Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist!

This fall, our Adult Education class at church has studied Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Faith. Strobel wrote this volume to present Christian doctrines and beliefs that are often stumbling blocks for moderns. I chose this book because I thought that it presented a good alternative to the spate of books written by atheists that have been published recently.

I must confess that I've never really understood atheism. Perhaps it's because I've always been a Christian that the issues which drive people from faith to anti-faith have never been compelling to me. In fact, I've always harbored a radical theory about atheism, a theory that probably would be called intolerant and insensitive by many. I also have no proof for my theory; hence, it may simply be a reflection of my own intellectual bigotry. However, if that be the case, rest assured that I will amend my thinking as soon as I am presented verifiable evidence to the contrary.

Having said all of that, here's the theory, one that I have never shared publicly until now: I believe that most people who claim to be atheists do so because they are engaged in a behavior or behaviors that they know to be sinful and they have no desire to change. In our culture today, most of those behaviors center around the vice of lust, but any of the cardinal vices will do just as well. Okay, I've said it. Call me a bigot if you want, but please, please prove to me the error of my ways.

The atheist, having denied the authority of God, usually in the moral sphere, then has to engage in ever more strange beliefs in order to justify their idea that there is nothing in which to believe. This leads to some pretty unusual and convoluted lines of thought. To my way of thinking, no atheistic theory strains credulity as much as the theory of Darwinian evolution. This theory, which has more twists that a pretzel, has been around for about a century and it has permeated every aspect of our educational system even though the evidence to support it is skimpy at best. A lot of people might debate whether Christianity and evolution are compatible citing Darwin’s own opinion that there was no inherent conflict. However, letters published years after Darwin’s death have revealed that his hope in developing this theory was to eliminate the necessity for God in the creation of the world. That’s a pretty godless position and so I think it’s safe to say that evolution is an atheistic theory from its very origin.

Some Christians, either lacking knowledge of evolution theory or unwilling to be seen as naïve at cocktail parties, frequently attempt to synthesize evolutionary theory with Christianity, a wholly unsatisfactory mix of two absolutely incompatible theories. Acerbic political commentator Ann Coulter puts it well:

“No matter what argument you make against evolution, the response is Well, you know it’s possible to believe in evolution and believe in God. Yes, and it’s possible to believe in Spiderman and believe in God, but that doesn’t prove that Spiderman is true.”

Before proceeding, we need to define ever so briefly just what it is we’re talking about when we talk about evolution. Evolution has generally been taught in a couple of ways. There is microevolution which is the theory that over time changes occur within species to help them adapt to their environment. There is a pretty good base evidence to support the notion of microevolution.

Then there is macroevolution which says, in a nutshell, that higher forms of life have evolved over billions and billions of years (to quote the late atheist scientist Carl Sagan) from simpler forms of life, originally single cell organisms. These single cell organisms existed in the primordial stuff of this world and have gradually developed into every form of life that we have today. Let me give you an example of this from my daughter's third grade public school textbook that will help demonstrate the process.

This textbook showed a neat, glossy, three-colored diagram of a single cell, which led to something like a tadpole, which later developed into something that looked like a frog. Later, the frog's nose lengthened and a tail grew, for reasons that have never been clear, and the frog became something that looked like an alligator. Then the alligator apparently decided that it needed to be on land more in order to survive, and so it started walking on earth. But alligators get cold, so it decided that it needed fur. After the fur, it realized that its tail was not as necessary as it used to be, so the tail shortened, along with the nose. Then it needed longer legs in order to run. And then after the Sagan interval (billions and billions of years), it became a dog. (I affectionately call this The Reverse 'Poor Old Lady She Swallowed a Fly' Theory. In fairness, I will also grant that this description is grossly over-simplified.) So life in all of its complexity has emerged totally from this one source, the single cell existing in the swamp of primitive earth, what author Frank Peretti calls, “From Goo to You by way of the Zoo!”

The theory of macroevolution has some serious drawbacks. First, there is no evidence of this trans-species development in the fossil record. This is remarkable since we have quite detailed fossil records going back millions of years. Second, the same fossil record seems to suggest that life emerged on this planet at about the same time, in a way that is much more consistent with the notion of a Creator, or at least consistent with the notion of creation as presented in Genesis. Third, and this is big, cellular life is not as primitive as Darwin considered it to be. Scientists now know that cells are extraordinarily complex things, with internal regulatory systems whose complexity staggers the imagination. Additionally, Darwin had no idea of subcellular life, which we understand now. The cell was the building block in Darwin’s time much in the same way that the atom was in our parents’ time.

