I Believe (An essay on science and faith)

Author:  Skip Reith

Date:  9/26/2015

I Believe

I believe!  These two little words contain a lot of power.  These two little words are also misused, misunderstood, abused, and often ridiculed.  What do we mean when we say I believe?  That is what I will explore today.

Belief is that understanding a person has when they analyze and process all of the facts and information they have on a particular subject.  Belief can come from direct observation (I’ve been to New York so I believe it exists); or belief can come from indirect information – that is from an authority on the subject (I’ve never been to Tokyo, but I believe it exists because I have been told by maps and people who have been there that it exists).

One important note before I continue.  When I use the term authority here, I am not talking about some governmental organization.  I am talking about an expert on the subject whose knowledge, skill, and background gives them a special place in the hierarchy of understanding on the subject.  An authoritative source is one step up from an expert.  If the authoritative source is a person then that source not only is an expert, but that person also has a breadth and depth of knowledge around the main subject that allows them broad understanding on the subject.  If the source is not a person, then the source is complete and detailed.  For example, a professional astronomer with 30 years experience is an authority on astronomy.  The complete body of written papers and books on astronomy is an authoritative source on the subject.  In addition, an authority on the subject is one that other people agree and believe is an authority on the subject.  Is possible to think a person is an authority on a subject when they are actually not an expert and may have little knowledge in the subject.  (This technique is used all of the time by advertisers.  They get a famous person to promote their product.  Since people know the authority of the famous person’s specialty, they subconsciously assign authority to this other, advertised subject as well.)

Let’s look at belief in more detail.  Belief and knowledge are similar, but not identical.  Belief is your understanding of a situation, but you may not be able to prove that understanding to another.  Knowledge is a direct understanding of something that you can easily prove.  I know one plus one equals two and I can prove it in a number of ways, including demonstrating the summation with two pennies.  I know New York exists (or at least it did) because I was there.  I cannot prove its existence now because I am not there.  I can show evidence of my trip (pictures and souvenirs) but until I go back I can’t definitively prove its existence.  So, at the moment I believe that New York exists.  My belief in the existence of Tokyo is indirect.  My only proof is the maps and pictures I have seen of Tokyo.  If someone does not accept the authority of my proofs then they will not believe in Tokyo.

Science is the attempt to quantify beliefs and turn them into provable knowledge while authenticating the proofs.  The scientific method (described in my Observation – Applying the Scientific Method to Religion) is a disciplined approach to proving an understanding and turning belief into knowledge.  For example, I could apply the scientific method and fly to Tokyo and prove to myself that it exists, turning my belief into knowledge.

The problem with science is that it can only prove physical things.  It can prove the existence of matter and the existence of something called gravity, and so on.  It can dig out the understanding of how things function and explain the interactions of various objects.  Science also has beliefs, but to make it sound more important, scientists call those beliefs theories.  The scientific method attempts to prove that the theories are correct and to expand the understanding and details of those theories.

Science cannot prove strictly personal items.  It is not possible to weigh love, measure directly satisfaction, or count hate.  It is not even possible to directly analyze pain.  Scientists try to measure these strictly personal objects, but everything science does with these items is indirect.  For example, a doctor may ask you your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, but that is a subjective measure and not an objective measure.  It is impossible for the doctor to measure directly your pain level.  The doctor cannot get a scale out and weigh your pain.  Even brain scans and EEG measurements do not measure pain they just measure physiological response to nerve stimulation.  Your awareness of pain is greater and more personal than the physiological response.

Consider, for example, love.  I know that I love my wife, son, step children, grandchild, dog, cats, and so on.  I cannot prove that love, except by my actions and that is just indirect.  No one could take out a ruler and measure my love.  Science cannot apply the scientific method to my love in such a way that others could know definitively my love.  Love is completely and utterly personal.

It is impossible for one person to know directly what another person feels.  Even if we could hook two people’s brains together, they still could not know each other’s feelings because our emotions, our response to external stimulations, our core being is determined by every experience we have had up to that point.  Since no two people follow the same path in life, no two people experience emotions the same way.  This puts love in the belief column.  Although I KNOW I love my family, I cannot prove it.  So ultimately, I can only say I believe in my love.

Others may believe that I do, in fact, love my family.  Others experience love themselves, and even though they do not have the same feelings towards my family as I do, they understand that those feelings exist.  Sometimes people may not understand why that particular feeling exists (“how is possible that people actually loved Hitler”), but they understand that there is such feelings.

What about stuff that many people may not experience directly?  What about, for example, spiritual experiences that many people may never encounter.  If something like love cannot be quantized or measured and therefore are not subject to the scientific method, something like spiritual experiences are even further removed from science.  If we cannot prove our love to another, when that other person also experiences love, how can we prove spirituality and religious belief to someone who has never undergone that experience?  It is at this point that ridicule and disbelief occur.

If a person cannot understand directly a spiritual belief of another and has no indirect proof, then that person is faced with a problem.  If the unbeliever (atheist) accepts that the other has had a spiritual experience, then that means the atheist is deficient in some manner.  Unless the atheist wants to admit this deficiency (which is rare) they then have to take the second path – trying to prove the other person’s beliefs are false.  Yet, spiritual experiences are not something you can measure.  It is not possible for the atheist to get out a scale and say “see your belief does not measure up!”  The attack on spiritual and religious knowledge must take different approaches.

One approach is the strawman approach.  In this approach, the atheist constructs a strawman; that is, they liken the religious belief to some other, more tangible belief, and then attack the strawman.  For example, someone could say that the belief in God is like the belief in Santa Claus.  Since we all know Santa Claus does not exist, it is obvious that God does not exist.  This argument fails on many dimensions.

Santa Claus is a belief children develop because they accepted their parents and adults as an authority on the subject.  The adults lied to the children (we hide that fact by calling it a fantasy or a story, but it is still a lie).  The children have no other source, so they accept the adult’s authority.  They believe in the existence of Santa Claus on authority of the lying adults.  Once the children grow old enough to perform an independent validation, they uncover the lie.  Their belief changes because they have new facts and data.

