Different names are used. Different stories are told. But human beings worldwide and throughout history believe in a “god” figure of some sort. Some may dismiss this as superstitious, and while there are many arguments to be made in regards to “superstition”, I am convinced humans know God exists on a subconscious level. We yearn to encounter God. We want to know God on a “personal” level. We want to “connect” with God. Humanity has tried to accomplish this in many different ways.

Why? Your answer to that question and mine may not be in agreement, but it’s a great question to ponder. I believe this is evidence that the knowledge of something bigger than ourselves is built into us by our Creator.

I also look at the world around me and see evidence of a Creator everywhere. Let’s simply consider SOME of the ingredients it takes to enable life to exist on planet earth (thank you, Rob Bell, for your “Everything is Spiritual” tour and the research behind it):

  • Our sun provides more than 99% of the energy earth needs to sustain life. Over the course of an 11 year sun cycle that energy output varies less than 1/10th of 1 percent, all of this at a distance of 93 million miles. If we were a million miles closer or further away there would be no life on planet earth.

  • The earth tilts on its axis at 23.5 degrees. Why? If it didn’t do so, earth would become tidally locked, meaning one side of the earth would constantly face the sun, which would make one side too hot to sustain life and the other side too cold to sustain life. Our MOON allows this to happen. Without the moon being where it is at, providing that gravitational pull to counteract the gravitational pull of the sun, earth would not have the exact, precise tilt required to sustain life. No moon = no life. If the moon was bigger or smaller: no life.

  • Hydrogen on earth must CONTINUALLY convert one-seven-thousandths (.007) of its mass to helium for the earth to sustain human life. .008 = no life on planet earth. .006 = no life on planet earth.

  • Our atmosphere is 21% oxygen. If it was 23% there would be no life. If it was 19% there would be no life.

  • Our oceans are 3.4% salt (which also happens to be the exact same percentage as our bodies). 4% salt in the oceans (or our bloodstream) = no life. 2% salt in the oceans (or our bloodstream) = no life.


There are HUNDREDS of these unbelievably precise “dials” that must be fine tuned, that must totally work together, in order to make life on earth possible.
Carbon levels… gravitational force… the density of particular minerals and elements… Hundreds, dear Carrie. HUNDREDS. Our world is SO complex! And life on earth is such a fragile thing. If EVEN ONE of these “dials” was out of tune, life would not be able to exist. Perfect, precision tuning is required.

I dunno about you, but I get the feeling life on planet earth is the result of perfect, precision DESIGN.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO EVOLUTION…

I believe in evolution, let’s get that out right away. Woah! How can that be, if I also believe in God? I get really sick of hearing people argue “science vs religion” as if it’s an “us vs them” situation. IT IS NOT. It’s my opinion that scientific discovery uncovers HOW God created everything. If the two are ever at odds it’s simply because one side is being stubborn and not paying attention. ALL truth is God’s truth. In many ways, the church in particular needs to learn that.

I find it very ignorant when I hear Christians argue a young, 6,000 to10,000 year old earth. What a bunch of crap! The Bible NEVER says the earth is that young. ANYWHERE. My ex-wife wants to put my son into a Christian private school. She’s been researching a few of them. Since I’ll be the one paying tuition (and since I’m his father) I have a big say-so in where he’s enrolled. I call the schools she is interested in and ask what they teach children on evolution or the “young earth” theory. If they teach the earth as being 6,000 to 10,000 years old they are OUT. I do not and will not approve of my son being taught such ignorant trash. Being a Christian does NOT mean I have to be ignorant. Many of the most brilliant minds throughout history were Christians, and some of them gave their lives because they chose to THINK.

But how can I believe in evolution and still be a Christian, you might ask? Well, let’s go back to Genesis and examine whether or not it REALLY says God created the earth in 6 literal days. In Genesis, the Hebrew word used for “day” comes from the word “yom”. Yom has three meanings: a twelve hour period, a twenty four hour period, or an INDEFINITE TIME (also known as an “age”). From other text in Genesis (and scientific evidence) it is quite clear that the “age” definition of yom is what is meant (for those interested in learning more about why I say that, the first website I found while searching google is this one – it does a pretty good job of explaining things).

Let’s compare the Bible’s account of creation to the theory of evolution, shall we?

In the Bible:

1. Everything starts with a “big bang”: nothing exists, then, **BANG**, God speaks it into existence.
2. God separates earth and water, land and sea.
3. Lower forms of life are formed (such as plants, etc).
4. More complex forms of life are formed (such as animals, etc).
5. Finally, man is formed.

Does this sound at ALL similar to evolution? I certainly think so. Evolutionists generally believe in a “big bang” to start everything. They believe lower forms of life eventually “evolving” to become more complex, eventually becoming animals, eventually resulting in mankind. Being that I believe the original word for “day” actually represents ages of time, I find the two explanations to be one and the same (the Genesis poem simply tells a very simple version). As more scientific discoveries are made, I think more people will reach the same conclusion.

But to believe random, unguided evolution resulted in all of life as we know it today is extremely ridiculous, in my opinion. I’ve heard some evolutionists state that if you sat a monkey down at a typewriter and gave him enough time (and he could live forever) he’d eventually type out the works of Shakespeare. This is sometimes used to illustrate the idea that given enough time, life could emerge on earth.

The problem with this is that the monkey would make a LOT of mistakes along the way. He’d type trillions of pages of paper full of gibberish. The garbage produced would be overwhelming.

Where is all the “garbage” on earth? Where is the evidence of nature’s mistakes? If evolution “just happened” without intelligent guidance the errors would exist in the fossil record and would, in fact, outnumber all living beings. Fossils of actual live organisms would be FAR outnumbered by these mistakes. There would be so much “garbage” we’d find it nearly everywhere we looked, don’t you think?

Read that last paragraph again, please.

Dear Carrie, I don’t think it’s possible nor logical to reach any other conclusion other than intelligent design as fact. I believe there is no other possibility. And, in my opinion, neither does Richard “aliens might have seeded life here” Dawkins.

Take a look at your own body. Study how it works. Take a walk along the beach or through the mountains and marvel at how amazing life really is. Contemplate the fact that our scientists can predict the exact distance our planet will be from the sun in X number of years. There is an order to existence, Carrie. Don’t you see it?

Where did that order come from?

Is it possible that Christians DON’T have God figured out? Is it possible that NO HUMAN BEING really comprehends the vastness of the Creator? I’ll stipulate that such arguments can be made, quite convincingly. But I do NOT think life and everything we know could exist without the Creator millions (billions?) of us refer to as “God”. And I don’t think you really believe that, either – not deep in your inner being, you don’t.

Please don’t take this next part wrong, ’cause I’m DEFINITELY not trying to insult you in any way, but as I read your blog post I saw this pattern (this is obviously very simplified):

When I was ___ and I knew ___ guy I believed ____.
Then when I was ___ and was dating ___ guy I believed ___ .
Then
___ did ___ to me and I no longer could believe ___.
Then I read Richard Dawkins’ book and I now have embraced atheism.

Do you see a pattern there? What makes Dawkins any more special than those other people in your life who influenced your belief system? He’s just another human taking a guess, gaining fame and wealth from the positions he voices (although I will reiterate the fact that he’s quite enjoyable to watch/read).

Are there unanswered questions with the “intelligent design” theory? Of course there are. Just as there are many questions atheist scientists cannot answer. But I’d like to propose to you that if you personally pondered the world around you, making an attempt to tune out the negative experiences that made you feel guilty or worthless, that if you tuned out the rules and regulations people told you that you must follow in order to have “everlasting life”, that if you ENTIRELY removed PEOPLE and their opinions from the equation and simply focused on the wonder and complexity of life… THEN, dear Carrie, no matter what label you ultimately chose to use, I doubt you’d reach any other conclusion than that there is indeed a Creator. Nothing else makes logical sense.

Should you be interested, I’d be happy to recommend some of the books and videos that I’ve been studying. I may, in fact, make lists of some of them as comments to this post.

270 thoughts on “To Carrie, Regarding Atheism

  1. First of all, I don’t see anything “heretical” about this post, and I’m so glad the fear of being labeled as such didn’t keep you from publishing this. My PERSONAL belief is that God would rather us question everything and come to fully believe in Him as we acquire knowledge about the world and ideas around us–even those that negate His existence–rather than BLINDLY follow beliefs that have been taught to us by other people–our parents, pastors, or church leaders–who are just as infallible as we are. Of course the experts are invaluable as guides, but we are each responsible for our own understanding. If we don’t question what we hear and read, then we fail to think critically. And it can be a very dangerous thing to believe everything we hear and read just because it’s said or written. I think anyone would agree with that.

    So, thanks for posting this! I’m in awe. I am definitely interested in your book title recommendations. Also, what were the titles of the texts you mentioned reading in your class?

    Let’s go! Bring on the questions, bring on the knowledge, bring on the enlightenment. We’re each ultimately responsible for our own search.

  2. First of all, I don’t see anything “heretical” about this post, and I’m so glad the fear of being labeled as such didn’t keep you from publishing this. My PERSONAL belief is that God would rather us question everything and come to fully believe in Him as we acquire knowledge about the world and ideas around us–even those that negate His existence–rather than BLINDLY follow beliefs that have been taught to us by other people–our parents, pastors, or church leaders–who are just as infallible as we are. Of course the experts are invaluable as guides, but we are each responsible for our own understanding. If we don’t question what we hear and read, then we fail to think critically. And it can be a very dangerous thing to believe everything we hear and read just because it’s said or written. I think anyone would agree with that.

    So, thanks for posting this! I’m in awe. I am definitely interested in your book title recommendations. Also, what were the titles of the texts you mentioned reading in your class?

    Let’s go! Bring on the questions, bring on the knowledge, bring on the enlightenment. We’re each ultimately responsible for our own search.

  3. Earth is a very cruel place. What happens to all the evolutionary garbage? Where are all the fossils for that evolutionary garbage? Well…they got eaten!

    Enjoyed both your article and Carrie’s…

    Randy

  4. Earth is a very cruel place. What happens to all the evolutionary garbage? Where are all the fossils for that evolutionary garbage? Well…they got eaten!

    Enjoyed both your article and Carrie’s…

    Randy

  5. oops. on my comment above, i meant other people are just as “fallible” as us, not just as “infallible”.
    thanks 😉

  6. oops. on my comment above, i meant other people are just as “fallible” as us, not just as “infallible”.
    thanks 😉

  7. Interesting read. One question that I’m left with about your diversions from “the norm”: you say that for God to have created everything, “God would have to be way beyond our human understanding, and not bound by time or the dimensions we’re aware of.” But then you dismiss the inerrency of the Bible and the possibility of a young earth based on your opinion (based on research). Your opinion and the research are still bound to the human level of understanding, so how could that answer to the things which God may have or has done?

    In an effort of full disclosure, I do believe in the inerrency of the Bible and while I’m not sure about the young earth concept, I do believe that God made the universe in six actual days and that when he was done with creation, the world was “mature” at that point. And maybe the question could be reversed back to me, but I wanted to ask it of you first.

  8. Interesting read. One question that I’m left with about your diversions from “the norm”: you say that for God to have created everything, “God would have to be way beyond our human understanding, and not bound by time or the dimensions we’re aware of.” But then you dismiss the inerrency of the Bible and the possibility of a young earth based on your opinion (based on research). Your opinion and the research are still bound to the human level of understanding, so how could that answer to the things which God may have or has done?

    In an effort of full disclosure, I do believe in the inerrency of the Bible and while I’m not sure about the young earth concept, I do believe that God made the universe in six actual days and that when he was done with creation, the world was “mature” at that point. And maybe the question could be reversed back to me, but I wanted to ask it of you first.

  9. And to add to the disclosure, while I do find it extremely curious to consider the Bible inerrent, I don’t think that creation vs. evolution is a significant issue salvation-wise.

  10. And to add to the disclosure, while I do find it extremely curious to consider the Bible inerrent, I don’t think that creation vs. evolution is a significant issue salvation-wise.

  11. And I just realized how patronizing, condescending and generally toolish some of that came off. Sorry for that…it wasn’t the intention.

  12. And I just realized how patronizing, condescending and generally toolish some of that came off. Sorry for that…it wasn’t the intention.

  13. Time to comment again, Donny.Thanks so much for “braining” your way through Carrie’s comments and taking all the time and energy to respond.  I think you did a very loving, terrific job in presenting your beliefs.  It’s wonderful you have been given the talents and gifts to explain yourself so well.  I’d like to say an “Amen” to Jeff’s comments; also I’m glad you’re open to “change” at any time of your opinions and conclusions.  Caveat:  allowing the “truth” to be from the Truth Giver!It’s quite difficult to respond to a post on “atheism” when I’m so totally consumed with the Person of God and His influence in/on my own life! 

  14. Donny first let me say thanks. Long time listener, first time caller. I’ve been following your blog for about the last year and it’s been fascinating to watch the changes in your life. I’ve been a youth pastor for the past 6 years in San Diego (I think that makes me like 1/2 a pastor) and I just graduated from SDSU with my BA in history.
    There is a lot in this post that I think is honest and that I appreciate your open mindedness in studying. I have a bunch of questions but I’ll just ask one…You wrote that most people believe that the earliest documents of the new testament were written after 70 AD. I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the dating of the new testament and much of it is to defend doctrinal positions; but for several reasons it seems more likely to date most of the new testament to before 70 AD. The least of which is that the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem is not mentioned, that would have been a HUGE deal to the early church most of whom were Jews. Just curious to get any more thoughts you might have about dating the new testament.

  15. Time to comment again, Donny.Thanks so much for “braining” your way through Carrie’s comments and taking all the time and energy to respond.  I think you did a very loving, terrific job in presenting your beliefs.  It’s wonderful you have been given the talents and gifts to explain yourself so well.  I’d like to say an “Amen” to Jeff’s comments; also I’m glad you’re open to “change” at any time of your opinions and conclusions.  Caveat:  allowing the “truth” to be from the Truth Giver!It’s quite difficult to respond to a post on “atheism” when I’m so totally consumed with the Person of God and His influence in/on my own life! 

  16. Donny first let me say thanks. Long time listener, first time caller. I’ve been following your blog for about the last year and it’s been fascinating to watch the changes in your life. I’ve been a youth pastor for the past 6 years in San Diego (I think that makes me like 1/2 a pastor) and I just graduated from SDSU with my BA in history.
    There is a lot in this post that I think is honest and that I appreciate your open mindedness in studying. I have a bunch of questions but I’ll just ask one…You wrote that most people believe that the earliest documents of the new testament were written after 70 AD. I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the dating of the new testament and much of it is to defend doctrinal positions; but for several reasons it seems more likely to date most of the new testament to before 70 AD. The least of which is that the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem is not mentioned, that would have been a HUGE deal to the early church most of whom were Jews. Just curious to get any more thoughts you might have about dating the new testament.

  17. MVM,

    I’ve never run across any books or articles that have mentioned the first gospels being written any time BEFORE 70 AD. I’ve read several books for my church history class, and all of them agree on dating. That doesn’t mean you won’t find others who disagree, because you will. No two humans will ever completely agree on anything. I’d recommend choosing an accredited University, finding out what texts they use for their Church History classes, and reading the dating they list.

    But buying a book isn’t necessary – a simple google search will show reference after reference after reference to the time frame. Simply type in something like:

    When were the books of the New Testament Written?

    This search produces results such as these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke

    Etc, etc, etc.

    There are hints that the writers of the Gospels did indeed know about the destruction of the temple but I’ll leave that for another time (perhaps).

  18. MVM,

    I’ve never run across any books or articles that have mentioned the first gospels being written any time BEFORE 70 AD. I’ve read several books for my church history class, and all of them agree on dating. That doesn’t mean you won’t find others who disagree, because you will. No two humans will ever completely agree on anything. I’d recommend choosing an accredited University, finding out what texts they use for their Church History classes, and reading the dating they list.

    But buying a book isn’t necessary – a simple google search will show reference after reference after reference to the time frame. Simply type in something like:

    When were the books of the New Testament Written?

    This search produces results such as these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Luke

    Etc, etc, etc.

    There are hints that the writers of the Gospels did indeed know about the destruction of the temple but I’ll leave that for another time (perhaps).

  19. Jeff,

    As for the six literal days:

    Please read the link I gave for that. Depending on which definition one uses of the root word, not even the Bible itself makes the claim of a 6 literal day creation.

    As a matter of fact, if you take Genesis chapter 1 literally, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for days, as we know them, to have existed until “day” 4, as that is when Genesis says this:

    And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years…

    The “AGES” definition of “yom” is clearly what is meant. And to a God for which time means nothing, “AGES” could have been BILLIONS of years as we understand them.

  20. Jeff,

    As for the six literal days:

    Please read the link I gave for that. Depending on which definition one uses of the root word, not even the Bible itself makes the claim of a 6 literal day creation.

    As a matter of fact, if you take Genesis chapter 1 literally, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for days, as we know them, to have existed until “day” 4, as that is when Genesis says this:

    And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years…

    The “AGES” definition of “yom” is clearly what is meant. And to a God for which time means nothing, “AGES” could have been BILLIONS of years as we understand them.

  21. Hi Donny,
    I submit the following from my pastor’s website, http://www.light-work.com:

    There are several reasons why “day” in the creation account of Genesis should be understood as a literal 24 hour day.

    “Day” is here used with a number. It is true that “day” in a prophetic passage like Zech 12:3 refers to something other than a 24 hour day. But this figurative usage for “day” never occurs when a number modifies it.
    The phrase “evening and morning” seems irrelevant to anything other than a literal day. In Dan. 8:14 , “2,300 evenings and mornings” is even used as a synonym for “2,300 days.” If “days” are ages, how can we meaningfully attach the terms “morning” and “evening” to segments of such days?

    In Genesis 20:11 & 31:17, God is doing the talking. He says that He created the world in “six days.” In every instance where day is used in the plural, it refers to 24 hour days. (There is one possible exception in Hosea 6:2 – but this may be attributed to the dynamics of Hebrew poetry.)

    ~~

    Here’s the link for the first blog on the subject (http://lightwork.typepad.com/lightwork/2008/02/a-tale-of-two-b.html) if you’re interested. But my intent wasn’t to get into us duking it out.

  22. Hi Donny,
    I submit the following from my pastor’s website, http://www.light-work.com:

    There are several reasons why “day” in the creation account of Genesis should be understood as a literal 24 hour day.

    “Day” is here used with a number. It is true that “day” in a prophetic passage like Zech 12:3 refers to something other than a 24 hour day. But this figurative usage for “day” never occurs when a number modifies it.
    The phrase “evening and morning” seems irrelevant to anything other than a literal day. In Dan. 8:14 , “2,300 evenings and mornings” is even used as a synonym for “2,300 days.” If “days” are ages, how can we meaningfully attach the terms “morning” and “evening” to segments of such days?

    In Genesis 20:11 & 31:17, God is doing the talking. He says that He created the world in “six days.” In every instance where day is used in the plural, it refers to 24 hour days. (There is one possible exception in Hosea 6:2 – but this may be attributed to the dynamics of Hebrew poetry.)

    ~~

    Here’s the link for the first blog on the subject (http://lightwork.typepad.com/lightwork/2008/02/a-tale-of-two-b.html) if you’re interested. But my intent wasn’t to get into us duking it out.

  23. Jeff,

    As I stated above, days (as we measure them today) could not exist until “day” four. If they had, why mention day 4 at all?

    That verse basically says: “On ‘day’ four, God created a way to measure time.”

    Since “yom” can mean 12 hours, 24 hours, or an indefinite age, and science shows us evidence of an enormous amount of time for the formation of life on earth, I’d say “age” is the only choice to use for definition.

    Science and religion do not conflict. If one truly believes God set everything into place one must also accept that the very ‘laws’ science discovers were set into place by God.

    I firmly believe earth is billions of years old, and formation of everything we know took place over those billions of years. Scientific method demonstrates this.

    If Christians would stop taking everything so literally and would realize that ALL truth is GOD’S truth, even if it comes in the form of scientific discovery, I think fewer people would be turned off to Christianity, dismissing it as a belief system for the ignorant.

    Another thought:
    The text from which our Bible came was not written in English. When studying it on a deeper level I feel like we not only need to translate the words to the best of our ability, but we must also take context into consideration. Even then, there is very much room for error. For example: I’ll sometimes read a novel written in English many years ago and have trouble figuring out what the author meant. Why? Because I don’t fully understand life as he/she knows it. I don’t understand the culture in which he/she lived, nor am I familiar with the slang used during his/her time on earth.

    Now throw in an entirely different language, culture, and MILLENNIUM and things get really crazy. We can only “do the best we can” to understand what, exactly, ancient texts really mean, but I seriously doubt any of us will ever fully comprehend what the author of said texts meant to say.

  24. Jeff,

    As I stated above, days (as we measure them today) could not exist until “day” four. If they had, why mention day 4 at all?

    That verse basically says: “On ‘day’ four, God created a way to measure time.”

    Since “yom” can mean 12 hours, 24 hours, or an indefinite age, and science shows us evidence of an enormous amount of time for the formation of life on earth, I’d say “age” is the only choice to use for definition.

    Science and religion do not conflict. If one truly believes God set everything into place one must also accept that the very ‘laws’ science discovers were set into place by God.

    I firmly believe earth is billions of years old, and formation of everything we know took place over those billions of years. Scientific method demonstrates this.

    If Christians would stop taking everything so literally and would realize that ALL truth is GOD’S truth, even if it comes in the form of scientific discovery, I think fewer people would be turned off to Christianity, dismissing it as a belief system for the ignorant.

    Another thought:
    The text from which our Bible came was not written in English. When studying it on a deeper level I feel like we not only need to translate the words to the best of our ability, but we must also take context into consideration. Even then, there is very much room for error. For example: I’ll sometimes read a novel written in English many years ago and have trouble figuring out what the author meant. Why? Because I don’t fully understand life as he/she knows it. I don’t understand the culture in which he/she lived, nor am I familiar with the slang used during his/her time on earth.

    Now throw in an entirely different language, culture, and MILLENNIUM and things get really crazy. We can only “do the best we can” to understand what, exactly, ancient texts really mean, but I seriously doubt any of us will ever fully comprehend what the author of said texts meant to say.

  25. If you knew my pastor, you’d understand how genuinely laughable the implication that he had not done due dilligence regarding language and context before writing his thoughts.

    With that, I’m done. I find it interesting that you’ll deal with an atheist more gently than someone you share a belief with. I’ll just keep my foolishness away from here…

  26. If you knew my pastor, you’d understand how genuinely laughable the implication that he had not done due dilligence regarding language and context before writing his thoughts.

    With that, I’m done. I find it interesting that you’ll deal with an atheist more gently than someone you share a belief with. I’ll just keep my foolishness away from here…

  27. I’m not dealing with you harshly. If that is the impression I’ve given it is definitely not what is intended.

    The problem is this: you could find just as many educated Pastors to take the exact opposite opinion as your pastor. This is true about MANY Biblical “truths” and is yet one more reason some people choose not to get involved with Christianity: nobody can agree on what the Bible means, yet so many base their lives on it.

    As I mentioned, not even Jesus’ own disciples could agree on what their master said to them, or what he meant.

    Since there is so much disagreement, I think it is ESSENTIAL that we also include science when discussing issues such as this one. If the Bible even leaves the door open to the POSSIBILITY of a “Biblical” basis for “ages” of time, and science says that evidence shows ages of time were required, then why must we even argue the matter? The Bible leaves that possibility open, science proves it to be the case. Issue settled, no?

  28. I’m not dealing with you harshly. If that is the impression I’ve given it is definitely not what is intended.

    The problem is this: you could find just as many educated Pastors to take the exact opposite opinion as your pastor. This is true about MANY Biblical “truths” and is yet one more reason some people choose not to get involved with Christianity: nobody can agree on what the Bible means, yet so many base their lives on it.

    As I mentioned, not even Jesus’ own disciples could agree on what their master said to them, or what he meant.

    Since there is so much disagreement, I think it is ESSENTIAL that we also include science when discussing issues such as this one. If the Bible even leaves the door open to the POSSIBILITY of a “Biblical” basis for “ages” of time, and science says that evidence shows ages of time were required, then why must we even argue the matter? The Bible leaves that possibility open, science proves it to be the case. Issue settled, no?

  29. I will read through all more thoroughly later, but if evolution is true, then there was death on earth before mankind sinned. How do you reconcile that with scripture? I’m not resolved on this myself, but that is a point that — to me — seems to deny the feasibility of millions of years of life and death before man.

  30. I will read through all more thoroughly later, but if evolution is true, then there was death on earth before mankind sinned. How do you reconcile that with scripture? I’m not resolved on this myself, but that is a point that — to me — seems to deny the feasibility of millions of years of life and death before man.

  31. Hey Donny

    I just want to say thanks for your honesty. I am still fence sitting on the whole issue of theistic evolution and I have not made up my mind yet.

    I think that God appreciates honesty and will honour you for posting such a blog.

    “I discovered my real problem was not with God, but with those who claimed to represent Him.”

