(From: Geoffrey Clifford, email@example.com)
I myself have become extremely disillusioned with Christianity largely in part by the discovery of just how "taken" I was. It scared me... Creation Science is an abhorrent fraud. Plain and simple. The evidence presented by Henry Morris and company are based upon out-of-context data and innuendo thrown in together with pre-established doctrinal dogma to make a deceptive gumbo for the Christian community to consume.
_Dr._ Henry Morris doesn't even have a doctorate in ANY science... His is in Engineering. And he has the nerve to walk up to the entire scientific community, present them with THEIR data (in a distorted presentation on top of that...), and tell them off as having it all wrong. Net result: Christians hail him as a defender of the faith (*smack forehead here...*) and the scientific community scoffs at Christianity as a religion of delusional looneys (as the folks at alt.atheism love to remind us ;) )...
But even still, I would understand Morris's incorrect postulations he's been feeding the Christian community for so long, if he came to realize and admit that his presentation of the bits of out-of-context data he's extracted is just plain wrong. But on numerous occasions he's been confronted about how the "evidence" he uses is incorrect and misused yet he refuses to even budge, content with knowingly feeding lies to the Christian public. Perhaps he is too proud to admit he made some mistakes...
The sad thing is, I trusted this guy as a new Christian. I was an evolution believing atheist at 18 when just before I entered into the Christian foray and the hardest thing for me was to justify Genesis against the established scientific beliefs. Then I was handed a Creation Science book by Dr. Morris and trusted what he was saying as true. Why? He was a prominent Christian leader to most. Why would he commit such a horrible sin such as lying to us, especially when he so "righteously" accuses the scientific community of doing so?
But once I read reports and books of where Morris got this "magical" data and how he misapplies it (and ALL of it was systematically proven false... not a shred of truth to Creation Science at all...), I was shaken... but in a good way. At last I didn't have to pretend that "old age" earth theories from university classes were bogus. I could give ear to what science had to say and not shudder and shake that it was all "demonic" lies being fed to me.
But the experience has shaken me in my faith as well. I'm no longer confident that what I hear in Christian circles is true. Many more disinformation gurus have also come to my attention as well. The whole thing is greatly disillusioning and unsettling.
To substantiate the above accusations, read
The Talk.Origins Archive
>>I was handed a Creation Science book by Dr. Morris and trusted what he was saying as true. Why? He was a prominent Christian leader to most. [...] But once I read reports and books of where Morris got this "magical" data and how he misapplies it (and ALL of it was systematically proven false... not a shred of truth to Creation Science at all...), I was shaken... but in a good way. [...] But the experience has shaken me in my faith as well. I'm no longer confident that what I hear in christian circles is true. Many more disinformation gurus have also come to my attention as well. The whole thing is greatly disillusioning and unsettling.<<
Yes, it is a good thing to wake up from illusions that you can trust people simply because they are Christians (or Scientists, by the way). People are trustworthy only in those areas of knowledge that they have cultivated through painstaking tests against reality. And to really know requires that one checks it out oneself; even then it is difficult to be sure. (See also: Knowledge, Chance, and Creation.)
But there is no need to throw away the baby with the bathwater. There are good reasons why many great thinkers of the past were Christians, and why Christianity spread in the first place in spite of a hostile environment. It was catching because it was presented in such a way that people could see enough truth in it to try and be convinced themselves. It is not that easy to die for something you suspect to be untrue, in particular if just saying one blasphemous sentence would save your life.
Many contemporary Christians are Christians for reasons Jesus
wouldn't have approved of:
``Not everyone who says to me `Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of mu father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from you, you evildoers!' ''
(Matth. 7:21-23. Guess why he needed to say this!)
But there are many others that make no headlines because they are content doing their own work and let others do the talk and power game. They follow the advice of the apostles and prophets of old time, before they take something for true, and they are both alert and patient until they know how to discriminate the voice of the Lord from that of false shepherds.
According to Deut. 18:21-22, Moses gives us the following recipe:
``You may say to yourselves, `How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?'' If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptiously. Do not be afraid of him.''
These are good scientific standards of truth. Sometimes we must be prepared to defer judgment until we can decide what is true; but this is better than to be presumptious (and doomed to death, according to the context of the quote).
According to 2 Thess. 5:20-21, Paul recommends:
``Do not treat prophesies with contempt. Test everything, hold on to the good.''
This is the way science arrives at its results, too.
And according to 1 Cor. 14:20, he gives us the following advice:
``Stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults [or: be perfect].''
Paul knows about how easy it is to bluff with apparent knowledge:
``Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.''
(1 Cor. 8:1-2)
And according to 2 Tim 2:14+23, he advises his friend Timothy:
``Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.''
St. Augustine, the greatest European thinker of his time, knows how
much the foolish illusion of immature Christians -
who suppose they know the truth after having read a few books by
some `authority' - does damage to the Christian truth. He
``If they [the infidel] find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?''
This is Christian tradition; if some Christians don't take that advice it is not the fault of the bible, but of these Christians' shallowness. And that Christian leaders don't dare to fight this shallowness as Jesus, Moses, Paul and Augustine did is a sign of weakness, caused by fear of science and a complete lack of awareness of the damage they do to their own cause.
When I left school, I also left a Christianity that seemed to be an empty show. Because I wanted to live a truthful life, I became an atheist. At the age of 25 I was very surprised to discover that the public Christianity I knew was quite different from that what the Christians of 2000 years ago intended it to be. And since then I have never tired to learn from Jesus, the Way to Truth and Life. I trust him, the living Lord and, though he doesn't answer many of my prayers the way I'd like to, I am happy in his company and fully satisfied with the patience, strength and hope he gives me in my personal struggles for a life that pleases him.
Arnold Neumaier (Arnold.Neumaier@univie.ac.at)