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Biblical authority

Coexist?

Coexist.  What do you think of when you hear this term?  I hear tolerance and acceptance.  The term is widely used to promote embracing people with differing ideologies equally.  Obviously the Bible does teach loving all people, including our enemies; but the coexist movement can very easily be misleading.

Some people I’ve spoken with about this take “coexist” as meaning: you can have your truth, I can have mine, and they are all valid.  It seems to me that this philosophy is just a well-intentioned attempt at teaching relativism. 

I’m afraid Christians may not want to hear this, or may not even realize this but Christianity does not allow relativism.  Jesus himself declared: “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  I think that puts it pretty bluntly.  If all that matters in this life is our eternal souls, and the only way to preserve that soul for eternity is to follow Christ, then this idea of relative truth is an extremely harmful philosophy!

Being tolerant of other religions does not mean we have to take it as far as authenticating their belief system as a valid source of truth.  Christians should be standing on the authority of the word of God as our only source of absolute truth. 

Of course we need to be respectful of all faith traditions, and not actively belittle or mock others, but when asked about our opinions we need to have a solid answer to give.  We need to grow up in the faith following the lead in Ephesians 4:14 (NIV): 

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

19 thoughts on “Coexist?

  1. There can only be one truth, but it’s not possible to be 100% certain that what you believe is that truth, so it only makes sense to respect the fact that what somebody else believes has the possibility of being true, and what you believe has the possibility of being false.

    Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 13, 2012, 10:26 pm
    • So, do you “respect the fact” that young-earth creationism has the “possibility of being true”, and that large-scale evolution has the “possibility of being false”?

      Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 4:14 pm
      • I have beliefs, and then I have knowledge. I know for a fact evolution is true. This is because I have extensively studied the facts behind it and the science it involves and know there are no possible interpretations of the evidence.

        The bible however, is not evidence. It is a book (technically a library of different books), and you can trust it to be true, but as it does not present any verifiable data, you can not confirm that, and therefore you can not verifiably know anything in the bible to be true, as you can in science. Therefore, if you decide to believe in the bible, that’s perfectly fine, but it’s important to acknowledge that it is a belief, and not actual knowledge. It’s possible that you are right, but it’s also possible you are wrong. As there is no verifiable evidence proving either side, you can not claim to know for a fact the truth regarding religion. So while you may believe and have faith with all your heart your religion is correct, there’s always a possibility you are wrong, because you can’t prove it.

        Science on the other hand, doesn’t work on belief. It works on facts. You can say for a fact that what you have discovered in science is the truth. Now, you can of course say it’s possible that we will find more information, but once a fact has been proven, it has been proven. Further information will only expand on those facts or explain in detail other aspects of those facts that hadn’t previously been considered.

        I can say we may discover more things about large scale evolution that we previously hadn’t before, but I can not possible say it has the possibility of being false. It has been proven that evolution is happening, and it has been proven that the earth is billions of years old, and therefore evolution is happening and has been this entire time. These are facts. You can choose to ignore the evidence, but you can’t claim with any credibility that there is some other interpretation of the evidence. It just doesn’t work that way. So while there may be room for learning more about evolution, there is no room for the possibility of creationism. It has been falsified. Proven false.

        Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 4:44 pm
        • I could do a lengthy point by point rebuttal, but I think I will keep it to this. Out of all the knowledge in the universe, how much do you estimate mankind knows? Or make it more personal, how much do YOU possess? Most would put the percentage VERY small, but we’ll go with a conservative 5%. Is it thus possible that within the 95% of knowledge you don’t possess, there might be another clue that could change your mind. In fact, isn’t this how science works? It might be logically correct to say, out of all the **current** knowledge we possess, evolution appears to be the best explanation for our origins, BUT there is probably a lot of knowledge we do not possess, and therefore I have to admit that it could be wrong, and by the same logic the 95% of all other knowledge COULD contain something that does verify young-earth creation. Perhaps, starting with this: http://creation.com/mercury-magnetized-crust. You also assumed in your post that the “Bible is not evidence”, yet that is an unverifiable assumption. I propose that the Bible is historical evidence, and your ignorance of it has led you to discriminate possible evidence therefore hypothetically invalidating YEC before it is even positioned. Seems to be the exact opposite of what true science should be doing. And IF evolution in your mind is 100% proven fact that cannot be disputed, does that then put it into the realm of unfalsifiable… which would also then make it unscientific! Overal, just be careful of such a rigid stance. The correct answer may be more along the lines of: it doesn’t seem possible that YEC is true given the current information, but as a scientist and a person interested in true knowledge, I MUST keep an open mind.

          Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 6:06 pm
          • >Out of all the knowledge in the universe, how much do you estimate mankind knows?

            That’s a badly worded question, and extremely irrelevant. A better question would be about the knowledge of the EARTH. The universe is massive, the earth is small. We know a HUGE amount of information of the earth. I’d place that number at at least 80%. We’re learning new information all the time, but the stuff we’re learning is tiny compared to what we already knew. That’s because we’ve already learned most of what there is to know about earth, we’re just refining the details.

            >It might be logically correct to say, out of all the **current** knowledge we possess, evolution appears to be the best explanation for our origins, BUT there is probably a lot of knowledge we do not possess, and therefore I have to admit that it could be wrong, and by the same logic the 95% of all other knowledge COULD contain something that does verify young-earth creation.

            Not in the slightest. We do not have 5%. Evolution is literally the most well supported theory in science whatsoever. Better than gravity. Better than the speed of light. Better than anything. Literally anything you can think of, evolution has more evidence. I’d say we have 99.99999999% of the information on evolution. We do learn more stuff every day, but we NEVER learn anything that’s contradictory to previously discovered facts. That’s just how science works. You can’t contradict facts. The stuff we learn simply better explains the stuff we already know. When we say theory of evolution, we aren’t saying “well we have a few things here and there so we came up with this idea that fills in the gaps” science isn’t about filling in the gaps, that’s religion’s job. When you hear that something is a scientific theory, it means it describes the facts we already know, not how we interpret what might be. If we learn more, it’s to further simply delve into further detail about things we already know.

            Also, while you can’t ever technically say that a theory is 100% proven, you can say when a hypothesis has been falsified. Creationism has been falsified. For creationism to be true, there have to be certain things that also have to be true. If those things are not true, creationism is not possible in the slightest. We have proven those things are not true. We have proven creationism false. There is no room at all for any possibility of creationism being true. What you’re saying is literally the scientific equivalent of saying, well, we don’t have all the information, so maybe the world really is flat. No, we do in fact have the necessary information to falsify any claim that the earth is flat. It’s the same with creationism.

            >You also assumed in your post that the “Bible is not evidence”, yet that is an unverifiable assumption.

            It’s not an assumption. It’s a fact. Any text is not able to be considered as verifiable evidence. Anybody can write anything, it’s impossible to verify that what they said is true. Now, can it be verified that certain aspects of a text are true? Yes. We might be able to verify some events that the bible described, but that doesn’t verify the bible as truth in the slightest. Have you ever heard of historical fiction? It’s where people include historical fact in a work of fiction. Writing about a fictional family during WW2, writing about a fictional character in ancient greece, etc. The events that happened around those characters can be proven to be true, but it still does not prove the text as reliable in any way because any aspect of it could still potentially be fiction.

            > I propose that the Bible is historical evidence, and your ignorance of it has led you to discriminate possible evidence therefore hypothetically invalidating YEC before it is even positioned.

            If you were somehow able to verify your claim that the bible is reliable historical fact, then you might have a case, but as I outlined above, it is absolutely impossible to prove that, meaning it is impossible to assume that what is written in them are facts for the purposes of science. If science discovers something to be true, that is a verifiable fact. A word written in a document is not. Therefore, it only makes sense to side with verified facts.