    We are so good at misrepresenting him and is it any wander that people do not want to follow Christ??

    “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.”

    I agree with you 100%. A finite mind trying to comprehend an infinite God? Not going to happen. God will reveal things as and when he pleases and I believe there are things he will not reveal.

    Thanks again for your honesty.
    God Bless
    Dave

  32. Hey Donny

    I just want to say thanks for your honesty. I am still fence sitting on the whole issue of theistic evolution and I have not made up my mind yet.

    I think that God appreciates honesty and will honour you for posting such a blog.

    “I discovered my real problem was not with God, but with those who claimed to represent Him.”

    We are so good at misrepresenting him and is it any wander that people do not want to follow Christ??

    “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.”

    I agree with you 100%. A finite mind trying to comprehend an infinite God? Not going to happen. God will reveal things as and when he pleases and I believe there are things he will not reveal.

    Thanks again for your honesty.
    God Bless
    Dave

  33. Hey Donny,
    Sorry…to borrow a poker term, I was steaming a little. It’s times like this I wish you and I were across from each other instead of online because I AGREE with you that it shouldn’t be “Science vs. Religion” in this case. I don’t dispute observations made by science. Where I diverge is where those observations lead to the conclusions that are made.
    One issue is the assumption that you can look at the creation and the maintenance of the planet and make any conclusions on creations. Look at a watch…you can watch the time tick by, watch it working, but you can’t tell how it was created just by watching how it works. Your websites, I can look at the content going up and watch it being run, but that tells me nothing about the creation of it. So you look at Genesis 2:1, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts,” and it says that creation was completed and that it went into maintenance mode. If evolution were, would there ever be an end? Would it ever be completed? Yet there is a definitive line drawn between the creation and the working of “The Creation.”

  34. Hey Donny,
    Sorry…to borrow a poker term, I was steaming a little. It’s times like this I wish you and I were across from each other instead of online because I AGREE with you that it shouldn’t be “Science vs. Religion” in this case. I don’t dispute observations made by science. Where I diverge is where those observations lead to the conclusions that are made.
    One issue is the assumption that you can look at the creation and the maintenance of the planet and make any conclusions on creations. Look at a watch…you can watch the time tick by, watch it working, but you can’t tell how it was created just by watching how it works. Your websites, I can look at the content going up and watch it being run, but that tells me nothing about the creation of it. So you look at Genesis 2:1, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts,” and it says that creation was completed and that it went into maintenance mode. If evolution were, would there ever be an end? Would it ever be completed? Yet there is a definitive line drawn between the creation and the working of “The Creation.”

  35. Jeff,

    There is definitely never an end. Even today, evolution continues. There are numerous examples of this. It’s all around us. I am sure life on earth will look completely different in a million years. There will be species you and I have never seen.

    Even in our lifetime, species have “evolved”. New types of mosquitoes that have never before existed, for example, have “evolved” from old types of mosquitoes.

    No, life isn’t simply in maintenance mode. The process continues.

  36. Jeff,

    There is definitely never an end. Even today, evolution continues. There are numerous examples of this. It’s all around us. I am sure life on earth will look completely different in a million years. There will be species you and I have never seen.

    Even in our lifetime, species have “evolved”. New types of mosquitoes that have never before existed, for example, have “evolved” from old types of mosquitoes.

    No, life isn’t simply in maintenance mode. The process continues.

  37. I knew from the outset that this was going to be an agree to disagree situation and it actually goes to the ways we each look at the Bible. Because I believe it’s completely God’s Word as he wants it, I consider it the final authority. So where scientists’ conclusions diverge from it, I consider the conclusion to be wrong and try to think about a way that the observations reflect what the Bible says. I assume that because you don’t consider it as such, you don’t give it the weight that I do.

  38. I knew from the outset that this was going to be an agree to disagree situation and it actually goes to the ways we each look at the Bible. Because I believe it’s completely God’s Word as he wants it, I consider it the final authority. So where scientists’ conclusions diverge from it, I consider the conclusion to be wrong and try to think about a way that the observations reflect what the Bible says. I assume that because you don’t consider it as such, you don’t give it the weight that I do.

  39. Donny: You might want to reread your very first paragraph how you’re so open to change, and how you think you’re not still hating to be told you’re wrong…

    You have made some comments how you think you’re absolutely correct in your conclusions (yom) and the issue is settled (at least in your mind). There is no “openness” to what Jeff was saying, only a continued effort to convince him of your correctness. Don’t you think so? You have sort of made his point by saying the creation cannot totally comprehend the Creator. Give him a break, brother!!

  40. Donny: You might want to reread your very first paragraph how you’re so open to change, and how you think you’re not still hating to be told you’re wrong…

    You have made some comments how you think you’re absolutely correct in your conclusions (yom) and the issue is settled (at least in your mind). There is no “openness” to what Jeff was saying, only a continued effort to convince him of your correctness. Don’t you think so? You have sort of made his point by saying the creation cannot totally comprehend the Creator. Give him a break, brother!!

  41. Jeff,

    It’s also possible that those reading the Bible make the wrong conclusions on what it is actually saying, misinterpret context, etc.

    I gave examples of the Bible containing errors, and more can be found through simple google searches. It is my opinion that the Bible is not meant to be an idol, nor an equal to God. God wants a relationship with his people.

    If I was in love with a beautiful woman I could read all about her, but until I actually spent time with her I’d never know her. The Bible is never supposed to replace time spent with God. It’s an account of the experiences of others with God, and we can learn a lot from it for sure. But it’s not God. And in my opinion it is not even “the word” mentioned within its pages (that, I believe, refers to Jesus). It is a collection of writings, the contents of which were decided upon by men. It is important, undoubtedly.

    But it is not God.

  42. Jeff,

    It’s also possible that those reading the Bible make the wrong conclusions on what it is actually saying, misinterpret context, etc.

    I gave examples of the Bible containing errors, and more can be found through simple google searches. It is my opinion that the Bible is not meant to be an idol, nor an equal to God. God wants a relationship with his people.

    If I was in love with a beautiful woman I could read all about her, but until I actually spent time with her I’d never know her. The Bible is never supposed to replace time spent with God. It’s an account of the experiences of others with God, and we can learn a lot from it for sure. But it’s not God. And in my opinion it is not even “the word” mentioned within its pages (that, I believe, refers to Jesus). It is a collection of writings, the contents of which were decided upon by men. It is important, undoubtedly.

    But it is not God.

  43. Jean,

    Open to change does NOT mean, “I’ll change my mind simply because someone says I should”. It means that if real, hard evidence is produced I’ll go with the evidence.

    Opinions are not evidence.

  44. Jean,

    Open to change does NOT mean, “I’ll change my mind simply because someone says I should”. It means that if real, hard evidence is produced I’ll go with the evidence.

    Opinions are not evidence.

  45. In regards to a literal 6 day “creation”, I find it interesting to read some of the comments on this “Christianity Today” article:

    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2007/10/taking_bible_st.html

  46. In regards to a literal 6 day “creation”, I find it interesting to read some of the comments on this “Christianity Today” article:

    http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2007/10/taking_bible_st.html

  47. I don’t dispute it’s not God. I also contend that God is not a God of confusion. So if he thinks Scriptures are important (which, apparently, he does) and if he considers it important to have all of this written down and collected (which, again, he did) AND if he is beyond time and can work his will throughout time, then he can also work in his people to make sure that what is written down is the representation he wants so that when I, Jeff Rademaker, tell you, Donny Pauling, on Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 5:51am Central time that when 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” he can speak through it as though it were him speaking to you and I. Because it IS him speaking to you or I.
    Of course it’s not God, and that’s why the Holy Spirit’s work through us is significant, not only to lead us in the way that would make him look good, but to also lead us to have a clear understanding of what was written before for our benefit.

  48. I don’t dispute it’s not God. I also contend that God is not a God of confusion. So if he thinks Scriptures are important (which, apparently, he does) and if he considers it important to have all of this written down and collected (which, again, he did) AND if he is beyond time and can work his will throughout time, then he can also work in his people to make sure that what is written down is the representation he wants so that when I, Jeff Rademaker, tell you, Donny Pauling, on Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 5:51am Central time that when 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” he can speak through it as though it were him speaking to you and I. Because it IS him speaking to you or I.
    Of course it’s not God, and that’s why the Holy Spirit’s work through us is significant, not only to lead us in the way that would make him look good, but to also lead us to have a clear understanding of what was written before for our benefit.

  49. Honestly, Donny, all we’re doing it batting around each others’ opinions. Four times in your initial post, you said, “In my opinion…” My opinion is based on what I’ve read in the Bible and in what I’ve learned from my surroundings, but I am absolutely pliable by the leading of the Holy Spirit because ME being right does not matter.

  50. Honestly, Donny, all we’re doing it batting around each others’ opinions. Four times in your initial post, you said, “In my opinion…” My opinion is based on what I’ve read in the Bible and in what I’ve learned from my surroundings, but I am absolutely pliable by the leading of the Holy Spirit because ME being right does not matter.

  51. Here are other interesting discussions of the topic:

    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt120.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_(Genesis)

    http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis.html (same link given in my blog post)

    There are plenty more if ya want to read them…

  52. Here are other interesting discussions of the topic:

    http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt120.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_(Genesis)

    http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis.html (same link given in my blog post)

    There are plenty more if ya want to read them…

  53. It’s on the intermets, so it must be true!! Especially if it’s on wikipedia.

  54. It’s on the intermets, so it must be true!! Especially if it’s on wikipedia.

  55. And if it’s not in the Bible, it must not be true?

    😉

  56. And if it’s not in the Bible, it must not be true?

    😉

  57. Absolutely not! What I’m getting by that is that you think I disagree with, “ALL truth is God’s truth, even if it’s found elsewhere.” I absolutely agree with that! But (and this may sound cliched, but cliches become cliches because they’re applicable so much) the Bible is the prism through which I view the world. And if something contradicts it, I will side with it. Not because it is God but because I trust Him working in me, which allows me to trust it when it says, “All Scripture is profitable…”

  58. Absolutely not! What I’m getting by that is that you think I disagree with, “ALL truth is God’s truth, even if it’s found elsewhere.” I absolutely agree with that! But (and this may sound cliched, but cliches become cliches because they’re applicable so much) the Bible is the prism through which I view the world. And if something contradicts it, I will side with it. Not because it is God but because I trust Him working in me, which allows me to trust it when it says, “All Scripture is profitable…”

  59. MY OPINIONS:

    To that, I’d go back to the fact that there are many ways of interpreting scripture, and humans should remain open to the possibility that what we THINK it says may not be what it actually says.

    And that verse you just quoted in Timothy?? That wasn’t even officially considered scripture until ruled as such in 325AD.

    WHICH is part of the reason why circular reasoning isn’t effective. 318 MEN decided what was scripture and what was not scripture when they met in Nicaea almost 300 years after the crucifixion. That being the case, how can you possibly know what Timothy was referring to when he said “all scripture is profitable”?

    What WAS scripture to Timothy? He was dead when the Bible was voted on (and when what YOU think of when you hear the word “scripture” actually became scripture). You’re placing your faith in those 318 men who had political and financial motivation to vote as they did, even though their opinions were not shared with almost half the Christian population at the time.

    I don’t see why this concept is so hard to comprehend.

    Such issues are the reason why I think we must balance what we THINK we know with science. Because science is concrete evidence of what God has shown and done. If science and our religious beliefs are in conflict, someone is seeing things wrong. Just as often as not, that is probably the person who relies on his/her religious beliefs alone.

  60. MY OPINIONS:

    To that, I’d go back to the fact that there are many ways of interpreting scripture, and humans should remain open to the possibility that what we THINK it says may not be what it actually says.

    And that verse you just quoted in Timothy?? That wasn’t even officially considered scripture until ruled as such in 325AD.

    WHICH is part of the reason why circular reasoning isn’t effective. 318 MEN decided what was scripture and what was not scripture when they met in Nicaea almost 300 years after the crucifixion. That being the case, how can you possibly know what Timothy was referring to when he said “all scripture is profitable”?

    What WAS scripture to Timothy? He was dead when the Bible was voted on (and when what YOU think of when you hear the word “scripture” actually became scripture). You’re placing your faith in those 318 men who had political and financial motivation to vote as they did, even though their opinions were not shared with almost half the Christian population at the time.

    I don’t see why this concept is so hard to comprehend.

    Such issues are the reason why I think we must balance what we THINK we know with science. Because science is concrete evidence of what God has shown and done. If science and our religious beliefs are in conflict, someone is seeing things wrong. Just as often as not, that is probably the person who relies on his/her religious beliefs alone.

  61. And I don’t understand what’s so hard to comprehend with, “God can work through men to have his will worked through time.” 318 men chose the Scriptures (you are associating the motivations to them, and they may be valid), and 318 men were meant to be there to decide what was canonized. By who? God. Do I understand it completely? No. Does it really matter whether I understand it completely? No. Free Will vs. Predestination has been argued to death and here it is in application.
    ….Honestly, for something like the third time, I didn’t come into this looking to debate. I think you’re wrong, but I’ll trust that God he will work in either of us in time regarding this. And even if he doesn’t, we’ll figure it out after we get out of this world.

  62. And I don’t understand what’s so hard to comprehend with, “God can work through men to have his will worked through time.” 318 men chose the Scriptures (you are associating the motivations to them, and they may be valid), and 318 men were meant to be there to decide what was canonized. By who? God. Do I understand it completely? No. Does it really matter whether I understand it completely? No. Free Will vs. Predestination has been argued to death and here it is in application.
    ….Honestly, for something like the third time, I didn’t come into this looking to debate. I think you’re wrong, but I’ll trust that God he will work in either of us in time regarding this. And even if he doesn’t, we’ll figure it out after we get out of this world.

  63. Excuse me for using what some may call “circular reasoning” (who came up with that term?) of quoting from the Bible but here I go anyway-
    ….no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
    The anointing you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
    Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
    And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
    (These are from 2 Peter and I John.)
    Although the Bible is a history book, it has a spiritual element in that some of its truths can only be discerned by the Holy Spirit within the reader, and I also believe that in spite of all the confusion and disagreement, God made sure that what was kept in there was what He wanted there.
    Just the humble opinion of someone who knows very little, and I like listening to others’ opinions and what they have been through in their personal search.
    This is cool, Donny, thanks for all your efforts, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot reading your blog (even though I’m SO MUCH older than you, ha ha!) Love ya’!

  64. Excuse me for using what some may call “circular reasoning” (who came up with that term?) of quoting from the Bible but here I go anyway-
    ….no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
    The anointing you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
    Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.
    And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
    (These are from 2 Peter and I John.)
    Although the Bible is a history book, it has a spiritual element in that some of its truths can only be discerned by the Holy Spirit within the reader, and I also believe that in spite of all the confusion and disagreement, God made sure that what was kept in there was what He wanted there.
    Just the humble opinion of someone who knows very little, and I like listening to others’ opinions and what they have been through in their personal search.
    This is cool, Donny, thanks for all your efforts, I’m sure I’ll learn a lot reading your blog (even though I’m SO MUCH older than you, ha ha!) Love ya’!

  65. All this blog, and it’s ensuing comments, says to me is that we know nothing!

    How do we know “6 days” wasn’t literal? We don’t. Neither do we know that it wasn’t “ages”.

    “If the Bible even leaves the door open to the POSSIBILITY of a “Biblical” basis for “ages” of time, and science says that evidence shows ages of time were required, then why must we even argue the matter? The Bible leaves that possibility open, science proves it to be the case.” <—-Is this the same science that…”is constantly changing, with new “proof” regularly disproving old theories”?

    “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.”<—–If this is true, how could we ever even make a GUESS as to whether it was 6 days or ages? Is God so week that He couldn’t have possibly created it all, in perfect order, in 6 days? It’s all theories. As is my opinion or anyone else’s opinion.

    I also have wondered about what is inspired scripture and what may not be. How do we know what was voted on wasn’t tainted by someone’s aggenda? We don’t. All I know is “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.” Isn’t it entirely possible that God could work through 320 men to put into the Bible EXACTLY what He wanted there? After all, He’s worked through hundreds of millions throughout history to get done what was written of in ancient scripture. Some even before it WAS scripture.

    Love you Donny! Be a carbon copy of only Him. Which may be hard if we can’t have faith that the Bible is His Word.

    “….continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” Philippians 2:12

  66. All this blog, and it’s ensuing comments, says to me is that we know nothing!

    How do we know “6 days” wasn’t literal? We don’t. Neither do we know that it wasn’t “ages”.

    “If the Bible even leaves the door open to the POSSIBILITY of a “Biblical” basis for “ages” of time, and science says that evidence shows ages of time were required, then why must we even argue the matter? The Bible leaves that possibility open, science proves it to be the case.” <—-Is this the same science that…”is constantly changing, with new “proof” regularly disproving old theories”?

    “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.”<—–If this is true, how could we ever even make a GUESS as to whether it was 6 days or ages? Is God so week that He couldn’t have possibly created it all, in perfect order, in 6 days? It’s all theories. As is my opinion or anyone else’s opinion.

    I also have wondered about what is inspired scripture and what may not be. How do we know what was voted on wasn’t tainted by someone’s aggenda? We don’t. All I know is “It is IMPOSSIBLE for the creation to comprehend the creator. IMPOSSIBLE.” Isn’t it entirely possible that God could work through 320 men to put into the Bible EXACTLY what He wanted there? After all, He’s worked through hundreds of millions throughout history to get done what was written of in ancient scripture. Some even before it WAS scripture.

    Love you Donny! Be a carbon copy of only Him. Which may be hard if we can’t have faith that the Bible is His Word.

    “….continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” Philippians 2:12

  67. Donny I read the Wikipedia articles in regards to dating the gospels and they tend to say something like “most scholars agree…” and then it gives stronger evidence for an earlier dating. A lot of the techniques used by “scholars” to date ancient texts are pretty weak. Like many people they inflate their hypothosis far beyond where the evidence warrants. I think letting the documents speak for themselves is the best technique. I think that there is much less evidence than many think that there is for latter dating. It would be a good area for you to pay attention to when you study, I know I will.

  68. Donny I read the Wikipedia articles in regards to dating the gospels and they tend to say something like “most scholars agree…” and then it gives stronger evidence for an earlier dating. A lot of the techniques used by “scholars” to date ancient texts are pretty weak. Like many people they inflate their hypothosis far beyond where the evidence warrants. I think letting the documents speak for themselves is the best technique. I think that there is much less evidence than many think that there is for latter dating. It would be a good area for you to pay attention to when you study, I know I will.

  69. Donny, I was enjoying your account, up until the “ignorant trash” statement. While I respect your opinion, and your complete right to air it here, I’m not at all fond of being referred to as someone who believes “ignorant trash”. I’m an educated individual, who believes in an all-powerful God who actually could do anything and everything He wanted. So to refer to it as “ignorant trash” instead of just an opinion you disagree with (since none of us were there!), is rather off putting.

  70. Donny, I was enjoying your account, up until the “ignorant trash” statement. While I respect your opinion, and your complete right to air it here, I’m not at all fond of being referred to as someone who believes “ignorant trash”. I’m an educated individual, who believes in an all-powerful God who actually could do anything and everything He wanted. So to refer to it as “ignorant trash” instead of just an opinion you disagree with (since none of us were there!), is rather off putting.

  71. This all takes away from my original question:

    One question that I’m left with about your diversions from “the norm”: you say that for God to have created everything, “God would have to be way beyond our human understanding, and not bound by time or the dimensions we’re aware of.” But then you dismiss the inerrency of the Bible and the possibility of a young earth based on your opinion (based on research). Your opinion and the research are still bound to the human level of understanding, so how could that answer to the things which God may have or has done?

  72. This all takes away from my original question:

    One question that I’m left with about your diversions from “the norm”: you say that for God to have created everything, “God would have to be way beyond our human understanding, and not bound by time or the dimensions we’re aware of.” But then you dismiss the inerrency of the Bible and the possibility of a young earth based on your opinion (based on research). Your opinion and the research are still bound to the human level of understanding, so how could that answer to the things which God may have or has done?

  73. First, I want to note that I do not think Donny is a heretic. Second I think what Donny wrote on his blog http://donnysramblings.com is not necessarily heretical. So do not “boycott” Donny. And by no means, do not defame Donny or his blog. What Donny has done is something very few people are capable of – being honest about their doubts, concerns, and questions about Christianity.

    I think when Donny wrote about being true to himself reflects an integrity that is very commendable. As he wrote – I strongly recommend that you read his whole blog. I find Donny lucid, intelligent, and honest.

    Why respond to Donny’s blog? Simple – Donny’s blog has a huge influence, his opinions will reach people who are not equipped to defend their faith against his opinions about the Bible (the evolution part is a whole other topic in and of itself that cannot be dealt with here).

    My first response is to point out a flawed argument commonly used against the Bible. “Assuming the Bible is Guilty of Error Unless Proven Innocent.”*

    Norman Geisler writes:

    “Many critics assume the Bible is wrong until something proves it right. However, like an American citizen charged with an offense, the Bible should be read with at least the same presumption of accuracy given to other literature that claims to be nonfiction. This is the way we approach all human communications. If we did not, life would not be possible. If we assumed that road signs and traffic signals were not telling the truth, we would probably be dead before we could prove otherwise. If we assumed food packages are mislabeled, we would have to open up all cans and packages before buying. Likewise, the Bible, like any other book, should be presumed to be telling us what the authors said, experienced, and heard. But, negative critics begin with just the opposite presumption. Little wonder they conclude the Bible is riddled with error.*

    The error is in the assumption that the Bible is full of errors with out properly examine the facts and seeing if there are reasonable solutions. The error is assuming the Bible is in error as FACT and finding supporting sources to support that conclusion.

    Why is this so dangerous? Why does this matter? If our first principle is that the Bible is in error it than detracts from the trust worthiness of God. That is why advocates of atheism or Darwinian naturalism argue so vigorously against the Bible because to discredit the Bible is to essentially to discredit God. Furthermore, if your first assumption of the Bible is that it is in error, therefore, not trustworthy (while not explicitly noted in Donny’s blog, is a logical conclusion to the argument) you’re worldview is affected.

    Let us follow the logic. Assumption 1: The Bible has problems; Assumption 2: If the Bible has problem than it is human in origin and not divine in origin; Assumption 3: if the Bible is not divine in origin than it is no different than any other man made book of antiquity. Conclusion – If the Bible is not divine in origin, than why should I base my life on its principles?

    The conclusion leads us to the reality that there is not objective reason to base our lives (e.g. worldview) on the Bible. In the end, we are free to base our lives on whatever is convenient – say Oprah, the Koran, or the writing of Buddha.

    You see our ideas have consequences. What are we going to base our lives upon? At the heart of the matter is whether their is objective moral truth. What is the point then. The point is – can we base our lives upon the Bible and therefore trust what God has revealed to us about Himself through the Bible.

    If the Bible is erroneous than it follows that there is no objective reasons for placing our faith in God. Why? First, the Bible is God’s revelation to us. The Bible is not a book set out to prove God’s existence, but rather to reveal God and his character.

    More to come . . .

    Michael
    http://www.the-confessions-of-a-porn-addict.blogspot.com

    *Norman Geisler: “Are There Any Errors in the Bible.” (http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2903859/k.3069/Are_There_Any_Errors_in_the_Bible.htm) accessed 5/19/2008.

  74. First, I want to note that I do not think Donny is a heretic. Second I think what Donny wrote on his blog http://donnysramblings.com is not necessarily heretical. So do not “boycott” Donny. And by no means, do not defame Donny or his blog. What Donny has done is something very few people are capable of – being honest about their doubts, concerns, and questions about Christianity.

    I think when Donny wrote about being true to himself reflects an integrity that is very commendable. As he wrote – I strongly recommend that you read his whole blog. I find Donny lucid, intelligent, and honest.

    Why respond to Donny’s blog? Simple – Donny’s blog has a huge influence, his opinions will reach people who are not equipped to defend their faith against his opinions about the Bible (the evolution part is a whole other topic in and of itself that cannot be dealt with here).

    My first response is to point out a flawed argument commonly used against the Bible. “Assuming the Bible is Guilty of Error Unless Proven Innocent.”*

    Norman Geisler writes:

    “Many critics assume the Bible is wrong until something proves it right. However, like an American citizen charged with an offense, the Bible should be read with at least the same presumption of accuracy given to other literature that claims to be nonfiction. This is the way we approach all human communications. If we did not, life would not be possible. If we assumed that road signs and traffic signals were not telling the truth, we would probably be dead before we could prove otherwise. If we assumed food packages are mislabeled, we would have to open up all cans and packages before buying. Likewise, the Bible, like any other book, should be presumed to be telling us what the authors said, experienced, and heard. But, negative critics begin with just the opposite presumption. Little wonder they conclude the Bible is riddled with error.*

    The error is in the assumption that the Bible is full of errors with out properly examine the facts and seeing if there are reasonable solutions. The error is assuming the Bible is in error as FACT and finding supporting sources to support that conclusion.

