== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Monday, April 28, 2008

"S" is Very Hard to Say

This is for Abigail (aged 4) who is still learning how to say her "S" and "R" sounds.

It's written as it should be read - "S" replaced with "TH" and "R" replaced with "W". However, because it gets a bit tricky to follow when written like that, I have also included a "translation" for you under each line.

I think that "eth" ith thomething that ith vewy hard to thay
I think that "S" is something that is very hard to say
My tongue jutht thort of doethn't theem to thay it the wight way!
My tongue just sort of doesn't seem to say it the right way!
I'm thuppothed to thort of thay it with my tongue behind my teeth
I'm supposed to sort of say it with my tongue behind my teeth
But my tongue jutht thort of wiggleth and popth out underneath!
But my tongue just sort of wriggles and pops out underneath!

And even if I get it, I often theem to find
And even if I get it, I often seem to find
That although my "eth"eth are "eth"eth,
That although my Ss are Ss,
My "ar"th are left behind!
My Rs are left behind!

Tho when I thay "I wan and thplathhed and thwam into the thea"
So when I say "I ran and splashed and swam into the sea"
Or "Wothie'th wipping wotheth up to make thomething for me"
Or "Rosie's ripping roses up to make something for me"
Then people theem to thnigger and twy to copy me!
Then people seem to snigger and try to copy me!

It thometimeth maketh me thort of bluth or feel a little thad
It sometimes makes me sort of blush or feel a little sad
Ethpethially when I'm twying to thay a nithe thing to my dad.
Especially when I'm trying to say a nice thing to my dad.

But I know they not being nathty
But I know they not being nasty
They jutht like thound it maketh
They just like sound it makes
And they know that I'm jutht learning
And they know that I'm just learning
And that I thtill make thome mithtaketh
And that I still make some mistakes

Tho I thay a little pwayer
So I say a little prayer
('Coth God will underthtand)
('Cos God will understand)
And I thnuggle up to Daddy
And I snuggle up to Daddy
And I hold him by the hand
And I hold him by the hand
And we thit and laugh together
And we sit and laugh together
(Which maketh uth both feel gwand)
(Which makes us both feel grand)
And he helpth me to thay: "essss"
And he helps me to say: "S"
And: "Ssssally rrrran along the ssssand".
And: "Sally ran along the sand".

- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Choice

In my last post in this series on why I believe in God, I summarised the points that I have been talking about in the previous posts and concluded that, as I see it, there are two options regarding the origin of the universe and life:
  • God exists and the universe is the way it is because He created it that way, or
  • God doesn't exist and the universe we see today is just one of a vast number of multiple universes and is the way it is simply as a result of random chance and natural processes.

So how do I decide which of these two options I will choose* to believe in?

Now, of course, if you have been following along, there is no secret about the fact I choose to believe in the "God exists" option. But let me explain the "why" behind that choice.

The first reason is simply that this is the option that seems more likely to me to be correct. As I said before, both options, when you really think about them, are rather mind-blowing. However, the alternative option (multiple, eternal universes) just seems more unlikely to me - particularly since it would require the laws of physics to be fundamentally different in different universes. You may disagree, of course, but to me the existence of God is, in the end, the more plausible of the two options.

The second reason is the personal implications of getting the answer wrong. The fact is that one day I will die. If I am right about what I believe, then it may be that this is true:
... at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ...
[Phil 2:10-11, NASB]
In other words, it may be true that when I do die I too will see "The Creator" who made this universe and will, no doubt, respond is the same way as John (one of Jesus' closest disciples) did when he saw just a vision of Him as He appears in heaven:
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me... When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man.
[Rev 1:12,17 NASB]
But then, if I am right about what I believe, the good news is that the Creator's response to me will be similar to what His response was to John in that last passage:
And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid ..."
[Rev 1:17 NASB]
And I'll go on to live forever in a place that is more fantastic than anything I could even dream of alongside a God who loves me more than I can understand.

On the other hand, if I am wrong (and God doesn't, in fact, exist) then I will still die with the anticipation of all those wonderful things. And that will be that. I will never know that I was wrong.

