Tuesday, September 19

Thoughts About Doubt

I believe that the only ones who never doubt are those who never think.  Many unbelievers [at least those who write books about it], seem to think that Christian faith is credulity, mere blind superstition.  I think this misconception is due to a number of things from prejudice on the part of the unbeliever, to misapplication of scriptural passages that condemn certain kinds of doubt, to Christians who have, though ignorance, misrepresented the nature of faith.

To be fair there are passages which condemn doubt in the
face of evidence [Matthew 14:31], but the reality is that not everyone in the NT who doubted was rebuked by Jesus for their doubt [John 20:27-29]  This leads me to conclude that there are at least two different kinds of doubt.  There is doubt which is due to a failure to understand or see certain evidence, and there is a type of doubt that is due to a refusal to consider and a rejection of evidence.

These different doubts are a result of opposite hearts.  One type of doubt comes from a sincere desire to know the truth, whatever that truth may be.  The other type of doubt comes from a desire to reject a certain point of view, regardless of the truth of that point of view.  Outwardly, these two type of doubt may appear very much the same, but the heart, which only God can see, is very different in each case.

The scriptures do not condemn the heart that is unwilling to believe without evidence, in fact, very much the opposite.  Christians are everywhere warned not to believe everyone, but to test what is taught [Matthew 7:15-18; 1 John 4:1-2].  Yet there is a strong condemnation of the heart who refuses to believe because of corrupt motives [John 5:44-47].

The discerning heart
One convincing piece of evidence that Jesus did not approve of 'blind, un-discerning acceptance' is the mind the NT insists is necessary for faith.  Consider:
  • Humility [Matt.18:1-4]
  • Love the truth [John 18:37; 8:32]
  • Willing to hear [Rom.10:17]
  • Willing to prove all things [1 Thess.5:21]
  • Rejection of passions that corrupt honesty [2 Tim.4:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:1-\0-12]
  • Refusal to believe without testing [1 John 4:1]
  • A good an honest heart [Luke 8:15]
What better attitude, mindset, heart could there be?  Isn't this the mindset we want our scientists to have?  It is clearly apparent that the NT does not call for belief without discernment.

A danger of secret doubt
Some believers have the idea that all doubt is sinful and yet, despite their greatest efforts, they are unable to completely eliminate it from their minds.  They are many times taught that faith is a gift bestowed on them by God, having nothing to do with themselves, and as a result are taught that any doubt is indication that God has not given them the gift of faith.  They may deny doubt, that in reality continues to linger in the back of their minds, growing stronger as time goes on, then, when they have lain unchallenged for so long they finally cannot be ignored anymore, they burst forth with rage and vigor, seemingly unassailable.  The other thing that may happen is for them to turn away from faith entirely believing they are not one of God's chosen so why bother.

The conclusion I draw from this is that we should seek the solution of difficulties instead of trying to hide them from ourselves.  In many cases, thinking about it objectively enough to state it succinctly will reveal it is no real threat to genuine Christian faith.  If not, then you can at least be aware to watch for evidence you might cross that will solve the difficulty.  In some cases, that may require embarking on a serious study of all available evidence, with a willingness to follow the trail until it's end, but in most cases, a doubt is not a 'deal breaker', but merely something you will be consciously aware of looking for evidence to confirm or solve, and that search may take many years.

What the NT teaches is the basis of Faith

The way the NT appeals for faith proves that it does not ask people to believe without evidence or even worse, against the evidence.  The in his gospel, the apostle John appealed to the miracles [20:30], Christ's works [5:35], the Father's witness [5:36-37], Moses and the OT [5:39-47].  Just one sermon in Acts appeals to the evidence of Prophesy [2:6,23,30-31,34], Miracles of Jesus [2:22], the resurrection [2:27-32], and the current miraculous happenings [2:33]

