Around the web 8/5/2013

ANOTHER REASON WHY GOING TO COLLEGE INCREASES YOUR CHANCES OF RETAINING YOUR CHRISTIAN FAITH — A couple weeks ago I reported on a study that showed that going to college, even a secular state university, actually increases one’s chances of keeping one’s Christian faith (see Staying Christian at the university). The Gospel Coalition suggested three reasons why this might be so (the presence of Christian organizations such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ; intellectual relativism, and more Christian faculty members than in the past). I proposed a fourth reason based on my own experience: A Christian at the secular university is forced to think through challenges to his or her faith.  Dr. Jay Wile, on his Proslogion blog, suggests another reason why having a college education tends to correlate with perseverance in one’s faith:

The vast majority of intellectual and scientific data support a belief in a personal God. Thus, it is not surprising to me that the more people learn, the more likely they are to remain engaged in their faith!

Jay makes an excellent point—Students tend to keep their Christian faith because they discover that the Christian faith is indeed true!

CHRISTIANITY — ROOTED IN REAL HISTORY — C. Michael Patton writes about how Christianity is based on events that happened in history in a way that other religions, such as Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even atheism, are not. Read about it on Parchment & Pen Blog: Christianity, the World’s Most Falsifiable Religion.

How-Christianity-Started-final How-Other-Religions-Started

A SECULARIST ARGUMENT FOR THE PRO-LIFE POSITION — From Stand to Reason Blog: No Stable Rights without Intrinsic Human Value.

How is [being pro-life] “religious” when there are millions of pro-lifers in the United States with no religion? It can’t just be because there are religious folks who agree with us; most religious people also agree that human trafficking is immoral, but we don’t call human trafficking a religious issue.


Hazzard recognizes that human value and rights are objectively real, and she can argue for them by appealing to our moral intuition (see here, for example), but not by appealing to science. Universal human rights depend on a shared human nature and intrinsic human value, which can’t be verified scientifically because the scientific method is not capable of detecting things like intrinsic value. Unfortunately, in a society infected by scientism, people have all the wiggle room they need to illegitimately dismiss a scientifically unmeasurable idea they disagree with from the public square by labeling it “religious,” since they can count on our culture interpreting that to mean “a subjective matter of preference.”

NESSIE NO LONGER SWIMS IN YEC TEXTBOOK — From The Christian Post: Christian Publisher Removes Loch Ness Monster From Biology Textbook. But according to Answers in Genesis official Mark Looy, there are still plenty of other good candidates for dinosaurs in historical records, such as the dragon in Beowulf. I’ll stick with my position that there are no dinosaurs in the Bible, and there is no evidence that dinosaurs and humans ever coexisted.

HT: InternetMonk: Saturday Ramblings.

Grace and peace

8 thoughts on “Around the web 8/5/2013

  1. Statistique

    Re: CHRISTIANITY — ROOTED IN REAL HISTORY. Mr. Patton’s argument seems to boil down this: Christianity’s founding events happened in public and not in private so Christianity is more historically defensible. If that is a reasonable assessment of his position, then it still relies on highly fallible eyewitness accounts. Because this is partially a Science blog I would think it could be agreed that eyewitness accounts can be (and almost always are) the weakest form of evidence that exist.

    The Gospel’s authors accounts of Easter and the Book of Acts disagree about many important aspects of the events pointed out in the comic strip in defense of historical Christianity. For one (out of many many examples) there is the location of the Ascension.

    Where did the Ascension take place?

    Matthew: No ascension. Book ends on mountain in Galilee
    Mark: In or near Jerusalem, after supper (16:19)
    Luke: In Bethany, very close to Jerusalem, after supper (24:50-51)
    John: No ascension
    Paul: No ascension
    Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)

    Events that happen in public should more weight than private events, but they are still subject to the fallibility of human memory and recall.


  2. geochristian


    Thanks for your comment. There are challenges in understanding the exact sequence of events in the four gospels plus Acts, but the ascension is not one of them.

    There is no contradiction between Mark, Luke, and Acts in terms of the place of the ascension. If one person says the Empire State Building is in New York and another says it is in Manhattan, they are not contradicting each other. Likewise, the east wall of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, and the village of Bethany are within two miles of each other, so there is no contradiction.

    Paul mentions the ascension (1 Tim 3:16) but doesn’t give any details about its time or place. He also wrote about Christ’s return from heaven, which implies the ascension.