An atheist saying that belief in God is like a belief in Santa Claus is actually saying that belief in God is like a belief in a lie that some authority told you.  This may hold for children and extremely gullible people, but it does not hold for discerning, open minded adults who have directly experienced God.  In addition, the believer has additional proof of God that the believer in Santa Claus does not have.  There are corroborating historical documents that validate some of the religious writings.  There is the fact that millions of people have died for their belief – something that has not happened over the belief in Santa Claus.  More importantly, the belief in God is open to everyone, and everyone can run the religious experiment.  That is, each person has the opportunity to follow the authoritative sources on God and see the results for themselves.

The other approach an atheist can try to discredit a religious belief is to claim that science has never proved God exists and they only believe in science.  Before I get into what science can and cannot prove I have to address this belief in science.  Science has brought a lot of knowledge and understanding to the world.  Science has enabled a lot of engineering and technology that brings enhanced medicines, labor saving devices, and so on.  (It also enhanced war, pollution, oppression, and other ills, but we don’t need to go there for our current discussion.)  So, saying you believe in science seems reasonable.  The problem is most people have no idea what they are talking about or what they believe in when they say they believe in science.

First off, almost everything we call science these days is actually engineering.  Computers, cell phones, air planes, medicines, surgical procedures, cars, TVs, and on and on are all engineering feats.  For the most part, the science on these things is done behind closed doors and people never see the actual science.  Most people wouldn’t even know the scientific method if it hit them in the face.  So, what people are really saying when they say they believe in science is that they believe in the technology they have and they believe the authoritative sources that they are exposed to who proclaim the greatness of science.

Let’s look at those authoritative sources.  In most countries a major part of scientific research is funded by the government.  Research gets published in journals, but most people have never even seen a scientific journal, let alone read one.  Even though scientists publish, the publication is controlled by a review from scientific peers.  The government controls what scientists investigate through funding, and therefore control what scientists understand and believe.  I will point out that the government is controlled by politicians and bureaucrats not scientists or even people with a scientific background.

People’s exposure to science first comes about in school.  The classes are taught by the teachers, who are managed by administrators, and the whole thing is controlled and regulated by the government.  A lot or research and enhanced scientific advances come from universities.  Universities get a major part of their funding either directly (through grants) or indirectly (through tuition) that is paid by the government.  Other sources of scientific information and “discovery” comes from governmental agencies like NASA, national science foundation, food and drug administration, US department of agriculture, the atomic energy commission and its various follow on agencies, the department of defense, environmental protection agency, national weather service, US geological survey, and on and on.

Some people are exposed to science through things like public television.  Public TV gets a majority of their funding from the government.  If you perform a review of a lot of “scientific” articles on public media you will find that a lot comes from some governmental source (like NASA). Non-governmental entities, like the Discovery Channel may present “scientific documentaries” but these are often sensationalized stories.  Interestingly enough, many of the critics of these documentaries are government funded agencies and government supported public media.

So, when a person says they believe in science, they are really saying that they believe in the government.  The government is controlled and run by politicians, and we all know that politicians lie, cheat, twist the truth, hide information, and do whatever they can to remain in power.  Since most people have no direct experience with science, then when an atheist says they believe in science what they are saying is that their belief is just like the belief in Santa Claus – it’s based on a lie.

As I have shown, science cannot prove or disprove love.  Science cannot measure anything that is personal.  Scientists cannot measure thoughts, feelings, ideas, responses, or any of thousands of deeply personal experiences.  Yet, we all know these are real.  Science cannot answer basic questions like why does the universe exist or what is the meaning of life?  While modern science has discovered a huge amount about the physical reality, there is way more to our existence than just the physical.

Science (as people define science, which are the physical and social sciences) cannot, and never will, be able to scientifically prove personal, internal experiences of people.  Science is limited.  So, when an atheist says they only believe in science, they are also saying that they do not believe in emotions, thoughts, ideals, creativity, art, spirituality, honor, or God.  That’s kind of a limited point of view.

When I say I believe in God, I am not saying that I believe that someone once told me God exists and I accept their authority on the subject.  I say I believe because I have personal knowledge that I have tested using the scientific method.  I have investigated life with and without God.  I have researched God, the authoritative writings, and talked with people who I feel are experts on the subject (both for and against).  I have weighed all of the evidence and data and I have found that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of believing that God exists.

I cannot prove God’s existence.  I cannot pull out a photograph of God or take out my telescope and show you God.  However, I have looked deep inside myself and have found God there, waiting for me.  I cannot force you to believe.  I can only say that if you run the experiment – that is, if you follow the teachings of an authoritative source on religion and God, then you too may experience God in a way similar to (but not exactly the same as) my experience.

I hope you do.  I hope that you run the experiment and prove to yourself the existence of God.  However, if you instead try to hide behind science and use science as a shield, you will find that the shield is very small indeed and not much protection against larger truths.

Religious Phobia and Liberalism

Religious Phobia and Liberalism

Many of my atheistic and progressive friends are constantly accusing religious people of being homophobic and of having some other biases.  That may be true of some religious folks.  However, I have found that many progressives and many who fancy themselves as liberals have their own phobia, i.e., a religious phobia.  In other words, they fear religion.  Of course, one tends to hate the things that one fears.  So I have found that many of my liberal and atheist friends have a dislike that approaches a loathing for religion.  This has caused me to do a considerable amount of thinking about where these fears came from and whether they are real or imagined. Of course, a fear is real to the one who has it, but this raises the question of whether or not there is really something in reality on which to base their fear.

I began my research by asking my liberal friends if religion or religious people had done any personal harm to them that would cause them to hate religion.  The majority of them said they had received no such hurt.  I did find some who said that their parents had made them go to church when they were little. However, this to me seemed to be the normal thing for good parents who believed in their religion to do.  Yet, many of my friends felt that this was reason enough for them to reject religion.

I did find some people who told me that they hated religion because religious people are hypocrites.  I’ll admit this might be a good reason if we were not all hypocrites.  Most human beings are guilty of saying one thing and doing something else.  If we all stopped doing everything that hypocrites do, we wouldn’t do much.