The alternative would be for me to believe that God doesn't exist. If I did choose that option, and I was right, then I would die with the expectation of death being the end. And it would be - although I'd never actually find out that I was right.

On the other hand, if I choose to believe that God doesn't exist then when I die I may just find that I was wrong and it is, after all, true that (like it or not) "every knee will bow". I may just find out that I too will "fall at His feet" in fear.

And maybe I'll find that He won't place His hand on me and say "Don't be afraid".

Call me a coward if you like, but that's not a mistake that I am particularly keen to make. In fact, I would want to be absolutely convinced - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that God doesn't exist for me to risk not believing in Him.

Particularly since believing in Him, though it costs me my life in one way, gives me so much more than it takes - even this side of death.

So there you have it - that concludes this (very brief) summary of some of the reasons why I believe what I believe.

As I said in the introductory post, what you choose to believe is up to you. Of course, since I do, in fact, believe what I believe, I believe that what I believe is true (otherwise I wouldn't believe it). Which means that I believe that heaven is real. And that means that, if I had any say, my preference would be for you to make that same choice - because I'd really like to meet up with you in heaven and have a good old chat with you over a nice cup of coffee (or, more likely, something far more enjoyable than coffee).

After all - we'll have all of eternity to get to know each other!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
[Eph 3:14-21 NASB]

* This assumes that I have a choice. If God doesn't exist then we don't really have any choice about what we do or believe because all that is really happening is that our brains are responding to electrical and chemical impulses in the way they are forced to do by the laws of physics. If God does exist, then we have choice if, and only if, (and only to the extent that) He gives it to us.

Note: This is the last in a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fun Poems for Kids

Here's a list of poems posted on this blog. Most of them have a Christian theme, although some of them are really just a bit of fun. They also vary in length from just four lines to, well, quite long. I hope that you (and your kids!) enjoy them.

The most recently added poems are shown at the top of the list.

My Little Paper Aeroplane
Whilst in my hands I pray for help to shape your wings just right;
'Cause one day soon the time will come to launch you into flight.
... [4 lines long]

A Little Song
A little song, one summer's day,
Came floating past my ear
... [8 lines long]

The Feeding of the 5000
I looked round about and saw lots of mouths
That needed all to be fed
... [48 lines long]

I ran and ran and ran
So fast
... [5 lines long]

On Psalm 23 and Being a Sheep
I found out one day, in a Psalm about sheep
That to feed them and lead them and help them to sleep
... [46 lines long]

"S" is Very Hard to Say
I think that "eth" ith thomething that ith vewy hard to thay
I think that "S" is something that is very hard to say
My tongue jutht thort of doethn't theem to thay it the wight way!
My tongue just sort of doesn't seem to say it the right way!
... [24 lines long]

The Snowman
If you've a snowman as a friend,
Then I think you're around the bend.
... [32 lines long]

Seventy Times Seven
If you have a friend who's done something to you
That's hurt or upset you or made you feel blue,
... [96 lines long]

Mine is Fine
Mine may not be fine as thine,
But ... his may not be fine as mine
... [4 lines long]

I rushed this job and made a mess;
It made my mummy frown.
... [4 lines long]

What Will You Be?
People often ask me and say:
"What will you be when you're big?
... [8 lines long]

When time was still very new
When time was still very new
And God hadn't yet turned on the sun
... [46 lines long]

I'm a Little Butterfly
I’m a little butterfly,
Flying up and down
... [8 lines long]

I've got my Daddy's measuring tape
It's a funny sort of thing
... [31 lines long]

If God looked through my window
If God looked through my window
And watched me while I played,
... [24 lines long]

Is Love a Banana?
I've thought about it and I've thought about it
But I just can't work it out.
... [48 lines long]

Deity of Christ
Sometimes I wonder
Just how can it be
... [4 lines long]

Start Your Day in a Happy Way
Start your day in a happy way –
Don't grump and growl and groan;
... [28 lines long]

Imagine Forever
Imagine a hand as small as your thumb
That can hold up the earth and light up the sun.
... [26 lines long]

Well, that's all the poems that are available here for now. I hope you enjoyed them!

