12/29/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Christianity has evolved, but not in the right directions

By John Fraysse

When I was in college, the scientific community thought they knew fundamentally how the universe came to be and how it got to its present state. However, the better we made our instruments and measurements, the more questions we had regarding the theories we once held as true. It seems we now "know" less than we did 40 years ago, but, alas, this is the nature of true discovery! If you care, below is a well-written link that succinctly captures the issues surrounding the "standard model" of the universe as science understands it today.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/missing.shtml


The bottom line is that 96% of the universe is missing and we don't really understand the nature of these absentee entities. We simply infer that "something else" must be out there. We have made up the "place holders" of "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter" that make our current understanding of physical laws work in the universe as we know it. Without DE and DM, the universe doesn't make sense. To some physicists, DE and DM don't make sense either! To many, DE and DM are statements of faith. These remind me of Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Christianity doesn't make sense without a measure of faith and neither does physics!

However, one of the things I love about science and all discovery is that they are "self-correcting". Science has "the guts" to admit it was and can be wrong! When new discovery demands a new definition of truth or, in this case, physical laws, they are revised and/or corrected. To me, this is how it should be. Truth evolves with discovery and vice versa. There are no absolutes and when there are, humanity suffers.

Christianity has evolved, but not in the right directions. A study of early Christianity reveals it to be far more tolerant of diverse views in the first few hundred years than it has been in the last. Perhaps, if it had moved away from intolerance and an utter contempt of scientific discovery, many or us would not be posting here.

28 comments:

DG said...

As soon as I realized the human was simply a part of the ongoing process of creation, I definitely stopped thinking about the human as being the author of creation or its terminator. I rather enjoy being free of that burden so that a more vigorous focus of time and energy can be used on issues that have a better probability of being affected by me or a group of like-minded individuals.

The question is this, if you are not able to affect something in any way, then why bother with it at all?

Life is not a matter of realizing where we came from or where or when we will face our demise. It’s far more about where you are, where you would like to be, and the road that will take you there. We do need to have a destination or life is hardly justified.

When you don’t know where you are going any road map will do. There is a huge difference between knowing a destination and the end of a life. To some degree we can affect how, when, where, and why we expire, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with the first step after expiration.

There is a certain power that grows in the brain when the holder has been part of the creation process of another human and maybe that is an issue worthy of our attention. There is no problem with this in the minds of those who believe in some deity, they grow in the thought that through that creation process, they in some small way have taken on some facet of the identity of that deity.

How about those who don’t believe in a deity? Do their minds wander in some oblivious state because they are unable to point to a source for their creative powers or do they simply spend a great deal of time and effort with dissecting the creation and destruction processes?

This is an issue that might be very interesting to explore.

paul said...

A Spurious Analogy
John's analogy of Christianity to Science is spurious. Christianity came from God as demonstrated by the physical resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ and its growth from 12 ordinary men to the largest religion in the world.
On the other hand, science is a product of man discovering the magnificent design God placed in the universe. There is no science without objective laws. We believe that today's law of gravity will be true tomorrow also because God upholds all things.
Christianity is a religion that promoted reason and logic, in contrast to mysticism of the eastern religion. That is why great scientists who founded all branches of religion like Newton, Leibniz, Desecrates, Bacon, Boyle, Cuvier were Bible believing Christians, not atheist nor hindus or muslims.
Christianity never moved away from intolerance! really, you got gots to criticize Jesus and depict him as you like here in America because you know that no CHristian would put a price on your head by tomorrow evening. Try drawing a cartoon of Mohammed or making documentary on him. Remember what happened to Vincent Van Gogh in Holland. My friend, Christianity is the most tolerant of all ideologies in the world. Just compare to other religions and atheism.
Atheism is irrational and illogical while Christianity is rational and logical and it is the mother of science.

Dano said...

Hey everybody! Paul is just a Christian cartoon, meant entirely for laughs.
Dan (He just proves that ignorance can be as profound as the universe)

Yule Goat 2 Hell said...

"Christianity never moved away from intolerance!"

Hey! Whaddya know?? Out of that word salad of lies and apologetic claptrap, Paul finally said something true. Fundy christians certainly are among the most intolerant people on earth, currently bested only by fundy moslems.

Warnepiece said...

And Paul is back to spew at us another round of “I’m right and you’re wrong, but I can’t back it up with anything but my belief”…

Paul, you wrote: “…Christianity is the most tolerant of all ideologies in the world.”