            >And IF evolution in your mind is 100% proven fact that cannot be disputed, does that then put it into the realm of unfalsifiable…

            No it doesn’t. As I said nothing can technically be considered 100% proven, but that does not mean there is any room for disproving it either. Evolution is falsifiable. That doesn’t mean there is a chance we might prove it false, that means there WAS a chance, in the past. We had tests, if these tests failed, it would prove that evolution was not possible. None of these tests failed. We came up with every possible test that would be required to disprove evolution, and none of them did.

            On the other hand, we came up with similar tests to put creationism to the test, and it failed. Creationism is falsifiable, and it has been falsified. Evolution is also falsifiable, but it has NOT been falsified. No matter how hard YECs try. None of their claims ever stand up to real science. Otherwise evolution would have been falsified a long time ago and the YEC responsible would have gotten major recognition for disproving such a major theory. YECs claims only work on those who don’t actually understand the science behind them, because for those that do, they easily see the holes in their logic.

            Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 6:51 pm
            • I’m sorry. I disagree strongly. When you look at the evidence being presented and found when standing in my shoes it becomes strangly obvious that new evidence is put into place in the current model. The model is never rearranged to fit the new evidence. To me, that is confirmation bias; not a stronger theory. Take this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18891760. Scientists discover a the oldest galaxy in existence, thought to be too close to the Big Bang since particles do not form that quickly. But instead of questioning the timeframe of it all, they just say “proved that such grand-design spiral galaxies can exist at such an early age of the Universe” completly invalidating all previous research that said they couldn’t. To me, who is used to being skeptical, that says “well, this evidence doesn’t align with our previous evidence so we’ll just say the other evidence was wrong since we KNOW the timeframe is right”. Why did we not at least take a moment to wonder if our original dating was flawed? This is one example. I see this all the time. “Well, we can’t question that, so let’s find a place to plug this into the current model”. That’s not new evidence to support a theory. That’s forcing the new evidence to align to a presupposition that the current model is unmoveable…. or I would say confirmation bias.

              You can seriously say “I’d place that number at at least 80%” with a straight face? Gonna need a source on that claim! You seriously believe we are so much smarter than what the people 1000 years ago? Sure, we are smarter… but don’t you think they may have thought they had 80% as well? How can you know you have 80%, that’s impossible and a ridiculous claim.

              Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 7:23 pm
              • >When you look at the evidence being presented and found when standing in my shoes it becomes strangly obvious that new evidence is put into place in the current model. The model is never rearranged to fit the new evidence.

                Completely wrong. The model is rearranged, but that does not mean throwing out old evidence or disproving a current theory. It simply means taking what we know, and expanding upon it. Occasionally you might hear of something being disproven or an idea being changed entirely, but chances are, those weren’t quite theories yet. Once something has become a theory, it means there is sufficient evidence to treat it as if it were fact. It has gone through the falsification process. It has been tested against and against, being tried to prove it wrong, nothing ever does. It has been tested to the limit where scientists are fairly certain it will never be proven wrong, and so they grant it the title of theory.

                The fact is, when you get new evidence, and you want to modify an idea, that’s perfectly fine, but if you’re modifying the model, your new model must account for ALL the facts the previous model did. If it can’t, then your model is falsified immediately. New information can only fill in gaps, it can’t rewrite old information. In evolution that gaps are ridiculously small.

                >Why did we not at least take a moment to wonder if our original dating was flawed?

                Because we have proven that it can not be flawed. We have already attempted to falsify it. The way we calculate the age of objects in space is pretty straight forward, and leaves no room for error so there is absolutely no reason to question that.

                The reason scientists don’t scrap everything every time they find something new is because they know facts don’t change. Under your line of thinking they would have to throw out useful information they already know to be true. It makes science meaningless and progress impossible. They were not saying that under their model it would be impossible for such a galaxy to form, only that it seemed unlikely under the circumstances. Nothing they observed gave them any reason to question their existing model whatsoever. If it had, the age of the universe in their model could only have been adjusted to be OLDER by the way, so this isn’t very helpful to your cause.

