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The Difference Faith Makes



Are you tired? Are you even to the point that you are tired of being tired? Tired of the way our society and culture, here in the United States, is headed? You’ve tried to be tolerant—tolerant of others’ views—only to find out that others are outspokenly intolerant of your views. You have had one or more of those moments where the outspoken and intolerant one(s) have beat you to the moment of the expression of your views.

Moreover, the silence, or worse, affirmation of those present, by their silence, has caused you to think twice about expressing anything you say or think going forward. Clearly, by what they have expressed, they have a deep-seated intolerance of your views. So, you pause in wonder; and it has caused you to put the ‘brakes’ on expressing your views.


Perhaps, you are feeling a little ‘emotionally constipated?’ You are finding it increasingly difficult to express your views because you know you will get an earful from others that not only don’t agree with you but are or would be offended if you dared express even anything close to your position; or worse, it might threaten your current position of employment or any possible future advancement.


Maybe, you’ve been thinking to live by ‘live and let live,’ only to find out that others are pushing the way they want to live and are not satisfied to let you live in your archaic and ‘racist’ ways. By the way, how did you all of a sudden become racist? And others are calling out your supposed ‘racism’ because you have a ‘specific, inherent quality.’ Actually, isn’t that blatant racism on their part?


Maybe, you are one who can hold to your views, despite all of the conflicting and irrational static around you. Yes, you do feel ‘emotionally constipated’ in today’s culture but, you are a strong, independent, rationally thinking person who can and does hold firm to their views.


Additionally, you might have the emotional intelligence to sense when it’s ‘safe’ to speak and when to hold your tongue. It’s lonely though, isn’t it? Are you right about everything, though? It’s hard to determine if there even is consensus about your views if you must always go around being guarded about even expressing them.

Our culture, here in America, is definitely divided, more so than it has ever been. Yet, we have all these supposedly marvelous tools with which to consolidate our views including the media, the Internet, and social media. However, all these differing forms of media have only served to broaden the divisions in our society and culture. There seems to be no standard by which to live, and that is the problem. Whose truth should we follow? Who holds the absolute truth?


We will answer that question but, before we do that we need to think about what has been put into our heads to date. If you have attended public school, you were most likely taught that our universe and each of us came about through evolution. Actually, the only thing that evolution has demonstrated is change within the species. Each of us changes.


Before I go any further, perhaps, you will question my integrity. Am I a scientist? No. Am I a doctor? No. I do have two master’s degrees and hold a teaching credential for math and school counseling in the state of California.


So, to demonstrate my integrity for this writing I will be using AI-Artificial Intelligence; specifically, ChatGPT for answers to some of the questions I pose and will document each AI/ChatGPT response. In fact, I strongly recommend you create your own ChatGPT account and use it to answer questions that arise in your mind. As you read, though, be critical and look for the subjectivity in the language used by ChatGPT.

 

Apparently, though, humans and apes share a common ancestor, demonstrating that both humans and modern-day apes are related. If humans and modern apes share a common ancestor, do we have proof of that common ancestor?


ChatGPT: “….Taken together, these lines of evidence provide strong support for the theory of common ancestry, which suggests that humans and modern apes share a common ancestor that lived several million years ago. While we do not have direct physical proof of this common ancestor, the evidence from various fields of study is consistent with this idea.”


Can evolution be both a fact and a theory?


ChatGPT: “Yes, evolution can be both a fact and a theory. In science, a "fact" is generally defined as an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed through empirical evidence, while a "theory" is a well-supported and widely accepted explanation for a set of related phenomena.

The fact of evolution refers to the observation that species change over time through a process of descent with modification. This has been confirmed through a wide range of evidence, including the fossil record, comparative anatomy, embryology, and molecular biology. The fact of evolution is not in dispute among the vast majority of scientists.

The theory of evolution, on the other hand, refers to the scientific explanation for how evolution occurs. This theory is based on the principles of genetics, mutation, natural selection, and other mechanisms that drive evolution. While the basic idea of evolution has been well established as a fact, the theory of evolution continues to be refined and expanded upon as new evidence is discovered and new questions are raised.

