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Sinners in the Hands of a Right-Wing God

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My radio reception is bad. Really bad. I get a handful of FM stations and only one on the AM dial. So, whenever I tire of listening to REO Speedwagon and Billy Squire “hits,” I’m forced into the world of Dr. Laura and, of course, Rush Limbaugh.

And so it was, after struggling through one and a half songs of an Eagles “Fourplay” Wednesday afternoon, that I happened to catch Rush going off on a bizarre rant about religion. He has conveniently put a transcript of this tirade on his website under the charming title, “Why Liberals Fear Religious People.”

You can tell just from that title what Rush is up to. To him, the left is a godless horde. He uses the terms “liberal,” “leftist” and “secularist” interchangeably: “those of you on the left, you secular people” is his mantra. And what sends all liberals into the icy embrace of atheism? Fear. According to Rush, there is “a total lack of understanding and a fear that is felt, quivering in corners, folks, these liberals do when they start, you know, imagining the strength of faith.”

Now, I’ve listened to Rush Limbaugh enough to know that he’s not stupid. He’s certainly aware that 92% of Americans profess a belief in God (the poll was taken by Fox News, after all). And the financial calculations required in his (alleged) attempt to avoid SEC scrutiny in order to support his prescription drug habit shows that he can handle basic math, too. So he must be capable of figuring out that even if every last atheist in the electorate voted for John Kerry in 2004, that still leaves a whopping 83.54% of Democratic voters who believe in God. (Want me to show my math? Click here.)

Again, Rush isn’t stupid; he’s just disingenuous. His attitude seems to be, “What I believe isn’t important; what really matters is what I can get you to believe” (and in this sense, he’s really no different from the Michael Moore’s of the world). And what he wants to get people to believe is that liberals are hell-bound atheists who call their pet cats “mongrels” (yes, he actually says this), and that God votes Republican.

To Rush, the only kind of religion that deserves to be called by that name is politically conservative. He takes his vicious slander against moderates and leftists (and against all serious religious people, by the way) and uses it to make some predictable—if bizarre—points. By way of illustration:

If there’s no God it means who’s supreme? Human beings. Human beings are supreme. Human beings set the rules, not some Bible, not some unseen force that says what’s right and wrong. That’s not for them, humans do this, humans decide, the humans decide…. So humans are the focal point of everything. That’s where global warming comes from. We have the power to destroy the earth. We didn’t create it. We couldn’t create it. We couldn’t cause global warming, but we couldn’t stop global warming but to them we can cause it.

This is about par for the course as far as global warming denial is concerned. According to this “logic” we didn’t create the world, therefore we can’t destroy it. Of course! And I’m incapable of chopping down a tree because I didn’t create that, right?

He goes on to attack those who want a separation of church and state by referencing the Everson v. Board of Education Supreme Court case from 1947:

I guarantee all of you secularists and leftists out there, you would have hated America just as much prior to the time when the Supreme Court in 1947 ruled that there’s a wall of separation between church and state. Do you know that’s the first time that it was actually ruled? We think that it’s in the Constitution, a wall of separation and it’s not there. There’s no such thing. This is another example of how the Constitution has been bastardized by liberalism.

If you didn’t know better, you might think that the concept of the separation of church and state is a 20th Century idea. Rush specifically keys in on the phrase “wall of separation,” either unaware or, much more likely, confident that his listenership is unaware, that it has its origins in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802.

It’s easy to simply say that Rush Limbaugh is a blowhard from whom we should expect such nonsense. This is true, but to stop there ignores a deeper problem: the left has essentially let people like Rush frame the religious debate in the public sphere. They have successfully defined those on the left as America-hating libertines wholly lacking in moral values, which are the sole property of pious right-wingers—God’s new chosen people. It’s time for religious liberals to fight back with a vigorous defense of their theology and their sense of moral values. (To read a much expanded post on this topic, click here.) It’s also important for atheists and agnostics to fight back against the insipid suggestion that they don’t believe because they fear faith and are therefore incapable of having a moral foundation.

