googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: How to Answer “The Bible says that Bats are Birds” and Similar Criticisms

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Answer “The Bible says that Bats are Birds” and Similar Criticisms

In an effort to attack Christian faith as a whole, many critics attempt to discredit the Bible. Many of their criticisms are similar and can be grouped into a few categories. Most of the criticisms in one category can be rebutted in pretty much the same way so it's important that Christians learn how to identify common criticisms so that we can give a proper response (1 Peter 3:15).

One such category is “reverse etymology” (as identified in “Exegetical Fallacies” by D. A. Carson). Reverse etymology occurs when we force our modern understanding of a term onto the original meaning of the term. Look at the following example:

“These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard,... and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:13,19, NASB)

Now, everyone knows that bats are not birds and so this “proves” the Bible is wrong, right? Well, bats are not birds according to modern taxonomy. However, when Moses penned Leviticus, Linnean taxonomy was still a few dozen centuries away. As a matter of fact, the word “bird” likely did not even exist yet since it is an English word.

The word translated above as “bird” (“fowl” in the KJV) is the Hebrew word “oph” (עוף) which literally means “winged.” Regardless of how we define a bird today (feathered, egg-laying, etc), the Jews of antiquity were certainly not wrong to identify both birds and bats as winged!

In the same chapter of Leviticus we see a similar “problem” when the Bible says the hare chews its cud (Leviticus 11:6). Again, what is meant by the term “chew cud”? We have a specific, scientific understanding of the term but our modern understanding isn't what the ancient Jews would have understood. Cows have a divided stomach and regurgitate partially digested food to chew further. Rabbits do not have a divided stomachs but they do pass stools of partially digested food which they then eat and chew in much the same manner as a cow chews its cud. The difference between the two is a modern technicality. The Bible is certainly not “wrong” for not clearly distinguishing the hare from what are now identified as ruminants.

Still another example concerns the whale. Jonah 1:17 says that the Lord had prepared “a great fish” to swallow Jonah. However, later, in Matthew 12:40, Jesus said that Jonah was swallowed by a “whale” (KJV). Seeing these verses side by side, it looks as though the Bible is calling a whale a fish. Yet again, “fish” is a modern, English word that has a specific meaning (scales, gills, etc). The Greek word in Matthew is kētos (κῆτος), which is rendered in other translations as “sea monster.” A marine animal large enough to swallow a man can be correctly identified as a “sea monster.” The exact species of animal it was is unknown.

One final example from this category concerns insects. If we again look in Leviticus 11, vv. 20-23 seem to indicate that insects have only 4 legs. Here, the critic believes is an inescapable error; after all, surely the Bible can't have a different understanding of the word “leg,” can it? In a sense, that is exactly the case! The solution is found in Leviticus 11:21 – the four legs used for walking are distinguished from the two legs used for jumping.

We can see that arguments like these are very shallow and fail to stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. Still, these arguments and other like them persist and so we must be ready. Don't get caught off guard by such a simple canard.

20 comments:

RkBall said...

RKB -- well said.

Help me out over at

http://thewaytheballbounces.blogspot.com/2011/04/quote-of-day-people-who-dont-believe.html

Thanks.

RKBentley said...

RkBall,

Ha, another poster with the initials RKB! It's a small world.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment. I hope my post helped. This is a commonly used criticism (or should I say canard)but the critics are seldom satisfied with the response. I took a peek at your blog and see some of the same denial I usually see.

Don't be discouraged. Clear thinking minds can see that your anonymous friend isn't being rational. His stubborn denial of a point that is so obvious does his argument more harm than good.

Keep up the good fight, brother!

God bless!
RKBentley

RkBall said...

RKB -- have you ever posted on the supposed failed prophecy of the destruction of Tyre and Sidon? This was a huge apologetical issue for me last summer. -- RKB.

RKBentley said...

RKB,

I've not posted on that but I did discuss it a few times in a Sunday school series I taught on apologetics.

Thanks for your comments.

