Christian atheists

southernprose_cover_CAFGSome words just don’t seem to go together.

For example, there’s honest politician. Another phrase that seems somewhat oxymoronic is lucky loser. And then there’s Christian atheist.

Seriously?

How can anyone be an atheist and a Christian? The contradiction of the two terms seems painfully obvious. The short answer is, you can’t.

This isn’t another way of describing Christian apostasy — apostates tend to be activists, relentless and very aggressive with their attacks on Christianity. Many Christian apostates not only reject the tenets of their former faith, they seek to eradicate belief in weak Christians.

Wikipedia defined a Christian atheist as someone who rejects belief in any sort of a supernatural God, but tries to emulate the moral example of Jesus.

I must admit that I’ve never encountered a Christian atheist before — in fact, the only person that might have fit the description of one was Mahatma Gandhi, and he was murdered years before I was born.

Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem to make any sense to reject that Jesus was the Christ, yet make him your primary role model.

Let’s face facts — Jesus wasn’t real big on having fun, was he?

Think about it…if atheism really is true, and Darwin’s theory about how life randomly descended into modern animals without rhyme or reason, then the only sensible rule for society should truly be survival of the fittest.

Every man for himself and woman for herself, and get all you can while you can. After all, you’re going to die soon enough, and there goes your chance to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, or whatever your pleasure. If it feels good do it, right? What’s stopping you?

I know what’s stopping me from behaving like a drunken frat boy on spring break. I know why I don’t sleep with my neighbor’s wife — or my sister, for that matter.

I know it’s wrong. But how do I know?

Objective morality, which can only come from God. When we deny God as the source of objective morality, we may find ourselves getting quite confused about the difference between right or wrong.

For example, one allegedly very intelligent atheist found himself equivocating about whether or not incest might be wrong in every example, That shouldn’t be a difficult question for anyone to answer, to be brutally honest.

Is cannibalism wrong? Is anything wrong? As the internet joke (sort of) goes,

Let’s eat Grandma! Or should I say: Let’s eat, Grandma!

(Christian) Writers truly understand the importance of proper punctuation.

The truthful atheist either says that morality is relative or doesn’t exist. Morality as such varies as each of us defines it, because the atheist has rejected the only possible source of objective morality.

The “honest” atheist cannot say rape, incest, adultery, or even pedophilia is always wrong, because to do so, they must claim the authority of God for themselves. They can only assert that they personally believe such vile behavior would always be wrong without giving a reason why — especially if, as in the case of adultery, the act is no longer illegal.

The obvious benefit of being an atheist that you should be able to do anything you want, whenever you want. Want your neighbor’s wife? If he isn’t home, who’s to say it’s wrong to sleep with her? For that matter, why not have sex with your neighbor’s sheep, too?

So if you’re an atheist who acts like a Christian but rejects the divinity of Christ, in my never-humble-enough opinion, you’re doing it wrong. You should be able to justify doing anything that feels good.

You’re paying the cost of being a Christian without receiving the benefits. No offense, but why go through the motions? So you can feel morally superior to your fellow human being for the duration of your short, miserable life? We’re all going to die. The only question is about the timing.

You can either be a Christian, or an atheist. If you don’t believe in Jesus, why go through the motions? To make the “real” Christian more aware of his or her shortcomings?

Trust me. I don’t need to be reminded how badly I’ve failed with Jesus as my primary role model.

In my opinion, you’re wasting valuable time trying to be both a Christian and an atheist. The payoff isn’t simply worth it. There is no one good but The One God.

If you’re going to be miserable for eternity, you might as well enjoy this life with all the gusto you can muster. I also believe in hell, and from what I’ve heard and read about the place, it isn’t someplace that I intend to visit.

I am a Christian. No additional qualifiers are necessary.

 

 

How does the brain record memories?

southernprose_cover_CAFG

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I am not a scientist, nor do I pretend to be one. However, that’s never going to stop me from asking serious questions to those people who do claim or pretend to be professional scientists.

Recently an atheist friend (probably former friend, to be technically correct. I think he “unfriended” me after this exchange) asserted in our discussion as a statement with authority that neuroscientists have pretty much figured out how the human brain works.

Really? I thought. It’s been my considered opinion for some time now that we humans aren’t nearly as smart as we think.

So I asked my now-former friend what I thought was a pretty simple and straightforward question: how does our brain store a memory?

I do know how computers manage the feat but for humans, I can only guess.

