Another quote from Gould’s book, The Panda’s Thumb (pg. 243).

Talking about the rapid changes in scientific belief and overcoming past findings which are shown to be ridiculous–

“Our century is no standard for all ages; science is always an interaction of prevailing culture, individual eccentricity, and empirical constraint.”

Again, wow, thanks for the encouragment! What a basis for belief!

What he’s saying is that scientific findings, no matter how stated–as law or theory–are relative to current cultural beliefs, the weirdness of scientific discoverers and whether or not other people can catch your errors! And this is written from one of the strongest proponents of science and evolution!What a basis for truth! It’s no wonder our world is so messed up!

In case you’re wondering, I’m almost done with the book so I’ll stop talking about evolution soon.

The most recent Anti-Itch Meditation talks about agnosticism. The guy who invented the word “agnostic” was Thomas Huxley, good friend and fellow scientist with Charles Darwin. Here is a quote I am taking from The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould:

“My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations… Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”

How inspiring!

He observed nature scientifically and concluded that we just can’t know what we can’t see, experiment with and analyze. Therefore, there’s no spiritual aspect to life. When his young son died, someone consoled him that his son’s soul would live on. Huxley thanked him but rejected the sentiments because there was no evidence for it!

The hopelessness of evolution is enough for me to give up on it. The uncertainty of it all is boggling. Perhaps they view my belief in God as just as boggling. I see it a different way–at least my view brings hope!

I am currently reading The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould who is a humanist, evolutionist scientist/writer. Interesting stuff.

What is amusing about it is that most of the chapters are looks back into the past of scientific discovery. He has to revise most of the findings of scientists who came before him.

Many of the scientists of the 1800’s had racist and sexist views of things and came up with scientific proof of their views. Gould, writing in the age of political correctness, has to revise most of what they said, and most for good reason.

But even in areas where there is little controversy Gould revises things. He even admitted that when he begins teaching a new class on fossils he has to throw out his old notes and start over because things have changed so much.

At the same time, being a scientist, he can’t help himself but use really big words to discuss all these things. He tries to make it understandable but he’s still a scientist in a scientist’s world. It’s a common ploy to defeat critics of sceintific findings for scientists to say, “You just don’t understand” and intimidate you with their big words.

All of this reminds me of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians–the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God–it has to be revised because it was wrong–God’s word has never been revised. People use words of human wisdom to impress you and intimidate you into believing what they say because they sound so smart.

The danger of theology is that we can do these same things. If we make the study of God into another scientific endeavor, we run into danger. We make really big words and make it inaccessible to most believers. We can also get so far away from the Bible and so far into our views that we have to revise what we said before making it seem as if God and the Bible are as capricious as anything else in the world.

Stick with Paul–“I came to you preaching nothing but Christ and him crucified” that’s understandable to anyone and has not been revised for nearly 2,000 years.

While half the country is bemoaning the fact that Germany has not joined our coalition in Iraq, Germans are busy eating each other. A man was convicted for killing and eating another man. They arranged the deal on the internet. Perhaps he could have agreed to go to Iraq and he could have put this weirdness to good use!

People are sick, you know that, they are sick. Not only that, but he only got 8 1/2 years for it because it was a consentual killing. That’s sick too. But, the physician does not come to save those who are healthy, but those who are sick. There’s work to be done.

There is a proposal in Georgia to stop teaching “evolution” in schools. Many Bible-believing folks did not want evolution taught to their kids so they pressured curriculum designers to eliminate evolution.

I suppose there may be some Bible-believing folks who would be happy about this and think this is a giant leap forward for the Bible. I would disagree.

A typical response to something you don’t understand, or have a hard time dealing with, is to eliminate it–guaranteeing that no one learns. When Paul spoke on Mar’s Hill in Acts to the philosophers about all of their gods, he did not forbid their gods, he presented his God.

If Chrsitians ever hope to be taken seriously, we need to overcome our emotional response to anything that disagrees with us. If we hope to win the world to our view, we need to be ready always to answer any question of our faith; not eliminate questions.

I just came across this quote which is not attributed to anyone, “It’s not the 100 million who can’t read who bother me — it’s the 150 million who can’t write!” Amen!