Sinful Unbelief
Jesus did teach that the Spirit would 'convict the world of sin because they believe not in me' [John 16:8-9] and as such, there is a sinful type of belief.  Now that may seem objectionable to some.  You may think the words of Christ harsh here, but consider the value of the
principle they are based on.  We would all agree, wouldn't we, that to neglect truth that you can obtain is a fault?  Maybe not so in trivial matters such as who won the 1972 world series, but certainly in important matters that affect ourselves and those around us.  If I were to, oblivious to the truth, insist that the use of lavender behind your knees will cure colon cancer, and I argued that with passion and persuasiveness, and I convinced people of that, my proclaiming ignorance that 'well, I never read those studies' would not absolve me of the responsibility for the damage I did.  If I give health advice to someone, morality
would require that I only advise what I've given sufficient study to know the truth about.  That's different than baseball statistics because of the value of the belief.

What matter could be more important that the matter of eternity after this life?  It is of the greatest possible value to determine, if possible, what is truth regarding spiritual things.  God is a historical fact through the ages.  His existence, his incarnation, his resurrection, are all historic facts which can in fact be authenticated.  If I, beginning with doubt do that, my belief is not sinful.  If, no the other hand, I allow the doubt to prejudice me such that I neglect, or even refuse, to do that, my doubt is sinful.  If a man is responsible for the reckless and negligent use of his hands, isn't he also responsible for the willful misuse of his mind?  After all, isn't the hand just the instrument of the mind?

Many unbelievers call mightily for us to fulfill our responsibilities to our neighbor yet dismiss altogether that same obligation to fulfill our responsibilities to God.


The Love of the Truth must prevail
Paul spoke of those who did not love the truth, but had pleasure in a lie [2 Thess.2:10-12].  People who do not love truth are not attracted to it, and even when they see it, they quickly reject it and then rationalize that rejection.  When truth about themselves is unpleasant they are offended and seek what makes them feel good, even if it is untrue.  Some reject truth because it condemns some immorality they find pleasure in and are determined to continue.  They seek some rational that will justify their unrighteousness and calm their conscience.

My conclusion is that you needn't be afraid of doubt, as long as it is honest doubt, seeking truth.  If, however, it is prejudicial doubt, that isn't seeking truth but rather seeks confirmation of it's prejudices, there is nothing in the least noble in it.  So, look at your own heart, be honest with/in your heart.  Do you really love/seek truth?

Wednesday, September 6

Texting and the New Law


Beginning today it is illegal in Texas to text while driving.  Now, we can argue the details of the law [like how the officer can tell you're texting and not putting an address into google maps, which is still legal], but it is, in my opinion as one who has texted while driving, a step in the right direction.

As I just admitted that I have texted while driving in the past, let's suppose just for a moment, that I get pulled over while texting next week.  I can pay the ticket, or go to court.  And, just for this discussion, let's say I choose to defend myself in court.

When I go to court, the judge may ask me if I was texting while driving, and I would say 'Yes, Sir".  He would say "According to current Texas law, you are guilty of a misdemeanor and must pay a fine".  That is justice.

However, what if I were to protest?  What if I were to [respectfully] say "But your honor, if you will read right here, in the laws of the State of Texas, 2016, you will clearly see that there is nothing condemning texting while driving.  In fact, if you will read EVERY LAW that has ever been in force in Texas, back to and including Spanish law, Mexican law, and even Indian law, you will find that none of these laws ever condemned texting while driving."

Do you think the judge would be swayed by my argument?

No.

"But why not, it is true."?

Yes, but it really doesn't matter what Spanish law over Texas was, or for that matter, what the law over Texas yesterday was.  What matters is what the law over Texas today is. 

As of today, it is legal to text and drive in Arizona.  What if I were driving through Arizona, was stopped and given a ticket for texting and driving.  I would challenge the ticket, and if the officer cited current Texas law as a reason for the ticket, the judge would say "But we are not in Texas, we are in Arizona and Arizona law has jurisdiction here."