Explain to us these: Medieval or Episcopal Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition, the Portuguese Inquisition and the Roman Inquisition. All of them ordained in the name of Christianity.

“On average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of "the marvelous goodness and providence of God" to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as "for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess." Although none of the settlers would have survived winter without native help, they soon set out to expel and exterminate the Indians. From the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann published 2006

The Salem witch trials of 1692.

…and those are just for starters Paul. That is the REAL face of Christian "tolerance".

The rest of your post is nothing more than “Paul believes…”
Your belief proves NOTHING!

Pull The Other One! said...

Paul: 'Remember what happened to Vincent Van Gogh in Holland'

Nice one Paul! You really surpassed yourself there!

Now let me see. The Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh did come to a rather nasty end, its true! Not content with cutting off his own ear, he shot himself in the chest in France in 1890 and died soon after from the wound.

I think you'll find that it was THEO van Gogh who was murdered in Holland in 2004.

Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the chest in France, but you Paul are constantly shooting yourself in the foot on this site with your ridiculous comments!

Larry said...

Yeah Paul, Atheists are un-logical and unreasonable because they do not believe in talking snakes, bushes and donkeys or unicorns or dragons, and virgin births and walking on water, or raising people from the dead and converting water into wine, and assorted miracles, how could we Atheist have missed that, when all the evidence was plainly in front of us all along, boy we dumb, you smart!

God invented Christianity and religion because, Satan would not worship him in heaven, so he kicked him out, and now people refuse to worship him, except you Paul, and so God had to do something after four thousand years he decided to send is sperm in the form of a "Holy Ghost" (the most highest Holy ghost availble, at that moment) into a virgin girl, so that people like you Paul, would not question such nonsense and believe it and trick you idiots into worshipping an invisible God and give the preacher money for telling you it's the truth.

Yeah, you're right Paul, Atheists are such idiots!!!

matthew said...

One of the major problems in the Christian community today is it's inability, as was pointed out in the previous article, to admit it was wrong. Surely this is the product of pride in the church.

Frankly, it has never seemed to fit Christian theology to have this mentality. I am far from perfect physically, socially, spritually, etc, so why would I pretend that I am perfect doctrinally/theologically?

I shouldn't. And, therefore, I (and all Christians) should be open to correction and change/evolution.

For the past 2 years I've been reading a lot of early church history. I agree with the author of this post that early Christianity was far more tolerant of diverse views within the church. For instance, in the early centuries of Christian tradition, at least 3 views of the afterlife for the wicked were prominent and considered orthodox (Christian universalism, annihilationism, and eternal torment). In most evangelical churches today, however, a pastor could be fired for taking one of the 1st two views!

The only real point of disagreement I have with the author, here, is with his statement that there is zero absolute truth. I agree the church should be more tolerant of diverse views within the church, but I think absolute truth certainly exists.

Warnepiece said...

Matthew wrote "I think absolute truth certainly exists."

What absolute truth would that be?

matthew said...

2+2 is 4
I'm currently alive
It is wrong to rape people
etc.

But that's not really the topic of the post, which is about the need to be open to changing beliefs and allowing a diversity of views. On that topic, I definitely agree with the author.

Warnepiece said...

Just making sure.

At least you didn't include on that list "The bible".

Dano said...

All religions would be irrelevant except for one thing.

A nuclear exchange between several nations is looking very probable at this time. This is more likely to happen as Muslims become richer from selling their oil.

A country like Iran, led by an Islamic extremist will build atomic weapons and may decide to take his nation to heaven with him, and shoot one of these weapons at America, because we are considered to be infidels.

We will then have no other option than to make a glass parking lot out of that nation.

The only other "one thing" going on today that may SUPERCEDE a nuclear exchange is global warming. The Polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate, and by the year 2030 billions of people could be fleeing inland triggering famine and disease on a truly apocalyptic scale.

Will we die because we wont give up our beliefs in mythology, or because we won't give up our SUV'S?
Dan (My civic gets 40 mpg)

Anonymous said...

What books have you been reading? Your educated use of the English language is impressive and results in such a elevated style than the usual dribble that comes from the typical Evangelical Christian. But after the reader wades through the nonsense of your argument it still comes out the same: There is no basis in fact for your claims. It's a shame that you write so coherently about a subject but lack all sense of logic. I think you're just trying to convince yourself that your beliefs are true by adding a different twist to the nonsense of your belief system.

boomSLANG said...

