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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Get a Cat, Richard

Not my cat, but close enough
I’m feeling inadequate today, for a number of reasons.

One is age. Okay, fine, relatively speaking I’m not all THAT old. Still, when you get out of bed in the morning and creak all the way to the bathroom and don’t feel like yourself until you’ve had your morning coffee (assuming you are still allowed by your doctor to drink coffee and of course always assuming that alcohol is not involved), you start to think about how much worse it may get.

Someone at the midweek prayer meeting I attend recently offered up thanks for the life of a fellow believer who just reached 110, more than twice my age. That is, to me, a daunting prospect.

Numbers like that can make a guy feel inadequate. Would I be of any use to the Lord in my nineties as some believers are, assuming he leaves me here? And if he so elects, to what possible purpose does he do so?

About such things I remain in the dark.

Still, I have to confess, I am very confident about a lot of things in this life. Atheism, for instance, to my mind is instantly and utterly obliterated by any reasonably attentive examination of my unbelievably symmetrical, aesthetically awe-inspiring and emotionally adaptable cat. Okay, my dog too. You can get all caught up in a lot of bogus pseudo-scientific theorizing and conclude that these sorts of little beings exist as a result of consequent processes of the Big Bang if you wish. Or you can just examine and appreciate, which is the headspace in which I frequently find myself.

When I’m there I see design: loving, intelligent, humorous, uncanny design.

So do the atheists, if they are honest. The Pagan Fire Side blog contains more than one post on the subject of “Mother Nature’s wisdom”. Um. Say what? Am I the only person who sees the non sequitur in that? Or, if you like, the natural foods site As Nature Intended will sell you gluten-free panettone or pana chocolate bars. Hello? I am surely not the only one to grasp the concept that post-Big Bang nature can’t “intend” anything. Then, in an article entitled The Wisdom of Nature: An Evolutionary Heuristic for Human Enhancement, Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg plainly state that “the human brain … is arguably the most complex thing in the known universe”. That is certainly “wise” of “nature”, isn’t it.

How is it possible that anyone so smart can be so stupid?

(Of course I understand that agnostics and atheists don’t mean such things literally and are only employing time-worn figures of speech to describe the appearance of wisdom in what is actually, in their view, a mere concatenation of natural consequences following from a single event. But when random processes perpetually give the appearance of wisdom to so many, does it not become increasingly obtuse to fail to question the randomness hypothesis?)

So yeah, I am very confident that atheism is bunk. Its proponents can’t even keep their own side of the story straight. They see all the detail but miss every one of the broad strokes. They read every text on their iPhones while overlooking the fireworks display in the sky above them.

But their ability to produce reams of phony, misinterpreted or faulty data to support their cause can be daunting if you don’t expect it, and sometimes even if you do. An enthusiastic fan of atheist Richard Carrier commented on one of our older posts not long ago. Rich has all the answers, the commenter was quick to assure us, just in case we didn’t know.

In a year of posting, this is the first comment on one of our posts that we’ve received from an atheist. I published it, as I do with all comments unless they are profane or abusive. So far that means everybody who has commented has gotten their views aired. I trust it is clear to our readers that publication of a comment is not tacit agreement with its content, but I’ll say it just in case.

And hey, we’ve seen Rich’s kind before. Out of a desire to be fairminded, I had a look at his website. He has lots of books for sale, and he’ll happily accept your PayPal donation to further the atheist cause. He’s younger and better looking than Richard Dawkins, he doesn’t have any of that nasty superciliousness that oozes from Dawkins’ pores, and he’s clearly willing to look at the fine print with anyone willing to debate him.

But I doubt Richard Carrier has a cat. If he does, he needs to look a little closer.

How did I get from age to atheism in the first place? Oh yeah. Inadequacy. Richard Carrier would make me feel inadequate if I thought that debating the fine points of whether Jesus is a myth with him would accomplish anything useful.

It might, if my belief in the person of Jesus Christ were merely intellectual. But I find myself, along with all sincere, attentive believers, in the position of the apostle Paul, who wrote:
“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened — not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
That’s the answer to my age issues and my intellect issues all in a couple of verses.

God has prepared me for eternal life, not by giving me all the answers to every intellectual inquiry, but by giving me his Spirit as a guarantee. The Spirit, who helps me in my weakness, who teaches me all things and is my memory aid, and who guides me into all truth, is the answer to every intellectual and emotional problem presented to me in this life as a believer.

One day “what is mortal” will be “swallowed up by life”. Richard Carrier can’t hope for this. He probably can’t even imagine it, since he’s made his life little more than a quest to debunk such conviction.

But if God gives you a guarantee, it should not be terribly surprising that man is wholly unable to take it away, no matter what tools he has at his disposal.

Get a cat, Richard.

