I Am A Grandpa

I Am A Grandpa

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I am a grandpa now! To be clear, I am a grandpa of the little life bouncing around in my lovely daughter-in-law Annie. 

I don’t become a grandpa from the first heartbeat; I don’t become a grandpa when the age of viability is reached; I don’t become a grandpa at birth; I don’t become a grandpa when this life takes its first breath after birth; I am a grandpa now, and became a grandpa at the moment of conception. 

The pro-life argument is not strictly biblical, but many passages certainly support the pro-life view. For example, Genesis 1:27Job 33:4Psalm 127:3-5, and Psalm 139:13-16, to name a few, but it is also philosophical and scientific. 

SLED

A philosophical example would be the simple SLED test. Human value is not based on Size, Level of development, Environment, or Degree of dependency.

Considering the size, some might say the unborn is just a clump of cells; consequently, Annie is not a mother, and you are not a grandpa, yet. Well, we are all just a clump of cells; what does that have to do with the clump of cells being a distinct human entity? This clump of cells is alive, growing, and human. Am I worth more than a 2-year-old little girl? Obviously not, and especially not to the parents of that little girl. That clump of cells from the first germinal stage is a distinct and separate human life. This life has their own DNA and is defined as ‘life’ by any biology textbook.

After size, if you look at the level of development, you will see that criteria can’t determine value. For example, a three-year-old girl does not have a fully developed reproductive system, so she can’t bear children. Does that somehow make her less valuable? Obviously, the unborn is less developed than the 3-year-old girl, so does she have an even lesser value? Equating a human’s value to their development level is clearly abhorrent to the clear thinking. 

How does location change the value of a human? Does traveling down a 7-inch birth canal suddenly bestow personhood, value, and human rights to that individual? 

Finally, does dependency alter value? Yes, the unborn is dependent on the mother, but newborns are also dependent on their mother/parents for love, security, and a safe environment. Should mothers be allowed to kill their newborns because they need them for nutrition or safety? 

DISCRIMINATION

The SLED method points out what abortion really is, discrimination based on size, development, location, and dependency. The strong, those in complete control, are allowed to disqualify the weak and defenseless. Recall in history, another class of human beings considered to be less valuable because of another arbitrary characteristic. African Americans because of their skin color. 

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. – Abraham Lincoln

SCIENCE

How do I know I am a grandpa now? Science. If you are already rolling your eyes, you will not like anything else I have to say. Nevertheless, if you have got this far, I encourage you to keep reading and thoughtfully consider my points. 

Why do I say science? One example is the technology we use today; women can take a pregnancy test at home, which measures the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). About two weeks after conception, HCG can be detected in the blood or urine.1

Another example is how biologists define life? I had this discussion with my friend Dennis, a biology professor, when I went backpacking for two weeks with him in Wyoming. He explained that biologists define life with several criteria: organization, homeostasis, metabolism, growth, response, reproduction, and adaptation.2

Some terms might change depending on your source, but they all help us determine the characteristics necessary for something to be defined as life. 

BIOLOGY DEFINES LIFE

From conception, there is organization. Cells too tiny to see with the human eye carry out the activities necessary for life, forming complex structures. Homeostasis involves feedback controls and the life seeking to maintain a stable internal environment as it deals with external changes. Metabolism is simply converting energy from chemicals into various and specific cellular structures. Growth is cell division, and it grows in size or number. The response trait is the ability of life to react to its environment. Reproduction is the ability to multiply or procreate, which for most life does not come till later stages of development. Finally, adaptation is the ability to adjust to a change in an environment.3

There is no question that the unborn are alive from the moment of conception. There is no question that the unborn are human from the moment of conception. 

Of course, you will not hear this from the pro-choice advocates. Not long ago Chris Cuomo tweeted, “…the pro-life position is more about faith and feeling than fact.”4 It is a typical claim that Christians and pro-life advocates base their arguments on the Bible, blind faith, and feelings, none of which have anything remotely to do with facts and science. 

LIFE AFTER FIRST BREATH

Last month a woman named Ann on Facebook defended the claim that life does not begin till the first breath. I have heard others make the same claim and then quote Genesis 2:7 to support their view. “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (NIV) Technically, God’s breath began life, not when a human first takes a breath after birth, but let’s dig a little deeper. 

Pro-choice supporters say the Bible says life begins at first breath. Of course, clumps of cells don’t breathe air in the womb. Genesis 2:7, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being.” Let me be clear; this is a descriptive statement, not prescriptive. It describes how and when Adam came to life, not when all human beings come to life. Scripture does not teach that everyone comes to life at their first intake of oxygen into their lungs, and to make that claim is complete rubbish.

Again scientific because I can quote a textbook for medical students, “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm (spermatozoon development) unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”5

The pro-life argument is founded on the principle that intentionally killing an innocent human being is wrong, which is precisely what abortion does.

The unborn are alive, the unborn are human, the unborn are innocent, and the unborn are helpless, so tell me what justification do you have for abortion? And before you toss out the rape and incest card which is less than 1% let’s settle the other 99%. 

