Reading, Writing, and Reflecting

By Steve Willis

Roman Pope OKs Darwin

This may be “old news,” to you, but it is the first time I’ve had a chance to remark on it. Our Medicine Hat News (Oct. 24, 1996) had the headline: “Pope OKs Darwin’s theory after 137 years.” The article from Reuters news service continued: “Pope John Paul has lent his support to the theory of evolution, proclaiming it compatible with Christian faith in a step welcomed by scientists but likely to disturb the religious right.

Questions were immediately raised about the translation of the Roman Pope’s statement. Our paper said, “The Pope’s recognition that evolution is `more than a theory’ while others were saying the official translation was `more than a hypothesis.’ Scientifically, there is a difference. A hypothesis is an assertion subject to verification; it is not yet proven. A theory is a system of assumptions, “accepted as right” until falsified. The hypothesis of Darwinism still has its critics among some evolutionists.

This confusion over words was already noted in the revised and updated Catholic Encyclopedia (1987). Under “Evolution” we find, “In the Catholic understanding, the theory of evolution, or transformation from lower forms of life through a sequence to human beings, remains a theory [or “hypothesis”?  spw]. However, should proof be eventually produced, the teaching of Genesis and its inspired narrative would remain, for it tells that the world was created for human beings and that human beings themselves came from God no matter what course was followed by divine wisdom in forming the human frame.” They would affirm “theistic evolution.”

Both the Encyclopedia and the Pope’s recent statement address the problem that if man evolved from lower forms, where did he get his soul? The newspaper reported, “The Pope made clear he regards the human soul to be of immediate divine creation and so not subject to the process.”

It seems the Pope did not wish to find the Roman Catholic church standing against “science” as it found it standing against Copernicus and Galileo many years ago. But, in this case, the science is still lacking. Why, just about the same time I read this article, I received a new book by Michael J. Behe: Darwin’s Black Box. The subtitle to the book is: “The biochemical challenge to evolution.” Behe would align himself among the evolutionists, but still says, “Despite comparing sequences and mathematical modeling, molecular evolution has never addressed the question of how complex structures came to be. In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution has not been published, and so it should perish” (p. 186). How ironic that the Roman Pope should now declare it more than a “hypothesis” (or “theory”).

No Thanks!

Our local paper reported that an 89-year old widow in London was holding a winning lottery ticket worth $2 mil-lion pounds. She has been holding it since May 1996 and plans to let the ticket expire after the 180-day time limit has passed in November. Why? “. . . she refuses to profit from the only wager [her husband] made in his life” (Medicine Hat News, Nov. 16, 1996).

A Cruel and Painful Death

Does a baby (fetus) feel pain when it is aborted? This question was addressed in Britain in October. The Commission of Inquiry into Fetal Sentience published its report with a recommendation: “… that fetuses be given adequate anesthesia prior to any medical treatment in utero. And since most abortions take place between the tenth and twentieth weeks, the commission also suggested that fetuses be given painkillers before being killed.”

Dr. Bernard Nathanson once supported abortions, and had written a textbook on abortion procedures. He has be-come a founder of the U.S. National Abortion Rights Action League, and is now a pm-life supporter and activist. Nathanson said, “In the 1980s, a Harvard fetologist discovered that injured fetuses release Substance Pat their nerve synapes by 12 weeks, and that means pain. They can’t experience it the way we do. We think about the source of our pain, while prenatal infants have only the reflexes to jerk away from it. But when they’re suffering dismemberment, they’re still human beings in pain” (Alberta Report, Nov. 11, 1996, p. 20).

Pictures Worth 13,000 Lives

One picture worth a thousand words? Nope, more than that. Shirley MacLaine salvaged photos from her home threatened by the wildfires in California. Remember when you read that she is a believer in reincarnation: “Childhood pictures and pictures of my life. Do you know how many pictures that is? Not just this life  I have pictures from 13,W0 lives” (Time, Nov. 4, 1996).

An Honest Man’s Duty to the Truth

Commenting on the acceptance of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, Norman Podhoretz argues that an honest man’s first duty is to the truth. He continues: “George Orwell said that we live in a time when the obvious needs constantly to be restated, and so, to restate what was once self-evident to everyone, including most homosexuals them-selves: men using one another as women constitutes a perversion. To my reconstructed mind, this is as true as ever; and so far as I am concerned, it would still be true even if gay sex no longer entailed the danger of infection and even if everything about it were legalized by all 50 states and ratified by all nine justices of the Supreme Court.

“If that should ever happen, and if I am still around when it does, I hope I will still have the strength to hold on to my own sense of the fundamental realities of life against the terrible distortions that have been introduced into the general understanding of those realities by the gay-rights movement and its supporters. For it is this that is mainly at stake here, and it is this that explains why the issue of homosexuality is of such great moment not just to the proportionately small number of practicing (sic) homosexuals, but to all the rest of us as well” (Commentary, November 1996).

