Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Story: an Intellectual Journey

My Story: an Intellectual Journey
by Glenn R. Morton
This was first posted on biologos and copied here. I have spent much of the past 4 months 3-4 days a week at MD Anderson so haven't been able to post much.

I decided to tell the brutal truth about my life for once in my time here on earth. In part this is for my great grandkids who will never know me or my struggles, and in part for my youngest grandkids who will barely remember me. It isn’t a figurative story, it is actual history, but I have not told it in a strictly chronological order. I am not looking for sympathy or for someone to say I am a victim of anything or even for anyone to say "I’m sorry’; what is done was the fault of people not alive today. I am not a victim, like this snowflake generation is, who claim victimhood at the drop of a hat, after having lived quite privileged lives. I have done exceptionally well in life and most people think it is because I grew up in a loving 2 parent family–something quite untrue. But God used all of this to shape me into a person who could stand against two different crowds–the theologically liberal crowd, and the YEC crowd. While God didn’t cause the events described, people did, it is for this reason I tend to Arminism in my theology. Mankind has dominion and we have screwed it up royally.

I do not come from a long line of Christians. On my father’s side they were atheists. in 1830 my great-great grandmother, Laura, was born out of wedlock and raised by her father and his jilted wife (not Laura’s mother). I think Laura’s mother, Susannah, might have been a prostitute. She lived in that part of town later in life. Laura married my great great grandfather, William Morton and they had a son, George Washington Morton. Laura was unstable. She had 5 husbands in her life, one child out of wedlock and by age 15, George was on his fourth father and his only full sister had died. George grew up to be a salesman who sold windmills by day and impregnated farmer’s daughters at night. DNA, documents and history have proven at least 4 different families, 3 of which were near simultaneous. George abandoned all but my great grandmother. One of the abandoned wives did go into prostitution and her son, my grandfather’s half brother, eventually became the mob boss of Peoria, Illinois running the largest prostitution ring in US history up until that time. In 1915 he went to Leavenworth for 3 years. My father and grandfather were an atheists My grandfather was wonderful to me as a child and I remember him fondly and especially when he let me slide , not telling my mother of some bad things I did to and with my cousin. You will understand why this meant so much to me later, not wanting my mother to punish me. But earlier in Grandpa’s pre-retirement life he was a mean old drunk which is part of the story below.

On my mother’s side, half were nominal Christians, her other side was the guy I call the pedofile. At age 25 he was living with an unknown 15 year old. At age 35 he was married to a 22 year old. She was not the same woman as 10 years earlier, and at age 44, he married my great-great grandmother, age 16. Such behavior was not the norm even in the South in the 1800s contrary to rumors. This last pair did stay married for nearly 50 years though. My mother was not an atheist but a bat-crazy Baptist of sociopathic activities.

Some of my earliest memories seered into my brain was my mother’s punishment–pull down my pants and whip me with the buckle end of a belt 5-10 times, with often the buckle whiplashing around front and striking me where men hate to be hit. This was age 3 and continued until maybe 10 years old. I remember at times my bowels loosening because of the utter fear I was feeling as the punishment was started. Fear is a powerful biological laxative. She could go off at the drop of a hat, one never knew what would set her off, and if she didn’t have a belt handy, she would grab anything available and start whaling away. She left me with a great distrust of authority figures. My brother got it worse than me and I worse than my younger sister who was never hit by the belt. I think my mother had an issue with men. She never cuddled or played with us.

My father taught me that the best way to handle mom was to not be anywhere near her. Dad was largely gone (he said playing golf but I can’t imagine anyone playing THAT much golf). But as a kid, when he and mom would get into a row, he would grab my brother and I and take us out to the doghouse at an oil rig to sleep. I was an adult before I realized it really is called the doghouse, I had thought it was because we were in trouble. As I grew up, I would sequester myself in my room and read science books which made me want to become an astronomer. My brother, he was dumb, he thought he could woo mom like he could woo anyone else he met–he paid for that erroneous belief with pain. He did spend a lot of time over at friend’s houses, and after 18 returned home only once. Once when mom gave him a beating, he opened up the window yelling into the neighborhood, ‘Help my mother is beating me’. No one came and mom made it so he didn’t go to school the next day. I learned that day that what Gary had done was a bad idea. No one was going to help.