  1. Smith, Lori. “Pregnancy tests: All you need to know.” Medical News Today, medicalnewstoday.com, 24 May 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295001. []
  2. Mason, Kenneth; Losos, Jonathan; Singer, Susan. “The Science of Biology.” Biology, New York, McGraw Hill, 2017, pgs. 2-3. []
  3. “Life.” Biology Online, biologyonline.com, 16 June 2022, https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/life []
  4. Cuomo, Chris. [ChrisCuomo]. Twitter, 7 May 2019, https://twitter.com/ChrisCuomo/status/1125740694977548288 []
  5. Keith Moore, T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark Torchia, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 10th Edition, Philadelphia: Saunders, 2015), pg 11. []
Astrology, Infinity Stones, and the Multiverse

Astrology, Infinity Stones, and the Multiverse

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above image by Oleg Gamulinskiy from Pixabay

It is not surprising that the topic of astrology comes up several times a year, usually in the form of someone asking me what sign I am. Over the years I have seen some former students on Facebook posting about it, and over the years I have heard people make decisions based, in part, on what their horoscope says. 

For some, this is just a conversation piece, just something to talk about with only mild interest. In Sept. 2010, the Pew Research Council did a study on a variety of topics to see what percent of the public actually believed in issues such as UFOs, evolution, ghosts, afterlife, and astrology, to name a few. “Among the public, one-in-four (25%) believe in astrology, (including 23% of Christians)”1

One-quarter of the population (that’s 1 in 4 for the math-challenged) believe there is some truth to astrology, and nearly as many Christians. As a young man, I occasionally read my horoscope and was amused by how seemingly accurate it was. Other times, when friends would talk about different people, we were sometimes surprised at how precisely astrology would fit their personalities. Was it that accurate, or was it just worded so that it ‘seemed’ to be true? And really, what did it matter? For many, astrology seems to be a harmless past-time, like bowling or knitting. But is it harmless? Do people hold it more credible than they should? Are some people making serious lifelong decisions about their jobs, careers, marriage, health, or children based on their sign or what their horoscope says for that day or week? The answer to that is yes.

The underlying message of Astrology is that the sun, moon, planets, and stars influence and even determine what our personalities will be. In other words, everyone born under a particular sign should have certain personality traits. For example, Aries should be adventurous and an outgoing individual. On the other hand, someone born under the sign of Taurus should be physically and emotionally strong and have a dislike for change. Virgo’s should be quiet and family-oriented, while Capricorn’s are hardworking, reliable, short-tempered, and have a hard time with authority.

Throughout history, people have struggled to find meaning in their lives and direction for decisions they have to make. But unfortunately, they fall prey to others that use astrology to make money, manipulating those foolish enough to believe astrology may actually work. 

You can find volumes about astrology, the different personality types, and how they relate to each other. Astrology sites make tens of millions every year, and on Amazon, if you search for astrology, you will find nearly 60,000 references. Some popular titles include The Magic of Manifesting, Christian Astrology, The Complete Guide to Astrology Understanding Yourself, Your Signs and Your Birth Chart, You Were Born for This, Astrology for the Soul, The Stars Within You, Predictive Astrology: tools to Forecast Your Life and Create Your Brightest Future. That last one sounds like a title Joel Osteen would have come up with; Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, comes to mind. If something in our popular culture has such an impact on the lives of millions of people, you would think it would have some empirical (verifiable) evidence to support the claims it makes.

You will find Horoscopes listed under “entertainment” in most newspapers, which should tell you something, but that does not excuse the fact that for some, this ‘entertainment’ influences, if not directs, the lives of millions. The fact that it is listed under entertainment does not excuse its negative consequence and impact on our culture. Thousands of movies and books written yearly for entertainment have no part in a supposed intelligent, moral, and ethical society. 

Just because a culture becomes accepting of a behavior does not make it right. Thousands would be entertained in Rome each year by watching gladiators fight to the death, but did that make it morally right? Atheist Richard Dawkins, who is no friend of Christianity, said, “We should take astrology seriously. No, I don’t mean we should believe in it. I am talking about fighting it seriously instead of humoring it as a piece of harmless fun.”

Over the years, science has researched the validity of Astrology and placed it in the same category as pink magic unicorns, the Multiverse, flat Earth, Putin Prices, and the continuum of Gender identity (currently at 72 and rising).

One example that shines a light on the folly of Astrology is twins that have the same sign, and despite being born under the same constellation position, and solar position, their personalities, and lives come out quite different.

Another example can be found in an article written by April Lorier, “…studies have shown that horoscopes themselves are inaccurate. For example, a study of men re-enlisting in the Marine Corps from 1962 through 1970 showed that their astrological signs were just as likely to be ruled by Venus, the planet of love, as they were by Mars, the god of war.”((Lorier, April. “Astrology Disproved by Science.” Christian Nature. Christiannature.blogspot.com, 8/13/2010. Web. 7/2/2013. http://christiannature.blogspot.com/2010/08/astrology-disproved-by-science.html)) In other words, those under the sign of Mars should be the majority of those who enlist in the Marine Corps or at least have a higher enlistment rate compared to those under the sign of Venus.