                >You can seriously say “I’d place that number at at least 80%” with a straight face?

                Absolutely. Could even be higher. We’re approaching a limit to what we know. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to learn new things, it simply means the new things we are learning about are on a much smaller scale now than they were even 20 years ago.

                It makes obvious sense. We discover matter. Then we discover different elements. Then we discover the atom. Then we discover what’s inside the atom, a nucleus, protons neutrons and electrons, then we discover what those items are made of, quarks, then we discover what makes quarks possible and what gives them mass, etc. Every time we learn something new, it’s very important information, but it’s on a exponentially smaller scale. As small as that scale is nowadays, it’s possible that number is even much higher than 80%, I just used that number to play it safe. And evolution is definitely much higher. When we learn new things about evolution, if they make any changes, it’s something like 0.0001% of a difference. That’s why it makes perfect sense to say it will never be disproven.

                As for space, the number is much much lower. Not even 5%. Because we are very limited as to what we are able to see from our perspective. We know A LOT but even that is a tiny percentage of what we could learn.

                Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 7:53 pm
                • >They were not saying that under their model it would be impossible for such a galaxy to form, only that it seemed unlikely under the circumstances.

                  So, you admit that even though something seem unlikely it is still possible?

                  >We’re approaching a limit to what we know.

                  So, you are proposing that scientists will soon be out of jobs, right? There is absolutly NO WAY to know this! How ridiculous. Yes, we know a lot, a lot more than 1000 years ago; but they knew a lot more than 1000 years before them. There is no reason to assume that will slow down and not just continue on for 1000s of years more.

                  Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 8:06 pm
                  • >So, you admit that even though something seem unlikely it is still possible?

                    Unlikely? Yes. YEC is not “unlikely” it’s “impossible”.

                    >So, you are proposing that scientists will soon be out of jobs, right?

                    No. Scientists will always be discovering new information forever, and that new information will always be interesting and useful. It’s just that in the scale of things, the gaps those new pieces of information are filling will get smaller and smaller, and are already pretty small right now.

                    Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 9:18 pm
                    • >Scientists will always be discovering new information forever

                      Well now, this statement seems quite incompatable with your earlier comment of how we know 80% of all knowledge. Care to reconcile that? If we will be discovering new information forever, then we can safely say that knowledge is infitinte, then definitly we only know VERY LITTLE, probably less than 1%.

                      Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 9:28 pm
                    • No you just don’t understand how science works. We start at zero, and every piece of information we learn gets us closer to 100%, but we can never ever get to 100%. Think of it this way:

                      Halfway between 0 and 100: 50

                      Halfway between 50 and 100: 75

                      Halfway between 75 and 100: 87.5

                      Halfway between 87.5 and 100: 93.75

                      Halfway between 93.75 and 100: 96.875

                      Each time, we get closer to 100, but no matter how many times we repeat this, we will never get to exactly 100. Science works on pretty much the same principal.

                      Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 9:56 pm
                    • >Each time, we get closer to 100

                      But you have to admit you don’t REALLY know how close we are to 100. You can speculate, but you can’t really know. You could be completly off.

                      Posted by Tim | July 19, 2012, 10:01 pm
                    • Of course it’s a speculation, but we’re DEFINITELY far closer to 100 than 0, that’s for sure. Ask any question and scientists can pretty much answer it. That’s why I say we’re at LEAST 80%, but probably closer.

                      Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 19, 2012, 10:21 pm
            • > That’s because we’ve already learned most of what there is to know about earth, we’re just refining the details.

              Looking only at the subject of biology: Many think we’ve discovered only 1% of the tens to hundreds of millions of species on earth. Of those, we’ve sequenced about 7000 genomes, and of those, we don’t have a complete picture of how any of them work.