This idea is not difficult to understand is it?  The law that we are judged by is the law that is in force at the place we are   at that moment.

Now, consider this concept in scripture.  What if I were to tell you that God requires you to build an ark to be saved and I have a scripture in the Bible that says so:




What would you tell me?  Do you believe God expects you to build an Ark?

No.

Why not?  It is a command in the Bible.

Yes, but God was talking to Noah about a very specific destruction [worldwide flood].  He has never asked anyone else to build an Ark like that.  In fact, in Genesis 9 God promised to never flood the world that way again.

Ahhh, I see.  So you are applying the same principle I mentioned above Biblical law then.

Right.

Well, Okay, that was a command given to Noah, for a specific situation, but what about God's law regarding sin?  You know, the one, in Numbers 15:27:

If one person sins unintentionally,
he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering.
Have you offered a one year old female goat for your sins recently?

Of course not.

But why not?  It is a command in the Bible.  It is a command to God's people, telling them what to do about sin.  Surely you don't think that was a one time event like the flood?

No, sin is not a one time event, however, numbers 15 is the Law of Moses.  Jesus is our sin offering.  He is our lamb, we no longer offer bulls and goats.  Hebrews 9:11-12 says:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
Ahhh, you are completely right.  There is a difference in the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ.  In fact, Jeremiah told us that God would be changing His covenant when the Messiah came.  He said [Jeremiah 31:31-34]

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,  not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The writer of Hebrews clearly explained this in Hebrews 1:1 where he said:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son
In the past, God spoke by the prophets to our Fathers [ancestors], but He has spoken to us through His son, Jesus Christ.

So, what is your point?

My point is that the law that you and I are judged by are the words of Jesus, not the words of Moses.  Jesus himself said:
The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge;
the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. [John 12:48]
And Paul tells us that our judge will be Jesus, not Moses.
 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ
Because that is true, when you seek to understand what God's will [commands, law] is for you today, don't look in the book of Leviticus, or Genesis, or one of the prophets.  When you look to defend something that you do in your life, either in congregational worship, or in your personal life, don't go to Moses, or David, or Isaiah to defend it, look in the teachings of Christ and His apostles. It's pretty easy to find that in your Bible, it's called the New Testament.

Beginning in the wrong place



Sometimes we don't understand or accept something because we begin at the wrong place.  In other posts I've mentioned that if a scientist begins with a 'nothing but the material world exists' bias, then, by definition, he cannot believe in anything spiritual and will, because of his framework, reject any evidence that does not conform to his paradigm.  In this post I want to discuss a few errors of approach to the issue of Christian Evidences that might interfere with someone arriving at an unbiased conclusion.

Focusing on the mysteries without first considering the evidence.  August 6, 1945 an atomic bomb code named 'Little Boy' was dropped on Hiroshima Japan.  The devastation was immense and the death toll attributed to that one bomb was around 90,000.  Now, whatwould you think of someone who, when presented with evidence about this said "I can't accept the idea that one bomb did so much damage.  It us utterly incomprehensible to me how one bomb can do so much damage".  While it may be true that someone might not understand exactly how a nuclear weapon worked, and it may be unimaginable that one bomb could do this [it was unimaginable until it happened], it did actually happen.  One bomb did actually do this and it is very poor logic that would deny the evidence because there are parts of that evidence that you do not understand.

Should spiritual truth be thought unreasonable because there are some mysteries in the Bible?  Should I reject the biblical explanation of the supernatural because I don't understand the supernatural?  After all, shouldn't we expect that if the Bible is truly a revelation from God that there will be some elements in it that are not easily understood and/or explained?  What would be the value of a revelation from God if it only contained things that could be discerned by normal human reasoning?  We accept many things without full knowledge of how they work.  How can green grass be eaten and then produce feathers on a goose and hair on a cow?  Why does a certain chemotherapy work on one patient and not on another?  Granted science is beginning to understand some of the workings of things that have been mysterious for centuries, but patent, out of the box rejection of something based on the fact that you don't understand it, or that it 'seems wrong' is foolish.

