MAN UP ~ 11/22/10

There has been a misconception commonly taught that it takes faith to believe in God or the Bible, while all that is required to believe in evolution is common sense based on indisputable facts. I won’t be the first to point out the contradictions about this but— I wanted to add my voice. I do not believe that evolutionary chance is responsible for the existence of humankind or the origin of any other forms of life.  Mainly, this is because I’ve made a choice to believe that the God of the Bible, not chance, is responsible for life and because I don’t believe science has satisfactorily demonstrated, through the use of its own tools— empiricism (knowledge derived from experience, observation and/or experimentation) and rationalism (knowledge derived from logic, reason or mathematics)-- the evidence that transforms theory into fact. As a theory then, evolution still requires faith to believe its descriptions (and the ramifictions) of 'how things came to be.'

Choices are vitally important to the human experience, and the same truths about empiricism and rationalism that are applied to proving evolution likewise apply to proving the Bible— no matter how much you’re able to empirically measure and reasonably deduce, you will always come to a point where faith—a choice to believe something you cannot prove—comes into play. In his book, A Reasonable Faith, Tony Campolo writes about the issue of 'choice' in a separate discussion about existentialism, that “Existentialism is not a philosophy; it is a method of establishing truth in the mind of man. That method is basically through commitment. Consequently, every Christian is a kind of existentialist. When a secularist student asks me why I believe the Bible, I answer, ‘Because I decided to.’ Then I ask, ‘Why is it that you do not believe the Bible?’ The student usually thinks over the question and answers, ‘I guess because I decided not to.’

Reason and arguments can build up a case for or against the Bible and the existence of God, but finally each of us must make a personal decision. Even after Christianity is viewed as a reasonable faith, the individual still must make what Soren Kierkegaard called ‘a leap of faith.’ That leap may be made on the basis of thoughtful arguments and after all other options have been reasonably explored. But ultimately a decision must be made, a commitment must take place.” (12,13 A Reasonable Faith)

I recently had a brief conversation with a childhood friend who has found his way into a philosophy/theory called Evolutionary Metaphysics. From the little I’ve read about this system, what’s really fascinating is what they do in the name of staying purely true to what is empirically and rationally provable: They describe the options of belief, they lay out the basic choices humanity has to choose from when it comes to explaining our existence—but in the end, it seems they refuse to take sides. To which, although I appreciate and respect the brutal honesty of their approach, I say— “Man up!” Here are the concluding few paragraphs of a chapter from their book, entitled “Shattering The Sacred Myths.”

Your choice
It was mentioned at the start of this book, that when it comes to explaining our existence, once all of the myths and misconceptions have been stripped away, there remains only two possibilities.
One possibility is that there is some kind of purposeful creative process that designed the universe and planned the events that led to the evolution of intelligent life. If this is true, then we have a reason and a duty to survive and to progress, to play our part in the grand cosmic scheme. We could have faith that continued technological advancement will lead to social, economic, and moral progress. And we could have hope that humanity can survive by choosing to be thoughtful and cooperative.

The other possibility is that there is no God, no plan, no purpose, life is meaningless, consciousness has no special value, and so human life has no special value either. Our only reason for continuing to struggle through life would be to pursue our instinctual needs and desires, and our only reason for continuing this social and economic progress would be to increase our material wealth and level of luxury. Other than friendly affections or noble ideals, our only justifiable reason for caring about each other would be for the anticipation of some mutual benefit. Without any cosmic purpose worth making personal sacrifices for, this universe will never be anything more than a cosmic battlefield for evolutionary competition and the conscious struggle for power.

These are the only two possibilities. Other writers might claim that there are other possibilities, but if you look closely enough at their explanations, you always find flaws. Their arguments will either be unscientific or be based around some hollow form of reasoning.

In any case, it is up to you to decide which of the two you want to believe. Believing in either possibility requires having faith in some unproven assumption. The only understanding that requires no leap of faith, and so therefore the only understanding in which we can be totally confident, is to keep our minds open to both possibilities. 
~ Shattering The Sacred Myths

To be constantly noncommittal, “Being open to believing anything,” sounds a lot like fear-based paralysis to me. Like an inability to risk, an inability to make a choice. But life is all about risking, about tough decision-making. It’s what forms character and builds maturity and defines personality. I choose, therefore I become. To live as a human is to possess the freedom and ability to make choices that, to a great degree, determine what we become. The real problem with keep[ing] our minds open to both possibilities" is the assumption that this is even possible. I believe the band Rush addressed the true nature of noncommittal indecision quite eloquently: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” By virtue of being endowed with the freedom to choose, Human beings have been stripped of the option of neutrality. You cannot choose but to choose. What you can do is actively choose, or— if you’re deluded, willfully ignorant and/or cowardly— passively choose. But you still have made a choice.

The other problem when it comes to keep[ing] our minds open to both possibilities" is that one of those possibilities, according to the Bible, actually requires, it necessitates— an active, risky choice of the will for it to “count” in your favor. One of those ‘possibilities’ (that there is a God behind the purposeful, creative process that designed the universe) does not allow for noncommittal, according to what the Bible says about God. If that possibility is true, as the Bible claims it is, then without an active choice of faith to believe in that particular possibility, the most proudly open mind in the world is actually already blindly biased. “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” And that is the position of Scripture— To not actively choose belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a passive choice— to reject him:  John 3:36
”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
Finishing a thought on the issue of choice, Tony Campolo concludes—“We recognize that no one has limitless options (or total freedom), but that each man is able to determine the course of his life by the commitments he makes out of his available alternatives. We believe that ultimately, each man will be judged by what he decides about Jesus” (74 A Reasonable Faith).

Regardless of what empiricism and rationalism can or cannot prove when applied to the claims of evolution, God and the Bible, in each case there awaits the inescapable need for faith. In this world, there will always be a need for faith— which is why I challenge you to be brave, take a risk, man up and proactively make your choice regarding what you believe in that cannot be proven, or else— your silence has already made the choice for you. 

Surrounded By Grace,


One Day's Pay! from Josh Thompson on Vimeo.

To figure out your ONE DAY'S PAY, enter your hourly, monthly or yearly wages into the blank box without dollar signs or commas. Then click once on the button marked "Calculate!" and wait for the results to appear below.

Wage Calculator
I make:
each :

*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~