Most people understand that computers mimic the human brain in several respects. However, as a former developer, I know quite a bit about how computers go about performing their job, and the ways in which computers and the human brain are quite different.

Computers and humans both have memory, meaning an ability to recall historical information for use in current and future decision-making.

When we work in a computer program, our efforts are only stored temporarily in that computer’s memory. For our work to become persistent and thus made available for future use, we must take specific action to save our effort in the current session to the computer’s hard drive.

Otherwise, when we close the browser and turn off the machine, our work is lost forever. Furthermore, if we tell the machine to delete something we told it to remember, we must jump through hoops to recover the deleted information.

If it was never saved to the hard drive, that information is gone for good.

Conversely, sometimes things get stuck in human memory for which we have no “delete” button. Ever get a song stuck in your head? It isn’t easy to willingly “forget” something after you’ve learned it.

With a computer, the storage solution is relatively straightforward–human words are translated into the computer’s native machine language and physically written to a storage device called a hard drive.

Where is the “hard drive” in the human brain? How is it that we can we wake up today with not only a memory of yesterday, but memories of something that happened even twenty or more years ago?

Machine language is nothing but a stream of zeroes and ones that form a numerical pattern that can be mapped rather easily back to the human equivalent upon retrieval.

For example, consider that the following stream of information bits:

0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0111

actually represents one byte of information in machine language containing the numeric value “7” on a computer with a 32-bit processor.

So where is the hard drive in the organic tissue that comprises my brain? How is it that I can remember certain things, for example that today is my granddaughter’s birthday?

We know how cells in our bodies store inherited information. That’s fairly easy to explain — DNA is the ultimate “source code.

One of the most remarkable things that any man of science has ever said to me came from an orthopedic surgeon about to stick pins in my finger in order to immobilize it.

When I said that I didn’t understand how a removable pin would solve the problem he replied, “The body wants to heal itself.”

How does “the body” meaning my body, know how to do something “I” don’t know how to do? Where are these self-repair instructions written?

An even better question: Who wrote them?

But perhaps more importantly for today’s question, how does our brain store learned information?

How does the organic tissue inside my skull remember that 12 x 12 is 144 almost five decades after my mother taught me that information using flash cards?

I no longer have the cards, but I can still recall the information that was on them.

As I see it, there are two possibilities — one possibility is that a currently unknown or unidentified physical attribute of a brain cell somehow allows learned information to be stored in it.

For example, perhaps the microtubules and microfilaments in our brains actually form some sort of networked nano-storage device that link brain cells together into a fully functional, organic computer.

Presumably another alternative is that all our learned information is written into that ethereal data cloud we call a soul.

It seems that all that we can safely say for certain is that we don’t really have any idea how our brains allow us to function, think, and remember.

And now given this food for thought, where and how will you store it?

 

 

The origin of the universe

Sir Fred Hoyle

Sir Fred Hoyle

Once upon a time, some of the smartest people in the world thought the universe might have always existed in its current state, hence the name steady state theory was given to the idea of an eternal universe that has always existed in more or less its current form.

Aristotle. Bertrand Russell. Sir Fred Hoyle.

These men were certainly not stupid. In fact, they were among the most brilliant intellectuals of their respective eras.

Coincidentally, all three of these men were atheists. They believed our allegedly “fine-tuned” universe was eternal in part because there was insufficient scientific evidence, at least in their minds, for them to believe otherwise. But they also believed the universe had always existed as it currently is because of the implications created by the alternative, a fine-tuned universe that once had a beginning.

Hoyle famously said,

Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom; otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.

Clearly, the idea of an eternal universe has more appeal than the idea of a fine-tuned universe produced from absolute nothingness, possibly because it is less complex.

Fred Hoyle stubbornly refused to believe in that super-intellect he mentioned despite the growing evidence that supported the Big Bang theory and advocated steady state theory until his death, presumably because he couldn’t conceive of an entity that much smarter than him.

However, after Edwin Hubble discovered redshift, and Penzias and Wilson won a Nobel Prize in physics for their work on the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the Big Bang theory seemed to have settled the debate over a universe with a beginning versus an eternal universe.

If we assume the universe had the origin all the scientific evidence now suggests, then our focus should turn to a different question — was the creation of the universe an accident, or did it happen on purpose? Also, the exquisitely timed period of inflation that immediately followed the Big Bang…was that also due to unintelligent good luck?

Extrapolating further, if the creation of the universe was an accident, how do we explain the origin of life — another fortunate accident?