Let’s look at another issue with astrology concerning the ever-changing position of the Earth’s axis. Hipparchus (c.190 BC – c.120 BC) was the first astronomer to recognize the precession of the Earth’s axis. This is significant because the Earth’s axis has a slight change, to the tune of 1 degree every 72 years, in its precession. Much like the slight wobble you would see in a spinning top, the Earth, if you can picture it, has a wobble as it spins. According to Livescience.com, “Unbeknownst to the ancient astrologers, the Earth continually wobbles around its axis in a 25,800-year cycle. This wobble—called precession—is caused by the gravitational attraction of the Moon on Earth’s equatorial bulge. Over the past two-and-a-half millennia, this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial equator and the ecliptic to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees, or almost exactly one-tenth of the way around. This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth—or almost one whole month…”((Braganca, Pedro. “Astrology: Why Your Zodiac Sign and Horoscope Is Wrong.” Live Science. Livescience.com, 10/23/2007. Web. 7/2/2013 http://www.livescience.com/4667-astrological-sign.html))

So the sign that everyone thinks they are could be off by about four weeks. That could throw a huge wrench in the astrological match-making industry, but you never hear that from astrologers. 

After reading about astrology, I took a moment and looked up my astrological advice for this today and thought I would share it. “Something sudden and unexpected might affect your public reputation or your career. A boss or someone in authority might praise you. You might even get a promotion or a raise. You might develop a crush on a boss. Admittedly, it could be a different surprise. Something not as nice.”

I love that rainbow of possibilities and the use of the word “might.” It just builds my confidence in the validity of astrological advice. 

Just a few years ago, a census and survey center in the United Kingdom did one of the largest tests on Astrology ever taken. It investigated the marriages of over ten million people and found, “This research shows that astrological sign has no impact on the probability of marrying – and staying married to – someone of any other sign. For decades, popular astrologers have promoted the idea of ‘love signs’: compatibility between partners with certain combinations of birthdays. If the more than twenty million married people in England and Wales offer any indication, lonely hearts who worry about the zodiac [signs] are wasting their time.”((Voas, David. “Ten million marriages: A test of astrological ‘love signs.'” Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research. ccsr.ac.uk, 3/25/2007. Web. 7/5/2013. http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/research/VoasAstrology.pdf))

Horoscopes, Zodiac signs, Tarot cards, Chinese horoscopes, Mayan horoscopes, and Numerology can all be found in major newspapers worldwide, and all would fall under astrology. People pay good money for books written about Astrology and all its sub-topics. People also pay others to give them serious advice based on beliefs in astrology. Do yourself a favor. Next time you’re tempted to read your horoscope for today, don’t waste your time. Just follow my advice for any day, and go read a good book.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. – John Kenneth Galbraith

Deuteronomy 4:19

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

Isaiah 47:13–15

Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely, they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. . . . Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.

 

Sources:

1. Allen, Jodie T. Auxier, Richard C. “Why should we care what people think when so many are do dumb.” pewresearch.org. Pew Research Center, 10/30/2010. Web. 7/3/2013. http://www.pewresearch.org/2010/09/30/why-should-we-care-what-people-think-when-so-many-are-so-dumb/

2. Lorier, April. “Astrology Disproved by Science.” Christian Nature. Christiannature.blogspot.com, 8/13/2010. Web. 7/2/2013. http://christiannature.blogspot.com/2010/08/astrology-disproved-by-science.html

3. Braganca, Pedro. “Astrology: Why Your Zodiac Sign and Horoscope Is Wrong.” Live Science. Livescience.com, 10/23/2007. Web. 7/2/2013 http://www.livescience.com/4667-astrological-sign.html

4. Voas, David. “Ten million marriages: A test of astrological ‘love signs’.” Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research. ccsr.ac.uk, 3/25/2007. Web. 7/5/2013. http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/research/VoasAstrology.pdf

 

Other Sources:

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/astrology_checklist

http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/astrology.html

http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-wrong-with-astrology/

  1. Allen, Jodie T. Auxier, Richard C. “Why should we care what people think when so many are do dumb.” pewresearch.org. Pew Research Center, 10/30/2010. Web. 7/3/2013. http://www.pewresearch.org/2010/09/30/why-should-we-care-what-people-think-when-so-many-are-so-dumb/ []
The Center of Attention

The Center of Attention

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

Nicolaus Copernicus

In the early 1500s, around the time Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel, and Balboa was sailing into the Pacific, Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, wrote something that would rumble in the halls of science for centuries.((Hirshfeld, Alan W. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.))

Copernicus was an Italian astronomer that may have been the first to consider, if not the first to suggest in the written word, that the earth was not the center of the universe. “What appears to us as motions of the Sun arise not from its motion but from the motions of the earth.”((Hirshfeld, Alan W. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.)) 

Imagine, centuries ago, when science was limited to what we could observe with the naked eye, someone suggesting that the earth, the very pillar we stand on, actually moved. Yet, our everyday experiences told us otherwise. Every day of their lives, everyone, everywhere, saw the sun rise and the sun set. This simple observation is backed up by the scripture. Psalm 113:3 Isaiah 45:6 Yet Copernicus was suggesting otherwise.