              Posted by joecoder7 | July 20, 2012, 7:52 pm
              • I was speaking more on scale and importance. Even for the species we haven’t discovered quite yet, we have decent ideas of what kind of things to look for and what to expect. If you’re speaking of the *number* of things we’ll learn, then the percentage might as well be 0%, because we’ll never be done learning things.

                Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 20, 2012, 8:26 pm
  2. >Ask any question and scientists can pretty much answer it

    Are you sure about that? Quoting this site: http://1000petals.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/7-basic-questions-science-cannot-answer/

    Only 7 questions that seem to be essential for the understanding of how humanity lives and operates, and no answers…

    Does the Source, the Creator, God exist? Unknown

    Does such a thing as a soul exist? If so, is it immortal? Science does not know the answer.

    What is time, space, matter, energy? Opinions are sharply divided.

    Is our world eternal and endless or, on the contrary, is it limited within time and space? Science does not possess the necessary data to give a definite answer.

    Why should I do good and not evil, if evil appeals to me and I can be sure of escaping punishment? The answers are totally unintelligible.

    How can science be used to avert the possibility of wars and tyranny? Silence.

    How can social harmony be attained with the least human cost? Mutually exclusive proposals are put forward that resemble each other only in that they are all equally unrelated to pure science.

    What the use of all billions of good and fasicnating studies, if the essential questions are never being answered?

    ______________

    80 is completely an arbitrary number. You have no way to confirm that. It appears to you that we know sooo much, but it also appeared that way to scientists 1000 years ago. So technically we could be at like 10%, 20%, 5% for that matter.

    Posted by Tim | July 20, 2012, 12:00 am
    • Those questions have nothing to do with science, so that’s just a plain stupid example, and they’re certainly not the “only 7 questions” needed to understand humanity.

      Does god exist? Science can’t answer this. Whether god exists or not, there’s no way to test for it, so this question is not the least bit scientific, and therefore irrelevant, and certainly unnecessary to understanding humanity.

      Does a Soul exist? What we call a soul is just a part of the human intelligence, which is part of the brain, so in a sense yes. Is it eternal? For the same reason as the god question, we can’t test nor do we need to know the answer to this.

      What is time, space, matter, energy? We have extremely clear cut answers for these, no opinions. Not sure what you’re on about there.

      Is our world eternal and endless or, on the contrary, is it limited within time and space? That’s a meaningless question. A universe limited to time and space can also be endless. The question makes no sense.

      Why should I do good and not evil, if evil appeals to me and I can be sure of escaping punishment? This is not a scientific question but a philosophical question.

      How can science be used to avert the possibility of wars and tyranny? Same as above.

      How can social harmony be attained with the least human cost? Once again, philosophical.

      The only question that has any relevance to science is the space,time,matter, and energy one, and we have answers for that. So, I really don’t understand your point at all.

      We did not always feel like we knew everything. Or, if we did, it was not based on actual facts, but complete random guesses with little to no basis in reality. That doesn’t count as science.

      Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 20, 2012, 12:43 am
      • Well, in all fairness you did say: “Ask any question and scientists can pretty much answer it”. You didn’t specify. We’re talking about all **knowledge** in the universe, not necessarily scientific knowledge. Some of my arguments for creation may not be strictly scientific by modern standards, but that doesn’t mean they may not be true philisophical standards. Now, the problem here is philisophical arguments cannot be measured for accuracy. So what scientists do is, basically, ignore them. This leads to what I consider one of science’s misled assumptions: anything worth knowing must have a natural explanation. If that assumption is true, then many of their conclusions seem to follow perfectly. If that assumption is false, then many of their conclusions have no way to be verified. Earlier you said there were no assumptions in science. That is a demonstratably wrong statement. Ask any scientist, they know there are assumptions involved. They just know they must rely on those assumptions or else like you said there would be no way of knowing anything. I see that point, and I don’t suggest not doing science. I am only advocating being honest about the assumptions involved, and acknowledging that if the assumptions are not correct then it would be inappropriate to be labeled “fact” and “proven”… and actually most scientific papers I read say it this way. They use a lot of words like “probably” or “if-then” statement. It’s armchair scientists like you, or mainstream media that reports on the reports that use the words “proven” and “fact”. I got no problem teaching the controversy, and I don’t even necessarily mean YEC. There are plenty of scientists who are not YEC who have issues with evolution and have apparently published tons of papers showing these issues. There is no reason we couldn’t also teach that there are reputable scientists who disagree with the popular consensus and are finding data that conflicts. The only reason we would censor that is if we were afraid of what that would lead to…

