12. A DIFFERENT APPROACH?
After giving the matter quite a lot of thought and discussing the subject at some length with my wife, i concluded that it seemed to me that there were some critical questions about the question of creation versus evolution.
I offer these here together with my thoughts in the hope that it will assist both sides to see the debate in a different light.
12.1. ARE THERE SPIRITS?
Insofar as it is my understanding that a very large proportion of the population of the world believe that there are spirits, it seems to me that this is an important question to resolve.
Since i understand that the basis of these beliefs, like my own, is experiential and not theoretical, it seems to me that any theory that supports a view that human kind have evolved without the influence of a creator should acknowledge this aspect and address it constructively in a way that can satisfy those who have experiential belief in spirits.
It seems to me that to argue that spirits do not exist because there is no scientific evidence is an argument from incredulity. Based on my interpretation of how the term argument from incredulity is applied in the context of the origination of the matter which makes up the universe, it seems to me that applying argument from incredulity to the statement "spirits do not exist because it is not possible to prove they exist" indicates that it is entirely possible for spirits to exist.
My reality is that i have personally met dozens of people who claim to have personally experienced the existence of spirits. I have encountered numerous reports that indicate that millions and possibly billions of people believe spirits exist and many claim to have had experiences of spirits.
Searching in Google i find the following occurrences of words that i understand to relate to spirits:- spirit (26,200,000), demon (6,560,000), demons (2,420,000), fairy (4,820,000),
fairy's (45,200), elf (4,640,000), elves (1,150,000), tokolosh (name of spirits in Africa) (907), tokoloshes (109), ghosts (2,950,000), ghost (10,100,000), poltergeist (261,000), poltergeists (36,100).
Collectively these statistics indicate that words relating at least at some level to what i perceive to be the spirit realm occur widely on the internet. Casual inquiry indicates that at least some of these pages relate to people who consider spirits to exist and who claim to have had personal experience of them. It is my impression that such people constitute a statistically significant proportion of the above statistics.
Applying reductio ad absurdum to this information, it seems to me that this provides a basis to claim that spirit's exist.
It seems to me that this conclusion is entirely consistent with applying argument from incredulity to the statement that spirit's do not exist. Accordingly, this seems to me to provide a basis to conclude that spirit's do exist.
Certain evolutionists argue in favour of things called "memes" which relate to thoughts and ideas. I don't think that it will be any more difficult to prove that there are memes than to prove that there are spirits. Both concepts are intangible and relate to things that cannot be seen and seemingly have no substance themselves in terms of generally accepted definitions of substance. It seems to me that if people who subscribe to evolution can consider the possibility of "memes", certainly as i have read about them, then it would be helpful to extend the same level of credulity to spirits.
If one does not believe in spirits, it is probably very difficult to prove they exist and if one does believe in spirits it is probably relatively easy to prove they exist. Insofar as my information is that a very large number, possibly billions, of people believe that spirits exist and many claim personal experience, i have difficulty in seeing how this can be discounted. It seems to me that any theory of evolution should clearly define how spirits come into existence.
What one chooses to believe about this is a matter of personal choice relative to what one does with available information in finding what one considers to be substantive evidence.
12.2. DO HUMAN'S HAVE SPIRITS?
This is a more specific aspect of the previous question.
If the answer is "yes", which it is my understanding that many people who do not necessarily believe in creation hold to be the case, then, it seems to me that any theory with regard to the way in which human kind came to exist should address this aspect.
A Google search indicates "human spirit" (421,000), "out of body experience" (79,100), reincarnation (656,000), reincarnated (149,000), resurrect (280,000), resurrected (530,000), resurrection (2,880,000).
As i understand it, all of these terms relate at some level to a belief in the existence of a human spirit. It seems to me that evolution should not summarily discount this but should seek to offer a constructive explanation. If we can have "memes" why can we not have spirits?
Applying argument from incredulity to a statement that it is not possible to prove that human beings have spirit's seems to me to indicate that the statement is an argument from incredulity. Therefore, since there is much information that indicates that millions and possibly billions of people believe that human beings do have a spirit, reductio ad absurdum indicates to me that they do exist. I understand argument from incredulity to admit this possibility.
As with the previous point this is a personal choice unless evidence that you consider substantive can be produced.
12.3. IS THERE A CREATOR?
It seems to me that this is the essence of the question and all the other questions ultimately point to this question.
I have put this question third since it seems to me that there are more people on earth who have experience of spirit's than have experience of the creator and that there are more people who have had experience of human spirit's than have experience of the creator.
