As a former atheist, Bible-rejecter, and God-rejecter … I am now convinced of the truth of the Bible and the God of the Bible. If you have not read the first installment in this series Part 1 … please do so now by clicking here. Then, please come back and continue with this Second Installment … of why I am Fully Convinced.
In this installment, we are going to test the “truth claims” and the multiple premises of “atheism.” I put that word in quotes, as I will need to qualify what I mean by “atheism.” We will look at the general and/or common understanding of atheism as what most people understand…
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In 2006, a group of sailors traversing the south Pacific ocean came across an anomaly. What appeared to be a sand barge in the middle of the ocean.
They decided to investigate. They maneuvered their boat through the ‘sand barge’ leaving a trail in their wake.
As they moved away they noticed something strange – a plume of smoke rising out of the area.
It turned out they had just sailed over an active volcano! Within minutes, the witnessed a brand new island being formed rapidly before their eyes!
This amazing event gives evidence to a rarely talked about phenomenon: how geologic events can and do occur very rapidly! We get used to interpreting most geologic processes as gradual and uniform, taking millions of years to form and change. This is not always true.
We creationists believe that the flood of Noah’s time initiated plate tectonics (“the fountains of the great deep burst forth” Gen 7:11). We believe that was the onset of of most geologic activity such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. In fact, we believe that ongoing geologic events are technically aftershocks from the flood. We believe the flood rearranged the continents, raised the mountain ranges, lowered valleys, and much more.
This amazing rapid island formation is evidence that although we observe most geologic events such as erosion happening very slowly over a long time, extreme catastrophic events can shape the face of the planet very rapidly. When we see this island formation happen, it makes it more understandable how a worldwide catastrophe such as the flood could quickly reshape our planet – and that judging that past by today’s normal slow processes would lead to incorrect conclusions (old-earth/evolution).
Is the photo above a man standing sideways (profile), or is the man standing forwards with half the picture cut off? Two different people will come to two different conclusions. Let’s keep that in mind…
The vast majority of scientists agree that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and evolution via natural selection and common ancestry is the means by which humanity came into being. Obviously, as a young-earth creationist, I do not agree with either of those staples of science. But what about all the evidence, Tim?? Let me explain my position…
I believe that the scientific method requires that all evidence must be interpreted before a conclusion is drawn. My issue is not with the evidence itself, it is with the interpretation stage. I believe that scientists interpret the evidence through a worldview filter. Their worldview filter includes their personal beliefs about how the world does or does not operate. For example, if I believe there is no supernatural influence in the world and everything continues on the way and the rate at which it always has, then I am going to interpret something like radiometric decay or geology much differently than someone who believes God has intervened in this world at various points in our early history.
Let’s look at a couple examples…
If God really created Adam on the literal sixth day of creation – how old do you think he might look on day 7? Was he a full grown man? 30… maybe 40? But the truth is he is only one day old. He was created fully mature and able to sustain himself. Now apply that concept to the rest of creation. If God really created the world in six days fully mature and self-sustaining – how might that affect the apparent age of the earth? And how might that affect our research if we left out that concept? Might we come to a much different conclusion? I think so. The point is evidence like radiometric dating the age of the earth doesn’t rule out a special creation because things still might appear older than they truly are and yet that would still be in line Biblicaly.
But isn’t that a deceptive God?? I hear this all the time. No, it’s not. Perhaps God never intended us to study the age of the earth while ignoring his revelation about how He did it! Not God’s deception, human ignorance.
As for geology, we have to look at what might have happened had Noah’s flood actually covered and destroyed the whole world as the Bible seems to imply. Take the layers at the Grand Canyon. Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time. The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.
But doesn’t science work to weed out the assumptions? Yes, but it gets harder and harder when science steps outside of direct observation and repeatability. Of course we can’t observe or repeat creation or the flood or anything from that time period. We only have left over evidence that requires human interpretation.
But what about multiple lines of evidence all agreeing on the same conclusion?? Isn’t that correlation the nail in the coffin? No, not if each one of those line of evidence were all interpreted under the same starting worldview assumption of uniformitarianism – the idea that present processes are the way things have always worked. If Genesis is true and the world was created rapidly, altered following original sin, and destroyed during the flood – uniformitarainism fails, and so does all conclusions that follow from that assumption.
Keep in mind that I am NOT saying that the laws of nature change all the time and thus science is impossible. I am being specific and citing three main events from Genesis in which things would have worked differently than the way we see them working today. Science that puts computers on our desks and phones in our pockets are based on modern, observations that are repeatable and verifiable. Science such as evolution and the age of the earth are much different and require much more debatable assumptions.
The conclusions of an old earth and evolution rely on the worldview assumptions of naturalism and specifically uniformitarianism being absolutly true and unchangeable. As a Christian, I believe God does and has intervened in our world. I also believe the Bible is a historical, reliable account of the creation of the world. And since that is true, it contains information that makes me seriously doubt uniformitarianism. I replace it with the assumption of catastrophism of history – that several high impace, rapid events occurred shaping our planet’s apparent history very quickly rather than gradually.