I didn’t know any of the details about this event until this year, when, after a 36 year hiatus, I talked to my cousin who lived with us for 8 months as a baby. My pregnant aunt caught polio and was put into an iron lung, a big barrel sized, early mechanical respirator. For you younger people, I am probably at the tail end of those who actually remember cases of polio. The Salk vaccine came in 1957; until then, hardly a family existed who hadn’t had some member affected by polio, made lame, limp, or killed. My cousin Maudie was born inside that iron lung and because Uncle Bob had to work, their older kids when to be with my grandparents and Maudie came to live with my Baptist mother of sociopathic activities. My mother starved Maudie, I think tried to starve her to death. This is fact–not figurative history. When after 8 months it was time for mom to give birth to my sister, Uncle Bob came to pick Maudie up and was horrified at her condition. Mom said it was diarhea, but the nurse who nursed my cousin back to health told Maudie years later that it was severe malnutrition. Pictures of Maudie show she didn’t grow much during her stay with us and she left with a protruding belly and vacant eyes. My mother had attempted to murder my cousin. Maudie asked me what had been going on at my house and I laughed and said, I don’t know, I was 5 years old when you were with us–I was not very observant at that age.

This paragraph is partly theory to fit together disparate facts told to me. I don’t think the family bought the diarrheic theory of Maudie’s condition. My dad about this time tried to divorce Mom, but his fear was that she would be given custody. Mom’s parents came down and told Dad that if he divorced their daughter they would take her and us kids and disappear back into the Tennessee mountains where they came from and he would never see us again. Dad stayed if mom would go get psychiatric help. She did go to a shrink, dad told me, and he diagnosed her as a sociopath causing her to refuse to go again because she didn’t like what he had said. Dad stayed but was largely absent from home, leaving us in her care anyway. Because dad didn’t go to church Gary and I stayed home to play until mom paid us a dime a week to go to church–this proves two things: I am a professional church-goer and we sold out cheap.

Everyone at church thought mom was a long-suffering dear Christian oppressed by her atheist husband; no one suspected of her hateful, hypocritical activities at home. Mom would write nasty letters to my grandfather telling him that she worshipped King Jesus while he worshipped King Alcohol. It was an ineffectual witnessing technique. She wrote nasty letters to everyone, and only 2 letters survive because everyone threw them away. She wrote a King Alcohol letter to my new wife when she learned that my father-in-law was bringing eggnog to a Christmas party. She refused to come. She refused to come to my children’s baby dedications on theological grounds. I think we were all relieved she wasn’t coming. Mom really hated that I started smoking at 15 and getting drunk on the weekends at 16. I think she was correct in this; it wasn’t a good thing. She also didn’t like that I married a ‘dirty Arab’ as she described my fiancĂ© to my sister-in-law (my wife is of Lebanese descent), and she would be horrified to learn that I have grandchildren whose genes flow from China, the aboriginal New World, and Africa as well as Europe. She was not the kind of Christian anyone wanted to be.

Sometime around 10, I was sexually abused twice that year by someone close to me. Each time I came home and tried to feel clean. This is like the 7 thunders in Revelations, who it is will be sealed up until the next world. I have only told one of my sons that this even happened. 
Amazingly, I hold no ill-will towards that person, which is not the same for my mom. Again, I never considered myself a victim who could go ‘poor me’ in a self pity situation. Self-pity accomplishes nothing but run your friends off. I simply took steps to avoid that situation again. I was going to be in control as best I could be.

From age 10 to16 mom ceased the belt routine in favor of whacking us about the head and shoulders with whatever was handy. At 16, I hit back. She cried all day and I expected she was going to tell Dad, who never stood for us sassing back to mom much less hitting her. I expected real problems when Dad got home. Either she didn’t tell him or he told her she got what she deserved. I will never know which, but Dad’s wrath did not darken my bedroom door that night. It was about this time I quit going to church. I was 17 and I was moving to atheism, not hard core because I was a largely uninformed atheist. But then, I think Dad was as well.