Let's also add to all of this the philosophical problems inherent in Darwinism. Darwinian evolution offers no answer to this question: From where did the matter originate from which the elements of life were born? If something can truly not come from nothing, then where did the matter of life originate? Supporters of Darwin are strangely silent on this point, because if they spoke they would have to eventually support the position that somehow this matter came about by the influence of a source of matter, a process otherwise known as creation. If they acknowledge the fact of Creation, then of necessity that implies a Creator. Since I try to be a good Thomist, let me say that “We call that creator God.” This is something atheists simply can't do (see my personal theory on atheism above).

Janet LaRue, in an article published on summarized the problem this way:

"Suppose you awaken alone in your house with its doors and windows locked to find your table set with a scrumptious breakfast awaiting you. Which explanation satisfies you? Your breakfast always existed in its present form, or your breakfast organized itself from lesser matter? Maybe the eggs, ham and cheese just evolved into an omelet, the muffin popped itself into the toaster then rolled around in the butter, the oranges squeezed each other, and there’s coffee but no Mr. Coffee.

"The response is usually an ontological admission, as in, ‘Somebody came into my house while I was asleep and fixed breakfast,’ or a simple ‘I don’t know.’ I’m amazed at the atheists who find it easy to swallow the big bang but not the evolving breakfast."

LaRue highlights the problem very nicely. In her breakfast analogy she shows the dilemma that an atheist faces when dealing with a problem that a reasonable person would consider self-evident. In her explanations of the evolving breakfast, she shows with remarkable clarity the degrees of convolution into which an atheist has to twist in order to avoid the notion of creation and Creator. When one looks at ham, cheese, and egg evolving into an omelet or muffins rolling around in butter of their own volition, then one sees readily how much faith it requires to hold such a strange position. This is why I say that I have enough faith to believe in a loving Creator, but I do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Murchison Speaks Truth

This article appeared on this morning. Written by Bill Murchison, he describes the disintegration of the influence of the religious right in American politics. The key sentence comes at the end. Referring primarily to evangelical Christians, he says that their "miscalculation...wasn't getting into politics. It was expecting that the practitioners of politics...had the power to scourge the devil from his fortification in the human heart."

True words, not only for evangelicals, but for most traditional Christians. It's too easy to forget that our Lord reminds us constantly that His kingdom is not of this world.

Here's the link:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time and Prayer

A couple of months ago, I wrote about prayer as a process by which the believer comes to know the Lord. In this month’s column, I would like to discuss the importance of time in the life of prayer. Time, the passing of minutes into hours, and hours into days, has, historically, had two significant roles in our communing with the Lord, both of which deserve some discussion.

The first role of time concerns how it punctuates the day. In the earliest times, Christians would gather together at least twice a day, at sunrise and sunset, in order to praise God in psalms, readings and songs. This tradition has been maintained in Anglican churches by the recitation of the Daily Offices. Later, as the monastic movements developed in the fifth centuries, these times of prayer expanded to mark the passage of the entire day. Two offices (Lauds and Vespers) expanded to include a night office and seven other times of prayers evenly distributed throughout the day. Interestingly the earliest times of prayer were based on the passage of the sun through the sky. However, as civilization became more technologically advanced, the clock replaced the sun as the timepiece of prayer and it is now more common to think of morning prayer as occuring at 6:30 rather than as at “sunup”.

The point to this is pretty simple. Since its foundations, Christians have found it necessary to hinge their prayer lives on the passage of time. So it should be with us, too. I am not saying that every Christian should dedicate the forty minutes or so daily that it takes to recite the day’s offices, but I am suggesting that the prayer life of the individual believer should be grounded in a period of prayer in the morning and in the evening. The 1928 BCP makes accomodation for this by providing forms for family prayer at the back of the book. A good start to a prayer life is a commitment to recite these prayers out loud on a daily basis.

The second role of time concerns a word that I used in the last paragraph: Committment.
A life of prayer cannot succeed without the Christian’s commitment to devote the time necessary to actually pray. Remember, the ultimate purpose of prayer is draw closer to God, to deepen our relationship with Him. This is not something that can happen without time being given to the task. Think of it this way. In our culture, a man and a woman do not simply out of the blue decide to get married. Instead, the courtship process takes time to develop, people need time to get to know each other. Similarly, after marriage, a couple must spend time with each other in order to continue to cultivate the relationship that they built in courtship.