While you're here, I'd really appreciate it if you would spare a moment or two to add a comment to let me know what you thought. I know time is precious, so no problem if you haven't got time, but even just a few words would be helpful and encouraging for me. For example, you could let me know:
  • Which ones you (or your kids) enjoyed the most (or least!)
  • Is there any specific topic that you would like to suggest for me to write a poem about.
  • And so on...
I look forward to hearing from you :)

Also, don't forget that you can email this page to a friend if you know someone who you think would enjoy them.

Thanks and God bless :)

The Snowman

This is one of the first poems I wrote a few years ago...
If you've a snowman as a friend,
Then I think you're around the bend.
I mean, please, tell me - what can be nice
About a friend whose made of ice?
He cannot run or jump or play,
And as for flying - yeah right - no way!
I think he would be quite lame
Compared to say - a computer game.

I beg your pardon? What's that you say?
There's snow outside? You sure? In May??
Well ok - alright, alright,
I come and join the snowball fight.
No wait! - Oh no, I say,
I wish we hadn't lost that sleigh!
I know, let's make a huge snowball,
With one on top to make it tall.
And - Oh! Hey! Look at that
It looks quite cool in that black hat!
Let's see: what else is there
That we can make our snowman wear?

Just then my mother called and said:
"It's nearly time to go to bed!"
But Mum, I said, it won't take long
For us to finish his sarong.
And surely you can't think it's fair
For us to leave him with no hair?

Now later, as I lay in bed,
I wriggled my toes, and coughed and said:
About the stuff I said before
(How snowman friends are quite a bore)
I think I should have held my tongue -
I must admit - he was great fun!
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two Options

Ok - let's summarise what I have talked about in the posts up to now on this topic of "Why I believe in God":
  • A permissible hypothesis - It seems to me that there is no logical reason for discounting "God" as at least a potential answer to the question of why things are the way they are.
  • Hello World - Life requires information. Generating the information for even the most basic of living things by random processes would be likely to take incomprehensibly vast amounts of time (far more than are allowed for by even the most extreme estimates for the age of the universe).
  • Special Conditions - Formation of life also requires very specialised conditions - specialised chemical and environmental conditions, specialised planetary conditions and finely balanced laws of physics and chemistry. Again, the chances of all these conditions being available simply by chance are incredibly small.
  • Random Writing - Having formed the first living "thing" we would then need to allow for that thing to improve over time by a process of random changes followed by natural selection. Once again the odds are stacked phenomenally heavily against this being successful.
  • Starting from Scratch - Even if we put aside the issue of random probability, changing things gradually over time (even when coordinated by an intelligent human) does not normally result in a highly efficient system. Rather it requires us to learn lessons from past attempts but then to build something new from scratch.
  • Changing in Parallel - Similarly, even when making incremental changes to existing systems to improve them, the norm is that we would need to change multiple parts of that system in parallel. Changes to one part without synchronised changes to another will, more often than not, make things worse rather than better.
  • A Lot of Positives - Even if positive (information adding) mutations happened every generation it is questionable if there would be enough time for all the necessary changes to take place in the time available.
  • And more... - And those are just some of points to consider - there are many more to add to these (a task that has been undertaken by others more qualified than I am to do so).
  • Yes But... - Of course there are also arguments that people make against the existence of God - however, none that I have encountered constitute genuine proof that God doesn't exist, and some are (in my view) not really actually relevant to the topic.

Now to me, this all amounts to, if not "proof" of the existence of God, at least enough evidence for me to consider it as a very strong possibility.

You may disagree - and that's fine - as I stated right at the beginning, what you believe is entirely up to you. In fact there are, clearly, millions of people (including some very clever and educated people) who do disagree.

But then there are also millions of people (including some very clever and educated people) who agree with me and also conclude that there is a God. (If you're interested, here's lists of are some of them, both present and past).

