My memory isn’t what it should be, but I do not remember anyone saying that he/she did not have a belief system until about 2 years ago. Almost daily now I seem to hear someone say that.
Anyone who claims that they do not have a belief system is either uneducated or dishonest. There is nothing wrong with being uneducated. God confronted Job out of the storm and asked Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” (Job:38:2,3) God then asks Job a series of difficult questions that I certainly could not answer. I seriously doubt that I would do as well as Job did.
One of the greatest benefits of a true education is to realize how little we really know. And that realization of our limited understanding extends to our lack of understanding of our belief system. But a lack of understanding is not the same as denial of reality.
“A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these.” Wikipedia (I quote Wikipedia because this should be common knowledge. You can find the same information in many, many other places.) You get up in the morning. Or you don’t. Whatever you do, the “why” is a belief. The combination of all the “whys” in your life is your belief system.
Everyone has a belief system. This is not a matter of opinion or a question of a point of view. This is a simple definition of terms. It is what the English words “belief system” mean. It does not require that we live our lives consistent with our belief system. We are all inconsistent, sinners, hypocrites, failing to live up to our own personal standards. But we all live our lives according to some belief system.
To deny that you have a belief system is to deny that you understand the basic meaning of English words. When we hear the words “green fence,” we all understand the basic meaning of the words. We might all have a different shade of green in mind. Perhaps we all have a different type of material in mind for the fence; wood, stone or metal. But the basic meaning of the words is required or people can not communicate.
What people mean when they say, “I don’t have a belief system” is that they are above morality. They believe that they can manufacture their own standards of right and wrong, that they are, in modern terms, above the law. Of course, that is not how they view themselves. They justify their actions and beliefs with phrases such as, “who are you to judge me?”
The frightening aspect is that people who really think that they do not have a belief system are the most easily manipulated by the unscrupulous tyrant. That tyrant might be a simple gang leader or he might be a Hitler or a Stalin recruiting brownshirts, SS, or KGB thugs.
Every single person I have met who claims that they do not have a belief system has the same belief system. They are either atheists or agnostics. They think of themselves as good because they help other people. But they are easily manipulated because they have never thought through their beliefs. They also get angry too easily when this is pointed out to them. While they insist that no one judge either their actions or motives, they are the first to judge other people.
I could write about these people for pages. But the real issue is not other people. How honest am I? Do I understand, and have I thought through, what I believe? Are my beliefs and convictions rooted and grounded in my sinful self and all the misery that will cause? Or are they rooted grounded in the eternal Word of God, with my sins washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Tag Archives: belief
My memory isn’t what it should be, but I do not remember anyone saying that he/she did not have a belief system until about 2 years ago. Almost daily now I seem to hear someone say that.
In January 1975, I was a passenger in a multi-vehicle accident on an ice covered bridge in heavy fog near Knoxville, TN. The uninjured grabbed everything we could to flag oncoming traffic to stop. Tragically, we could not get everyone’s attention. Ignoring the fact that the bridge was covered in ice cost several people their lives that day.
Does ignoring the facts usually have such a tragic ending? No. Maybe that’s one reason we have a culture that puts a premium on mockery. Is truth really just a matter of opinion? How is it that the most attention-getting person in a group is the most skilled mocker?
When Jesus said believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1 KJV, NASB), Jesus was not asking his disciples, “So what are your opinions about God?” He used the word believe the same way Moses used it when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. Moses told God that they will not believe me. (Exodus 4:1 KJV). Moses told God that the elders of Israel would not accept the words of God as authoritative. Why? Because they would not accept Moses as a credible witness. Exodus 4:1 actually means they will not accept me.
Did you think the word believe, as used in the Bible, meant accept something without thinking, blindly? It means to examine the facts and come to a conclusion. The best example that I have come up with in our culture is a jury foreman, when the judge asks if the jury has reached a verdict. When the foreman responds “We find the defendant is guilty (or not guilty)” he means that they believe, because they have come to a conclusion based on the evidence. Yes, it is an opinion, but it is a reasoned, informed opinion based on the facts.