At college, I was a physics major. I was interested in how the universe worked. I was interesting in truth, not fiction, and I chose one of the toughest disciplines I could. My profs didn’t hardly know who I was, because I never spoke to them outside of class–my fear of authority. I got good grades, 3.5 in physics but was overlooked for the physics honor society because no one knew who I was. I did go see the prof and beg my way into that society. Again I felt authority had let me down. An honor is not an honor if you have to beg for it, even though I had fulfilled all the requirements and it should have come automatically without begging.

I came out of college with a major in physics, minors in math, astronomy, Latin and anthropology, and then because there were no physics jobs, I did grad work in philosophy of science, until we found ourselves with a child on the way and I had to find employment. But that year of philosophy was the best spent year. In my interview, I recall telling Robert Newman, the Dept. Chair, that I was interested in Philosophy of Science and Religion, which he said “Most people say they aren’t related”. My life path begs to differ. In that year, I learned how to theory-build which made me a good exploration geophysicist where I made up theories of where oil was and was quite successful–a billion barrels found by me and my teams. Philosophy is all about what is a true statement and what is a false statement. Logic was developed as a tool to determine that.

One reason I didn’t know the profs was that I had to work my way through college, without college loans. My parents had told me that if Gary and I saved enough for 2 years of college they would pay the last two. We did. Gary being 4 years older got that benefit. When it came time for Dad to pick up my last two years, and I was broke, he told me that he couldn’t support me in college because he had Gary up in dental school, in Nebraska. I always knew Gary was the favorite–president of this and that organization, Eagle scout, Baptist RA’s Ambassador Royal Plenipotentiary, lettered in 3 sports, popular with the girls, and good looking like no body’s business. Girls my age would ask me to introduce them to him–they had no interest in me. So, I had to work, go to school and spend the weekends doing physics problems. What I didn’t know until my dad’s funeral when Gary’s widow told me was that Dad went to Gary at that time and told him he could no longer support him in dental school because he had me down at OU to support. Atheists can do this because there is no afterlife in which to be caught in their lie.

At the fraternity one night Campus Crusade, now Cru, sent Athletes in Action to share the gospel. They came to dinner and then would have a meeting afterwards. I, Phil and Jeff, sat at the dinner table with a light-weight wrestler. We did everything we could do to gross him out, offend him, pick on his religion. After dinner Jeff went upstairs to go study, Phil and I went in to listen, I think again we wanted to mock the Bible thumpers. Phil became a Christian that night. I was slightly appalled. but Phil’s life changed dramatically, in a good way. and a month later, he talked me into going to a Cru meeting. I saw kids that had meaning in their lives and were not like mom’s brand of harsh hypocritical Christianity. They presented the gospel, and I didn’t want what Mom had and was resisting as best I could. I stood up to leave when a rather blunt girl sitting next to me said “Where do you think you are going?” I guess I wasn’t going anywhere, I sat back down. lol. I became a Christian that night.

Over the next two years, I fell into YEC, not because I didn’t know the problems but because I was taught it was a theological necessity. Many YECS feel that way, I think of a friend Tony with whom I worked. He as a great geologist but fired because of his YEC beliefs–I worked desperately to save his job, but work quality didn’t matter to the religious bigots at the top. Tony should be mad at me for having tried to save his job. He went out and became a multi millionaire using the skills my company rejected, and if I had succeed, God couldn’t have blessed him in that way.
At age 19, I told my roommate, with whom I had the Turkish translator experience that I was going to solve the creation/evolution issue. Little did I know what God had in store for me. The translator experience became my anchor when my 15 years of doubt about the truth of Christianity almost drove me to chuck it all and return to the path of my forefather’s athiesm. My turkish translator experience can be found on this blog and  at https://discourse.biologos.org/t/my-turkish-translator-experience/40632. I found a solution but no one liked it.