The problem, of course, is that the relevant evidence and the arguments about how that evidence should be interpreted are very complex and it wouldn't be possible for any one person to have a full understanding of all of them.

In some ways that's a bad thing - because it means that there is really no-one who is fully qualified to draw any kind of conclusion on this topic.

In other ways, though, it's a good thing - it means that we don't need to wait until we know everything there is to know about all these topics before we can reach some kind of conclusion of our own. We just need to make sure that we have looked at enough evidence and arguments from both sides to enable us to make a reasonable, rational decision about which of the two basic options we are going to choose.

Well - I say "need" - there's nothing forcing us to actually look at any of this - we could just select whichever is most convenient, go with that and hope for the best. However, that's not really an approach that I would recommend if the stakes are as high they may possibly be.

So - what are the two options?

They are these:
  • "God" exists. The universe is the way it is because God designed it like that, so probability and reliance on random changes are not necessary. God Himself (who would need to be far more complex than the most complex thing that He has designed) has always existed and so no random processes were necessary to initially being Him into existence. He exists outside of the universe (probably including outside of time itself) and so is not governed in any way by the laws we observe operating in this universe.
  • "God" does not exist. The universe is the way it is because of the effect of random changes and luck. The probabilities are such that it is unreasonable to believe that we just "struck lucky" the first time, so there must be multiple universes (so many of them that it makes the number of atoms in our current, observable universe look minute). These universes must exist in a way that means that the laws of physics, physical constants, etc. are different in each one of those universes. It is possible that large numbers of universes all exist at the same time, or that there is just one "universe" which is repeatedly being "reborn" in a new form (or some combination of those two). The fundamental matter and/or energy from which all these universes are made has existed for an infinite length of time (i.e. always - there never was a time when it didn't exist) but does not appear to have settled into any kind of steady state - rather it is continually changing into different states to enable different types of universes to form. Alternatively, at some time in the past there was nothing until a certain point when, without any external cause, something happened to that nothing to cause it to turn into "something".

These are the two options as I see them*.

To be honest both of them are rather mind-blowing. Both of them do funny things to my mind if I start to ponder them in any depth. And neither of them can actually be proven by actual external observation.

Mind-blowing as they are, however, I feel that I need to make a decision about which I believe. Of course you already know which I have selected if you have read this far, but bear with me for just one more post so I can talk you through my own reason for making that choice...

* Actually, there are other slight variations on the "God does not exist" side of the argument. For example, I once heard someone who argued that there is a feedback loop in time, so that the life and complexity that exists today in effect designed itself by feeding back through time and influencing the changes to happen in the correct way (although even this relies on the infinite existence of "something"). However, the two that I have presented generally appear to be considered as the two core options (except, of course, by those who don't believe that we should even allow for God as one of the options, in which case they are left with just the one option).
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Seventy Times Seven

A rather long poem this time (based on Matt 18:21-35)...

If you have a friend who's done something to you
That's hurt or upset you or made you feel blue,
You may find deep inside you a little voice say:
"He hurt me first, so he's going to pay!
I'll get my revenge to just make him see
What happens to people who pick upon me!
I'll stick a dead frog right into his nose,
And pull out the toenails from each of his toes.
I'll pour lots of goo all over his head
And put slugs and snails into his bed.
I'll shave off his eyebrows and die his hair pink
And put creepy crawlies into his drink.
And that's just the start 'cos I'm telling you
There are many more things I know how to do.
When I have quite finished this miserable lout
Will always remember when I am about
To watch what he does - stay out of my way
Or he will regret it for many a day."

Now Pete the apostle once thought to himself
(To really be good and godly and stuff)
He'd maybe consider, the first time or two
Forgiving the guy - not following through.
He'd push out the boat, he'd go all the way:
"I'll forgive seven times! - But then he must pay."
Jesus was there, and He said "Listen, Pete,
Let me tell you a story - you may think it's neat."