In summary, the fact of evolution is the observation that species change over time, while the theory of evolution is the scientific explanation for how this occurs. The fact and theory of evolution are complementary and interdependent, and both are essential to our understanding of the natural world.”


Is scientific research limited by only what mankind can observe?


ChatGPT: “Yes, scientific research is limited by only what mankind can observe, measure, and test. Science is based on empirical evidence, which is evidence that can be observed or measured. Scientists use instruments and methods to observe and measure natural phenomena, and they develop theories based on their observations and measurements.”


So, if scientific research is limited by only what mankind can observe, measure, and test, does that mean that anything that cannot be observed, measured, and tested cannot exist?


ChatGPT: “Scientific research is indeed limited by what can be observed, measured, and tested through empirical methods. This means that phenomena or entities that cannot be observed, measured, or tested using scientific methods are generally not considered to be part of the realm of science.

However, this does not necessarily mean that phenomena or entities that cannot be observed, measured, or tested using scientific methods do not exist. There may be other methods of inquiry, such as philosophical or theological approaches, that can address these questions.

Furthermore, it is important to note that science is not the only way of knowing, and there may be other forms of knowledge and understanding that cannot be fully captured or explained through scientific methods alone. For example, subjective experiences such as emotions, personal values, and moral beliefs are not easily quantifiable or objectively measurable, yet they play an important role in our lives and decision-making.”


What is the Anthropic Principle?


ChatGPT: The Anthropic Principle is a philosophical and scientific idea that suggests that the fundamental constants and laws of the universe appear to be finely tuned to allow for the existence of intelligent life. In other words, the universe seems to be designed in such a way that it is capable of supporting life as we know it.

The Anthropic Principle has implications for a range of scientific and philosophical questions, including the debate over the existence of God, the nature of the universe, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Some scientists argue that the fine-tuning of the universe is evidence of intelligent design or a creator, while others point to the possibility of a multiverse or other natural explanations for the observed constants and laws of the universe.


Are you convinced that evolution sufficiently explains our existence and the existence of our universe? I am not convinced in the least. The mathematician and philosopher, Protagoras, stated that “Man is the measure of all things.” However, again, if we only accept what mankind can quantify—observe, measure, and test through the scientific method—aren’t we closing our minds to possibilities that may be beyond our comprehension? Can we fairly eliminate a Creator God who made the universe and brought about our existence merely because we cannot quantify Him through the scientific method?



Why is it even important to ask why or how we are here?

I have worked with teenagers for the last 24 years; eight as a public high school math teacher and later, 16 years as a professional high school counselor. Of course, I have seen my share of teenagers that had either attempted suicide or had seriously contemplated suicide.


In talking with them, it was always part of my philosophy to get to the answer of “why?” “Why did you try to end your life?” When we got to the question of ‘why,’ their responses were eerily similar. They all had been coping with some level of depression and that, in turn, was leading them to feel hopeless and worthless. They began, then, to question, what is it all for? Why am I here? They lacked purpose.


One of my ‘pet peeves’ in working with teenagers/adolescents is that we don’t call them exactly that—that they are teenagers/adolescents and that they are coping with several distinct physiological changes which also deeply affects their psychological development. Moreover, this ‘identity crisis’ is further complicated because they are no longer a child but, they are also not yet accepted as an adult.


Ages 12 to 18 is called adolescence. Kids and teens in this age group do more complex thinking. This type of thinking is also known as formal logical operations. This includes the ability to:


  • Do abstract thinking. This means thinking about possibilities.

  • Reason from known principles. This means forming own new ideas or questions.

  • Consider many points of view. This means to compare or debate ideas or opinions.

  • Think about the process of thinking. This means being aware of the act of thought processes.


At only 12 or 13 years old, or sometimes, even younger [there is not a precise ‘threshold’], teenagers/adolescents are extremely capable of complex reasoning in spite of their years. I have personally come across teenagers that communicated incredible wisdom beyond their years. Despite perceptions about teenagers/adolescents, they do engage in a significant amount of thinking about life. This is why we need to inform and expand their thinking rather than allowing biases to interject.


Now, you may not really believe in God but, do yourself a favor and spend some time to ponder God’s existence by going to: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/earth/overview/


Explore, and play around with this website.