Galileo Galilei

Roughly 40 years after Copernicus first wrote about and began to explore our solar system, another significant character in history came into this world. His name was Galileo, and he was born on February 15, 1564. Many today view Galileo as the secular saint who was forced to deny his astronomical findings by the Church. Some have written that Galileo was tried as a heretic or tortured until he would renounce his findings. In his book Cosmos, Carl Sagan wrote that Galileo was in a Catholic dungeon threatened with torture unless he recanted his heretical views.((Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980. Print)) Christopher Hitchens, in his book, God is not Great, put it this way, “Galileo might have been unmolested in his telescopic work if he had not been so unwise as to admit that it had cosmological implications.”1

A few years back, my son handed me a book by Kris Vallotton, one of the head pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California. The book was titled Moral Revolution The Naked Truth about Sexual Purity, and he was interested in what I would think about it, so I took the weekend to read it.

Without turning this into a book review, I will share what Vallotten wrote in his brief mention of Galileo, “In the early 1600s, a scientist named Galileo, through the invention of the telescope, observed that the earth revolved around the sun and not the sun around the earth. The Catholic Church was the political force of that day, and Galileo’s scientific discovery was opposed to the Church’s theology, so the Pope tried him as a heretic. The Church authorities forced him to renounce his discoveries and placed him under house arrest, where he lived out the last years of his life.”((Vallotton, Kris. Vallotton, Jason. Moral Revolution The Naked Truth about Sexual Purity. Minneapolis: Chosen, 2012. Print.)) Vallotton went on to say how the Catholic Church relegated the public to ignorance and lies via a highly developed system of punishment.

Galileo was never tried as a heretic, not by the Pope or anyone else.

The Church and Galileo

Galileo had two meetings with the Vatican over the years. The first meeting in 1616 was about Galileo’s lectures supporting the heliocentric view (the view that the earth revolved around the sun). It was a warm welcome by the Catholic Church since Galileo was famous and well respected. While there, he stayed at the grand Medici Villa, meeting with the Pope and other cardinals more than once.((D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.))

Cardinal Bellarmine was head of the investigation and was quite familiar with Galileo’s view. Bellarmine was no slouch to the science of that day, and wrote a letter that said if the earth did revolve around the sun, and not the sun around the earth, “…we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of scripture which appear to teach the contrary.”2 

Sounds reasonable don’t you think? Bellarmine went on, “…this is not a thing to be done in haste, and as for myself, I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.”((Brodrick, James. Robert Bellarmine Saint and Scholar. West Monasterii, London: Newman Press, 1961. Print.))

Essentially Bellarmine was saying, make sure you are correct, then we can revisit scripture and consider our interpretations. Dinesh D’Souza put it this way in his book, What’s So Great About Christianity, when writing about Bellarmine and Galileo, “This is a model of sensible procedure. Bellarmine assumed that there could be no real conflict between nature and scripture, which is what Christianity has always taught.”3 

So Galileo was told not to push the heliocentric view and returned home. The case was closed, and the findings and conclusion of the church were filed away.

Alan Hirshfeld, in his book Parallax, tells the story of how we came to measure distant stars. Hirshfeld wrote, “Galileo laid the blame for the papal restrictions not on the Church, but on the conservative Aristotelian philosophers who had precipitated the Pope’s action, [Galileo wrote] ‘They have endeavored to spread the opinion that such Copernican propositions in general are contrary to the Bible and are consequently damnable and heretical…'”((Hirshfeld, Alan. Parallax The Race To Measure The Cosmos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. Print.))

Not the Sharpest Tac in the Box

The second meeting took place about 16 years later after Galileo published a book in 1632 with two leading figures, the Pope and Galileo. In his book, the Pope and Galileo debated the heliocentric view, and Galileo gave the Pope the name of ‘Simplicio,’ which means ‘simpleton’ in Italian. Not the smartest of moves. Imagine providing testimony in a courtroom and insulting the judge’s intelligence presiding over your case. Galileo may have been brilliant, but he obviously lacked some common sense. Of course, we are talking about the Pope. 

In Galileo’s defense, the Pope at that time was a personal friend of Galileo, previously known as Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, now Pope Urban VIII. I would imagine that Galileo felt he had much more freedom to express his views on the sun being the center of our solar system rather than the earth. Galileo erred in the length of his leash. 

After the book was published, Galileo returned to Rome to meet with the Inquisition. The consensus was that Galileo was undermining the authority and teachings of the church. In addition, notes from Bellarmine years before were found, which compounded the event. It became clear that Galileo had already been told not to push the heliocentric view. Galileo was told to recant his views, which he did, and was placed under house arrest.

Yes, house arrest. The first five months in the palace of the archbishop of Siena (must have been difficult), and then he returned home to his villa in Florence.((D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print.)) He was allowed to visit his daughters and continue his research. He died of natural causes nine years later.