Is it possible to create a universe from nothing without the help of a Creator? Can DNA and a living cell be the result of nothing more than a lucky chemical reaction?

Exactly how much serendipity is required for the human race to exist?

Suffice it to say that the probability problems created by the Big Bang alone led to the development of multiverse theory, and the problems caused by abiogenesis gave us panspermia theory — meaning literally, sperm from outer space.southernprose_cover_CAFG

My contemplation of these probability and other existential problems led to my development of what I call my “Big Picture” argument, described in detail in my book Counterargument for God.

Honesty compels me to admit that I’ve been trying to focus my full attention on writing novels, fairly confident that there won’t be any scientific breakthroughs in the meantime that might shake up my current worldview enough to require me to revise it.

But when my friend Shane asked my opinion on this article titled “No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning,” of course I had to read the article in order to form an opinion.

My initial reaction is to suggest to my friend that he reread the article again, this time more carefully, and note how it asserts some sort of quantum calculation might have solved the mystery of the Big Bang by eliminating the beginning of the universe by making “corrections” to existing theory. To remove the need for an invisible God, these two theoretical scientists proposed a universe filled with an invisible quantum fluid composed of hypothetical particles called gravitons.

My friend should pay closer attention to all of the conditional verbs that were used in a few short paragraphs vaguely describing a theory promising great potential: how many times the article claims the new math “may” or “could” mean something — it is mostly speculation for a specific purpose, which is to eliminate a need for a God to properly answer an existential question.

The article asserts that “the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity” before offering the problems with the Big Bang “can be resolved by this new model in which the universe has no beginning, and no end.”

What the author really seems to be saying is “just trust us.”

The article doesn’t explain is how the scientific evidence of redshift and the cosmic microwave background radiation fit with this new theory. That evidence is universally accepted, and if this new theory can’t explain it, then it will be practically useless.

According to the author, the laws of physics “break down” at the moment of the Big Bang and thus fail to properly explain that singular event, or what could have come before the Big Bang. However, it has been my experience that the best way to solve a problem is not to simply pretend it doesn’t exist.

All of the available scientific evidence indicates the universe is expanding from a point in time that occurred billions of years ago.

These new “corrections” to the existing theory do not promise to solve the mystery of why the universe appears to have been fine-tuned uniquely to support life, or why inflation was necessary immediately following the Big Bang. It doesn’t solve the mystery of abiogenesis, or explain how descent via sexual reproduction alone might account for the millions of diverse forms of life on earth.

This “new” theory appears to be nothing but another effort to fix a problem with the existing theory that describes the creation of this universe without invoking a Creator, if for no other reason, because that seems to be an unwritten rule among modern scientists.

In short, the alleged new information promised by the article was virtually useless. The time of those involved would have been better spent seeking to understand quantum consciousness.

My advice to Shane is simple: don’t worry about articles with wild speculation and audacious claims like these until the Big Bang theory becomes obsolete, and the scientists proposing these theories have won virtually universal acceptance from the physics community — and a Nobel Prize, of course.

 

Dr. Ben Carson for President

Carson Scholars FundThere are quite a few excellent candidates for President in 2016, but I have a personal favorite, Dr. Ben Carson.

Please don’t misunderstand — for example, I like both Scott Walker and Dr. Rand Paul well enough and think either of them could also be a good man for the job…just not the best man for the job.

Ditto Mike Huckabee. I like that Huckabee supports the Fair Tax. However, without reading details of his plan to reform the tax system, I’m confident that Dr. Carson will likewise simplify our tax code.

What gives me this confidence? Radical simplification is absolutely essential in order to create new economic growth. Dr. Carson is obviously a very smart man, and after reading his editorial essays and listening to his speeches, I am very confident his primary objective will be solving our problems, rather than consolidating his political power.

In my opinion, what is usually identified as his greatest weakness as a candidate is also Dr. Carson’s greatest strength — he’s a medical doctor, not a professional politician by any stretch of the imagination. Dr. Carson has never held any political office, in fact.

So he’s not a polished politician. He’s not “politically correct.”

However, Dr. Carson is a brilliant thinker, and a terrific public speaker — very articulate without a teleprompter, as this inspiring speech he gave at the prayer breakfast demonstrated.

And he is a man accustomed to hard work – and a man known for getting things done. For example, Dr. Carson became internationally famous after leading a team of his fellow neurosurgeons in the world’s first successful operation to separate twins conjoined at the head, a twenty-two hour ordeal.

