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Miracles and Mayhem

13 September 2013, 15:06

There seems to be a concerted drive by atheists, in the Western world, to attack religion, in particular Christianity, and in the process ignore all the evidence, historical, archaeological and anecdotal. And this, of course, proves to be utterly foolish, and here’s why.

Zoologists have gone trekking into the jungles of the world to find animals like the bongo, which is found only in the Aberdare forest in Kenya. It was thought to be mythical, until the first one was discovered by zoologists in 1837, based on anecdotal evidence.

The orang-utan was for many years thought to be a mythical creature, the ‘man of the forest’, which is what the word means. In 1631 Jacob Bontius mentioned this ape which the locals told him could talk and he dismissed it, even though he diligently searched for it. Andrew Russell Wallace discovered it in 1861 and published his findings in his account: The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-Utan and the Bird of Paradise.  Again, anecdotal evidence was followed and shown to be accurate. This is not always the case, of course.

Recently a man was shot by a crossbow, and the bolt went between his left and right hemispheres, and was successfully removed. Aside from severe headaches (big surprise, that) for a while, he has suffered no permanent damage. It’s as much a testament to the skill of the medical team as it is to blind luck that no permanent damage was done by the bolt.

In Boston a man fell out of the fourteenth floor window of his apartment and, on the way down, snagged his shirt on a flagpole, which tore the shirt, slowing his fall and he landed up on the awning of a restaurant, sliding down and then breaking through to land in a heap amongst the startled diners. Attempted suicide was ruled out by the man’s gratitude to be alive. He suffered a sprained ankle.

Now I can guarantee that neither of these events could be replicated, and yet atheists expect miracles, which are rare in the extreme, to be replicated in a lab. The two incidents mentioned are purely natural events and the chance of their happening at all, let alone being repeated is miniscule. I’m not a mathematician, so I can’t work out the odds.

Joost van der Westhuizen is in the news again, because a certain Dr. Neethling seems to have healed him of Motor Neuron Disease. I don’t have to tell you what the medical fraternity had to say about that, I’m sure you’ve read it all for yourselves. However, here is the interesting part: most thinking people ignore these alternative healers and dismiss them as quacks, because they go against the mainstream and their patients very often get better for a while and then worsen.

My boss had cancer, and instead of going for chemo, he went to an alternative healer, and read and watched ‘The Secret’ and, for a time, seemed to be improving. He ultimately died, and in a lot of pain. And spent a lot of money following this senseless path.

The majority of historians and archaeologists are in agreement with the dates and times in the Bible, along with the history represented therein. But the ‘quacks’ say it didn’t happen that way. They go against the mainstream, and are believed in spite of it. The same people who would dismiss homoeopathy, accept the word of an alternative historian or archaeologist as being true, even though it runs completely counter to what has been accepted as true for many years. New discoveries in archaeology keep confirming this as well.

When you build, you use a plumb line and a spirit level. You start with the foundations and build up from there, following carefully draughted plans. You know if you don’t follow these procedures, the building will not stand. In a sense, this is like the scientific method. If you do not follow the rigorous guidelines, your result could be in question, or even, in a discipline like chemistry or biology, have a disastrous outcome.

So too, with the rules of evidence. If something is not repeatable or falsifiable, we have to extrapolate from the data we have and, again using the scientific method, come to an agreement. This does not always work, of course, as some mavericks, like Einstein, tend to go their own way and are, in the end proven right.

However, his work came under intense scrutiny and, when they could find no fault with it, they accepted it as valid. So with any scientific discipline.

My feelings on evolution are well-known, but they do follow the scientific method and publish their findings for peer-review and are sometimes heavily criticised by their peers, perhaps for sloppy workmanship. Mary Leakey was heavily criticised by, amongst others, her brother, until the evidence was, to her critics, so compelling, that they had no option but to accept it.

Now historians follow this same well-worn path of peer-review, as do archaeologists and, surprise, surprise, theologians. When an historian, regardless of his field, publishes any new information, especially controversial information, it is firstly minutely examined against the evidence of hundreds of years’ worth of research, then a rigorous screening process begins and, if it is valid, it is hailed as something new and exciting.

So too with archaeology. Anything new, which might run counter to conventional thinking, is put through the most rigorous screening process imaginable. So when Sam Osmanagich claims he has found pyramids in Bosnia that are at least 12 000 years old, the findings are investigated and then later dismissed.

When archaeologists in the Middle East find the ancient city of Nineveh, or the proof that the Hittite Empire actually existed, the scrutiny is immense and the excitement follows only after the evidence has been thoroughly sifted and examined and, peer-reviewed. Then only are the findings published.

Now this addresses both sides of the fence, so don’t get your knickers in a knot.

YECs ignore all the evidence for a very old earth, such as ice core samples and sedimentation rings in lakes, and continue to criticise, firstly geology, then evolution and finally, physics as well. Most of them are not scientists in the field in which they write, but feel no compunction about tearing apart the work of experts in those various disciplines. Some of them stoop to bending the truth.

The same can be said for the new wave of atheists, who ignore any and all evidence, no matter how compelling, in favour of marginalised ‘experts’, who claim to know more than all the men who’ve devoted their lives to the study of this work.

History and archaeology bear out the veracity of at least the historicity of the Bible. Why can these people, who accept the findings of experts in other disciplines, not accept that there is no great conspiracy to hide the truth under a blanket of lies? If they examined the evidence, genuinely examine it, they would have to come to the conclusion that the Bible is historically accurate, that it is supported by innumerable secular and contemporary sources and is no threat to how they wish to live their lives.

I no longer do street-corner evangelism as it is not safe, but the technique I employed was very simple: ‘Could I ask you a question?’

If the answer was no, I moved on. I have no wish to annoy or harass anyone, not with the message I bring. And if people do harass you, you have no reason whatever, to hang around where they’re harassing you. You can even call the shopping centre security and have them evicted.

Christianity has had no power of any sort for the last fifty years, so using the old refrain that it gets in the way of progress no longer carries any weight. In the USA, the ACLU has seen to it that it is almost impossible to worship anywhere outside of a church or the privacy of your home. They brought an injunction against a school because pupils were holding a prayer meeting, by themselves in a class during the break. The decision was upheld in court.

So saying religion gets in the way of progress is a lie and must by now be an embarrassment to any thinking atheist. Except for the Middle East, religion no longer has any power. It cannot delay scientific progress in any way, and has not. Saying it does, doesn’t make it true.

So before you next post an anti-Biblical rant, have a real look at the Bible, and the message of the Bible, and see if what you’re doing is accurate and if it would stand up to testing.

I’m not suggesting you don’t do it; I’m suggesting you think about it first.

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