Searching in Google returns:- creator (9,430,000) and God (60,200,000). In my experience, the word "God" is not necessarily the same as saying there is a creator. God IS synonymous with "creator" for many people but not for all people. Nevertheless there are indications that a substantial number of people have belief in such a being. It seems to me that there are many more who believe in a creator than believe in evolution.
As mentioned early on in this article so far i cannot offer any "scientifically provable" evidence. Furthermore, it seems to me that all the evidence that i have been able to offer so far is neutralized by "argument from incredulity". I can only offer personal experience and i accept that this is not of real value to anyone else.
I have also concluded, since starting this article, that my own experience and my knowledge of the experience of others indicates that asking the creator to reveal himself through a supernatural sign of some sort is also not particularly helpful to those who do not believe. If one has no experience of the creator, how does one experience something that one believes is not possible?
I don't have an answer!
I can only suggest that you check out for yourself whether, in practice, "argument from incredulity" really works to discount the examples that i used above that motor cars, aircraft, buildings, etc do not evolve themselves and do not create themselves, i ask you to consider that all of these cases, without an exception that i know of, require the intervention of man, that is a creator, in order to take place. Hence, i suggest that the existence of man is dependent on the existence of a higher being, a creator.
I still cannot prove it with "solid provable evidence".
As with the previous two points, it seems to me that there is plenty of evidence that millions and possibly billions of people believe in a creator. I understand reductio ad absurdum applied to this information to indicate the existence of a creator. I also understand argument from incredulity applied to a statement that there is no creator because it cannot be proved that a creator exists creates space to admit the possibility of there being a creator.
Once more, there is the possibility of other perspectives and it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information unless one can obtain what one considers to be substantive evidence.
12.4. WHERE DID WE COME FROM?
As far as i can determine there is no dispute that we exist, that the planet exists or that the universe exists.
It seems that all can agree on that.
It seems to me that there is no real difficulty in agreeing that we arrived at where we are today through a process of progressive development that i find no difficulty terming "evolution".
The mechanism of how this progressive development happened, is inherent in other questions, so i would like to leave it out of this point.
As i see it, this point is essentially about whether there is a creator or whether there is some other explanation.
One writer says "How the universe originated is unknown, but to claim therefore that it must have been supernatural is the argument from incredulity. There are other possibilities. For example, anti-energy could have been created simultaneously to satisfy conservation laws. Or perhaps the laws of thermodynamics evolved after the first moments of the universe." http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html
This example suggests that "anti-energy could have been created simultaneously to satisfy conservation laws" in an argument to prove there is no creator. I have great difficulty in comprehending how what is stated here could happen if the universe evolved without a creator. I am unable to understand how is it possible for anti-energy to be "created simultaneously" if there is no creator. Yet, i find myself neutralized by "incredulity".
Personally, i cannot see how the above quote can be taken as anything other than a statement of faith that is at least equivalent in my mind to believing in a creator.
I also do not understand why, if one looks at the origin of everything, it is so difficult to believe that there is a creator. The problem is that i DO believe and i am not sure that i will be able to offer any physical evidence that will overcome an argument such as that offered above. As i see it, the problem of physical evidence lies not with the evidence but with the interpretation of the evidence - the "how" and "why" as opposed to the "what".
As with the previous three points, millions and possibly billions believe the universe, the planet and man were created. Reductio ad absurdum therefore indicates that this conclusion is admissible. I understand that arguing that it cannot be proved is an argument from incredulity which therefore admits the possibility that these things have been created.
Once more, there is the possibility of other perspectives and it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information unless one can find what you consider to be a substantive answer.
12.5. WHY ARE WE HERE?
The conclusions one draws with respect to the previous four questions may point towards a particular conclusion here.
However, it seems to me that this is not necessarily so.
As i currently understand the position of what it seems to me might be termed "non-creation evolution", "we are here because we are here". It seems to me that people who support this form of evolution are basically stating that the universe, the planet and humankind are all here and that is sufficient reason to explain why we are here.
It seems to me that this is more or less equivalent to saying "i do not understand why i am here but i am here and i do not need to understand why i am here because i am here". IF this is more or less what those who support evolution are saying in response to this question, then it seems to me that this looks like faith in another form.
As i understand the point of view of those who support creation, it occurs to me that i have not encountered a clear explanation that is uniformly accepted by those who support creation.
I would like to try and sum up in a short statement why i believe we are here.
