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WHI-1118 | Myths about Christianity

Posted by on in 2012 Show Archive
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Are Christianity and science opposed to each other? Is religion just a myth? Does modern scholarship actually debunk the Bible? On this edition of White Horse Inn, Mike Horton talks with Jeffrey Burton Russell, professor of history at University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends.

Are Christianity and science opposed to each other? Is religion just a myth? Does modern scholarship actually debunk the Bible? On this edition of White Horse Inn, Mike Horton talks with Jeffrey Burton Russell, professor of history at University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends.




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PROGRAM AUDIO

[audio:http://www.whitehorseinn.org/whiarchives/2012whi1118sep09.mp3|titles=WHI 1118|artists=White Horse Inn]
Click here to access the audio file directly


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  • Guest - Bill

    Tim, I'm going to be honest with you. I attempted to take my time with evolution, I even bought the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin a few years ago. I tried to start reading it and slso skim through the book. Actually my atheist grandfather whom I loved so much and was one of the best men I've ever come across to had read the Origen of Species and loved it. Now he was born in 1899 and had only elementary school education and was able to become a fan of Darwin and the book. This goes to prove that to read Darwin you don't need to be a scientist, even a high school drop-out can read the book. As for me I couldn't finish the book, I couldn't get started to be honest with you, it was the most boring "junk" I've ever come across. So I maintain evolution is not science, now when it comes down to biology and genetics, of course they are sciences and a high school drop-out can not pick up an advanced biology or genetics book and make sense of it, but the same person can easily read Charles Darwin "Origin of Species".

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  • Guest - Tim Cowley

    Bill,

    Thanks for the response. A lot of laypeople (non-scientists) both atheists and Christians read Origin of the Species as if it is informative of the current field of evolutionary biology. It's a remarkable read, for those who are interested in the thought process that led the idea, but it's awfully long and doesn't give much insight into the current theory. I could see why you would find it boring. It was the birth of the theory, but there was not much evidence in support of it at that time. It's still scientific since it was a reasonable inference given the evidence, but it really was only an idea. We didn't even have the genetic evidence at the time. If your thinking that there is very little support of evolution comes from the lack of evidence given in Origin of the Species, well your over a century behind the times. You need to pick up a modern textbook. There are also other resources that explain the current theory to laypeople. It has changed since Darwin. We have accumulated a lot of evidence since then and we bow have an understanding of the central role DNA plays in the process.

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  • Guest - Bill

    Tim, the issue at hand is when we study nature we need to give glory to God as the Creator. Calvin makes this clear in his Institutes. Isac Newton when he studied nature he stated he was marvelled by the precision of the laws of nature that he saw a creator. The atheist modern physicist is no better than |Newton, but when he studies nature he sees a big bang creating the universe out of nothing instead of God creating it. Newton was a godly scientist, the atheist 21st century physiscist is no better than Newton as a scientist, and yet when he studies science he doens't view science as learning about natural laws that show the mind of a creator. Evolution is the same thing, it's a philosophy (actually you can check it on Wikipedia) that precedes Socrates, Aristotle was really the first creationist philospher (a prime mover he called the creator). Aristotle maintained that species are fixed and were created by God read it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
    In the 20th century biology adopted the philosophy of evolution. Genetics and molecular biology with the study of DNA stand as scietific truths regardless whether the biologists that engage in this science hold a creationist or evolutionist philosphy. Sadly today most mainline scientists are evolutionists. Biology doesn't need evolution or creationism to stand on its own, neither does physics (as much as I admire Newton's laws and his view that a creator must be behind them). That being said the christian scientist needs to adopt a Newtonian view of science that emphasizes creation, because as CAlvin teaches in his Institutes the goal of science is to glorify God. The ungodly scientist is free to not credit God and can incorporate philoophies like the big bang and evolution, he will not and can not credit God for his work of creation because he doesn't know God.

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  • Guest - Bill

    To add to my last post with regard to scientific evidence for evolution there is none. Genetic mutations result in inferior individuals (hey there's a polluted lake close to where I live and people have caught fishes with two heads as a result of mutations). Also in the rare cases that two species mate and a hybrid is born, the hybrids are sterile and can't reproduce so no new species can be created. Finally with regard to common ancestors of species, none have been found in the fossil record. Evolution is a materialistic philosphy that denies that the Spirit of God that Genesis 1 talks about is the author of all creation. Science has a place, but its business is to stay out of the creation vs evolution issue.

