A Medley of Matters
Creation Vs. Evolution
An important court battle is heading toward a climax in Indiana over whether or not public schools have the right to use a textbook in biology which presents the creation account. At the present the opponents of the creation account have won the first round. Two parents, aided by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union lawyers, asked Marion County (Indianapolis) superior court judge Michael T. Dugan to remove the textbook, Biology: A Search For Order in Complexity (published by Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), from its list of state-approved texts. Dugan agreed with the two parents that the textbook should be removed from the list of approved books.
At the present, the schools in the West Clark school district in Indiana are still using the texts. Those who defend the use of the books state that the book presents both theories and not just the biblical account. Opponents charge that the book is "anti-science" and dwells on religion of the fundamentalist type. Too, the judge agreed with the argument that the textbook leaves the student no way to support the doctrine of creation. Of course, the judge had nothing to say about the myriads of books we have had to use which supported evolution and left the creationist no arguments to support his beliefs.
At one time creationists occupied such a strong position that they forbade anyone to even mention the theories of evolution in the classroom. However, the courts stepped in to be sure that both sides of the controversy on how we came to be were presented. At the present, evolution has a death-grip on its opponents. They will not allow another side to be presented in the classroom and the courts are taking their side to enforce the position. That is quite a reversal to what happened a hundred years ago.
I am convinced that Arthur Custance's evaluation of the present attitudes toward evolution are accurate; he said,
"But when a theory which is tentative is presented as fact, it no longer serves to inspire questions but rather to predetermine answers. To my mind, this is the present position of evolutionary theory. It has become Pact' and to challenge it is to run the risk of excommunication. In Medieval times, too, excommunication was one of the penalties for challenging the accepted view of things. At that time the teat of whether any new theory was true or false was, a John Randall points out, whether it fitted harmoniously into the orthodox systems of belief and not whether it could be verified by experiment. Thin is exactly the position today; ecclesiastical dogma been replaced by biological dogma which, as 'dogma,' has been detrimental to the troth" (The Doorway Papers (In: Genesis and Early Man, p. 75).
It will be interesting to watch to see if the courts of this land reverse the decision they made one hundred years ago which gave the classrooms the right to present both sides of how men came to be.
Women as Roman Catholic Priests?
The National Federation of Priests' Councils, which represents 113 local councils of Roman Catholic Priests, voted in its recent national convention to ask the Vatican to permit women to become priests and deacons and to eliminate all sexist language in official prayers of the Catholic Church. What the Catholic Church decides to do with this request will be interesting.
Should they ignore it? Most likely they will since the small group in America represents such a minority of the total number of Catholics in the world. However, if they are consistent, they should censure these priests for not accepting the authority of the Catholic Church. The official voice of the Catholic Church has already stated its position that women cannot be priests; yet, these priests refuse to accept that. Therefore, it seems that the church should censure these priests for rebellion. Yet in today's climate, that would not be too popular so I doubt that this will be done.
Should the Catholic Church change its position and allow women to serve as priests? If they do, this is going to have serious repercussions for their claim to papal infallibility. For years, the papacy has forbidden women to be priests stating that it was not according to the will of God. If they now accept women as priests, this will be a change in positions, a total reversal of their previous stance. How would the Catholic be able to maintain its position of papal infallibility? If it is wrong to allow women to be priests, the tolerance of them as priests would be sinful; if it is right for women to serve as priests, the centuries during which this was withheld from them was sinful. The Catholics are between the proverbial rock and hard place. Which way can they go?
Drinking: American's Number One Drug Problem
Recently I made a comment in a sermon which prompted a response from one of our members regarding the subject of drunkenness. I requested that he give me some literature regarding the prevalence of problem drinking in the Armed Forces since he was a major in the Air Force. Within a week, he gave me a copy of Alcohol Abuse Is More Prevalent in the Military Than Drug Abuse, a Report to the Congress of the United States. Although one must take into consideration that the problems of drinking would probably be statistically higher in the military than in civilian ranks because of a number of reasons (the military is filled with single, young men; the places in which many are stationed are isolated, leaving the men nothing else to do; etc.), the truth of the matter is that drinking is a problem for all Americans and not just for the military. However, since I have rather current statistics on how badly the military is affected by drinking problems, I want to relate them to you.
"A study by a private research organization on drinking practices and problems in the Army, based on questionnaires sent to 9,910 personnel and completed in December, 1972, showed that:
-- 20 and 32 percent of officers and enlisted men, respectively, are heavy or binge drinkers, and an additional 17 and 35 percent, respectively, have drinking problems.
-- Army duty time lost in 1973 because of drinking was estimated to be about 2,200 staff-years and the cost was estimated to be about $17 million in pay and allowances alone . . . .
-- Over half of the non-senior officers and over half of all junior enlisted men believed it was all right to get drunk once in a while as long as it did not become a habit, and 28 percent of the junior enlisted men believed it was all right to get drunk whenever one felt like It . . . .
A semiannual opinion survey completed In Europe by the Army in February 1974 showed 27 percent of the 1,759 Army personnel sampled had a potential alcohol problem . . . .
In March 1975 the Navy Issued a report on drinking problems which was based on, questionnaires sent to 9,508 Navy personnel. This study showed that:
-- 37 percent of the enlisted men, 26 percent of the male warrant officers, and 18 percent of the male commissioned officers had drinking problems described as 'critical,' 'very serious,' or 'serious.'
-- 19 percent of the enlisted women and 9 percent of the women officers had drinking problems described as 'critical,' 'very serious,' or 'serious.'
-- 15.6 percent of the enlisted women and 24.3 percent of the enlisted men reported at least some lost work time or inefficiency at work during the 6 months preceding the study because of drinking or Its after-effects. The percentage for officers were 17.5 for females and 17.7 for males. . . .
A study performed by the Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, San Diego, California, estimated that the Navy loses about $52 million annually from absenteeism, decreased efficiency, and poor decisfonmakin& due to fig . . . . It did not include the costs of hospitalization, outpatient treatment, medications, or legal services for these individuals."
There were other interesting figures in this report but these should be sufficient to see what a problem drinking has become in the United States. I do wish that I had comparative figures to see how bad a problem drinking has become for civilians. I hazard a guess that it is not much less a problem for civilians than it is for the military.
In the midst of a society which is so troubled by drinking problems, the Christian should stand forth as a shining light. His conduct should be above reproach inasmuch as he abstains from strong drink. Peter wrote, "For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you" (4:1-3). It concerns me to hear that some among the Lord's disciples will defend social drinking when all the world around us needs to see the shining light of a good example.
Truth Magazine XXI: 31, pp. 483-484