My personal belief is that the Almighty chose to create very advanced spiritual beings who could choose to be in close relationship with him. I believe this took place within a clearly defined framework of commandments or laws which carried with them clearly defined penalties for transgression, including banishment to a place which today is widely called "hell". It is my impression that this took place within a clearly defined time frame.
I personally think that it would be reasonable to postulate that the creator was lonely and He created us so that He would have people to talk to and share His vision of the future with and who would participate in His vision and that He desired creatures to love and who would love Him out of free choice.
It is my understanding that we are here in order to make personal choices about whether we want a relationship with the Almighty or not, whether we want to avail ourselves of the benefits of such a relationship and whether we want to spend eternity in close relationship with Him at a level that includes sitting on a throne for eternity with many other options.
It is my understanding that we are free to chose any other option, including being free to chose to spend eternity in a place referred to in some writings as "the lake of fire and brimstone" or "lake of fire". This is frequently referred to as "hell" although my understanding is that hell and the lake of fire are not the same.
A Google search returns:- "Day of Judgment" (112,000), hell (17,000,000), heaven (15,600,000), "lake of fire and brimstone" (7,830), "lake of fire" (77,400). I think there is a song about the lake of fire and probably various facetious and other uses of these words and phrases.
Nevertheless, they are terms that are quite widely used thereby indicating a reasonably high level of acceptance of these concepts.
It seems to me that the concept of a "Day of Judgment" is the logical end point of "survival of the fittest". The alleged contest between humankind and the being referred to as "Satan" also appears to be a form of "survival of the fittest".
It seems strange to me that those who support evolution are willing to accept that in some way every prototype or intermediate form or "missing link" has died out within the concept of "survival of the fittest" and then seem to be offended at the idea that they, too, could be participating in an evolutionary "survival of the fittest" experience where the stakes are higher but the basic concept is the same.
By way of example, if we have just "evolved" spontaneously, why is death so disturbing and so fearful for so many people? Surely death is part of evolving?
It seems to me that belief in the existence of a creator is the entry level requirement for a more complex survival of the fittest process. I have it that belief in a creator does not qualify one for heaven, it simply opens the door for one to begin to gain the knowledge and experience and relationship that makes entry into heaven possible.
In summary, i believe we are here in order to give us the opportunity to voluntarily seek a deep personal relationship with the Almighty and qualify to be "fit" to enter heaven.
I cannot prove this, but i have deep personal conviction of the validity of at least the essence of what i have written in the preceding paragraphs. So much so that i have written a detailed article on the subject of some aspects of what i understand to be required in order to spend eternity in heaven. This article is available on request.
As with the previous points, it is my understanding that there are certainly millions and possibly billions who have some view that at least partially coincides with the above. For example, the Quran, the principal Muslim text, repeatedly makes reference to the choice between heaven and hell. Once more, it seems to me that reductio ad absurdum indicates the validity of the basic premise and argument from incredulity applied to a statement that the above interpretation cannot be proved provides the opportunity to suggest that it can be admitted.
The big challenge that i see with this particular point is that if those who believe in a creator and a day of judgment are correct, then those who do not believe in a creator have a serious problem for eternity. If those who believe there is no creator are mistaken then they will not even be disappointed when they die, they won't know they were wrong.
Accordingly, as i see it, from the point of view of a "fail safe" opinion, believing in a creator has merit.
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information in the absence of what any particular person may regard as substantive evidence.
12.6. WHERE ARE WE GOING?
I see this as an extension of the previous point.
It seems to me that the view of those who support non-creational evolution is that we are going wherever we are going and we are going to continue going there for as long as we are around. I have read and seen all sorts of views on what this could look like in thousands or millions of years.
Since this view is based on the opinion that there is no creator, it seems to me to necessitate an opinion that we have no way of determining where we are going. It seems to me that this view assumes that a long series of events determined by our environment and survival of the fittest, etc brought us to this point and that events determined by our environment and survival of the fittest will continue to determine our path.
It is my view that inspection of the diversity of motor vehicles, houses, home decoration, etc indicates that there is no indication of a collective, common and universal view on the part of humankind of what constitutes an ideal state. This seems to me to indicate that there is no indication that humankind can collectively in any significant manner direct our course into the future.
I have it that since we cannot agree on whether there is a creator or not it is unlikely that we will agree on the future direction of the human race. It therefore seems to me that this world view indicates that we will end up where we end up.
To me this seems to make life rather pointless - i understand this view to say that i am going to live and do whatever i find to do and then i am going to die. End of story. Once more, argument from incredulity seems to neutralize my view.