    Why is this so dangerous? Why does this matter? If our first principle is that the Bible is in error it than detracts from the trust worthiness of God. That is why advocates of atheism or Darwinian naturalism argue so vigorously against the Bible because to discredit the Bible is to essentially to discredit God. Furthermore, if your first assumption of the Bible is that it is in error, therefore, not trustworthy (while not explicitly noted in Donny’s blog, is a logical conclusion to the argument) you’re worldview is affected.

    Let us follow the logic. Assumption 1: The Bible has problems; Assumption 2: If the Bible has problem than it is human in origin and not divine in origin; Assumption 3: if the Bible is not divine in origin than it is no different than any other man made book of antiquity. Conclusion – If the Bible is not divine in origin, than why should I base my life on its principles?

    The conclusion leads us to the reality that there is not objective reason to base our lives (e.g. worldview) on the Bible. In the end, we are free to base our lives on whatever is convenient – say Oprah, the Koran, or the writing of Buddha.

    You see our ideas have consequences. What are we going to base our lives upon? At the heart of the matter is whether their is objective moral truth. What is the point then. The point is – can we base our lives upon the Bible and therefore trust what God has revealed to us about Himself through the Bible.

    If the Bible is erroneous than it follows that there is no objective reasons for placing our faith in God. Why? First, the Bible is God’s revelation to us. The Bible is not a book set out to prove God’s existence, but rather to reveal God and his character.

    More to come . . .

    Michael
    http://www.the-confessions-of-a-porn-addict.blogspot.com

    *Norman Geisler: “Are There Any Errors in the Bible.” (http://www.4truth.net/site/c.hiKXLbPNLrF/b.2903859/k.3069/Are_There_Any_Errors_in_the_Bible.htm) accessed 5/19/2008.

  75. AMEN to MVM, Tina, and Jeff (again.)

    Maybe it’s all this “discussing” that causes the unbeliever to think we’re all a bunch of cracked pots! We say we believe in God but then try to argue His thoughts and ways. Good going, gang!

  76. AMEN to MVM, Tina, and Jeff (again.)

    Maybe it’s all this “discussing” that causes the unbeliever to think we’re all a bunch of cracked pots! We say we believe in God but then try to argue His thoughts and ways. Good going, gang!

  77. Yeah, I’ve been thinking that, Jean. But then I do wonder how Carrie’s reading this as well. In the paperback preface of TGD, Dawkins says to be wary of those who use “I used to be an atheist, but…” as a way to give their thoughts weight. When I first started reading, that’s automatically what I thought of as a believer so I can only assume that it came just as automatically to Carrie as well (that’s not a knock at all, Donny. You can’t help that it’s part of your testimony and wouldn’t change it if you could. There’s just a warning that had already been stated that I think could influence the reading).

  78. Yeah, I’ve been thinking that, Jean. But then I do wonder how Carrie’s reading this as well. In the paperback preface of TGD, Dawkins says to be wary of those who use “I used to be an atheist, but…” as a way to give their thoughts weight. When I first started reading, that’s automatically what I thought of as a believer so I can only assume that it came just as automatically to Carrie as well (that’s not a knock at all, Donny. You can’t help that it’s part of your testimony and wouldn’t change it if you could. There’s just a warning that had already been stated that I think could influence the reading).

  79. on September 11th, 2001 one man who was on the 92nd floor of the south building of the World Trade Center had just heard a jet crashing into the North tower. Stunned by the explosion, he called the police for instructions on what to do. “we need to know if we need to get out of here”, he said urgently on the phone. The voice on the other end advised him not to evacuate. Shortly after 9 am, another jet crashed into the 80th floor of the south tower. Nearly all 600 people in the top floors of the south tower perished. The failure to evacuate the building was one of the days great tragedies. Those 600 people perished because they relied on the wrong information, even though it was given by a person who was trying to help.

    Be careful that you don’t become that person Donny. Its thier eternity (and yours) thats at stake.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  80. on September 11th, 2001 one man who was on the 92nd floor of the south building of the World Trade Center had just heard a jet crashing into the North tower. Stunned by the explosion, he called the police for instructions on what to do. “we need to know if we need to get out of here”, he said urgently on the phone. The voice on the other end advised him not to evacuate. Shortly after 9 am, another jet crashed into the 80th floor of the south tower. Nearly all 600 people in the top floors of the south tower perished. The failure to evacuate the building was one of the days great tragedies. Those 600 people perished because they relied on the wrong information, even though it was given by a person who was trying to help.

    Be careful that you don’t become that person Donny. Its thier eternity (and yours) thats at stake.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  81. I kinda am hoping Carrie hasn’t read all this “discussing” too. Doesn’t show much for the unity of the Body of Christ, does it?

    However, Donny, it’s your blog and it’s always nice to read it and discover what’s on your mind at the time! You also have to be given credit for tackling the huge fact of whether there is a God or not! Hopefully, it will open some avenues to those who are seeking an answer to that particular question in their minds.

  82. I kinda am hoping Carrie hasn’t read all this “discussing” too. Doesn’t show much for the unity of the Body of Christ, does it?

    However, Donny, it’s your blog and it’s always nice to read it and discover what’s on your mind at the time! You also have to be given credit for tackling the huge fact of whether there is a God or not! Hopefully, it will open some avenues to those who are seeking an answer to that particular question in their minds.

  83. Donny,

    How come you can google any article on the internet and believe it to be infallible, however you don’t believe the Bible isn’t? You believe everything else you read, and obviously you have read alot. I’m impressed….so why not believe the word of God?
    I just don’t get that. And if you’re studying to be a pastor and you don’t believe in the Bible, what then are you going to be preaching from?

  84. Donny,

    How come you can google any article on the internet and believe it to be infallible, however you don’t believe the Bible isn’t? You believe everything else you read, and obviously you have read alot. I’m impressed….so why not believe the word of God?
    I just don’t get that. And if you’re studying to be a pastor and you don’t believe in the Bible, what then are you going to be preaching from?

  85. Hey Jeff!

    Just thought I would give you my opinion on the matter. I think the following 3 quotes were your best ideas…

    “With that, I’m done… I’ll just keep my foolishness away from here…”

    “I knew from the outset that this was going to be an agree to disagree situation…”

    “Honestly, Donny, all we’re doing it batting around each others’ opinions.”

  86. Hey Jeff!

    Just thought I would give you my opinion on the matter. I think the following 3 quotes were your best ideas…

    “With that, I’m done… I’ll just keep my foolishness away from here…”

    “I knew from the outset that this was going to be an agree to disagree situation…”

    “Honestly, Donny, all we’re doing it batting around each others’ opinions.”

  87. Hey Donny

    I’m sure you’re awaiting my response, so I just wanted to let you know that I have company right now, but I’ll respond later in the week. Hope you don’t endure too much wrath. 😉

    Carrie

  88. Hey Donny

    I’m sure you’re awaiting my response, so I just wanted to let you know that I have company right now, but I’ll respond later in the week. Hope you don’t endure too much wrath. 😉

    Carrie

  89. Sandy,

    Being as I mention/linked to several google’d articles, I can see how you might say such a thing (You said: “How come you can google any article on the internet and believe it to be infallible, however you don’t believe the Bible isn’t?). Let me assure you, that is not the case. While I definitely read quite of bit of discussion on the Internet, I mostly read books from highly educated, respected authors. When writing a blog entry, however, it’s impossible to link to books so the reader can see for themselves more detail on what I’m referring to… and THAT is the reason I mentioned google’d articles.

    In regards to how our Bible and how it came to be what it is today, the following is a PARTIAL list of SOME of the books that have influenced my opinions:

    A History of the Church From Pentecost to Present by James B North

    Quicknotes: Christian History Guidebook by Carol Smith and Roddy Smith

    The Complete Gospels – Robert J Miller, editor

    The Origin of Satan by Elaine H Pagels

    How God Saved Civilization by James L Garlow

    Beyond Belief – The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine H Pagels

    Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity by Elaine H Pagels and Karen L King

    The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine H Pagels

    The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel

    Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell

    The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle by Karen L King

    The Nag Hammadi Library by James M Robinson

    There are others, but they are at home on my desk and I can’t remember their names. I’m at Starbucks on my laptop at the moment. If you’d like, I can list more of them when I get home.

  90. Sandy,

    Being as I mention/linked to several google’d articles, I can see how you might say such a thing (You said: “How come you can google any article on the internet and believe it to be infallible, however you don’t believe the Bible isn’t?). Let me assure you, that is not the case. While I definitely read quite of bit of discussion on the Internet, I mostly read books from highly educated, respected authors. When writing a blog entry, however, it’s impossible to link to books so the reader can see for themselves more detail on what I’m referring to… and THAT is the reason I mentioned google’d articles.

    In regards to how our Bible and how it came to be what it is today, the following is a PARTIAL list of SOME of the books that have influenced my opinions:

    A History of the Church From Pentecost to Present by James B North

    Quicknotes: Christian History Guidebook by Carol Smith and Roddy Smith

    The Complete Gospels – Robert J Miller, editor

    The Origin of Satan by Elaine H Pagels

    How God Saved Civilization by James L Garlow

    Beyond Belief – The Secret Gospel of Thomas by Elaine H Pagels

    Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity by Elaine H Pagels and Karen L King

    The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine H Pagels

    The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel

    Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell

    The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle by Karen L King

    The Nag Hammadi Library by James M Robinson

    There are others, but they are at home on my desk and I can’t remember their names. I’m at Starbucks on my laptop at the moment. If you’d like, I can list more of them when I get home.

  91. For those wanting more info on some of the “lost” gospels, here’s another interesting article for your consideration:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/131/story_13186_1.html

    I’ve read a few of the author’s books (and noted them in my last comment).

  92. For those wanting more info on some of the “lost” gospels, here’s another interesting article for your consideration:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/131/story_13186_1.html

    I’ve read a few of the author’s books (and noted them in my last comment).

  93. Carrie,

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And, as I said in the first message I sent to you before writing this, I expected the wrath. 🙂 That’s usually what happens when one questions thoughts others have believed as fact (mostly out of tradition) for centuries.

  94. Carrie,

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And, as I said in the first message I sent to you before writing this, I expected the wrath. 🙂 That’s usually what happens when one questions thoughts others have believed as fact (mostly out of tradition) for centuries.

  95. Donny,

    Thank you for your honesty and candidness. A website you might want to check out on this subject is:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

    This is the organization that started the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It has a wealth of information regarding Genesis, creation, contradictions in scripture, whether a young earth belief is required for salvation (they would say no), if evolution is true then how could death have present in the world before Adam sinned, Scripture interpreting scripture as circular reasoning and much more.

    Finally, you stated in your post ” I firmly believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that He paid the price for all of mankind.” Could you expand on this and what your basis is for believing this?

    Oh, and by the way. Thank you for all the work that you are doing to expose the porn industry. That takes a lot of guts and is greatly needed. 20 years of my life has been wasted on it, but through God’s word (yes, the Bible) and His Holy Spirit he has rescued me from the slavery of my sin and transformed me into a slave for righteousness.

    May God bless your search for him. “From there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all of your heart and with all of your soul.” (Deut 4:29)

  96. Donny,

    Thank you for your honesty and candidness. A website you might want to check out on this subject is:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org

    This is the organization that started the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It has a wealth of information regarding Genesis, creation, contradictions in scripture, whether a young earth belief is required for salvation (they would say no), if evolution is true then how could death have present in the world before Adam sinned, Scripture interpreting scripture as circular reasoning and much more.

    Finally, you stated in your post ” I firmly believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that He paid the price for all of mankind.” Could you expand on this and what your basis is for believing this?

    Oh, and by the way. Thank you for all the work that you are doing to expose the porn industry. That takes a lot of guts and is greatly needed. 20 years of my life has been wasted on it, but through God’s word (yes, the Bible) and His Holy Spirit he has rescued me from the slavery of my sin and transformed me into a slave for righteousness.

    May God bless your search for him. “From there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all of your heart and with all of your soul.” (Deut 4:29)

  97. Since neither evolution or the existence of God can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt it still all comes back to faith. All of the questions about evolution and all of the questions about the Bible will never be answered to the satisfaction of everyone, but they are answered to the satisfaction of myself and I believe God wins hands down, not just because the evidence is highly stacked in His favor, but because of the love factor. Why are we wired to give and receive love?

    Do I believe the Bible to be infallable word of God. Absolutely! Can I prove everything in it? No, but I trust the one who inspired it because He has proven Himself to me personally.

    It’s fine to ask questions and seek out the truth but the questions will never cease. At what point will there ever be enough answers? At what point does open mindedness become become a point of pride?

    If your child asks you what what 3 plus 3 is and you tell them but they ask you endless questions as to why, like how did the numbers get there in the first place and how do you know the 3 really means 3 and what if the three is upside down, at what point do you tell them that’s just the way it is. Math is not an invention, math just is. God just is. He is math and love and everthing that is good. That’s just the way it is.

    For what it’s worth, I think Michael Thompson’s comment on this blog on 5/20/08 at 9:58 a.m. was excellent.

  98. Since neither evolution or the existence of God can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt it still all comes back to faith. All of the questions about evolution and all of the questions about the Bible will never be answered to the satisfaction of everyone, but they are answered to the satisfaction of myself and I believe God wins hands down, not just because the evidence is highly stacked in His favor, but because of the love factor. Why are we wired to give and receive love?

    Do I believe the Bible to be infallable word of God. Absolutely! Can I prove everything in it? No, but I trust the one who inspired it because He has proven Himself to me personally.

    It’s fine to ask questions and seek out the truth but the questions will never cease. At what point will there ever be enough answers? At what point does open mindedness become become a point of pride?

    If your child asks you what what 3 plus 3 is and you tell them but they ask you endless questions as to why, like how did the numbers get there in the first place and how do you know the 3 really means 3 and what if the three is upside down, at what point do you tell them that’s just the way it is. Math is not an invention, math just is. God just is. He is math and love and everthing that is good. That’s just the way it is.

    For what it’s worth, I think Michael Thompson’s comment on this blog on 5/20/08 at 9:58 a.m. was excellent.

  99. Dear Donny,
    Wow, what a thought-full handful of things to consider. I haven’t chewed the cud on this response but here’s a first pass at some of the “issues” I think that may be different from some of the others, which I have “collected” over the years in my own quests and faith walk.
    On the issue of the age of the earth, here has been my own take on it. DNA Carbon Dating is not as accurate as it is hoped, as some tests used, have found not so old stuff to be very old and vice versa. However, with respect to dinosaurs, they have found human foot prints next to dinosaur foot prints, which dispels the notion that they existed at different times (unlike the movies, which show them together at times).
    On the ice age, for Mammoths to be found in tact standing in frozen ice, I could see that happening in the flood scenario, and moving northward or southward, where it is colder, that water would have frozen, while the rest would have eventually come down to streams and rivers, like the Grand Canyon, etc. Many findings have dispelled the cave man scenario in terms of the evolution from one form of the species to another, and evolution in general goes against the natural progression of matter eventually aging and breaking down, rather than evolving.
    Certainly adaptation would probably be a better description of how something formulates into something else for adapting. Certainly when an egg and sperm meet, that process into a fetus and eventually a baby and then an adult isn’t so much evolution, as that whole process shows aging. The knowledge that mind acquires over time is maturation (we would hope), though if given over to a volitional choice to sin, as indicated in scripture, that same life, becomes reprobate as God gives them over to their choice – but that’s degradation. About adaption, since it is true that certain species of frogs will change their sex in the absence of the needed sex, in order to procreate, does it justify homosexuality or that God doesn’t make mistakes with babies. Or should it be re-iterated that “in the absence of the other sex”, the frog will change its sex, as opposed to those who have not resolved relational issues with their fathers or what have you, or are just given over to a reprobate mind because of sexual gratification, which quite literally will physiologically and supernaturally change their brain structure, facial and physical features and eventually demonically change their speech patterns, so that when one is transformed by God from those “changes” that occurred, all of those changes will revert back that person to normality with some remaining fragments of the changes, that go over time.
    As for the earth’s age, I agree on the issue of determining which of those days is meant. Certainly one could wonder, after the fall, that mankind, having been perfect in creation, eventually gave way to physical corruption, with a breakdown of his cells and blood disease, could at one time live hundreds of years (whether that is 12 month years or not, I can’t say), to eventually living perhaps only till 80 years as described by one of the Psalms written by Moses. Not only that, but if Adam and Eve where the first, and most likely their children would have intermarried, that over time such a scenario breeds birth defects, so that it is only later, when the law was given, God deemed such actions wrong or inappropriate for our own good. After the all, the bible says that the whole earth groans as it waits for the sons of God to be revealed. Thus, I also believe, and I have not heard anyone else submit this idea, both here or elsewhere, that if God created Adam and Eve aged, say in their 30’s, or so, then why could He not have created the earth aged or matured in some fashion, say several millions of years or as in the process of time, if Christ was crucified from the foundation of the earth as the scriptures declare, then in the fullness of time, Christ died for us and was revealed over the course of God’s process of time to unfold what He meant in prophecy. I think this and so many of the other issues, possibly can be answered “outside the box”, in terms of the grid from which we interpret how it all works.
    On the statement you made that “all truth is God’s truth”, I caution that perspective. What is one person’s truth and that is how it may be read, is not necessarily anyone else’s. While we as Christians may understand from scripture what the TRUTH is, or the WAY, or the LIFE, you have to be careful how broad the ‘weaker’ brethren may read that, or how a non believer may read that, or a cult member may read that for that matter. Jesus, Jehovah, the Holy Spirit are all an entirely different thing to a Jehovah’s Witness. Not that some tenets of our faith and scripture may be the same, but the whole truth of what it is to a Orthodox Christian versus a Jehovah’s Witness is entirely different. Just as when an Imam of Islam says that their faith and teachings do not believe or condone the death of innocent people, looking into what they mean by that, is that no one is innocent, if they do not believe and adhere to Islam and the Quran. And in radical Islam, if you are a Shiite, you’re at odds with a Sunni because one, centuries ago, killed the cousin or nephew of Mohammed. So who is an infidel or the devil?
    Finally for now, on the issue of the Bible’s accuracy, I remember seeing a website from some Islamic person indicating 100 places where the bible was contradictory. Most of the scriptures described, were where similar stories were told as in the books of Chronicles and Kings, the gospels, etc. where similar stories were told and they were nit picking on the difference between one verse saying that there were 10,000 warriors versus 12,000 seen elsewhere, talking about the same story. Or take for example; where Jehovah’s Witnesses use a verse in Ecclesiastes where it says that the dead know nothing to justify that if Christ is God, then when Jesus was dead for 3 days, who was running the earth. To this and so many other implied statements that the bible does have error, you have to look at it wholly in context. Ecclesiastes is part of scripture, but also not everything declared in it is accurate or true, but it does show the mind of a wayward person, in this case Solomon, in a fallen state, and what some of his conclusions are, which are inaccurate. Likewise while the book of Esther does not mention God in it, as some claim that if a song doesn’t mention Jesus, how can it be Christian, but it does however show the hand of God at work in and among His people. As for the details of one writer indicating 10,000 warriors versus 12,000 or 12,001, that is overkill on what God is indicating as most important as per infallibility and using men to write it. Still the story remains the same and true, however historical details may not have been of utter importance if it doesn’t effect change. As for the story of the women caught in adultery, this is why I love the Amplified Bible, here is the footnote, not hidden, not feared, but stated:
    • “John 7:53 John 7:53 to 8:11 is absent from most of the older manuscripts, and those that have it sometimes place it elsewhere. The story may well be authentic. Indeed, Christ’s response of compassion and mercy is so much in keeping with His character that we accept it as authentic, and feel that to omit it would be most unfortunate. ” Amplified Bible
    Of greater concern for me in all of this of you though overall, is that while much exposure to knowledge is commendable, the scriptures clearly show that it can puff up and also that people will be roaming the earth seeking knowledge. But without understanding or mixed with love, which develops wisdom, the fertile ground that a soul recaptured by God can experience is being intercepted by all of this peripheral stuff and innuendo that can give you an underside and subliminal foundation of questioning that which we call the Word of God. I don’t mean we shouldn’t question what and why we believe, but tread cautiously as the deceiver who comes as an angel of light or enlightenment, would love to use such elements of thinking to take the edge off the kind of Truth that sets people free or causes some to not fully trust that Word of God especially seeking what itching ears want to here.
    Again, I haven’t fully chewed the cud on this, but these were my first thoughts and first pass on it. I don’t have much time online to spare but my heart hears you I hope you can hear mine.
    Love you brother.
    Sincerely,
    Danny

  100. Dear Donny,
    Wow, what a thought-full handful of things to consider. I haven’t chewed the cud on this response but here’s a first pass at some of the “issues” I think that may be different from some of the others, which I have “collected” over the years in my own quests and faith walk.
    On the issue of the age of the earth, here has been my own take on it. DNA Carbon Dating is not as accurate as it is hoped, as some tests used, have found not so old stuff to be very old and vice versa. However, with respect to dinosaurs, they have found human foot prints next to dinosaur foot prints, which dispels the notion that they existed at different times (unlike the movies, which show them together at times).
    On the ice age, for Mammoths to be found in tact standing in frozen ice, I could see that happening in the flood scenario, and moving northward or southward, where it is colder, that water would have frozen, while the rest would have eventually come down to streams and rivers, like the Grand Canyon, etc. Many findings have dispelled the cave man scenario in terms of the evolution from one form of the species to another, and evolution in general goes against the natural progression of matter eventually aging and breaking down, rather than evolving.
    Certainly adaptation would probably be a better description of how something formulates into something else for adapting. Certainly when an egg and sperm meet, that process into a fetus and eventually a baby and then an adult isn’t so much evolution, as that whole process shows aging. The knowledge that mind acquires over time is maturation (we would hope), though if given over to a volitional choice to sin, as indicated in scripture, that same life, becomes reprobate as God gives them over to their choice – but that’s degradation. About adaption, since it is true that certain species of frogs will change their sex in the absence of the needed sex, in order to procreate, does it justify homosexuality or that God doesn’t make mistakes with babies. Or should it be re-iterated that “in the absence of the other sex”, the frog will change its sex, as opposed to those who have not resolved relational issues with their fathers or what have you, or are just given over to a reprobate mind because of sexual gratification, which quite literally will physiologically and supernaturally change their brain structure, facial and physical features and eventually demonically change their speech patterns, so that when one is transformed by God from those “changes” that occurred, all of those changes will revert back that person to normality with some remaining fragments of the changes, that go over time.
    As for the earth’s age, I agree on the issue of determining which of those days is meant. Certainly one could wonder, after the fall, that mankind, having been perfect in creation, eventually gave way to physical corruption, with a breakdown of his cells and blood disease, could at one time live hundreds of years (whether that is 12 month years or not, I can’t say), to eventually living perhaps only till 80 years as described by one of the Psalms written by Moses. Not only that, but if Adam and Eve where the first, and most likely their children would have intermarried, that over time such a scenario breeds birth defects, so that it is only later, when the law was given, God deemed such actions wrong or inappropriate for our own good. After the all, the bible says that the whole earth groans as it waits for the sons of God to be revealed. Thus, I also believe, and I have not heard anyone else submit this idea, both here or elsewhere, that if God created Adam and Eve aged, say in their 30’s, or so, then why could He not have created the earth aged or matured in some fashion, say several millions of years or as in the process of time, if Christ was crucified from the foundation of the earth as the scriptures declare, then in the fullness of time, Christ died for us and was revealed over the course of God’s process of time to unfold what He meant in prophecy. I think this and so many of the other issues, possibly can be answered “outside the box”, in terms of the grid from which we interpret how it all works.
    On the statement you made that “all truth is God’s truth”, I caution that perspective. What is one person’s truth and that is how it may be read, is not necessarily anyone else’s. While we as Christians may understand from scripture what the TRUTH is, or the WAY, or the LIFE, you have to be careful how broad the ‘weaker’ brethren may read that, or how a non believer may read that, or a cult member may read that for that matter. Jesus, Jehovah, the Holy Spirit are all an entirely different thing to a Jehovah’s Witness. Not that some tenets of our faith and scripture may be the same, but the whole truth of what it is to a Orthodox Christian versus a Jehovah’s Witness is entirely different. Just as when an Imam of Islam says that their faith and teachings do not believe or condone the death of innocent people, looking into what they mean by that, is that no one is innocent, if they do not believe and adhere to Islam and the Quran. And in radical Islam, if you are a Shiite, you’re at odds with a Sunni because one, centuries ago, killed the cousin or nephew of Mohammed. So who is an infidel or the devil?
    Finally for now, on the issue of the Bible’s accuracy, I remember seeing a website from some Islamic person indicating 100 places where the bible was contradictory. Most of the scriptures described, were where similar stories were told as in the books of Chronicles and Kings, the gospels, etc. where similar stories were told and they were nit picking on the difference between one verse saying that there were 10,000 warriors versus 12,000 seen elsewhere, talking about the same story. Or take for example; where Jehovah’s Witnesses use a verse in Ecclesiastes where it says that the dead know nothing to justify that if Christ is God, then when Jesus was dead for 3 days, who was running the earth. To this and so many other implied statements that the bible does have error, you have to look at it wholly in context. Ecclesiastes is part of scripture, but also not everything declared in it is accurate or true, but it does show the mind of a wayward person, in this case Solomon, in a fallen state, and what some of his conclusions are, which are inaccurate. Likewise while the book of Esther does not mention God in it, as some claim that if a song doesn’t mention Jesus, how can it be Christian, but it does however show the hand of God at work in and among His people. As for the details of one writer indicating 10,000 warriors versus 12,000 or 12,001, that is overkill on what God is indicating as most important as per infallibility and using men to write it. Still the story remains the same and true, however historical details may not have been of utter importance if it doesn’t effect change. As for the story of the women caught in adultery, this is why I love the Amplified Bible, here is the footnote, not hidden, not feared, but stated:
    • “John 7:53 John 7:53 to 8:11 is absent from most of the older manuscripts, and those that have it sometimes place it elsewhere. The story may well be authentic. Indeed, Christ’s response of compassion and mercy is so much in keeping with His character that we accept it as authentic, and feel that to omit it would be most unfortunate. ” Amplified Bible
    Of greater concern for me in all of this of you though overall, is that while much exposure to knowledge is commendable, the scriptures clearly show that it can puff up and also that people will be roaming the earth seeking knowledge. But without understanding or mixed with love, which develops wisdom, the fertile ground that a soul recaptured by God can experience is being intercepted by all of this peripheral stuff and innuendo that can give you an underside and subliminal foundation of questioning that which we call the Word of God. I don’t mean we shouldn’t question what and why we believe, but tread cautiously as the deceiver who comes as an angel of light or enlightenment, would love to use such elements of thinking to take the edge off the kind of Truth that sets people free or causes some to not fully trust that Word of God especially seeking what itching ears want to here.
    Again, I haven’t fully chewed the cud on this, but these were my first thoughts and first pass on it. I don’t have much time online to spare but my heart hears you I hope you can hear mine.
    Love you brother.
    Sincerely,
    Danny

  101. Barb,

    Thank you for your input. I’m about to address it, but since you mentioned Michael Thompson you reminded me of a conversation I’ve been having with Michael via email. He asked me about Google Docs (what are they?) and then also said this:

    On a side note – regarding your blog – I don’t think you’re going to lose your book deal and be shunned for speaking engagements. The people who would perceive your posting as some terrible evil wouldn’t even consider hearing you speak let alone read a book by a pornographer. It is “those Christians” that would have a problem It seems to me, those embracing XXXChurch, Shelley Lubben You and others, are more on the cutting edge culturally anyway.