        Posted by Tim | July 20, 2012, 12:43 pm
        • >Well, in all fairness you did say: “Ask any question and scientists can pretty much answer it”. You didn’t specify. We’re talking about all **knowledge** in the universe, not necessarily scientific knowledge.

          I didn’t say it because it should have been obvious. We were talking about the percentage of information science has learned. 100% would be, science has learned everything science is capable of answering (an unreachable goal, but we can get close). Everything else is entirely irrelevant to the topic.

          >Now, the problem here is philisophical arguments cannot be measured for accuracy.

          Philosophical questions are irrelevant to science because there is no right answer. The answers are subjective.

          >Earlier you said there were no assumptions in science.

          The assumptions that are made are extremely tiny in comparison to the facts. Science relies on the facts. Occasionally there are some gaps to fill, so science uses the explanation which uses the least amount of assumptions to fill those gaps. A good theory is one that works with every single fact known, and uses the least amount of assumptions. Creationism ignores many facts, and uses way more assumptions than evolution, therefore it is an extremely BAD theory.

          >They use a lot of words like “probably” or “if-then” statement. It’s armchair scientists like you, or mainstream media that reports on the reports that use the words “proven” and “fact”.

          I understand why scientists don’t use words like proven or fact, because there’s always more to learn, but that still doesn’t mean there’s any room for disproving it. You’re getting confused about this far too much. The reason I feel comfortable saying something is a fact or proven is because any possibility of it being disproven has been eliminated. Because the amount of facts supporting it are huge in numbers. If I can say gravity is a fact, if I can say the speed of light is a fact, then I can say evolution is a fact.

          >There are plenty of scientists who are not YEC who have issues with evolution and have apparently published tons of papers showing these issues.

          Nobody credible. I don’t mean they aren’t credible because they question evolution, though that is signs enough, I mean they aren’t credible by other standards. Either they aren’t involved in the field of biology or they aren’t involved in SOME kind of science that has any relevance to evolution, or even if they are, their expertise lies somewhere else. Anybody who regularly works in biology and DNA analysis would never question evolution, because they see it with their own eyes. Many medical breakthroughs and inventions would never have been possible if evolution weren’t true. They simply wouldn’t work.

          >There is no reason we couldn’t also teach that there are reputable scientists who disagree with the popular consensus and are finding data that conflicts.

          As I said, they’re not reputable, not in the fields that have anything to do with evolution. Anything I’ve ever seen you post in response has had no scientific implications on evolution. I have never once questioned it by anything you’ve posted from these “reputable” scientists, because nothing they say casts any doubt whatsoever on the reality of evolution. The reason we don’t teach those things is because there is literally no benefit to teaching those things. These people have fringe ideas, and have very little to back up those ideas. There’s a reason over 99% of scientists, and even more so in the relevant fields agree that evolution is real. There’s no significance to the less than 1% of the people who might disagree with it. They either don’t know what they are talking about, are missing crucial facts, or are misunderstanding their results. Eventually these people always get debunked. Much more than 1% of people in america believe in UFOs, so why don’t we teach that? Because there is nothing to be gained by teaching people what a fringe group believes might be true. If there were any real evidence of what they said, they wouldn’t be in a minority. They would actually be capable of convincing people.

          Posted by Andy Gilleand | July 20, 2012, 1:15 pm

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