It was such a big deal that Cuba Gooding, Jr. played him in the Hollywood movie.

Clearly, Dr. Carson has a reputation for solving the unsolvable problem. Prior to his retirement, one might say that he was a little too busy helping save the lives of critically ill children to play politics.

Furthermore, Dr. Carson’s life story epitomizes the “rags-to-riches” American dream that many believe is now dead. He’s living proof that isn’t true.

Simply stated, Dr. Carson represents everything that has made America into the greatest nation in the history of the earth — the freedom to reach for and even exceed our wildest dreams of achievement.

If elected, he wouldn’t be the first American President without prior experience in politics. Dwight Eisenhower was the most recent, and George Washington the most famous.

I’d rather we elected a true patriot over an experienced politician. We need an experienced problem solver. It should be noted that Dr. Ben Carson has successfully dealt with some of the most difficult problems encountered by medical science and taken significant risks over the course of his professional career in order to save the lives of children. Dr. Carson is truly a selfless man.

Barack Obama promised a fundamental transformation of America, and has largely succeeded by dividing Americans against each other.

Racial tensions are being aggravated by the government instead of being quelled.

I believe Dr. Ben Carson can transform America back into the country the founding fathers intended. And he isn’t being shy about going public with his idea for how to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The man has read de Tocqueville, so he knows American history. Dr. Carson also understands the problems of poverty, and from his own personal experience. He certainly didn’t grow up as a child of privilege in a tropical paradise. He’s humble enough that he prays every day.

Assuming that America’s problems can be solved, Ben Carson will solve them. If anything can be done, Ben Carson will do it better.

Because that’s his work ethic.

The Pearl: 2 May 2015

images-5Biggest thing I learned my first year in the NFL is nobody gives a crap about what you did last week. The league is about what have you done for me now. That’s the NFL. It’s also our culture. So you keep working hard because that’s the biggest truth about football. — Andrew Luck

Once upon a time, while arguing about a call with the referee during a game, coach Jerry Glanville famously claimed that the initials of the NFL really meant “Not For Long” rather than “National Football League” because a bad call could cost someone his job.

And it’s obviously true.

The NFL Player’s Association has estimated that the average length of a player’s career is 3.5 years.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell replied:

There is a little bit of a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding on that. Frequently, it is said that the average career is about 3.5 years. In fact, if a player makes an opening day roster, his career is very close to six years…If you are a first-round draft choice, the average career is close to nine years. That 3.5-year average is really a misrepresentation. What it adds is a lot of players who don’t make an NFL roster and it brings down the average.

Only the best of the best football players make it into the NFL, and then mostly because of their God-given, natural athletic talent.

However, the right to stay there must be earned every day, by preparation and hard work.

 

 

To whom would an atheist pray?

51VqubTGmyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I can understand how a person can become an atheist — after all, in my book Divine Evolution, I described how I came to believe in God, after at least a decade of materialistic, apathetic agnosticism created by my advanced education.

Like many atheists have done, I came to believe that much of what I learned in school conflicted with the “Young Earth Creationism” worldview to which I was indoctrinated at an early age, and so I discarded my previously held religious beliefs in favor of nothing.

Strangely enough however, at any point during this period I now call my apathetic agnosticism, if you’d asked me if I believed in ghosts, my answer would have quickly been something along the lines of, “Absolutely. My friend’s family owns a house that I’m sure is haunted, and I’ve been there many times. I have personally experienced ghosts.”

Personal experience can have a very powerful impact on someone’s worldview, I can attest.

At the same time, I would have equivocated on the same question asked about God and given a much different answer because of my lack of personal experience with God at that time.

In retrospect, it now occurs to me that my acceptance of the “reality” of a supernatural ghost and simultaneous rejection of a supernatural God seems a bit silly. To be brutally honest though, I really wasn’t putting a whole lot of thought into existential questions at that point in my life. Quite frankly, furthering my professional career and raising a family were much higher priorities for me.

Rarely if ever did I go to church during that extended period of my life when I leaned toward atheism. I only prayed when I wanted something, but because I didn’t really believe in God, I was never very surprised when my prayers went unanswered. I was surprised the night I prayed for something completely different than a material wish, and immediately realized that my prayer had been answered.

I’m not absolutely certain of very many things, but I’m quite sure about this — if I hadn’t had a personal experience with God and had become an atheist, I sure as hell wouldn’t have any reason to pray or ever go to church. I really can’t fathom this relatively new atheist phenomenon known as the “Sunday assembly” — think of it as going to a church with people doesn’t worship any God.