God bless!!
RKBentley

Anonymous said...

My Grocery Store Manager has the same problem as the Bible (I use that illustration since this Bible text is about a grocery list to put it in perspective.

My Grocery places eggs in the Dairy Case? What? I guess they think eggs are from Cows? They also put Soy and Almond Milk there too? I guess they think Soy and Almonds are animals?

Analogy:
Milk, Cheese, Sour Cream, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, and eggs (e.g. bats).

There are worlds more Dairy products than eggs. "Eggs" suffice for most people like "Bats" suffice for most people without mentioning species/kinds.

Everyone knows eggs are chicken eggs (unless a specialty store: quail, duck, etc.).

But "Birds" and "Dairy" people want details: Blue Jay, Cardinal, Great Horned Owl, Canvasback Duck, Great Blue Heron, etc. ...

just like they want detail about Dairy: Cheddar Cheese, 2% Lowfat Organic Lactose Free Milk, Greek Yogurt, Cream Cheese, etc.

RKBentley said...

Anonymous,

You've made a very good analogy. We group things according to what is expedient to us. There are no transcendent laws that governs our decisions on subjects like this.

I remember an exercise I had in science in about the 7th grade: there was an illustration that had about 30 imaginary creatures. We had to create a classification system to group the animals. It would have been difficult to use traditional groups because the animals had unusual combinations of traits. Would a griffin, for example, be a bird or a mammal?

Any way, different students had different ideas of how they could be grouped. This demonstrates 2 things: 1) Animals can be grouped regardless of any supposed evolutionary relationship and 2) there is no objective standard showing which way is “correct.”

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. God bless!!

RKBentley

clgaram720 said...

The story of Jonah inside the big fish (or whale) is a tale about a human being surviving being eaten by some kind of sea creature, surviving three days immersed in it's digestive enzymes (stomach acid and a plethora of bacteria), with neither oxygen nor water, and you think our concern about the validity of the story is whether there's a contradiction in the different names they gave the animal?

Please indicate if I'm wrong, I am aware not all Christians read the bible in the literal sense, but surely you must realize that neither do atheists. Sure, we'll poke fun at some of the absurdities, complain about the more egregious content, but you can't genuinely believe our primary concern with the bible is that it says things bronze age shepherds thought about how the world worked can you?

RKBentley said...

Cigaram720,

Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment.

No, I don't believe that atheists' chief criticism of the Bible is that it calls bats, “birds” or whales, “fish.” But it is one criticism I've heard and, as an apologetics blogger, I try to address them as I can get to them.

I've said before that I believe the primary reason for unbelief is simple pride and a rebellious nature. A supernatural Creator and the historical certainty of Jesus should be so blatantly obvious that no one could credibly deny it as fact. Yet some still deny it. It's a stubborn refusal to acknowledge what they secretly know deep down is probably true. This refusal to accept reality is cleverly labeled as the more noble sounding “open-mindedness” or “healthy skepticism.”

I invite you to read more of my blog and I certainly welcome more comments. God bless!!

RKBentley

clgaram720 said...

" But it is one criticism I've heard and, as an apologetics blogger, I try to address them as I can get to them. " Oh okay, I didn't realize you did this all the time and addressed multiple arguments, that makes sense.

"I've said before that I believe the primary reason for unbelief is simple pride..."