"There lived long ago, in a land far away
A powerful king who sat down one day
And said to himself, 'I think that it's time
For people to pay what is rightfully mine.'
He called in his slaves and said to each one:
'I'm sorry old chap, but the time has now come
For you to pay back all the cash that you owe
So pop to the bank and bring back the dough.'
Now one of the slaves who came in that day
Had a very large debt to settle and pay.
The amount he owed was ten million or more
And just at the moment he was really quite poor.
He said, 'Sorry squire, but just at the mo'
I can't really pay you all that I owe.'
The king said 'Well then, here's what I'll do:
I'll sell your family, your possessions and you.
The money I get from the sale of you all
Will help to reduce this massive shortfall.'
The slave falling down said, 'I'll pay every dime
I'll do all you ask - please just give me time.'
The king looking down said, 'Now, there, there, there,
Stand up my good man, there's no need to fear,
To show my compassion, here's what I will do
I'll cancel the debt that I'm owed by you.'"

"As he left the king's castle his heart was so glad
But at the next moment he changed and got mad -
Right there was a man he'd been trying to find
Someone to whom he'd been thoughtful and kind:
He'd lent him some money - an amount not that small,
And so far he'd paid back: nothing at all!
He called out 'Hey! You over there!
You just turn 'round and come over here!
Where is my money? You come here and pay
Or I'll get the police to lock you away.'
The other said, 'Sorry, it's like this you see
Times have not been at all kind to me
So just at the moment I'm afraid I must say
I need some more time before I can pay.'
Slave One said, 'Forget it, I've had it with you;
You've had long enough, so here's what I'll do.
I'll have you locked up, and I'll keep the key
Until all my money is paid back to me.'"

"This terrible story got back to the king,
And he got his soldiers to bring Slave One in.
'You're wicked and mean!' He said to the slave,
'What you have done is exceedingly grave!
I showed you great kindness and forgave a huge debt,
You too should be kind to this guy that you met.'
And the king told the guards to take him away
And have him locked up until he could pay."

"So, Pete", said Jesus, "Try not to forget
That you too are a man who was burdened with debt.
So if you are not willing to forgive anyone
Who you think has hurt you by what he has done,
Then just like that king, My Father will say:
'If you won't forgive, then you must repay.'"

So next time when someone's done something to you
And that little voice says, "Here's what we'll do!"
Remember this story, and remember the king,
And remember how God forgives all your sin,
And say to that voice, "God's so kind to me,
I owe Him so much, but He lets me go free.
So how could I let such a small little thing
Make me forget the love of my King?!
I'll put it behind me - forget what he's done
And, instead, fill my mind with thoughts of God's Son."
For revenge is not sweet (as some people say)
It just makes things worse - day after day.
But kindness and love and doing what's right
Are much better ways to settle a fight.
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mine is Fine

Mine may not be fine as thine,
But ... his may not be fine as mine
So there's no need to whine 'cos mine is fine.
(Oh, um, would you like to share mine?)
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...


I rushed this job and made a mess;
It made my mummy frown.
I thought I'd try to speed things up,
But instead I sped them down!
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saying Sorry

Another quote from the kids this morning:
  • Lucia (aged 2) stomping into our room: "Kathleen say 'No! No!'"
  • Mum: "Well, did you do something to upset her?"
  • Lucia: "Mmm"
  • Mum: "Then you need to go to her and say 'Sorry, Kathleen,' and stop it."
  • Lucia, walking off, calls out: "Sorry, Kathleen and stop it!"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Yes, But...

So far in this series of posts on why I believe in God, I have really only looked at some arguments that seem to me to indicate that God does exist. In this post I want to (very briefly) talk about some potential arguments against that conclusion (beyond those that I haven't already dealt with directly or indirectly in some of the other posts in this series).

Yes, But... Don't things like radiation dating, etc. prove that the earth is millions old?

Firstly, this isn't actually relevant to the question of whether God exists or not - rather it is relevant to the question of whether the Biblical account of creation is relevant.