When my brother died of brain cancer when I was 25, it left a huge hole in my heart and panicked me. I figured I might go at age 29 as well and I began working on the creationist issues manically. One night I griped to my wife about what Henry Morris didn’t know about geology and she shut me up with the question, “Can you do any better?”, I shut my mouth and returned to my home office and began to think about different solutions. That led to me publishing 30 creationist items many of which were in the Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 1 in Ex Nihilo and a couple of other places. My 1979 paper was the most influential one among the creationists. I did radiative physics analysis of how the vapor canopy as envisioned by Henry Morris and Jody Dillow, would turn the Earth hot as Venus. It took 10 years of debate but in the early 90s most creationists dropped the vapor canopy some actually citing my paper and saying I was correct. I think it has been taken up again in this century but I am not sure. My YEC solutions didn’t work either and by 1985 scientific data came in that destroyed what I had carefully crafted to explain a young earth without violating geology or physics. This and the fact that a new editor came in the CRSQ with the express instructions to stop any more of my publications, the rejection of a book I tried to publish and my layoff from my job of 11 years, led to the start of my 15 year crisis of faith. Like my friend Tony above, I too was fired because the Vice President didn’t believe I could be a good geophysicist and believe YEC. The ironic thing was, I had already started moving away from YEC at the time I was fired.

The heavens rained on me (some might say whizzed on me) during this time. I came home to tell my wife that I had been laid off and she told me she had breast cancer. She had the better tale of woe that day. I raged at God for leading me down this path and dumping me. I felt my prayers went no higher than the ceiling if they even got that far. This was 1986 and my son needed an $80K/year medicine and I had no insurance. My oldest son doesn’t remember this now, but he came asking to go to the movie with his friends. I had to say no, he thought I was mean, but I literally (not figuratively) had no money with which to send him. Sixth graders don’t understand layoffs very well and my son was no exception. Dad was supposed to be a money tree regardless.

Around 1979 or 1980 my wife won volunteer of the year for Josh McDowell’s organization. Through her, I met Josh and offered my assistance if he ever wanted to know anything about creation/evolution. Josh took me up on that saying he wanted a book on that topic and would I write a bunch of chapters for that book. I did. I wrote 2/3s of that book. Another friend of mine in Dallas Russ Wise wrote about 20% of the book. Neither of us were listed as co-authors, we were thanked on an page near or after the table of contents. I was devastated that I had gotten no credit for what I wrote. I was mad and hurt that they had removed my copyright notice on each of the pages I sent them and published it(I still have those original type written pages) I immediately thought of the rich man in the Bible who cheats the poor (He was famous and I was unknown at the time, hoping this would be a big break for me). Most might have sued, but I thought of Abraham who decided to let God handle his situation. Looking back on that, I am glad I let it go, my name is not prominently displayed on a book of horrible false science! Josh may have made the money (I got none), but in the long run this was a big favor. Once again, though, people in power screwed me over. It is why I don’t trust them–the famous are mostly out for themselves and don’t expect help or gratitude from them that is far too much to ask of them–they are the leaders of the mindless crowd ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS FENCE(see below).

The odd thing about the creation/evolution ‘mission’ I was on was that God would never let me quit it. I quit it in 1985-1990. A 1987 article in CRSQ was totally written by George Howe from our correspondence, but he would not put his name on my ideas so it appears that I actually wrote an article. the ideas and most sentences were mine, but I didn’t write or submit it. I just reviewed it. I quit again in 1999, and again in 2004, and again in 2016, and here I am again. I am hopelessly stupid and haven’t gotten the message that no one likes the fish I am peddling. I figure I probably have only a couple more years of fish peddling but who knows, I have outlived 3 prognostications of my death, so I might still be here in 5 years. God has been good to keep me alive for 16 years with a cancer I was told would kill me by 2005. Another miracle in my life and the doctors don’t know why. I think it is prayer.

In 1991, Jim Lippard saw me on Talk.Origins and asked me to comment on a YEC problem with pseudogenes. Jim had heard that I, who had published 31 YEC items was now in post-yec mode. That forced my change of beliefs from YEC to evolutionist out into the public eye. I was 41, still a believer, but one in search of an answer to my problems. The theological left, which is most of those reading this where I will first post this, agree with atheists like Lippard that the Bible has no historical or scientific content in early Genesis. Unlike the liberals, Lippard and atheists are intellectually consistent. they disbelieve the Bible and consider it unworthy of anything because it is false; liberals say it is ‘figurative’ stories or metaphors not meant to be taken seriously. I can’t get around Huxley’s view of this approach, and you shouldn’t either:

If we are to listen to many expositors of no mean authority, we must believe that what seems so clearly defined in Genesis__as if very great pains had been taken that there should be no possibility of mistake__is not the meaning of the text at all. The account is divided into periods that we may make just as long or as short as convenience requires. We are also to understand that it is consistent with the original text to believe that the most complex plants and animals may have been evolved by natural processes, lasting for millions of years, out of structureless rudiments. A person who is not a Hebrew scholar can only stand aside and admire the marvelous flexibility of a language which admits of such diverse interpretations.” Thomas H. Huxley, “Lectures on Evolution” in Agnosticism and Christianity, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 14

and I couldn’t get around H. G. Well’s atheistic critique either:

If all the animals and man have been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there would have been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no Fall, the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which current teaching bases Christian emotion and morality, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961), p. 776-777

It isn’t just YECs(as was implied here yesterday), who hold to the idea that if there is no historical basis to our historical religion then it collapses like a house of cards. Atheists believe this logic and are intellectually consistent in rejecting Christianity. We no longer believe that malaria comes from bad air. Nor do we opine upon the figurative wonders of the message behind the bad air theory of malaria (which means in Italian I believe, ‘bad’(mal) air (aria)). Nor do we marvel about the deep meaning of Phlogiston theory anymore. We simply say it is false and move on to another view. In no other sphere of life do we proclaim that what is false is still to be believed, except in religion, and all religions do it. Few of you have read the Kiti ‘i’ Iqan, the Bahai book, but it says that if you leave copper in the earth for 70 years it turns into gold. Bahai adherents say that is figurative as well in order to defend their religion. A person can defend any intellectual position at all if one resorts to the technique that it isn’t telling us anything verifiable but is figurative and thus the theology contained in the observationally false document is meaningful anyway. This is the theological equivalent of declaring victory and going home, whether you won the war or not! If a football team declared they won the game and left the field with 4 m left in the 2nd quarter, would we believe them? The liberal way is to say they won a moral victory so it is true. The rational way is to say they forfeited the game, thus losing it. The YEC way is to say they left in the second quarter of baseball. Neither awarding a moral victory nor changing the game is rational.
Believing in the illogical is not a substitute for faith. In my mind believing the illogical is not evidence of faith; it is evidence of illogic. Faith is more than mental belief; it is stepping out and trusting God even when the ice looks mighty thin. Doing like Peter stepping onto the sea, or the supposedly nonexistent Noah building a nonexistent boat with no assurance of rain. Those who have not lived this kind of life, have missed incredible things. Saving faith is not Kierkegaard’s belief in the absurd; it is faith in a living God who can do things we find unbelievable, but which might leave some evidence of it’s happening. Events like the creation and the Flood are things subject to scientific scrutiny–especially the Flood which would leave geologic deposits as every flood does, and there are no widespread (away from the rivers) Holocene deposits to be found in the Mesopotamian basin, period. Geologically that rules out that basin as the site of the flood. No normal riverine flood could match the Biblical description.

There is another way to look at this: The atheist view of the Bible is cold. The YEC position that Genesis is history is hot even if they don’t understand and mis-represent how it happened, they believe what they think is God’s word. The ahistorical Genesis view is utterly lukewarm. It doesn’t truly believe what God inspired, so the view can’t be said to foster action for the Lord, but neither is it willing to go with the utterly cold atheists. I am reminded of what our Lord said about lukewarm: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. But then, that will probably be said to be figurative as well. For my part, insisting on a truly historical Genesis, I will stand proudly along with the YECs, but not with their stinking science. I will stand proudly with the liberals on science but not with the unbelief.

During this time I was struck with the potential of the Mediterranean infilling to match fact for fact with the geological details of the Noachian flood. I had to fight like a she-cat defending her kits in order to get that published. A debate was set up for me and Dick Fisher on the old ASA list, and I showed so many flaws with the Mesopotamian flood locality (like water has to flow uphill to carry the ark up several thousand feet to land on the Mts of Ararat and that such a flood would flush everything down to the Persian Gulf and Indian ocean in three weeks and that if water actually reached the Ararat mountain heights one had a global flood.) I shamed the editor into reconsidering publishing a physically plausible flood scenario even if it was at the unapproved time epoch everyone believed of the flood. I had proven that he had published flood theories that violated known laws of physics, like a hurricane that lasted on land for a full year–could God do that? Yes, but it would have left evidence and there is none.