Where's the pride in my position? I mean, it's theism that claims the entire vastness of the universe and the planet earth and the laws of physics were designed by a god or gods with Humanity in mind isn't it? I always thought my atheism made me more humble. I mean, after all, from my position, we're (humanity) a happy accident birthed into existence through a complex chemical process that had the ability to result in something other than us and just didn't happen to. Essentially, that we're lucky to be here, on this tiny speck of the known universe, insignificant compared to all that surrounds us, but wholly and beautifully significant to one another. And then there's the likelihood of other life in the universe. I mean, we have pretty specific parameters that are required for the kind of life we all are when you look at this planet, but when you place those in the perspective of just how huge and diverse the universe is, they're not really rare at all. Statistically speaking, there's a high likelihood that there are many other planets that exist out there with these same parameters capable of producing life like us. We may be pretty cool on this planet, but considering how new we are, we likely completely pale in comparison to what the rest of the universe has to offer! I'd call that a pretty humbling thought. And certainly it's more humble to admit what is admittedly the sad reality that when you die, you're gone, because the mechanism by which "you" exist is no longer functioning. That you're not so special among all known and unknown life that you go on for all eternity and nothing else does. I mean, it's the difference between believing you are special among all things, or admitting you are pretty much just another thing among a bunch of equally cool other things.

clgaram720 said...

"...and a rebellious nature"

Can one really rebel against something they don't believe exists? I mean, Hindus probably think you're rebelling against Krishna or Vishnu or one of a hundred of their gods, but you're not really *rebelling* by not being Hindu are you? The act of rebellion requires that you make a conscious choice to not submit to or follow or agree with a real thing. I mean, are you rebelling against Allah, the god, when you think Shar'ia law is wrong? Or are you simply disagreeing with a bad idea no matter the source? I think the same applies to me. I can't rebel against god anymore than I could rebel against Harry Potter or Daffy Duck, or Walter White, since I have equal reason to assume they don't exist except in the fiction of their respective mediums (in this case, a book series, cartoon, and tv show). No one would call you rebellious for not believing in Leprechauns would they? Accepting an idea as truth isn't submitting to it, or even agreeing with it. I firmly and unabashedly reject racism, but it's a real idea that people really have. Whether or not god is real has nothing at all to do with my being rebellious or conciliatory towards him. Even if there was absolute undeniable proof that god, specifically the christian god, was real, if he waltzed into my house right now and proved himself, I could still reject him. I'd have to accept that he was real, but rejecting him as an idea and disagreeing with things he supposedly said I aught to do or not do is a completely separate issue isn't it? And I mean, god could have created us in such a way as to make Belief in him as innate as hunger and we could still choose to reject him. After all, Jonah KNEW god was real in that story, talked to him even, and he fled on a boat anyway, so clearly if any of it's true, it can be done. Lucifer hung out with god on the daily and still rejected him in the end. I really just don't think the two (belief and rejection) are related, maybe you can elaborate on your perspective.

clgaram720 said...

"A supernatural Creator and the historical certainty of Jesus should be so blatantly obvious that no one could credibly deny it as fact......It's a stubborn refusal to acknowledge what they secretly know deep down is probably true."

But that's the same thing Muslims and Hindus and Jains and every other religion says. You deny them as fact. Muslims point to the undeniably advanced science in their holy texts, heck, they've even got a meteor to back up one of their beliefs. That's like legit physical evidence right? African tribal shamans have allegedly cured sick people with chants and whatnot, just like Catholic Saints have been purported to do, and Jesus, and a number of the prophets, and modern day "holy" men of many different Christian denominations. The Hindu holy text, the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata, parts of the full Bhagavad Gita, both predate even the earliest known copies of the Hebrew Talmud, which predates the Gospels, which predate the Quran, which predate the Book of Mormon. Islam and Christianity both keep claiming the earth is not, in fact, 3.4 billion years old, but neither one of them can agree on how old it is because the two texts say different things, but both have Creationists with "archaeological evidence" that they say proves them right. I suppose looking from the perspective of only proving one individual religion true, it looks like there's a lot of evidence, but it seems to be all the same kinds of evidence everyone else has for the different religion they're trying to prove. I mean, you can't really believe that most of the planet's worth of people are just being stubborn can you? If it was so obvious why do people who try with everything they've got to believe in and follow god and still come to the conclusion he isn't real? Is every single person ever except the people who already agree with you just nuts or mean or liars? How would that even be possible? I'm referring here, of course, to whatever your specific church/denomination is, not Christianity as a whole. Obviously there's some wiggle room if you ignore all the internal disagreement on what the self-evident bible means. What makes any of your evidence different? What makes your specific version of your specific religion any more likely to be true than anyone elses?

