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Does it matter what people believe?

Reposted 15 April 2006

Feedback from Mr Brandon Looney, who gave permission for his full name to be used. His letter seems to promote a increasingly common error—that of postmodernism or relativism—a denial of absolute objective truth. This contrasts with many atheists who claim that we are wrong (usually without the slightest justification), but such a claim presupposes that there is such a thing as absolute truth. A response by Dr Jonathan Sarfati (CMI-Australia) immediately follows his letter, first in its entirety.

I will gladly oblige in providing you with a negative response to your organization. Not because I’m an evolutionist, I believe atheism is as much a religion as Christianity in that both are equally dogmatic and unbending, but because I see that there are more problems that Christians should try and solve.

You should be spreading the word of God and his Son to the people of America strengthening your numbers. I've tried arguing with a scientist before, it’s pointless. No matter what you say to these people their beliefs aren’t going to change any more than yours are.

Is it important where we came from? Some say yes and some say no, but the truth of the matter is it’s not. Do you believe in God today? Do you believe that God created man and God created Earth. It’s not important what the world believes. It’s important what you belive.


Response:

I will gladly oblige in providing you with a negative response to your organization. Not because I’m an evolutionist, I believe atheism is as much a religion as Christianity in that both are equally dogmatic and unbending,, …

I must say that it’s a refreshing change for someone to realise that atheism is also a dogmatic belief system. In fact, all belief systems start with axioms, or propositions held to be true without proof, and from which other propositions are deduced. These axioms form a framework by which facts are interpreted. As we often emphasise, creationists and evolutionists have the same facts; the difference is how they are interpreted, and the difference is due to the different axioms. For more information, see Creation: ‘Where’s the proof?

… but because I see that there are more problems that Christians should try and solve.

On what basis do you decide that something is a problem, or how great a problem it is? A person’s axioms play a huge role in this, and what might be serious problems under some axioms would not be under others.

You should be spreading the word of God and his Son …

This is precisely what we are doing. But I must ask you, which ‘God’ and ‘Son’ are you talking about, if not the God of the Bible who created the universe, through and by His Son?

… to the people of America…

It might surprise you to learn that there are other countries in the world ;)

… strengthening your numbers. I’ve tried arguing with a scientist before, it’s pointless.

Does this mean that your own limited experience should be normative for us all? Respectfully, I’m not surprised at your lack of success if this letter illustrates your general way of arguing, that is, unsupported assertions and (as will be shown below) self-refuting statements. …

No matter what you say to these people their beliefs aren’t going to change any more than yours are.

… Actually, our experience is different from yours. Some of our staff scientists and board members themselves are scientists who did change their minds, which means a fundamental change of axioms. And we have hundreds of letters on file of many others. It shows the fallacy of basing too much on a single person’s experience. In fact, although we have plenty of experience to the contrary, our position is not based on experience but on biblical commands such as 2 Corinthians 10:5, ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Is it important where we came from? Some say yes and some say no, but the truth of the matter is it’s not.

Do you have any basis for this assertion? In fact, it makes all the difference in the world. If God made us, then He owns us, and has the right to make the rules for us—and because He made us, He knows what’s best for us. And—this is most important of all—we are accountable to Him, worthy of infinite punishment for violating His infinite holiness, and have only one way out: this is to believe that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, bore the punishment we deserve.

But if no-one made us, then rules are simply conventions from culture or have evolved for survival value, and there is no objective basis for deciding right and wrong. And ultimately we are accountable to no-one but ourselves. Is it any wonder that schoolchildren, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ‘natural selection’, go on shooting sprees against their classmates? If humans are really just rearranged pond scum—the results of survival of the fittest—then what could possibly be the basis for saying that they did wrong?

Do you believe in God today? Do you believe that God created man and God created Earth. it’s not important what the world believes …

This presupposes that beliefs have no consequences. But as shown above, they most certainly do. And if you mean that it shouldn’t matter to us what the rest of the world believes, and given that you are a part of the rest of the world, it follows that it shouldn’t matter to us what you believe—so why, given your own assumptions, would you expect us to take your comments seriously?

… it’s important what you belive.

Well, I believe that it is important what the world believes, and that relativism has baneful consequences for personal and social life, as well as grave eternal consequences. So according to your own words, this belief of mine is important.

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