    Personally, I have ten times more respect for a guy who let’s it all hang out than hides his true feelings behind a wall of “spirituality.” You should be commended for your post – and I hope my response to you demonstrated my respect for you.

    I asked him if I could post that message here because it meant a lot to me. Michael and I have been in contact since somewhere around September ’06 when he first heard “my story” through XXXChurch. He is courageous enough to document his struggles with porn on his blog:

    http://www.the-confessions-of-a-porn-addict.blogspot.com/

    I appreciate him very much.

    In order to respond to the rest of what you wrote (and what he wrote as well) I’ll open up another file in my google docs so I can once again make a few notes, as I did with Carrie, to organize my thoughts.

    But know this: my faith in God has never been stronger. I sometimes can’t understand why so many people think the Bible = God. In his latest book, even respected Christian author Lee Strobel (who wrote The Case For Christ as well as The Case For the Real Jesus and several other books) notes this is a fault.

    I’m not saying it’s not an important book. It’s just not equal to God and was never meant to be.

    But more on that later…

    A few posts up I listed some of the books I’ve written. I’d be happy to lend any of those books to you. I have some I’d recommend starting with.

    One quick note on evolution: there is such a concept as “theistic evolution”, which is what I believe to be true (by the way, Theistic evolution is even officially accepted by the Catholic Church and a growing number of Protestant Churches as well). It isn’t the same as Darwinian evolution.

  102. Barb,

    Thank you for your input. I’m about to address it, but since you mentioned Michael Thompson you reminded me of a conversation I’ve been having with Michael via email. He asked me about Google Docs (what are they?) and then also said this:

    On a side note – regarding your blog – I don’t think you’re going to lose your book deal and be shunned for speaking engagements. The people who would perceive your posting as some terrible evil wouldn’t even consider hearing you speak let alone read a book by a pornographer. It is “those Christians” that would have a problem It seems to me, those embracing XXXChurch, Shelley Lubben You and others, are more on the cutting edge culturally anyway.

    Personally, I have ten times more respect for a guy who let’s it all hang out than hides his true feelings behind a wall of “spirituality.” You should be commended for your post – and I hope my response to you demonstrated my respect for you.

    I asked him if I could post that message here because it meant a lot to me. Michael and I have been in contact since somewhere around September ’06 when he first heard “my story” through XXXChurch. He is courageous enough to document his struggles with porn on his blog:

    http://www.the-confessions-of-a-porn-addict.blogspot.com/

    I appreciate him very much.

    In order to respond to the rest of what you wrote (and what he wrote as well) I’ll open up another file in my google docs so I can once again make a few notes, as I did with Carrie, to organize my thoughts.

    But know this: my faith in God has never been stronger. I sometimes can’t understand why so many people think the Bible = God. In his latest book, even respected Christian author Lee Strobel (who wrote The Case For Christ as well as The Case For the Real Jesus and several other books) notes this is a fault.

    I’m not saying it’s not an important book. It’s just not equal to God and was never meant to be.

    But more on that later…

    A few posts up I listed some of the books I’ve written. I’d be happy to lend any of those books to you. I have some I’d recommend starting with.

    One quick note on evolution: there is such a concept as “theistic evolution”, which is what I believe to be true (by the way, Theistic evolution is even officially accepted by the Catholic Church and a growing number of Protestant Churches as well). It isn’t the same as Darwinian evolution.

  103. Daniel,

    A quick note about the human/dinosaur footprints issue… there are lots of websites that discuss the issue. Here are a few of them:

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy/paluxy.htm
    http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/creationism_footprints.HTM
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/dinos/tracks/default.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy.html

    There are dozens (if not hundreds) of sites that discuss that issue.

    Question: Have you ever researched theistic evolution?

  104. Daniel,

    A quick note about the human/dinosaur footprints issue… there are lots of websites that discuss the issue. Here are a few of them:

    http://paleo.cc/paluxy/paluxy.htm
    http://www.youdebate.com/DEBATES/creationism_footprints.HTM
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/dinos/tracks/default.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/paluxy.html

    There are dozens (if not hundreds) of sites that discuss that issue.

    Question: Have you ever researched theistic evolution?

  105. OH WOW!!! I just found an AMAZING website while searching google for a few facts that I want to use in an upcoming comment. Check this out:

    http://www.theistic-evolution.com/

    I really appreciate that site. I’d highly recommend taking the time to peruse it.

  106. OH WOW!!! I just found an AMAZING website while searching google for a few facts that I want to use in an upcoming comment. Check this out:

    http://www.theistic-evolution.com/

    I really appreciate that site. I’d highly recommend taking the time to peruse it.

  107. Hi Erin,
    Yeah, I think the parts you pulled out are the most appropriate. I just realized that this whole post and comment isn’t the dialog that it was purported to be (is that word contextually accurate? I couldn’t think of another). I’m just sorry I got sucked into it because I’m trying to stop arguing for argument’s sake.
    And with that, I take my own advice…

  108. Hi Erin,
    Yeah, I think the parts you pulled out are the most appropriate. I just realized that this whole post and comment isn’t the dialog that it was purported to be (is that word contextually accurate? I couldn’t think of another). I’m just sorry I got sucked into it because I’m trying to stop arguing for argument’s sake.
    And with that, I take my own advice…

  109. I will say this as a parting comment: I don’t think Donny is heretical. The fact that he’s willing to deal with them and still say, “Jesus is Lord” means he’s on the path God wants him to be. I think his questions are good because God and that which he blesses should be put to scrutiny. My initial question wasn’t a wrath-bearing question, but I wanted to delve into his thoughts more instead of the material backup. I think he misconstrued my intentions because, like he said, he expected wrath. And my only anger about this whole situation is two-fold: that he didn’t actually answer my question and that I expect he won’t be as dogged to argue with Carrie as he has, seemingly, with those that agree with him a whole lot more than disagree.
    Thanks

  110. I will say this as a parting comment: I don’t think Donny is heretical. The fact that he’s willing to deal with them and still say, “Jesus is Lord” means he’s on the path God wants him to be. I think his questions are good because God and that which he blesses should be put to scrutiny. My initial question wasn’t a wrath-bearing question, but I wanted to delve into his thoughts more instead of the material backup. I think he misconstrued my intentions because, like he said, he expected wrath. And my only anger about this whole situation is two-fold: that he didn’t actually answer my question and that I expect he won’t be as dogged to argue with Carrie as he has, seemingly, with those that agree with him a whole lot more than disagree.
    Thanks

  111. Not going to go into explanations but these are Christian scientists that may disagree on minor issues but generally have the same simple “LOGICAL” facts about debunking evolution. Evolution is a “RELIGION” nothing more. There is nothing factual about it!

    http://www.drdino.com
    http://www.icr.org

  112. Not going to go into explanations but these are Christian scientists that may disagree on minor issues but generally have the same simple “LOGICAL” facts about debunking evolution. Evolution is a “RELIGION” nothing more. There is nothing factual about it!

    http://www.drdino.com
    http://www.icr.org

  113. Donny,

    That still doesnt’ answer my question because basically what you are saying is you find other articles, and other authors more reliable than the Bible itself. How can you prove they are the telling the truth and are inspired by God? You can’t but you believe THEM. I dont’ get that.

    Also just somethng for you to ponder about….whats the difference between leaving the porn industry and giving your life to Christ?

    I love you
    Sandy

  114. Donny,

    That still doesnt’ answer my question because basically what you are saying is you find other articles, and other authors more reliable than the Bible itself. How can you prove they are the telling the truth and are inspired by God? You can’t but you believe THEM. I dont’ get that.

    Also just somethng for you to ponder about….whats the difference between leaving the porn industry and giving your life to Christ?

    I love you
    Sandy

  115. Sandy,

    What frustrates me is that you don’t seem to be getting what I am saying. This is illustrated by the “other authors more reliable than the Bible” comment.

    The very basics are this:

    1. When the men who wrote the letters that appear in your New Testament were alive, there was no Bible.

    2. What did the New Testament writers themselves consider to be scripture?

    3. 300 years after the Resurrection, when 318 men voted on what would make up your Bible, the Christian community was split almost 50/50 on the issue.

    4. After those 318 men made their decision, it was ordered that all other material (which had been previously considered scripture by nearly half the Christian population for 3 centuries) be destroyed. Some lost their lives over the issue (does THAT sound God-guided?) while others lost land and material possessions.

    5. #4 is historical fact

    6. Being as #4 is historical fact, I question whether or not it was really GOD or politics and power that led to the suppression of documents previously considered scripture.

    7. Those who consider the decisions of those 318 men to be God guided do so mostly because THOSE MEN claim to have been God guided, and those who didn’t agree often met with violent retribution. The tradition to accept their decision without question continues to this day.

    8. My “questioning” has to do with the claims of those 318 men. I’m not questioning God. I’m questioning THEIR claims of being guided by Him. Many of them received financial gain after making their decisions. They had motive to vote as they did.

    9. What is so scary about reading the teachings of others who actually walked with Jesus? The teachings of some of those who walked with him were suppressed by the decision of those 318 men and to this day continues to be feared, as evidenced even by comments here. Yet I’m sure even some of those getting themselves all worked up have no problem reading a book written by their pastor. Why not be open to reading books attributed to Jesus’ own disciples? Blows. My. Mind.

  116. Sandy,

    What frustrates me is that you don’t seem to be getting what I am saying. This is illustrated by the “other authors more reliable than the Bible” comment.

    The very basics are this:

    1. When the men who wrote the letters that appear in your New Testament were alive, there was no Bible.

    2. What did the New Testament writers themselves consider to be scripture?

    3. 300 years after the Resurrection, when 318 men voted on what would make up your Bible, the Christian community was split almost 50/50 on the issue.

    4. After those 318 men made their decision, it was ordered that all other material (which had been previously considered scripture by nearly half the Christian population for 3 centuries) be destroyed. Some lost their lives over the issue (does THAT sound God-guided?) while others lost land and material possessions.

    5. #4 is historical fact

    6. Being as #4 is historical fact, I question whether or not it was really GOD or politics and power that led to the suppression of documents previously considered scripture.

    7. Those who consider the decisions of those 318 men to be God guided do so mostly because THOSE MEN claim to have been God guided, and those who didn’t agree often met with violent retribution. The tradition to accept their decision without question continues to this day.

    8. My “questioning” has to do with the claims of those 318 men. I’m not questioning God. I’m questioning THEIR claims of being guided by Him. Many of them received financial gain after making their decisions. They had motive to vote as they did.

    9. What is so scary about reading the teachings of others who actually walked with Jesus? The teachings of some of those who walked with him were suppressed by the decision of those 318 men and to this day continues to be feared, as evidenced even by comments here. Yet I’m sure even some of those getting themselves all worked up have no problem reading a book written by their pastor. Why not be open to reading books attributed to Jesus’ own disciples? Blows. My. Mind.

  117. Donny,

    So basically what you are saying is that God, who is, by the way, in control of EVERYTHING, is sitting up in Heaven right now saying, “oh darn….the wrong books got put in the one book I was going to use to help people get to know me better and influence the world…now what???!!…i sure hope someone like Donny Pauling comes along and straightens this mess out.” Is that what He’s saying?…or did God get done EXACTLY what He wanted to get done to be used for His purpose.

    Thats what you have to ultimately decide for yourself. And the bottom line is you’ll believe what you want to believe no matter what the evidence shows. And if you spent as much time reading the Bible as you do everything else OTHER THAN the Bible, you might just start believing that it IS the infallible Word of God. And I hope you do that for your sake and for the sake of all the souls reading your blog. Its an emergency. 911

  118. Donny,

    So basically what you are saying is that God, who is, by the way, in control of EVERYTHING, is sitting up in Heaven right now saying, “oh darn….the wrong books got put in the one book I was going to use to help people get to know me better and influence the world…now what???!!…i sure hope someone like Donny Pauling comes along and straightens this mess out.” Is that what He’s saying?…or did God get done EXACTLY what He wanted to get done to be used for His purpose.

    Thats what you have to ultimately decide for yourself. And the bottom line is you’ll believe what you want to believe no matter what the evidence shows. And if you spent as much time reading the Bible as you do everything else OTHER THAN the Bible, you might just start believing that it IS the infallible Word of God. And I hope you do that for your sake and for the sake of all the souls reading your blog. Its an emergency. 911

  119. Sandy,

    So what you’re saying is that because Muslims accept the Koran as God’s Holy Book, that is the case as well, right?

    And because Hindus believe…

    And because Buddhists believe…

    And because…

    (do you see what I’m saying?)

    See, other people in this world believe THEY have God’s infallible word (Muslims for example). Are they right simply because they claim it to be so? I KNOW that you do not think so. Yet you believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so.

    Have you read any of the texts they left out? Have you read the opinions of the Christians from that time period who believed otherwise?

    I doubt it.

  120. Sandy,

    So what you’re saying is that because Muslims accept the Koran as God’s Holy Book, that is the case as well, right?

    And because Hindus believe…

    And because Buddhists believe…

    And because…

    (do you see what I’m saying?)

    See, other people in this world believe THEY have God’s infallible word (Muslims for example). Are they right simply because they claim it to be so? I KNOW that you do not think so. Yet you believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so.

    Have you read any of the texts they left out? Have you read the opinions of the Christians from that time period who believed otherwise?

    I doubt it.

  121. I just can’t get away. Sorry Erin. I would like to push the reset button, though, as far as I’m concerned. I thought Michael’s post was skillful, so I won’t belabor that. I really don’t think that the creation of the universe is a significant issue and didn’t even before this whole explosion. Believing what I believe about creation isn’t a condemnation on the person who believes differently.
    I want to echo what Michael said and say that I think it’s brave and awesome that he has doubts and is willing to express them and if I’ve given them impression that I didn’t think so, I am very sorry Donny. I deal with similar when I tell people that I choose to not vote. I dealt with an angry dad at church when I was praying in a group of teenagers and said, “Father, I’m sorry for the ways we suck.” So really, any wrath that you were expecting isn’t coming from me.
    I get your skepticism about the 318 people choosing what went into the Bible. If you’ll allow, I have a blog my pastor posted about the current presidential candidates and the issue of voting (pause for irony….end pause) that, I think, may answer partly to your doubts and I’d like to post

    [quote]SW has raised a question – would it be okay to “stay home” on election day? She wants to know how she can she be a good steward of her right (and responsibility) to vote in the absence of a biblically worthy candidate? Is it appropriate to vote for the “lesser of two evils” when that candidate’s position (or track-record) betrays what is right?

    I feel your pain, SW! It definitely feel likes a lose-lose situation. By staying home, you risk aiding the victory of a candidate who represents the “greater of two evils.” By voting, you oppose that outcome at the cost of your clear conscience. Aiding evil or feeling guilty – some choice!

    Is it possible we are struggling with a problem that is the product of our own misperception? Here is a rather remarkable and poignant declaration: “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” declares the Lord, “and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation” (Jer. 25:9). God’s choice is not the same as His endorsement! God’s choice of Neb to be His instrument of judgment upon Israel and her neighbors should not be construed as God’ endorsement of his character and excesses. Indeed, Daniel 4 makes it very clear how decidedly lacking God found this arrogant monarch. (On balance, there did come a point in Nebuchadnezzar’s life when he seems to have improved – cf. Dan. 4:34-37.)

    Implication: God is no less perfect in His holiness for choosing someone He DOES NOT also endorse. If God is not compromised by such a choice, then there is a valid and helpful distinction to be made between choosing and endorsing. Can I not also choose someone fit for an assignment without endorsing his character? (Caution: This principle can be pressed too far – more on that tomorrow.)

    Show me ANY candidate who is worthy of our unqualified endorsement. Our struggle with the current crop of candidates is a window into a deep hunger. We long for a leader who is the perfect manifestation of God’s holiness. We seek to elect a President of whom God would approve. That is a worthy goal and is the spirit which animates the Lord’s prayer. But I have a newsflash for you: Not gonna happen until Jesus returns. Until then, we must choose candidates who seem best capable of serving God’s interests despite the fact that there is much about them we find wanting. Don’t stay home. Make your best choice, even though it is not the perfect choice.[/quote]

    I just submit that God’s Will still worked through those people even though he did not endorse them.

  122. I just can’t get away. Sorry Erin. I would like to push the reset button, though, as far as I’m concerned. I thought Michael’s post was skillful, so I won’t belabor that. I really don’t think that the creation of the universe is a significant issue and didn’t even before this whole explosion. Believing what I believe about creation isn’t a condemnation on the person who believes differently.
    I want to echo what Michael said and say that I think it’s brave and awesome that he has doubts and is willing to express them and if I’ve given them impression that I didn’t think so, I am very sorry Donny. I deal with similar when I tell people that I choose to not vote. I dealt with an angry dad at church when I was praying in a group of teenagers and said, “Father, I’m sorry for the ways we suck.” So really, any wrath that you were expecting isn’t coming from me.
    I get your skepticism about the 318 people choosing what went into the Bible. If you’ll allow, I have a blog my pastor posted about the current presidential candidates and the issue of voting (pause for irony….end pause) that, I think, may answer partly to your doubts and I’d like to post

    [quote]SW has raised a question – would it be okay to “stay home” on election day? She wants to know how she can she be a good steward of her right (and responsibility) to vote in the absence of a biblically worthy candidate? Is it appropriate to vote for the “lesser of two evils” when that candidate’s position (or track-record) betrays what is right?

    I feel your pain, SW! It definitely feel likes a lose-lose situation. By staying home, you risk aiding the victory of a candidate who represents the “greater of two evils.” By voting, you oppose that outcome at the cost of your clear conscience. Aiding evil or feeling guilty – some choice!

    Is it possible we are struggling with a problem that is the product of our own misperception? Here is a rather remarkable and poignant declaration: “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” declares the Lord, “and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation” (Jer. 25:9). God’s choice is not the same as His endorsement! God’s choice of Neb to be His instrument of judgment upon Israel and her neighbors should not be construed as God’ endorsement of his character and excesses. Indeed, Daniel 4 makes it very clear how decidedly lacking God found this arrogant monarch. (On balance, there did come a point in Nebuchadnezzar’s life when he seems to have improved – cf. Dan. 4:34-37.)

    Implication: God is no less perfect in His holiness for choosing someone He DOES NOT also endorse. If God is not compromised by such a choice, then there is a valid and helpful distinction to be made between choosing and endorsing. Can I not also choose someone fit for an assignment without endorsing his character? (Caution: This principle can be pressed too far – more on that tomorrow.)

    Show me ANY candidate who is worthy of our unqualified endorsement. Our struggle with the current crop of candidates is a window into a deep hunger. We long for a leader who is the perfect manifestation of God’s holiness. We seek to elect a President of whom God would approve. That is a worthy goal and is the spirit which animates the Lord’s prayer. But I have a newsflash for you: Not gonna happen until Jesus returns. Until then, we must choose candidates who seem best capable of serving God’s interests despite the fact that there is much about them we find wanting. Don’t stay home. Make your best choice, even though it is not the perfect choice.[/quote]

    I just submit that God’s Will still worked through those people even though he did not endorse them.

  123. Jeff,

    This is an FYI in case you include quotes in future comments. I only say this ’cause it makes things easier to read. You can make the comments stand out in light yellow by using the following:

    Inside the brackets write the word blockquote to open the quote and then close it with /blockquote . Put that inside brackets (the < and > brackets) as I’m sure you know.

  124. Jeff,

    This is an FYI in case you include quotes in future comments. I only say this ’cause it makes things easier to read. You can make the comments stand out in light yellow by using the following:

    Inside the brackets write the word blockquote to open the quote and then close it with /blockquote . Put that inside brackets (the < and > brackets) as I’m sure you know.

  125. OK…I’m such an inten00b. Thanks 🙂

  126. OK…I’m such an inten00b. Thanks 🙂

  127. Gah…incidently, I’m having a hard time with my pastor’s blog today. Because, really, I don’t want to have to bother voting, either. And I thought I was pretty justified in my decision Biblically (which I won’t get into here). And now I’m getting worked hard by it.

  128. Gah…incidently, I’m having a hard time with my pastor’s blog today. Because, really, I don’t want to have to bother voting, either. And I thought I was pretty justified in my decision Biblically (which I won’t get into here). And now I’m getting worked hard by it.

  129. 10 Reason’s why I’m Thankful for the God Breathed Bible by John Piper

    1.The Bible awakens faith, the source of all obedience.
    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

    2.The Bible frees from sin.
    You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)

    3.The Bible frees from Satan
    The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

    4.The Bible sanctifies.
    Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

    5.The Bible frees from corruption and empowers godliness.
    His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

    6.The Bible serves to love.
    And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment. (Philippians 1:9)
    But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

    7.The Bible saves.
    Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
    [They will] perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

    8.The Bible gives joy.
    These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)

    9.The Bible reveals the Lord. And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:21)

    10.Therefore, the Bible is the foundation of my happy home and life and ministry and hope of eternity with God.

    One more that I might add….the Bible is the sword of truth in spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:17) A very important tool needed in battle. Without it you are DOOMED. So if we can’t trust that its God’s infallible word than we can’t trust anything. Not even the fact that God has already provided us with everything we need in order to win. I’ll take my chances with the Word of God, over anything else anyday! I’m a witness to what it’s done in my life.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  130. 10 Reason’s why I’m Thankful for the God Breathed Bible by John Piper

    1.The Bible awakens faith, the source of all obedience.
    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

    2.The Bible frees from sin.
    You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)

    3.The Bible frees from Satan
    The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

    4.The Bible sanctifies.
    Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

    5.The Bible frees from corruption and empowers godliness.
    His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

    6.The Bible serves to love.
    And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment. (Philippians 1:9)
    But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

    7.The Bible saves.
    Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
    [They will] perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

    8.The Bible gives joy.
    These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)

    9.The Bible reveals the Lord. And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. (1 Samuel 3:21)

    10.Therefore, the Bible is the foundation of my happy home and life and ministry and hope of eternity with God.

    One more that I might add….the Bible is the sword of truth in spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:17) A very important tool needed in battle. Without it you are DOOMED. So if we can’t trust that its God’s infallible word than we can’t trust anything. Not even the fact that God has already provided us with everything we need in order to win. I’ll take my chances with the Word of God, over anything else anyday! I’m a witness to what it’s done in my life.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  131. Hi Sandy,
    I do get where Donny is saying that trying to prove the Bible by providing more Bible is a circular argument, so looking at it from the outside in, I get how the above isn’t exactly a proof. My contention is that the Bible has been accurately and reasonably handed down through time (though people God chose) to still represent him and his character.

