Laminin, Noah’s Ark, and Why I Don’t Like “Meme Christianity”

Nothing but the greatest affection towards my fellow believers is intended in this post.

There’s a popular idea in circulation, commonly known from speaker Louie Giglio, that likes to speak of the Cross-resembling shape of the protein laminin, in conjunction with Colossians 1:17 (“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”), as “proof” that God designed the human body.

You should probably know that the world just kinda chuckles when we pass this meme around, and not for no reason. For one thing, that cross looks drunk. But really, while a protein taking one of the most basic shapes possible in nature (and shakily so at that) may strike the already predispositioned as a “wink” from God, it doesn’t really impress unbelievers as proof of God’s authorship. Nor does it need to, for the Gospel to be true.

It’s common to claim, in defense of our Christian heritage, that George Washington spoke thusly:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

He never said that. That quote has never been adequately sourced to our first president (though correct me if I’m wrong). The enemies of our country’s Christian heritage wouldn’t care if it was, honestly. Almost none of our Founding Fathers, in fact, were Bible-believing Christians according to their recorded words. Nor did they need to be, for the Gospel to be true.

A creationist scientist once spoke at our church and included, in his refreshingly realist philosophy, a faintly annoyed comment about our habit of portraying the Ark to our children in this way:

His words were, “may I politely suggest that you’re reinforcing ignorant stereotypes?”

Good call. The data from Genesis – words every bit as divinely inspired as the Sermon on the Mount – tell us the Ark existed on the scale of aircraft hangars. Say what you want about the creative liberties taken by the 2014 Russell Crowe movie Noah, but one thing it got right was the general scale of the Ark. It didn’t look remotely like that picture. Nor did it need to, for the Gospel to be true.

And on and on I could go.

If you’ll allow me a “get off my lawn” rant before my time, meme culture hasn’t been kind to Christians. We pass around so many half-baked memes as “smoking guns” and seem unaware that they’re historically, scientifically, and Biblically flawed. It’s an embarrassing look.

Few of us delve into the real intellectually defensible arguments for Christianity. I get that we’re busy. I get it’s intimidating. But we could at least grab a few quick, sound facts. What cause could be more worthy of our time? Souls hang in the balance. Hostile skeptics are plenty willing to do their reading.

I long for a realist Christianity – a faith that strikes the streetfolk as reasonable (if they’re willing to assume the supernatural). That’s why I loved Passion of the Christ, harrowing though it was. The Bible was rough. Flawed, quiet apostles. Tent pegs through temples. A Savior that didn’t look suspiciously like a Seventeen interviewee fresh out of his makeup trailer, but died an ugly death for an ugly people.

Perhaps, if it our faith was drawn less like a fairy tale, it wouldn’t be taken like one.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must get back to badly photoshopping eagles and flags onto pictures of Jesus as a white man.

No, Atheist, Faith Isn’t the Easy Way. It’s the Hard Way.

cliffEver seen a teacher accused of having it “easy”?

Having had my own classroom, I’m galled when people consider teachers overpaid for working 8am-9pm writing lesson plans, attending (or coaching) sports events, tutoring, meeting parents, re-decorating, supervising detention, and, yes, grading mountains of graffiti-ed tree product. However you feel about certain teachers, I assure you the good ones don’t bolt at the bell.

I feel somewhat similarly when some atheist announces that the Christian faith is easy. That we somehow settle for it, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, because it’s easier than changing our minds.

Behold this gleaming nugget:

“Believers are…easily trapped and continuously fooled by their own choice. Because it pacifies. It’s easy, and it’s comfortable.”

My jaw dropped. Then chortled at the absurdity.

Followed by a long sigh.

Easy? Comfortable?

The Christian faith is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve long been on my knees for a sister fighting cancer (three children in tow). My church is scrambling for foster homes for countless little ones without anyone to look after them. We’re not spared the statistics that report almost half the world living on $2.50/day.

We see it. Experience it. Far worse in some countries.

And in each case, the onus for progress lies on us.

The church steeple is no shelter from the age-old questions of “if God, why evil”. In fact, it serves as a lightning rod, bringing them straight to our hearts. We don’t get to avoid suffering or pass it off as senselessness or randomness – we’re taught to embrace it as growth and God-familiarization, to seek God’s purpose in it. Weekly we’re pushed to persevere, with no real guarantee of healing or breakthrough in this life. Nothing reminds me of my disappointments like stepping into church.

I don’t seek pity for all this. I have God.

But I do seek to educate, because I wonder if certain skeptics have ever spoken to a Christian in their lives. Comfortable?

