Your World Is Too Small

This week, as we continue in our series, Answers to Tough Questions, we took on a debate that has been going on for a long time. It may not burn today as brightly as it once did, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away. Instead, it has become the background assumption of many of the people around us. This debate is the clash between faith and science. Read on to find out how we can engage in this debate as followers of Jesus.

Your World Is Too Small

How do you know that you know something? Have you ever thought about that? Unless you’ve taken a philosophy class, you probably haven’t. But, the answer to that question is a lot more important than you might think. For example, I have a stool up here on stage with me. I bought this at Walmart. How many people in here have sat on this stool before? I know there are a few, but most of you have not. Given that, how many of you who have not sat on it before would be willing to sit on it if I asked you to do so? If you said yes to that, beyond simply fulfilling my request, why would you sit on it? Probably because you believe you will be able to sit on it. But why? Why do you believe that? Or, to put that another way, how do you know you’ll be able to sit on it? How do you know it will not collapse underneath you? Pushing this one step further, how do you know you know that? This same kind of line of questioning could be used relating to anything else you do. How do you know the food you eat won’t poison you? How do you know your car will make it to work? How do you know the store clerk will give you your change? How do you know your family members love you? How do you know that you know the things you know? This may all seem silly, but the answer to this question really does matter. I’ll tell you why in just a bit.

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Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:9

“Then God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I read a lot of news. Well…I read a lot of headlines. Actually, I read a lot of headlines from the Bing search engine website from Microsoft. I don’t mean this as a commercial, but I signed up to earn Bing points for doing basic internet searches. Every so often I cash in the points for free gift cards. Bing raises their search profile and I get free stuff for my family. And I stay broadly informed of what’s happening in the world. Not a bad deal. In any event, the easiest way to do this is to click through the headlines that Bing posts each day on their main page. Usually I just click from one headline to the next without paying too much attention. On occasion, though, something grabs my attention. This morning I want to share with you about one headline that grabbed and hasn’t let go.

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A Fount of Injustice?

One of the challenges many critics of the church have used to write it off is the fact that we have some skeletons in our closet.  There have been several times in the last 2,000 years when the church got its mission not just wrong, but devastatingly so.  Still, are things really as bad as our critics allege?  A sharper look at history suggests perhaps not.  In this fourth part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we take a look at the church’s supposed dark past and discover that there may be a good deal more light there than most folks might think.  Read on for more.

A Fount of Injustice?

There is a story about the interactions between a powerful institution and a particular scientist from the 17th century that has come to define much about how many people view the church today.  The institution was the Roman Catholic Church.  The scientist was a man named Galileo Galilei.  Galileo, as the story usually goes, by carefully following the scientific method, discovered that the sun does not revolve around the earth as was widely believed in his day.  Instead, the truth is the exact reverse: the earth revolves around the sun.  For espousing this scientific fact which violated not only their false explanations of how the universe worked, but also the theological explanations undergirding them, the Church set out on a campaign to persecute this courageous scientist into silence.  When this didn’t work, Galileo was excommunicated—a social death sentence in that day—and placed under arrest.  He spent the remaining years of his life in prison where he died a martyr for the cause of science. Read the rest…

Something Extra: Today’s Solar Eclipse

I won’t do this often, but today’s special.  This afternoon (peaking at 2:41 PM where I’ll be watching) a narrow slice of the country (with way more than its normal population crammed in there together to see it) will have the rare pleasure of getting to witness a total solar eclipse.  This is a unique treat that in the whole of our galaxy happens only here on earth where the only creatures who inhabit our galaxy happen to live can see it.  Yet more than being something really cool, albiet totally random in a godless, chance-powered universe, an event like this one is a powerful pointer to the notion that maybe the whole thing isn’t a miracle of chance at all.  Perhaps there is an intelligent mind behind it.  Science stops there, but it doesn’t take a theologian very much effort to make some hops, skips, or jumps to a thesis or twelve as to what kind of a mind this might be.   Read the rest…