My research did lead me to a few books whose authors seem to hate religion.  I gathered from these books that the authors hated religion for all of the terrible things that it had done in the past, such as the witch hunts and the Inquisition.  Of course, if you were to count noses, you could say that religion has killed its tens of thousands, but atheism and liberalism has killed its millions.  It was atheistic communism that killed twenty million of its own people in Russia and even more in China, and it was Western liberalism that spread its philosophy with the sword. It looks to me like it’s not religion that kills people, but it’s people who kill people.  If truly analyzed, it is usually people who have a will to power who do the killing, whether religious or not. You will find these people in religion, business, and government and for that matter, virtually in every walk of life.

However, all of the above does not explain the irrational fear and hatred of some people toward religion.  I believe the truth is that liberalism as a world view and philosophy itself has a propensity to dislike religion.  Liberalism belief in the autonomy of the individual tends to color its views of all authority but especially religious authority.  This bias was embodied in the French Revolution, whose motto was “no master, no God.”  A quick review of history reveals that at the time of their revolution, the French had reason to fear and hate religion.  During that period in their history the church had been captured by the governing class and was being used to oppress the people.  However, the hatred and bias of the liberals and progressives of the French Revolution are still with us today.  Like all bias and prejudice, these are passed on blindly from generation to generation.

However, much of the dislike of religion comes from the fact that religion tends to cramp the lifestyle of some people.  Some people just don’t like the idea of being told that they are going to stand in judgment for their behavior.  Jesus hinted at this when He said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” John 3:19-21.

It is obvious from the above words of Jesus that a strong anti-religious bias can come from a godless amoral lifestyle.  This bias goes much deeper than many liberals would like to admit.  This bias comes from a deep-seated prideful rebellion that exists in the human heart, and like all bias it is hard to detect by those possessing it, and like all biases it can be passed on for generations.

My conclusion is that my far left liberal friends have been biased toward religion by the traditions and the propaganda of their own philosophy more than by reason or clear thinking.  This is not to say that religion should not be watched.  Religion is a power that can be abused, but it is also a power that can be a blessing to people.  However, it is irrational to hate all religion because some men have abused it and used it as a means to gain power over others.


Two Kinds of Liberals

Two Kinds of Liberals

Today we hear a lot about liberals and conservatives, but much of this talk is misleading.  All Americans are liberal to some degree.  The liberal philosophy is so broad that it would take in the majority of Americans.  There simply is no fixed definition of liberalism.  Liberalism only has some vague principles, which most Americans would endorse to some degree.  They would be things like democracy, equality, individualism, the rule of law, and the free market.  How these things are defined and to what degree a person takes them is where the great divide in liberalism takes place.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that in America we have two kinds of liberals–not liberals and conservatives–but two kinds of liberals, and for our discussion one can call these two groups French liberals and English liberals.  Note that one can only take this allegory so far for it will break down because of the diversity of the liberal view.

Let’s look at these two kinds of liberals.  First are the French liberals.  These are the children of Voltaire and the French Revolution.  They are characterized by a dislike of authority, a dislike of religion, and distain for the upper class.  They tend to be populists and feel comfortable with socialism.  They tend to put more emphasis on collectivism than on individualism.  They believe that mankind can trust in reason alone, apart from a faith that informs reason.  They also seem to put more stress on the concept of equality and define it differently than their English counterpart.  Because of their negative view of faith and religion they seem to be informed more by their vices than their virtues.  For this reason, I sometime refer to this group as profane liberals.

The extreme French liberals come closer to being classified as revolutionaries rather than liberals.  They see man’s greatest need to be liberated from tradition, morality, and superstition (religion).  Many of them would preferred to be call progressives rather than liberals. I often call these folks advanced liberals.  Of course, many scholars today would call their form of liberalism something other than liberal.  The champion of French liberalism is in fact not French but English.  His name is John Stuart Mill, and he is most famous for his small book entitled On Liberty. However, to be fair to Mills’ he probably would be shocked by much of the thinking of modern advanced liberals. Mill himself did not believe in socialism.

On the other side we have the English liberals who in some degree reflect many of the French liberal characteristics, but to a lesser degree.  However, there are some marked differences.  One is that English liberals see religion as a positive force in culture and at worst a necessary evil.  Their view of religion varies from true faith to seeing it from a pragmatic point of view.  A great example of this is the American philosopher William James who was the father of the philosophy of pragmatism.  English liberals also believe more strongly in the free market and the concept of limited government.  They seem to have a respect for government, but at the same time a healthy distrust.  Many of our founding fathers embraced this form of liberalism to some degree.  It is this group of liberals who today are called conservatives by many people.  Their champion in the time of Mill was James Fitzjames Stephen.  He is famous for his rebuttal of Mill in his classic book Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.  In his book he completely dismantles Mill’s form of liberalism. (Note: John Gray, Liberalism)

What causes people to be in either camp?  Well, that is difficult to say, but I think we can say that no form of liberalism is based on reason alone.  If it were, there would not be such diversity in liberalism.  Liberalism, like all systems of thought, is diversified because people come to it with diverse presumptions.  What are some these presumptions?

One of the obvious is a belief or lack of belief in a deity.  Belief or lack of it tends to shape one’s attitudes on a host of subjects, but especially on the concept of authority.  Authority seems to be a thing that all liberals struggle with, especially the French liberals.  Religion tends to temper this rebellious spirit, so large numbers of religious people seem to lean toward the English side.  However, by religious I do not necessarily mean Christian.  Most knowledgeable Christians would have some problems with any form of liberalism.  However, you will find vulgar Christians in both camps.

Still, another factor could be the geographies of where a person was brought up or lives.  Rural people seem to lean more toward the English side than city dwellers.  This can be contributed to by many factors like the fact that rural people tend to be self-sufficient and independent from the system and have less trust in any form of government, even a liberal form.  Also rural people are closer to nature and often have more of a God consciousness which the city dweller may not have.  An example of this is a study I saw on how the people in California voted in a recent election.  All the counties that had large cities in them were blue and the rest of the counties were red.