Rush ends his rant with this nugget of wisdom:

I mean what would you rather have faith in, you know, God or yourself? You need both, but, you know, the people that only have faith in themselves and their fellow human beings, imagine the dismal, miserable existence that is. If you only have faith in your fellow human beings and you look around the news every day what are our fellow human beings doing to each other? It’s not a pretty sight.

Yes, when I look around, especially on the AM dial, I can almost see what he means.

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  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    People like Mr. Limbaugh have successfully framed the religious debate in the public sphere because when they speak of God and faith they are more often than not met with hostility from those of us who would rather keep our religion separate from our politics.

    Wrath begets wrath, as it always does, and the national conversation devolves
    into an “us versus them” shouting match — even when most of us supposedly have faith in the very same God.

    It takes no courage or character whatsoever to shout back, anybody can do that. Christians must find the strength to somehow lead our poor lost brothers and sisters back to the truths that Christ revealed.

    Christ taught that we should be charitable toward our fellow man, even when he is not charitable toward us. So rather than judging and condemning these entertainers who suffer from delusions of punditry, we should pray for God to grant His grace upon them so that they might find deliverance.

  • Nancy

    Love your title; wonder how many will ‘get it’ and/or identify the source?

    I pity you deeply for having only those limited radio resources. Listening to Limbaugh & the religious reich is like listening to the bellowing of a combative bull, and about as intelligent. You CAN’T refute their rantings with logic or intelligence, because they DON’T USE IT. Their output is entirely visceral, & is meant to appeal to the emotional viscera of their listeners, not their rational aspects. It could be argued by the unkind that they have no rational aspects. Their ideas and convictions are rooted in the same ideas that preceded them in Mein Kampf and other such propaganda. Trying to make any kind of connection between Limbaugh & company, and any kind of common sense, logic, or intelligence is a non sequitur: no connection.

  • MCH

    And don’t forget, Rush Lardbaugh is perhaps the phoniest of all the right-wing war mongers who esposue sending others into harm’s way while they themselves remain safely back home.

    During Bill Clinton’s two terms, Larbaugh repeatedly bashed Clinton for avoiding the Vietnam War, perhaps his favorite rant being, “Never trust a draft dodger!” But where was Rush during Vietnam?

    You guessed it…back home with student deferments before dropping out of college, and then a medical deferment (granted by his family physician) for a pylodinal cyst, ie, and ingrown hair on his bummy.
    (source: THE RUSH LIMBAUGH STORY by Paul Colford, Chapter Two, “Beating the Draft”)

    I would suggest to Chickenhawk Lardbaugh that the next time he spouts “Never trust a draft dodger,” to make sure he’s looking in the mirror…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Give it a rest, MCH. Limbaugh’s a blowhard and a hypocrite, but he still has the right to any stupid opinion he wants and calling him a chickenhawk just shows how intolerant of free speech you are.

    Dave

  • MCH

    (fat) birds of a feather, flock together…

    …cluck-cluck-cluck.

  • alongyourpath

    In this day and age we see many people spewing forth their “view” of religion and spirituality. Most of the time it is in the hands of people with a far ‘left’ or far ‘right’ point of view. Most people do being in some form of divinity, yet, people can’t get pasted their idiot-logical sense that since we are create equal, in the eyes of God no less, that we are all singular organisms that belief differently then what they may belief. I’m 33 yrs old and all I can say is why can’t people grow up? Child’s play is all its worth being called. Yet, my rant is like Rush’s, or Moore’s, it’s a view of reality we share in this existance.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    Of course Rush uses Hyperbole. What else is new on the right or the left.

    I grew up a Methodist. At age 19 our youth pastor was using Catcher in the Rye as a text. I left the church for 14 years because of the hypocracy I saw. I came back because of the hyprocracy I saw outside the church and in myself.