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  • Guest - Tim Cowley

    Bill,
    Please take my advice and look at the actual claims and evidence provided by evolutionists (talkorigins website) instead of unsubstantiated assertions made by creationists. Just two days ago I went to a talk where the speaker showed irrefutable evidence of a beneficial mutation during a study of bacteria grown under experimental conditions. The bacteria adapted to use a new source of food. We have also observed the evolution of an enzyme that is able to digest nylon. Nylon is a synthetic chemical not found in nature. Bacteria that could eat nylon were found in waste ponds outside nylon factories. We have seen beneficial mutations arise numerous times. Most mutations are harmful, but those that receive those mutations tend not to survive. The ones that receive the beneficial mutations out-compete those that aren't mutated or that have harmful mutations. The net result is an organism better adapted to its environment. This is not "historical" science or speculation. This is observable in real experiments.

    Most evolution is thought to occur through gradual changes within a species, not the mating of different species. The idea being that each successive generation is a little different from the previous. Each generation looks like it's parents, but go back enough generations and the differences become more obvious.

    It's hard to know if a fossil is a "common ancestor" or a branch of the family tree close to a common ancestor. That said there are plenty of examples of stepwise changes in the fossil record. These fossils segregate themselves in the rock layer in the order of the progressive change. More importantly genome sequencing provides much evidence for the existence of common ancestors.

    Sorry to keep emphasizing this same point, but it really gets under my skin that people claim their is no evidence. I highly doubt the evidence matters to you anyway, so I don't know why you insist on fighting this loosing battle. I suspect your actual position is that the Bible is infallible and literally true. Under this philosophy anything in science that appears contradictory must be wrong. Evolution can not be reconciled with literal 6 day creationism, so is wrong under this philosophy. If this is the case we are at in impasse. I don't take the Bible to be literal so don't need to reconcile it. You take the Bible literally so no evidence I give you will be good enough. I don't expect you to change your position. All I seek from you is to understand and show more respect for my position. It's demeaning to tell those who wrestle with this issue that their is no evidence to contend with. And it does turn people off from Christianity.

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  • Guest - Bill

    Tim, you hit it on the nail. You don’t take the bible literally and this is the root cause of your problem. You are using science to justify a non-literal interpretation of the bible. And it’s not just you nobel prize winners are doing the same. What a wonderful opportunity was given by God to James Watson and Francis Crick to glorify the Creator of Scripture when they discovered the DNA in 1953 and were awarded the Nobel Prize. When Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick (an atheist and evolutionist fanatic) realized he couldn’t explain the origin of the DNA, he claimed that the DNA came from outer space and was shipped to earth by aliens with a higher intelligence than man. This evolutionist essentially admitted creation, but he made Aliens the Creator instead of the God of the Bible. He wrote a book “Life itself: Its Origin and Nature” that you can find on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Life-Itself-Its-Origin-Nature/dp/0671255630 where he explains his theory of how aliens created life on earth. Before anybody wastes their money and buy it I recommend they read the customer reviews on the Amazon link I provided. Francis Crick is not only a one of the greatest scientists that ever lived for discovering the DNA but he’s also a theologian that has replaced the God of the Bible with aliens from another planet to justify the theory of evolution (though he does it in the name of science). With regard to my disrespect of scientists, let it be clear I respect their science but I disrespect their non-christian religious beliefs. What has happened is evolutionists have hijacked biology and are now using it to advance the religion of evolution, in the process they have destroyed the purity of the biological sciences since they have mixed religion with science. Physics has suffered the same fate with the big bang theory (which is a religion) being sold as physics to the general public. Christians need to know that today Satan disguised as an angel of light, has packaged religious beliefs as science. Because the American people trust science what better way to sell religion than calling it science. Contrary to what you believe there is no contradiction between my literal interpretation of the bible and science. Science and biblical Christianity are not opposed to each other, far from it. John Horgan wrote in Scientific American magazine (not a creationist magazine by any means) that Science is on the side of the Creationists. Evolutionists wrote Horgan in his February 2011 blog have lost the scientific battle and have now adopted Francis Crick theology (though they call it science) of Aliens being the authors of life instead of the God of the Bible. Here it is this wonderful article from Scientific American Magazine:
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2011/02/28/pssst-dont-tell-the-creationists-but-scientists-dont-have-a-clue-how-life-began/