That aside, however, the question of how old the earth (or universe) is depends on how you interpret the evidence that is available now. And how people interpret the evidence depends to a large extent on that their belief system is. So, people who believe in evolution tend to interpret the evidence in a way that indicates long time scales (billions of years) whereas creationists interpret the same evidence in ways that indicate far shorter time scales (around 6000 years). And sometimes accepting a short time scale makes it far easier to explain some of the things we see. Here are 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe from CMi

Yes, But... Religion is bad

Again, this isn't really, in my opinion, really relevant to the question of whether or not God exists. However, again, it is worth looking at briefly. The short answer to this is that it isn't - "religion is a bad thing" is not something you can easily conclude from the evidence. For example, the report "Helping Out - A national survey of volunteering and charitable giving" (which was prepared for the UK Government Cabinet office) reports the following:
As Table 3.4 also shows, there is a clear link between those who actively practised their religion compared with those who were not active, or did not profess to have any religion. Sixty-seven per cent of those actively practising their religion gave some level of formal help (compared with 55% in other groups), and over half were regular formal volunteers (compared with a third or less in other groups).
Statistics aside - it is very likely that your experience is the same - think about the people you know who are active Christians - there's a good chance that (even if you find them a bit odd sometimes) you find that they are generally of comparatively high moral standing - not perfect - they make mistakes - but they are likely to be generally "good" people.

Of course you can always find examples of people who have done "bad" things in the name of religion. But then you can easily find vast numbers of examples of particularly "good" things that have been done in the name of religion - as well as countless "bad" things that have been done for all manner of other reasons. In fact, as I mentioned in a previous post, if you take evolution to its logical conclusion then you can easily justify behaviour that everyone recognises as "bad" - if evolution is correct then why was Hitler considered evil rather than being celebrated as a hero of mankind?

The fact that "bad" things have been done in the name of religion doesn't prove anything about the existence of God - it only goes to show that there are people who do bad things.

Yes, But... We Can See Evolution Happening - For Example in Dogs

Breeding of dogs is actually not a good example of evolution. Rather it is primarily an example of adaptation within a "kind" (as the creationists call it). The difference (briefly) is that selective breeding draws out particular, pre-existing characteristics. It does this by favouring certain characteristics over others. In dog breeding this is done by human selection; in nature it happens by natural selection (yes - even creationists believe in adaptation and natural selection).

However, if you look at the genetics behind it, what is actually happening is primarily that existing information (within the DNA) is being lost - no new information is being gained. So, for example, if you could get a pair of the original "dogs" you may be able to again breed them into (say) poodles by repeated selection. However, you could never take a pair of poodles and breed them into that original dog - or into great danes, for that matter - because the necessary information has been lost. You would have to re-introduce that information by breeding them with some other kind of dog or by adjusting their DNA in some other way.

Maybe rather than telling us about evolution, the breeding of dogs actually tells us more about how the original dog was "programmed" with information that would allow it to adapt to an amazing variety of different environments and situations?

Actually this is a slight simplification because some of the characteristics of some types of dogs do come from mutations - but ones that would have been disadvantageous to a dog in the wild. Again, CMI can provide more information about these points than I can here - here are some examples:

Yes, But... If God exists, why does (or doesn't) He ... [fill in the blank]

If God exists, why does He allow bad things to happen?
If He exists, why doesn't He always overtly answer the prayers of His followers?
If God exists, why doesn't He make Himself more obvious or visible to people?
And so on.

Now don't get me wrong here - I don't mean to trivialise these kinds of questions. I think that a lot of them are very important and worthy of serious investigation. However, I think that they are off the topic when thinking about whether or not such a thing as "God" exists. Rather, these are questions about what God is like if He does, in fact, exist. An important study, I agree, but one that is distinct from the issue of whether or not He actually exists in the first place.

If God doesn't exist, then there is little value in studying what He is like. More to the point, though, just because we may happen to disagree with, or dislike, the way He is or the things He does, doesn't mean that we can conclude that He doesn't exist. If God exists, then He is the way He is whether we like it or not. If He does exist, and He does things that don't fit in with what we would expect, it simply means that our understanding of Him is incorrect in some way - it doesn't constitute any kind of proof that He doesn't exist. If I happened to believe that all roses should be red, it wouldn't mean that yellow roses suddenly ceased to exist. It would just mean that my understanding of roses was wrong (or at least, incomplete).