    Now (as you know) I’m a fundy. In for a penny, in for a pound. In theory, but poorly, we trust God, not man. Many, not all, liberal Christ followers, seem to fundy’s to trust man, then God. It may seem subtle, but it is a critical difference.

    Methodists, Catholics et al are, in my opinion, going to heaven in the same numbers as Baptists. But if you want to know the basis of Rush’s underlying argument, there it is.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    Wait a minute, Dave…if MCH can’t call Rush Limberger “chickenhawk,” isn’t that restraint upon MCH’s free speech?

    Gotcha! (I hope.)

    Cluck, cluck, cluck.

    Actually, I sometimes wonder if Limberger isn’t a closet liberal having the time of his life pretending to be a fascist right wing albatros. There’s something fishy about him.

  • Nancy

    Limbaugh, Coulter, and the like are not true conservatives, they are neocons, purveyors of demonizing and hate of anything and everyone that refuses to go along with them. True conservatives are inclined to let others follow their own inclinations, and while they may disapprove of certain things, they favor smaller, less intrusive goverment, personal responsibility (of which, of course, Limbaugh is a prime exemplar? Do as he says, not as he does?), fiscal responsibility, etc. Actual conservatives are not at all like Limbaugh, or Coulter, or Bush, or Rove, who have hijacked the ‘conservative’ name and party, and use it together with wrapping themselves in religion and patriotism to consolidate their grab for power and their ability to manipulate. The ‘real’ conservatives I’ve met all tend to be thoughtful & intelligent, w/a sense of history and a good grasp of civics, unlike Mr. L.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    oh my stars and garters, i leave yas alone fer a few days and look what happens..

    ok..Limbaugh is too easy..instead i just wanna take a look at one thing..

    Randy sez..
    *Many, not all, liberal Christ followers, seem to fundy’s to trust man, then God. It may seem subtle, but it is a critical difference.*

    an excellent Observation, and just might point out the nut of the matter more clearly than is readily apparent..

    the statement shows a very basic difference in how folks can differ intheir View of the world…and just how profound that can be when it comes to inciting conflict…

    but i have one small problem with the way it is phrased…you see , the difference is actually a Trust in Authority (meaning the “Church” structure, the priests/reverends/pastors and the dogma they espouse) versus trusting in yourself

    some folks place their own self Responsibility paramount…for good or bad, over whether some Authority figure tells them they are “saved” or “damned”

    that’s not even counting the agnostics, atheists, hindu’s, buddhists and followers of JuJu, may his tusks shine with the Light of Reason…

    one last Observation…ok…two

    1) i do find it amusing that when Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Hannity or some others start spewing vitriolic hate speech against their opponents, they are referred to as “entertainers” and we are told to give them some slack, it’s all in “fun…note that some of those names i mentioned try and pass themselves off as “journalists” or “pundits”…yet when Michael Moore, as an “entertainer” does his “thing” those same folks are aneurysm candidates….

    2) i mean no offense by this, just checking to see if anyone else has noticed it…2 of our new BC members seem to have names that woudl qualify for comic book characters secret identities… “Harp” and “Kirk”

    ok…time to put my tinfoil hat back on..

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Wait a minute, Dave…if MCH can’t call Rush Limberger “chickenhawk,” isn’t that restraint upon MCH’s free speech?<<

    No, because MCH was given a specific number of ‘chickenhawks’ to use by God and now they’ve run out. Take it up with God.

    Gotcha! (I hope.)

    Actually, MCH can say whatever stupidity he wants, but I have the right to call him on his hypocritical whining when he displays what a buffoon he is.

    Dave

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    ***but i have one small problem with the way it is phrased…you see , the difference is actually a Trust in Authority (meaning the “Church” structure, the priests/reverends/pastors and the dogma they espouse) versus trusting in yourself

    some folks place their own self Responsibility paramount…for good or bad, over whether some Authority figure tells them they are “saved” or “damned”

    No. That is not correct at all. Man’s greatest sin is pride. I can do it all. And I had it in spades. I read all the motivation and self help books and wrote my own, spoke all over the country, etc.