As it is in marriage, so it is with our relationship with God. We begin by making a commitment to pray once a day, twice a day, and we stick to it. No matter how dry the time seems, no matter how unfruitful the prayer seems. There is no substitute in the spiritual life for “sticktoitiveness.” As we proceed in the coming months to discuss prayer “forms,” let’s first make a commitment to pray regularly, let’s make a commitment to show to God the same interest, the same love, that He has shown to us.

Here's the Latest on Intelligent Design versus "The Creature from the Swamp"

If your interested in the ongoing debate between proponents of intelligent design versus the proponents of Darwinian evolution, here's an article for you.;_too_old-fashioned_to_be_true

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Problem of Human Suffering and the Existence of God

For those that have been attending Christian Education on Sunday morning, here is another great article on the subject of God and Human Suffering, or, "If the innocent suffer, how can a just God exist?"

Parents, Grandparents, Students: Be VERY Careful!

Dinesh D'Souza has written this piece from on the systematic encroachment of atheism on the education of our children. This article goes a long way in explaining why Christian students who are well-versed in their faith and the arguments supporting it are often waylaid by higher education.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Athens Banner-Herald Article

Here's a link to an article that was published today in the Athens Banner-Herald. Apart from a couple of typos, it seems pretty good. I had no idea I was such a great guy :-)

Here's the link:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

John Paul Flambe'??

Here's something you don't see every day. Apparently some folks see the late Pope in the flames of a bonfire. Are they the same ones who saw the face of Jesus in a piece of toast??

Colson on Rand: Interesting Reading

The following article appeared on this morning. Chuck Colson's comments on the objectivist philosophy of the ever-iconic Ayn Rand make interesting reading, especially considering the impact that Rand's works have had on contemporary thought both left and right.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Problem of Suffering

Here's an article from The American Thinker. Those who are in my class studying Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Faith, will find it interesting in light of our discussion on why God allows evil.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An Interesting Article from Avery Cardinal Dulles

Here's an article from First Things called "God and Evolution." I have only scanned this article but Cardinal Dulles' is usually pretty solid and reliable. For those that have been in my Christian Education Class this fall, this article might prove interesting reading.

Chalk up another one for the American Thinker

Here's yet another great article from The American Thinker. This one addresses "scholars who question whether Jesus actually existed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh, so NOW the Fabric is torn!!

Here's an interview from David Virtue's website on the current crisis in the Episcopal Church.

Let me get this straight:

1. The traditional prayer book of the Anglican world has been ripped from the hands of the faithful.
2. The Episcopal Church and others have attempted to "ordain" women to the priesthood and the episcopate.
3. Episcopal and Anglican Bishops have denounced basic doctrines of the faith.
4. The role of human sexuality within the context of marriage has been utterly abandoned.

For over 30 years, the Anglican Communion has hemorrhaged members. BUT NOW, and only NOW, when the communion is in shambles, now when after all that has occurred, an avowed homosexual has been made a bishop (although his consecration is questionable, not because of his sexual orientation, but because of the probable invalidity of the orders of his "consecrators"), NOW a line has been crossed and the fabric of the Communion is torn??

We in the continuum have said for years that this would happen. We said back in the mid-1970s that an attempt to change traditional Anglican formularies and the attempt to "ordain" women would ultimately lead to a major fracture and a departure from Christian Tradition.

My heart aches for all of the Episcopalians who remain loyal to this church that has been so disloyal to them and to the faith of our Fathers. For any loyal Episcopalians left, all I can say is: "Find yourself a home with us."

Another great article from the American Spectator!

I read this article from Lawrence Henry at In it he describes how human failings and lack of Christian charity can drive some away from church. While our failings will always rise to the surface given enough time, it's probably good advice to remember that "OUR LIVES ARE THE ONLY COPY OF THE BIBLE THAT SOME PEOPLE WILL EVER READ!" Give it some thought as you meditate on this excellent article.

I'm Blue, Daba Dee Daba Di!!!

Mimi and I just returned from Chicago, where we met a new friend. He simply blue us away!

In two days we managed to work in two great meals, one at Morton's and one at Mia Francesca, two great shows (Jersey Boys and Blue Man Group [see new friend in picture]) and three pairs of women's shoes (for Mimi).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Don't We Make a Cute Couple?

Here's a picture of my wife, Mimi, and me. This was taken at St. Stephen's Church on Friday the 5th. This picture proves both my wonderful taste in women and Mimi's poor judgment in marrying me!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Heroes in the Age of the Antihero

Here's a great article from

The author, my friend Quin Hilyer, writes nicely about people who have not only played the game well, but have also lived their lives with the same integrity. This particularly refreshing for those of us who live in the age of the anti-hero, an age that is marked by bad manners and the desire to reduce the truly great to as low a level as possible.