Hypocritical hostility towards Christians, and explaining hereditary defects
This week we feature two feedback enquiries. The first is from E. van Niekerk of South Africa and relates to anti-Christian discrimination. CMI’s Don Batten responds. The second is from Mark S. of Western Australia and relates to inherited defects. Carl Wieland replies.
Hypocritical hostility towards Christians
First of all, thank you so much for your ministry and the very important work that you do, especially here in South Africa, because I believe that we’re one of those countries that really can’t afford evolutionism and its horrible and destroying effects on a society.
I want to comment on this article [Atheists to do religious education in schools] by saying thank you for bringing up the point that Dawkins’ book The God Delusion has caused a young man to commit suicide. I think it is important that it is known, especially the people who worship him the way they do, should see the fruit his style of thinking bears.
Secondly, I want to ask an important question. The world around us, and sadly nowadays the Western world, is becoming more and more hostile toward Christians every year. Our rights are decreasing. I remember how upset I was when I read an article [California judge rules against academic freedom] on ICR’s website (on 21st of Aug) that reported that: the court has ruled, under someone named Judge Otero that the university of California has got the right to discriminate against and refuse a student coming from a Christian private school which does not teach atheistic, materialistic evolution.
Although I am not an American, one cannot help to feel a little delivered and enslaved by our governments. I am a young woman in my twenties. My question is simply this: such news can kick one right in the gut. How can we receive this kind of news, but still remain positive with hopeful attitudes towards life? Seeing all this, I sometimes cannot help to feel a little depressed. Being young myself, I can see how destructive low morals can be and I therefore absolutely agree with what you state in this article.
Thanks once again for your work and time.
Love in Christ
E. van Niekerk
Dear Miss van Niekerk,
Thanks for your kind comments on our article and our work. I had a ministry tour of South Africa in March 2008 and agree that SA can ill afford the socially devastating effects of evolutionary indoctrination (which the SA government has recently decreed will now be taught).
It can be very depressing if we focus on the problems. However, the way to ride over the problems is to focus on the goodness of God; to glory in Jesus Christ, not in our circumstances. This was the perspective of the Psalmist so often: look at the decadence of society, or the apparent victories of the foes of God and you get into a slough of despond (Pilgrim’s Progress). But refocus on God and his greatness, the fact that He is ultimately in control and working out His purposes and we can rejoice, even when things seem bad.
Also, often times the devil oversteps the mark: what we see as terrible God uses to His glory. For example, my daughter had an atheistic lecturer at university who was always rubbishing Christians (bad news if you are a Christian like my daughter!). Interestingly, as a famous apologist once pointed out, such anti-Christian attacks are often hypocritically self-contradictory. Anyway, a friend from high school days was also attending those lectures. This friend, not a Christian, was offended on behalf of my daughter, whom she liked. She asked my daughter, “What do you Christians believe that this lecturer finds so objectionable?” The end result was that this young lady came to faith in Christ and has continued to ‘power on’ in the Lord, becoming a strong witness to the grace of God in her life.
The Lord calls us to be faithful to him in our circumstances; to do our bit to be a light to the world. If every Christian worked on doing that, it would make a big difference to the world! You can share the truth with others and see those who are perishing rescued, or those who are doubting have their faith strengthened. It is in the darkness that the light shines most clearly! You can make a difference and see the glory of God. And you will rejoice.
Every blessing in Jesus’ name,
Explaining hereditary defects
Dear Dr Carl.
Thanks for all the wonderful information you and your team have made available.
I am rereading your article on Adam’s Rib. You mentioned that parents do not pass on physical defects such as “missing fingers.” I wonder if you could tell me how that would relate to the term “hereditary”?
I have a nervous condition that the Lord at this point in time has decided not to relieve me of. Perhaps as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:7 it is to keep me from becoming conceited. The doctors term it as a Benign Familial Tremor, the ‘familial’ meaning family or hereditary. Does this mean it has been passed down in my parents DNA? It only became noticeable later in life.
By the way would you have any idea what Paul’s thorn in his flesh was?
Regards and God bless,
Thanks for getting in touch.
In answer to your questions: Parents do indeed not pass on defects such as missing fingers. In other words, where a person’s body is damaged, that will not be passed on as a hereditary thing. This is because hereditary means inherited from the father and mother, by getting a copy of ½ the DNA information from each parent when the egg is fertilized with the sperm. If there is a ‘copying mistake’, this is known as a mutation, and such inherited mistakes do then get copied in successive generations, meaning a person will then be either a sufferer or a healthy carrier of the particular mistake. For some examples see Human genetic diseases. Not all mistakes cause problems—we all carry hundreds of them.
Benign (or Essential) Familial Tremor has an unknown cause, but it does run in families, so it is likely that it is an inherited mistake, i.e. a mutational thing. If it were solely a nervous/psychological issue, then it is possible to have that run in families because of imitation, but looking at the literature on the problem, that seems very unlikely. It seems it is like inheriting the tendency to get asthma—which is not your fault.
I don’t know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. Some have suggested from various subtle clues that it might have been an eye condition—painful irritated eyes.
What follows is a personal comment on the whole issue of healing, not representing the ministry per se. God certainly can miraculously heal, as I have experienced myself. Statistically, however, that appears to be the exception, for His special purposes. Most of us have to live with the effects of the curse in many ways, including such inherited conditions as the one you have.
Even a predisposition to a particular condition can be an inherited defect. For example, someone might be genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes, but depending on how they eat they are able to either trigger or postpone the onset, or maybe even totally avoid it. That’s an example we sometimes use in relation to questions about whether there is a DNA component to homosexual behaviour or alcoholism. The answer is maybe, but even if that were ever demonstrated, it would only show a predisposition to a certain sin, something that can be overridden by conscious choice. An inherited predisposition for such complex behaviours does not mean that we are programmed robots enslaved by our genes.