But my doubts continued and got to the point where I wondered seriously if I can’t trust Christians of this age to deal with verification and refutation of theories via observational data, HOW ON EARTH CAN I TRUST THE OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNEDUCATED DISCIPLES ABOUT A RISEN MESSIAH? This still bothers me occasionally. We have to depend on the truthfulness of the disciple’s description of the resurrection. We have no choice. We can’t observe the event ourselves. This event can’t be figurative. If it didn’t actually/factually happen, then, well you know, Christianity collapses. Jesus didn’t have to walk on water for Christianity to be true, but he did have to rise physically from the grave. If we turn this event into a merely spiritual/irrefutable figurative, mental belief, then there is nothing to see in Christianity. It isn’t merely a house of cards, it was the biggest scam in earth history.

I see no other logical choice here, and yes, my faith involves the use of logic and yours should too. Billions believe Mohammed was God’s prophet. There is no observational data to support that statement. It might be true, but it might be false. It is a statement about the mental state of the person saying this. The person who says “Mohammed is God’s prophet” is describing his mental belief, not an observational fact. Similarly if we say the resurrection is merely spiritual and not historical, then we are reduced to the same state, merely describing the values of our brain’s memory banks, that those memory locations are filled with the belief that Jesus arose spiritually. Having something in our brain’s memory banks does not ensure that it is true; it merely ensures that it is an existing belief state.

As I see it, the theological liberals are slowly eating away the foundations of our religion–event after miraculous event is said to be figurative and not real–Adam and Eve’s creation, talking snakes, Balaam’s donkey, Lot’s wife(just a just-so story) Creation is reduced to the merest tiny unprovable metaphysical squeek, lacking observational evidence supporting it, “Of course God created the universe”. The Vienna circle would hate a statement like that because there is nothing observational about it. And because it lacks observational content, it also lacks power.
Stephen Weinberg famously offended the Christians at a Philip Johnson Nature of Nature conference at Baylor in 2000, which I recorded, when he said of various God’s,

I would define supernatural to mean Zeus, or Jehovah, or Christ, or Allah or Ahura Mazda or things like that. And, I strongly suspect that the people who are raising the issue of naturalism really have that on their mind anyway. I can’t keep repeating that list so I will just and I really don’t want to give offence to any particular sect, so I just lump them all together as faeries. Supernaturalism is the, well, naturalism is the belief that things are the way they are for reasons that have nothing to do with faeries.” Steven Weinberg, Transcript of tape, Weinberg/Schaefer Debate, Baylor University, Thursday April 13.

As far as the Vienna Circle and Weinberg would be concerned, the statement that “God created the universe” would be equivalent to saying “Faeries created the universe.” And they would be correct–the two bare statements are equivalent. If that is all we got, a bare statement with no observational support, I fear Weinberg wins. He, like my atheist boss once did, would laugh at the idea that a fictional Genesis supports the truth of the Bible’s salvation story. As my boss said, “It would STILLLL be false!!!”

The thing that kept me a Christian was that I couldn’t get around that Turkish translator event. I couldn’t call it a fluke and it gave one clear message, God is more powerful than any of us ever thought. From that I reasoned that the two boxes Christian theologians have placed us in, YEC or a historically false Bible (with which the atheists gladly agree), are shackles on our ability to solve the problem. Solutions to any philosophical or scientific problem rarely come within the present paradigm. There is always a disruptor. I am not the disruptor because no one likes my views. Maybe one of you can do a better job of finding a solution than I did, but a solution that maintains the historicity of the Biblical account is a crucial need. YECs need not apply. Y’all know nothing about science.

