sad logical conclusion of evolutionary biology

Francis Crick, a leading molecular biologist and neuroscientist, famously wrote: “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” If there is no God or spiritual dimension, that is pretty much the logical conclusion.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 224.

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truth, beauty, justice and love impose themselves on me

Luc Ferry does a good job of summarizing the moral, consciousness, reason, and beauty arguments against the secular, naturalistic view of things. He writes that his experiences of “truth, beauty, justice, and love . . . whatever the materialists say, remain fundamentally transcendent.” By that he means, “I cannot invent mathematical truths, nor the beauty of a work of art, nor the imperatives of the moral life . . . [They] impose themselves on me as if they come from elsewhere.” He adds, “I am not at all persuaded by the argument that I merely choose ethical values.” These things are signs that impress themselves on our minds and hearts and point us toward God.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 226.


salvation comes through poverty, rejection and weakness

The ultimate example of God’s working in the world was Jesus Christ, the only founder of a major religion who died in disgrace, not surrounded by all of his living disciples but abandoned by everybody whom he cared about, including his Father. He was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and he died oppressed and helpless. Jesus Christ’s salvation comes to us through his poverty, rejection, and weakness. And Christians are not saved by summoning up their strength and accomplishing great deeds but by admitting their weakness and need for a savior.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 208.


the soup that keeps on giving

Back in the late 1950s, Sophie Muller, a blue-eyed, single woman with a background in journalism and art, traveled the rivers and jungles, spending several days each month in each village.

Travel meant sitting on the rough wooden bench of a dugout canoe for days on end, sometimes under the hot tropical sun and other times enduring torrential downpours. At times travel by river was followed by a trek through the dense jungle.

Beyond the mere inconveniences, there was real danger. At one village, the witch doctor cooked up a chicken stew for Sophie with a little something extra added. The villagers watched as the unsuspecting Sophie ate the soup laced with the most potent poison known in the jungle, a poison known to kill a person within five minutes.

The villagers watched and waited for the inevitable – but it didn’t happen. Though Sophie experienced some vomiting, she did not die. And that didn’t make sense. Could the witch doctor have failed? Hadn’t the witch doctor added enough poison to kill five men? Or could the poison be flawed?

If any questions were raised about the potency of the poison, they were soon dispelled when some of the village dogs found Sophie’s vomit and did what dogs do, after which they promptly fell over and died.

God’s protective power was evident, and the witch doctor who had prepared the soup turned from witchcraft to God. Sophie became known as the daughter of God and was allowed to travel safely in the jungle wherever she wanted.

Rosie Cochran, Discipleship Done Well, Ethnos360 Magazine, March, 2018


the final judgment gives us hope

If we believe that the Resurrection really happened, then Jesus Christ has, as it were, made an opening in the barrier between the ideal and the real. The downtrodden of the world can say, “Now I have got something, I have a hope. I have a hope for the future.” Middle-class people can get excited about philosophy and ethical principles, but not the masses, not the people who are really stuck in the darkness of this world. The Resurrection, not taken as a symbol but believed as a concrete fact, will lift up the downtrodden, and will change the world. Belief in a final judgment gives us enough hope so that we will neither resort to violence to bring in justice nor give in and collaborate with injustice.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 172.


pervasive moral schizophrenia

This schizophrenia does not exist only in academic circles. It is now pervasive, especially in the day-to-day lives of younger adults. Sociologist Christian Smith found that younger American adults held two views of morality in sharp tension, even contradiction. Most are relativistic, not believing in abiding moral absolutes. And yet they have many very strong moral convictions, which they insist others should honor. When asked how they knew if an action was moral or not, most said that the “automatically know . . . what is right and wrong in any situation. When asked how they would explain to someone else why they should do or not do some action, they repeated insisted that “everybody already knows” what is right and wrong. But there is no set of moral values that is self-evident to all people.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 180.


something very wonderful indeed

The Gospel would still be true even if no one believed it. The hopeful thing is  that, where it is tried–where it is imperfectly and hesitantly followed–as it was in Northern Ireland [and South Africa] during the peace process[es], as it is in many a Salvation Army hostel this Christmas, as it flickers in countless unseen Christian lives, it works. And its palpable and remarkable power to transform human life takes us to the position of believing that something very wonderful indeed began with the birth of Christ into the world.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 192.
Quoting A. N. Wilson, It’s the Gospel Truth.


fight for other people’s children

We need to . . . think about what we can do in our everyday lives for the people who aren’t our neighbors. We should be fighting for opportunities for other people’s children as if the future of our own children depended on it. It probably does.

Matthew Stewart, The Atlantic: The 9.9 Percent
Is the New American Aristocracy
, June 2018


redirected songs

Sometimes I listen to old love songs and think they can be sung as hymns…

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Paul Simon, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, 1969.

 

I close my eyes at night wondering where would I be without you in my life.
Everything I did was just a bore, everywhere I went it seems I’d been there before.
But you brighten up for me all of my days with a love so sweet in so many ways,
I want to stop and thank you, baby Jesus, I just want to stop and thank you, baby Jesus.
How sweet it is to be loved by you, feels so fine. How sweet it is to be loved by you

Holland–Dozier–Holland, How Sweet It Is, 1964.

 

Take my hand, take my whole life too
for I can’t help falling in love with you
for I can’t help falling in love with you.

Elvis Presley, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, 1961

 

Fill my life with song
Let me sing forever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words
I love you

Bart Howard, Fly Me to the Moon, 1954

Sometimes you picture me–
I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear
What you’ve said–
Then you say–go slow–
I fall behind–
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look–and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you–I’ll be waiting
Time after time

Rob Hyman / Cyndi Lauper, Time After Time, 1983.

How can I tell you
That I love you
I love you
But I can’t think of right words to say
I long to tell you
That I’m always thinking of you
I’m always thinking of you
But my words just blow away
Just blow away
Cat Stevens, How Can I Tell You, 1971

“good” and “bad” based on purpose

All judgments that something or someone is good or bad do so based on an awareness of purpose. If you know what that purpose is, then your moral evaluation of something can be a factual statement, a truth that exists apart from your personal likes and dislikes. You may not like watches for some reason, but if it is a good one, you will have to acknowledge it to be so. If you know the purpose of a farmer is to get a crop out of a piece of land, but she does not get any yield at all, year after year, then you know she is a bad farmer, however much you may like her personally. If, however, you have no idea of the purpose of an object, then any description of it as “good” or “bad” is wholly subjective, completely based on inner preferences.

How, then, can we tell if a human being is good or bad? Only if we know our purpose, what human life is for. If you don’t know the answer to that, then you can never determine “good” and “bad” human behavior. If, as in the secular view, we have not been made for a purpose, then it is futile to even try to talk about moral good and evil.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, pages 186-187.