I just began reading a book on the history of the Weather Channel. No really, I did. I’m 60 pages into it and about ready to not only stop reading the book, but also stop watching the Weather Channel and maybe even stop participating in weather altogether.

If you’ve got something to say, say it the best you can otherwise, shut up! There’s so much junk out there for us to read. It’s easy to find time to read the junk anyway. The Bible turns into a giant dust collector. Dust it off, open it up, read it, love it, live it, write to someone about it! And, yes, I know, my writing is nothing to brag about.

Feel free to write to me at pastor@rhinelanderbible.org

The attacks against Israel continue. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5)”

The Da Vinci Code has been the number one selling FICTION book in America for some time now. I have not read it but it’s causing quite the stir among believers. Among other things, The Code says that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. It also tells us that our Bible is just something some guys made up at the council of Nicea. basically, in writing a suspense thriller, The Code takes every opportunity to cast doubt on the reliability of Christianity and the Bible.

In recent Anti-Itch Meditations we have discussed the reliability of our scripture. You can trust church history, the testimony of scripture and me much more than you can a FICTION book! Christianity Today has an interesting article dealing with the book and the controversy.

I am reading Infinite Loop about Apple computers and its founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak. Steve Jobs is the guy who gets all the credit but all he does is take advantage of people. Yet at the same time, he’s a genius because he’s innovative and is able to make new products get done. But at the same time he’s a creep!

Since he made his success by taking advantage of people and stabbing people in the back, he’s very paranoid. This then made Apple Computers a very paranoid company which is why they missed the internet and also stayed aloof of other operating systems and have become a niche market more or less. Although they make great innovative products, they’re so paranoid they can’t market them right and have everything stolen away.

Steve Jobs shows the truth of “you reap what you sow.” He’s so worried that someone will treat him like he treats others that he can’t remain stable enough to make things really work right.

Maybe Jesus was right–do unto others as you would have them do to you, it’s gonna happen anyway so you might as well be nice. At least then you don’t have to be paranoid and ruin any chance you have of making a huge impact in life.

To make sense of this post, please read the one that comes right after it. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to save these photos for posterity. They are hard to find, so I figured I’d make it easy on you. I don’t know why they strike me as so funny, but they are, they just are. Enjoy!

The Pope had a breakdancing performance at the Vatican the other day. The 83 year old pope seemed to enjoy it. Do your best to find a picture of the event. Not that there’s anything wrong with breakdancing, but breakdancing with the pope just didn’t seem like something I was going to see in my life.

In a bit of news which is sure to bring a sense of relief to all of us crackpot Bible believers, a Russian Scientist has determined that Moses’ crossing of the Red Sea was a scientific possibility. If a strong enough wind had blown in the right spot on a shallow reef the crossing was possible. What a relief that is to know.

The Russian scientist failed to explain how the entire Egyptian army drowned on that very same shallow reef.

Philippians 3:13 Paul says, “this one thing I do.” The way to become notable and or succesful and or useful in life is to have “one thing.” People of many things can be helpful people but rarely become well-known helpful people! In order for Paul to make the biggest mark on the world for Jesus Christ, he had to be a man of one thing.

Christianity struggles with its one thing. Our one thing is Paul’s one thing–the prize of the high calling–heaven–the Gospel. Instead, Christians like to focus on physical things, things where you can see whether you are making a difference or not. So we protest the location of a monument to the Ten Commandments, we protest abortion, we protest rock music, we boycot Disney, we write angry letters to politicians etc. We become people of many things and thus, the one thing is lost in the crowd.

The reason Paul didn’t protest the world, the reason he didn’t get sucked into paying back those who wronged him and were causing others to sin, is because Paul knew if he did his “one thing” all that would be taken care of! The Gospel is the answer to every problem in life. Instead of protesting the “many” problems, focus on the “one” solution.

Here’s a short article from Christianity Today about how Protestants and Catholics chose their books of the Bible, sort of. A relevant topic to the recent Anti-Itch Meditations about what is in our Bibles.

This article gives us a little bit of hope, even if it is from the Christian Science Monitor. If pastor’s have to be the last bastion of hope for the sanctity of marriage, then so be it!

Last night was the always rousing State of the Union Address. They’re pretty much all the same. The one side likes it; the other side sits there like they’re about to die of boredom.