Anonymous commented: I think you're just trying to convince yourself that your beliefs are true by adding a different twist to the nonsense of your belief system.

No, Anonymous, our Christian guest isn't "adding" any new "twist"--- they are using their "Holy" book as a subjective grab-bag, just as all religionists do---because as anyone who has objectively read the Holy Bible knows... the general treating of women subserviently(and that would include forcible sex) is not only condoned, but encouraged. How loving.

Anonymous said...

In a Beginning was the Word Logos. “The EL” Deity brought forth His firstborn (logos) “word“ of all creation (Colossians.1: 15). The Image and word of “EL” Deity (God) Himself, His Son, and through His firstborn (the image of Himself) all was brought into existence The word that latter came to earth thru God‘s human vessel Mary as (Messiah) Christ.

It was thru this one that “EL” God’s word (Logos) the universe is held together or has it’s cohesion.

Now to begin with at this time of the eons “EL” God brought forth a human thru His word firstborn. Colossians 1: 15-20. (Son). The first human, and the word of God, named the first human Adam (meaning soil, clay, or dirt). This human was stated to be both male and female, as if combined in one unit, (body) But this human could find one appearing like itself among all the animal creatures, for a companion, and was not contented.

So God’s firstborn son cause an anathesia type sleep or stupor to come upon the first human Adam.

While the first human was anestithised “EL’S” God’s firstborn Son performed an operation and removed an angular organ (not a rib) from the first human and formed one like the first for a companion. Then He called them Man and Woman

Jesus plainly stated that He was and is the A and the Z, the alpha and Omega, or the beginning and the consummation of all things in God. The Son had a beginning, therefore He cannot be Deity Supreme, For Deity cannot have a beginning, Supreme Deity is Invisible Spirit, and cannot be personally seen or heard by His creatures, only thru His Word and Image. (Colossians.1: 15-20). Deity is Spirit, “wind’ breath, the human cannot see the wind, or breath. We may see its actions, what it does. But, we cannot see it. The same with the Great Spirit in which we all live, move, and have our being. “The Spirit Elohim”

The Son of God, “God’s living Word and Image, is the one who walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. God has done it all through His word “LOGOS” (His Messiah)…

Wes said...

"Christianity is rational and logical and it is the mother of science"

Bwahahahaaaaa!!!!! Funniest thing I heard today! BTW - what do you call several hundred years of christian dominance? The fucking dark ages. Thanks! -Wes.

Warnepiece said...

Big Chief Anonymous who posted at 7:46 PM want us believe him understand Great Spirit. Him know spirit not really there, him send Little Chief shitting bull (logos) to walk garden with first of tribe instead, because Great Spirit is like wind, (and broken wind at that!). Great Spirit forget he put deceitful talking salamander in first tribesmen’s path. Stupid Great Spirit.

Big Chief anonymous speak with forked tongue.

Lorena said...

Paul said:
"Christianity came from God as demonstrated by the physical resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ and its growth from 12 ordinary men to the largest religion in the world. "

Lorena responds:
First of all, Paul, most people who post here don't believe that Jesus even existed, since there is no historical proof of that fact.

Second, those of us who believe that the man Jesus may have existed, do not believe the resurection myth.

And third, the only reason for Christianity being the "largest religion" (is that still true?) is that it was propagated by the Roman empire, as a way to keep the masses distracted.

So, whatever you wrote on your post lacks the authority and substantiation that the readers of this website need to take any comment seriously.

jfraysse said...

Many good comments – thanks!

Just to be clear, the statement that “there are no absolutes” was not addressing exact sciences such as mathematics. In context, my statement refers to the sentence before it, that is, the Discovery Process itself. It is this process that tends to be self-correcting and is stymied when too many absolutes are assumed.

Hi Paul:

You, of course, have every right to disagree. The problem, as I see it, is with Christian Fundamentalism or, as you call it, “Bible Believing Christians” and particularly their self-proclaimed, corner on Bible-Based Truth. I don’t know if you consider yourself one of this group, but no matter, I challenge you to study your Bible –all of it, not just the “goodness and light parts”, but the real hard parts too, and get back to us on what the words tell you. Hopefully, your spirit will make you heart sick over many stories and commands. I’m actually not attacking Father God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, but the stuff written about them is pretty vile, so if they really do exist and are good as well, methinks they have been improperly represented and are in need of a new press agent!