Focusing on objections to the exclusion of corroboration.  Some who reject Christianity do so in large part because they spend much time reading, discussing and interacting with those who object to Christianity without reading, discussing and interacting with those who embrace it.  Many are the college students who have read Richard Dawkin's attack on faith, and then, upon hearing the objections, consider the matter settled without entertaining the thoughtful answers available to those
objections.  There is no other field of inquiry, except religion, the we make the very unreasonable mistake of first considering all the possible objections before we examine the direct arguments in its favor.  Many times in discussing with those opposed to Christian faith have I asked "Which books have you read which claim to expose Christianity as a fraud?" and usually there is a list of books, websites, or forums.  Then, the follow up question "Which books have you read in defense of Christianity?" which normally elicits a blank stare.

It is foolish and illogical at best, and dishonest at worst, to claim you have come to a reasoned rejection of Christianity when you have only investigated objections to Christianity and not defenses of it. 

Why is this such a common error?  I suspect it is in large part because we've grown up in a nation where previous generations, by in large, received Christianity as truth.  In that climate, belief is easy, even belief without seeking reasons for that belief.  In that situation, your belief is much a product of the belief of those around you, instead of a hard earned personal belief.  Then, faced with objections, you are intrigued, thinking, 'yeah, that's a good point', and intrigued, you are motivated to focus time and energy on the objections, thinking that what you had accepted without evidence has no compelling evidence because you never had the need to search for it.

When Christianity was first being spread to the world, the case was very much the opposite.  The presumption was against Christianity, and it's novelty led many people to examine it from a "Why should I receive these guys as messengers from God and the Bible as His word?"  Those people ended up with a strong, deliberate, reasoned faith.  Beginning with a presumption that Christian writers must be able to answer every one of a never-ending parade of re-purposed, re-dressed objections before I will consider evidence in it's favor is the wrong starting point.  There are many, strong, convincing arguments for Christianity.  We should begin by considering them, are they true, and if they seem so, then consider if any of the objections are sufficient to shake them.

Failing to deal fairly and wisely with difficulties.  It is much easier to ask a caustic and leading question than it is to answer that question, regardless of your position [just look at the flat-earth arguments].  I would like here to make a few suggestions about how to deal with difficulties because it is true that honest inquiry will reveal difficulties in whatever you believe.

Face it honestly.  Don't try to dodge, or deny that you have seen a difficulty.  Dishonesty is against the very fabric of what Christianity stands for, and dishonestly dismissing a difficulty because it is difficult is unwise, illogical and contrary to a genuine search for truth.

Face is humbly.  Do not imagine that because you haven't found the solution to a difficulty, no-one has, or that you cannot find it.

Face it fearlessly.  Men saw difficulties hundred of years ago, and Christianity still stands.  It has stood test after test and we don't need to fear that now it will fall to criticism.  Dan Brown, who wrote The Davinci Code is not the greatest critic of Christianity, he is just the most popular [in recent memory.]

Face it determinedly.  Do not give up in your quest for a solution,
and if, at length you cannot find a solution, you may at least discover that the difficulty does not discredit the faith.

Face it in the context of the entire Bible.  Nothing is better at explaining scripture than other scriptures, and the more familiar with the Bible as a whole you are, the better equipped you are to deal with difficulties.

Emphasize what you believe.  In the final analysis, we all believe something.  You have no choice, you must risk your eternal soul on some belief.  If you find yourself in the mental conflict between faith and unbelief, give preference to faith.  Jesus never asked anyone to be untrue to their beliefs or convictions, or even to their hesitations or doubts [see Mark 9:24].  What he asks instead is that men should emphasize their faith and not be ruled by their doubts.