Perhaps more accurately, think of it as a short concert with lectures by guest speakers. However you want to describe it, why on earth would anyone want to go to a church without God?

Since I’m being honest, I don’t go to church nearly as often as I should. I admit that I prefer watching a good sermon in my pajamas. I don’t have to rush to shower and get dressed up for a sixty minute service. Therefore, I fail to grasp the appeal of the atheist’s version of Sunday worship services. But I also don’t understand the point of the oxymoronic concept known as an atheist minister.

Yes, they really do exist.

In fact, several months ago I wrote to a rather well-known atheist minister named Gretta Vosper after listening to one of her “sermons” online. I wanted to ask her one simple question: to whom does an atheist pray?

She recently responded to my query, saying that I should borrow her book titled Amen: What Prayer Means in a World Beyond Belief, from our local library. Then she kindly offered to answer any questions I might have after I’ve read it. southernprose_cover_CAFG

I hope to take her up on that offer after I’ve had a chance to read her book. Unfortunately, even the Kindle version of her book is rather expensive (almost twelve dollars) so I will be looking to borrow the library copy as she suggested. The print copy of my book is only $12.83 on Amazon. I’d have to sell about a half dozen copies of my books to earn enough money to buy one of her e-books.

Of course I’m always happy to give her (or any other atheist with even a shred of interest) a free electronic copy upon request. Until I’ve had the opportunity to read Ms. Vosper’s book, I’m pretty sure that in the meantime, I can logically deduce to whom an atheist might pray, if not a supernatural God.

Atheists could pray to themselves. Or they could pray to the universe. The most obvious answer, of course, would be “nothing.”

None of those options will ever answer a prayer.

Therefore, an “atheist’s prayer” could perhaps more simply and accurately be called “meditation” with no hope of providing a benefit.

After all, prayer is a form of action in which a person seeks to communicate with a supernatural deity, any concept of which is naturally rejected by atheism.

Undirected prayer is nothing but a waste of time, the babbling of meaningless words without purpose — just as “fasting” without prayer is nothing but an extreme diet.

So these questions remain unanswered: to whom are atheists praying? What could possibly be the point of attending these Sunday assemblies that emulate church in everything except worship?

Have these atheists who attend them subconsciously realized that they are missing out on something vitally important to their happiness and mental wellbeing?

 

The Pearl: 24 April 2015

carrie-fisher-11Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. — Carrie Fisher

The line above is from actress Carrie Fisher’s one-woman play titled Wishful Drinking.

Superstar-famous due to her iconic role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher weathered the storm of dealing with personal addiction problems and mental health issues while under the intense media scrutiny typically accorded a Hollywood A-lister.File_Carrie_Fisher_at_WonderCon_2009_4

She is an accomplished author as well as a famous actress — Fisher’s novel Postcards From the Edge was a bestseller, made into a movie.

In Wishful Drinking, Fisher confronts the demons that have caused so much pain in her life with grace and humor, sharing with her audience the pain of her husband leaving her for another man, which led to her brief stay in a mental hospital.

Near the end of her show Fisher said, “I heard someone say recently that many of us only seem to be able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And you know, while the place I’ve arrived at in my life isn’t precisely everyone’s idea of heaven, I could swear that sometimes, if I’m quiet…I can hear the angels sing.”

Fisher paused and then somewhat pragmatically added, “Either that, or I’ve f##ked up my medication.”

Can a Christian believe in ghosts?

southernprose_cover_SHSMy novel Secondhand Sight won the 2013 Reader’s Favorite international book award for Fiction in the Horror category.

However, the novel is not one  that I’d recommend to everybody because the plot involves paranormal activity. Ghosts are treated as real entities in my book, because I believe they really exist.

I do realize that not everyone believes in ghosts. It even seems that some of my Christian friends agree with my non-Christian friends about the subject of ghosts, even though they disagree about practically everything else.

Most atheists reject the idea of ghosts because they don’t believe any supernatural or paranormal phenomena is real. Yet I’ve had Christian friends also say they don’t believe ghosts are really the spirits of dead people. They think ghosts are actually demons pretending to act like a dead human, presuming that we know how disembodied spirit should normally behave. Some of my Christian friends don’t think there is a biblical basis for believing that ghosts are real, but they are mistaken.

In my opinion, Christians should be open to the possibility that ghosts exist because of something that’s in the Bible, words spoken by Jesus himself.