Have you noticed that our modern culture no longer believes in absolute authority? Believe now means “l like.” Haven’t you heard statements like “I believe I’ll take chocolate” or “I believe pinstripes are better than plaids”? Tobelieve in God no longer means a reasoned conclusion based on facts. While insisting on logic, proof, and evidence, in practice our Secular Humanist culture demonstrates that facts no longer matter.
Does everyone who names the name of Christ agree up to this point? The principles are rather clear and universal. We begin to run into problems when we attempt to go past the principles. May I give a few examples? I know this is sort of dangerous because we all tend to “go off on tangents.” I only want to use these as examples of ignoring the facts. Notre Dame, Brigham Young and Bob Jones University all have similar student honor codes. This story could have happened at any of these schools. The following quote is from the blog “BradentonPatch,” though there are hundreds of other blogs with the same basic information. “Chis Peterman, a senior at Bob Jones University, racked up demerits after he created an activist group on campus, [attacking the High School principal] and ultimately was kicked out when his last demerits were issued for watching the television show “Glee” off campus. This is the same demerit system used at all of the US military academies, such as West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force academy in Colorado. Many times and in many schools violations of an agreed-upon code of conduct enforced by this demerit system have resulted in student expulsions. Probably the most famous expulsion was West Point, in the case of the rowdy undergrad George Armstrong Custer (George was later reinstated and his record purged, so this does not show up in every history of West Point). The point is, for better or worse, the demerit system has been around awhile.
The Huffington Post posts the following: “So the problem with going to college at a baptist [sic, Baptist should be capitalized and Bob Jones is non-denominational] school like Bob Jones University that ‘s actively working toward returning America to the 1740s is that there are some super ridiculous rules. For example, you can only watch certain TV shows off-campus like Girls and Breaking Bad and reruns of Real Sex. Just kidding. Those shows are most definitely on the banned list.
“Chris Peterman, a student at BJU (insert middle school sense of humor here), claims watching Glee on his computer at an off-campus Starbucks got him in big trouble with the school. So much trouble in fact, that they banned him from graduation by suspending him.
“While I think we can all agree that the plot doesn’t always makes [sic] sense on the show, I doubt that’s why it’s on their unapproved list. I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume it has something to do with their positive portrayal of LGBT students as well as their openess [sic] when it comes to discussing teen sexuality.”
I quoted the article in its entirety. It has no explanation for omitting important facts which turn the entire article into a lie. This is the modern “style.” The Huffington Post probably does not even think of this as a lie because everything in the article is factual (sort of). Simply omitting important information is “not important,” as long as it supports their religious beliefs. And apparently spelling words correctly isn’t important, either.
Is that example unclear? Please let me try again. JFK died 49 years ago, so the basic information about his administration is an established fact. Right? I was so wrong. In a facebook post a few weeks ago, I used JFK as an illustration. JFK was assassinated when I was in the 2nd grade in 1963. I pointed out that his administration was known for immorality. When he died, our teacher talked to us about his death, the school principle talked to us, another person came to school to talk to us, family members talked to me, our pastor talked to us, and so did others. I was only in second grade, so it is all kind of muddled, but the one thing I remember clearly is most, if not everyone, started off with something like, “JFK was an immoral man, but…” At that time, I knew nothing about the policies, religion, political party or history of JFK. All I remember were the eyelevel tabloids.
Was I right to post this as an illustration of something else entirely? Here are some of the comments: 1)”Is it your business to know the details of the confessional?” 2)”As a second grader, I seriously doubt you even know what the word hypocrite meant back then, and suspect the only ones painting the Roman Catholic church as anything were anti-Catholic bigots who have taught you very well to follow in their footsteps.” 3)”You say that public sins should be dealt with publicly, but how many people during JFK’s day knew of his shenanigans? Pretty much nobody, at least not the public.”