Yes, we both use starting assumptions to interpret the evidence. It’s not evolutionists have more evidence than creationists, it’s that we interpret the same evidence differently based on a different set of starting assumptions. So, the real question is – whose starting assumptions are more reliable? The majority of scientists believe their assumptions are correct because the constant rates have never been observed to be different. That actually is a pretty logical conclusion. But that doesn’t disqualify the creationist worldview. We believe we have additional information in the revealed word of God – therefore we see our starting assumptions as more reliable than fallible human intellect because it comes straight from God who was there, observed it, and doesn’t lie. And thus, the debate rages on!
Out of context reading of the Bible will do this. I’ve always said I have no problem with anyone’s interpretation of scripture as long as it doesn’t conflict or contradict another part of scripture. When atheists take a portion of the Old Testament and paint God as an evil tyrant they are willingly ignoring the parts where His character is described and shown as loving. They are picking the part that they disagree with and using that as an excuse to not believe instead of investigating what that part really means. Sometimes holy discipline is harsh. When your child is running out into the street, you might push them out of the way to save them. Just pick out the pushing part and I look like a horrible parent. Look at the whole picture and see my intentions.
I have been reading religious, non-religious, and anti-religious blogs, websites, and forums a long time. In so doing, I have ran across what follows, in one form or another, more times than I can count.
The biggest percentage of de-converted religious believers who I have met have told me that the most compelling reason for them to have started the process of de-conversion was reading their holy book in full.
Reading with a focus on comprehension allowed them to recoil in horror at the nonsense and contradictions in those antiquated books with their obsolete ‘wisdom.’
In order to believe a statement like that, wouldn’t a person necessarily have to also believe that:
1. People who believe in Christianity have not read the Bible.
2. People who believe in Christianity may have read the Bible but they lack the reading comprehension skills necessary to understand what the Bible actually says.
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There are obvious differences between this generation and generations of the past. Progressives will call these changes good for the advancement of our society. Conservatives call these changes a decline of traditional / biblical morality. Why has this happened?? I do not find it coincidental that these major changes occurred around the same time that not only was God, the Bible, and prayer removed from school, but the teaching of evolution was increased exponentially. This all occurred in the 1960’s. We have now had a chance to see the results of these changes… and it is unsettling. Compare a pre-1960’s world to today’s society in an honest fashion and you will see stark, disturbing results. Teen pregnancy and abortion, open and celebrated homosexuality, acceptable drug use and addiction epidemics, school shootings every week, poverty expanding, debt overwhelming, prisons full, widespread divorce and remarriage cycles, prevalent access to pornography, taboo topics become commonplace, mental and physical health huge expansions, and on and on.
For each of these topics arguments could easily be made that they were a tenth of what they are today just fifty years ago! That is a major cultural shift in just fifty years. Do kids these days even know anything of a world where doors were left unlocked and keys in cars because people simply didn’t steal because it was wrong?? So, why are things different today? Why is stealing increased exponentially in the last fifty years? Well, I think to answer that you have to look at why they didn’t steal back then. It was wrong. In today’s politically correct culture you can’t say that something is “wrong”, because that is passing judgment. We are now reaping the benefits from a generation of godless education mixed with truth being relative to each person. We call it tolerance. We call it progress. While we live in fear and depression.
Biblical truths were never meant to be subtracted from our education. The argument is that it is more culturally inclusive and tolerant to make our public school system religion-neutral. But it is a ruse. Public school is not religion-neutral because it teaches our kids that God is not relevant to what they need to know about our world. We lose the next generation because our homes and churches don’t do a good enough job countering the seven hours a day they are quietly taught this. Ask your average student if he sees God as being relevant to social studies, to history, to science, to P.E., to health, to government, etc. I have seen those subjects come alive to kids who never cared about them because they’ve learned how God is involved in it all. It makes it real and applicable. It strengthens their faith.
But unfortunately more of what happens is kids going to church on Sunday and hearing pretty little Bible stories with a moral at the end of the story (like Disney movies) but not seeing how that applies to real life or the “real” education they are supposedly getting at school. If God is real, and wants to be involved in every area of your life then supporting a system that rejects God as unimportant to your learning is 100% unbiblical. I realize that homeschool is not an option for all, but that just means that your parental duties will be exponentially increased as you will have to help your child filter everything they learn back through a biblical worldview. Also make sure you have a church that challenges your child’s world because they are receiving hours of unbiblical influence in a rapidly changing world. Does your church address how to talk about transgender concerns? Does you church talk about how to correct someone lovingly? Unfortunately, most do not. It is no wonder that most kids leave church behind when they leave the house. They have not learned its importance in the ‘real world’.
Proverbs 22:6 says to “train up a child in the way he should go”. Biblicly, the education of their children is the parent’s responsibility. For some that means homeschool, for others private schools, for others public school works as long as it is countered in the home and church… but for most a “religion-neutral’ public education has affected this generation’s worldview and thus the behavior we see around us.
click the above infographic if too small to read.