Then, start asking yourself questions like:


How did we get here?


Evolution does not explain the existence of inorganic matter. If you believe in the Big Bang Theory, you end up in what is called an infinite regression. Science is man's attempt to wrest from nature whatever truths he can about its manner of operation.


Moreover, Science will tell you, you can know nothing for certain; all you have is probabilities; and you are blessed that you could have high probabilities of something. [From D. James Kennedy Sermon – There Are No Absolutes.]


Aristotle argues, in Book 8 of the Physics and Book 12 of the Metaphysics, "that there must be an immortal, unchanging being, ultimately responsible for all wholeness and orderliness in the sensible world".[4]


Steve Hustings, in his book, Doubt Busters, states: “We ask, "If all things have a creator, then who created God?" Actually, only created things have a creator, so it's improper to lump God with his creation. God has revealed himself to us in the Bible as having always existed.[6]


Even Richard Dawkins, a widely known evolutionary biologist and atheist, takes issue with a ‘created God.’ Dawkins may be, most recently, widely known for his defense of J.K. Rowling because “During a recent interview with British journalist Piers Morgan on Fox News, famed atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins declared that "[as a biologist,] there are two sexes, and that’s all there is to it."”



John Lennox, professor of Mathematics at Oxford writes:[8]

“Now Dawkins candidly tells us that he does not like people telling him that they also do not believe in the God in which he does not believe. But we cannot afford to base our arguments on his dislikes. For, whether he likes it or not, he openly invites the charge. After all, it is he who is arguing that God is a delusion.

In order to weigh his argument, we need first of all to know what he means by God. And his main argument is focused on a created God. Well, several billion of us would share his disbelief in such a god. He needn’t have bothered. Most of us have long since been convinced of what he is trying to tell us.

Certainly, no Christian would ever dream of suggesting that God was created. Nor, indeed, would Jews or Muslims. His argument, by his own admission, has nothing to say about an eternal God. It is entirely beside the point. Dawkins should shelve it on the shelf marked ‘Celestial Teapots’ where it belongs. For the God who created and upholds the universe was not created — he is eternal. He was not ‘made’ and therefore subject to the laws that science discovered; it was he who made the universe with its laws. Indeed, that fact constitutes the fundamental distinction between God and the universe. The universe came to be, God did not.”


If you see today in American society and culture that teenagers/adolescents and, yes, even adults have no good morals and values and are thinking or commenting, “They shouldn’t do that!” Why shouldn’t they? Why shouldn’t a person shoot someone they don’t even know and have their friends film it? Why shouldn’t a man rape a woman if he wants her?

I have a maxim that I have come to value: “Don’t should on me;” and I try to refrain from using the word should. Why? Because you need a much better reason for why people need to be good. Currently, and apparently, mankind’s’ laws are not sufficient. If you want people to be good and moral, you need to point them to God. In order to do this, you yourself will need to put God first in your life.



Paraphrasing the sermon of the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, The Hopes and Fears of All the Years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PEkzwOObfM (at approx. 30:00):


Jesus Christ, in The Bible says that He is the way, the truth, and the life; and further, that no one can come to The Father but by Him.


6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.[1]


The modern, sophisticated, secular humanists hate that verse; those who make tolerance the highest, and not only the highest, but the only virtue of our time. They cannot tolerate the idea that Jesus is The Way. Is not that amazing?


You will remember, I hope, and not forget, that tolerance is the last virtue of a totally immoral people; having violated every other ethical norm, the only thing they want is for you to not only tolerate, but acknowledge and accept their abominable, ungodly, and immoral, lifestyle as equal to the most virtuous self-giving person that ever lived.


“How can you say that Jesus is the only way? That is not tolerant,” they will say. Really? I want to respond, “How can you possibly not say that Jesus is the only way, if you know anything about the subject?”


Did any of the founders of any of the great religions of the world, other than Jesus, die for the sins of the world? The answer is, “No.” Did any of the founders of the religions of the world, Muhammad, Lao Tse, Confucius, Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster, or any of the others; did any of them ever rise from the dead?



[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 14:6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.


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