Luke 24: 36-39 describes the first encounter that Jesus had with the disciples, after his crucifixion and resurrection. The New International Version Bible (NIV) reads:

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be upon you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they had seen a ghost.

38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?

39 Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”

Please note that Jesus does not say, “Ghosts do not exist.”

Instead, Jesus describes the difference between being brought back from the dead and being a ghost by specifying that ghosts do not have flesh or bones. His disciples were men who had allegedly witnessed more than enough miracles performed by Jesus not to question his authority or divinity.

They would have believed him, had Jesus simply said that ghosts don’t exist, at any point during his ministry. However, Jesus never did that.

Jesus never said that ghosts were nothing but a figment of our imagination — probably because he remembered how the witch of Endor had called forth the ghost of Samuel for King Saul, found in I Samuel 28:3-25. Perhaps Jesus knew that ghosts really exist from personal experience, like me.51VqubTGmyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I grew up in Savannah, Georgia, with the reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in America. I believe in ghosts because I’ve had them play silly pranks on me, more than once. I’ve even felt a ghost touch me. So I have very, very little doubt that ghosts are real. My personal ghost stories were recounted in my first book, Divine Evolution.

You don’t have to simply take my word for it, though.

Personal observation and experience is the most powerful form of scientific evidence one might consider — empirical evidence.

It isn’t all that difficult to find a haunted house with a well-documented history near where you live, to find out for yourself. As the old expression goes, seeing is believing.

However, you might choose to simply believe the words of the risen Christ.

Assuming you really are a Christian, of course.

 

On the formation of the universe, by C. W. Bobbitt

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Unfortunately, I decided to begin my book Counterargument for God with my criticisms of Darwin and worked backward, instead of beginning with the Big Bang, the beginning of the universe and working forward.

As a result, many atheist readers stopped reading before they reached my observations on the evidence for the Big Bang, because they couldn’t accept the truth when I shed light on what I believe to be the obvious flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

After reading my book and corresponding with me, professor C. W. Bobbitt was kind enough to allow his personal thoughts in regard to the existential questions to be published here on my website.

He offered this excellent suggestion as he wrote, “I think it best to have you read and mull on it for a day or so. I will just mention a couple of things to pique your interest: visualize God commanding “nothing” to split into two universes of matter and anti-matter (some might think of this a right-handed and a left-handed system) with each flying away from the other to its pre-assigned space and each experiencing an initial behavior which we mortals call the Big Bang. Thus our universe comes into being in a way consistent with scientific thinking… after God initiates it.

Without further ado, here are Professor Bobbitt’s thoughts on the Big Bang theory.

ON THE FORMATION OF THE UNIVERSE

by C. W. Bobbitt

We suppose that the universe had a beginning, that it came into being by an act of creation, that the creating agency was (is) God. As mortal men we seek to know how it came into being, how God performed this act. It is doubtful that man will ever know, in this world, the answer to the question, but out of our curiosity and our vanity it is unlikely that we will give up the search. With this in mind, let us consider some possibilities.

We identify the universe as space which contains matter, and because we believe in an infinite and almighty God we can accept that space and matter came into being by God’s spoken word: “Let there be space,” and “let there be matter in the space.” This is our starting point. What we really want to know are answers to these questions: What characteristics and attributes did God impart to space and matter? What laws did He establish for the behavior of matter in space? How did He distribute the matter throughout the space? How did He put energy into the system? How did He provide initial conditions of motion?

Between the beginning and the present time there are any number of ways that God could have distributed matter and given it initial conditions which, subject to the laws of the universe, would produce the present configuration. It seems proper, however, seeing as how men of scientific and philosophic persuasion have put so much effort into it, to go along with the Big Bang Theory. This still leaves us with plenty of things to wonder about. Did God infuse the matter with energy then command it to explode? Or did He simply command it to explode? (There is yet another mechanism which will be mentioned later, but it is to bizarre for the present discussion.) Did the glob of matter explode into countless pieces of various sizes, or were the pieces all infinitesimal, to later combine into atoms, molecules, and so on? Were the seeds of life present immediately after the Big Bang, or did they form at some later time according to God’s formula? Are they still being formed at the present time?

These are the kinds of questions for which we cannot produce proofs, so of the various scenarios which are consistent with present observations, the curious student who insists upon a mechanism should just choose the one he likes best and go with it. We suspect, however, that space and time have other attributes, and are governed by other laws that have not yet been discovered, and it is a proper function of science to diligently seek them out.