    Neither Matthew nor John mention the ascension in their gospels, but that does not mean they did not believe it occurred. They both believed that Jesus rose from the dead, and there is no indication that anyone in early Christianity taught that Jesus was still walking around somewhere, so the best conclusion is that Matthew and John both believed in the ascension. Furthermore, it is clear that the author of Revelation (I’ll go with John the apostle) believed in the ascension, as he pictured Christ in heaven as the slain Lamb of God, and wrote about Christ’s return to rule as king.

    Individual testimony is subject to the errors of human memory. So is the testimony of multiple witnesses, but it is of far higher value than that of an individual witness, especially upon cross-examination. The New Testament gives the testimony of several individuals who were either eyewitnesses of the events (Matthew, John) or who new the eyewitnesses very well (Mark, Luke, Paul). They attest to the same key events: the crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. We could debate whether or not the resurrection is the best explanation of the evidence (I obviously believe it is), but it is clear that belief in the ascension, as well as the crucifixion and resurrection, were universal in the early church.


  3. Statistique


    Your New York analogy only works if the Mount of Olives is in Bethany and both are in Jerusalem. If I told you to meet me at the Empire State building and I really was in Little Italy (2 miles away), yes we both would be in Manhattan, but we would never meet up because the two places are distinct. Is this logic sound or am I missing something? I don’t want to get too hung up on this.

    I think it is more important to focus on the reliability of eye witness testimony and I would still like to hear more of your thoughts. I agree that multiple witness testimony is more valuable than individual, but it is still extremely fallible and should be considered as the worst possible evidence overall.


  4. The precision required in describing locations varies with context. I tell people I am from Philly, when actually I am from near a small town called Glen Mills. (What? You’ve never heard of it?) Unless you have a working knowledge of SW PA, “Philly” is close enough. If you were familiar with the area, I might drill down closer. If we had to meet at my parents’ home, I would have to be even more precise. Saying I am from Philly and from Glen Mills is not a contradiction, even though the two are over 20 miles apart.


  5. Robert Byers

    The poop question is no different then other matters in fossilization.
    Its a simple thing. The whole area or a section was immediately overthrown by sediment by water push.
    YEC always says it was not rising water but flow events that did all the fossilization.
    one needs pressure to instant change sediment to rock. Whats in the sediment is irrelevant. Its a desirable thing to find dino poop . It makes the case for the truth of genesis.

    I agree there are no dinos in the bible but Job probably refers to a creature that liced after the flood but not today. the readers knew the creature. The book is old.
    Dinos are not a separate division of creatures but only kinds.. Its a false classification system that links them together.


  6. geochristian

    Robert — the coprolite issue is a serious one for young-Earth creationists, whether they be the mainstream YECs whose ideas don’t work, or fringe YECs whose ideas don’t work. Turds excreted in the turbulent slurry of a global flood would be pulverized, whereas turds laid on temporarily exposed surfaces would be washed away by the next wave of water. And where would all of those turds come from, especially by the middle and end of the flood?

    You are right about one thing: the “poop question is no different then [sic] other matters in fossilization.” Just as fossilized nests and fossilized animal burrows are extremely difficult to explain in global flood scenarios, so the ubiquity of coprolites speaks against YEC flood geology.


  7. geochristian

    Statistique — without testimony, we would know next to nothing about history. So rather than being “the worst possible evidence overall,” testimony is critical in historical investigations. Of course testimony should be evaluated, and this should be done with awareness of one’s presuppositions. For example, if you have a presupposition against the supernatural, you will most certainly come to the conclusion that Jesus did not rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. If you accept the idea that there must be a God (which I believe for a number of reasons), then it should not come as a surprise that he has at some point stepped into human history, and as a Christian I believe this happened in the person of Jesus the Christ.


  8. Statistique


    We know about the history of the Grand Canyon and dinosaurs without any testimony. You and I really seem to have a difference of opinion of what defines good evidence because it seems that you enforce a different (stricter) standard of evidence on YECs when arguing against their claims in a scientific geology framework, but then you relax those standards of evidence when evaluating Biblical claims. This ties into Carols reply. The context is very important when evaluating evidence. When the context is her explaining to someone where she is from, sure, there is no problem with relaxing precision. It doesn’t matter that locations are a little fuzzy. When the context is the Resurrection of Jesus as written by several different sources years after it happened and they (possibly) conflict with each other, then precision is essential and any deviations or divergences open up the possibility of doubt.


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