Well it has been awhile, but I had finals last week, and spent a lot of time writing my Philosophy paper.
At the end of it, I had some good conversations with my classmates, talking about our beliefs.
But the biggest miracle came at the end, and I want to share this story because I think it may encourage other people, but first I want to explain why I think it’s important.
Christians, and people of others faiths, alike, have a hard time knowing how to talk about their faith at secular colleges.
Actually, I don’t even talk about my faith with other Christians all that often. Sometimes I think the Sunday Sermon is not really conducive to starting real conversations between believers.
At college, it’s a twitchy subject. People steer away from it.
But towards the last part of class, I began researching Intelligent Design for my final paper, and I mentioned in class that I do not believe in Evolution.
My classmates were surprised, one guy asked “Why don’t you believe in Evolution?”
My professor interrupted us, so I said we’d talk about it later, and then I had the audacity to actually follow up and ask him about it.
Well, we got into it, why I don’t buy it, why he does. What our backgrounds were. Why we choose to keep believing what we do.
As I gave reason after reason I doubt Evolution, and he failed to come up with any real evidence for it, I began to question him as to why he believed something he didn’t actually know of any evidence for, as he admitted he did not understand the theory very well.
He said he did not know enough evidence to believe in God, but as I pressed further and got more into why I think religion makes sense, he said he chooses not to pursue Truth any further.
I said he probably had not found truth because he had not pursued it. At which point, he said that might be true, but he was just lazy and content with not knowing.
I was surprised at this amount of honesty, but actually, I’ve seen it before. Sometimes people really know deep down what their problem is, but they don’t want to change it. They’ll even admit that.
However, I believe my classmate was a bit more interested than he gave himself credit for, because at last he asked why I believe what I do.
I gave him the Chesterton answer, because when I read it, it seemed to sum up my own feelings on the subject..
G. K. Chesterton said that he believed in Christianity not because one or two things were explained by it, but because everything was explained by it. All moral, scientific, and intellectual questions are answered in Christianity. All our private desires, and all public concerns (see Orthodoxy.) I paraphrase.
There is no good reason not to believe in God. There are many reasons to believe in Him.
I researched a lot to find an argument for Intelligent Design, since my topic was to prove, objectively, that it should be taught alongside or as an alternative to Evolution.
(Link to my paper, https://wordpress.com/post/drybonestruth.wordpress.com/16959 –if people are interested in reading it with the sources to prove I was not making this stuff up.)
I found very few arguments for ID, because no one was even willing to consider it. The bulk of what I found was people, not always scientists, saying ID was the same as Creationism (it’s not) and accusing religious people of trying to undermine science.
They also accused creationism as being akin to Nazism (I am not making that up) and being the reason the Russians launched Sputnik ahead of us.
In Philosophy, we call that Fallacy ad hominim, or to the man. Accusation, in other words.
They say too that we have no specific evidence for Intelligent Design. That us referring to the complexity of living organisms, or DNA, or even single body parts like the human eye, is not evidence.
While Evolution has no claim to any evidence that anything can evolve. They have done experiments, but experiments, by definition, are designed, planned, and organized by human beings, who have intelligence. Thereby, making the results products of intelligent design. Nullifying any claim that it proves evolution.
If we can replicate nature with a lot of human effort and ingenuity, all we have proved is that Nature is better at functioning itself than we are at copying it, but it takes endless design on our part to even come close.
If Nature evolved, how can it be more complex than our human intelligent inventions that are just copying it? Planes were designed based on birds, that is just one instance (Google the Wright brothers.)
If then, Evolutionists turn to nature itself, and observe it for signs of evolution, the problem does not get any better. Insect colonies have a structure, animals live in groups and cooperate. But there are not set rules.
You might say a lion will always be a predator, and by natural selection, the weak will be culled. 9 times out of 10, the lions may act that way. But the 10th case, a lion will do something crazy, like adopt an animal it would normally eat, or protect a member of a rival tribe, when it could just let her get killed off, or protect a human being (look it up.)