Other factors that may contribute to the tribe of liberals you belong to could be: family ideology which greatly affect the values and beliefs of an individual, the educational institution attended, one’s chosen profession and one’s social economic level.  All this is to say that the source of one’s liberalism has very little to do, for most people’s, with intellectual choice.  In fact, for the most part, liberalism of all kinds has many intellectual inconsistencies.  Therefore if you fancy yourself as a liberal intellectual, think again.

For those that would like to know more about Liberalism the following are interesting books on the subject, Liberalism and Its Discontents by Patrick Neal, The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb, Two faces of Liberalism by John Gray and The Betrayal of Liberalism by Hilton Kramer and Roger Kimball.






Liberal and Progressive Bias

Liberal and Progressive Bias

I am continually surprised at the lack of awareness some of my progressive[1] friends have as to their own ideology biases.  They actually believe that they are free from all ideology[2] and the biases that come with them, which to some degree makes them very scary people.  It also makes them some of the most judgmental people I know.  They seem to question anyone’s intelligence who does not share their so-called progressive thinking.

They seem to believe that doubting and questioning all authority is the way forward unless it happens to be their authority that is being questioned. Most of them have been indoctrinated by liberal universities into a secular humanism that borders on atheism.  Of course, they are very critical of other groups that do the same, i. e., religious groups. When others do it, they call it brain-washing or indoctrination; when they do it, they call it education.  This behavior establishes the fact that their beliefs are laden with ideological bias.

When criticizing other world views, they typically draw their data from the most vulgar of their opponent’s belief and behavior, which demonstrates their awareness of the weakness of their own arguments.  This is especially true of their attacks on Christianity.  I seldom hear them attack believers like Mother Theresa, Kierkegaard, or Jesus Himself.  They seem to believe that if you can find a counterfeit of something, the discovery itself proves there is no authentic thing.  Finding or building straw men does not mean there are no real men.

I have also noticed an anti-religious bias among progressives and liberals that I am sure they feel justified in having.  This bias seems to be especially strong toward the Christian religion.  They seem to have a hard time tolerating anyone who believes themselves to be correct.  People who believe they are right are biased, and progressives are biased toward those who are biased.  Of course, the only difference between them and Christians is that Christians know they are biased for Christ, and progressives do not know that they are biased for their ideology.[3]  Their contempt for Christianity seemed to be unreasonable to me until I realized that you hate what you fear and you fear what you do not know or understand.  Most liberals and progressives have a very shallow understanding of religion.

[1] I use the term progressive to denote all leftist groups.  This includes atheists, liberals, and to a lesser degree, libertarians.

[2] Ignorance of one’s ignorance is the sin of all ideologues.

[3] The original word bias did not carry a negative connotation.  It simply meant that one leaned in the direction of something, for example, “The man was biased toward virtue.”

Progressing to Serf Hood?

Progressing to Serf Hood?

When authority presents itself in the guise of organization, it develops charms fascinating enough to convert communities of free people into totalitarian States. Hayek

Today we hear a lot about progress. In the political arena we even have those, who refer to themselves as progressives. Of course, in calling themselves progressives they infer that everyone else is rather backward or slow, and then they wonder why some dislike them.  The truth is that progressives do believe that they are out in front of the herd and that they see something, which the rest us backward folks do not. They believe that they see the ultimate good for humanity and they feel their ideas will get us there. Therefore, if you do not agree with them you must be backward and you are definitely not moving forward. To progressives moving forward is thinking and doing things their way.

Now, to be a real progressive, you must have a goal to be progressing towards, if not you would have no bench mark to judge your progress. So, what is the progressives’ goal? Is it justice, fairness, equality or to make heaven on earth? All of these things seem like worthy goals. The question is how do we progress toward them? In the past we have used political ideology coupled with the power of the state.  The political ideology has taken the forms of liberalism, communism and socialism. The results have been a century of fighting and bloodshed among these ideological cousins; fighting over the methods and the extent of control[1].  Basically, the warring has been over who will do the planning, for in the end there can be only one central planner.

The truth is that all the political systems including the progressive one all have the same goal and they all have the same method of accomplishing it.  That method is enforced centralized planning by the federal government. Of course, as planning increases the individual continues to lose more and more control to the centralized government. As this all enfolds the original goal of the progressives is lost and the new one of total control takes its place. This goal seems to be the goal of many of our leaders in both of our political parties in America and those who support them, the ones Lenin called useful idiots.

We are at the point of decision, we can decide to have more central planning which will mean the loss of freedom or we can decide to take responsibility for ourselves and organize and plan our own communities. If we choose the latter we may have to work harder but we will be free men and women. If we choose the former we choose to be serfs under a totalitarian federal government. Only time will tell if we make the right decision.

[1] The cold war has been between American liberalism, European socialism and Russian communism.  All of these isms are grounded in European liberalism. All end up  as a form of totalitarianism with the state becoming the master.

Why America is Changing

Why America is Changing

A few months ago I began to seriously ponder all the different changes that I observe going on in our great country. All our values are changing, our educational system is failing, our government is nosing into every corner of our lives, churches are losing members, and corruption is rampant. I needed to know why such things are happening. In light of all of this, I started on a search to find an answer.  After months of searching and reading everything I could that might shed some light on the subject, I came up with an answer – Advanced Liberalism or Progressivism. Advanced Liberals are radical or extremes Liberals. It is important to note that all Americans are liberals to some degree but all liberals are not Americans for they do not share traditional American values. The group I call Advance Liberals do not share traditional American values. In fact, they hold them in contempt.

These advanced Liberals are working hard to change and sterilize every nook and cranny of our culture.  We are being told that we can no longer publically display our morals, traditions, and religion.  If we do, we must keep them to ourselves and out of the public square.  All we are allowed to have openly is advanced Liberalism with its sterile environment of secularism.  If we speak of anything it must be “politically correct” which simply means it must square with secular Liberalism.  This sterilization is proclaimed and justified in the name of pluralism or multiculturalism, which is one of the many illusions and utopian goals of Liberalism. In the end all that will remain is Liberalism and its values-free culture– if you can call what’s left a culture.