    One day, I realized that while I have responibility for my actions, I am not the author of my existance. God is. As such, I need to trust him, regardless of my circumstances or my sinfulness. It is the hardest lesson to learn. I haven’t come near to living it out yet, but I’m working real hard on it.

    Trust God. Not myself. Not other men.
    Trust, meaning not just truthfulness, but trust Him with your life, being aware of His direction for your life.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    ah..so you go for the predestination thing over free will..

    fair enough, and i do hope that belief brings you comfort

    silly me…allow me to share something..
    “you can choose a ready guide,
    in some celestial Voice.
    if you choose not to decide,
    you still have made a Choice.
    you can choose from phantom fears,
    and a Kindness that can Kill.
    i will choose a Path that’s clear,
    i will choose Free Will”

    by Rush

    now Randy sez..
    * Man’s greatest sin is pride.*

    close…and how sinfully Prideful is it to claim to Know the Mind and Will of “God”??

    my Point was that NO mere Man can know such, anyone that tells you that they do is either mad, a liar, or a charlatan after your money

    i can readily admire Faith, it’s the arrogance of someone attempting to tell me that they have the “word of God” and want to share it, then rattling the collection plate….

    congregation members being hungry, while the “shepard” rides in a limo…yet purrs that he “loves” them…

    on and on…

    Randy, if you have found something that helps you make it , i am very happy for you…

    i earnestly ask you, as a self professed “fundy”…

    can you say the same to others, who have taken other Paths?

    Excelsior!

  • Nancy

    Gonzo-! Whereya been? On vacation, I hope instead of jail? Go get ‘em.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    So Gonzo

    Who is your source? Science, which changes its mind everyday, and provides us with wonders like cars, but fail to plan for exhaust?

    Maybe you like mans ideas. Which will you follow, Marx, Dr. Spock, Ayn Rand?

    Are you your source? Please don’t kid around. No man is an island, and neither of us has ever really had an original idea.

    So, who do you turn to?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Dr. Spock will get that warp drive back up! We’ve just got to give him a little more time!

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    to Nancy…voluntary electronic media purge..some time off to read a book and Contemplate…

    to Victor..thas Mr Spock, silly wabbit…but you knew that >grins< and now for Randy...
    i am sorry that instead of Answering my Question, you Ask one of me...no worries, i will try and explain...

    caveat incoming: i don't quite grasp what you are going for here, i just don't see how my particular Views are relevant to the Questions i have Asked...that being said, i am going on the thought that you are seeking better Understanding by Asking, as i am in the Questions i put forward....fair enough?

    /end caveat

    ok...i've been reading 1-2 books a week for about 35 years now, so my "sources" are quite varied...one thing i have always enjoyed discovering were common Threads and Patterns...innate similarities...as well as my infamous lack of Respect for Authority...

    i make a definate distinction between Thought and Symbols directly from a Soucre as opposed to an Authority telling me something just because It "says so"

    Lao-Tzu, SunTzu, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Jesus, Buddha, Confucious, Galileo, DaVinci, Newton(the Arian "heresy" of his time is quite interesting), Franklin, Jefferson, Jung, Morihei Ueshiba, Musashi, Ginchin Funakoshi, Campbell(the mythologist, not the sci-fi editor), the Dalai Lama, Sifu Bruce Lee, Nathanial Branden(not Ayn Rand for Objectivist writings), Heinlein, Twain, Carlin, Dr. Yang Jwing Ming, Valentinius, Stephen Hawking, Charles Fort, Shakespeare...the various Authors of the Old and New Testament(various Translations), the Nag Hammadi texts, and Hunter S. Thompson

    to name just a few of the high points...

    the baseline Postulate remains...

    gnosis > dogma

    meaning i value personal Understanding more than “faith” in any Authoritarian “voice”

    hope that helps…

    Excelsior!

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    If you’re my neighbor, how do I trust you to have picked the right set of folks to drive you to an understanding that I can count on not to harm me.