Those who believe in creation seem, at some level, to agree that we are going towards a "Day of Judgment". However, in my experience there are differing views. Based on personal observation, it is my information that many Christians believe that "Jesus is coming soon and i'm going to heaven and the rest of them are going to be judged".
This is not my belief.
I believe that we will ALL be judged, whatever we have believed. In other words, Christians will also be judged.
As i understand it, the basis of judgment is abstract, complex and little understood today. Refer the document mentioned earlier on "Where will YOU spend eternity?".
I DO believe that all the information at my disposal indicates that if one does not have a personal knowledge and relationship with the Almighty one will end up in a very unpleasant situation, a location commonly referred to as "hell".
I do believe that we all originated from a single man and woman and were perpetuated through a man and his three sons and their four wives who survived a global catastrophe widely referred to as "the flood". Accordingly, i do believe that at the outset humankind had access to the data necessary to equip them to live a life that would enable them to spend eternity in a close personal relationship with the Almighty in a place that is beautiful beyond description, frequently termed "heaven".
I cannot prove it.
In summary, i believe that we are "going" towards a Day of Judgment.
Based on my information, there are millions and probably billions, who at some level, mostly not on a very informed basis, believe that this is so. As with the previous questions, it seems to me that reductio ad absurdum indicates that this is confirmed and that applying argument from incredulity to a statement that "i cannot believe there is a judgment" and / or "i cannot believe there is a hell" indicates that it is possible to admit that there is a judgment and that there is a place that corresponds to "hell".
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information and, since we are referring to future events, no way that this can be "substantively" proved.
12.7. WHAT ACTION CAN I TAKE?
Depending on the conclusions drawn from answering the previous questions, there seem to me to be a number of courses of action.
It seems to me that if, having considered the previous points and answered the questions, one is still committed to non-creationary evolution, then one simply gets on with one's life until one dies and does the best one can to accomplish whatever one has set oneself to accomplish.
As i understand an outcome that concludes that there is a creator, that we are on earth in order to form a close personal relationship with Him and there is a Day of Judgment, this indicates that it is desirable to do whatever one finds to do in order to form a close relationship with the creator and prepare for coming judgment.
There are a large number of permutations of answers to the previous six questions, accordingly, it seems to me that there are a wide range of possible courses of action.
I am not sure how to interpret many of the possible outcomes and, accordingly, chose not to.
My answers to the previous questions are that:
1) There are spirits.
2) Human beings have spirits.
3) There is a creator.
4) We were created.
5) We are here to develop a close relationship with the creator.
6) There will be a day on which all of humankind will be judged. There is a heaven and a hell. We each have the right to chose how we live our lives and the outcome of the judgment will be determined by the choices we make. We can make choices that will result in a "high throne" for eternity and we can make choices that will result in "the lake of fire and brimstone" for eternity.
I would like to offer some comments on my understanding of what one might do if one agrees to the above six statements, particularly 3, 5 and 6.
It seems to me that there are numerous avenues by which one might have reached such a position. Again, i chose not to explore all of them.
If, having read as much of this document as you chose to, you have decided to shift position on the fundamental point of the existence of a creator, my experience indicates that there are a few important action points to be aware of:
1) Pray to the Almighty in whatever way you chose with an essential message that you now acknowledge His existence, that you desire to serve him, that you apologise (repent) for not believing in Him previously and that you ask Him to forgive you and help you to serve Him, draw close to Him and form a close personal relationship with Him.
2) I only know one way to do this and that is through prayer in the name of "Yahooshua the anointed of Yah of Natsareth" -- widely translated as "Jesus Christ of Nazareth".
3) Immerse oneself in water, praying in the name of Yahoohua for the forgiveness and cleansing of sins.
4) Do whatever you can find to do in order to draw closer to the Almighty. You are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
5) There is much else that could be written but this document is not intended to address this subject.
If you have previously believed in a creator and have concluded from reading this far that there are adjustments to be made, i assume that you have some basis of dealing with these choices. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact me at email@example.com
Once more, i cannot offer any proof of the above, i draw these conclusions based on my personal experience.
There are also many who hold to a broadly similar view of the above course of action but with widely differing details particularly between Christianity and Islam. Accordingly i chose to try not to be prescriptive. Ultimately, it is for each individual to find their own way and ask the Almighty to lead them to whoever He chooses who can assist them on their journey at whatever stage they may be.
Once more it is a matter of personal choice how one interprets this information and views the consequences of believing that there is a creator or not.