All I can do is smile when advanced Liberals tell me that they love diversity. The only diversity that these Liberals love is the diversity that will fit into the square hole of their advanced Liberalism.  Don’t let Liberals or progressives kid you; they do not like traditional morals, values nor do they like religion. They don’t even like freedom for those that disagree with them.  In fact, many of them have a bad case of moral and religious phobia.  It seems that the only religion or morality they can tolerate is a one that reflects the dogma of their advanced Liberalism, which is a morality or religion that accepts and allows everything and believes nothing.  If your morality or religion doesn’t measure up to their standard of “everything goes,” they start their name-calling: fundamentalist, bigot, homophobic, and other misleading, emotion-packed labels.

I often have asked advanced liberal people what they mean by fundamentalist.  I have yet to get an intelligent answer from them, and yet they seem to be using it as a curse word.  Seeing that they don’t know the meaning of the word, I must assume that to them, it must mean “people who don’t think as they do,  people with conviction, people who still believe in the truth of their traditional beliefs.”  Actually when people start calling others fundamentalists, they are often fundamentalists themselves – just a different kind.

What can we do to stop this wholesale destruction of our religions, traditions, morality and culture?   First of all, we need to wake up to what has been going on in this country for years, that is to say, the manipulation of our culture by “humanistic Liberals” through government central planning and the school system. Next, we need to know the enemy and the methods being used to undermine our Constitution, our cultural heritage and our fundamental liberties.

If we do nothing, our country will soon look more and more like Europe – socialistic and atheistic. By the way, advanced Liberalism is the foundational philosophy for both socialism and communism. It is also the avant-garde of atheism.  Advanced liberals know that for their brand of Liberalism to take over, it must destroy or marginalize our families, religious faith and moral traditions.  Don’t let this happen!

Let me recommend a couple of books that will help you understand and counter the anti-religious and anti-faith philosophy of Liberalism.  The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb and Against Liberalism by John Kekes, both are very enlightening. LD








Models of Thought and Worship

Models of Thought and Worship

Throughout the history of the Christian church there has been debate and division over the subject of worship. Both Catholics and Protestants have fought between themselves and with each other over what constitutes true worship.  The reformers among them usually wanted to go back and restore what they saw as the ancient order of worship as seen in the early church. However, even here there was no agreement as to what actually constituted that order.  In fact, it seems the more they sought that order the more the division multiplied, but why did these good  men see things so differently?

I once was told by an old preacher that these reformers all saw the Bible through different glasses.  Of course, in the context of our discussion I quickly realized that the old preacher had said this with the full intent of convincing me that his sect had on the right glasses.  Little did this old preacher know that in his religious rhetoric, he came very close to the truth.  It is true that each of the reformers looked at the Bible with a set of glasses on, but the problem was, and is, much deeper than the old preacher every dreamed.  For you see, the reformers all basically had on the same glasses.  They all had the same Bible, but more important for our discussion is the fact they all looked at the subject of worship through the same model or paradigm—that model being the institutional model.  It is here that the problem begins to surface, since the institutional model of worship does not exist in the New Testament.  So the question arises: How do you reform or restore something that never existed in the first place?

We are saying in essence that the reformers looked at the Bible and the early church through a model that did not even exist in the minds of primitive Christians.  Therefore, because the reformers start with a presumption that is not found in the Bible—namely, that the first century church was much like or somewhat like the institutional church of their own day, they actually were blinded to the fact that the early church was nothing like the institutional church of their age.  Of course, this presumption was fatal for it locked their thinking into an institutional model that has contributed to much of the division and chaos of the sects until the present day.  In view of this, we can begin to see that the logic of the reformers, though often correct in the model in which they thought, could not take us or them to where the Bible would have us go.  Why? Because they were thinking outside of a Biblical paradigm or model.

To capsulate this point, we could say that the reformers could not reform or restore the model they had in their minds because such a model did not exist in the Scriptures.  Therefore, there was no authority to appeal to other than a model created out of the traditions of men.  The reformers forced the Scriptures into supporting the institutional model of the church that they had in their minds.  The only model of the church in the Bible is not a model of an institution, but rather of a man.  There is no institutional model in a man nor is there any proscribed list of rules to be found in a man.  What is found in the man is the image and likeness of God

This helps us to understand why the church can only move toward completeness as it conforms to the image of the man, which is Jesus Christ.  Most restorations and reformations have failed and have only caused more division in the body of Christ.  At their very best, these movements have only been able to restore the institutional church to its earliest beginnings, which would date to the second or third century, for it is about that time that the early church began to take on its institutional form.  This is the reason the churches which involved in the restoration and reformation movements resemble the third or fourth century church more than they do the first century church.  I dare say that it is impossible for a people who have an institutional model of the church in their minds to imagine what the first century church would look like, much less be able to restore it.

Models of Worship

Before we begin our discussion of models of worship we should clarify what we mean by a model.  By this expression we simply mean a  way of thinking—a way through which we look at a thing or all things.  This idea is often expressed with terminology such as “world view” or “ideology.”  All of these expressions mean simply a certain way of looking at a thing that has become a habit of thought to the extent that one does it subconsciously.  Here, the difference between a point view and model surface.  A point of view is conscious and is in many cases chosen.  On the other hand, models are subconscious and are seldom chosen but rather are inherited from one’s culture.  Models are the things that we presume to be true.  They form the framework on which we build all of our thinking.

We might gather from this that one might be conscious of many points of view on a subject, yet never perceive the model that lies beyond one’s conscious perception.  In view of this one might argue that there is no such thing as an open-minded person.  For all people are influenced and biased by their models or paradigms or what we have called habits of thought through which they view not some, but all things.  It is also important that we recognize that these habits of thought form barriers that keep us from seeing things that do not fit into our paradigm or model.  We will speak more of these barriers later.

But what does this have to do with the subject of worship? It has everything to do with worship because the model of worship we hold in our minds will determine how we view worship.  Have you ever considered that there might be more than one model of worship?  In other words, could there be more than one way of looking at worship?  Let me submit to you that there are a number of models of worship, and the model we use will determine how we worship and what we have determined to be worship.  In fact, our model of worship many influence the very way that we view our religious devotion and life itself.