In the last few years, God has shown me some more wonders, scientific evidence for the existence of the immaterial soul–was given this while reading a scientific article the week after I found my cancer had gone to my bones and I was a bit bummed. It was like God sending me a cheer up card–you will survive your death it said. Physicists have avoided that data for 100 years, and Christians seem not to be interested in it, which amazes me. And in the last few weeks I have been shown possible evidence to answer questions about the Exodus (again Christians here in this crowd seem uninterested), and a marvelous solution to the census numbers in Exodus passed my way in the form of a paper my Michael Bar-Ron. His solution has been out there for 60 years but translators continue to translate eleph as 1000 rather than as chief which is logically more fitting, thus once again making the Biblical record look stupid and false. Why we Christians prefer an ahistorical stupid illogical book, or adherence to a false YEC science, or a translation that makes no logical sense, amazes me and makes me think that people don’t really trust God to be able to answer those issues. For all these years, even when my trust was extremely weak, I have, in fact, trusted God that there were logical answers to these problems. I now know them and that has added great power to my witness. Kierkegaard was wrong, knowing is power. I KNOW the Bible stories are real, in a way similar to how St John knew of a resurrected man. That knowledge led St. John to risk his 86 year old life trying to bring back a lost sheep who was now the murderous leader of a gang of criminals. Only KNOWING that he had seen a man rise from the grave can give an 86 year old that kind of bravery; generally we oldster are cognizant we have no strength left to give a good fight. A spiritual/figurative resurrection couldn’t do that.

This raises the question, why would God send me on a mission that I have sworn off of 4 times in my life, each time vowing never to have anything to do with it again, only to be drawn back to it like a moth to the flame where I can see my ideas scoffed at as ‘science fiction’ as one writer on this board said of them? Or asked why I would want a historical Bible as a moderator here once asked. I can’t ever seem to once and for all leave this area. It seems to be an attraction I can’t resist. I don’t know why God gave me this thankless task; but I know in my gut and with all the fiber of my being that this was God’s will for my life.

I remember as a kid hearing a preacher ask the kids, “How many of you want to know God’s will for your life?” Almost everyone raised their hand. Then he asked, “How many of you are willing to do whatever it is he has for you?” Almost all hands dropped to the side, including mine. I certainly didn’t want to be a missionary in some foreign country (and yet I ended up living on two other continents sharing the gospel). The preacher then said, those with your hands raised will be the ones to find God’s will. I deeply believe that what I have done with my life was God’s will for my life. Everyone else appears to disagree with that view given the results that have come my way–here and there someone thanks me for these views, but mostly, they are ignored, ridiculed and misunderstood.

I will say to those of you who have not lived an intellectual life like me, traveling far from the comfort zones of YEC or ahistorical Genesis, you have missed living a wonderful life. I have learned more about why Jesus was rejected: the crowd knew that nothing good comes out of Galilee, the crowd knew he wasn’t the messiah and thus couldn’t forgive sins, the leaders all knew Jesus was a country bumpkin, born out of wedlock, from flyover land like me, not worthy of notice and a troublesome irritant at best and most importantly the arrogance of the highly educated who knew that only uneducated country folk would fall for a guy like Jesus. This last reason is why so few of the leaders seriously considered Jesus’s claims. One of the things I think we Christians are called to be is a troublesome irritant to our society by reminding them that there is a God watching over things and pay back is coming if we don’t accept God’s get out of jail card, which he graciously provided for us. I will finish with a couple of Bible verses,

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat

Crowds are almost always the wrong place to be. They panic and trample people, and they lead to huge financial losses when the crowd is selling their stocks and the prices are low, that should be the time to buy, but few do–they are selling with the crowd. Similarly, the world crowd all believe in a universal salvation and it is offensive to them to believe otherwise. Even many here believe in a universal salvation. But if that is the case, what was the point of the cross? Be a Buddhist, no one has to die and you still get where you want to go, nirvana or heaven. The crowd believes in hell, just not for themselves. I think it is incumbent upon us Christians to evaluate whether we are pleasing the crowd, or pleasing God. Are we trying to impress our atheist colleagues that we too believe the bible is ahistorical and we don’t believe in spooky supernatural events? As Paul asks in Galatians, a book I once had totally memorized but sadly have lost it over the years: do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ

Pleasing men means being in the crowd–look around, how crowded is the intellectual space you occupy?

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