RKBentley said...

Cigaram720,

Thank you again for your comments. It's great having a visitor who disagrees with me and who can articulate his disagreement without resorting to insults. I have a frequent visitor, named Steven J, who has been the lone voice of reason from your side so long that I was beginning to wonder if another person like him existed.

I'm not sure how much of my blog you've perused but many of the questions you've raised have been discussed by me before. Your comment itself wasn't prideful or rebellious, per se. I think you understand I was talking about unbelief in general. I've offered an analogy before of finding a log cabin in the woods. Even the most crude cabin bears the characteristics of design and purpose. Even if I don't know who built it, I would start with the assumption the cabin had a builder. Someone else might try to convince me the cabin had no builder but, rather, was just a fortunate arrangement of fallen logs. Which position do you think is more reasonable?

Given everything we know about cause and effect, about the conservation of matter/energy, about purpose and design and complexity, why would I think that nothing created everything? It's far more reasonable to believe in an intelligent, eternal, transcendent creator than to believe everything just poofed into existence. Now, you're welcome to believe in poofism but I still maintain such a position is born out of a stubborn refusal to accept what is painfully obvious.

I believe theism should be the default position of any thinking person. If you ask why Christianity, I would point to the unmatched abundance of extant manuscripts of the New Testament and the impeachable testimonies they contain of eye witnesses to the miracles of Jesus. We saw Jesus heal the sick, give sight to the blind, calm the storm, walk on the sea, feed the crowds, and raise the dead. He promised eternal life to anyone who believed in Him. We know He lived, died, and rose again. Again, you're welcome to not believe, but it's my opinion that such unbelief comes from the stubborn resistance of making Jesus your Lord. It's pride and rebellion.

Arguments like, “we can't know so therefore I won't believe” are rather ridiculous. It's like saying, “I don't know how many jelly beans are in the jar, therefore there aren't any” or “I don't know who painted this painting, therefore no one did.” Atheists lack any convincing evidence that their view is correct. All they have are criticisms of theological arguments and their criticisms are about as compelling as my jelly bean and painting examples.

Thanks again for visiting. God bless!!

RKBentley

clgaram720 said...

“It's great having a visitor who disagrees with me and who can articulate his disagreement without resorting to insults. I have a frequent visitor, named Steven J, who has been the lone voice of reason from your side so long that I was beginning to wonder if another person like him existed.”

I don’t know if you meant it this way, but for the record this sounds frighteningly close to “oh but I like you Bill, you’re one of the GOOD blacks”. I don’t think you would appreciate me praising you as “the only one or two of MOST theists who don’t act like Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, or Osama Bin Laden” all of whom are individuals with broken empathy and not at all representative of the vast majority of religious people, much as other jerks you’ve encountered are not representative of the 12 million or so Atheists in this country. Again, not assuming ill intent, you’ve shown no other evidence of ill intent thus far after all, but I think if you replaced the words in your compliment with words describing you, you would see the problem. I do appreciate the intent of the compliment. I did not come here to attack, people can disagree and still talk like adults.

“I'm not sure how much of my blog you've perused but many of the questions you've raised have been discussed by me before.”

I will search around for those articles so that I don't clog up our current conversation with things you've already addressed. I beg your pardon if I have done that here.

clgaram720 said...

“Your comment itself wasn't prideful or rebellious, per se. I think you understand I was talking about unbelief in general.”

Oh no I assumed you meant unbelief in general. I still hold that not believing and rebellion are incompatible because rebellion is a reaction to something one perceives to be real and a threat. Much as you aren’t rebelling against alien abduction by refusing a friend’s request that you go stand in a field and await your close encounter since you (presumably) don’t believe that is likely to happen.