4 comments :

  1. Yes indeed Richard - get a cat.

    This brings to mind a discussion with a good friend who asked me about my own belief. We both agreed that there was for us a single point int time that brought us to salvation. From our perspective there was a trigger of sorts - some new realization, an insight, a shared bit of wisdom - almost anything - and in that single moment a number of other things coalesced and doubt become faith, questions become trust, dark became light and lost became found. To us, it was a single event, a trigger of sorts, that began our journey as Christians.

    If, in a moment after that moment, you had managed to show me that my new insight was wrong as a matter of science or fact, that might perhaps have destroyed me. If you could have taken the one thing, the trigger, the event that pushed me over the edge to belief in a loving God, you might have seen me recant a moment later.

    But he and I both agreed that our belief was no longer predicated on a single thing or a single event. Rather we both found that over the course of the years, God had become more real in many, many, many ways. Neither of us now believe for one reason, we believe for thousands of reasons.

    So dear doubters - feel free to assault whatever Christian truth you wish with your breathless pronouncements of the latest quasi-science that "destroys the foundations of faith". The destructive force of these things is always overpromised and inevitably underdelivers. But even if you could erase a single Christian truth, thousands of accrued moments remain that prove the faithfulness and the truth of God in my own life.That sort of "proof" never would convince a skeptic I suppose - but it is utterly convincing to those who believe.

    The hymnwriter puts it this way:

    We search the starlit milky way
    A million worlds in rhythmic sway
    Yet in our blindness some will say
    There is no God controlling

    We probe the atoms for their cause
    Explore the earth for nature's laws
    Yet seldom in our searching pause
    To think of God controlling

    But as I grope from sphere to sphere
    New wonders crowd the eye the ear
    My faith grows firmer every year
    My God is there controlling

    Each flash of fact from out of the night
    Each burst of truth upon my sight
    That quickens awe or adds delight
    Reveals my God controlling

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  2. Hmm, aren't you ignoring perhaps that God seems to prefer to get his message mostly across from your fellow human beings?

    So, here it is. Relief from creakiness, old age, and most other ailments. Read the book or watch the movie "Forks over Knifes" (free on Netflix). THE MATERIAL BELOW IS NOT A FAD incompetent or dishonest. It is often strongly opposed by special interests like the dairy, pork, poultry, beef interests and their allies (which may unfortunately, even include your lobby infested government).

    http://www.forksoverknives.com/

    Also get a hold of "The China Study",

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study

    Also, here is the latest on coffee, not bad.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-greger-md/coffee-health-benefits-live-longer_b_1523477.html

    Btw, all of my extended family, which includes a cardiologist, follow Dr. M. Greger and subscribe to his blogs, I would recommend it. He, and his research team for free, disseminates the most objective, informative, and latest research on dietary health topics you can get. He is not, shall we say, in the business of promoting himself in a somewhat questionable manner like, e.g., Dr. Oz.

    http://www.drgreger.org/

    My, and my family's personal experience? The above, high powered and honest, medical experts are right on. Within 6 months all our statistics, as they predict, dropped into the acceptable to optimum range after adopting the recommended lifestyle. This means cholesterol, pre-diabetes/sugar, weight, blood pressure as determined by your GP's standard blood test. The cardiologist in our family, part of a group, finally adopted this strategy and recommended this to his patients (as compared to his fellow doctors). Becoming odd man out in his group took some courage. He is now the only one having his patients come back after 6 months thanking him in glowing terms and being taken off their meds, to the chagrin of his colleagues, who are now also starting to adopt and emphasize the dietary approach to heart and cardiovascular health.

    My additional comment: Beware of those, especially in the news on TV giving you a pseudo and distorted way, of implementing diet. The above material is the real thing.

    Let's talk again after you get uncreaky :-).

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    Replies
    1. Well, not "ignoring" exactly. There has to be a certain amount of rhetoric in most personal stuff that gets used by way of illustration. That said, I actually had a nasty virus for the past couple of weeks, so your goodwill is appreciated, Qman, as are the links you mention. I'm actually a lot better at taking care of this "temple" than I was as a youngster, and much of what is mentioned there comprises part of my regimen. I'm increasingly careful about how much meat I consume, for instance. I'm also a veggie and fruit fan wherever possible and believe in moderation (and some natural supplements). Still, sometimes mornings are rough. Glad if your discoveries are working wonders though.

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    2. Just one more item. I feel I would be remiss if I did not do this, it is so beneficial to, as you said, this temple we are entrusted with. I pulled this particular video by Dr. Greger of his presentation on the leading causes of death to illustrate his style and methodology and because it illustrates the absolutely stunning power of the plant based diet in major disease prevention and cure. His team's approach is to continually review all current health and nutrition research worldwide, condense it and present the latest results to the public on a non-profit basis. This video also illustrates his popular and humorous presentation style.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

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