The narrow path is one of self-denial, self-examination, and wrestling with the thoughts. Power and riches are pooh-poohed by Christ. Instead, we’re taught to love the unlovely, pray for enemies, and leave no motive unappraised. All the while, the world spins itself apart around us, seemingly deaf to the cries of the broken, oppressed, and collaterally damaged.

Can non-Christians live stoic, introspective lives? Yes, some do.

But I know few atheists (or Christians) who aspire to lofty standards like “everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27). How do you explain why one would cling so tightly so a faith that denies him sex? Something tells me the sex drive is slightly stronger than The Comfort of the Status Quo.

Same with survival instinct. If the martyrs hint at anything, it’s that something more is behind Christianity. People don’t die for uncertainties.

That’s just two arenas, but none offer any less stratospheric a call.

There’s nothing easy about Christianity. The desire to cling to your upbringing is feeble next to the gale of livingit. Its tenets defy every human impulse, cut off every self-indulgence, and preclude the possibility of being the product of flawed human inertia. If I were making my own religion, it would look like anything but Christianity.

And that, skeptic friend, is a great part of how I know Christ is real.

 

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!

 

4 Ways to Travel-Proof Your Child’s Faith

travelproofAs a youth worker with ten years of experience, I’ve known the pain of watching my students lose their faith.

Sometimes it’s on them; they just decide it’s more interesting to live the way they want. But sometimes the loss looks more akin to theft, being snatched away by the brutal realities of life after high school. They “get out into the world” and quickly find themselves mired in a slog of doubt, and the strength needed to wade through is rare.

As I’ve prayed over and grieved these friends, I’ve seen their struggles fall into categories. This is encouraging, as naming the battleground is half the battle. These are categories that many youth groups address with all their might, but there simply is no substitute for a parent’s influence.

I humbly offer some brief thoughts on these categories.

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68 Factors Arguing for Earth’s Design

Say what you want about the fine-tuning argument and the old earth viewpoint from which this is written, but this still gives me chills.

Of the 68 factors discussed here that are perfectly calibrated to bring life to earth, I was previously aware of only 17 of them. From the galactic to the elemental, all points to the God behind the cosmic curtain.

Thankd to Bruce Cooper for pointing this one out.

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designss.html

Easter Eggs in the Christmas Story

When it comes to storytelling, the writers of Lost have nothing on our Lord. He weaves hints, parallels, symbolism, foreshadowings, and callbacks throughout his narrative with the skill of a master. So exciting.

I have no words. Just watch.

Moon Landings, Conspiracies, and the Reliability of the Bible

A common strategy to watch for from Biblical skeptics.Did you know that some people don’t believe we landed on the moon?

Seriously. They think that NASA tried, couldn’t, and faked it on a TV soundstage to save face before Russia.

They’ll tell you there is “evidence” to prove it. They’ll pepper you with dozens of “facts” that will supposedly doom your beliefs about the Apollo program.

Some of these facts are actually intriguing and can catch the layman off guard. “Why aren’t there any stars in the lunar photographs?” “Why didn’t the lunar modules leave any craters?” “How could the astronauts’ air-conditioning work in the vacuum of space?” “Why is so much Apollo 11 telemetry missing?” “Why do the astronauts’ memories seem to contradict each other?”

Their strategy: to present an elephantine list of supposed problems with the Apollo accounts, and then hope you’re overwhelmed by the sheer length of the list.

And when you launch into a blow-by-blow rebuttal of each and every point, they spring their trap.

“OH, COME ON!!!” they say. “You look ridiculous. If there are this many holes, it can’t possibly be true!”

And yet…they’re still wrong.

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Totality: God’s Scientific Signature On Life

eclipse1I jaunted down to Idaho on Monday in a bid to catch the solar eclipse in totality.

Had to take a day off work to do it. 900 miles of driving in 28 hours. The same weekend as a 35-mile hike. I was too exhausted to stay awake on the drive back to town after the event (my aunt drove back), and I got a bit sick at work the following day.

Worth it.

Words suck to describe a total solar eclipse. The awe, the indescribable wrongness of a giant hole-like thing staring down like a glaring eye – it’s bizarre. Chilling. Powerful. The shadow rushed towards and over us from the western horizon. Everything got cold. The corona hung frozen around the moon’s edges like white fishnets (or Bernie Sanders’ hair). It looked – well, three-dimensional. Like real objects blow you away after you’ve only viewed the 2-D pictures.

But the most awe-inspiring part was the scientific articles I read beforehand.

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