Wednesday, November 19, 2008


On Monday I did my typical routine... got a text message from redbox with my free DVD rental. So I watched Expelled.

This movie is worth seeing. It's a little polarizing (comparisons to Nazi Germany), and certainly not the whole story, but it exposes the ridiculous suppression of truth ("damned nonsense" as C.S. Lewis calls it) that goes on in academia. I was surprised to find a friend that was in it... Guillermo Gonzalez. He was a part of our church and recently "expelled" from Iowa State.

My O.T./N.T. prof...Hector Avalos. I also did an independent study with him on my topic, "An essay concerning Jonathan Edward's biblical exegesis in 'The End for Which God Created the World.'" Although Dr. Avalos is a prosletyzing atheist, I consider him a friend and a man with crazy knowledge about the ancient near east.
And last but (or and...) least my physics prof- John Hauptman. I didn't get to know him well, but he seemed like a nice guy. But his quotes in the movie were blatantly hostile to faith.
Where do we go from here?

If you're a young person with an inclination toward science- strive to be the next Newton or Kepler or Einstein. Do science with all your might and remember the chief end of all science is the glory of God. Cherish Psalm 19. And remember that as a scientist, you are merely "following the faithfulness of God in all things." (to loosely quote AW Tozer in Knowledge of the Holy)

If you're a schmo... pray and love people. Don't try to win arguments. Don't throw down your "pearls of knowledge" on intellectuals. But don't think the truth is unknowable. "The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple." Ps. 19

If you're a Christian apologist...don't deny this fact- believing in a Creator God is an issue of faith (Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we believe God created the world...").


Steph said...

Amen! And may I add, even if you're science-inclined, still don't try to win arguments. I'm a PhD chemical engineer and often find myself in faith-hostile environments (since I work in academia). It's not worth getting into an argument with the anti-God people around here. It just makes me mad and then I don't act like much of a Christian. I think that the best way to reach them is to be open, honest about what you believe when it comes up, and just love them. Show patience, kindness, self-control, humility...the fruits of the spirit. Those characteristics are often lacking in the academic world, as most people are trying to make a name for themselves and build themselves up.

And, if you're looking for a good way to satisfy your science-inclined mind, read "The Case for a Creator" by Lee Strobel. I've read all three of his books, and this one was by far the most interesting to me. It looks at the scientific evidence for a Creator God, and encouraged me that my faith is not blind nor irrational, but fully merges with the logical, with physics, chemistry and biology!

(on a side-note, I remember a few conversations when the Guillermo Gonzales tenure case was big news, and even in a faculty meeting some snide comments were made about his case and appeal to the University president...and we're not at all related to the physics department. I've never been so uncomfortable at a meeting in my life!)

Steph said...

PS - our connection group went to see "Expelled" when it was in the theatre last winter, and I absolutely loved it. Yes, it maybe goes a little far in comparing academia to Nazi Germany, but I found myself wanting it to be longer and to give more details about the different cases that it touches on.

peter said...

I think the issue of Nazi Germany was misunderstood in this post and the above comment. The issue simply illustrated the consistent outworkings of darwinism. "Polarizing" or not, it is a legitimate and sound reductio ad absurdum argument against darwinism and its materialistic foundation. The woman in the museum could not condemn or even speak against the experimentation on and murdering of vulnerable human beings--she is a consistent darwinist! Eliminate the weak!

"Steph" I am afraid I disagree with your reasoning behind not arguing for your faith--"you get mad and are a bad witness." Unfortunately graceful arguing is a difficult skill to develop, and people can take offense even if you are being gracious. Chesterton says "people quarrel because they don't know how to argue." Arguing well and fruitfully has to be learned, often times through trial and error. But it should be part of the complete Christian life and witness: The Apostle Paul reasoned with unbelievers and Apollos even engaged in public debate as recorded in Acts. If this aspect of evangelism is neglected, it will be an incomplete method of evangelism. Love and fruit need to be backed up and explained with doctrinal and theological truth (and this truth includes not only positive explanation and reasoning for Christianity, but also refutation of others 2 Cor 10:5). The reason why Christians are being expelled is because Christians have either lost or not engaged in arguments over the past hundred years. We are paying now for our corwardice and failures. Sticking with the pure "showing love" tactic and shrinking away from strong intellectual persuasion will likely result in being viewed as nothing other than a Flanders.

Steph said...

Peter, I agree that I have to be able to defend my faith and engage in a conversation on an intellectual level. The problem that I have often encountered is that as soon as any notion of intelligent design is brought up, the idea is immediately dismissed as "ridiculous" and both parties get put on the defensive.
I'll be the first to admit that I probably do need some sort of lesson in how to argue without becoming emotionally involved or taking everything personally. I know that I have a tendency to do that. But I will also say that I believe that God has given me other opportunities to share my faith with my colleagues, because I have been able to build friendships with them and share life circumstances with some of them (particularly with regard to our kids and families). It is through these relationships that I hope to be (and have been) able to engage in more "lively" conversations about faith and God and our commonality as humans.
I completely agree with you that love and fruit need to be backed up with sound theology and truth. But with some people, beginning with truth alone (particularly when it flies in the face of the lies that they have bought in to) results in a further hardening of their heart and increases their hostility to the truth. That's why I say, "don't try to WIN arguments." Yes, argue and defend your faith and understand the reasons why you believe, but realize that there are some situations in which you won't WIN, you just have to pray that somehow God will use you to open their eyes to the truth a little bit. This often happens, I believe, as a result of them seeing the fruit in your life first. But - the two do go hand-in-hand, so we shouldn't completely neglect one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Metropuritan Mark said...

Sivadge, what up?! I just emailed you. We'll be in touch.