Failing to make serious work of studying.  Current culture in America is to take the easy way out.  That may have always been the case, but it certainly seems true today.  Most of us want the cliffs notes or the movie instead of the book.  Why?  It's easier.  You don't have to work hard to understand.  This failure is no where more common or dangerous than in an examination of Christianity.  When faced with doubts or objections, our faith may be shaken, but when we are presented a book on evidence, it looks/seems difficult and we are oftentimes not willing to make the investment of looking hard, thinking hard, working hard to wade through it. 

It is one thing to ask a question, it is another to provide real, genuine, thoughtful answers to to those questions, and at times it is hard to grapple with those matters and understand technical or detailed answers.  Think back to our example of the nuclear bomb.  I can ask "how exactly does an atom bomb work?" in seven words.  A complete answer though, would take thousands of words and require very technical, detailed, complex, yes, just plain hard to understand explanations.  The same may be true of objections to Christianity.  Some of them can be easily and quickly answered, others however involve a long process of reasoning or gathering a great deal of evidence.

If you are willing to ask the question, be at least honest and fair enough to do the work necessary to determine if there is a legitimate answer.

Failing to understand when a thing is proved.  Some objectors seem to believe that Christianity cannot be established unless and until no possible additional
objections can be raised.  However, there is nothing which is objection proof.  Controversy has been waged on every issue.  A skilled attorney can bring objections against any testimony, even truthful testimony. 

This vulnerability to objections is easily seen in the resurgence of the flat-earthers today.  It has been clearly and resoundingly proved that the earth is spherical, yet there are objections, some sounding quite plausible, and when there is an objection, there will always be a doubter.  This is no more evident than in doubters against Christianity.  Many times, when an objection is answered, the objector will make an ever-so-slight modification in the objection and act as though it is an entirely new objection.  I am firmly convinced that, given sufficient time, a clever man can present a plausible objection to any established truth.

Dr. Richard Whately has presented a number of plausible objections against the existence of Napoleon Bonaparte in his book "Historic Doubts Relative to Napoleon Bonaparte", yet few if any actually doubt that Napoleon did indeed exist.

My point about this is that any truth, no matter how established and basic, can be objected to and doubted.

So, we have looked at five errors that can interfere with an honest, unbiased examination of Christianity.  Looking honestly at yourself, do any of these errors seem familiar, or comfortable to you?  Or are you really, genuinely, determined to find truth, wherever it may be?

Note:  I am indebted to Dr. James Bales and his book The Roots of Unbelief for helping me to understand the errors mentioned in this post.

Friday, September 1

Some reasons I believe in God

If you're reading this blog, it should be obvious that I am a believer in God.  I used to be a doubter, but no longer.  I want to give you a very simple [though not at all exhaustive] explanation of why.


Evidence and the nature of Faith
There is such a thing as blind faith [belief without evidence], but there is also evidence based faith.  It isn't reasonable to conclude that because some people who believe in God have blind faith everyone does.  I do have faith, but my faith is based on evidence, or at least what I perceive to be evidence.  In reality, most faith is really a referendum on evidence.  It tells what people think of the evidence.  If you believe evidence, you have faith in that evidence and the conclusions it leads to, if you don't believe the evidence, you don't have faith.

What is Evidence?
Evidence is grounds for belief; that which tends to prove or disprove something.  There are different types of evidence.  There is scientific evidence like fingerprints and Gun Shot Residue.  There is also legal-historical evidence, like photographs and eye witness testimony.  Sometimes these two interact for instance when an old manuscript is found that gives some type of testimony.  Science may study the type of paper and ink to verify the age of the manuscript - that is scientific evidence.  Once verified, it's testimony is legal-historical evidence.  Sometimes probability plays a part in the credibility of evidence.  That's why in criminal court our standard is not beyond possible doubt, but beyond reasonable doubt.

