April 2008


To Love and Cherish

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Christianity: The Basics

What is Wrong with Social Justice

Christianity and Secularism

Evidence for the Bible

Archive for April 4th, 2008

Testimony II

Friday, April 4th, 2008 by Elgin Hushbeck

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Last time, I detailed my transition from atheist to theist. But I was still a long way from form being a Christian.  In fact as I began my odyssey to follow God, I started by going in the wrong direction.

Now at the time I did not really know any Christians, or if I did, they were inconspicuous enough in their faith that I didn’t realize that I did. However I did know some people who were involved in the New Age movement which was basically a hodgepodge of beliefs drawn from the Eastern Religions, Paganism and the Occult.  Most of these taught some form of spiritual progression, which fit in pretty closely with my belief in evolution in general.

So I began to explore a whole range of beliefs, from reincarnation to astrology.  While many of these did conflict with my scientific outlook, with my change from atheism to theism I was giving things a second looks. And as I said last time, truth has always been very important to me, and I have never been afraid to explore ideas, even controversial ideas and ideas that are out of the mainstream.

So I looked at both sides of these issues, and in the process, I learned something very interesting about scientists.  When scientists are attacking things they disagree with, they are at time so sure they are right, they get very sloppy.

For example, I remember reading a book against astrology that mentioned a study on military recruits and the planet mars, the planet that supposedly governs war, as an example of a failure of astrology. But the study just didn’t make a lot of sense, and some of the points it made where hard to take seriously.   So I did what I normally did, and still do, in such cases; I checked out the source.

The study was published in The Journal of Irreproducible Results.  I found this to be a puzzling name for a scientific journal, as science is built on the ability to reproduce the results of an experiment.  As I looked through the journal, however, the reason for my puzzlement became clear.  The Journal of Irreproducible Results is not a serious scientific journal, but a journal of scientific humor.  The study cited, was not a serious study refuting astrology, but was a joke, and many of the things that I found hard to take seriously in the study were meant to be funny.

This was more than just sloppy research.  It showed that the scientist who wrote that book was so busy rejecting, that he did not really understand what it was he was rejecting.  The absurdities meant to bring a smile were completely missed. The study seemed to support his position, and that was good enough.

Long after I had moved on from astrology to other explore and test other things, the lessons I learned about the fallibility of scientists remained. It is one of the reasons I find many of the arguments against the Bible, and creation to be so flawed, as the scientist putting forth the arguments have very often not take the time to really understand what it is they are trying to refute.

Another thing that happened during this period, was that my general anti-Christian views were strengthen and deepened and given substance.   While there was a range of religious views in the New Age Movement, one thing most agreed on was that orthodox Christianity was at best false, and often evil and corrupt.

For most in the New Age Movement, the teachings of Christ had been corrupted by the church fathers who rewrote the Bible at the councils so they could control the masses.  Now at the time this seemed plausible, as I still did not know very much about Christianity.  For example, I remember reading a book at about this time where the main character was betrayed by “a Judas kiss.”  But I didn’t know what “a Judas kiss” was, so I asked my future wife if she knew, and she explained it to me.

So without anything to counter these views, I accepted them. When I went to the library to check out the “Christian” side of the story, the books I came across were from liberal scholars who also were critical of the Bible. While checking out the “Christian” view of Genesis, for example, the books I read rejected the authorship of Moses.  So while I thought I was getting both sides, in reality I was only getting two versions of the same side.

So what had been a uniformed rejection of Christianity, over time became a much more informed rejection.  Vague reasons began to be replaced by specific arguments.  Eventually, I became committed enough in my rejection that I thought I needed to become better informed and so I bought a Bible and began complying a list of contradictions and errors.

But at the same time, I was becoming increasing dissatisfied with the New Age Movement as a mass of conflicting and often incoherent beliefs, and was beginning to look elsewhere.  I still believed in God and I was still seeking him.  Thankfully God was still not done with me and thankfully He was and is very patient.  More next time.

This is Elgin Hushbeck, asking you to Consider Christianity: a Faith Based on Fact.