Gay Men Leaders in Suicide

A report in Alberta Canada is believed to be the first to conclusively link homosexuality and youth suicide. The University of Calgary, “an internationally renowned center (sic) [of]. . . suicides,” conducted the random survey of 750 men between the ages of 18 and 27 in 1991-1992. They found “homosexual and bisexual males were 13.9 times more at risk of making a serious suicide attempt.” And that they were three times more likely to “try to harm them-selves.” And, “Celibate men who identified themselves at homosexuals were the most likely to try to harm or kill themselves” (Medicine Hat News, Oct. 2, 1996).

Tooth Fairy of the Gaps

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “God of the gaps.” It has been used by those who would mock a creationist point of view by saying that when we cannot explain anything with science, we call upon God to fill in the gaps. I’m willing to admit there is a God who filled in the gaps, and provided everything else (non-gaps). The materialist believes there is no “God (or god) of the gaps”  everything is from material things. So whom do they call upon?

The tooth fairy of the gaps! I was reading about scientists who think they are finding planets around other stars. What they are finding are oscillations in the stars, and positing that large planets must be revolving around the stars causing the oscillations. Citing one difficult problem’s solution, explained by an unlikely “orbital inclination,” one astrophysicist said, “How many times can one use the orbital inclination argument? You’re only allowed to use the tooth fairy once or twice but not every time” (Discover, January 1997, p. 47).

So, they can use the tooth fairy to fill in the gaps, but I can’t use God? Gimme a break!

Frosty Reception in Canada

Though not all is, most think of Canada as the part of the Great White North. But according to a recent publication there is a “Frosty Reception” to “Christian Witness in Canada” (Context, Fall, 1996, p. 6ff). They report: “Is our Canadian social climate cold and inhospitable toward those committed to encouraging non-Christians to become Christians? Anyone who is not in touch with the times when planning Christian witness in Canada is likely to receive a cool reception.

“When someone says ‘my way is the right way’ or ‘my group is inherently better than your group’ they move into a zone that pushes the boundaries of mainstream Canadian culture. ‘People in this country [Canada  spw] have made a national hallmark out of our good intentions to be accepting towards others, to be respectful of differences between cultures, and to be non judgmental of those who take a contrary point of view.’

“It is, therefore, counter-culture among Canadians to agree with the statement: ‘I feel it is very important to en-courage non-Christians to become Christians.’ The comparison between those who strongly disagreed and those who strongly agreed to the statement paints a clear picture.”

… “Clearly, wherever you are in Canada, if you espouse traditional views around Christian witness you are going against the cultural mainstream. . . . These social dynamics could set some of God’s committed people up for both psychological and cultural intimidation.”

Text and graphs follow demonstrating this point. May I ask you to remember in your prayers the brethren who are assembling, preaching and teaching in Canada?

A Moment of Silence for .. .

Human Life International reported that as Istanbul made preparations to host the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in June, “untold numbers of stray cats and dogs were rounded up and killed to clean up the city. When the radical feminists and environmentalists heard of the slaughter they held a minute of silence in memory of the slain animals. According to the Family Planning Association of Turkey, one in three unborn children in Turkey is aborted. HLI dryly noted the UN delegates paid not such homage to these dead…” (Alberta Report, July 15, 1996).

How About Four REAL Moments of Silence

“Finally, it was a son. I felt as if I had plucked a star from the sky.”Ko Myung Ok, a South Korean woman who aborted four previous female babies (quote from “Verbatim” in Time, July 15, 1996, International Edition).

“Religious” Relic Found

“Atheists like to joke that if the various supposed pieces of the True Cross were collected the wood would be sufficient to build a house. But as Richard John Newhaus reports in the June/July First Things, evolutionists are not immune to awe in the presence of mementoes of the founder of their religion. ‘A stuffed finch was discovered in a dusty crate in the basement of the Museum of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. No ordinary stuffed finch, this. It was tagged by nobody less than Charles Darwin. Time magazine reports the excited yet reverent words in response to the great find. Clearly, for them it is a religious relic to be venerated. I’m sorry, it is not nice to mock the superstitions of simple believers” (Alberta Report, June 17, 1996).

To Be or Not to be … Punished

“Does an adult have the right to whip a child for a serious offense?” is the question being debated in Britain and Europe. A British court acquitted a step-father of charges of assault, after the boy was repeatedly caned for trying to stab his brother with a kitchen knife. That did not end the debate. The 12-year old boy won “preliminary clearance to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.” His claim is that the British government “failed to protect him from inhuman and degrading treatment.” This is being claimed as a victory for children’s rights by some. “The government, however, vowed that no matter what the outcome of the case, the right of British parents to determine how to discipline their children will not be compromised” (Time, September 23, 1996).

Guardian of Truth XLI: 3 p. 22-24
February 6, 1997