With regard to the origin of the universe and of life, we have acknowledged that God created the universe and was the author of life, so it matters little whether the seeds of life came out of the Big Bang or formed in the universe at some later time; the essential point is that God created life, and we further declare that only God can create life.

There are perhaps many things that can be said about the origin of the universe that are best deferred to a later time. The primary purpose here is to establish clearly that God created the universe and the life which ultimately appeared and flourished on planet earth.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Scientific models of the things of the universe include the notion of matter and anti-matter. One concept is no more extraordinary than the other; they are both mass and, as such, have energy equivalence in accordance with Einstein’s laws. They are named as they are to imply that when matter and anti-matter come together, there results a mutual annihilation of equivalent amounts of each, with release of energy, presumably in accordance with the equation e = mc’. (continued on page 2)

It is inevitable that one should wonder how matter and anti -matter came to be, and thus be led to consider the reverse process of mutual annihilation. Since matter and anti-matter join- with an output of energy-to make nothing, it is reasonable to suppose that nothing-with an input of energy–can be separated into two somethings (matter and anti-matter) when a suitable power (God) chooses to effect the separation. Thereafter He might be disposed to create separate spaces for the two components with maybe some fraction of each kind appearing in the other’s space. This of course is pure fancy, but it does present an alternate understanding of God’s creation of matter.

To carry this fancy full circle, we might imagine the coming of a time when, for whatever reason, perhaps an act of God, the universes of matter and anti-matter come together and softly and suddenly vanish away, like the Baker who saw the Boojum.

While it may be of interest to readers for our separate views to be contrasted, that is analysis best saved for another day, perhaps even tomorrow.

Following the advice of professor Bobbitt, this afternoon I shall limit this post to publishing his ideas without contrasting them to mine.

Professor Bobbitt also supplemented his thoughts on the origin of the universe with an interesting analogy that readers may find extremely useful as they contemplate the information offered in his papers. It follows below:

NOTES ON THE UNIVERSE, EXISTENCE, AND GOD

Upon contemplating the universe, two things immediately stand out to even the most casual observer: 1) it’s big, and 2) it has got a lot of stuff in it. The vastness of space boggles the mind, and its very dimensions dull our apprehension of the incalculable amount of matter it contains. There is little wonder that many people are content to believe that the universe is all that there is.

There are others, however, who think bigger; whose fertile imaginations envision other universes, perhaps many others, each with its own time and space, and these people go so far as to suggest that universes might actually be connected by some configuration of existence that is yet to be discovered.

One thing is certain: our universe is real and has actual being, both material and spiritual, in space and time, it is included in the totality of being. This much is said to emphasize that all the universe is in the realm of existence, but that all existence is not confined to the universe. Indeed, existence, viewed as a domain, contains everything that has being; every material body, every thought, every emotion, everything that is. It is really not out of place here to make the succinct defining statement, “Existence is.”

There is a certain abstractness about existence that sometimes causes difficulty in communication. It is helpful to devise a concrete analogy which is readily understood by everyone in order to facilitate one’s comprehension of various ideas and notions which are to be examined in relation to existence.

To this end, let us represent existence by a flat plane of indefinite extent which is covered by a uniform layer of sand, and things that have being; that is, things which exist, will be represented by a disruption in the surface of the sand. As an example, suppose someone places his finger in the sand, draws it some distance across the surface, then removes it. There is now a furrow in the sand which did not exist previously, something new has come into being, something has been created. This creation can be of any sort the analogist chooses; in this present argument we are considering the universe, so we will make the analogy that the sand is to existence as the furrow in the sand is to the universe. The actual system here is the existence-universe combination and the analogous system is the sand-furrow pair. Some points of correspondence present themselves clearly: both the furrow and the universe have a beginning, a duration, and an end. Both were created. The agent of creation is obvious in the analogous system, but is presently obscure in the actual system.

We note that the furrow in the sand can be extended indefinitely in either or both directions; the starting and stopping points are arbitrarily chosen to indicate the origin and demise of the universe, the connecting line is its duration.

There is a point of view which holds that the universe did not have a beginning and will not have an end; that it always was and always will be–that it is eternal. The present state of knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics points overwhelmingly against this view, but it is conceivable. In the analogous system this state of the universe would be represented by a line in the sand extending forward and backward, without end, from the present state. This unquestionably would represent eternalness, but the idea must be rejected altogether on the basis of the scientific evidence from astronomy that the universe is temporal; that it had an origin at a reasonably estimated time, and presently is changing with time.