To this last comment I wrote, “JFK was a well known serial fornicator.” The same writer replied, “JFK’s pecadillo’s (sic) were not known by the public during his life.”
Why should I include these quotes in this blog? This is a blog about how to treat facts. First, I was alive and remember the tabloids and what people told me. But even if people do not believe me, the following is easily found after searching only a few minutes. The January 2, 1962 issue of Look magazine published a special on the Kennedys. It was quite favorable, but it included a small article on two secretaries who were nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle. National Enquirer (some question as to which tabloid was first) began publishing articles about JFK’s mistresses. In 1962 there were no large-audience-syndicated radio announcers like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. Every little station throughout the country had its own stable of announcers. Some picked up on this story. The real news came with the death of Marilyn Monroe, August 5, 1962. When the report said that last person she called was JFK (true or not), that statement unleashed a worldwide media frenzy. In 1963, DNC Chairman John M. Bailey circulated a private memo wondering if JFKs immorality would become such a campaign issue that it would bring down the Democratic Party in the 1964 elections. He mused that maybe JFK should not run again.
This information is easy to find. Once again, this is not about JFK. It is completely about being truthful in handling facts. Yes, there are issues with facts on both sides and like a good juror, we must examine the facts carefully and come to the correct conclusion.
Belief Excerpts from Antidisestablishmentarianism I from Chapter 11. What Is Science to a Secular Humanist?
Like any religion which enthrones man in God’s place, there is a desperate and irrational need to attack true religion. “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence,”3 says Richard Dawkins. In the Bible, in the founding documents of US history and in the US court system prior to the liberal takeover, belief was (and still is in reality) a legal term. Belief is the decision of a juror based on evidence. Faith is the action one takes based on belief based on tested evidence. The modern Secular Humanist twists the word “faith ” to mean the opposite of its historical definition. “Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”4 This is the “blind leap of faith ” of Karl Barth and neo-orthodoxy, not the historic meaning of faith found in the Bible and US history.
The faith of the secularist, which is truly “in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence,” has a religious belief that the material universe is all that is, was or ever will be. The material universe is the ultimate reality. “Who is more humble?” asked Carl Sagan, “The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book [the Bible] must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”5 Sagan is pretending humility while arrogantly dismissing the possibility that God might have actually written down His words out of love for his creation.
1 Pierre Charron, De la sagesse (Of Wisdom, In Three Parts), French version, 1601, Translated by Samson Lennard, Eliot’s Court Press for Edward Blount and Will, Aspley, London, c.1615.
2 Charles Watts, “The Secularist’s Catechism,” complied in an undated book published by Watts & Co. entitled: Pamphlets by Charles Watts, Vol. I, originally written in 1896.
3 Richard Dawkins, from a speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 15, 1992.
4 Dawkins, The Richard Dimbleby Lecture: “Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder,” BBC1 Television November 12, 1996.
5 Carl Sagan, in an interview with Charlie Rose, late-night PBS talk show host, 1996.
We, as Christians, as often asked by people who believe that they are intellectuals why we believe what we believe. I am not aware of any brief list which is not woefully inadequate. The following list could easily be expanded, but it is a good ready reference. (Please note that many of these points are dealt with in Antidisestablishmentarianism.)
I. Evidence from reason
A. The Design of the universe demands a Designer
B. Life begets life; no scientific evidence of any form of spontaneous generation
1. 1st law of thermodynamics: matter and energy are interchangable and can neither be created or
2. 2nd law of thermodynamics: (entropy) all energy transformations are in a downward direction.
The universe is gradually deteriorating from a position of greater complexity and order to an
eventual end of complete disorder with the simplest elements, probably only hydrogen, motionless
at a uniform temperature.
