Abandon All Fear

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[Fallible Design] How I Went From Intellectual To Dumb

Posted by Lex Fear on May 6, 2007

There seems to be a wave of anti-theism spreading across the interweb these days. Either that or I’m just reading the wrong sites. Regardless, it’s inspired me to recount my own conversion from being an enlightened, smart, intelligent being, to an unenlightened, stupid, dumb theist.

Anti-theism can come in other forms but it usually takes the form of evolutionism. So I will try not to point out the obvious irony that Creationists consider human beings to be of higher intellect, value and potential whereas evolutionists consider human beings to have evolved from less intelligent species. This will be the first part of a series.

I was not raised as a Christian, or to believe in any God. You could say I was an atheist, but I was probably more of an agnostic. I didn’t have much of a concept of God, but I had at some point been taught the story of Jesus and the usual biblical stories: Noah’s Ark, Moses etc. I was not hostile to any of it, I liked the stories, but that was all they were, stories.

I grew up with a typical British education that everyone receives. I remember the science classes and the science experiments: measuring force, gravity, chemical reactions and the noise of gas taps being flicked on and off to the annoyance of our teacher. I had some good science teachers, I remember in particular a couple of things they used to say:

1. Every scientific investigation starts with a hypothesis.
2. For a scientific theory to be proved, it must be repeated and observed under the same conditions and produce the same results.
…Or words to that effect.

I was also taught the theory of evolution, as was everyone else in the class. I believed it, along with everyone else in the class. I was not taught any alternative theories, and I was not taught to question it. In fact, I don’t remember being taught to question anything my teachers said. It’s only later you consider that they are also human, prone to error and sometimes don’t do a very good job of it (I once worked in a school for 3 years, I’ve seen it all).

So I left school with an standard education that most people in the UK, around the late 90’s received. I left school with the same standard public school education that every Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Wican, Pagan, Humanist and regular teenager received. It was a couple of years later that I became a follower of Christ.

I’d leave out the details but I think it’s important to mention some things about my conversion. I went from not believing in God, to asking God if he is real, to show me. I was in a time of need, and I said specifically “Jesus, if you are real, I need you now”. There was no flash of light, no voice from heaven, no vision of God. But I read a few words and I then realised He was real, I got down on my knees and simply said “I’m yours, do what you can with me because I give up”.

It’s important to mention this: nothing changed. I did not change in my appearance. I did not change my theology (apart from the fact God existed when previously he didn’t). I did not renounce any of my beliefs (spiritual or physical). I did not renounce my prejudices. I did not suddenly forgive my enemies. I gave no thought to heaven and I did not suddenly believe in hell. In fact, the world still revolved around the sun, gravity still held us in place, the world was still millions of years old and I still had a fear of spiders. One thing did change. Hope.

After becoming a Christian. The main thing for me was my relationship with Christ and that was what I concentrated on. It wasn’t about my stand on homosexuality, abortion, creationism or politics- I still hardly knew anything of these things. I knew only that Christ was real, and Christ did not demand of me to change my position on any of these things. Jesus is only interested in our relationship with him. If we are in relationship with him, everything else will take care of itself.

Of course, some things have now changed, the way I view the world for one. As a young Christian I made many embarrassing mistakes which cost me friends who were not Christians. But through Christ I learned to control my anger, forgive, appreciate classical music, continue my education, social skills, appreciate culture and debate politics. Christ has given me a passion for those who are downtrodden or oppressed. If anything Christ has made me more humanist and more rational than I ever was. Oddly, belief in evolution and human progress never did that for me.

It was only after establishing my relationship with Christ, and becoming a better person all round, that I came across creationism as it is known to the wider world. Up till then, being a Christian, I still believed wholeheartedly in evolution (YES you CAN be a Christian and believe in evolution!). I had read Genesis by now, so I was trying to find a way to balance the two views. I was pointed in the direction of some literature by a Christian friend who was a science teacher. Amazingly, this literature actually asked questions that I had never though to ask. It gave alternative theories on carbon dating for example.

Of course, I’m not a scientist and I don’t know all the facts, but then, I didn’t need to know all the facts to believe in evolution either. In actual fact, I was more ignorant as an ‘evolutionist’ than a ‘creationist’. The most important thing to note, is that I relearned how to question sources, and I learned that evolution was still a theory, as is creationism and intelligent design.

I wasn’t around for the beginning of the universe, so if I was to be honest with you, I would say I can’t actually tell you if life evolved from amoeba’s or whether God actually created us exactly as you see us now. If you were honest with me you would say the same. What we both do is look at the evidence before us, and come to a conclusion. I’ll continue to be honest and say I haven’t fully come to a conclusion yet.

I believe God exists, I believe he created us, but did he create us as we are now, or did he simply start the process, and use evolution as his tool to bring us into being? What difference does it make? None. For the record, I do believe in one aspect of evolution- natural selection. But if you asked to make a bet today, I would bet on intelligent design before I bet on genetic modification, just based on evidence I’ve read so far.

Coming Soon… Questions I Was Never Taught To Ask

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3 Responses to “[Fallible Design] How I Went From Intellectual To Dumb”

  1. Sometimes people tell me to read such-and-such-a book to further my knowledge of a particular field and I sometimes do, but normally don’t (time constraints, you know?)But this once, you absolutely must read this book. Richard Dawkins (I am paraphrasing Scientific American here) is “sometimes considered agressive when attacking religion, but he is just being as rigorous with evidence for God as any scientist would be with anything else.”Please don’t misunderstand me, I would never want to take your belief from you — I think it is a good thing for individuals to have that belief if they can — but I do not like people believing that creationism or intelligent design have any credence. They are, simply, false and it is only by reading through some of the overwhelming evidence that you can understand this.The book I would recommend, which is far more gentle than I have been, is this one.Sorry if I offend.

  2. Lex Fear said

    Yes I’m with you on time constraints there!

    With regards to Richard Dawkins, I find he allows his anti-theism to get in the way of his scientific objectivity. I also find that in his dogmatic rage against religion, he has occasionally contradicted himself.

    You needn’t fear taking faith from me, after all without faith I would personally be nothing of worth, as stated.

    I will say outright that intelligent design does have credence. But intelligent design can extend beyond God. For example, what’s not to say that an advanced alien race created us, as some believe?

    The problem with believing in a God created universe, is that you kind of need to believe in a God or gods first. This will always be the problem and the source of contention amongst the two sides. But to believe in God, you do not need to believe in the literal account of Genesis in the bible.

    I will be posting a second part later- with questions to ask of evolution and I will also be doing a review of “The God Who Wasn’t There”.

  3. I understand, and to some extent enjoy the ‘Advanced Alien Race’ theory. It is also known as transpermia.But that doesn’t answer any particular problem. It questions the facts as we see them, yes. But it doesn’t explain why they would want to do that or, more importantly, how that advanced race came into existence.It seems emminently more likely that we evolved than that another lifeform evolved that had a similar type of intelligence to us (so that we can imagine them) and that they put us here.I just don’t see the point of ID as a theory (which it isn’t by the way in the scientific sense).

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