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  • Guest - Bill

    Further to what I just wrote the reason I focused on the men that invented the DNA is because Evolutionists claim that the discovery of the DNA is what contributed the most to the proof of evolution. The truth is that Nobel Prize winners Francis Crick and James Watson who discovered the DNA are both vocal atheists that up to this day attack Christianity. I’ll let you read about these two fellows whose motivation for entering the field of science and discovering the DNA was to destroy Christianity as both of them admit. Their atheism precedes their science, this doesn’t mean their science isn’t good. Actually Calvin speaks in his Institutes on how contributions to the Arts and Sciences that glorify God, actually come from men that fail to recognize God because of their unbelief, and yet this does not negate the beauty of the scientific discovery, in this particular case the DNA.

    http://creation.com/designed-by-aliens-crick-watson-atheism-panspermia
    http://www.create.ab.ca/dna-good-discovery-bad-agenda/
    http://www.examiner.com/article/atheist-activists-disguised-as-scientists
    http://www.examiner.com/article/francis-crick-and-james-watson-do-our-genes-reveal-the-hand-of-god

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  • [...] September 9 episode of the White Horse Inn featured an interview between Michael Horton and Jeffery Burton Russell, author of  Exoposing Myths [...]

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  • Dr. Horton, a very interesting interview with Professor Russell of UCSB, my alma mater. A while back I read Rodney Stark's book on the Crusades, God's Battalions, which essentially makes the case that Russell was making. Another good book is The Genesis of Science by James Hannam, which also dispels a number of myths regarding Christianity and science.

    Thanks for always having thought provoking subjects and discussions for those of us who, at nearby tables, are eavesdropping on your conversations at the White Horse Inn.

    Jack

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  • Guest - Adam Richards

    Hello Tim,

    I don't like getting into these debates about evolution and 6 day creation. Generally they are heated without anybody really looking or thinking through the evidence. I'm really responding to your post on the 16th of September and what you stated in the third paragraph. Your stated position was either that a literal reading of the bible is wrong or that the science based on evidence is wrong. And as a man who has studied the science, you conclude the bible must be wrong.

    I would want you to consider a third option, (I'm going to write this from my subjective point of view as I'm not trying to attack your position at all), that my reading of the bible is wrong! What I'm trying to say, that the third option is that 6 day creationists are reading the bible poorly. I'm an evangelical minister who believes that Jesus Christ died and rose again to forgive sin. I also studied to become a genetic engineer when I was younger.

    But funnily enough I never had a problem with Genesis One. Nevertheless I've spent a lot of time with that chapter as I think it is foundational to a Christian understanding of the world. I too have looked at the evidence for evolution and have not found anything to dissuade me from accepting it as God's means of creating humanity. I'm what you might call a theistic evolutionist. This will put me off side with a lot of brothers and sisters in the faith, but I seek the truth and do not believe scientific truth can ever contradict the bible. (John 14:6)

    I also know that the bible must be read literally. And so how do I hold both positions? Through a dogged belief that if God is truth and that if evidence contradicts my understanding of the truth, then there must be something wrong with my understanding. In this case through 6 years of studying Genesis that there was something wrong with my understanding of the word 'day'.

    The biggest piece of evidence that day in Genesis One does not mean 26hr period, comes Genesis two where we read.

    These are the generations
    of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
    in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Gen 2:4, ESV)

    This rendering says that all creation was made in a day. The hebrew word for day is 'yom' and is in the original text. If 6 day creationist are going to insist that day means a 24 hour period, they are going to have to explain why the writer says the world was created in one 24 hour period in genesis 2 and six 24 hour periods in genesis 1. This makes God contradictory, an absolutely untenable position. There are also many clues in genesis 1 itself that would suggest that this a totally false reading of genesis one.

    The five main things Genesis one teaches are, 1. God is sovereign over everything; 2. that God created everything from nothing; 3. that God created an ordered universe that could be rationally understood (NB. this is the basis for science); 4. that God created humanity in his image a the pinnacle of his creation; 5. that the purpose of creation is found in the sabbath or rest day. The first four of these statements would not be contested by Christians, the fifth might not have ever been heard of by many. I'm sorry I have just stated these and not showed how to come out of the text, but this post is not for this.

    Tim, I firmly believe that a 6 day creationist reading of Genesis One is postmodern, a reading where we import our understanding of the world into the bible. The true goal of any Christian is to seek what God says for himself, that is allow the text to speak for itself. Tim your commitment to the truth is commendable, and so can I commend you to look at the bible afresh, and find out what Jesus says for himself, instead of what others say about him. May I suggest you read the gospel of Mark, and learn about the man and mission from Christians who were untainted by our own materialistic preconceptions about the world.

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