To be honest, I would be a lot more surprised if we could fully understand God and how He behaves. I wouldn't expect someone who could create the universe to be fully comprehensible to me with my far more limited capabilities and intelligence. It would be a little like expecting an ant to be able to fully understand the behaviour of a human.

Yes, But... It feels silly to believe in God

Actually, this isn't really a position that is often stated "out loud" (as it were) as a reason for not believing in God. However, I thought I'd mention it because I think that it is actually (consciously or not) one of the core reasons that many people don't believe in God - along, possibly, with not wanting to believe in God because of concerns about the implications of that conclusion.

Of course, just because something "feels silly" (or odd or uncomfortable or scary) is not a scientific reason for rejecting it. People once thought that the concept of large chunks of ice floating around the oceans was crazy and unbelievable. However, that didn't change the fact of the existence of icebergs. Similarly, it feels a bit odd to think that the air around us is packed with all sorts of sounds and pictures that are invisible to us as humans - however, that feeling doesn't stop TVs, radios, etc. from working.

This goes back to the point that I make in the post about whether one should even allow for the existence of God as a possible conclusion to the "evidence" we see around us. Many people don't, and I suspect that the reason is this feeling that it is somehow silly, unscientific or just plain too scary to even consider such a possibility.

Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What Will You Be?

People often ask me and say:
"What will you be when you're big?
Will you heal sneezes and other diseases,
Or will you trim hedges and dig?"

I'm not really sure what I'll be
So often I simply reply
That what's more concerning, so needs more discerning,
Is: "What will you be when you die?"
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And more...

I said that I wasn't planning to turn this blog into a Christian evidences site, so I'm not intending to go on much further on this line. Instead, if this is something that you are interested in pursuing further, may I recommend the Creation Ministries International (CMI) or Answers in Genesis (AiG). These sites have more material than I could hope to provide for you - either just browse around to see some what you come across or use their search functionality to find information on a specific topic that you are interested in.

Here's a couple of suggestions of places to start:
  • Missing links - or "transitional forms" to use the more official term. One of the problems with evolution is that we would expect to see a continual range of fossils gradually changing from simple forms to more complex forms with fossilised examples of a scattering of all the "forms" in between. However, that is not what we actually do find. Rather we find lots of examples of discrete "forms" - i.e. we see lots of thing A and lots of thing B but little to nothing in between (rather than a whole range of things gradually changing from A to B). Examples of fossils that could possibly represent those "transitional forms" (missing links between each new species) are (at best) very rare. Here is an article from CMI about the fact that one has to seriously question whether the fossil record really supports the theory of evolution.
  • Lack of information-increasing mutations - I've touched on this slightly in some of my previous posts: actual examples of genuine, beneficial, information adding mutations (as required by evolutionary theory) are rare (some would say non-existent). Again, here's an article on the topic from CMI.
  • Morality and ethics - Why is it seen as a good thing if someone sacrifices themselves for someone else? Why is cheating to get ahead a bad thing? Why is killing someone else bad? If evolution is true then the opposite should be true in each of those cases since evolution relies on "survival of the fittest". The apparently in-built, and remarkably consistent, understanding that exists within mankind of right and wrong seems to me to point to the existence of a "higher authority" who sets the standards for "good" and "bad". Again, here is a relevant article from CMI. There is also a good book called "Mere Christianity" written by a guy named CS Lewis which talks about this at some length - this book is available from Amazon in the UK or in the US (and, no doubt, elsewhere)
Some of the above are actually chapters from the books "Refuting Evolution" and "Refuting Evolution 2" (as reproduced on the CMI website). You may also be interested in the CMI Question & Answer section.

For my part, however, I'm not quite finished yet - stay with me for just a couple more posts and then I'll be done. [For now. On this topic. Probably ;-) ]
Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.


Another quote from the kids - this one is from Lucia (aged two) when I asked if someone could pass me something:

"I can pass it to you - I've got some hands!"