Institutional Model

There seems to be at least two basic models of worship set forth in the book that we call the Bible.  They are the institutional model and the service model.  The institutional model is the model that most westerners think within when they think of worship.  It is this model that seems to dominate the thinking of most Christians and religious people.  We might say that the institutional model is the religious way of thinking about worship.  This model is so entrenched in the minds of most religious people that it extremely difficult for them to think of worship through any other model than the institutional model.  For these people true worship is made up of acts directed to God in a sacred place at a sacred time, by a sacred people.  They often speak of separate acts of worship, and what they call worship services.  They spend a great deal of time arguing and debating over the details that make up what they call true worship, which amounts to arguing over the details of rituals and how they must be performed to please God.  This all seems perfectly logical and is logical for those who are viewing worship through an institutional model.

Where did the institutional model come from, and how was this model of thinking developed?  It would be impossible for us to pinpoint a historical time when this model began to be developed, but we do believe that it is safe to say that it comes from a very small view of God and is one of many things that points to the great destiny between the true God and mankind.  As we have said elsewhere, this model of worship was no doubt the product of dualism and was created by religious men to worship a small tribal god whom they thought was in need of their services and, who was impressed by their ritual and form.[i]

Of course, the above view of God and worship is totally inadequate to image the true God who is made known in Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul emphasized this in his address to the Athenians, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:24-25). And may I add that He is not impressed with our ritual, pomp, and ceremony.  What He is impressed with is men and women who are being conformed to the image of His Son.  We will see that conformity to the image of His Son is one of the true models of worship that is pleasing to the Father.

Service Model

The service model of worship is what we have chosen to call the model set forth in the New Testament and seen in the life of Christ.  We believe that the service model is the primary model set forth in the New Testament with its roots reaching back into the Old Testament.[ii] In essence, what we see in the Bible is the idea of worship starting out in seed form and growing and reaching its highest form in Jesus Christ and his body, which is the church.  In contrast, the high churches of Christendom have reverted back to the institutional model proclaiming that model as the highest form of worship.  In this, the institutional church has imaged the declension of worship as the perfecting of worship.

What is the service model? The service model of worship looks at ministry and service to the body of Christ and one’s fellowman as the highest form of worship.  In this view of worship, a faith that works or expresses itself through service and ministry is the highest form of worship.  Paul refers to this kind of worship as faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6). Under the service model God is worshipped through serving and ministering to one’s brother.  Some might respond by saying that there is nothing said about worship in Paul’s remarks and that he is talking about faith and love and not worship.  A remark like this exemplifies the thinking of a person locked into an institutional model of worship.  Though this remark is logical within the institutional model of worship, it is a far too narrow a view of worship to reflect the high view of worship set forth in the New Testament.

It is so obvious that it is the service model operating in the New Testament and in the life of Christ that it need not be argued.  It is clear that the gospel writers emphasize the teaching and the example of service of our Lord and border on indifference when it came to his involvement with the ritual and forms of religion (Acts 1:1).  There seems to be no real evidence in the gospels that Jesus puts any emphasis on cultic worship, nor is there any real evidence the first century church put any emphasis on it.  It was not until the church slipped into an institutional form (a return to religion) that it began to emphasize its cultic worship.  In fact we find our Lord saying very little about any forms of cultic or institutional worship.  His emphasis was on a living relationship with God that was manifested in ones service to one’s brother (Matt. 5:23).

Barrier of Thought

Of course this raises the question, “If the service model is so obvious, why do the churches continue to look at everything through the institutional model?”  Habits of mind or models, whether in science or theology, are very difficult to see and even harder to change.  The reason for this is that the very models we use to help us to see also blind us to new information that does not fit into our models.  So in the process of building models, we also build barriers that will keep us from seeing new truths.  An example of this can be seen in many of the Jews who rejected Jesus as the Christ.  They rejected him because he did not fit the model of the Christ they had in their minds.  They expected a conquering king, not a suffering servant.

What are some barriers that would prevent one from moving from the institutional model to the service model?  One barrier is the inability to form or see an alternative model of worship. The reason for this is that as a person begins to move from one paradigm or model to another, there is a period of uncertainty and confusion.  Therefore, the journey from one model to another is a painful journey few are willing to make (Jn. 12:42).  Of course, the institution itself is a second barrier, for all institutions will resist change and that seems to be a very part of their nature.[iii]  Still another barrier that blocks people from seeing is the men who are benefiting from existing models.  In the case of religion, it is the clergy that benefits and guards the existing model.

The chief barrier that keeps men locked into an institutional model is that the institutional model itself is worldly and appeals to the flesh.  Therefore, men love it more than they love God (1 Jn. 2:15-17).[iv]   They love the institutional model for it allows a person to feel righteous or good about themselves while being in a state of complete alienation from his fellowman.  For some, as long as they have gone through the ritual and form of their cultic worship, they can feel that they are pleasing to God even though they live “like the devil” the rest of the week.  In this, we see that religion is mankind’s highest form of self-righteousness.

In view of this we must ask the question, “Could it be that the acts of religious devotion that Paul is talking about when he says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-NOT BY WORKS, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9)? Is Paul saying here that acts of love directed toward another has nothing to do with salvation or is he saying that acts of cultic worship have nothing to do with salvation?  It is a misunderstanding of what Paul means by works that has caused some to believe that Paul and James contradict one another.  But to the unbiased person, it is obvious that Paul is talking about the ritual and form of religion while James is talking about acts of faith done toward one’s brother.

If the above is true, it raises some serious questions. Is the institutional model Biblical? What about the relationship of the institutional model to the Old Testament religion of the Jews? How did the institutional model become the primary model in the Christian Church?  What is true worship?

In replying to the question as to whether the institutional model is Biblical, we would have to say the answer depends on how one looks at it.  If we were to mean by this question that there is now some proscribed list or acts of worship binding on God’s people, the answer would have to be,  “No, it is not Biblical.”  However, if you meant by Biblical that the idea or concept of the institutional model of worship can be found in the Bible, the answer would be “yes.”  If we rephrase the question and ask whether the institutional model is a part of the will of God for His people, we would come up with still a different answer.  The answer would be “yes and no.”  In order to understand this answer, we would have to go to the Bible and understand the relationship of two covenants and the institutional model of worship.

