Monday Musings for August 07, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

That our world is growing more secular should come as no shock — but this has by-products. For example, I cry over our losses in what was considered standard knowledge a few decades ago. We are less biblically literate and less conversant in the classics… remembering that even nonbelievers knew the Bible back in the day. Its influence permeated society and its references permeated literature. If you were even basically learned, you’d bump into it.

Furthermore, we have lost the impetus for critical thinking. We’ve replaced this with shallow and ubiquitous communications, popular science, monotone politics… and this won’t end well for the world. Here’s why.

For centuries the culture has been borrowing capital from Christianity. The Enlightenment exploded in Reformation Europe; scientists explored God’s creation as God’s creation; we built great universities to train men to serve God; we established medical institutions that were the hands and feet of Jesus himself, and missions brought hope and infrastructure around the world along with the gospel of peace. This formed a great reservoir of goodness — and it grew even while secularization was growing.

But you don’t have to be a math major to see where secularization will take us. If the culture draws more from the reservoir of God’s beneficence than its contributors replace, we will eventually run out of goodness… and we have an analog in municipal water systems.

Imagine a reservoir where the water level is dropping because the streams that feed it are putting in less than the consumers are taking out. Now, you will never notice the emergency by looking at your faucet… so, if you stay in your house, nothing will seem wrong. But if you dare to investigate by driving by the reservoir, you will see the effects. Unless someone adjusts the water’s input or the output, we are going to run out… and that’s what is happening in our culture. We are running out of the goodness and knowledge of God that kept this world morally verdant… even for the unbelievers.

What’s a soul-winner to do in a world where people have no sense of sin — and where some are not even aware that Jesus Christ was a real historical character! That’s the world we find ourselves in. We are living with the reservoir’s dregs now… and a few Bible verses just won’t get the job done.

To address this, I have replaced my website’s homepage with a new article entitled An Alternative to Death… because there is an alternative to death. It’s called eternal life… and we Christians tend to know this. So pray that this new “hook” will grab a few souls along the way.

Here’s the issue: although there is an alternative to death, there is not an alternative to everlastingness. Everyone persists somewhere. For believers, it’s called eternal life (1 John 5:11), but for unbelievers, it’s called the second death (Revelation 21:8)… and this put humanity at a crossroads.

Philosophical naturalists say that we don’t even exist as persons… let alone persist as persons. Instead, they say, we are biological machines. This means that any sense of self-awareness — the phenomenon that makes us feel like persons beyond the machinery — is illusory.

We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA. ... This is exactly what we are for. We are machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object's sole reason for living. (Emphasis mine)

Richard Dawkins, Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, 'The Ultraviolet Garden', (No. 4, 1991). Quoted in Vinoth Ramachandra, Subverting Global Myths: Theology and the Public Issues Shaping our World (2008)

By way of contrast, we Christians say that our non-physical self is the essential self and that this essential self transcends the physical body. This entity, sometimes called the soul, is functionally joined to the physical body while being ontologically discrete from it. We also believe that this soul persists forever… with or without a body.

Only one view is correct… and this is the crossroads. We either truly exists as persons, or our biological machinery is fooling us into thinking we are persons. I like door number one… and if you can’t get a person through that door, the Gospel will be foolishness to him or her.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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