    My neighbor has a pit bull that barks for hours. She seems (based on our conversations) to have come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t be upset. I had to bring in an outside authority to set her straight.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    You think Christian neighbors more trustworthy, Randy? Just because somebody calls themselves Christian, you really think they can be trusted not to harm you? No wonder televangelists so easily fleece people out of their life savings.

    The simple fact is, there is rarely any way to know whether or not a person can be trusted until it is too late.

    Fortunately, most people can be trusted to some degree, regardless of whether they happen to be Christian, Muslim, atheist, Wicca, or something else entirely. Otherwise civil society would have collapsed centuries ago.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    I spent a considerable amount of time a couple of years ago in a huge discussion with atheists and agnostics. Almost all of them agreed they would rather live in a nation that had a Christian population, even if they didn’t believe in God or Jesus.

    But, at the same time, my real point was that if we all come to our own conclusions about what is right and wrong, if there is no standard that we agree on, then how do we have a civil society. And I think we have plenty of examples from history to show that society does break down.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    We’re still here, showing the regenerative power of civil society is stronger than the forces seeking to break it down.

    A shared value system does not require any shared religious affiliation. In fact, shared values can be stronger in a religiously diverse community. Here people must openly discuss values rather than foolishly and incorrectly assuming they already have shared values merely because they agree on a few points of theology.

    This is probably one of the reasons the United States has endured so long, with its federal government expressly forbidden to establish an official federal religion.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    To quote Randy *my real point was that if we all come to our own conclusions about what is right and wrong, if there is no standard that we agree on, then how do we have a civil society.*

    Civil society is, by definition, based upon consensus and we do have to agree on standards upon which to base our laws. None of this even remotely requires a religious point of view. Christianity and morality are not inseperable.

    As for your conversations with athiests and agnostics, they would rather live in a Christian nation than live where? In a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation, a country filled with amoral axe murderers? Your comment isn’t very illuminating. I’m sure most athiests and agnostics would not want to live in a world filled with right-wing evangelical Christians who want to ban abortions and the teaching of science in schools.

    What exactly are you trying to say?

  • Bennett

    “I’m sure most athiests and agnostics would not want to live in a world filled with right-wing evangelical Christians who want to ban abortions and the teaching of science in schools.”

    Absofreakinlutely to that!!!

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    Pete, i haven’t read any comments yet, so i dunno how this thread has been recieved, but i thought this was just wonderful. But then, what do i know, i’m a stinkin’ leftist. A leftist with a strong belief in God, which is maybe even worse! Anyone would think Jesus was some sort of authority-challenging long-hair or something.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    Until 40 years ago, abortion was against the law. Was the country so horrible then?

    Point to one Christian who wants to ban teaching science anywhere. They want balance and science to be about scientific method and not about agendas.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    “Until 40 years ago, abortion was against the law. Was the country so horrible then?”

    No, the country wasn’t horrible, just the abortion laws.

    “Point to one Christian who wants to ban teaching science anywhere.”

    The attempt to put a totally unverifiable and therefore irrefutable quasi-creationist theory on the same footing as evolution (I write about it here). is banning science essentially since it is being forced onto the same stage as a bunch of hocus-pocus, thus legitimizing the nonsense and resulting in a situation where kids have no basis to make judgments. And yet leftists are blamed for causing the slippery slope of relativism. Touche, Christian right. Nice postmodern guerrilla tactics!

    That said, you evaded my real question. Are you trying to claim that Christianity and morality are synonymous and cannot be separated? That was my question.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    As C.S. Lewis said, we come equipped with a conscience, but it is easily swept away by greed, envy, etc.

    Christianity is the best hope of man, and the only one that recognizes that men or born sinners in need of redemption.