I see odd behavior just in my pets that I can’t explain by instinct and nature. One of my cats has a propensity for feminine objects, and she will only cuddle if she’s on a bed, usually. I can’t really explain that by nature, my cat just has a personality.
In fact, the truth that animals have personality is one any pet owner can tell you, but it’s not exactly easy to explain by evolution.
After all personality is the expression of someone’s soul. Some will say we just assign certain attributes to people and pets that we imagine. But pet owners and parents can tell you, they are just reporting facts. Living things have quirks. Even plants can have quirks.
Life itself is just unpredictable, while death is extremely predictable. Evolution relies on death of the weak for progress, but death has never, that we can see, progressed anything. It was the living things that changed, adapted, and migrated.
Evolution can also not explain how we have a conscience. Just read Mere Christianity, for Lewis’s in depth explanation of how the fact that we have moral dilemma’s cannot really be explained by survival instinct.
The fact that we feel compelled to consider the truth of things, the whole reason blogs even exists, cannot be explained by survival instinct. Because truth, aside from material facts, is not really necessary to survival in an animal sense.
Even animals, however, have a conscience, that is, they can understand when they have done something wrong. Our dog used to hang his head guiltily when he’d broken a rule, and even if we encouraged him to break one (we were not very fair) he would refuse to do it.
If all a dog can understand is obedience, as some would claim, which might be a survival instinct, then why not obey us when we told him to break a rule? He refused, showing an act of actual willpower, how does a dog rationalize that he should not obey if it means breaking a long standing rule?
I cannot answer, I do not believe animals have Reason, but they seem to have a sense that we, as their owners, do. And that we do things for a higher purpose. They seem to understand hypocrisy enough to know we can go back on our own word.
Christianity would tell me it is because God made man to rule over the earth, and beasts know this instinctively, and follow our lead. Pets can reflect their owners personality. Wild animals will often not even run human beings off their territory, if the human beings don’t do anything to agitate them.
I just do not see how Evolution can explain behavior. And that is the chief thing human beings are concerned about.
So, what was the miracle I alluded to at the start of this post?
Well, when I chose that topic of ID for my paper, my professor said she thought I might have difficulty being unbiased. I thought this was unfair of her to say, and she criticized my rough drafts on that premise.
But after I turned in my final, she wrote, with a tone of some surprise, that it was objective, well researched, and she wouldn’t change anything except a few formatting errors. She also said “I learned a lot.”
I knew going in that she would be hard to convince since she was expecting me to be biased, and it amazed me that she praised it that much. I got 99 out of 100 points.
I worked really hard on that paper, and I’m glad I did. It was never a fair fight, as I had sundry difficulties finding good, unbiased sources. Plus, I had classmates who were skeptical to begin with and criticized things that were irrelevant, a couple of times. My professor also used fallacious reasoning when she criticized it.
All this to say, that I finally won out was a miracle, in my opinion.
Also, one of my other classmates said the paper made them think because they had not really considered the question before, but they agreed with my conclusion that ID should be given a fair chance.
I proved I could be fair but also prove my point. Shooting down two expectations people have of religious people.
And my classmate I mentioned at the start actually told me during our conversation he was surprised at how fair I was, that is, I stuck to my points but was not a jerk about it.
I took from all this that it is possible to talk about your faith with people, and defy expectations.
I think Christians in general accept the label that we hate science way too easily. I don’t know of many in my community who have had these kinds of talks with people. People assumed I hated science because I was religious.
I love science, actually, but not Evolution.
Anyway, I hope this post encourages you about it. If you want to know more about ID and Evolution, I recommend Kent Hovind’s seminars, and a movie you can find on YouTube called “The Atheist Delusion” despite the title, it is not hating on atheists, it’s actually very respectful. Just a play on the book “The God Delusion” (which is anything but respectful).
Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.