The False Narrative

What was interesting to me is Vallotton is citing the NOVA special found on PBS.org. Sources that would be fair to say have a liberal slant on almost every issue. To be clear, I am not saying that just because he cited information from a leftist source, it should be dismissed as inaccurate. What I am saying is, when you research history, don’t limit yourself; move beyond PBS, ushistory.org, the dailymail.co.uk, and Wikipedia. Many of these references and most news sources will have a left-leaning and will put the Church in a negative light, including Christianity. 

Texts books you find in Jr. High and Highschool imply science and religion are at odds because science deals with facts and religion deals with the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus. Science is facts and reality; religion is fantasy and fables. 

So what about the scripture that supports the erroneous view of the world being the center of our universe? John Lennox, the Oxford Professor, wrote, “Rather than scientific language, the Bible often uses phenomenological language – the language of appearance. It describes what everyone can see. It talks about the sun rising just as everyone else does, including scientists, even though they know that the sun only appears to rise because of the rotation of the earth. Saying that the sun “rises” does not commit the Bible, or a scientist for that matter, to any particular model of the solar system.”((Lennox, John. Seven Days That Divide The World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. Print))

Science and Christianity are not at odds with one another. It is disappointing to see Christian leaders fall prey to the secular historical spin pushed since Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands. It is bad enough that most public school books will push the same storyline that Galileo was tried as a heretic, tortured, or lived in squalor because of his published views. The Church vs. science, facts vs. faith, is what the world wants you to believe, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

Sometimes religion does talk about things that science talks about, specifically the origin of life, creation, and the heavens. Therefore, what you choose to believe has tremendous implications on your life and the purpose of your existence. 

The earth does not have to be the center of the universe to be the center of God’s attention. – John Lennox

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Center of Attention by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great-How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Hachette Book Company, 2007. Print. []
  2. Brodrick, James. Robert Bellarmine Saint and Scholar. West Monasterii, London: Newman Press, 1961. Print. []
  3. D’Souza, Dinesh. What’s So Great About Christianity. Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 2007. Print. []
What Can Science Tell Us?

What Can Science Tell Us?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

Who would have thought that the same force which tears open the grocery bag and tumbles the groceries onto the floor would also be responsible for the high and low tides on our shores? Or the orbit of our moon around the earth and the earth’s orbit around the sun, not to mention all the other planets within our solar system, our galaxy, and the entire universe.

Allan Rex Sandage, one of the greatest observational cosmologists of our time said about science influencing his beliefs, “It is my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science.”1

In 1977 Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas wrote concerning discoveries that pointed toward a creator, “The more the universe has become comprehensible through cosmology, he wrote, the more it seems pointless. But now the very science that “killed” God is, in the eyes of believers, restoring faith.”1

Not long ago, I finished ‘The Works of His Hands’ by Sy Garte Ph.D. Good read despite being a theistic evolutionist (a belief that God uses evolution), something I disagree with. Nevertheless, he addressed the Big Bang, “That explosion could be timed to about thirteen billion years ago. The later discovery of cosmic background radiation gave further confirmation to this theory, and alternative theories of a steady-state universe with no beginning, favored by Hoyle and others, were dropped. The idea that there was a single moment of creation is currently established science.”((Garte, Sy. “Origins” The Works of His Hands, Kregel Publications, 2019, p.100))

Many in the world of physics rejected this Big Bang theory because it seemed to confirm how the Bible describes creation. They began calling it a singularity, or a point where all physical laws are no longer independent, space and time are no longer interrelated realities. “Calling it a ‘singularity’ sounds very scientific, but it really just another word for a miracle: a mystery undetermined by the law of our universe and thus inaccessible to scientific investigation.”((Garte, Sy. “Origins” The Works of His Hands, Kregel Publications, 2019, p.100-101))

Charles Townes, Nobel Prize winner in 1964 for Physics, said, “Many have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe.”1

Unlike some scientists who see religion and science as opposed, Sandage believes they are complementary. In an article he wrote for Truth Journal, Sandage said science should take religion seriously and religion should respect science. “Science makes explicit the quite incredible natural order, the interconnections at many levels between the laws of physics, the chemical reactions in the biological processes of life, etc.,” he wrote. “But science can answer only a fixed type of question. It is concerned with the what, when, and how. It does not, and indeed cannot, answer within its method (powerful as that method is), why.”2

Donald Johnson wrote a book titled, How to Talk to a Skeptic, [https://www.amazon.com/Talk-Skeptic-Easy-Follow-Conversations/dp/0764211226] in it he explains that some view God’s special revelation (Scripture) as the only way He will communicate with us, but this is counter what scripture teaches us. Johnson wrote, “They envision God’s revelation as a systematic theology textbook being dropped out of the sky and think that this is supposed to be all that God has ever done or will do in the way of communicating and disclosure.” He goes on to say, “According to these passages, people receive some revelation of God simply by living in the world he created. This knowledge of God is available to everyone through creation and our ability to reason. This is usually referred to as ‘general’ or ‘universal’ revelation.”((Johnson, Donald. “What Skeptics Need to Know About God.” How to Talk to a Skeptic, Bethany House Publishers, pgs. 129-130))

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. Psalm 19:1-4

In 2005 scientists aimed the Hubble Telescope at a patch of space that would be about 1/10’s the moon’s diameter. They kept Hubble gazing at that spot for one million seconds, or about 12 days. To date, this has been the longest exposure ever taken by a telescope. Why did they do this? Astronomers did not have an accurate measure of the number of stars and galaxies in the observable universe, but after 2005 they had some numbers which could be extrapolated and applied to our universe.

