The time has come to plant a flag. To state my beliefs as they are and invite genuine debate, and this is what I suggest.
Once I’ve made my opening statement, we treat it as a debate, with a rebuttal coming by way of a post and questions from the floor, as it were. As there are people on this forum with widely opposite beliefs, it is probably the most adult way to treat this very sensitive subject. The people with hard and fast views are hardly likely to change their views because of what we write on this forum, but those who are undecided, might very well decide that they have enough information to allow them to make an informed decision either way.
Any statement I make, I will be prepared to back up with hard evidence. If, when questioned, I will admit when I do not know the answer. I will not say ‘Goddidit’. If someone counters my position with one of their own, I will ask the same of them. I know I’m asking a lot here, but it would be best if this were kept free from personal attacks, as they favour no-one but the prurient.
So, my statement of belief. Not just faith, but belief.
I believe that fourteen billion years ago, give or take a day or so, the singularity expanded at a rate unimaginable to the mind of man. Stephen Hawking can imagine it, but I believe he does so as a mathematical construct. We are too puny to imagine something on this scale. In a nanosecond, it grew to be the size of our solar system, and in three weeks, to about ninety percent of its current size. And it’s been expanding ever since.
How do we know this? We don’t. We cannot measure this empirically and it is not falsifiable. We take the evidence we have and infer from that evidence how the universe was formed and how, in fact our earth was formed. And when. There is general agreement amongst cosmologists and astronomers, with very little in the way of conflict.
There are questions, of course, about the singularity itself; something so small it could not be measured by anything we have, releasing all that latent energy into absolute energy and creating the Laws of Physics as it went along. Where was this singularity? In what was it held? What created it, if anything? Our minds are too limited to cope with questions of this magnitude.
As a Christian, which I am before anything else, the answer is simple. God created it. If God exists outside space and time, as the Bible avers, then creating the entire universe from nothing is no problem. This requires a belief in the God of the Bible, as He alone is reported as being pre-existent, omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. None of the gods of the other religions claim to have created from nothing.
All the other gods restored order from chaos, or some such other thing. The God of the Bible created from nothing: so did Allah, but he is based on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The earth is approximately four and a half billion years old, and this can be measured by ice-core samples, lake sedimentation and the like. There is very little argument in this regard, aside from YECs, who believe they have a valid viewpoint. I disagree.
I do not believe in evolution of any kind, micro- or macro. I believe it quite literally when the Bible says, ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ Science cannot counter it, as there is no empirical way to prove or disprove it. This is belief, pure and simple. Atheists and agnostics believe in abiogenesis, but this has never been observed anywhere, although the time period for observation has been a tad shorter than that claimed for evolution.
For all the claims of the veracity of evolution, there can be counter-claims made, which are equally valid. Charles Darwin marvelled at God’s handiwork when he surveyed the wonder of evolution, so I don’t disbelieve because I believe only atheists can hold that view. I disbelieve because I believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God, and He says, in His word, that He created them man and woman, and in His image He created them. And without them, there can be no original sin, in which case, Christ’s death was in vain.
I believe there is enough evidence for the truth of the Bible, from extra-biblical sources, fulfilled prophecies and the sheer number of witnesses in Christ’s lifetime, who testified to having seen Him, both in His earthly ministry, and after His resurrection. I do believe absolutely in miracles, having been the beneficiary of miracles myself, and seeing my son healed from a deformity.
God is very frugal with miracles, and anyone who claims otherwise is most likely after your money. Jesus said there would be many false prophets, and that they would be known by their fruits, and the televangelists certainly are.
Everything in the Bible which can be tested, and has been, has been proven to be true, so I believe the things which cannot be tested. I believe this is a fair method of proving anything, as that is exactly what we do in science. The Higgs-Boson has just recently been given a 99.5% reliability rating, which is not enough for Peter Higgs, but it is enough to validate the work done up to now. This is the standard I apply to the Bible.
Once I delved into Quantum Theory and multi-dimensionality, and began to understand as much as an unscientifically trained layman can, I saw even more evidence for miracles. If Jesus could operate in six dimensions or more, He could walk on water and through walls. We can’t, because we’re stuck with this ‘…too, too solid flesh…’ to quote Shakespeare. But we find this flesh anything but solid, when we speak of multi-dimensionality.
I believe in a global flood, as I wrote in a previous post, with more than enough evidence to support it. Again, I did supply the evidence in brief in that post, but will happily supply as much evidence as there currently is available. I ask that you examine the evidence thoroughly, and not just dismiss it out of hand because it doesn’t fit your world-view.
I believe in the facts of Christ’s birth virgin birth, His miracles, His teachings and His ultimate crucifixion and resurrection. And before you make the snide remark that it’s easy to die knowing you’re coming back to life again, consider what Cicero wrote about crucifixion. ‘(It) is the most cruel and most frightful means of execution.’ It is still regarded as the cruellest form of legal execution ever practised by man.
I believe that we are all sinners in need of a Saviour and, again, that does not mean we’re evil in the traditional sense of the word. If God is who the Bible claims He is, He is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate so much as one sin. By those standards, we are evil. When Jesus says, ‘…if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts…’ that is what He means.
When I compare myself against other people, I don’t come away badly at all, but when I compare myself with the perfection that is God, I have to suffer by comparison. And I believe the Bible when it says, ‘…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’
I have posted before that I believe that true morality is not possible without an external standard. The external standard I choose is the Bible. However, for the purposes of this argument, I will say that one could just as easily use the Koran, as it teaches justice, mercy and punishment for crimes. Without an external source on which to base our judgments, we are at the mercy of our feelings, and the whims of a democratic system, which can vote into being unjust laws, such as lowering the age of consent to age thirteen in Spain.
In other words, everything is relative. And morality can never be based on Relativism, as this would ensure justice, if it could be called that, for an elect few. In South Africa, Cabinet Ministers are not subject to traffic laws. No-one could call that just, but it is the law of the country, and part of the justice system. Therefore, Moral Relativism.
Finally, I trust this will be received in the spirit in which it was written, and not just used as target practice by those who do not want to examine a view counter to their own.