When we go to the part of the Bible which we call the Old Testament, we actually find a number of covenants.  The two predominant covenants were the covenant of promise which was made with Abraham and the covenant of law which was made with the nation of Israel through Moses. In the covenant of promise there were no stipulations made concerning proscribed acts of worship.  The only thing that would remotely resemble a proscribed act of worship would be God commanding Abraham to offer a sacrifice.  However, this act of worship does not in any fashion reflect an institutional model of worship for a number of reasons.  They were done spontaneously or by a direct word from God and were not a part of any organized or cultic worship service.  Under the covenant of promise there were no holy places, holy men, holy times, or holy books.  There was simply a living relationship.

As we move along in time, we find God making a different kind of agreement or covenant with the Hebrew nation.  This covenant had as its foundation the Ten Commandments with a number of other laws to clarify the Commandments.  The reason for the giving of this covenant is stated by the Apostle Paul very plainly in the Book of Galatians, where he points out that the reason for the giving of the law was that the people were too immature at that time to enter into a living relationship with God (Gal. 3:15 – 4:11).

It seems that the Hebrew’s immaturity posed somewhat of a problem for God, for without a relationship with Him they surely would not have been able to survive as a people.  But they were not ready for a personal relationship with God.  So God gave them a system by which to live, a system that was similar to the ones they were accustomed to in the land of Egypt.  In other words, He gave them a religion which was not wholly different from the religions of the people around them.[v] A part of this religion, like the religions around the Hebrews, reflected the institutional model of worship which reflects the mediating effects of all religion.  The difference between the religion given to the Jews and the religions of their neighbors was that the religion that God gave them was perfect as far as religions goes, (Heb. 8: 1-13).  God’s intent in giving them this religion was to teach them the need of a living personal relationship with Him. However, the people perverted the covenant of law and used it as a means to achieve self-righteousness.  The problem was not with the law, but rather with the peoples’ hearts.  Therefore, the covenant of law is weak and unprofitable because it does not have the power to change the human heart (Rom. 8:3; Heb. 7:18).

From this we can gather that the institutional form of worship is Biblical for it is found in the Bible and in fact was given to the Jews by God.  Does this then mean that it is a part of God’s will for people?  As pointed out by Paul in the section sighted above (Gal. 3:15 – 4:11), it was given by God and therefore was God’s will for the Hebrews who received it.  However, from the same text we learn that it is no longer God’s will for those who have entered into a living relationship with God through the man Jesus Christ.  God’s will for them is that they live by faith as their father Abraham did, “The righteous will live by faith” (Hab. 2:4).  Remember that Abraham lived before the law and before the cultic worship of the law was given, and yet he was saved and was called the friend of God apart from all organized religion and cultic worship.

We have seen two of the models of thought that are at work in the minds of people which influence the way they worship and what they believe about worship.  We have also seen at least one reason why former reformation and restoration movements have failed in their efforts to reform and restore primitive Christianity.  They failed because they changed the form without changing the model.  In order to achieve a true reformation there must first and foremost be a paradigm or model change in the minds of the people, which is much more difficult than simply changing some of the doctrines and forms of religion.  Because of the difficulty involved in a model changes, those involved in a new reformation should not expect the mass to join them. The mass will always think and live in the institutional model for it is one of mankind’s chief forms of self-righteousness.

Acts of Worship

We have seen that paradigm changes are difficult because there is simply not an alternative view of how a thing ought to look.  Everyone knows how a worship service in organized religion looks.  Though some of the rituals may be different or the structure may change somewhat, most people would automatically recognize a religious worship service.  But what would happen if someone was told to come up with a totally different form of worship.  What would it look like?  For instance, would most people feel that they had worshipped when they got together with a group of friends and family for a meal and simply rehearsed what God had done for them?  However, was this not the model of the early church? (Acts. 2:42-47)

This raises a question that was touched on above, “Is there a description of a Christian worship service in the New Testament Scriptures?  The answer to this question would again depend on which model of worship one is looking through at the New Testament.  If you approach the New Testament Scriptures through the institutional model, then one would have the tendency to think of every gathering of Christians recorded in  the Bible to be a worship service and think of them very much like our present day cultic worship conducted in our church buildings on Sunday morning, or at best one might think of the them as a primitive form of what is practiced today.  With this mindset or habit of thought, it would be easy and even natural to come up with a proscribed list of acts of worship done by the first century church.

However, if one looks at the New Testament through the service model, he will tend to see worship differently.  People who have the service model in their minds will not be as apt to see a cultic worship service in every meeting of Christians recorded in the New Testament nor would they be as prone to come up with some list of proscribed acts of worship.  They will be more prone to look at their gatherings as times of edification where each member is encouraged to grow and prepare themselves for works of services which is their spiritual worship.  In contrast, those who hold the institutional model in their minds will look at their [1]gatherings as a duty to be fulfilled, fulfilled by performing certain acts or rituals.  When they leave their so-called worship services, they will feel that they have completed or fulfilled their duty in  worshiping God

We understand that the material in this essay may be alarming to those who have an institutional model of worship in their minds.  For they would be correct to conclude that we are inferring that many of their rituals and forms of worship are meaningless to God.  However, we are not saying that these rituals or forms are sinful.  But we are warning that these ritual and forms of cultic worship can become sinful when they become forms of mediation through

which one believes he and others must approach God.  In addition, when one make these rituals and forms doctrines that mediate between them and other Christians,[vi] they have also sinned.  In essence, when one does this he rebuilds the dividing wall of hostility (Eph. 2:14, 15).


[i] Reflection Vol. I Number 11.

[ii] Isa. I:11-19; Ps.51:16,17; Ps. 40:6-8

[iii] Reflection Vol. 1  Number 6  Subversion and Distancing through Institution.

[iv] The institutional model is worldly because it reflects the power structure of the world and it systems (Matt.20:25-28).