That small patch of sky revealed more than ten thousand galaxies which, when multiplied over the whole observable universe, totaled about 200 billion galaxies. On average, astronomers tell us there are about 200 billion stars in each galaxy which adds up to about 40 billion trillion stars in our observable universe. You can add in another 10 billion trillion stars in unobserved dwarf galaxies for a 50 billion trillion total.((Hugh, Ross. “Why Such a Vast Universe.” Why The Universe Is The Way It Is. Baker Books, 2008, pgs 30-31))

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton

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What Can Science Tell Us? by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Begley, Sharon. “Science Finds God.” Washington Post, 1988. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/newsweek/science_of_god/scienceofgod.htm. 15 February 2022. [] [] []
  2. Staff. “Allan Rex Sandage” N.D. https://biography.yourdictionary.com/allan-rex-sandage. 15 February 2022 []
Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith?

Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One thing I am never short of is Facebook posts that denounce Christianity for various reasons. Some posts slam the Christian God, calling Him an unforgiving, genocidal, jealous, racist bully, echoing Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion.((Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, Print.))

Others target scripture suggesting it was written hundreds of years after the life of Christ and is full of errors and contradictions. Again quoting Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, “To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.”1

Some even question if Christ was a real person, and many believe He was not an authentic historical figure. Frank Zindler, former director of the American Atheists gives us a glimpse at this, “So much for the evidence purporting to prove that Jesus was a historical figure. We have not, of course, proved that Jesus did not exist. We have only showed that all evidence alleged to support such a claim is without substance…”((Zindler, Frank. “Did Jesus Exist?” American Atheists, ND, https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/did-jesus-exist/))

Then you have those who target the hypocritical behavior of Christians. For example, some who think they are quoting Gandhi write, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” which is not an actual quote from Gandi, but it was taken from another Indian philosopher. Nevertheless, the point is well made, Christians often don’t act like Christ despite wanting to and being told to be imitators of Him in scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:1 I certainly can relate to that, and most believers, if they are honest, will say the same.

Finally, others take a much broader path and paint most, if not all religions as foolishness and the cause of countless wars and misery.

These claims can be addressed and have been, but my focus in this post is the claim that science depends on reason and evidence while Christianity doesn’t.

Is the assertion true that Christianity is void or reason and evidence? Are Christians wishing on a star, following their heart, taking leaps of faith, or is their faith simply blind?

Let’s take a look at some examples in scripture. Luke states that his sources were ‘eye-witnesses,’ and he claims to have carefully investigated everything and is sharing them with Theophilus so he would be certain of the claims of the new Christians. Luke 1:1-4

In 1 Cor. 15:6, Paul practically dares anyone to check out his story. In I Corinthians 15, Paul lists six groups or specific individuals who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ. Peter, The twelve, the 500, James (younger brother of Jesus), all the apostles, and finally Paul himself.

Most of these eyewitnesses endured persecution, imprisonment, torture, and finally, death. Persecution was the norm, and it certainly was not something that would compel others to sacrifice their livelihood or life for what they profess. Yet, despite their willingness to lose everything, that does not validate their belief. I think of the 911 terrorists and their belief that 72 virgins awaited them in the afterlife. Yet what is so remarkable about the early Christian martyrs is not what they believed, but what they saw; the risen Christ. The early Christian martyrs died not for what they thought to be true but what they saw to be true. 

A story shared by Lee Strobel may help illustrate my point. In 1963 Addie Mae Collins was one of four African-American girls murdered in a church bombing by racists. She was buried in Birmingham, Alabama, and for years her family returned to visit her gravesite and leave flowers. Finally, in 1998 they made the decision to exhume Addie Mae so she could be reburied at another cemetery. However, when the workers began to dig, they discovered the grave was empty. The family was understandably shocked, and several possible explanations were considered as officials started to investigate what happened, but no one ever suggested was that Addie Mae was resurrected. Why? Because an empty grave does not constitute a resurrection. Eyewitnesses do that.

Other religions begin with someone having a private encounter or vision they share with others, not Christianity. We find another example in 2 Peter 1:16, where Peter explains they were eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ and His majesty. In addition, at the end of John, he explains the signs done by Christ in front of witnesses was so they might believe that he was the Son of God. John 20:30-31. Scripture is full of examples that rule out the impression that our faith requires giant leaps or blind loyalty. Neither does Christ Himself expect that of us.

For example, when John the Baptist was in prison and struggling with doubts, so he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the one they were waiting for. How did Jesus respond? He promptly healed the lame and cured the blind. He then told them to return to John and report what they witnessed. Luke 7:19-22 In fact, you will find that the Gospel of Luke holds most of the eyewitness details found in the New Testament.

