I happen to agree partly with Allan K. and Barry Henderson's original op-ed [March 8 Editor's Corner, "A Matter of Faith"], in the sense that an American fundamentalist interpretation of the Book of Genesis is not correct. However, contrary to our materialist friends, very few Christians subscribe to such interpretations. More often than not, the hyper-creationist view is used as a straw man by materialists to argue Christianity and science are irreconcilable. In fact at the time of the release of Origin of Species , virtually no vicar was teaching a literal six-day creation. This hyper-view was not shared by the Church Fathers either, witness Origen (185-254 A.D.) who wrote concerning the Book of Genesis, "I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history of having taken place in appearance and not literally."
While Allan K. is quite certain of the "convergence of evidence" of materialism, it is important to point out to him that this naturalistic world view is still only a theory and it is a theory still bedeviled with gaps and inconsistencies for which it has yet to answer.
As a former materialist, I am quite familiar with Charles Darwin, Denis Diderot and Ludwig Buchner. If Darwin's apologists would read his letters they will find that Darwin was perplexed all his entire life as to whether or not materialism had conquered orthodox Christianity. In his letters to Asa Gray, the noted American botanist, Darwin confessed to being in a "muddle"(his word) about the whole evolutionary theory. July 20, 1856, he wrote Gray that evolution "has many difficulties" to overcome and later on November 26, 1860, asserted that he could not come to say that the world was created by design or by chance but he (Darwin), "shall remain, in a hopeless muddle." Gray while sympathetic to Darwin's many theories understood the ultimate anthropocentric implications of a dysteleological world view, it is "tantamount to atheism"( Atlantic Monthly , October 1860).
Charles Darwin was correct. Materialism is a muddle, today as it was in the 19th century. The late Stephen Jay Gould claimed that the absolute proof of evolution lies with the imperfections found in nature but yet the equally gifted paleontologist, David Raup claims the sine qua non for evolution lies with the fact that there are perfections in the world.
The muddle continues. Materialists tell us that there is order in the universe but then suggest everything happens by chance. When does chance stop and order begin and visa versa? As David Hume pointed out naturalists have nothing but faith in the uniformity of the observable world. There is no reason to expect the sun to come up tomorrow. The contradictory works of Stephen Gould, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan and others have yet to fully answer their own dialectical dilemma between chance and order. In Ever Since Darwin , Gould argued that the mind has no real existence beyond the brain and that thoughts are only the secretions of the brain. If such a stark naturalistic view is correct, then there is no connection between sense experience and deep thinking and no real reason to believe that reality and dreams are not one and the same. Materialists tell us that man is insignificant in the world but at the same time, man is important and responsible. Why?
Allan K. suggests that to mention the word God is to declare "presumed infallibility" without realizing that to speak of a naturalistic world as a "fact" in of itself declares a metaphysical declaration concerning the existence of factuality itself.
The Christian doctrine of the creation simply states and requires the understanding that there is a distinction between Creator and its creatures and denies that matter creates matter. We deny materialism and acknowledge that the world is contingent upon the works of a Triune God that is the author of creation, an author that is not neglectful or indifferent to his creation either. As to whether how long man has been on the earth or whether or not the world was created in six human days, makes no difference. The key to the whole creation vs. naturalistic debate is namely, that there are no brute facts nor is nature self-sufficient and able to have to interpret itself.
Believing in the Christian view of creation doesn't retard science; on the contrary, it is the only doctrine that allows science not to be anything other than a futile solipsism.
Andrew J. Murphy
Mr. Neely's worldviews may be worth writing about at some point, but more of a reason is needed than all of his friends in the local bar more or less sharing them. What's next, an article on theology based on the support of everyone in Mr. Neely's church? More Knoxville secret history, please, and less of the view from Gay Street.
When Pro-lifers stand on the street with images of dead babies, they complain these images are hurtful and shocking. Hurtful and shocking? How hurtful and shocking is the act of abortion? The images are devastating because abortion is devastating. The images must be shown.
America must face its holocaust. No one can argue the "benefits" of abortion when viewing these images. I challenge everyone to watch a video of an abortion. Many can be found online (AbortionNo.org). Those who argue that this is a disgusting proposition are hypocrites. Programs on the Discovery Channel show bloody surgeries all the time. Why not an abortion? Because there is a big difference. Watching the mutilation and slaughter of babies will sicken the most adamant pro-choice person.
Black and White
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