[v] God’s goal in giving the Hebrews a religion was not to make them religious for they were already religious.  His goal was to give them a religion that would lead them out of religion into a living relationship.  A perfect religion is one that causes one to mature to the point that they no longer need religion.  This is why Jesus is the end or goal of the Law to all those who believe.

[vi] In the institutional model of worship all the prescribed acts of worship have a mediating effort. In essence, this model says that if you are going to approach God in an acceptable manner, you must approach Him through these acts of worship.  In this, the acts of worship become the mediators through which the worshipper approaches God.  This may be fine for the religious person, but how can a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the ONLY mediator believe in any proscribed acts of worship which mediate God’s favor?


The Cruel Joke of Atheism

The Cruel Joke of Atheism

Atheists fiercely argue with theists about the existence of God. But why? Is it simply to win an argument to justify themselves intellectually, or is it out of love for the theist, believing that the theist would be happier as an atheist? In order to have any of these motives they would have to make a moral judgment on the value of religion and religious people. The problem is that in doing this they are doing the exact thing that they criticize religion for, i.e., making moral judgments of what is good or bad. I believe there is a story in antiquity about people who wanted to usurp the right of the deity to determine good and evil and become the judges, assuming the role of God.

Let’s talk about the happiness hypothesis first. Drawing from my personal experience, which I admit is limited, I have a number of friends who are atheists, and I do not think of them as especially happy people. From reading blogs written by atheist on the Internet, I would not personally judge those people as happy people. Some seem to be hinting at their emptiness and unhappiness in their compulsive blogging and criticism of religion.

The only real study I have found on happiness is Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Happiness Hypothesis, in which he clearly points out that believers are overall happier than unbelievers. By the way, Jonathan is an atheist. He claims that his book is based on scientific research. So the idea that atheists are spreading happiness is nothing more than a cruel joke. Of course, the atheist must believe the allusion that atheism is the salvation of the world and that materialism is the new gospel (good news). Is it really good news that we are just sacks of star-dust with a bio-chemical illusion maker, which we call a brain, telling us what to believe and leading us from nothingness to nothingness? According to the atheist, this is good news giving us all kinds of meaning and purpose. Is it good news or a bad joke?

Other atheists say they do not believe in God and speak out against faith because they believe it is not true or in some cases they say that it is evil. However, what do they mean by truth and evil? How can they condemn anything as evil? It seems the reality would be that it would be very hard to believe in the traditional meaning of truth or evil if there is no final and ultimate authority that stands above man. Is there is no authority outside of man as to what would make a thing right or wrong? Reason? The next question would be whose reason? Who determines whose reason is correct? Of course, the atheist believes in reasoning done by atheists, for they are the only reasonable people. Of course, in the end under their thinking it will be the reasoning of the guy who has the gun (power), which in the end means the state. Who do you think determines right and wrong in atheistic China or Russia? In atheistic cultures religion is not just wrong, it is bad and those who practice it are put into prison. Who determined that morality? Reason or the state?

Atheists, in order to prove their world view, must be able to establish by science that there is no God and that science can establish morality. However, they can do neither. All they can do is assert that there is no God on their own authority. Fortunately, in this country they don’t have the guns (power) as they did in communist Russia. Their problems with science proving that there is no God is huge, for anyone who knows anything about science knows that science cannot prove the existence of God or disprove it. The US National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: “Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”[1] So much for their appeal to science. So, what about their appeal to science for their proof of atheism? Reality or a bad joke?

When it comes to morality, only someone desperate for an argument would infer that science should or could create morality. Morality is a subject of philosophy and metaphysics, not science. It seems to me that when talking to atheists about morality they don’t like,[2] they quickly become moral relativist and dismiss it.[3] However, when it comes to the morality they use to make judgments against religion, they are absolutists. Another one of their cruel jokes.

In reality they want us just to accept their opinion because it is their opinion and their opinion is based on an assumed world view of naturalism,[4] which they assume is reality. In this assumed reality, their arguments win by default and become the absolute.[5] Yet, if they are consistent with their world view, their beliefs are nothing more than a chemical reaction in the brain and are not real, especially if one of those beliefs is faith in a God. Of course, faith in reason is not a belief according to them, but reality and this reality proves their position that all beliefs in a God are an illusion. Of course, reason is real even though you cannot see it, taste it, smell it, or feel it. It seems to me, reason is a concept or belief like the idea of God. However, for the atheist God is an illusion and reason is real.[6] What a joke.

Still another cruel joke is that atheists are never consistent in the area of morality, nor are they fair or accurate in many of their moral judgments. For instance, they lump all religious groups and faith groups together and make sweeping generalities. An example is one made by one of their leaders in Religion Poisons Everything.[7] Of course, the first problem with this statement to a thinking person is: What is religion? The next question will be: Is there more than one, and if so, which one are you talking about or are you talking about all of them? What happens if you define religion as the practice of virtue? Would the practice of virtue poison everything? If a person’s religion was to love his fellow-man as himself, does that religion poison everything? Only if you subvert the religion and turned love into hate would that be true. However, if you subvert the religion, it is no longer that religion but another form of religion. The other form may poison everything but the original may be good. Another cruel joke of atheism is that it must deny this common sense truth that there is good and bad religion.

Their absolutist concrete mentality proves them to be very much like the religious people they judge as judgmental. Of course, as I have said elsewhere, they are the mere image of a fundamentalist religious person. This is nothing but a cruel joke, but this time the joke is on them.

[1]  Taken from Who made God?: A Searching for a Theory of Everything by Fay Weldon.

[2] Leftist of all kinds especially dislike morality which places limits on their sexuality; for example sexual preference, abortion, euthanasia, etc.

[3] Morality that restricts so-called sexual freedoms.

[4] Naturalism is an ideology that believes that nature is all that exists or is the whole show.

[5] Proof of this is the lack of references to any authority other than themselves in their articles on their blogs. All they have is their opinion or the talking points they get from other blogs, on which they feed their opinions.

[6] The problem is that if reason is real, free will must be real, but according to many atheists like Sam Harris, free will is an illusion.

[7] God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Hitchens.