December 16, 2012

GOD, As Revealed to....

.... THE CHRISTIANS
God2-Sistine_Chapelw.jpg

.... THE DARWINS
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GETTING OFF ON THE CLUB FOOT: SPIEGEL Interview with Evolution Philosopher Daniel Dennett

SPIEGEL: Professor Dennett, more than 120 million Americans believe that God created Adam our of mud some 10,000 years ago and made Eve from his rib. Do you personally know any of these 120 million?
DENNETT: Yes.

Really? Let's see, there are currently 311,591,917 Americans. The Spiegel's blunt assertion to which Dennet utterly agrees would mean that one in three American men, women, and children hold to the literal story of Creation -- mud, 10,000 years, case closed. One would assume that everyone would know someone at that ratio. But the number itself seems more opportunistic than true.

I suppose that if you looked mostly at children who were still of the age when the Tooth Fairy is their own personal cash machine, and added them to hard-core evangelicals you might be able to bump the real number up, but I still don't think you get even a sizable portion of 120 million. At any rate, I'd hope the discussion would only cite the beliefs of adults, but maybe the Darwins are so threatened they have to pour in some kids to get to Scary Numberland.

The bald assertion certainly gets the interview off to a big bang, but I for one find it hard to credit it as the cold, hard statistical fact these two want to pound on in their paranoia.

Indeed, if there is any basis for this number at all it would seem to be derived by lumping together young Earth creationism, old-Earth creationism, day-age creationism, theistic evolution, neo-creationism, Jewish creationism, and a few others. Creationism, it would seem, is a house of many mansions, and I suppose the could all add up in the mind of a Darwin to a big, bad threat.

While I accept that a few Christian denominations require their members to swear to the Biblical Creation story on, well, a stack of Bibles, the last time I checked there were any number of churches that had no such requirement, Catholic and Protestant. It is my impression that for most Christian faiths you need to believe in one God and Jesus Christ as His only son to belong. The Unitarians are a bit sketchy on those two things, but hey what's a heaven without some Unitarians in the mix to spend eternity telling everyone else they're still not quite sure?

Of late, I've been attending a wide variety of Christian Services around the greater Seattle area, and there doesn't (so far) seem to be a great deal of rancor within the various denominations. Neither have I stumbled across one that insists on believing in Biblical creation stories or getting out, but I suppose that could come up on any Sunday. I'm sure there are a goodly number of Christians that do believe in the literal truth of the Bible and who handle doubters and snakes with equal aplomb. But 120 million?

I think that says much more about the rigid belief set of Dennett and the Spiegel than American Christians. Of course, I could be wrong. But then again so could Dennett. For while Christians firmly believe they have been touched by the Spirit of God in Christ, Dennett just as clearly believes he has been "touched by some noodly appendage."
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UPDATE: AN email alerts me to this Dennett sighting --Darwin. Destroyer of God , which reminded me he'd made a previous appearance on this site in 2003 with The "Brights:" Smug, Self-satisfied and Stupid.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 16, 2012 1:05 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

To become a Christian, one need only

1. receive a valid, Trinitarian baptism, and

2. profess the Nicene Creed

which is [in English translation] as follows:


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth

and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.

God of God, light of light,
true God of true God.

Begotten not made
consubstantial to the Father
by whom all things were made.

Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven.
And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost
and of the Virgin Mary
and was made man;

was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried;

and the third day rose again
according to the Scriptures.

And ascended into heaven,
sits at the right hand of the Father,
and shall come again with glory
to judge the living and the dead
of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.

And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost,
the Lord and Giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son
who together with the Father and the Son
is to be adored and glorified,
who spoke by the Prophets.

And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.

And I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

That's it. If you truly believe what is contained in the Nicene Creed, and are validly baptized, you are a Christian.

You'll notice that Christians are only required to believe that all things, the world included, were and are created by God. Since the exact circumstances of this divine creation are not specified in the Creed, Christians of good faith can legitimately differ on precisely how God accomplished His mighty work.

Posted by: B Lewis at December 15, 2012 11:33 PM

See, we're going about this all wrong. To have 100% belief in some form of creationism, we just need to rename the Darwinian evolution to Atheist Creationism.

Problem. Solved.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho at December 15, 2012 11:54 PM

I have been attending church all my 57 years. I was baptized on profession of faith at age 9. I was ordained in the United Methodist Church in 2002 and had been pastoring a church full time for five years before that.

B Lewis - This is the first time I have ever heard that you have to profess the Nicene Creed to be Christian. Just what would your authority for that be? Certainly not the New Testament.

John Wesley:

Here we see what is real religion: a restoration [of Man] not only to the favor but to the image of God, not bare deliverance from sin, but being filled with the fullness of God. Nothing short of this is Christian religion. ... It runs through the Bible from beginning to end. Beware of taking anything else than this for religion, not anything else: do not imagine an outward form, a round of duties, both in public and private, is religion! Do not suppose that honesty, justice or whatever is called morality is religion. And least of all dream that right opinions [or] faith is religion. Of all religious dreams, this is the vainest.

Gerard, wait! You mean they still have Christian churches in Seattle? (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 16, 2012 3:39 AM

"we just need to rename the Darwinian evolution to Atheist Creationism"

That was a good turn of phrase, Duncan. Archiving...

Posted by: cond0011 at December 16, 2012 7:14 AM

Vox Day wrote a book,The Irrational Athiest, some time back and it pretty well describes the "science" of the most well known athiests. I'll leave it at that and leave it to each as to whether they choose to read or not.

Posted by: indyjonesouthere at December 16, 2012 7:49 AM

Dennet's point, somewhat humourously made, is that there is precisely the same amount of evidence for the Judeo-Christian God as for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or, come to that, for Zeus, Baal, Huitzilopochtli, Brahma, Odin, Yu-Huang or Yog-Sothoth. Which is to say, none.

Yog-Sothoth is on that list quite deliberately. He's fictional. What was the point again?

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at December 16, 2012 11:09 PM

Well, Fletch, if you scroll back up the page and read the post again - this time actually trying to get what our correspondent was saying - you might react with a little less petty snark and a bit more hunmility. The jist of the post was not about "evidence" for or against any deities, but about the casual and dare I say scientifically sloppy assertion by the interviewer regarding the literal beliefs of >1/3 of Americans.

Why don't you give it a try and read it more closely, monkey boy?

Posted by: Dar-lose at December 23, 2012 8:40 AM

Well, Fletch, if you scroll back up the page and read the post again - this time actually trying to get what our correspondent was saying - you might react with a little less petty snark and a bit more humulity. The jist of the post was not about "evidence" for or against any deities, but about the casual and dare I say scientifically sloppy assertion by the interviewer regarding the literal beliefs of >1/3 of Americans.

Why don't you give it a try and read it more closely, monkey boy?

Posted by: Dar-lose at December 23, 2012 8:41 AM

Well, Fletch, if you scroll back up the page and read the post again - this time actually trying to get what our correspondent was saying - you might react with a little less petty snark and a bit more humulity. The jist of the post was not about "evidence" for or against any deities, but about the casual and dare I say scientifically sloppy assertion by the interviewer regarding the literal beliefs of >1/3 of Americans.

Why don't you give it a try and read it more closely, monkey boy?

Posted by: Dar-lose at December 23, 2012 8:41 AM
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