  132. Hi Sandy,
    I do get where Donny is saying that trying to prove the Bible by providing more Bible is a circular argument, so looking at it from the outside in, I get how the above isn’t exactly a proof. My contention is that the Bible has been accurately and reasonably handed down through time (though people God chose) to still represent him and his character.

  133. Who here is familiar with the term “dittoheads”? I think many spiritual dittoheads exist.

    The term is also used pejoratively by critics of Rush Limbaugh, who claim that his listeners simply copy his political views without any independent thought.

  134. Who here is familiar with the term “dittoheads”? I think many spiritual dittoheads exist.

    The term is also used pejoratively by critics of Rush Limbaugh, who claim that his listeners simply copy his political views without any independent thought.

  135. I have a question, Donny: Concerning #4 above.

    I know of some of the “gospels” not included in the NT, such as Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Judas (?) – I know I’m showing my ignorance here – but what books were OT ones that were eliminated? I also have difficulty understanding your statement “..Previously considered scripture by nearly half of the Christian population for 3 centuries.” ????

    VOTE fellas!!!!! The least that could happen is say “I sure didn’t vote to put that person in office!!”

  136. I have a question, Donny: Concerning #4 above.

    I know of some of the “gospels” not included in the NT, such as Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Judas (?) – I know I’m showing my ignorance here – but what books were OT ones that were eliminated? I also have difficulty understanding your statement “..Previously considered scripture by nearly half of the Christian population for 3 centuries.” ????

    VOTE fellas!!!!! The least that could happen is say “I sure didn’t vote to put that person in office!!”

  137. Donny,

    You just judged me. Shame on you. You made an assumption based on what you THINK you know about me, rather than the facts. You just said you doubt I’ve read anything outside of Christianity. I’m taking offense to that. You’re very WRONG! I’ve even gone further than that….i’m engaged to someone who was alot like you. He’s studied every religion in the book, was even in the porn industry, he once owned a Hare Krishna temple. get the picture? I battled him, the same way I’m battling you. Today, he’s a brand new person in Christ. What it all comes down to is: Jesus. And Yes…on this blog….in open forum…I will say Muslims do NOT have the infallible word of God. WHY? Because of Jesus. They don’t believe Jesus was diety. They believe He was a man, just like Adam. A prophet to be respected. Someone on the same level as Muhammad. maybe you believe that as well. That’s your choice. But let me just say that any book that doesn’t proclaim that Jesus is the true son of God, isn’t God’s word….its someone else’s. Think about it.

    Ask yourself these questions: whats the difference between leaving the porn industry and giving your life to Christ? Whats the difference between being spiritual and being filled with the Spirit? There is a VERY BIG difference. Seek it out. That’s what you should be researching.

    Two paths…ONE WAY. Please make sure you’re on the right one.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  138. Donny,

    You just judged me. Shame on you. You made an assumption based on what you THINK you know about me, rather than the facts. You just said you doubt I’ve read anything outside of Christianity. I’m taking offense to that. You’re very WRONG! I’ve even gone further than that….i’m engaged to someone who was alot like you. He’s studied every religion in the book, was even in the porn industry, he once owned a Hare Krishna temple. get the picture? I battled him, the same way I’m battling you. Today, he’s a brand new person in Christ. What it all comes down to is: Jesus. And Yes…on this blog….in open forum…I will say Muslims do NOT have the infallible word of God. WHY? Because of Jesus. They don’t believe Jesus was diety. They believe He was a man, just like Adam. A prophet to be respected. Someone on the same level as Muhammad. maybe you believe that as well. That’s your choice. But let me just say that any book that doesn’t proclaim that Jesus is the true son of God, isn’t God’s word….its someone else’s. Think about it.

    Ask yourself these questions: whats the difference between leaving the porn industry and giving your life to Christ? Whats the difference between being spiritual and being filled with the Spirit? There is a VERY BIG difference. Seek it out. That’s what you should be researching.

    Two paths…ONE WAY. Please make sure you’re on the right one.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  139. Yeah, but Donny, is there an opposite to dittohead? Because it seems like you’re reacting to us as automatically opposed and without any rational thought. Or that you think that we are automatically swallowing everything we’re told like sheep, that you don’t think we HAVE done the due dilligence. So, honestly, it seems like the close-mindedness is on your side as well.
    Speaking of…I’m listening to Hannity because it’s part of my job and haaaaaaaaaaaaating it.

  140. And calling people a “dittohead” isnt very Godly of you DOnny. Did you find any name calling in my comments?

    Case closed!

  141. Yeah, but Donny, is there an opposite to dittohead? Because it seems like you’re reacting to us as automatically opposed and without any rational thought. Or that you think that we are automatically swallowing everything we’re told like sheep, that you don’t think we HAVE done the due dilligence. So, honestly, it seems like the close-mindedness is on your side as well.
    Speaking of…I’m listening to Hannity because it’s part of my job and haaaaaaaaaaaaating it.

  142. And calling people a “dittohead” isnt very Godly of you DOnny. Did you find any name calling in my comments?

    Case closed!

  143. Jean,
    If you pick up a Catholic Bible (or the Bible with the Apocrypha), it may help you out. Let’s see…

    1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
    2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
    Tobit
    Judith
    Rest of Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24)
    Wisdom
    Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach)
    Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (all part of Vulgate Baruch)
    Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
    Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13)
    The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14)
    Prayer of Manasses
    1 Maccabees
    2 Maccabees

    That’s the list I got from wiki. I have one at home and it’s interesting to read. The Maccabees actually detail the origins of the Hannukah tradition (I know, I screwed up the spelling).

  144. Jean,
    If you pick up a Catholic Bible (or the Bible with the Apocrypha), it may help you out. Let’s see…

    1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
    2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
    Tobit
    Judith
    Rest of Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24)
    Wisdom
    Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach)
    Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (all part of Vulgate Baruch)
    Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
    Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13)
    The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14)
    Prayer of Manasses
    1 Maccabees
    2 Maccabees

    That’s the list I got from wiki. I have one at home and it’s interesting to read. The Maccabees actually detail the origins of the Hannukah tradition (I know, I screwed up the spelling).

  145. Your words…. “Yet you believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so. ”

    Let me just clarify the above statement for you Donny because you apparently didn’t read very clearly what I said…….I NEVER said in any of my comments that I believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so….I said I believe that God WAS and IS still in control of everything and that what HE wants done will get done whether we participate in it or not. See, God doesn’t NEED us for anything, He WANTS us…thats the beauty of the God we serve. So even if, some Godly men didn’t show up to the “Bible “meeting for whatever reason, God still made sure the books HE wanted to be used to impact the world got put in and those He didn’t want, got left out. And by the way, it has impacted the world more so than any other book…..Only GOD can do that.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  146. Your words…. “Yet you believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so. ”

    Let me just clarify the above statement for you Donny because you apparently didn’t read very clearly what I said…….I NEVER said in any of my comments that I believe a group of 318 men made the right choice because THEY said so….I said I believe that God WAS and IS still in control of everything and that what HE wants done will get done whether we participate in it or not. See, God doesn’t NEED us for anything, He WANTS us…thats the beauty of the God we serve. So even if, some Godly men didn’t show up to the “Bible “meeting for whatever reason, God still made sure the books HE wanted to be used to impact the world got put in and those He didn’t want, got left out. And by the way, it has impacted the world more so than any other book…..Only GOD can do that.

    I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    Love in Christ
    Sandy

  147. Sandy,

    SO because those 318 men voted on what to include, that MUST mean God wanted it that way, huh?

    So because God is in control of everything (how much thought and study have you given on the concept of “free will” by the way?) I have a question for you: why, do you personally think, there is a Koran? Does God want it to exist?

    BY THE WAY:
    Sandy, I blocked you from contacting me on myspace (and you know why I did so) but have not yet done so with this particular “nickname” you’re using to post comments here. Believe me, I’ve known it is you. I have a stats program on this site that tells me the IP address of all who post, and knew it was you before approving your first comment.

    Remain nice, and you are free to stay and participate in the discussion. But if you once again begin pulling the garbage you’ve pulled on me, XXXChurch, and XXXChurch staff I’ll have to ban you again. I simply don’t have time to deal with that.

  148. Sandy,

    SO because those 318 men voted on what to include, that MUST mean God wanted it that way, huh?

    So because God is in control of everything (how much thought and study have you given on the concept of “free will” by the way?) I have a question for you: why, do you personally think, there is a Koran? Does God want it to exist?

    BY THE WAY:
    Sandy, I blocked you from contacting me on myspace (and you know why I did so) but have not yet done so with this particular “nickname” you’re using to post comments here. Believe me, I’ve known it is you. I have a stats program on this site that tells me the IP address of all who post, and knew it was you before approving your first comment.

    Remain nice, and you are free to stay and participate in the discussion. But if you once again begin pulling the garbage you’ve pulled on me, XXXChurch, and XXXChurch staff I’ll have to ban you again. I simply don’t have time to deal with that.

  149. Jeff: Wow, very interesting. Thanks! I’d like to know why these were not considered “inspired,” but I’m sure I don’t have the time, brain capacity, or interest (that’s strong enough) to research that now. This discussion has tired me out way too much!

    Then, “half the Christians” could mean mainly half the Catholic population who were the only ones able to read, teach, or proclaim God’s word to the other half or the heathens?? Me thinks that probably isn’t the most clear statement, Donny.

    What concerns me is the tone of this discussion and the conclusions unbelievers might get from it. “Those Christians are ALWAYS fighting amongst themselves – proves my point they are all a bunch of…”

    I read Dr. Joshua Zorn’s earnest testimony, Donny, and his point was exactly mine! He so stressed humility, love, and patience in presenting our beliefs to the unbelievers or in teaching our own in evangelizing. Calling names or insinuating people believe “ignorant trash” is NOT included in this behavior. Hopefully, this is part of your learning curve…

  150. Jeff: Wow, very interesting. Thanks! I’d like to know why these were not considered “inspired,” but I’m sure I don’t have the time, brain capacity, or interest (that’s strong enough) to research that now. This discussion has tired me out way too much!

    Then, “half the Christians” could mean mainly half the Catholic population who were the only ones able to read, teach, or proclaim God’s word to the other half or the heathens?? Me thinks that probably isn’t the most clear statement, Donny.

    What concerns me is the tone of this discussion and the conclusions unbelievers might get from it. “Those Christians are ALWAYS fighting amongst themselves – proves my point they are all a bunch of…”

    I read Dr. Joshua Zorn’s earnest testimony, Donny, and his point was exactly mine! He so stressed humility, love, and patience in presenting our beliefs to the unbelievers or in teaching our own in evangelizing. Calling names or insinuating people believe “ignorant trash” is NOT included in this behavior. Hopefully, this is part of your learning curve…

  151. What concerns me is the tone of this discussion and the conclusions unbelievers might get from it. “Those Christians are ALWAYS fighting amongst themselves – proves my point they are all a bunch of…”

    (I hope I did that right)

    Jean: A friend of mine who was a philosophy major once told me something that I think was very profound. He said that the way Satan works is he creates disunity. The first disunity was, of course, separation between us and God. Then, you look at believers and there’s disunity between beliefs (hence the creation of denominations) and even smaller, you have disunity from person to person (like the thing I mentioned earlier with me and the angry dad). And it does a great job because those who don’t believe look at the arguing instead of what would unify us and go, “Why bother?”

  152. What concerns me is the tone of this discussion and the conclusions unbelievers might get from it. “Those Christians are ALWAYS fighting amongst themselves – proves my point they are all a bunch of…”

    (I hope I did that right)

    Jean: A friend of mine who was a philosophy major once told me something that I think was very profound. He said that the way Satan works is he creates disunity. The first disunity was, of course, separation between us and God. Then, you look at believers and there’s disunity between beliefs (hence the creation of denominations) and even smaller, you have disunity from person to person (like the thing I mentioned earlier with me and the angry dad). And it does a great job because those who don’t believe look at the arguing instead of what would unify us and go, “Why bother?”

  153. Jean,

    See response to you from Jeff.

    As for this:

    I also have difficulty understanding your statement “..Previously considered scripture by nearly half of the Christian population for 3 centuries.” ????

    I’ll clarify:
    There was a lot of “scripture” circulating amongst believers. Some very Godly, Christian men and women were at odds with each other over what was “right teaching” and what was not. The divide was almost 50/50. The Bible you have today reflects the side whose opinions eventually won. Others thought more writings should have been included. But their opinions did not win… their “side” did not win. Although they were quite Godly men and women, some of them were killed over these disagreements. Some of them had property taken from them. The “heretical” writings were ordered destroyed.

    Heresy is not a scary word, Jean. Look it up in the dictionary or type this into google:

    Define: heresy (that’s a neat little trick built into google by the way. If you type the word define: followed by whatever you wish to define, google becomes your dictionary)

    All it means is this: “any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position”. Basically, anything those 318 men ultimately voted to exclude “goes against” their decision, and is heretical. That DOES NOT mean “sinful”.

    Unfortunately, many of those early Christian scriptures were ultimately destroyed. SOME of them remained and have since been revealed to us. Some of the bishops who didn’t agree with the 318 bishops that met in Nicaea began burying their “heretical” documents in the hopes that someday God would bring them to light.

    In my opinion, you should already know this Jean. The church needs to be teaching this type of history so we’re ALL aware of it, regardless of whether or not we agree.

  154. Jean,

    See response to you from Jeff.

    As for this:

    I also have difficulty understanding your statement “..Previously considered scripture by nearly half of the Christian population for 3 centuries.” ????

    I’ll clarify:
    There was a lot of “scripture” circulating amongst believers. Some very Godly, Christian men and women were at odds with each other over what was “right teaching” and what was not. The divide was almost 50/50. The Bible you have today reflects the side whose opinions eventually won. Others thought more writings should have been included. But their opinions did not win… their “side” did not win. Although they were quite Godly men and women, some of them were killed over these disagreements. Some of them had property taken from them. The “heretical” writings were ordered destroyed.

    Heresy is not a scary word, Jean. Look it up in the dictionary or type this into google:

    Define: heresy (that’s a neat little trick built into google by the way. If you type the word define: followed by whatever you wish to define, google becomes your dictionary)

    All it means is this: “any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position”. Basically, anything those 318 men ultimately voted to exclude “goes against” their decision, and is heretical. That DOES NOT mean “sinful”.

    Unfortunately, many of those early Christian scriptures were ultimately destroyed. SOME of them remained and have since been revealed to us. Some of the bishops who didn’t agree with the 318 bishops that met in Nicaea began burying their “heretical” documents in the hopes that someday God would bring them to light.

    In my opinion, you should already know this Jean. The church needs to be teaching this type of history so we’re ALL aware of it, regardless of whether or not we agree.

  155. SO because those 318 men voted on what to include, that MUST mean God wanted it that way, huh?

    Well, let me ask…do you think that God is incapable of working through those men to get in the Bible what he wanted?

  156. SO because those 318 men voted on what to include, that MUST mean God wanted it that way, huh?

    Well, let me ask…do you think that God is incapable of working through those men to get in the Bible what he wanted?

  157. Well, let me ask…do you think that God is incapable of working through those men to get in the Bible what he wanted?

    I’m gonna have to keep repeating myself, saying the same things with the words rearranged in different ways, I guess.

    You do realize that there was no “Bible” for 300 years after the resurrection, right? There were many different writings that were teachings of Jesus’ disciples/apostles.

    People decided to incorporate some of those writings into one book and name it the ultimate, God inspired, infallible “word of God” as if that would create unity.

    Again:
    You do realize that there was no “Bible” for 300 years after the resurrection, right? There were many different writings that were teachings of Jesus’ disciples/apostles.

    The disagreements about those teachings started RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING.

    Again, incorporating SOME of those writings into a book we call the Bible was MAN’S attempt to bring unity amongst so much disagreement.

    Constantine called the council of Nicaea because he was very disappointed that no unity existed amongst Christians. He had recently become a new Christian and had always been under the assumption that Christians were united. When he found out otherwise he convened the Nicene Council and invited 1,800 bishops to “duke it out” and come to a resolution. Only 318 of those 1,800 showed up. Those 318 decided to create the Bible.

    Is it possible that is what God wanted? Absolutely. Is it possible that is what MAN wanted? Absolutely. I think most lean toward that FIRST possibility simply because it has been tradition to do so for centuries. I doubt many Christians even know the history behind all of this.

    Why not read some of the other writings and decide for yourself if they shed any more light?

  158. Well, let me ask…do you think that God is incapable of working through those men to get in the Bible what he wanted?

    I’m gonna have to keep repeating myself, saying the same things with the words rearranged in different ways, I guess.

    You do realize that there was no “Bible” for 300 years after the resurrection, right? There were many different writings that were teachings of Jesus’ disciples/apostles.

    People decided to incorporate some of those writings into one book and name it the ultimate, God inspired, infallible “word of God” as if that would create unity.

    Again:
    You do realize that there was no “Bible” for 300 years after the resurrection, right? There were many different writings that were teachings of Jesus’ disciples/apostles.

    The disagreements about those teachings started RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING.

    Again, incorporating SOME of those writings into a book we call the Bible was MAN’S attempt to bring unity amongst so much disagreement.

    Constantine called the council of Nicaea because he was very disappointed that no unity existed amongst Christians. He had recently become a new Christian and had always been under the assumption that Christians were united. When he found out otherwise he convened the Nicene Council and invited 1,800 bishops to “duke it out” and come to a resolution. Only 318 of those 1,800 showed up. Those 318 decided to create the Bible.

    Is it possible that is what God wanted? Absolutely. Is it possible that is what MAN wanted? Absolutely. I think most lean toward that FIRST possibility simply because it has been tradition to do so for centuries. I doubt many Christians even know the history behind all of this.

    Why not read some of the other writings and decide for yourself if they shed any more light?

  159. TO CARRIE, WHEN YOU RETURN TO READ THIS AFTER YOUR COMPANY LEAVES:

    I’m sorry this has taken a turn into discussions on Christian doctrine. I’m sure this isn’t something you’re unfamiliar with, having read your background in Christianity.

    I’m also sure you’re smart enough to realize that even if all of us are full of crap on our “theology” in regards to Christianity, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence of God.

    The existence of God is sovereign to our understanding of Him, or whether or not we all agree on the “rules” of encountering Him.

    🙂

  160. TO CARRIE, WHEN YOU RETURN TO READ THIS AFTER YOUR COMPANY LEAVES:

    I’m sorry this has taken a turn into discussions on Christian doctrine. I’m sure this isn’t something you’re unfamiliar with, having read your background in Christianity.

    I’m also sure you’re smart enough to realize that even if all of us are full of crap on our “theology” in regards to Christianity, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence of God.

    The existence of God is sovereign to our understanding of Him, or whether or not we all agree on the “rules” of encountering Him.

    🙂

  161. Why do you continue to present this like we’re at odds, like I’m persecuting you? And have I not shown that I might have a little more knowledge than the “many Christians” you’ve made mention of?

    My wife freaks out when I’m driving. She’s a bad side-seat driver. And occasionally, especially when I’m backing up and she yells, “WATCH OUT FOR THAT CAR!!” And after, I’ll ask her, “Did you not think that I would’ve seen it?” And she’ll respond, “It’s not that…I just don’t trust the other guy.” The thing is, it doesn’t matter what the other guy does. I see him and I’m prepared to handle whatever happens.

    I make mention of it because it sounds similar to what you’re saying. “It’s not God…I just don’t trust the men.” And I completely agree with you that they shouldn’t be trusted. But I trust God and I know that he sees what’s happening and is prepared to handle whatever happens. And he’s actually done it with the Bible, too. You know that the very original King James Version was significantly altered, even with Exodus saying, “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery”? But it’s a footnote in history because it was taken care of. By men, but because God will have his will done.

  162. Why do you continue to present this like we’re at odds, like I’m persecuting you? And have I not shown that I might have a little more knowledge than the “many Christians” you’ve made mention of?

    My wife freaks out when I’m driving. She’s a bad side-seat driver. And occasionally, especially when I’m backing up and she yells, “WATCH OUT FOR THAT CAR!!” And after, I’ll ask her, “Did you not think that I would’ve seen it?” And she’ll respond, “It’s not that…I just don’t trust the other guy.” The thing is, it doesn’t matter what the other guy does. I see him and I’m prepared to handle whatever happens.

    I make mention of it because it sounds similar to what you’re saying. “It’s not God…I just don’t trust the men.” And I completely agree with you that they shouldn’t be trusted. But I trust God and I know that he sees what’s happening and is prepared to handle whatever happens. And he’s actually done it with the Bible, too. You know that the very original King James Version was significantly altered, even with Exodus saying, “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery”? But it’s a footnote in history because it was taken care of. By men, but because God will have his will done.

  163. Dear Jeff,

    Perhaps the time has come for God to correct yet another man made mistake by bringing to our attention that there is more information for us to consider, and not just the traditions we’ve accepted for the last 1,700 years. Is that an option?

    After all, God’s timeline is not the same as ours. 1,700 years means nothing to him.

    Even so, if those reading really believe John 3:16 I’m sure they’ll note that Jesus is NOT quoted as saying, “Whosoever believes in me and accepts the decisions of the council that will convene in Nicaea more than 300 years from now as being the infallible word of me, will not perish…”

    That’s quite fortunate for Doubting Donny, eh?

  164. Dear Jeff,

    Perhaps the time has come for God to correct yet another man made mistake by bringing to our attention that there is more information for us to consider, and not just the traditions we’ve accepted for the last 1,700 years. Is that an option?

    After all, God’s timeline is not the same as ours. 1,700 years means nothing to him.

    Even so, if those reading really believe John 3:16 I’m sure they’ll note that Jesus is NOT quoted as saying, “Whosoever believes in me and accepts the decisions of the council that will convene in Nicaea more than 300 years from now as being the infallible word of me, will not perish…”

    That’s quite fortunate for Doubting Donny, eh?

  165. I trust that God can AND WILL work through men to make that happen if he wants it to happen. I trust that the Bible is how he wants it to be now. I trust that God is constant so his word will be constant. And I trust that anything that I read that points to him will be honored.

  166. I trust that God can AND WILL work through men to make that happen if he wants it to happen. I trust that the Bible is how he wants it to be now. I trust that God is constant so his word will be constant. And I trust that anything that I read that points to him will be honored.

  167. And by “I trust that the Bible is how he wants it to be now, ” I mean that at this moment in time, the Bible is exactly how he wants it to be. But I can’t edit, so…;)

  168. And by “I trust that the Bible is how he wants it to be now, ” I mean that at this moment in time, the Bible is exactly how he wants it to be. But I can’t edit, so…;)

  169. And by the way, I know you will be honored because you also point to him.

    One question I have: do you think that the Bible is inspired by God but that there are other documents that weren’t included also inspired by God? Or is it that you just think all of it is just men reflecting and that God’s not inspiring any of it?

  170. And by the way, I know you will be honored because you also point to him.

    One question I have: do you think that the Bible is inspired by God but that there are other documents that weren’t included also inspired by God? Or is it that you just think all of it is just men reflecting and that God’s not inspiring any of it?

  171. That may have been an oversimplification.

    And as an aside….how does a rookie QB get 35M guaranteed?!

  172. That may have been an oversimplification.

    And as an aside….how does a rookie QB get 35M guaranteed?!

  173. Donny, ever heard of “Providence”? Dr. G’s Daniel series is perfect to understanding the providence of God throughout history!

    Of course you can question all you want. I think by casting “doubts” on the Bible, though, is causing much more harm than good for the unbeliever. And it does disrupt the unity of the Body of Jesus.

  174. Donny, ever heard of “Providence”? Dr. G’s Daniel series is perfect to understanding the providence of God throughout history!

    Of course you can question all you want. I think by casting “doubts” on the Bible, though, is causing much more harm than good for the unbeliever. And it does disrupt the unity of the Body of Jesus.

  175. Inspired by God? Undoubtedly.

    What is your understanding of what it means to be “inspired by” someone or something? For example, I’ve seen books and movies that have been “inspired by actual events”.

    And, yes, I do believe there are many documents and books that have been inspired by God. I think Blue LIke Jazz by Donald Miller was inspired by God, for example.

    I don’t think God has finished “inspiring” people.

    This might seem random:
    There are so many comments now that I will admit that I haven’t looked, and am just asking this: were you the one who asked if I thought creation was finished and now simply in “maintenance” mode? Because the answer to that is, “absolutely not”. Scientists, including Christian scientists, say there is a new star born every minute. I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the creation process is still in progress.

  176. Inspired by God? Undoubtedly.

    What is your understanding of what it means to be “inspired by” someone or something? For example, I’ve seen books and movies that have been “inspired by actual events”.

    And, yes, I do believe there are many documents and books that have been inspired by God. I think Blue LIke Jazz by Donald Miller was inspired by God, for example.

    I don’t think God has finished “inspiring” people.

    This might seem random:
    There are so many comments now that I will admit that I haven’t looked, and am just asking this: were you the one who asked if I thought creation was finished and now simply in “maintenance” mode? Because the answer to that is, “absolutely not”. Scientists, including Christian scientists, say there is a new star born every minute. I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that the creation process is still in progress.