“I've offered an analogy before of finding a log cabin in the woods. Even the most crude cabin bears the characteristics of design and purpose. Even if I don't know who built it, I would start with the assumption the cabin had a builder. Someone else might try to convince me the cabin had no builder but, rather, was just a fortunate arrangement of fallen logs. Which position do you think is more reasonable?”

I don’t want to say reasonable or unreasonable here, because I think the analogy itself is flawed. The Universe isn’t a log cabin. The analogy would be more realistic if you asked whether it was more reasonable or less reasonable to believe that a person designed the entire forest in which you were wandering, the specific logs that made the cabin, and the earth upon which the cabin stood, by magic. In which case I’d side with unreasonable to believe until some evidence arose indicating this. I have heard this analogy as “The Watchmaker” analogy, where you are walking on a beach and stumble across a watch and of course you would assume the watch had been designed? Perhaps you are familiar with it. And as with the cabin analogy, I would say what we’re really talking about is walking on a beach made of watches, next to an ocean made of watches, on a planet made of watches and assuming THIS particular watch was designed is not realistic.

clgaram720 said...

“Given everything we know about cause and effect, about the conservation of matter/energy, about purpose and design and complexity, why would I think that nothing created everything? It's far more reasonable to believe in an intelligent, eternal, transcendent creator than to believe everything just poofed into existence. Now, you're welcome to believe in poofism but I still maintain such a position is born out of a stubborn refusal to accept what is painfully obvious.”

I don’t have an answer for the origins of life (which is NOT evolution by the by, for our audience) or the origins of the universe. But here’s my position on things I don’t understand: The default position is to withhold belief until evidence is provided or discovered that supports the idea, and in the meantime, that’s not an invitation to insert whatever explanation you feel like that is no more or less likely than any other explanation in the meantime. I also hold that it’s intellectually dishonest to state as truth that explanation above all the other equally likely possibilities that exist because it’s the one you like the best. I bring up again the theologies of other world religions. They, and you, all hold that their own version of the bringing about of the universe is truth, but not one of you can conclusively prove that your own explanation is any more likely than one another’s, and certainly not more likely than the evidence we DO have, which is that the most likely cause was the Big Bang and the Multiverse, though we don’t yet know what came before that, if anything. And the ultimate point here is that while I can’t tell you how the universe came into being, I’m comfortable saying “I don’t know”. Because I don’t know. I don’t know for sure that I’m not a brain in a bathtub somewhere just imagining all of this, but until I find evidence that I am, I’m going to behave as though I’m not. Not knowing the answer to something is just that, not knowing. It’s not a competition for every other possibility to battle for recognition. It’s not an invitation to assert your own answer even though it’s no more likely than mine. The mere existence of things we don’t understand is not evidence for anything other than that there are things we don’t yet understand.

clgaram720 said...

“I believe theism should be the default position of any thinking person. If you ask why Christianity, I would point to the unmatched abundance of extant manuscripts of the New Testament and the impeachable testimonies they contain of eye witnesses to the miracles of Jesus. We saw Jesus heal the sick, give sight to the blind, calm the storm, walk on the sea, feed the crowds, and raise the dead. He promised eternal life to anyone who believed in Him. We know He lived, died, and rose again. Again, you're welcome to not believe, but it's my opinion that such unbelief comes from the stubborn resistance of making Jesus your Lord. It's pride and rebellion.”