G. K. Chesterton in his book What’s Wrong with the World, tells us that it looks as if both parties are trying to help us. They each promise all these wonderful things that they will do to help us but promise them in different ways. But when it comes right down to it, there is no difference between the two–they both want to use us for their own power.

The danger of human power is that it always, always, always comes into conflict with spiritual power. The last battle will contain the rulers of the earth against God and His army. 1 Corinthians 2:7,8 are very illustrative of this point, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” If people had known God’s plan, they would have gone against it and messed it all up!

Our politics, our citizenship is in heaven. Human rulers have politics here dealing with things here. Although it is our duty to support our government, it is not our duty to get sucked into earthly things to the extent we forget our heavenly calling.

Thomas Sowell is a brilliant economist. You should definitely find and read his book Basic Economics. In a recent column he said the following,

“Those who want to take our money and gain power over us have discovered the magic formula: Get us envious or angry at others and we will surrender, in installments, not only our money but our freedom. The most successful dictators of the 20th century — Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao — all used this formula and now class warfare politicians here are doing the same.”

Every politician promises to create jobs, leave no child behind, bring us all out of poverty, etc. They plan on doing this by taking all our money and redistributing it, which used to be called “socialism” and now is called “the way it is.” In order to get us to voluntarily allow our money to be stolen, they incite us with hate so we feel as though having our money taken from us is virtuous–hurting the enemy.

The danger of this is that hate is not a Christian virtue! The older generation rips on the younger generation and the younger rips on the older. Why? Because the younger have their money stolen so the older can play golf and the older know they are living off the younger so they feel guilty so they have to find fault with the younger. This leads to division. It is also ironic that as this trend is happening, our churches are splitting into “traditional” and “contemporary” services–read “old” and “young.” It only makes sense based on what’s happening in our culture.

We must be very careful to maintain our Christian virtues which sneak away if you’re not paying attention.

I got to get me some of these. It’s amazing what they can invent. Pretty soon they are going to outlaw our thoughts–isn’t that what this is? Makes you wonder.

Seeing as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it seems important to know what he said. The best written content of King’s ideas is found in his Letter From Birmingham Jail. Not only is it important for U. S. history, civil rights and other things, it’s interesting to see his Biblical view of the situation.

However, King was a man like the rest of us. His use of Scripture is not always, uh, right. And his call to judge men according to their character seems to put him in shady light as he carried on an adulterous relationship much of his career. When bad is bad, it’s bad no matter how bad the guy is who points out the bad! All we can do is be informed and line up things with the truth of God’s word.

As the political scene is gearing up for elections and the ever exciting Hawkeye Cauci is happening this evening, it is interesting to watch the intensity and emotion which is put into the events.

I saw a blurb on some folks who came from Kansas City and Arkansas to go work for one of the Democrat guys in Iowa for the caucus. They were going from house to house and apparently converted a man to vote for their candidate. As they left the house they gave each other high fives and were celebrating their victory.

I wonder what would happen if Christians took the same intensity and emotion into pushing their Savior as people pushing candidates? These current candidates will follow the path of all candidates–passing on into history doing next to nothing beneficial! Whereas our Lord will last for eternity and benefit all who come to Him. Just wondering.

The last book I read that really made an impression on me was Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Although this is a book about baseball, it covers ideas that impact all areas of life.

The Oakland A’s are a small market baseball team and yet they remain competitive. Lewis discusses how they manage to do this–by looking at baseball in a new way, a way which most old-timers refuse to acknowledge as legitimate. But after several years of winning baseball, it’s hard to refute the results.

It got me to thinking about how I think about church, Christianity and how we impact our world. Have we fallen into doing things just because that’s how others do them? Is “doing church” just one more example of following the path of least resistance or are we actively “fighting the fight?”

Read the book. Let me know what you think about the A’s and why the stupid Cubs can’t copy them. Consider your life, are you following the crowd or finding the best way to live for Christ? What about our church? Hmm…

Since I know there are so many people out there just dying to hear what I have to say, I decided to start this web log to share my thoughts on life. Often I come across good things in my web browsing and reading and thought this would be a good way to convey them. I hope you find something here of benefit and enjoyment.

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