RE: textbooks

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Thu, 4 Dec 1997 11:49:32 -0500


Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I fully agree with you with your
interpretation of OT history where it is clear that God punished Israel
for leaving Him. I also agree with you that God is in complete control,
that "not a hair will fall off our head without the will of our Heavenly

What I did take issue with was the statement linking a US Supreme Court
decision on bible reading in secular classrooms with a drop in the US
GNP. For the following reasons:

* It is always tempting to find whatever correlation you want. For
example: "you don't agree with the US Supreme Court decision? Find some
parameter, such as the GNP, that supports your position." Now, you may
think, what does this have to do with the YEC vs. non-YEC arguments?
Well, Jan, individuals in both camps have "grasped at straws" i.e.
scanty experimental evidence, to "prove their point." My experience has
been that it is often (but not always) the YEC-adherents who have been
guilty of that approach. I well remember, some years ago, a horde of
YEC-adherents coming to our town to present a series of "discussions"
(which turned out to be lectures where no questions could be asked!). I
also remember one of my (agnostic) fellow scientists, now a professor at
a German university, shaking his head as he walked out and muttering
"that's all I take of this nonsense."
* The second reason I take issue with the statement is that it appears
to elevate the US to the status of "the new Israel," "God's newly chosen
people." This suggests that calamities such as a drop in GNP,
hurricanes, etc. are a direct result of the USAnians "turning away from
God." Somehow, this link is then not operative in countries such as
Sweden, Denmark, of Finland, where church attendance has dropped, or
Japan, where people cannot "turn away" from the True God, because they
have never found Him. Compare, for example Japan and Bangladesh. In
neither of these two countries in Christianity very strong. Yet Japan
is prospering (or at least was prospering) while Bangladeshis apparently
spend a large amount of their time semi-submerged in the Bay of Bengal
(I think that's what the body of water is called; I don't have a map
handy at the moment). Consider the drop in the Korean Won. What did
the Koreans (1/3+ Christian) do to deserve that? Indonesians saw the
Rupiah drop, but one can argue that they are a Muslim nation.

The corollary of the link between our action (US Supreme Court) and
God's apparent reaction (drop in GNP) is that if we do the will of the
Lord, the GNP will rise. Isn't this what the TV evangelists tell us?
Scary stuff, if you ask me!

I agree with you that we should live and work with the well being of our
fellow man in mind. We should walk when we can instead of driving a car,
use ceramic mugs instead of polystyrene cups (although one must be
careful here and have done a proper energy balance), and use recycled
newsprint (or do without a paper). Best is probably "doing without,"
doing without strawberries, melons, grapes etc. in January which are
brought to Canada at great environmental cost in terms of energy
consumption. Newspapers not bought are trees not cut.

Jan, I don't think we really disagree but I felt it important to pass
these comments along.


T.T. (Chuck) Vandergraaf
Geochemistry Research Branch
Whiteshell Laboratories
Pinawa, MB R0E 1L0
((204) 753-2311 xt. 2592

>From: Jan de Koning[]
>Sent: December 4, 1997 9:46 AM
>Subject: RE: textbooks
>In answer to Chuck,
> You say, that you fail to see, where God's punishes nations leaving Him.
>That is what old Israel in the OT did too. It took 490 years before God
>took the final step in punishing the nation by sending it to Babel. See
>the last chapter of Chronicles. Before that, Israel was punished several
>times allready. Also, we know as Christians that there will be an end to
>this world, when our Lord comes back. To say that God is not punishing
>nations is closing your eyes for the disasters in many places. Sure, we
>have explanations. Floods caused by global warming, caused by using too
>much fossil fuels etc. It does not mean, however, that God is not
>involved. I know, that we have to be careful here. Jesus answered to his
>disciples, that neither this man nor his parents had sinned to deserve the
>punishment of blindness.
> We in N.America have to open our eyes, and see what our life style does to
>the rest of the world. Communally we have to lower our living standards to
>make life elsewhere possible. We must protect the creation as much as we
>can; we must help to get rid of landmines everywhere; etc. Those decisions
>are not just government decisions, but in democratic societies we can let
>our voices be heard.
>Jan de Koning
>Willowdale, Ont.