Do we know that? We know there is a strong likelihood that there was a man named Yeshua or Yahushua at close to the time in history he was said to have lived. But we can only guess beyond that point. There is no Roman record of the crucifixion of such a man, there is no living eye witness testimony and even if there was, there’s eyewitness testimony of the wrong black guy who upon DNA evidence DIDN’T commit the crime, alien abductions, fairies, leprechauns, and every other god of every other religion. And even if we could dredge the disciples and the former leper and Lazarus back from the dead, what makes anyone think they couldn’t be mentally ill? What is more likely? That a dude performed actual magic, breaking the laws of physics, ranging from water tricks to raising the dead, or that after his death, in order to gain more followers and thus more power, men exaggerated things they had seen or hallucinated, or outright lied? The problem with going back to the bible and saying it holds truth is that it’s just a collection of 66 (or 73 if you’re Catholic) books that MEN wrote. The same could be said of Harry Potter, or To Catch a Mockingbird, or A Tale of Two Cities, all of which accurately name world events that we know for sure occurred, places we know for sure exist, and truths about the world, but also include wild fictions like the characters within them. There is, to my eyes, no reason to believe one collection of words on paper (or in lots of the bible’s case stories passed down through generations verbally and later placed on paper) is any more likely to be true than any other. Excepting those cases where I can read about what London looks like and go there and witness for myself that London does indeed look the way it’s described, but that doesn’t mean wizards live there turning teacups into tortoises. Only that which is verifiable in a book or many books should be believed, and that must be supported by outside evidence.

clgaram720 said...

“Arguments like, “we can't know so therefore I won't believe” are rather ridiculous. It's like saying, “I don't know how many jelly beans are in the jar, therefore there aren't any” or “I don't know who painted this painting, therefore no one did.” Atheists lack any convincing evidence that their view is correct. All they have are criticisms of theological arguments and their criticisms are about as compelling as my jelly bean and painting examples.”

That’s not my argument, or the argument of most Atheists though. We aren’t saying there are no jellybeans, in fact, we aren’t making any assertions at all. We are simply withholding belief that when you say “There are 400 jelly beans” that you can know that. For all you know, there’s a tennis ball in the middle of the jar that makes it look like there’s more jellybeans when there’s not. So, we withhold belief that you are correct until you open the jar and count. And gods aren’t jellybeans. I know jellybeans exist and that they can exist in quantities of 400 or more in a large jar, but no one is asking me to believe the jellybeans will hurt me if I don’t agree there are 400 of them. No one is asking me to believe the jellybeans can magically cure me of cancer once eaten, or that they can break the known laws of physics in any other way. Religion IS asking me to believe those things, and most religion is also asking me for 10% of my income on top of that to pay for new jars to hold the jellybeans. And until there is evidence supporting that the laws of physics can be broken at all, let alone that there is a supernatural force or deity or anything that exists outside of the reality in which we all live, I must, to remain intellectually honest, step back and wait for evidence.

And I would point out that Atheists aren’t in the business of convincing anyone of anything. That’s a fallacious shifting of the burden of proof. An example: If I claim that I have an invisible pink unicorn in my garage that can shoot death rays out of it’s horn that will kill you without leaving a mark, and then I tell you that if you don’t give me $500 a month he’ll do that to you, would you assume I’m right and shell out the cash? Or would you, more reasonably, ask me to prove it? And then, what might your reaction be if I shot back “No, YOU must DISPROVE my unicorn or it’s still true”? Again, Atheism is the rejection of a claim, not a claim in and of itself. It’s not me, the Atheist, saying “There are no Gods” it’s me responding to “There is a pink unicorn!” with “Okay, call me when you can prove it, and also please stop disowning your children when they do something to make the unicorn angry, like fall in love with someone of the same gender, or have sex outside of marriage, or disbelieve”. The default position of a rational mind is NOT gullibility. And if you can distinguish Faith from Gullibility for me, I would be equal parts appreciative and astounded. The “Atheist view” as you referred to it here, isn’t a view. It’s merely the rejection of a view FOR NOW until you can prove it. No one would say of you that you lack convincing evidence of your view that Leprechauns aren’t real. You would laugh at that, and rightly so, because it’s on the guy telling you that Leprechauns are real to come up with convincing evidence. Its not your job to run around searching for anti-evidence. You’d just go about your day assuming they’re not real until your Leprechaunist friend showed back up with evidence of Leprechauns wouldn’t you?

clgaram720 said...