  177. Well, by inspired in this context, I mean God divinely using the person to accurately convey his character through their words.

    I think that people are still inspired, too, but in that context, it’s more like what others refer to as “being called.” You were inspired to write this blog, even back in the porn days and look how God has used it. I’ve been inspired even today to really look at the issue of voting. Speaking of writing, I think Deadline by Randy Alcorn was inspired, for example. So yeah, I definitely think that people are still inspired by God…I just think that it’s a different dynamic now.

    And yeah, that was me that said it and I think I said that badly. I just don’t get how they say a new star is born every minute if the light from one takes years to get here. If that were the case, wouldn’t we have more light in the night sky? Just thinkin….

  178. Well, by inspired in this context, I mean God divinely using the person to accurately convey his character through their words.

    I think that people are still inspired, too, but in that context, it’s more like what others refer to as “being called.” You were inspired to write this blog, even back in the porn days and look how God has used it. I’ve been inspired even today to really look at the issue of voting. Speaking of writing, I think Deadline by Randy Alcorn was inspired, for example. So yeah, I definitely think that people are still inspired by God…I just think that it’s a different dynamic now.

    And yeah, that was me that said it and I think I said that badly. I just don’t get how they say a new star is born every minute if the light from one takes years to get here. If that were the case, wouldn’t we have more light in the night sky? Just thinkin….

  179. My understanding of “inspired” is God-breathed – God originated, not just using God’s gift of “inspiration” to us.

  180. My understanding of “inspired” is God-breathed – God originated, not just using God’s gift of “inspiration” to us.

  181. whoa. when i first wrote that i didn’t think your piece was “heretical,” i really did believe that people would be more accepting of the questions you posed and less critical. I guess I just figured there’d be more Christians who’d have wondered what you asked. My opinion is still that God would encourage us to question what we see and hear in our search to know Him better. And why not question? Okay, I don’t think athiests are going to look at us and say, “Wow, those people don’t disagree…I don’t want any part of that.” I think any intelligent person–athiest or not–understands that groupthink (the distortion of reality testing and suspension of critical thinking which can occur in highly cohesive teams) is much scarier than a big group of intelligent people voicing a few disagreements. We all love God. We all claim to be saved. And Donny and others have just opened discussion to the POSSIBILITY of human error in the historical development of the RELIGION we call Christianity. No human error in God, obviously. I’m no expert, I’m just saying.

  182. whoa. when i first wrote that i didn’t think your piece was “heretical,” i really did believe that people would be more accepting of the questions you posed and less critical. I guess I just figured there’d be more Christians who’d have wondered what you asked. My opinion is still that God would encourage us to question what we see and hear in our search to know Him better. And why not question? Okay, I don’t think athiests are going to look at us and say, “Wow, those people don’t disagree…I don’t want any part of that.” I think any intelligent person–athiest or not–understands that groupthink (the distortion of reality testing and suspension of critical thinking which can occur in highly cohesive teams) is much scarier than a big group of intelligent people voicing a few disagreements. We all love God. We all claim to be saved. And Donny and others have just opened discussion to the POSSIBILITY of human error in the historical development of the RELIGION we call Christianity. No human error in God, obviously. I’m no expert, I’m just saying.

  183. I don’t have time to read all the posts right now, but just want to make two comments. One of Jeff’s posts sounded like he thought Donny used to be an atheist. As far as I know, Donny has never actually been an atheist. (Am I right, Donny?)

    I was thinking about someone’s comment about what the writers of the Bible considered to be scripture, and here is an interesting verse from 2nd Peter chapter 3 verses 15 and 16- “…account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also THE REST OF THE SCRIPTURES.”
    To me this says that Peter considered Paul’s writings to be scriptures. And of course Paul wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament.

  184. I don’t have time to read all the posts right now, but just want to make two comments. One of Jeff’s posts sounded like he thought Donny used to be an atheist. As far as I know, Donny has never actually been an atheist. (Am I right, Donny?)

    I was thinking about someone’s comment about what the writers of the Bible considered to be scripture, and here is an interesting verse from 2nd Peter chapter 3 verses 15 and 16- “…account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also THE REST OF THE SCRIPTURES.”
    To me this says that Peter considered Paul’s writings to be scriptures. And of course Paul wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament.

  185. Nancy,

    There were a few weeks scattered here and there where I TRIED to convince myself I was an atheist. But I like facts, and the facts of life point to God. So, no, I’d say I was never an atheist.

    In fact, in the middle of porn production there were times I felt closer to God than I’d ever felt prior.

  186. Nancy,

    There were a few weeks scattered here and there where I TRIED to convince myself I was an atheist. But I like facts, and the facts of life point to God. So, no, I’d say I was never an atheist.

    In fact, in the middle of porn production there were times I felt closer to God than I’d ever felt prior.

  187. I didn’t mean to imply that. I recently said that Donny chose to do this blog even when he was still in porn. Yeah, I remember reading back when XXXChurch first contacted Donny and reading his blog, it sounded more like a guy trying to convince himself there was no God than a God who knew there wasn’t. (Carrie’s post sounded more than a little similar) So forgive me if I was even getting close to that implication.

  188. I didn’t mean to imply that. I recently said that Donny chose to do this blog even when he was still in porn. Yeah, I remember reading back when XXXChurch first contacted Donny and reading his blog, it sounded more like a guy trying to convince himself there was no God than a God who knew there wasn’t. (Carrie’s post sounded more than a little similar) So forgive me if I was even getting close to that implication.

  189. I didn’t say I thought I Bible was equal to God I just said I believe it was put together by God. If if the men deicding upon the books of the Bible disagreed and had “problems” I believe God still used them to accomplish His purpose. He uses us to accomplish His purposes and sometimes we’re a pretty sorry lot.
    All the books in the world could not contain everything there is to know about God.

    Also, I am doubting your faith in God.
    Cya,
    Barb

  190. I didn’t say I thought I Bible was equal to God I just said I believe it was put together by God. If if the men deicding upon the books of the Bible disagreed and had “problems” I believe God still used them to accomplish His purpose. He uses us to accomplish His purposes and sometimes we’re a pretty sorry lot.
    All the books in the world could not contain everything there is to know about God.

    Also, I am doubting your faith in God.
    Cya,
    Barb

  191. Donny, I should have proof read my last entry more thoroughly. That was totally a typo in that I meant to say that I am NOT doubting your faith in God. In your reply to my first comment on this blog you said your faith in God has never been stronger and I just wanted you to know that I was not doubting that. Sorry for the error. 😦
    Barb

  192. Donny, I should have proof read my last entry more thoroughly. That was totally a typo in that I meant to say that I am NOT doubting your faith in God. In your reply to my first comment on this blog you said your faith in God has never been stronger and I just wanted you to know that I was not doubting that. Sorry for the error. 😦
    Barb

  193. Donny.
    Any person who does not have or has not had a doubt is deceiving themselves. The difference is that you have chosen to “process” this info on the public side of life, the internet.

    With that, everyone will want to arm chair you into respectful and “right” thinking. However, “right” thinking is to process, think, meditate, and prayerfully test God in these things.

    Lastly, bravo. Bravo to the ability to admit doubts. For it is not doubts that confuse. That is a part of the process of growth. M Scott Peck calls this the “letting go” phase and fearfully and FAITHFULLY being willing and ready to serve God EVEN if as yet to all click and rationally pan out. Thus faith.

    He describes the first and most elementary level of faith to be DOGMA. Much of what was flamed at you was coming from the DOGMA camp that is populated by those who are fearfully of entertaining a doubt, thinking that their faith will crumble.

    Second, the QUESTIONING phase. You simple let go of DOGMA and let questions fly. What if this? What if that? What if the scriptures are not inerrant? Can they still be infallible.

    Third, LETTING GO of ritual, religion, and rights. Its simply saying, “God, nothing else matters. I love you and it will pan out as You reveal Yourself to me.

    This liberty leads to a final step into the SPIRITUAL OR MYSTERIES OF GOD. Jewish Mystic Abraham Heschel calls it the MYSTICS of GOD. In that, contradictions become clarirty. Confusion brings calm. Peace rules over everything is “mindset that SURPASSES UNDERSTANDING.”

    Much love.
    Now get down here to Sac.

    Jas

  194. Donny.
    Any person who does not have or has not had a doubt is deceiving themselves. The difference is that you have chosen to “process” this info on the public side of life, the internet.

    With that, everyone will want to arm chair you into respectful and “right” thinking. However, “right” thinking is to process, think, meditate, and prayerfully test God in these things.

    Lastly, bravo. Bravo to the ability to admit doubts. For it is not doubts that confuse. That is a part of the process of growth. M Scott Peck calls this the “letting go” phase and fearfully and FAITHFULLY being willing and ready to serve God EVEN if as yet to all click and rationally pan out. Thus faith.

    He describes the first and most elementary level of faith to be DOGMA. Much of what was flamed at you was coming from the DOGMA camp that is populated by those who are fearfully of entertaining a doubt, thinking that their faith will crumble.

    Second, the QUESTIONING phase. You simple let go of DOGMA and let questions fly. What if this? What if that? What if the scriptures are not inerrant? Can they still be infallible.

    Third, LETTING GO of ritual, religion, and rights. Its simply saying, “God, nothing else matters. I love you and it will pan out as You reveal Yourself to me.

    This liberty leads to a final step into the SPIRITUAL OR MYSTERIES OF GOD. Jewish Mystic Abraham Heschel calls it the MYSTICS of GOD. In that, contradictions become clarirty. Confusion brings calm. Peace rules over everything is “mindset that SURPASSES UNDERSTANDING.”

    Much love.
    Now get down here to Sac.

    Jas

  195. Donny,

    Don’t worry. I’ve never had a problem separating God from believers. In fact, I think it’s silly that anyone is worrying about having a unified front against non-believers. I am quite suspicious of any group that has a unified thought on matters as huge as God. That’s why I think naturalism and science are so appealing– all the room for disagreement. Have fun.

    Carrie

  196. Donny,

    Don’t worry. I’ve never had a problem separating God from believers. In fact, I think it’s silly that anyone is worrying about having a unified front against non-believers. I am quite suspicious of any group that has a unified thought on matters as huge as God. That’s why I think naturalism and science are so appealing– all the room for disagreement. Have fun.

    Carrie

  197. Jason,

    Thanks for the comment. I think you nailed some great points! 🙂

    By the way, for those who wonder who Jason is, check this out:

    http://www.sacbee.com/city/story/953918.html

    Running 100 miles nonstop to help underprivileged kids receive health care ranks right up there with the most giving things I’ve heard of in my life. And I’m glad to know you, Jason.

    ———————

    Carrie,

    Nice to “see” you again. 🙂

    I love “room for disagreement”. From that, we learn, no? 🙂

  198. Jason,

    Thanks for the comment. I think you nailed some great points! 🙂

    By the way, for those who wonder who Jason is, check this out:

    http://www.sacbee.com/city/story/953918.html

    Running 100 miles nonstop to help underprivileged kids receive health care ranks right up there with the most giving things I’ve heard of in my life. And I’m glad to know you, Jason.

    ———————

    Carrie,

    Nice to “see” you again. 🙂

    I love “room for disagreement”. From that, we learn, no? 🙂

  199. You are still one of my heroes, Mr. Pauling. 😉

  200. You are still one of my heroes, Mr. Pauling. 😉

  201. My pastor’s blog (light-work.com) continues to parallel thoughts here. Regarding Jason’s (spectacularly awesome) efforts, here’s an excerpt from his latest blog:

    There are five “global giants” facing the world – spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy. Jesus has the answer to each of these five problems – reconciliation (with God and men), servant leadership, assistance for the poor, care for the sick, and training for the next generation. Here is where his proposal has rattled some. He dares to believe that “ordinary people, empowered by God’s Spirit, doing what Jesus did, together, wherever they are” hold the key to outpacing these fast moving giants.

    I can’t wait to see what happens. I can’t do what Jason did because of medical issues, but I’m looking for something to do.

  202. My pastor’s blog (light-work.com) continues to parallel thoughts here. Regarding Jason’s (spectacularly awesome) efforts, here’s an excerpt from his latest blog:

    There are five “global giants” facing the world – spiritual emptiness, selfish leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic diseases, and illiteracy. Jesus has the answer to each of these five problems – reconciliation (with God and men), servant leadership, assistance for the poor, care for the sick, and training for the next generation. Here is where his proposal has rattled some. He dares to believe that “ordinary people, empowered by God’s Spirit, doing what Jesus did, together, wherever they are” hold the key to outpacing these fast moving giants.

    I can’t wait to see what happens. I can’t do what Jason did because of medical issues, but I’m looking for something to do.

  203. Donny.

    I think that what you’re doing by opening yourself up and sharing your beliefs with other Christians takes much more courage than what I am doing, or what I did when I posted my own story. I see how much discord was caused, and how seriously this could harm your professional life. That takes great integrity. So I hope that I can be a catalyst to help this great discussion take place between believers, rather than readers focusing on me too much. I realize that, as a naturalist, some people will tune me out out of hand, so I’d rather they heard the kinder, roomier religious thoughts you have than hear and reject mine. But here is my take on your posting. I will try to divide your comments up into claims and make this as succinct as possible, since there are already 102 comments before me.

    Claim #1. Richard Dawkins doesn’t really reject God. He just doesn’t want to call our Creator “God.” He believes an alien created our planet!

    I’ve seen Richard Dawkins on more than one occasion mention the possibility that advanced alien beings may have seeded our planet. This doesn’t sound like a man who really rejects creationism, per se. Instead, it sounds like a man who rejects the “Creator” as religious people champion Him.

    I’d hate to see this become a discussion about Richard Dawkins, because you should have that with him. But I do feel like standing up for my friend at this point. Dawkins has made it immensely clear that he does not think alien life forms seeded our planet. When pressed to give an answer to whether a Creator could have made our universe, he offers this as the most logical possibility, but he’s bending over backwards to make a concession to the creationist. Since there are billions of planets in our multiverse, and since we are undoubtedly not the only one that contains life, it is quite possible that another planet contains beings who are intellectually advanced beyond humans. Hypothetically, they could have seeded our planet. The key difference, though, is that that being still would have evolved by Darwinian means, so the way to understand his/her works would still be to understand natural selection and biology. And Dawkins certainly doesn’t think it’s likely that we were created this way at all. He makes that abundantly clear. He thinks our world (and universe) was created strictly by Darwinian means, without need of a Creator, though a Creator is possible (in science, anything is possible).

    Claim #2. I have “faith” in Richard Dawkins, rather than looking at the evidence myself.

    From the blog post I’m responding to, it appears to me that you currently have faith in the writings of Richard Dawkins, trusting that he and those who agree with him have some sort of authority on the topics about which they’ve written. And that, dear Carrie, is okay with me. I’ll listen to (read) your opinions, and trust you’ll listen to mine as well.

    Actually, if you read The God Delusion, you will see that it’s largely a philosophy book. I need not have faith in him, but follow his logic, much as you expect me to follow yours in your post, and I expect you to follow mine in this response. I then either agree or disagree. I agree with Richard. I also do have faith in learned scientists, but this is because of corroborated evidence. Science continues to progress because it stands only on corroboration of evidence. So yes, I trust in the knowledge of corroborated evidence, but I think we’re all shit out of luck if we stop doing so and start claiming that reading books by learned experts is the same as believing something because someone merely says it’s so.

    Claim #3. God must allow people/animals to suffer, because God gave us free will, and that explains suffering.

    I’ve received a satisfactory answer as to why a loving God would allow innocent people to experience hardship or death (free will explains that one – free will is very deep and very powerful).

    Sure, I agree with you here, but you will notice that nowhere in my blog did I mention a problem with this. This has always been obvious to me.

    Claim #4. You can still believe the Bible is inspired while not believing it’s the literal Word of God.

    DESPITE ALL OF THIS one thing IS certain: there is a TON of evidence, both inside and outside the writings of Christians, that indicated Jesus walked the earth. Even non-believers that lived while Jesus was here have written not only that he existed but that He is said to have performed miracles. And because of the evidence based on the writings of both Christians and non-Christians, I firmly believe in Him. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share with you the literature I’ve read that has helped me reach this conclusion.

    Jesus walking the Earth means nothing as far as whether there is a God. There are quite interesting books about the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist, but that’s neither here nor there. The gospels are written just as you would expect writings from a greco-roman era sect to write about a religious leader. They do not at all withstand historical analysis, and the miracles and resurrection are very old devices used in tons of stories just like these, for various religious figures.

    Claim #5. The Earth is so fine-tuned for life, we MUST have a Creator!

    I also look at the world around me and see evidence of a Creator everywhere. Let’s simply consider SOME of the ingredients it takes to enable life to exist on planet earth… There are HUNDREDS of these unbelievably precise “dials” that must be fine tuned, that must totally work together, in order to make life on earth possible. Carbon levels… gravitational force… the density of particular minerals and elements… Hundreds, dear Carrie. HUNDREDS. Our world is SO complex! And life on earth is such a fragile thing. If EVEN ONE of these “dials” was out of tune, life would not be able to exist. Perfect, precision tuning is required.:

    Well, Dear Donny ;), as my friend Joy put it, that’s a bit like saying “That mud ditch so perfectly fits that puddle!” There are billons of planets in our multiverse, and they all have their “dials” tuned to different states. Some have higher nitrogen content, some lower. Some are warmer, some cooler, ad infinitum. Statistically, it’s actually VERY likely that somewhere in this enormous multiverse, at LEAST one planet would sustain life (in fact, probably hundreds to millions do). And the very fact that we are here, typing away on computers, means that we exist on one of those planets which supports life.

    Claim #6. It’s okay to believe in God and believe in evolution.

    I believe in evolution, let’s get that out right away. Woah! How can that be, if I also believe in God? I get really sick of hearing people argue “science vs religion” as if it’s an “us vs them” situation. IT IS NOT. It’s my opinion that scientific discovery uncovers HOW God created everything. If the two are ever at odds it’s simply because one side is being stubborn and not paying attention. ALL truth is God’s truth. In many ways, the church in particular needs to learn that.

    To me, this seems painfully obvious, but when I read your readers’ comments, I realize it’s not. I always believed in evolution, through my entire stint with Christianity, and beyond it. It was always so copiously backed by science, even my desperate desire to find direction in the Church couldn’t challenge my belief in evolution. It was very easy to marry evolution and belief. And as you will note from my blog, this was not a problem I brought up. However, the burden of proof is still on you, the believer, to show that God was involved. Evolution does not require a God.

    Claim #7. If this Earth just evolved without God’s help, how come everything’s so darn perfect? There should be more garbage lying around.

    Where is all the “garbage” on earth? Where is the evidence of nature’s mistakes? If evolution “just happened” without intelligent guidance the errors would exist in the fossil record and would, in fact, outnumber all living beings. Fossils of actual live organisms would be FAR outnumbered by these mistakes. There would be so much “garbage” we’d find it nearly everywhere we looked, don’t you think?

    Well, if by garbage you mean unsuccessful species, it’s plentiful. There are tons and tons of unsuccessful species in the fossil record and in recorded history. We’ve even been around to watch thousands of species die out. The fossil record is simply full of these biological “failures” and so are our own bodies, which contain useless and even harmful remnants of our hominid ancestry (eg: wisdom teeth, appendix). Or perhaps by garbage, you mean eras in which life was nearly halted, and billions of species were killed. In which case, I draw your attention to the precambrian era, the ice age, and the massive extinction of the dinosaurs.

    Claim #7. There is so much order in the world, there must be a God.

    Take a look at your own body. Study how it works. Take a walk along the beach or through the mountains and marvel at how amazing life really is. Contemplate the fact that our scientists can predict the exact distance our planet will be from the sun in X number of years. There is an order to existence, Carrie. Don’t you see it?

    Yes, and as you should know as an evolutionist, this is neatly explained in evolution, which gives us this order. Evolution is not run by blind chance, but by careful selection which weeds out the problematic features and passes on favorable features, until we find the ordered creatures of today.

    And I might add that when I take a walk on the beach, or look at the trees, or revel in my own body, I do not feel less wonder than when I was a Christian. In fact, sometimes I feel more. Out of all the possible possibilities for this collection of cells, I got to be a human being. For all the possibilities for this collection of atoms, I got to have life. That’s amazing, with or without God.

    Claim #8. You (Carrie) just change your beliefs according to what happens to you. I (Donny), on the other hand, believe things because I see them with my own two eyes.

    Please don’t take this next part wrong, ’cause I’m DEFINITELY not trying to insult you in any way, but as I read your blog post I saw this pattern (this is obviously very simplified):

    When I was ___ and I knew ___ guy I believed ____.
    Then when I was ___ and was dating ___ guy I believed ___ .
    Then ___ did ___ to me and I no longer could believe ___.
    Then I read Richard Dawkins’ book and I now have embraced atheism.

    Do you see a pattern there? What makes Dawkins any more special than those other people in your life who influenced your belief system?

    Hmm. Well, of course people in my life influenced my beliefs. What kind of a human being would I be if they didn’t? If you think people shouldn’t influence one another’s beliefs, why are we having this conversation? If you read my blog again, you’ll notice that I had many, many people giving me many, many opinions about God, but I didn’t feel I had any substantive answer until I met Keith, and he had actual reasons for his faith in God. But I didn’t believe because Keith did. As I said in my post, Keith gave me tons of books, and after reading 5-10 of them, I felt convinced. I was convinced by what I perceived as evidence. And if you are not supportive of people gaining knowledge through experience and research, I am not clear on what kind of point you are making with this post.

    Claim #9. You are just choosing beliefs based on your negative experiences. You should block out people and just think it through.

    But I’d like to propose to you that if you personally pondered the world around you, making an attempt to tune out the negative experiences that made you feel guilty or worthless, that if you tuned out the rules and regulations people told you that you must follow in order to have “everlasting life”, that if you ENTIRELY removed PEOPLE and their opinions from the equation and simply focused on the wonder and complexity of life… THEN, dear Carrie, no matter what label you ultimately chose to use, I doubt you’d reach any other conclusion than that there is indeed a Creator. Nothing else makes logical sense.

    This seems to not at all address the theme of my post. I did have one negative experience with a person (Evan), that made me challenge HIS beliefs, and thus evolve my own. But it was my personal and deep conviction against sexism, and my belief in feminism as an inherent truth, that made me take that stand. It was personal truth and my own research and learning of feminist theory that developed those convictions into a belief system, and I would not trade that knowledge and conviction for blind ignorance of feminist thought any day. My other negative experiences listed there (my scrupulosity, my breakup in college) didn’t change my belief systems at all, as you’ll see in my post. And much as you might preface this with a warning that you mean not to insult me, I find it very insulting that you think I have not developed my opinions based on research and personal questioning. I have read many of the books you listed on this page (are you honestly recommending Lee Stroebel? Come on), and have researched and thought about religion, science, and ethics for the past 5-7 years of my life. I make a life purpose out of questioning beliefs and learning new theories. And though I love Richard Dawkins (I like to call him Richy-poo), it’s not Richard who changed my mind. It was the ideas he presented, the research I did through reading his book and reading up on the ideas therein, and the journey I have made since then. It’s a journey I wouldn’t trade for any empty faith in the world.

    So, as for any sort of proof, the ball’s in your court.

    Til later,
    Carrie

  204. Donny.

    I think that what you’re doing by opening yourself up and sharing your beliefs with other Christians takes much more courage than what I am doing, or what I did when I posted my own story. I see how much discord was caused, and how seriously this could harm your professional life. That takes great integrity. So I hope that I can be a catalyst to help this great discussion take place between believers, rather than readers focusing on me too much. I realize that, as a naturalist, some people will tune me out out of hand, so I’d rather they heard the kinder, roomier religious thoughts you have than hear and reject mine. But here is my take on your posting. I will try to divide your comments up into claims and make this as succinct as possible, since there are already 102 comments before me.

    Claim #1. Richard Dawkins doesn’t really reject God. He just doesn’t want to call our Creator “God.” He believes an alien created our planet!

    I’ve seen Richard Dawkins on more than one occasion mention the possibility that advanced alien beings may have seeded our planet. This doesn’t sound like a man who really rejects creationism, per se. Instead, it sounds like a man who rejects the “Creator” as religious people champion Him.

    I’d hate to see this become a discussion about Richard Dawkins, because you should have that with him. But I do feel like standing up for my friend at this point. Dawkins has made it immensely clear that he does not think alien life forms seeded our planet. When pressed to give an answer to whether a Creator could have made our universe, he offers this as the most logical possibility, but he’s bending over backwards to make a concession to the creationist. Since there are billions of planets in our multiverse, and since we are undoubtedly not the only one that contains life, it is quite possible that another planet contains beings who are intellectually advanced beyond humans. Hypothetically, they could have seeded our planet. The key difference, though, is that that being still would have evolved by Darwinian means, so the way to understand his/her works would still be to understand natural selection and biology. And Dawkins certainly doesn’t think it’s likely that we were created this way at all. He makes that abundantly clear. He thinks our world (and universe) was created strictly by Darwinian means, without need of a Creator, though a Creator is possible (in science, anything is possible).