As a point of interest, we note that a temporal universe without beginning or end can easily be imagined as the analog of a closed curve in the sands of existence. One would expect such a system to be non-isentropic and to eventually run down to a state of complete chaos.

Returning to the consideration of existence, it must be evident that existence, by and of itself, takes no note of time and space. Existence is eternal (timeless), and it knows no bounds except itself. On the other hand, physical space can be conceived to be limited; and even if it is not, a particular space such as that which contains the matter of our universe cannot justifiably be taken as the only physical space that exists.

Time and space are the attributes of creation. It is only when something comes into being and progresses from its starting point that time has meaning; thus, for example, when we speak of the universe in terms of the expression “in the beginning,” which is obviously temporal, but we cannot apply the same expression to existence, or anything else that is eternal. The designation of space as an attribute of creation is made to emphasize that each individual created universe (analogously, each line in the sand) has its own space into which other universes do not encroach — as far as is known.

Since there are many different kinds of spaces, and, at least, several definitions of physical space made to fit particular situations, we will arbitrarily define the space occupied by a universe to be the region enclosed by a spherical shell whose diameter is the distance of separation of the two most widely separated physical bodies of that universe. Obviously, the shell diameter changes with relative motion of the two bodies. (We note that this discussion applies to universes which contain matter.)

Existence, then, represented as a level surface of sand, can support as many creations, of whatever kinds, that the creating entity chooses. A mortal man, standing over the (analogous) sand of existence can, with his finger–with a wave of his hand–originate disruptions in the sand to his heart’s desire. Does this not suggest that the agency which caused our universe to come into being could do a similar thing in actual existence? Does the analogy hold even through this? Is it too much to suppose that in the eternity of existence there have been innumerable separate and distinct creations, including universes, brought into being by the same instrumentality which occasioned our own universe? Is there truly no limit to this force, this power, this presence, which created our universe and everything within it? The time has come to put a name to it.

Up to this point, the author of this paper has refrained from mentioning God as the author of these creations, so as not to generate bias, one way or another, in the reader’s mind, but now there is no escaping the truth that this awesome, almighty presence is God, and yes, there is no limit to what God can do. Just as man stands over the “sands of existence” and makes his mark, so God hovers over actual existence and makes His creations at will. Just as existence is eternal, so also is God eternal, and not only does God oversee existence, He also permeates it so as to know every detail of eternity at all times. In view of this, one might be tempted to define God as being existence endowed with Godly attributes, but this does not allow for God’s attribute-supporting essence, that part of God which will forever remain a mystery to mortal man.

Who then, what then is this Almighty God to us? What do we know of Him? We know of God what He has revealed to us through His creations and His attributes. We know He is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign. Apart from these things is God’s essence, a knowledge of which is forever forbidden to us in this world. “Why?” is a question to which we expect no answer. It is not for man to know the mind of God.

As a closing thought, we note that Adam and Eve, tempted by the serpent, disobeyed God in the hope of acquiring knowledge of His essence, and thereby brought about the fall of man.

By this writing, the author clearly reveals himself to be a theist, seeing God as the Supreme Being; directing, in particular, the course of mankind, and interceding at His will. Any suggestion that the acknowledgement of God must give rise to a “science versus God” struggle for the control of man’s mind is unwarranted and is a disservice to both parties. There will always be theists and there will always be a-theists, and it will always be improper to associate either of these labels with the disciplines of science.

Tomorrow we shall attempt to reconcile the Big Bang argument culled from my Counterargument for God to professor Bobbitt’s approach to the same problem, hoping to see how we reached the same conclusion with different means of getting there.

 

 

The Pearl: 15 April 2015

Mark_TwainWhat is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist only takes your skin. — Mark Twain

Few professions have been the butt of more jokes or inspired more scorn and derision than a tax collector, known in modern times as an IRS employee. Even Jesus the Christ used tax collectors as the stereotype of humans behaving badly, saying: “For if you only love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Ronald Reagan joked that, “Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Sadly, there is an element of truth in that joke.

But there is always hope for the future…at least one politician running for President in 2016 understands the true nature of America’s growing tax-and-spending problem.

Senator Marco Rubio said, “We don’t need new taxes. We need new taxpayers, people who are gainfully employed, making money, and paying into the tax system. And then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue to pay down the debt and never grow it again.”

What we need is a tax system that is designed to fund the government, not a system designed to redistribute wealth under the guise of “fairness.”

In other words, we need the FairTax.