What is probability?
Probability is the likeliness of something to occur or prove true.  For example, if I were to put 10 coins numbered 1 through 10 in a cup, the probability of
reaching in, without seeing in the cup and pulling out the number 1 coin is 1 in 10. There are 10 coins and you pull out one so that means that you have a 1/10 [10%] chance of pulling out the number 1 coin.  Not so bad eh?  But what if we wanted to do that again and draw the number 2 on the second draw?  The probability is again 1/10 [10%].  To do it a 3rd time and get the number 3 coin is still 10%. So you might conclude that your probability will always be 10%, however the probability of getting those three, on consecutive draws, in that order is much differentWithout getting bogged down in the math [which can be very complex, especially to someone like myself who readily admits I am not an expert in probability], the probability of pulling out the number 2 coin on the next draw is 1 in 100.  The probability of then getting the number 3 coin on the very next draw is 1 in 1000. [this assumes the drawn coin is returned to the cup after each draw.]


Sequentially numbered coins


Chances are 1 out of:
1-4
10,000
1-5
100,000
1-6
1,000,000
1-7
10,000,000
1-8
100.000,000
1-9
1,000,000,000
1-10
10,000,000,000

If everyone alive right now pulled one coin on 10 successive draws, probability says that no-one would draw coins 1-10 in sequential order on consecutive draws [probability does say 6 people would get 1-9 sequentially]
But what if I put the coins in ten separate cups, with the coin number written on the cup. What are chances I could pull them out sequentially? 100% - because there is no chance, or luck involved.  With that backdrop, let's consider 3 facts.

Fact 1: The Universe exists
No-one but a fool would deny the material existence of the universe.  Virtually everyone agrees that the earth does indeed exist.  We actually exist.  With that
truth assumed [If you don't believe we exist, I don't believe I'll have much chance of changing your non-existent mind so you can quit reading now and move on to some other non-existent activity] our problem lies in answering this question “How did it [the earth, universe, we] get here?”

As I see it, we have only two options:
First, Christianity teaches this universe got here by design (requiring a designer and creator) – meaning an intelligent being designed and created this universe to work according natural laws that he set in effect.  

There is another option though.  Just two years ago Cornell University came to our rescue with an article answering this exact question.  They suggest three possible answers [which are all just variations on the same answer].
  • the Universe was created from vacuum [nothing -mdm]
  • the Universe was created by quantum processes starting from "literally nothing", meaning not only the absence of matter, but the absence of space and time as well.
  • Or as Stephen Hawkings suggests from his book "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes", the Universe is a self-contained entity, with no reference to anything that might have come before it. As one looks to earlier and earlier times, one finds that the model Universe is not eternal, but there is no creation event either. Instead, at times of the order of 10-43 seconds, the approximation of a classical description of space and time breaks down completely, with the whole picture dissolving into quantum ambiguity. In Hawking's words, the Universe "would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE."
Really?  Not meaning to be disrespectful here, and I'm obviously not a celebrated physicist, however I do have a nonsense meter and when I read something like the universe hasn't always existed, but it never came into existence...well...
So, which of these options are most reasonable to you?
We all came from a quantum ambiguity that didn't exist, except that it did exist.  Is that possible?  Maybe...but is it probable?  No, not really.  Could it be possible that an intelligent being planned and created our material universe?  Now, you may disagree with me, but the evidence I see [the fact that the universe does indeed exist] leads me to believe that it came into existence, which implies a creator.