Warnepiece: You crack me up! (Big Chief Anonymous) lol!

morgan-lynn lamberth said...

Paul exudes faith, the I just say so of gullibility ! Religion at best is a mighty placebo , for which one can find alternatives.Errantists and theistic evolutionists have faith, so they are creationists in the wider sense. Scientists hope for positive results but will abandon any theory for a better one, thus no faith.It is not a matter of not being seen but of effects in the real world. We discern no godly effects unlesss we abandon Occam's razor to explain natural selection and miracles. Thus the Pauline analogy is mere sophistry as is all theistic argumentation! As absence of evidence is here evidence of absence and no argument from ignorance and never will any theists produce a vailid argument for god, we can be strong atheists!And that Paul is not dogmatism but reality !

paul said...

So, you don't believe the revival of Christianity. Please read the following article:
Record Number of ex-Muslims celebrated Christmas this year

More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is underway throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As a result, a record number of ex-Muslims celebrated Christmas this year, despite intense persecution, assassinations, and widespread church bombings.

During the writing of Epicenter, my wife and kids and I lived in the Mideast for three months. During that time, I had the privilege of interviewing more than three dozen Arab and Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders throughout the region. The picture they paint is one of Christianity being dramatically resurrected in the region of its birth. A snapshot:

Iraq: more than 5,000 new Muslim converts to Christianity have been identified since the end of major combat operations, with 14 new churches opened in Baghdad, and dozens of new churches opened in Kurdistan, some of which have 500 to 800 members. Also, more than 1 million Bibles shipped into the country since 2003, and pastors report Iraqis are snatching them up so fast they constantly need more Bibles.

Egypt: some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the JESUS film a year in the early 1990s. But last year they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament. "Egyptians are increasingly hungry for God's Word," an Egyptian Christian leader told me. Last Christmas, I had the privilege of visiting the largest Christian congregation in the Middle East, which meets in an enormous cave on the outskirts of Cairo. Some 10,000 believers worship there every weekend. A prayer conference the church held in May 2005 drew some 20,000 believers.

Afghanistan: only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000. Dozens of baptisms every week.

Kazakstan: only 3 known Christians in 1990, but now more than 15,000.

Uzbekistan: no known Christians in 1990, but now more than 30,000.

Sudan: more than 1 million Sudanese have converted to Christianity just since 2000, and some 5 million have become Christians since the early 1990s, despite a radical Islamic regime and an on-going genocide that has killed more than 200,000. Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening? "People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," one Sudanese evangelical leader told me.

Iran: in 1979, there were only 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity, but today Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders tell me there are more than 1 million Iranian believers in Jesus Christ, most of whom meet in underground house churches.

In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Aljazeera satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. "In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity."

Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year," the cleric confirmed, adding, "a tragedy has happened."

One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims -- including Shiites in Iran and Iraq -- are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus and thus coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. I describe a number of these stories in the book. Having just returned from three weeks in the Mideast, I have heard many more, and will be sharing some of them in the new year. This is in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Hebrew Prophet Joel told us that "in the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days....And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:28-32)

Bottom line: It's not being reported by the mainstream media, but the God of the Bible is moving powerfully and dramatically throughout the Muslim world. The number of Arab and Iranian Christians is surging despite wars, rumors of wars, and terrible persecution. These fellow brothers and sisters now need our fervent prayers and our practical help as they seek to reach epicenter with the love and forgiveness of Jesus in 2007.

.:webmaster:. said...

Paul, unless you can document or reference the so-called reports you mention, it's all hearsay.

I mean, you don't really expect anyone here to have "faith" that what you say is accurate, do you?

So, please provide some references to your "facts" and then we can discuss the fallacy that because people believe something, that makes that something true.

Since I doubt you have access to any of these no-doubt-preached-from-the-pulpit reports. I'll assume this is the end of the conversation.

.:webmaster:. said...

I did a quick Google search and found the website Paul copied and pasted . Click here to view.

I usually delete copy-and-paste jobs by fundies on site, especially when they fail to properly reference the article. But I'll leave this one to illustrate how desperate fundies sometimes become.

Frank said...

Where's any honor converting from one religion to another? Just convering from one lie to another.

It's all lies Paul!!! Grow-up Paul

Netri said...

Paul, is the fact that Mulsims respect your tradition to celebrate and more fantastic, than an Atheist who is tolerant, and allowing you to dwaddle in your delusion? No. Respecting, your right to be self-deluded doesn't make your religion or gift-exchange celebration any more true about the birth of an unknown person, who has just a name.