Classical scholar Colin Hemer fact-checked the book of Acts (written by Luke) and found 84 facts confirmed by historical and archaeological research.((Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004, Print.)) Believing without evidence is what we call blind faith and nowhere in scripture are believers called to that kind of faith. John 14:9-11

The above examples are from scripture, but Christians are not limited to those examples to build their faith. Believers can find substantial evidence within the sciences. Just don’t expect science to answer all your questions. The fact is, science cannot answer all our questions and never will be able to.

Suppose my daughter-in-law Annie baked a cake. If we were to ship it to a lab for analysis, we would learn much about the cake. The biochemists could tell us what elements are within the cake. Mathematicians will spell out the weight, volume, and detailed dimensions of the cake. Physicists can break down the fundamental particles and explain what temperatures she baked it. But not one of them, or anyone in the scientific community could tell us why the cake was made; only Annie could answer that question. Natural sciences will answer questions about the structure and elements of the cake, but they could never answer any ‘why’ questions.

When you think about it, the laws of nature help us describe the universe, but they explain nothing. The fact that we have laws that govern our universe is one of those why questions that can’t be answered except by the one who made the laws. One of the first questions of the year I would ask my algebra students in Jr. High was, “Is mathematics invented or discovered?” I would leave them to ponder that throughout the year.

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Laureate in physics, wrote, “…the fact that there are rules at all to be checked is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse-square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.))

Those most critical of the Christian faith often don’t ever set foot in a church, let alone read or examine scripture. They don’t study the words of Jesus and try to apply the teaching to themselves, or how His words could apply to neighbors, friends, family, etc. It is so much easier to point out the faults and shortcomings of others than to take a hard look at ourselves and compare how we live our life to the commands of Jesus. The operative word is ‘try’ because we all fall short. Someone once said the church is a hospital for sinners, not a sanctuary for saints. We are all more comfortable playing the armchair general, pointing out the mistakes of those in the trenches and how they are delinquent in living a life like Jesus than applying His teachings to our own conduct.

Anthony Flew was a lifetime philosopher and atheist. Then in 2003, late in his life, he converted to a belief in God. He said he had to go where the evidence leads, and it was the complexity of DNA that was the deciding factor for Flew. John Lennox wrote concerning the idea of following evidence where it leads, “…there are situations where we shouldn’t just give up if explanations in terms of natural processes don’t work; we should be prepared to follow the evidence where it leads, even if that involves a supernatural dimension.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.)) But not all scientists adhere to that because of their prejudice to a concept of a being beyond the natural.

Richard Lewontin, who is a geneticist from Harvard, displays this attitude perfectly when he wrote, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment…to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.))

Christians should never be afraid of science and what we can learn from it. The things that we learn about our universe, from the microscopic to the telescope, are often confirmed by the Bible when researched carefully. Science cannot answer all the questions we might have, but neither should the Bible be used as a science book. As we investigate our world, both science and theology should be used to complement and confirm how best we should live.

The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. – Galileo

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Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, Print. []
God’s Not Dead

God’s Not Dead

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Above image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Did you see the movie God’s Not Dead? I watched God’s Not Dead several years ago when it first came out. I returned a few days later to watch it a second time with my son and several of his friends. This time I took notes, as well as anyone can take notes in a dark theater.

If you have watched this movie or plan on watching it, then take a moment and read this. It will help explain some of the arguments used by both the atheist, Professor Radisson, and the Christian student, Josh Wheaton. This review (if you can call it that) is far from exhaustive in covering the logical fallacies and apologetic arguments, but it may be useful for the layman.

The Most Intelligent People are Atheists

The first argument Professor Radisson used when he walked into his philosophy class was to point to a list of famous, intelligent, if not brilliant, people who were all atheists. This is a logical fallacy called an appeal to authority. If you come up with a list of famous, educated, or influential people who support your cause, your cause must be essential and intellectually just.

Every year in politics, you see candidates endorsed by famous actors or actresses. They do this because the Hollywood spotlight holds a position of influence over us. If a famous actor or actress supports someone, more people will vote for that individual. Both the Republicans and the Democrats use a Hollywood face or well-known sports figure to promote their campaign. The fact that both sides take part in this should tell you something. It works.

Christians could also come up with a list of brilliant minds that believed in God or the Christian worldview. In popular culture, we have Tyler Perry, Ryan Gosling, Patricia Heaton, Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Martin Sheen, Angela Bassett, to name a few in the Hollywood circles. They all believe in God or profess to be Christians. We could also list those famous for their towering intellect. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Mendel, to name a few.

Appealing to authority can be persuasive, but it does not make something true. Even if everyone I listed above thought that the world was flat, it would not be true. And when Professor Radisson shows off a list of brilliant and famous people that were, or are, atheists, it does not make atheism true any more than the lists I offered make Christianity true.