Fact 2: The Universe has order
The order that we find in the Universe is our second piece of evidence. Consider some of these basic things we know about our universe.  
  • The Sun is about 93 million miles
    from earth with a surface temperature of nearly 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. [
    That's why even at 93 million miles you shouldn't look directly at the sun during the recent eclipse].  If the sun were just 10% closer we would burn up.  If it was twice as hot we would burn up.  If it were 10% further away we would freeze.  If it were half as hot we would freeze.
  • The earth has a diameter of approximately 8000 miles, a circumference of 25000 miles — rotation is roughly 1000 mph near the equator.  It moves at nearly 67,OOO mph around the sun and is tilted 23 degrees on it's axis.  Now, if it was spinning half as fast, we would all burn up in summer and freeze in winter.  If it was spinning twice as fast, the growing season would be too short to grow food and we'd all starve.
  • Our moon orbits earth every 28 days at a distance of 238,857 miles.  It's
    diameter is 2,160 miles (approximately 1/4 earth).  It's gravitational pull causes tides twice per day.  Now, as a result of this, avg. tides in US range from 16 inches in Galveston to over 9 ft. in Boston.  If our moon was 40,000 miles closer, tides would be 35-50 ft., twice daily.  We would have much more frequent and much more powerful earthquakes which would render much usable land useless.
  • In our atmosphere, the mix of gasses is just right: 78% Nitrogen; 21% Oxygen; 1% other.  Because of dispersion, the gasses spread out in a roughly equal mixture.  If Oxygen was only 10% human and animal life would be impossible.  If Oxygen was 30% the atmosphere would be flammable, at 40% it would be explosive. Carbon Dioxide is a colorless, odorless, non-combustible poisonous gas that animals breath out, and at the same time, plants breath (take in) Carbon Dioxide and give off oxygen which animal life breathes in. 
  • Consider the Human body.  All the DNA, in all 7 billion people on earth would fit in a thimble.  That DNA determines species as well as endless variation within the species.
  • Your circulatory system has between 60,000 and 100,000 miles of circulation, and some of your capillaries are only 1/3000th of an inch in diameter.  Your Heart pumps sufficiently
    (5 quarts per minute) to supply all several hundred trillion cells, while removing waste, supplying amino acids for tissue repair, sugar for energy, minerals and vitamins, oxygen, iodine for the thyroid gland, phosphorus for the teeth, calcium for the bones all
    simultaneously. Your Hemoglobin trades oxygen for carbon-dioxide and vice versa.  Your kidneys contain 64 miles of piping, filter 180 quarts of blood per day.  30 trillion red blood cells are born and die each day at a rate of 72 million per minute.  White blood cells identify, engulf, and destroy invading bacteria.  All of this is controlled by the Vasomotor Center [VMC] at base of your brain which all but shuts down during sleep, then springs back into action when you wake up. In addition to all this, we are self-repairing.
  • The Retina in your eye is the thickness of a standard piece of paper.  The
    innermost layer has 30million rods and 3 million cones (for color) in each eye.  Your lens thickness is automatically adjusted for focus. The iris opens and closes to control brightness of light entering your eye.  All these adjustments occur simultaneously and without conscious thought.  Healthy people have perfect coordination between the two eyes which are roughly three inches apart giving us depth perception.
These are just a smattering of billions of interconnected, perfectly functioning truths about our material universe.  So, let me ask you?  Do I seem unreasonable to you to conclude that this much unspeakable, indescribable order insinuates a planner or designer?  Is it possible that we are just 'happy accidents'?  Maybe...but does it really seem more reasonable to you to think that these were all just incidents that happened unexpectedly and unintentionally without intelligent direction?