    Claim #2. I have “faith” in Richard Dawkins, rather than looking at the evidence myself.

    From the blog post I’m responding to, it appears to me that you currently have faith in the writings of Richard Dawkins, trusting that he and those who agree with him have some sort of authority on the topics about which they’ve written. And that, dear Carrie, is okay with me. I’ll listen to (read) your opinions, and trust you’ll listen to mine as well.

    Actually, if you read The God Delusion, you will see that it’s largely a philosophy book. I need not have faith in him, but follow his logic, much as you expect me to follow yours in your post, and I expect you to follow mine in this response. I then either agree or disagree. I agree with Richard. I also do have faith in learned scientists, but this is because of corroborated evidence. Science continues to progress because it stands only on corroboration of evidence. So yes, I trust in the knowledge of corroborated evidence, but I think we’re all shit out of luck if we stop doing so and start claiming that reading books by learned experts is the same as believing something because someone merely says it’s so.

    Claim #3. God must allow people/animals to suffer, because God gave us free will, and that explains suffering.

    I’ve received a satisfactory answer as to why a loving God would allow innocent people to experience hardship or death (free will explains that one – free will is very deep and very powerful).

    Sure, I agree with you here, but you will notice that nowhere in my blog did I mention a problem with this. This has always been obvious to me.

    Claim #4. You can still believe the Bible is inspired while not believing it’s the literal Word of God.

    DESPITE ALL OF THIS one thing IS certain: there is a TON of evidence, both inside and outside the writings of Christians, that indicated Jesus walked the earth. Even non-believers that lived while Jesus was here have written not only that he existed but that He is said to have performed miracles. And because of the evidence based on the writings of both Christians and non-Christians, I firmly believe in Him. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share with you the literature I’ve read that has helped me reach this conclusion.

    Jesus walking the Earth means nothing as far as whether there is a God. There are quite interesting books about the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist, but that’s neither here nor there. The gospels are written just as you would expect writings from a greco-roman era sect to write about a religious leader. They do not at all withstand historical analysis, and the miracles and resurrection are very old devices used in tons of stories just like these, for various religious figures.

    Claim #5. The Earth is so fine-tuned for life, we MUST have a Creator!

    I also look at the world around me and see evidence of a Creator everywhere. Let’s simply consider SOME of the ingredients it takes to enable life to exist on planet earth… There are HUNDREDS of these unbelievably precise “dials” that must be fine tuned, that must totally work together, in order to make life on earth possible. Carbon levels… gravitational force… the density of particular minerals and elements… Hundreds, dear Carrie. HUNDREDS. Our world is SO complex! And life on earth is such a fragile thing. If EVEN ONE of these “dials” was out of tune, life would not be able to exist. Perfect, precision tuning is required.:

    Well, Dear Donny ;), as my friend Joy put it, that’s a bit like saying “That mud ditch so perfectly fits that puddle!” There are billons of planets in our multiverse, and they all have their “dials” tuned to different states. Some have higher nitrogen content, some lower. Some are warmer, some cooler, ad infinitum. Statistically, it’s actually VERY likely that somewhere in this enormous multiverse, at LEAST one planet would sustain life (in fact, probably hundreds to millions do). And the very fact that we are here, typing away on computers, means that we exist on one of those planets which supports life.

    Claim #6. It’s okay to believe in God and believe in evolution.

    I believe in evolution, let’s get that out right away. Woah! How can that be, if I also believe in God? I get really sick of hearing people argue “science vs religion” as if it’s an “us vs them” situation. IT IS NOT. It’s my opinion that scientific discovery uncovers HOW God created everything. If the two are ever at odds it’s simply because one side is being stubborn and not paying attention. ALL truth is God’s truth. In many ways, the church in particular needs to learn that.

    To me, this seems painfully obvious, but when I read your readers’ comments, I realize it’s not. I always believed in evolution, through my entire stint with Christianity, and beyond it. It was always so copiously backed by science, even my desperate desire to find direction in the Church couldn’t challenge my belief in evolution. It was very easy to marry evolution and belief. And as you will note from my blog, this was not a problem I brought up. However, the burden of proof is still on you, the believer, to show that God was involved. Evolution does not require a God.

    Claim #7. If this Earth just evolved without God’s help, how come everything’s so darn perfect? There should be more garbage lying around.

    Where is all the “garbage” on earth? Where is the evidence of nature’s mistakes? If evolution “just happened” without intelligent guidance the errors would exist in the fossil record and would, in fact, outnumber all living beings. Fossils of actual live organisms would be FAR outnumbered by these mistakes. There would be so much “garbage” we’d find it nearly everywhere we looked, don’t you think?

    Well, if by garbage you mean unsuccessful species, it’s plentiful. There are tons and tons of unsuccessful species in the fossil record and in recorded history. We’ve even been around to watch thousands of species die out. The fossil record is simply full of these biological “failures” and so are our own bodies, which contain useless and even harmful remnants of our hominid ancestry (eg: wisdom teeth, appendix). Or perhaps by garbage, you mean eras in which life was nearly halted, and billions of species were killed. In which case, I draw your attention to the precambrian era, the ice age, and the massive extinction of the dinosaurs.

    Claim #7. There is so much order in the world, there must be a God.

    Take a look at your own body. Study how it works. Take a walk along the beach or through the mountains and marvel at how amazing life really is. Contemplate the fact that our scientists can predict the exact distance our planet will be from the sun in X number of years. There is an order to existence, Carrie. Don’t you see it?

    Yes, and as you should know as an evolutionist, this is neatly explained in evolution, which gives us this order. Evolution is not run by blind chance, but by careful selection which weeds out the problematic features and passes on favorable features, until we find the ordered creatures of today.

    And I might add that when I take a walk on the beach, or look at the trees, or revel in my own body, I do not feel less wonder than when I was a Christian. In fact, sometimes I feel more. Out of all the possible possibilities for this collection of cells, I got to be a human being. For all the possibilities for this collection of atoms, I got to have life. That’s amazing, with or without God.

    Claim #8. You (Carrie) just change your beliefs according to what happens to you. I (Donny), on the other hand, believe things because I see them with my own two eyes.

    Please don’t take this next part wrong, ’cause I’m DEFINITELY not trying to insult you in any way, but as I read your blog post I saw this pattern (this is obviously very simplified):

    When I was ___ and I knew ___ guy I believed ____.
    Then when I was ___ and was dating ___ guy I believed ___ .
    Then ___ did ___ to me and I no longer could believe ___.
    Then I read Richard Dawkins’ book and I now have embraced atheism.

    Do you see a pattern there? What makes Dawkins any more special than those other people in your life who influenced your belief system?

    Hmm. Well, of course people in my life influenced my beliefs. What kind of a human being would I be if they didn’t? If you think people shouldn’t influence one another’s beliefs, why are we having this conversation? If you read my blog again, you’ll notice that I had many, many people giving me many, many opinions about God, but I didn’t feel I had any substantive answer until I met Keith, and he had actual reasons for his faith in God. But I didn’t believe because Keith did. As I said in my post, Keith gave me tons of books, and after reading 5-10 of them, I felt convinced. I was convinced by what I perceived as evidence. And if you are not supportive of people gaining knowledge through experience and research, I am not clear on what kind of point you are making with this post.

    Claim #9. You are just choosing beliefs based on your negative experiences. You should block out people and just think it through.

    But I’d like to propose to you that if you personally pondered the world around you, making an attempt to tune out the negative experiences that made you feel guilty or worthless, that if you tuned out the rules and regulations people told you that you must follow in order to have “everlasting life”, that if you ENTIRELY removed PEOPLE and their opinions from the equation and simply focused on the wonder and complexity of life… THEN, dear Carrie, no matter what label you ultimately chose to use, I doubt you’d reach any other conclusion than that there is indeed a Creator. Nothing else makes logical sense.

    This seems to not at all address the theme of my post. I did have one negative experience with a person (Evan), that made me challenge HIS beliefs, and thus evolve my own. But it was my personal and deep conviction against sexism, and my belief in feminism as an inherent truth, that made me take that stand. It was personal truth and my own research and learning of feminist theory that developed those convictions into a belief system, and I would not trade that knowledge and conviction for blind ignorance of feminist thought any day. My other negative experiences listed there (my scrupulosity, my breakup in college) didn’t change my belief systems at all, as you’ll see in my post. And much as you might preface this with a warning that you mean not to insult me, I find it very insulting that you think I have not developed my opinions based on research and personal questioning. I have read many of the books you listed on this page (are you honestly recommending Lee Stroebel? Come on), and have researched and thought about religion, science, and ethics for the past 5-7 years of my life. I make a life purpose out of questioning beliefs and learning new theories. And though I love Richard Dawkins (I like to call him Richy-poo), it’s not Richard who changed my mind. It was the ideas he presented, the research I did through reading his book and reading up on the ideas therein, and the journey I have made since then. It’s a journey I wouldn’t trade for any empty faith in the world.

    So, as for any sort of proof, the ball’s in your court.

    Til later,
    Carrie

  205. Sorry for the two “Claim #7s.” They are different.

  206. Sorry for the two “Claim #7s.” They are different.

  207. This is just a thought (and not even an original one)- I think the majority of people, when investigating something, start out with a presupposition or viewpoint. Then as they look at evidence, they (either consciously or subconsciously) give more weight to the evidence that supports or confirms their view. (I’m quite sure I do this!) And generally, but not always, they end up with pretty much the same view they had in the first place.
    The world is full of words and books and opinions; even the Bible says “of making books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
    However, I like books and I like to read about other people’s “journeys.”
    I always tell the kids I work with at a middle school that curiosity is a sign of intelligence.
    I talked to Barb this morning, Donny. She feels so bad about that typo and of course she has never doubted your faith in God, (and I haven’t either!)

  208. This is just a thought (and not even an original one)- I think the majority of people, when investigating something, start out with a presupposition or viewpoint. Then as they look at evidence, they (either consciously or subconsciously) give more weight to the evidence that supports or confirms their view. (I’m quite sure I do this!) And generally, but not always, they end up with pretty much the same view they had in the first place.
    The world is full of words and books and opinions; even the Bible says “of making books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
    However, I like books and I like to read about other people’s “journeys.”
    I always tell the kids I work with at a middle school that curiosity is a sign of intelligence.
    I talked to Barb this morning, Donny. She feels so bad about that typo and of course she has never doubted your faith in God, (and I haven’t either!)

  209. I realize that this can be a natural fault, but I don’t think it has to be a rule. At the risk of self-compliment, I’d like to point out that I started out with the wish and assumption that there was a God, looking desperately for evidence that there WAS one, not that there wasn’t.

  210. I realize that this can be a natural fault, but I don’t think it has to be a rule. At the risk of self-compliment, I’d like to point out that I started out with the wish and assumption that there was a God, looking desperately for evidence that there WAS one, not that there wasn’t.

  211. Hi Carrie- I wasn’t directing that specifically at you, because I know by reading your blog that you did start out believing in God. I feel sad that you don’t now, but I don’t think anything I could say would change your mind. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had doubts. I kept going back to verses like “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” and “don’t lean to your own understanding,” and “His ways are higher than ours.” I’m sure you’ve read all those verses. But I found that the time I spent hungrily reading the Bible after I “came back” to God really helped, because it seemed that the exact verses I needed would come into my mind right when I needed them. My favorite is “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” Even if one doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, there is a lot of good, meaty stuff in there! (Oops you don’t eat meat!- that’s meant to be a joke, ha ha!!) But I mean there is a lot of wisdom in there and also prophecy that’s been fulfilled, like Israel becoming a nation again after years of being dispersed throughout the world. I read the Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay when I was a young Christian during the Jesus movement, and I recently read it again. And Christians believe that all the Old Testament prophecies about the “Messiah” were fulfilled in Jesus, except for His second coming.
    Anyway, have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! My sister and I are teaching Kids’ church tomorrow so anyone who reads this and believes God hears you, say a quick prayer for us, thanks!!

  212. Hi Carrie- I wasn’t directing that specifically at you, because I know by reading your blog that you did start out believing in God. I feel sad that you don’t now, but I don’t think anything I could say would change your mind. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never had doubts. I kept going back to verses like “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” and “don’t lean to your own understanding,” and “His ways are higher than ours.” I’m sure you’ve read all those verses. But I found that the time I spent hungrily reading the Bible after I “came back” to God really helped, because it seemed that the exact verses I needed would come into my mind right when I needed them. My favorite is “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” Even if one doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, there is a lot of good, meaty stuff in there! (Oops you don’t eat meat!- that’s meant to be a joke, ha ha!!) But I mean there is a lot of wisdom in there and also prophecy that’s been fulfilled, like Israel becoming a nation again after years of being dispersed throughout the world. I read the Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay when I was a young Christian during the Jesus movement, and I recently read it again. And Christians believe that all the Old Testament prophecies about the “Messiah” were fulfilled in Jesus, except for His second coming.
    Anyway, have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone! My sister and I are teaching Kids’ church tomorrow so anyone who reads this and believes God hears you, say a quick prayer for us, thanks!!

  213. I meant to respond more to you today, Carrie. But with the exception of a few hours walking, I’ve spent most of today sleeping. That’s rather odd for me.

    Anyway… there’s plenty to discuss from your replies. But before I get into much of it I first wanted to address this part:

    I’d hate to see this become a discussion about Richard Dawkins, because you should have that with him. But I do feel like standing up for my friend at this point. Dawkins has made it immensely clear that he does not think alien life forms seeded our planet. When pressed to give an answer to whether a Creator could have made our universe, he offers this as the most logical possibility, but he’s bending over backwards to make a concession to the creationist. Since there are billions of planets in our multiverse, and since we are undoubtedly not the only one that contains life, it is quite possible that another planet contains beings who are intellectually advanced beyond humans. Hypothetically, they could have seeded our planet. The key difference, though, is that that being still would have evolved by Darwinian means, so the way to understand his/her works would still be to understand natural selection and biology. And Dawkins certainly doesn’t think it’s likely that we were created this way at all. He makes that abundantly clear. He thinks our world (and universe) was created strictly by Darwinian means, without need of a Creator, though a Creator is possible (in science, anything is possible).

    To assume that one could possibly know that life on another planet could evolve by Darwinian means seems rather presumptuous to me. Scientists don’t fully comprehend life on our own planet. To assume that we would have a CLUE about the conditions for life on another… WOW.

    I’ve watched Dawkins address that question on more than one occasion. To even concede the POSSIBILITY of alien beings, yet deny the POSSIBILITY of God seems to indicate, in my opinion, an “agenda”.

    I’ve watched numerous lectures by Dr. Dawkins, but have only read parts of The God Delusion. I fully intend to purchase it and read it ASAP.

    More later, after dinner…

  214. I meant to respond more to you today, Carrie. But with the exception of a few hours walking, I’ve spent most of today sleeping. That’s rather odd for me.

    Anyway… there’s plenty to discuss from your replies. But before I get into much of it I first wanted to address this part:

    I’d hate to see this become a discussion about Richard Dawkins, because you should have that with him. But I do feel like standing up for my friend at this point. Dawkins has made it immensely clear that he does not think alien life forms seeded our planet. When pressed to give an answer to whether a Creator could have made our universe, he offers this as the most logical possibility, but he’s bending over backwards to make a concession to the creationist. Since there are billions of planets in our multiverse, and since we are undoubtedly not the only one that contains life, it is quite possible that another planet contains beings who are intellectually advanced beyond humans. Hypothetically, they could have seeded our planet. The key difference, though, is that that being still would have evolved by Darwinian means, so the way to understand his/her works would still be to understand natural selection and biology. And Dawkins certainly doesn’t think it’s likely that we were created this way at all. He makes that abundantly clear. He thinks our world (and universe) was created strictly by Darwinian means, without need of a Creator, though a Creator is possible (in science, anything is possible).

    To assume that one could possibly know that life on another planet could evolve by Darwinian means seems rather presumptuous to me. Scientists don’t fully comprehend life on our own planet. To assume that we would have a CLUE about the conditions for life on another… WOW.

    I’ve watched Dawkins address that question on more than one occasion. To even concede the POSSIBILITY of alien beings, yet deny the POSSIBILITY of God seems to indicate, in my opinion, an “agenda”.

    I’ve watched numerous lectures by Dr. Dawkins, but have only read parts of The God Delusion. I fully intend to purchase it and read it ASAP.

    More later, after dinner…

  215. a. This is getting a little pointless, I think, arguing about what Richard Dawkins thinks about alien life. But unless we get into a Cartesian “we can know nothing for certain” discussion (which means, basically, let’s not discuss at all), I think we can assume that the universal constants we have so far discovered are constant in any universe/planet, until we discover otherwise. Evolution is not of such a nature that we have a reason to conclude that it’s bound to earth.

    b. Dawkins does not deny the possibility of a God. He never as, and neither do I.

  216. a. This is getting a little pointless, I think, arguing about what Richard Dawkins thinks about alien life. But unless we get into a Cartesian “we can know nothing for certain” discussion (which means, basically, let’s not discuss at all), I think we can assume that the universal constants we have so far discovered are constant in any universe/planet, until we discover otherwise. Evolution is not of such a nature that we have a reason to conclude that it’s bound to earth.

    b. Dawkins does not deny the possibility of a God. He never as, and neither do I.

  217. Instead of writing one long response to your points, as I intended to do, I’ll instead respond in separate comments.

    Actually, if you read The God Delusion, you will see that it’s largely a philosophy book. I need not have faith in him, but follow his logic, much as you expect me to follow yours in your post, and I expect you to follow mine in this response. I then either agree or disagree. I agree with Richard. I also do have faith in learned scientists, but this is because of corroborated evidence. Science continues to progress because it stands only on corroboration of evidence. So yes, I trust in the knowledge of corroborated evidence, but I think we’re all shit out of luck if we stop doing so and start claiming that reading books by learned experts is the same as believing something because someone merely says it’s so.

    Fair enough. I apologize for making the implied assumption. 🙂

    In order to follow Dr. Dawkins’ logic from The God Delusion I’ll have to first read it in full, no? Admittedly, I’ve based my opinions of him on the bits and pieces I’ve read, as well as the (literally) hours of video I’ve watched on Youtube (for those readers who wonder who we’re talking about, click here to discover a brilliant mind at work).

    Perhaps tomorrow I’ll pick up the book at Barnes and Noble.

    In the meantime, I’ll respond to some of the other points you’ve raised. As you pointed out, this isn’t a discussion of Richard Dawkins. 🙂

  218. Instead of writing one long response to your points, as I intended to do, I’ll instead respond in separate comments.

    Actually, if you read The God Delusion, you will see that it’s largely a philosophy book. I need not have faith in him, but follow his logic, much as you expect me to follow yours in your post, and I expect you to follow mine in this response. I then either agree or disagree. I agree with Richard. I also do have faith in learned scientists, but this is because of corroborated evidence. Science continues to progress because it stands only on corroboration of evidence. So yes, I trust in the knowledge of corroborated evidence, but I think we’re all shit out of luck if we stop doing so and start claiming that reading books by learned experts is the same as believing something because someone merely says it’s so.

    Fair enough. I apologize for making the implied assumption. 🙂

    In order to follow Dr. Dawkins’ logic from The God Delusion I’ll have to first read it in full, no? Admittedly, I’ve based my opinions of him on the bits and pieces I’ve read, as well as the (literally) hours of video I’ve watched on Youtube (for those readers who wonder who we’re talking about, click here to discover a brilliant mind at work).

    Perhaps tomorrow I’ll pick up the book at Barnes and Noble.

    In the meantime, I’ll respond to some of the other points you’ve raised. As you pointed out, this isn’t a discussion of Richard Dawkins. 🙂

  219. Jesus walking the Earth means nothing as far as whether there is a God. There are quite interesting books about the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist, but that’s neither here nor there. The gospels are written just as you would expect writings from a greco-roman era sect to write about a religious leader. They do not at all withstand historical analysis, and the miracles and resurrection are very old devices used in tons of stories just like these, for various religious figures.

    You’re right: Jesus and the Resurrection have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand: the existence of God. I didn’t mention Him in an effort to prove God. I mentioned Him as part of the discussion of my personal doubts.

    I believe the following statement is very true:
    “What you look for, you will find.”

    Two people can look at the same evidences and come to multiple conclusions. In fact, the same person can look at the exact same data at different times in life and reach different conclusions. I’ve witnessed this, and I’m sure you have as well.

    This was never really about changing your mind. Do discussions always have to be about changing the opinions of another person? In the classroom, the best professors present data and allow students to come to their own conclusions. Humans come to realizations through discussion. During this process of responding to your original post I’ve actually learned quite a bit. That journey is enjoyable.

  220. Jesus walking the Earth means nothing as far as whether there is a God. There are quite interesting books about the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist, but that’s neither here nor there. The gospels are written just as you would expect writings from a greco-roman era sect to write about a religious leader. They do not at all withstand historical analysis, and the miracles and resurrection are very old devices used in tons of stories just like these, for various religious figures.

    You’re right: Jesus and the Resurrection have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand: the existence of God. I didn’t mention Him in an effort to prove God. I mentioned Him as part of the discussion of my personal doubts.

    I believe the following statement is very true:
    “What you look for, you will find.”

    Two people can look at the same evidences and come to multiple conclusions. In fact, the same person can look at the exact same data at different times in life and reach different conclusions. I’ve witnessed this, and I’m sure you have as well.

    This was never really about changing your mind. Do discussions always have to be about changing the opinions of another person? In the classroom, the best professors present data and allow students to come to their own conclusions. Humans come to realizations through discussion. During this process of responding to your original post I’ve actually learned quite a bit. That journey is enjoyable.

  221. Sure, I recommend The God Delusion, but don’t conflate it with my views. It’s been formative and deeply inspirational in coming to my views, but that doesn’t mean that Richy-poo and I agree on each stanza of his book. My current stance on religion does not amount to thinking The God Delusion is valid. But I definitely think it’s worth reading. In fact, if I could recommend to the world three books to read, it would be included. To deviate entirely from the topic, the other two would be Animal Liberation and No Logo. The end. =)

  222. Sure, I recommend The God Delusion, but don’t conflate it with my views. It’s been formative and deeply inspirational in coming to my views, but that doesn’t mean that Richy-poo and I agree on each stanza of his book. My current stance on religion does not amount to thinking The God Delusion is valid. But I definitely think it’s worth reading. In fact, if I could recommend to the world three books to read, it would be included. To deviate entirely from the topic, the other two would be Animal Liberation and No Logo. The end. =)

  223. You’re right: Jesus and the Resurrection have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand: the existence of God. I didn’t mention Him in an effort to prove God. I mentioned Him as part of the discussion of my personal doubts.

    Well that’s all great, but yes, I do think your point was largely to convince me, since your blog repeatedly addresses me by name and tells me that if I thought about things logically, I would only come to one conclusion. I don’t mind that. Let’s have at it. But as proof, this falls flat.

  224. You’re right: Jesus and the Resurrection have nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion at hand: the existence of God. I didn’t mention Him in an effort to prove God. I mentioned Him as part of the discussion of my personal doubts.

    Well that’s all great, but yes, I do think your point was largely to convince me, since your blog repeatedly addresses me by name and tells me that if I thought about things logically, I would only come to one conclusion. I don’t mind that. Let’s have at it. But as proof, this falls flat.

  225. However, the burden of proof is still on you, the believer, to show that God was involved. Evolution does not require a God.

    I believe in Theistic Evolution: evolution guided by God, evolution as the way God created. Science is very good at observing what God has done. The Achilles heal is still the same for both sides: where did everything start?

    Darwinian Natural Selection: what made the “selection” process work? What guided the process?

    Well, if by garbage you mean unsuccessful species, it’s plentiful. There are tons and tons of unsuccessful species in the fossil record and in recorded history. We’ve even been around to watch thousands of species die out. The fossil record is simply full of these biological “failures” and so are our own bodies, which contain useless and even harmful remnants of our hominid ancestry (eg: wisdom teeth, appendix). Or perhaps by garbage, you mean eras in which life was nearly halted, and billions of species were killed. In which case, I draw your attention to the precambrian era, the ice age, and the massive extinction of the dinosaurs.

    I have no problems with the massive extinction of dinosaurs or life that ceased to exist during an ice age. My questioning is all the “pages” the “monkeys” had to throw away on the path to finally getting things right when typing out Shakespeare. The mistakes would outnumber the successes exponentially. Unguided evolution would result in exponentially more mistakes than successes. Sure, we’ve seen evidence of life that no longer roams our planet, but nothing on the scale that unguided evolution would require.

  226. However, the burden of proof is still on you, the believer, to show that God was involved. Evolution does not require a God.

    I believe in Theistic Evolution: evolution guided by God, evolution as the way God created. Science is very good at observing what God has done. The Achilles heal is still the same for both sides: where did everything start?

    Darwinian Natural Selection: what made the “selection” process work? What guided the process?

