Re: Fwd: Pigliucci responds to Miller

Wendee Holtcamp (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 16:17:26 -0500

This is my first post to the list, and I feel called to do it. I hope I
don't offend anybody!

Keith Miller wrote:

>> God's reality to anyone who desired to see. It is for this reason
>> that
>> Paul declares that all humanity is without excuse. That is natural
>> revelation. To reduce it to gaps in our scientific explanation does,
>> I
>> believe great disservice to the witness of God in creation. I see
>> design in _all_ of creation, don't you?

To which Massimo Pigliucci replied:

>No, I don't, Keith. Furthermore, I don't see how anybody *could* see it.
>It's pretty clear that the messy and slow history of the universe and of
>life in particular smacks of chance and necessity, or of an *incredibly
>poor* designer.

To this I reply:

Keith, I myself am a Christian and completely understand your point -- I DO
see God in nature and in the very wonder that we exist at all. But, not
everyone DOES see this, as Massimo points out. He doesn't. What I think you
mean is that everyone sees or feels (at least MOST people) an instinctive
"wonder" at the vastness of the universe -- at the fact that we are but
tiny ants on a spinning rock within a universe of enormous proportions, and
wonder at the "glory" and beauty of the natural world. But not everyone
attributes that wonder to God. Rightly, Paul tells us in the Bible that
this is natural revelation, the instinctive wonderings inside of us all
whether there might be "something greater." It's exactly why the argument
that a bunch of people sitting around a campfire "made up" religion to keep
the "tribe" in order will never fly. Now whether each of us chooses to
attribute that "wonder" to chance or to God is within us. To Christians,
it's a matter of choosing God or rejecting Him. To others who are atheists
or otherwise, I don't think they quite see it that way.

Now in all our philosophical debatings back & forth with Massimo theer are
2 issues at stake. One is the position of the NABT (Nat'l Assoc. of Biology
Teachers) and the influence it has on our children. For this, it is
important to try to get the "other side" to see the Christian perspective,
and to understand why we can not exclude the possibility of God from the
way in which biology/evolution is taught. It all comes down to this:
whatever science reveals about our universe will never "prove" there is or
is not a God. So to make a statement that evolution HAS to be done without
the hand of God goes contrary to logic. It can never be "proven." Saying
that evolution HAD to happen completely by chance is no different than
making the statement within the biology texts that evolution is the direct
result of the hand of God. (which I fully believe, but again, it can't be
"proven" by scientific means, so it should not be there).

The second issue, that I'm afraid frequently crops up in our responses to
Massimo, seems outwardly like we are trying to convince him to believe in
God. Its almost as if our own faith depends on convincing others that our
truth is THE truth. While it may be (tee hee) the only way anyone will ever
get an educated man to understand the glory of God is through love. No
matter how persuasive or logical our arguments might be, a person rejects
or accepts God of his or her own accord, and I'd be quite surprised if any
atheist ever came to Christ through a "debate" on why we know God exists
because of this or that reason. Most people that change from atheist to
Christian (myself included) do it because we see God in a very personal
change in our lives that NEVER could have happend without a higher
presence. Answered prayer. Over and over. Everyday miracles. It's not
something that can be scientifically "proven" and God surely intended it
that way. Once you make a heartfelt decision to make honest and open-minded
study of the question of God, rather than stubborn pride getting in the
way, God reveals his very presence in a very real way. As soon as we choose
to have an open mind and look for ourselves at BOTH sides, it happens.

One lady at our church who used to be an atheist and had a bit of "natural
revelation" and wonderings about God and whether He existed or not took a
sheet of paper and wrote down all the arguments for and against the
existence of God. She then set it down for several days. When she came back
and looked at it later, she was surprised that nearly all the reasons
"against" were emotional reasons, and the reasons for were
factual/historical! If you're really going to reject God, at least look at
the true evidence, don't just assume you know it from what you "hear." (as
I did). If anyone has set down with an open mind and tried to understand
the Bible and the history of the early church and also the archaeological
evidence and STILL don't believe in God, I'd love to hear from you. There
is case after case of people who do this and end up converting (Annie
Dillard is one, there's a famous singer and scientist who did but I don't
know his name, there's me...)

The Bible's teachings are often contrary to what the church (and
Christians) actually practice, and how many times has this turned people
away? (it did me). The very fact that there are so many hundreds of
denominations is a result of human pride, the "I am right" philosophy. Why
can't we - at least Christians - agree to disagree? So many Christians want
to tell every other belief that they aren't "true" Christians if they don't
believe such & such. That's pride, not the humility the Bible teaches. Even
this "Darwin is wrong" philosophy is pride. To say that you KNOW anything
scientific is pride, as all things must be appended with "at least as far
as I can tell." God's presence in the world is not scientific. It's on a
different realm. And that is why those without the gift of faith will
always believe that God is on the level of elves and witches. It takes an
open mind and an earnest heart - true seeking for the "truth" before God
will reveal that truth to you. In all aspects of life, not just his

I'm interested in feedback.

Kind regards,

Wendee Holtcamp
Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
Environment/Nature/Adventure-Travel Writing
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