    Regarding Darwinism as science. That would be the one that gave us survival of the fittest, piltsdown fraud, Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny, primordal soup, and various gap theories is somehow more trustworthy than a theory that proposes God as creator or that the evidence in everything doesn’t point naturally to design. Please. I’m not that young or that uneducated to not read both sides. I was an evolutionist. I still read the literature. There is plenty that is useful and sensible. But the core issue is not even close to persuasive.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Christianity is the best hope of man,

    that of course is an opinion, nothing more.

    and the only one that recognizes that men or born sinners in need of redemption.

    I often get flamed for pointing this out, I am glad you do as well, you just word it differently. Christianity is all about the failings of man and how he must be saved from himself/temptation. In Christianity man is nothing more than a savage without salvation. Christianity has no faith in Man, it places all faith in the Lord.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Creationism and Intelligent Design are unverifiable. They cannot be proven by scientific method, but rather require faith in God. I don’t begrudge you your beliefs. They just have no place in a science class. Keep them in philosophy where they belong.

    What’s the point of your C.S. Lewis quote? Are you suggesting that Christians are somehow exempt from greed and envy? All you need is eyes and half a brain to know that’s not true.

    If God keeps you on the straight and narrow, morally speaking, than good for you. It is but one of many paths. You can say it’s the best one if you want, but don’t forget that arrogance and excessive pride go on that list along with greed and envy.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    Science used to be about observation, then taking you where that lead. Observation tells everyone that the obvious place to look for how things came to be is design. Take a poll. It will be upwards of universal.

    Darwin and others have taken other observations and tried to force the idea that we all came from nothing as a result of (today’s theory, chaos.) Not observable. Not provable. Takes faith to believe that.

    However, we now observe that there are “letters” in the chromosones that create some kind of code. Observable. Testable. Intelligence!

    Science needs to open up its closed mind to include things it can’t understand. It does so for Gravity. All we can see and test are results of gravity. We have no idea what it is. But we believe in it.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Science does make room for the unexplained. Scientists are quite willing to admit the limitations of their knowledge. It’s people on the other side who invent God to fill in the blanks. They’re the ones who can’t live with uncertainty.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    Sorry. Doesn’t wash. 10 theories in 20 years on origins and nature of universe? Yo yo, flat, always expanding, etc.

  • http://parentheticalremarks.blogspot.com Pete Blackwell

    Nice try, but that’s just a dodge of the issue. If scientists disagree on something, does that prove the existence of God? Of course not. Creationism DOES NOT belong in a science classroom. Evolution, even if flawed, DOES, because it is science, not theology.

    Don’t you have any respect for the wonders of God and faith? Why do you want to put it under a microscope?

  • Duane

    Randy says: “Science used to be about observation, then taking you where that lead.”

    No, science used to be about sitting around scratching your beard and trying to explain things without experimenting. Then along came Galileo, and introduced the idea of experimentation. Then this wise guy Einstein figured out general relativity with no experimental motivation at all. Dirac came up with the idea of antimatter with no experimental motivation at all. Hubble observed galaxies moving away from us and the idea of the expanding universe was introduced. Randy, I don’t think you much about science at all, and instead of learning something, have opted for the easy way out. You can sit there and hurl your little pot shots at scientists who actually are trying to learn something about your God’s universe. You sit and wait for scientists to disagree about something so you can adopt your superior attitude (Ha! Even they can’t agree on anything. They change their mind at the drop of a hat)) although you know nothing. “Yo yo, flat, always expanding, etc.” You are an arrogant know-nothing. Are all Christians as arrogant as you?

    Nice work, Pete Blackwell. Hang in there, although you must realize that this Kirk guy is a lost cause.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    There is no arrogance in saying you don’t know the answer. There is a lot of arrogance in announcing to the world that you have the answer, then get shot down in a short minute, then have the entire world publish another set of findings that we’re supposed to believe. Call theories, theories: facts, facts.

    I can sit around without experimentation and conceive of the idea that a meteor mated with a planet whose spawn landed on earth to create life. Makes at least as much sense as rocks from Mars.

    I really have no problem if you prefer to believe the truths of today, knowing that it will unlikely be found to be not true in a week or so. Go for it.