Regarding the idea that “Atheism is a view” I think it’s important to point out that my worldview is Skepticism, Humanism, and Secularism. My Atheism is a natural consequence of my skepticism, humanism, and secularism, but it’s not a view in and of itself. My Skepticism says “don’t believe things until there is evidence supporting them”. That’s my worldview. My Humanism says “do right by your fellow man, and minimize harm wherever you can”. That’s my worldview. My Secularism says “make rules and laws based on evidence based morality alone, so that no one group’s interests are held above another’s”. I’m an Atheist because I’m a Skeptic and there is not sufficient evidence to support any deity, and there is evidence that the world runs on a set of natural laws. I’m an Atheist because I’m a humanist and that means I think it’s more important to do right by my fellow man, even if that means angering a god by going against his laws. I’m an Atheist because I’m a Secularist, so I think no one man’s god should influence the laws of my land more than any other man’s god, and that no man’s god should influence laws that affect me, the man with no god at all. The Atheism is nothing more than a consequence of actual worldviews, it is not a view on it’s own.

RKBentley said...

Cigaram720,

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. It had been a while since your last comment so I'd assumed you'd moved on. Because you've broken your thoughts into several comments, I conclude that you've discovered Blogger's character limitations on comments. I face the same restrictions. I also barely have time to write new content for my blog so I can't respond thoroughly to everything you've said. In these situations, I try to hit the highlights. I'm sure you understand.

I didn't mean to slight you when I said you seemed reasonable. Actually, it even sounds weird trying to justify having called someone reasonable. In the context of just that statement, I was referring more to the people who visit my blog. Most visitors who disagree with me spend more time insulting me or making bald assertions than discussing my points. Steven J has been a faithful visitor for years and, just as iron sharpens iron, his civil and on point criticisms have kept me on my toes. I'd love to have more visitors like him.

I've picked out one sentence from your comments that I'll use to build on for my reply. You said, “The mere existence of things we don’t understand is not evidence for anything other than that there are things we don’t yet understand.” I understand that your position is skepticism and that you feel you're merely for evidence before believing something to be true. My opinion is that we already have evidence and we do know some things so surely that it's no longer reasonable to withhold judgment on them.

You didn't like my log cabin analogy. I've also used an analogy of stones stacked into the shape of a pyramid. Certainly I've heard of the watchmaker analogy but a watch is very complicated. I'm making a point a little more subtle than that. Think about seashells on a beach arranged into a smiley face. What about 3 sticks broken to the same length and placed end to end in a triangle? If you found anything of these kinds of things, what is your first thought? I guarantee you that your first thought would be that someone arranged them like that. Maybe this is an instinct or maybe it's learned behavior but we can discern the product of design. Even 3 sticks in the shape of a triangle is enough to know that someone designed it. Design is the product of purpose and intelligence – every time.

There is also the law of conservation of matter/energy. You probably learned in middle school that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. You can convert matter to energy (as in Einstein's formula) but the net amount of matter/energy in the universe remains constant. There is no natural explanation for the origin of matter/energy yet here it is. The only possible explanation must be supernatural by definition.

Continued...

RKBentley said...

Next, there is the law of cause and effect. Everything that happens has a cause. We've never observed a single exception. For the Big Bang to have occurred (not that I believe a Big Bang occurred), there had to be a pre-existing cause for it.

Finally, concerning the origin of life, scientists have long since discarded the notion of spontaneous generation. We gave up on the notion that life can spontaneously rise from a fortunate arrangement of lifeless materials. Abiogensis is simply a new label given to an idea that was discarded not long after blood letting. Having amino acids or even proteins is not enough – just like find logs in the woods is not sufficient to explain a log cabin. Life is about design. And, as we've already seen, design is the product of intelligence and purpose.

Theism isn't born from a gap in our understand. Theism is the default position based on what we do know. We know there must have been an intelligent, personal, transcendent, eternal, Creator of the universe. In my opinion, “withholding judgment” flies in the face of everything we know scientifically and intuitively. Like I've said, it's a stubborn refusal to acknowledge what should be painfully obvious. It comes from simply refusing to believe in God. It's rebellion.

Thank you again for your comments. God bless!!

RKBentley