Fact 3: Man is different
The final fact I'll mention here is that man is different.  Of all the critters [I wanted to say creatures, but that insinuates a creator] on earth, man alone is different.
  • Everyone knows this and almost everyone accepts it.  That’s why it isn’t a crime to exterminate mosquitoes, but you would be
    imprisoned [or executed here in Texas] for trying to exterminate all the neighborhood children.  Have you ever run over a rabbit, or squirrel, or hit a bird while driving?  What about bugs on your windshield?  Do you stop and have a funeral?  Do you go looking for Peter Cottontail's family to let them know you ran over Peter?  Why not?  Because they are animals, not people.  If, God forbid, you hit a child, that would be different than scraping the bugs off the windshield at the Exxon station.
  • You might protest that that one time when you hit a puppy you did go find it's family, and there was a funeral.  But did you go find Fido's mama, or his human family?  As great a story as "Where the Red Fern Grows" may be, animals are not people.
  • Why?  What is the difference?  Well, for one thing, animals, all animals, operate primarily on instinct. A wasp will sting a grasshopper in just the right spot to paralyze it, and yet not kill it, leaving fresh food for the baby wasps [How did the first wasp to do this figure it out?  And then how did it teach the other wasps?]  Man, however, has mind.  The power of reason. Animals have never been discovered that can count to 100 much less understand the basic concept of mathematics.  
  • Man has a conscience and a sense of morality.  The wasp never asks if it is right or wrong to kill the grasshopper, it just kills.  Man, on the other hand, is constantly in a battle with himself about whether his actions are right or wrong.
  • Man also has the capacity to be self-directing.  He can decide his past behavior was wrong and change it.  There has never been a wasp who decided killing grasshoppers was wrong and as a result decided to change his ways and 'become a new wasp'.  
So, is it possible that this difference is somehow just another quantum ambiguity?  Maybe...but with this fact in evidence, what is the most reasonable conclusion?  That this difference is somehow just an imagined difference, or just a lucky thing for us?  Or would it possibly be reasonable to conclude that a creator made man "in His own image" [as the Bible says] making him different than all the animals?  Dare I believe that a man has a soul? That part of a man that will live on after this life?  Or am I just an unthinking robot if I do?




Conclusion:
Think back to our container full of coins. Consider the incredible impossibility of pulling them out in consecutive order “by chance”. Now consider these facts we have discussed.
  • The Universe Exists
  • The Universe has Order
  • Man is Different
We have mentioned just a handful of issues, and there are millions.  What are the probabilities that these are all just the product of chance?  The probability against it is unfathomable, yet many people who believe in that unfathomable probability consider me foolish for believing, based on evidence like this, that there is an intelligent designer behind life and the Universe.  Some argue "But this all happened over millions, no billions of years.  Given enough time, those 'random chance happenings' could all happen".  I believe that adding billions of years to an impossibility does not increase the likelihood of that impossibility.  If you were given forever to pick yourself up by your own hair, the laws of physics tell us that is impossible.  You will never do it, no matter how long you try.

There is not one chance in trillions that all these things could come to be just right for our universe and life as we know it to exist.  It just could not happen, that's why brilliant physicists conclude that it's just a quantum ambiguity.

If there is no God
Man has no immortal soul.  There is nothing beyond the grave;
you are no different than the grasshopper you wash off your windshield; death is just a great big dead end with no-where else to go.  But you know there is something that makes you different than a grasshopper don’t you?

There is no real meaning to life. The only meaning would be whatever you choose to pursue, because when you’re gone, that’s it. Ultimately at the end of life it’s just over: there was no purpose to life. (and we won’t even be aware of that).  But you know there has to be purpose in life, don’t you? You feel that drive, and that despair when you think you’re missing it.

If there is no God, then morality is a meaningless concept. It is no more immoral to exterminate children than to exterminate mosquitoes.  One famous Atheist, when challenged about morality, says that he rapes all he wants, he just doesn't want to rape.  But that begs the question.  What about the guy who does want to rape?  If there is no God, there is no objective right and wrong, and if that is true, the rapist is no more wrong than the non-rapist.  But you know there is right and wrong don’t you? You know it is more evil to torture and maim a child than to step on an ant. You know it is not right to steal what belongs to others…don’t you?

I have thought about it a lot, as I told you, I was once a doubter.  Far from being blind faith, to me, it seems unreasonable to conclude there is probably no God, but rather there is no other reasonable, rational conclusion than to believe in the existence of God.

So what about you?  I suspect there are doubters who this will make sense to,
others will not be convinced, and still others who will grab on to some minor error in something I said as a reason to disregard this entire line of reasoning.  It's up to you, but whatever you decide, please don't perpetuate the idea that everyone who disagrees with you is just an unthinking fool, that's just not true.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
 (Psalm 139:1-16)