On Evolution and Jesus
Good evening. I am a Christian who stumbled across your website and began to read the reasons you stated for being an atheist. I have heard these before, and in response to your point of “I think evolution is the best explanation for what we see,” I have several disagreements. Evolution fails to answer the questions of how the universe came about, how living creatures could come from non-life, and how new genetic information could arise from one type of creature to another. The fact that the universe came into being by “chance” and species from “natural selection” fail to give the rightful credit to the God who created the heavens and the earth. Scientists cannot replicate the first cell, they cannot explain the “preCambrian explosion”, and cannot explain that if we are evolutionary creatures why we have a conscious and rationale that is able to distinguish right from wrong.
I understand that you say you are quite moral, but we as humans are not moral. Anyone judged against the ten commandments or Jesus’s sermon on the Mount understand that we all fall short. My question for you is have you ever truly read the Bible? Have you read the Old Testament to witness how the story fits into the New Testament and the salvation of Jesus Christ? I will walk by comfortable faith in the truth that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, man sinned against God, God promised his chosen nation of Israel to bring forth a Messiah, and Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and died for our sins on the cross on Calvary. There is a heaven and a hell my friend, and the only way to get to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your savior. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told you this good news before, but I hope that you give this a careful decision…it has eternal implications.
I just want to make a couple more points. Look at the miracle that is the Jewish people. The Roman empire destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. and they were dispersed from their homeland for nearly 2000 years. But God has brought them back into their homeland from the four corners of the earth! This was prophesized in the Bible just like Jesus’s first coming and his second coming. No civilization in history has survived the displacements and trials that the Jews have. And the reason they still exist is because they are God’s chosen people. If you’ve never read the Book of Revelation in the Bible I strongly encourage you to read it. I only have one more point to make. I read another article of yours and you said that there were eyewitnesses of Jesus’s miracles. If Christianity is just some hoax that people are fooled into, why did the early disciples and millions of people over history continue to be martyred for their faith? I think I can reasonably conclude the you would not die for holding to your atheistic principles, but yet millions have died for the sake of Jesus Christ. The reason is because this is the truth my friend, and if you have any questions, please email me as I believe everyone should know of the good news of Jesus Christ. God bless friend and I will be praying for you.
I’m pleased that you posted on my blog, and I’m happy to address the points you bring up. Taking them in order:
You are right that evolution does not answer the questions of the origins of the universe and life, but it’s not supposed to. Evolution explains what happens after life begins, and saying that it is wrong because it does not explain how life begins is like saying that mathematics is wrong because it does not explain where numbers come from.
You are incorrect when you state that evolution does not explain “how new genetic information could arise from one type of creature to another.” There are, in fact, many mechanisms for the creation of new genetic information, including mutation, gene duplication, insertion of DNA by viruses, and more.
You’re right that scientific theories about the origin of the universe and of species do not give credit to God. If they did, then they would not be scientific theories. This does not mean that God does not exist, only that God is not a topic for scientific inquiry.
You’re right that scientists can’t replicate the first cell, and since there is no way to tell precisely what that first cell was, I assume that they will never be able to replicate it. You ask about the “preCambrian explosion” — I don’t know what that is. If you mean the Cambrian explosion, then scientists have plenty of data on that and on life before it.
You say that science can’t explain how consciousness and a rational mind evolved. At this point, consciousness is an area that is just beginning to be studied scientifically, and to my knowledge we can’t even define it rigorously yet, so it’s no surprise that we can’t yet say where it came from. I’m not willing to give up the search at this early point, however. I’d say that there’s no mystery about how rational minds evolved — there would be strong selective pressure against irrational minds.
You say that evolution can’t explain how we can distinguish right from wrong. Since people can’t rigorously agree on what is right and what is wrong, I’d argue that maybe you are looking for an explanation of something that doesn’t exist. If you are talking about simple, gut-level feelings about right and wrong, there are copious theories about how these could have evolved.
You say that humans are not moral, but I’d say that we are likely just disagreeing on vocabulary. I would call moral anyone who has a rigorous system of morality and diligently attempts to stick to it. That one can’t do so perfectly isn’t an indication of immorality, but of imperfection, and I do not argue that any human is perfect.
You bring up the Ten Commandments, and seem to be proposing it as a standard of morality. I would argue that it is not a good standard, in that it is incomplete, not rigorously defined, and includes some items that I do not believe should be given moral weight (such as believing in God). I’d say that the Sermon on the Mount is a poor standard for similar reasons.
You ask if I’ve ever truly read the Bible. I don’t know what you mean by “truly,” but I’ve read multiple translations of the Bible, as well as dozens of books and scores of scholarly magazines about it. I read it when I was religious, and read it again many times afterwards. I’d say that I have a decent layman’s familiarity with the book.
I’m not sure why you bring up “the miracle that is the Jewish people.” You talk about them being the chosen people, and about how God has brought them back to their homeland. But didn’t God’s covenant with the Jews end with the coming of Christ? Returning to a previous point, many religious scholars argue that the Ten Commandments do not apply to Christians because they are part of the covenant with the Jews (the New Testament reasserts nine of the Commandments, but not the one about keeping the sabbath).
I don’t recall saying that there were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ miracles, but I agree that the Bible says that there were witnesses. I do not believe that Christianity is a hoax, so the balance of your argument does not hold for me. You assume that I would not die for my atheistic principles, but I’d say that would depend on the situation.
You say that the fact that millions of people have died for Jesus is evidence that Christianity is true. Do you consider Muslim suicide bombers to be evidence that Islam is true? Or the death of those who refused to convert for the Inquisition evidence that Christianity is not true? If not, then what is the difference?
I look forward to your response. Please let me know if there are any issues in your post that you feel I did not adequately address.