II. Evidence from ancient writings
A. The value of oral tradition: many cultures disdain writing (Thoth/Plato)
B. All of the oral traditions and writings which are mentioned here are pre-Christian
C. New Zealand: The Lore of the Whare-wananga; or the teachings of the Maori College
D. Egyptian: History of Creation
E. Mayan: Popol Vuh and The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel
F. Mexican: Origin de los Indias
G. Japanese: The Kojiki
H. Babylonian/Assyrian: Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation and Another
Version of the Creation of the World by Marduk
I. Greek: Hesiod Theogony, Plato Critias
J. Roman: Ovid Metamorphoses
K. Norse: The Poetic Edda, Voluspp
N. Persian: Zoroastrianism Bundahis
III. Evidence from the Scriptures
A. The authority of God
1. God existed before the material universe and everything material was created by God. John 1:1-3,
Col 1:16, Heb 1:10
2. God upholds the material universe today Heb 1:2,3
3. The material universe is temporary. Heb 1:10,11 Matt 24:35 2 Peter 3:10, Rev 20:11, 21:1
B. The origins of the material universe
1. heavens and earth Gen 1:1
2. “the earth was formed out of water and by water” 2 Pet 3:5
3. “the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Gen 1:2
IV. Evidence from the material world: What we can know from our senses.
The following scientific facts do not prove the Bible or the Biblical timeline to be true. While each of these scientific facts work within a Biblical framework or timeline, they tend to discredit the possibility of Uniformitarianism.
1. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter
a. estimates of the rate of mutations were made based on uniformitarian assumptions and mitochondrial Eve was estimated to be 144, 000 years old.
b. a 500 year old sample was taken; the calculated results show mitochondrial Eve to be approximately 6,500 years old (Nature Genetics vol. 15, April 1997 pp. 363-367. )
2. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon DNA samples are both well within the range of modern homo sapiens.
3. Lucy and other proposed links between homo sapiens and animals have DNA samples well within the range of modern animals.
B. Dating methods
2. uranium 235
3. Carbon 14: it becomes such a small amount that it is almost unnoticeable after about 60,000 years and disappears entirely after a little more than 100,000 years. All fossils which have been tested have C14.
4. all dating methods have an unknown point of origin
1. extinct marine creatures
2. wide dispersement
4. on top of Mount Everest
D. Rock layers put in place while still moist
1. sharp bends, folds following matching contours
2. massive sections at unusual angles
1. modern lava flows have dates compatible with lava flows dated as ancient
2. physical appearance of recent eruptions shows multiple layers laid down
in minutes or seconds
F. Sea levels
1. salt content; no evidence of constant flow
2. massive recent rise in sea levels
3. Hudson river canyon
4. Niagara river canyon
1. evidence that Antarctica was once warm
2. ancient maps with the land mass of Antarctica visible
1. uniform background radiation
2. uniform red shift
1. fossils not formed today: require unusual conditions to make fossils
2. massive fossil beds; billions of creatures, died in agony
3. creatures which do not exist today
4. very large creatures; very different climate
5. petrified wood
J. Entombed creatures younger than fossils
1. different from fossils: different creatures and a different climate
2. usually frozen
3. ivory still usable
4. huge numbers
K. Lake Titicaca
1. salt content, marine life; highest lake in world (12,507 ft.)
3. city under water
4. existing city now far from water once a port
L. Massive stone structures
1. thousands of buildings and ruins of buildings
2. everywhere on earth
3. how they were made; either
a. poured in place like cement
b. floated into place
c. used a technology of which we are unaware
4. why they were made
a. to impress (who?)
b. protection from earthquakes
c. public works projects
d. unknown reasons
M. Insects in Amber
N. Diamonds can be manufactured
1. less than a year to make
2. are currently being manufactured in quantity
O. salt content of oceans
1. inconsistent flow rate: we do not know how much salt was
coming into the oceans as little as 3,000 years ago.
2. using ocean salt levels for dating is circular reasoning: assuming constant flow proves age; age is proved by salt levels
Q. ice cap layers
1. assumption made that each layer represents one year
2. missing squadron
Conclusion: Many books are written to explain each subpoint. Few people, however, will stay around to listen. This list is a good starting point, however, for honest people who are legitimately seeking the truth.