    Well, if by garbage you mean unsuccessful species, it’s plentiful. There are tons and tons of unsuccessful species in the fossil record and in recorded history. We’ve even been around to watch thousands of species die out. The fossil record is simply full of these biological “failures” and so are our own bodies, which contain useless and even harmful remnants of our hominid ancestry (eg: wisdom teeth, appendix). Or perhaps by garbage, you mean eras in which life was nearly halted, and billions of species were killed. In which case, I draw your attention to the precambrian era, the ice age, and the massive extinction of the dinosaurs.

    I have no problems with the massive extinction of dinosaurs or life that ceased to exist during an ice age. My questioning is all the “pages” the “monkeys” had to throw away on the path to finally getting things right when typing out Shakespeare. The mistakes would outnumber the successes exponentially. Unguided evolution would result in exponentially more mistakes than successes. Sure, we’ve seen evidence of life that no longer roams our planet, but nothing on the scale that unguided evolution would require.

  227. I believe in Theistic Evolution: evolution guided by God, evolution as the way God created. Science is very good at observing what God has done. The Achilles heal is still the same for both sides: where did everything start?

    Darwinian Natural Selection: what made the “selection” process work? What guided the process?

    Nothing needed to guide the process. Things that were unsuccessful died. Genes mutated. Better things survived. That’s it. No need for guidance. Surely you understand this basic tenant, as an evolutionist, theological or not.

    I can see a theological evolutionist claiming that God guided the process, but not that God needed to.

    I have no problems with the massive extinction of dinosaurs or life that ceased to exist during an ice age. My questioning is all the “pages” the “monkeys” had to throw away on the path to finally getting things right when typing out Shakespeare. The mistakes would outnumber the successes exponentially. Unguided evolution would result in exponentially more mistakes than successes. Sure, we’ve seen evidence of life that no longer roams our planet, but nothing on the scale that unguided evolution would require.

    So what are you asking for? Unsuccessful species? There are thousands in the fossil record, and the fossil record is a tiny glimpse of the life that has existed here. In order for a species to be preserved in the fossil record, it has to be preserved in a substance that is able to save it for hundreds to millions of years (extreme difficulty #1) and have survived long enough to have an individual have a shot in hell of being preserved (extreme difficulty #2). Most of the unsuccessful species would not be preserved because they aren’t here long enough. So the fact that we know about thousands of unsuccessful species means there are probably billions that have existed.

  228. I believe in Theistic Evolution: evolution guided by God, evolution as the way God created. Science is very good at observing what God has done. The Achilles heal is still the same for both sides: where did everything start?

    Darwinian Natural Selection: what made the “selection” process work? What guided the process?

    Nothing needed to guide the process. Things that were unsuccessful died. Genes mutated. Better things survived. That’s it. No need for guidance. Surely you understand this basic tenant, as an evolutionist, theological or not.

    I can see a theological evolutionist claiming that God guided the process, but not that God needed to.

    I have no problems with the massive extinction of dinosaurs or life that ceased to exist during an ice age. My questioning is all the “pages” the “monkeys” had to throw away on the path to finally getting things right when typing out Shakespeare. The mistakes would outnumber the successes exponentially. Unguided evolution would result in exponentially more mistakes than successes. Sure, we’ve seen evidence of life that no longer roams our planet, but nothing on the scale that unguided evolution would require.

    So what are you asking for? Unsuccessful species? There are thousands in the fossil record, and the fossil record is a tiny glimpse of the life that has existed here. In order for a species to be preserved in the fossil record, it has to be preserved in a substance that is able to save it for hundreds to millions of years (extreme difficulty #1) and have survived long enough to have an individual have a shot in hell of being preserved (extreme difficulty #2). Most of the unsuccessful species would not be preserved because they aren’t here long enough. So the fact that we know about thousands of unsuccessful species means there are probably billions that have existed.

  229. I am starting to doubt this “one point at a time” system. I think this is going to get really sloppy. I’ll let you post all your responses. Then say “done” so I can respond to them all. Mmkay? Mmkay.

  230. I am starting to doubt this “one point at a time” system. I think this is going to get really sloppy. I’ll let you post all your responses. Then say “done” so I can respond to them all. Mmkay? Mmkay.

  231. Carrie,

    One of the (very many) things I love about being a Mac user is the ability to easily print to PDF format without the need of a third party program. Using my handy dandy MacBook Pro, I just printed this blog post and the subsequent comments to PDF and it appears we’re now at 48 printed 8.5 by 11 inch pages.

    48! Wow!

    This leads me to the conclusion that not many readers, outside the most dedicated, will actually scroll down and read what we’re currently writing. That being the case, I think I’ll write a new post called Evidence for God. I’ve begun doing so already. I’ve opened a new Google Docs file and have already typed out lots of notes and references.

    I love the challenge this discussion has created. Thank you. 🙂

  232. Carrie,

    One of the (very many) things I love about being a Mac user is the ability to easily print to PDF format without the need of a third party program. Using my handy dandy MacBook Pro, I just printed this blog post and the subsequent comments to PDF and it appears we’re now at 48 printed 8.5 by 11 inch pages.

    48! Wow!

    This leads me to the conclusion that not many readers, outside the most dedicated, will actually scroll down and read what we’re currently writing. That being the case, I think I’ll write a new post called Evidence for God. I’ve begun doing so already. I’ve opened a new Google Docs file and have already typed out lots of notes and references.

    I love the challenge this discussion has created. Thank you. 🙂

  233. Sounds perfect, Donny. I’ll be sure to reply on time this go-round. =)

    c

  234. Sounds perfect, Donny. I’ll be sure to reply on time this go-round. =)

    c

  235. Just for the record…I’ve kept up! And I’ll argue that I do have a life 😉 I’m just good at bookmarking and checking the page regularly to read where I left off.

    Who doesn’t doubt, really? I doubt all the time, but I’ve already experienced God in a way that keeps doubt from ever being able to fully settle in my mind. I can’t argue with personal experience. I can argue with theories all I want, but not with those experiences.
    That is why I wondered, when I read Carrie’s blog, why God didn’t give her an experience with Him that she could hold onto. I kept going back to verses that say, “If you search with all your heart, you will find…” etc. Carrie’s blog made it seem like she had searched. Why didn’t she find? I asked God this question all evening, then I asked my husband to read the blog for his input. He shed some light; we had a good discussion about it. Our discussion settled my questions for the night, but I won’t go into what we hypothesized here. That is Carrie’s journey.

    I don’t think you can “convince” someone to believe in God. It takes faith and love and surrender. And it’s not about how many prayers we pray in a day or how much we desire to go to church or try to understand God on our timing because that’s shifting focus away from God and onto ourselves instead.

    Anyway, I’ll be back to read the next blog sometime. Thanks for writing!

  236. Just for the record…I’ve kept up! And I’ll argue that I do have a life 😉 I’m just good at bookmarking and checking the page regularly to read where I left off.

    Who doesn’t doubt, really? I doubt all the time, but I’ve already experienced God in a way that keeps doubt from ever being able to fully settle in my mind. I can’t argue with personal experience. I can argue with theories all I want, but not with those experiences.
    That is why I wondered, when I read Carrie’s blog, why God didn’t give her an experience with Him that she could hold onto. I kept going back to verses that say, “If you search with all your heart, you will find…” etc. Carrie’s blog made it seem like she had searched. Why didn’t she find? I asked God this question all evening, then I asked my husband to read the blog for his input. He shed some light; we had a good discussion about it. Our discussion settled my questions for the night, but I won’t go into what we hypothesized here. That is Carrie’s journey.

    I don’t think you can “convince” someone to believe in God. It takes faith and love and surrender. And it’s not about how many prayers we pray in a day or how much we desire to go to church or try to understand God on our timing because that’s shifting focus away from God and onto ourselves instead.

    Anyway, I’ll be back to read the next blog sometime. Thanks for writing!

  237. I did scroll down and read it all. Interesting!

    I was reading a little devotional booklet and I liked these thoughts, so I’ll share them, hope that’s okay:
    quote from Chuck Swindoll-
    “Grace means freeing others to be themselves and losing the legalist attitude that requires them to conform to your standards” (I see both Carrie and Donny demonstrating that grace);
    and a quote from Gladys Hunt-
    “Acceptance means you’re valuable just as you are…..you aren’t forced into some else’s idea……you can talk about how you feel….and why….and someone really cares……you can try out ideas without being shot down…..you can even express heretical thoughts and discuss them with intelligent questioning. You feel safe. No one will pronounce judgement……even though they don’t agree with you. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be corrected….it simply means it’s safe to be you.”
    I have strong opinions on certain basic issues but that does not mean I’m uncomfortable with disagreement, in fact I enjoy it because it challenges my thinking.

  238. I did scroll down and read it all. Interesting!

    I was reading a little devotional booklet and I liked these thoughts, so I’ll share them, hope that’s okay:
    quote from Chuck Swindoll-
    “Grace means freeing others to be themselves and losing the legalist attitude that requires them to conform to your standards” (I see both Carrie and Donny demonstrating that grace);
    and a quote from Gladys Hunt-
    “Acceptance means you’re valuable just as you are…..you aren’t forced into some else’s idea……you can talk about how you feel….and why….and someone really cares……you can try out ideas without being shot down…..you can even express heretical thoughts and discuss them with intelligent questioning. You feel safe. No one will pronounce judgement……even though they don’t agree with you. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be corrected….it simply means it’s safe to be you.”
    I have strong opinions on certain basic issues but that does not mean I’m uncomfortable with disagreement, in fact I enjoy it because it challenges my thinking.

  239. Response to Celeste- I also at times have felt God so strongly that I have fallen to the ground under His power and I shared these things with some of my daughter’s friends, and they asked “why doesn’t God do that for everybody?” I said I really don’t know. I am no one special at all. I’ve done a lot of stupid and selfish things in my life! I believe that God knows exactly what is in each person’s heart and what the end results of everything will be, and that He deals with each person in a very individual way. I found that when I sought experience I didn’t get it, but when I was least expecting it, He would touch me in a powerful way. I don’t understand His reasons for things but I totally know He is there.

  240. Response to Celeste- I also at times have felt God so strongly that I have fallen to the ground under His power and I shared these things with some of my daughter’s friends, and they asked “why doesn’t God do that for everybody?” I said I really don’t know. I am no one special at all. I’ve done a lot of stupid and selfish things in my life! I believe that God knows exactly what is in each person’s heart and what the end results of everything will be, and that He deals with each person in a very individual way. I found that when I sought experience I didn’t get it, but when I was least expecting it, He would touch me in a powerful way. I don’t understand His reasons for things but I totally know He is there.

  241. I, too, have followed this entire blog entry. VERY long, but interesting…

  242. I, too, have followed this entire blog entry. VERY long, but interesting…

  243. I also have read this whole thing, but I am of small brain and make a terrible debater.

    As I see it, neither side will ever PROVE anything. But through my experiences with God (amongst other things, answered prayers that were never PHYSICALLY spoken so as to not be tainted by “the universe” or some eavesdropping devil) and a big bang theory that requires far more faith than simply believing that something/someone far bigger than I set it into motion, I simply can’t be persuaded to buy into Darwinian theory.

    Keep asking questions Donny. I’ll keep reading, then use my small brain to seek some answers for myself.

  244. I also have read this whole thing, but I am of small brain and make a terrible debater.

    As I see it, neither side will ever PROVE anything. But through my experiences with God (amongst other things, answered prayers that were never PHYSICALLY spoken so as to not be tainted by “the universe” or some eavesdropping devil) and a big bang theory that requires far more faith than simply believing that something/someone far bigger than I set it into motion, I simply can’t be persuaded to buy into Darwinian theory.

    Keep asking questions Donny. I’ll keep reading, then use my small brain to seek some answers for myself.

  245. Donny,
    I want to say thank you for writing this. I have not waded through the comments yet, but wanted to leave a quick message.
    I believe your response to Carrie’s blog was kind, intelligent and honest. I believe you cut past all the Christian doctrine crap that generally surrounds these type of discussions, and presented our Creator. I feel you show love in the same way XXXChurch presented it to you- the pure, real, life-changing love of Jesus. I believe so many times Christians, myself included, live in these little boxes, tightly clutching our “beliefs”, what we have figured out about God. We generally can’t prove these ideas, have conducted no backing research or gained substance, but oh how we believe it. Then someone comes knocking on the door and tries to break open our box, to try its strengh. And instead of facing the challenge, seizing the opportunity to test and prove truth, we get angry. We yell, we get petty. We are full of fear, afraid that if we open the box, or question the box, our faith will fly out the window and we will end up in hell. But God never told us to check our brain at the altar.
    These are just my observations. Thank you again for sharing.
    Val

  246. Donny,
    I want to say thank you for writing this. I have not waded through the comments yet, but wanted to leave a quick message.
    I believe your response to Carrie’s blog was kind, intelligent and honest. I believe you cut past all the Christian doctrine crap that generally surrounds these type of discussions, and presented our Creator. I feel you show love in the same way XXXChurch presented it to you- the pure, real, life-changing love of Jesus. I believe so many times Christians, myself included, live in these little boxes, tightly clutching our “beliefs”, what we have figured out about God. We generally can’t prove these ideas, have conducted no backing research or gained substance, but oh how we believe it. Then someone comes knocking on the door and tries to break open our box, to try its strengh. And instead of facing the challenge, seizing the opportunity to test and prove truth, we get angry. We yell, we get petty. We are full of fear, afraid that if we open the box, or question the box, our faith will fly out the window and we will end up in hell. But God never told us to check our brain at the altar.
    These are just my observations. Thank you again for sharing.
    Val

  247. Well, I’m keeping up!

  248. Well, I’m keeping up!

  249. God never told us to check our brain at the altar.

    Hear hear.

  250. God never told us to check our brain at the altar.

    Hear hear.

  251. Dear Donny,
    Thanks so much. Just had moment to come back here and see how the discussions were going. Excellent volleys and great to see Carrie responding and joining in.
    Also, those sites were excellent. I especially appreciated the one on Theistic Evolution. Great perspective to be considered.
    Don’t have much time but have been looking it all over as I can.
    God bless you and all of the participants of this great “debate” or opportunity to better fine tune what and why we believe what we believe.
    Just keep also thinking about God possibly creating things in aged state too.

  252. Dear Donny,
    Thanks so much. Just had moment to come back here and see how the discussions were going. Excellent volleys and great to see Carrie responding and joining in.
    Also, those sites were excellent. I especially appreciated the one on Theistic Evolution. Great perspective to be considered.
    Don’t have much time but have been looking it all over as I can.
    God bless you and all of the participants of this great “debate” or opportunity to better fine tune what and why we believe what we believe.
    Just keep also thinking about God possibly creating things in aged state too.

  253. P.S.
    On the issue of aged creation, though He makes all things new, new blessings every morning, etc. it is all within the context of a process of time.
    As for the issue of how the canon or bible was decided, I would think that regardless of what “man” may have intended, and for whatever limitation we have at knowing who God is and for all that He may have claimed in scripture, I am sure that He would have protected His word and saw to it that what He wanted us to have and know, is what we have, and would not have been so careless to leave the final decision in the hands of men. Likewise, it would not be anything that would deminish Him…if in fact, not one jot or tiddle would be missing from it, and that which He put out there would not come back to Him void or without producing effect. He would surely have guarded “His word”, though there would be plenty of opportunity for it to have been destroyed or intercepted with deception from the enemy.
    Anyway, just some quick thoughts on it for the moment.
    Again, God bless you all.

  254. P.S.
    On the issue of aged creation, though He makes all things new, new blessings every morning, etc. it is all within the context of a process of time.
    As for the issue of how the canon or bible was decided, I would think that regardless of what “man” may have intended, and for whatever limitation we have at knowing who God is and for all that He may have claimed in scripture, I am sure that He would have protected His word and saw to it that what He wanted us to have and know, is what we have, and would not have been so careless to leave the final decision in the hands of men. Likewise, it would not be anything that would deminish Him…if in fact, not one jot or tiddle would be missing from it, and that which He put out there would not come back to Him void or without producing effect. He would surely have guarded “His word”, though there would be plenty of opportunity for it to have been destroyed or intercepted with deception from the enemy.
    Anyway, just some quick thoughts on it for the moment.
    Again, God bless you all.

  255. As for the issue of how the canon or bible was decided, I would think that regardless of what “man” may have intended, and for whatever limitation we have at knowing who God is and for all that He may have claimed in scripture, I am sure that He would have protected His word and saw to it that what He wanted us to have and know, is what we have, and would not have been so careless to leave the final decision in the hands of men.

    Begging the Question fallacy. You’re assuming that the Bible is the Word of God, in order to defend the idea that the Bible is the Word of God.

  256. As for the issue of how the canon or bible was decided, I would think that regardless of what “man” may have intended, and for whatever limitation we have at knowing who God is and for all that He may have claimed in scripture, I am sure that He would have protected His word and saw to it that what He wanted us to have and know, is what we have, and would not have been so careless to leave the final decision in the hands of men.

    Begging the Question fallacy. You’re assuming that the Bible is the Word of God, in order to defend the idea that the Bible is the Word of God.

  257. I DO ASSUME THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD. YES I DO DEFEND IT WITH ITSELF.
    This is because there is so much Power in its words. Those words, and believing in them, have changed my life. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
    What kind of man would say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”? What kind of man says “I am the Bread of Life.”? What kind of book would say “He who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God”? And “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”?
    I read the Bible and something wells up inside me, and I usually end up on my knees.
    “This is the record, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son.” I John 5:11
    I have every day at my fingertips these amazing and powerful words, translated into my own language, printed and conveniently arranged into books and chapters and verses, to read, study and absorb at my convenience. THANK YOU to all those who did all that work through the centuries of translating and carefully preserving this collection of writings; there is nothing that compares with it; used wrongly it can cause great harm, but used the way God intended, it is the richest source of wisdom and life-changing power that there is.
    “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” -Jesus

  258. I DO ASSUME THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD. YES I DO DEFEND IT WITH ITSELF.
    This is because there is so much Power in its words. Those words, and believing in them, have changed my life. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
    What kind of man would say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”? What kind of man says “I am the Bread of Life.”? What kind of book would say “He who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God”? And “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”?
    I read the Bible and something wells up inside me, and I usually end up on my knees.
    “This is the record, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son.” I John 5:11
    I have every day at my fingertips these amazing and powerful words, translated into my own language, printed and conveniently arranged into books and chapters and verses, to read, study and absorb at my convenience. THANK YOU to all those who did all that work through the centuries of translating and carefully preserving this collection of writings; there is nothing that compares with it; used wrongly it can cause great harm, but used the way God intended, it is the richest source of wisdom and life-changing power that there is.
    “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” -Jesus

  259. You spoke of the Council of Nicaea and the Canon; Dr. James R. White addresses this issue in a video critiquing a discussion of a former Christian/convert to Islam.

  260. You spoke of the Council of Nicaea and the Canon; Dr. James R. White addresses this issue in a video critiquing a discussion of a former Christian/convert to Islam.

  261. Donny,
    I am also a former “porn peddler” I was the owner of 4 adult sites and subsequently returned to my faith in Christ.

    I want to respond to some of your points on evolution.
    You said:
    As a matter of fact, if you take Genesis chapter 1 literally, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for days, as we know them, to have existed until “day” 4, as that is when Genesis says this:

    And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years…

    The “AGES” definition of “yom” is clearly what is meant. And to a God for which time means nothing, “AGES” could have been BILLIONS of years as we understand them.
    The text says “and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”
    this indicates that we “now” can keep track of or record the passage of time.
    Lets look at day 3:
    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    if day 3 lasted for ages (thousands of years) it would be impossible for the plant life to exist. Plant life requires intervals of light and darkness to survive. (Photosynthesis)
    these intervals existed even from day 1…
    have a look:
    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
    Another point is…
    if God created us in his own image and we evolved that would indicate that God also evolved.
    Anyway Donny..
    Jered had a great point that you didn’t address… here it is:

    jered, on May 19th, 2008 at 2:28 pm
    I will read through all more thoroughly later, but if evolution is true, then there was death on earth before mankind sinned. How do you reconcile that with scripture? I’m not resolved on this myself, but that is a point that — to me — seems to deny the feasibility of millions of years of life and death before man.

  262. Donny,
    I am also a former “porn peddler” I was the owner of 4 adult sites and subsequently returned to my faith in Christ.

    I want to respond to some of your points on evolution.
    You said:
    As a matter of fact, if you take Genesis chapter 1 literally, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for days, as we know them, to have existed until “day” 4, as that is when Genesis says this:

    And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years…

    The “AGES” definition of “yom” is clearly what is meant. And to a God for which time means nothing, “AGES” could have been BILLIONS of years as we understand them.
    The text says “and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”
    this indicates that we “now” can keep track of or record the passage of time.
    Lets look at day 3:
    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    if day 3 lasted for ages (thousands of years) it would be impossible for the plant life to exist. Plant life requires intervals of light and darkness to survive. (Photosynthesis)
    these intervals existed even from day 1…
    have a look:
    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
    Another point is…
    if God created us in his own image and we evolved that would indicate that God also evolved.
    Anyway Donny..
    Jered had a great point that you didn’t address… here it is:

    jered, on May 19th, 2008 at 2:28 pm
    I will read through all more thoroughly later, but if evolution is true, then there was death on earth before mankind sinned. How do you reconcile that with scripture? I’m not resolved on this myself, but that is a point that — to me — seems to deny the feasibility of millions of years of life and death before man.

  263. I tried to separate your quote from my points…I can repost if need be

  264. I tried to separate your quote from my points…I can repost if need be

  265. Donny:
    I just stumbled across your blog today. I like it a lot. A lot of your views match mine quite well. I have the same thoughts on evolution as you, but I never had a way to argue that the scripture supported it with hardcore young-earthers. The “Yom” explanation is perfect. Thank you, i should have known to go back to pre-translated text.

    Over the last year or two i’ve been working on being a christian. It’s inconvenient for me right now – it would be much easier to indulge myself and simply be selfish – but I know it’s something I want, and it’s going to mean even more to me as I get older. It’s nice to read someone who had a complicated background explaining their views, with rational responses to similar doubts that I have.

    Thanks.

  266. Donny:
    I just stumbled across your blog today. I like it a lot. A lot of your views match mine quite well. I have the same thoughts on evolution as you, but I never had a way to argue that the scripture supported it with hardcore young-earthers. The “Yom” explanation is perfect. Thank you, i should have known to go back to pre-translated text.

    Over the last year or two i’ve been working on being a christian. It’s inconvenient for me right now – it would be much easier to indulge myself and simply be selfish – but I know it’s something I want, and it’s going to mean even more to me as I get older. It’s nice to read someone who had a complicated background explaining their views, with rational responses to similar doubts that I have.

    Thanks.

  267. Ok I have read through some of these comments, and this is my take, focusing on the idea of God working through people and all.

    I’m one of those who believes that there is a reason for everything that happens in society, that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Whether we believe it or not, or even understand it, nothing happens by chance.

    Given that being the case, I could take that a step further and say that whatever happens down here on Earth, from the biggest things to the smallest, are ordained by God to happen. We may not always like the results, as I really don’t in a wide variety of ways, but rest assured no matter what, God is always in control, and in the end His will is still done regardless of what us men attempt to do to the contrary.

    This brings me back to the topic at hand with regards to creation of the Bible. Now if we’ve established that God is control of the goings on down here, then anything that was in the original Bibles, added, taken out, etc etc etc, was allowed by Him to take place.

    If He didn’t want things to be a certain way, then they simply would not be. If He didn’t want a Koran to exist, then it wouldn’t, if He didn’t want a particular book to be in the Bible then it wouldn’t, and so on and so forth.

    Quite simply, God created all that we’ve seen, can see now and will see in the future of this world. To think that someone so powerful to have created all this, to know and see all as He does, would bow down to the will of any man, is absurd at best. If man does anything, good, bad or indifferent, it’s only because He lets them do it.

    God doesn’t have to allow anything, if He wants something stopped or changed, then it will be so. He has that power, and can and will use it in time.

  268. Ok I have read through some of these comments, and this is my take, focusing on the idea of God working through people and all.

    I’m one of those who believes that there is a reason for everything that happens in society, that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Whether we believe it or not, or even understand it, nothing happens by chance.

    Given that being the case, I could take that a step further and say that whatever happens down here on Earth, from the biggest things to the smallest, are ordained by God to happen. We may not always like the results, as I really don’t in a wide variety of ways, but rest assured no matter what, God is always in control, and in the end His will is still done regardless of what us men attempt to do to the contrary.

    This brings me back to the topic at hand with regards to creation of the Bible. Now if we’ve established that God is control of the goings on down here, then anything that was in the original Bibles, added, taken out, etc etc etc, was allowed by Him to take place.

    If He didn’t want things to be a certain way, then they simply would not be. If He didn’t want a Koran to exist, then it wouldn’t, if He didn’t want a particular book to be in the Bible then it wouldn’t, and so on and so forth.

    Quite simply, God created all that we’ve seen, can see now and will see in the future of this world. To think that someone so powerful to have created all this, to know and see all as He does, would bow down to the will of any man, is absurd at best. If man does anything, good, bad or indifferent, it’s only because He lets them do it.

    God doesn’t have to allow anything, if He wants something stopped or changed, then it will be so. He has that power, and can and will use it in time.

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