    I have spent almost my entire life as a lover of science. My only must read mag right now is Wired. But I do read both sides. Do you? One of my very good friends for 30 years is Mike Shermer of Skeptic Magazine. He has respected my position enough to debate me for hours at a time.

    But I don’t know what the truth about evolution is. I do know that I cannot imagine under any possible set of circumstances that this world and everything in it is here by chance and is purposeless.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    If in science class you discuss that there could be intelligent design, then you would also need to discuss/debate WHY there was intelligent design.

    YOu don’t teach that someone invented the wheel without teaching WHY someone needed the wheel.

    So then what you have, in science class, is a debate on the purpose of life, from a religious/intelligent design perspective.

    No thanks.

    Teach the facts about what is happening. About black holes, about space, about DNA, all that, and then let the parents at home say, “God’s doing it”.

    And what is wrong with that solution?

  • Duane

    Randy,

    First, I apologize for being rude in my post #34. You seem like a reasonable guy. Let’s try this again.

    There is no arrogance in saying you don’t know the answer.

    I guess what I was referring to was that you sounded a little dismissive of the attitude of the scientific community. You referred specifically to the expanding Universe. I know a little about astrophysics, and you should realize that scientists always debate the models (or theories) that are invoked to explain data. Facts are facts. But physicists are not just data collectors. They want to integrate the facts under a unifying theory. And when scientists say “theory,” they do not mean “conjecture” or “hypothesis.” When new facts arise, if they challenge the current theory, a new theory is developed. That’s the way it has been since Newton’s time. Scientists are not ashamed of that. That’s the exciting part of science — gaining a new and deeper understanding of nature. Modern physicists do not say “I have the answer.” They say, “I have a new model.” Then the model, if it is taken seriously by others, is put to the test. And physicists are perfectly fine with saying “I don’t know.” Ask one why the electron has the charge and mass that it does, and they will tell you, “I don’t know.” But that doesn’t mean that they throw up their hands and say, “Well, God just wanted it that way, I guess.” People have been saying that for thousands of years. Fortunately, scientists keep asking questions, and keep looking for answers.

    And when you say,

    …then have the entire world publish another set of findings that we’re supposed to believe.

    you make it sound like the scientific establishment is trying to snow you. You’re not supposed to believe anything you don’t want to believe.

    But if you choose not to believe in science, then where do you draw the line? Do you not believe in atoms? Microbes? Black holes? Magnetic fields? Hydrodynamics? Stellar evolution? DNA? Neurotransmitters? Radio communication? What in your background has prepared you to pick and choose which results you believe and which you will not?

    This touches on the historical aspects of science. You are aware that scientific progress since the 1600s is simply phenomenal. The monitor you’re looking at started in Thomson’s and Rutherford’s labs over 100 years ago, when they began studying the behavior of electrons. You seem to dismiss the overall trend of scientific progress when you adopt the attitude “Why should we believe anything they say?” The measurements leading to the new picture of the cosmic expansion was based on observations of supernovae in distant galaxies. Do you realize that as recently as the 1930s, we did not even know there were other galaxies. (Check out the Harlow-Shapley debates.) The cause of a supernova explosion was not realized until the 30s, as well. Another hotly debated idea. Why aren’t you amazed at this instead of sounding like you’re sitting there with your arms folded, shaking your head? Science progresses in fits and starts. I’m always left wondering when people outside of the scientific community express impatience. “Well, you don’t have all the answers, so your theories are worthless.” That’s just a failure to acknowledge history, and a refusal to appreciate the dedication of thousands of hard-working scientists trying to understand how nature operates. That’s why I said you were arrogant.

    Here’s a questions for you: why don’t Christians embrace the scientific enterprise, and proclaim that God’s Universe surely is wonderful, and then get in there and help explore it? Why do they attempt to refute it? Scientists have no agenda to prove that God does not exist. They can’t prove that anyway, even if they wanted to. Where do Christians see a threat? I really don’t get it.

  • Bennett

    Please spam somewhere else.