While you want to suggest that there are Muslims that are celebrating Xmas, I think, I'll pull out one of my favorite worshippers of Christianity who, is pluralist - quite fitting actually.

"Joseph Kony (b. 1962) is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that was until recently engaged in a violent campaign to establish a theocratic government in Uganda, reportedly based on the Bible and the Ten Commandments. The LRA, which earned a terrifying reputation for its brutality against the people of northern Uganda, abducted an estimated 20,000 children since its rebellion began in 1987.[1]"

"It was a strange religion Kony adhered to. He prayed to the God of the Christians on Sundays reciting the Rosary and quoting the bible; but he also did the Al-Jummah prayer on Fridays, like the Muslims. He celebrated Christmas, but he also fasted for 30 days during Ramadan and prohibited the consumption of pork."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony

Obviously, Paul, Kony is a true Christian, just trying to bring about a nation that follows god - a theocracy. Xmas is just a break from the hard work of violence and murder. Somehow, xmas just doesn't really seem all that important in light of his murders, kidnappings, and outright atrocity towards humanity. But, he is surely religious - just like "you" Paul.

Netri said...

Paul, mea culpa, let me be more direct about your comment regarding your delight in the cross-polination of belief systems... What you describe comes down to "one word"...

Syncretism: "1. The attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion."

Yes, Paul, when one finds that a philosophy/theology, or belief system lacks something, many times they start picking out the pieces they like or admire, and start weaving their own quilt.

The comment you made about Muslims Celebrating xmas, is nothing but the syncretism of two belief systems. That means Paul, that each of those belief systems, lacked something when they stood on their own merit/independently.

I'm extremely syncretic, hence, I can't even conceive of being religious or bound to one system of philosophy. I'd even suggest that most Christians are syncretic, picking out their favorite passages of the bible to believe in. Syncretic Christians are not "True Christians", yet, they like to believe they are.

Interesting that many sincere Christians have shown up on this site, stating that their goal is to close the gap between the Atheist, Agnostic and Christian to create some common ground and harmony.

Typically, there is this ploy to margenalize everyone's belief to a point, where everyone has "faith". Or, that everyone is really "religious", even the scientist, or Athiest.

What is lost, and missing, in the discussion between the young Christian in their plight to find commonality between varying views, is their understanding of their own belief and that of others.

If the Christian is truly honest, and able to accept that there are truly some very troubling acts in the bible that aren't relevant for "ritualistic practice", in this modern age, then there becomes the common ground of syncretism that is shared accross most belief systems. There becomes the ability for a person to freely accept those things they find valuable, and discard those things they are not able to support based on their values as a member of humanity.

I read a thread a little while back, and I'll return to respond eventually. The thread exposed many divergent beliefs, from Free Thinker, Buddhist, to Abrahamic Religious. In all of those philosophies/theologies, there are parts that seem to align to the mental picture we hold of our reality, based on our diverse experiences in life.

Many can intuitively read something, and think... wow, that really makes sense, however, it takes much more energy (and natural ability) to take those many scattered pieces of wisdom and build a picture. Picture building is a hard-wired innate gift from Nature. Everyone has the ability to tap that skill, however, some have not choice, but to use that dominant skill... it's their natural mode of mental operation. I'd go as far as to say, some people may go to sleep dreaming in patterns.

Before I get too far off topic, let's just say, it's a natural part of life to seek different experiences, and mentally model our reality - even if virtually. Those who are able to overcome their operant conditioning (which prevents them from admitting they were wrong about something), can hopefully join the club of syncretism that most all of humanity engages in.

Want to know those of humanity who refuse to accept that they are syncretic to any degree? Those who are fundamentalists in their belief, even if you show them they have merged a belief or passage to make sense out of it, they will refuse to accept that they have budged from the "true" word of a belief system.

Thus, the process of syncretism that could bridge the gap between the believer and non-believer (if for only a short time), will never be obtainable, as long as a person denies their natural state of function - to blend reality, as it blends itself. I'm sure we'll discuss more later, even if we have to fall back to a previous thread ;-)

Punchybird said...

The destanation of life is death. Life is the journey, not the destanation.

preston said...

then i wonder who could be behind the creation of dark matter, and dark energy. There is a creator of the beginning of life, you heard it yourself from the mouths of more capable scientists. So the question is, what is the supreme factor that has made life as we know it?