The prompting is that only intelligent people are atheists, but you can see that is not the case. The suggestion is that science trumps faith, and that science and faith are at odds. Or more specifically, that knowledge and faith are on opposite ends of each other. Many atheists and even some Christians believe the less knowledge you have, the more faith you need. Please give it some thought. This is obviously not true; the opposite of faith is unbelief, not knowledge, and the opposite of knowledge is not faith, but ignorance. Throughout history and today, brilliant minds have excellent reasons and evidence for their faith.

Atheists do not have the market on knowledge, reason, and science. In my readings on apologetics, I have found tremendous support for my faith in Christ. As my knowledge has increased, so has my faith/confidence. As Josh researched the Christian worldview, no doubt his faith also increased.

I want to address two apologetic arguments Josh Wheaton used in the movie. This will help those watching the film for the first time understand the philosophy behind them. It is also important for every Christian to be familiar with them because they commonly come up when talking to skeptics or atheists.

The First Cause

The first argument Josh brought up was the Big Bang Theory.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble noticed what he called a ‘red shift’ in the color of very distant galaxies. This turned out to mean that the galaxies were moving away; in other words, the universe was expanding. Why is this significant? If we dial back time a thousand years, the universe would be smaller than it is today. If we were to go back a million years, it would be smaller still. So we could go back to the beginning and find the universe compressed into a single point that science calls a singularity. What caused this singularity? We call that God. As Greg Koukl puts it, to have a Big Bang, you must have a Big Banger.

Just a few years later, Albert Einstein came to peer through the telescope at the Wilson Observatory to confirm, at least in his own mind, the findings of Hubble. Since then, science has continued to confirm this, and the Big Bang Theory is widely accepted in the scientific community. 

I know many Christians that have been uncomfortable with this, but it plays into the hand of those who believe in God. Simply put, if the universe had a beginning, it must have been created. For centuries, scientists believed that the universe had always existed, but Genesis says, “In the beginning God created…”

One form of the cosmological argument is called the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and essentially it states the following premises and conclusion:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe began to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

Someone might ask, “Then who caused God?” but God is an uncaused, eternal being. He stands outside of his creation, much like the author of a book stands outside of his novel. Time is inexorably tied to our universe, and God stands outside it. He is not bound by his creation any more than Thomas Kinkade is bound to live in one of his idyllic country cottage paintings.

Professor Hugh Ross, who has written several books on cosmology and lectured at over 300 campuses, wrote, “Consider the way parents prepare their children to explore and relate to the world and the rest of humanity. Step-by-step, as the little one matures, father and mother allow the world of exploration and relationships to expand. Likewise, according to the Bible, God will allow his children to move beyond their smallish playground (planet earth) into the expansive realm (the new creation) he always intended for them to experience and enjoy.”((Ross, Hugh. “Why Such a Lonely Universe.” Why The Universe Is The Way It Is, Baker Books, 2008, p.78))

Problem of Evil

Another argument Josh addressed is the problem of evil. The argument goes something like this: how can an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God allow evil? David Hume put it this way, “Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”

Let me ask you, what is your purpose in life? If you hold a Christian worldview, you must understand that your purpose in life is not your happiness but to commune with God. This life does not end with our last breath but spills over and opens up a door to an eternal ocean of God’s presence and love.

The old woman in the nursing home toward the end of God’s Not Dead spells it out nicely when she says to her son, “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble, because he doesn’t want them turning to God.”1 Some of you may have the same experience I do when I say the times I have been the most active in prayer are when I have been going through difficulty. No doubt many of you have experienced the same thing. How many have cried out to God when encountering a sudden life-threatening experience? In times of difficulty, most everyone recognizes we turn toward God, but sometimes the answer is no, and we suffer great pain or loss. For many of us, this brings us closer to God, and a greater understanding of the purpose to our life.

Timothy Keller wrote, “For many years, after each of the morning and evening Sunday services, I remained in the auditorium for another hour to field questions. Hundreds of people stayed for the give-and-take discussions. One of the most frequent statements I heard was, ‘Every person has the right to define right and wrong for himself or herself.’ I always responded to the speakers by asking, ‘Is there anyone in the world right now doing things you believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?’ They would invariably say, ‘Yes, of course.'”2

We are all free to do good, and we are all free to do evil. The same freedom allows us to do one or the other, but we could not measure evil without good. Without God, evil is just a behavior that some don’t enjoy, and it becomes a subjective feeling. 

Timothy Keller pointed out that without a grounding objective morality we get from God, then evil is just a point of view. If we each decide what is right and wrong, then evil is just a matter of opinion. 

Volumes have been written on the problem of evil, and it is one Christians should be familiar with because it can be one of the most challenging questions to answer when the suffering does not offer any rhyme or reason. 

See God’s Not Dead if you have not seen it. I would have enjoyed more classroom debate and apologetic arguments in greater detail, more character development. Still, it has raised awareness in Christians who might otherwise never have considered intellectual and philosophical arguments for their belief in Christ. 

Creative Commons License
God’s Not Dead by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. God’s Not Dead. Dir. Harold Cronk, Perf. Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper. Pure Flix Entertainment, 2014. Film []
  2. Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print. []

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