Local church, state clashes stir emotions

Augusta State lawsuit, letters on prayers reignite old debate

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Church and state clashes are common. Solutions that satisfy are not.

Jennifer Keeton  Special
Special
Jennifer Keeton

Several recent local conflicts have tested the relationship between church and state and challenged those involved to defend or disparage the role of religion in public life.

An organization of atheists and agnostics asked the Aiken City Council to end the prayers that traditionally open its meetings. A week later, a letter to Augusta's government followed.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Christian student at Augusta State University who contends she would be required to change her beliefs in order to graduate.

People of faith can find comfort in the fact that "the system is meant to work this way," said Michael Broyde, a professor of law at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University in Atlanta.

"It's a tension that comes from two competing values. We have an anti- establishment clause which mandates the federal government never pick one religion over another. We also have another, which says anyone is free to worship as they choose," he said. "Very few countries have both provisions."

In the eyes of the church, it's more than a clash of values. It's a collision of world views.

The Rev. David McKinley highlighted the ASU conflict from the pulpit of Warren Baptist Church last Sunday. He played a clip of 24-year-old Jennifer Keeton describing her convictions in a video for the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed the suit.

McKinley thanked God for a young lady who is unwilling to violate the authority of God in her life.

"She has been confronted with what I would call a form of academic bias and coercion. And that coercion has ultimately led to this basic premise: The practice of the Christian faith disqualifies a person from a credible practice of counseling. That is the foundation of this debate," he said. "There is a Greek word for that, spelled B-A-L-O-N-E-Y."

Her lawsuit, he said, is part of a larger cultural debate between the authority of God and the voice of culture.

"While our culture has clearly become more secular, you cannot take an eraser to history," McKinley said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit, sent letters to Aiken and Augusta this month, asking that the cities no longer pray before meetings. They are two of more than 200 letters the group will send to municipalities across the country this year. Some letters are ignored; others are resolved; and still others become lawsuits.

Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor helped found the organization more than 30 years ago because she and her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, felt the First Amendment was being degraded.

"Our respect for our secular way of life is at stake," she said. "You have people talking about the nation's founding in faith. It's not true. They're going to win if no one stops them. We have a hostile Supreme Court. It's more important than ever to speak out."

The group celebrated a landmark success in April, when a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the foundation, which had filed suit claiming the National Day of Prayer, held in May every year since 1952, was unconstitutional.

A media firestorm resulted, drawing attention to the group's other causes.

"I have to tell you, the best way to end a violation is to go public, go to the media," Gaylor said. "We realized that if we let the public weigh in, sometimes it might not be in our favor, but these things work out."

IT'S TROUBLING TO THINK important matters are left to sways of popular opinion, said South Carolina Rep. J. Roland Smith, R-Warrenville, who is an ordained pastor in the Pentecostal Holiness church.

"There's such a thing as truth. Too few people believe that these days," Smith said. "There are warring factions in the U.S. There's an attempt to drive God out of the public sphere, which is ludicrous considering this nation was founded for the freedom to worship."

He said freedom of religion isn't the same as freedom from religion.

"We open the day up with a prayer and the pledge. We open up our assembly with a prayer and the pledge. We have our caucus meetings on Tuesday mornings, and those start with devotions," he said. "People don't have to participate, but you have to realize, these things are ingrained into public life. I resent being told I can't pray."

When conflict arises, courts should be a last resort, Smith said.

"The problem is the folks on the other side aren't willing to compromise their beliefs against religion but can't understand that we aren't willing to compromise our beliefs in that religion," he said.

The ASU case in particular rings of hypocrisy, said Dr. John Hill, the director of the Center for Care and Counseling for the CSRA, a nonprofit supported by churches to provide discounted mental health care and counseling.

In her suit, Keeton alleges that she is required to complete a remediation plan to alter her views against homosexuality if she wants to remain in the college's school counseling program.

"They want her to respect other views but won't respect her own," Hill said.

Keeton has said professors felt her Bible-based views in opposition to homosexuality are incompatible with the prevailing views in the counseling profession.

Yet, Hill said, it's common for counselors to work with clients they disagree with.

"There are lots of counselors who treat people with views very different than their own," he said.

Hill said the situation amounts to a clear case of discrimination against Christians.

"There is such a clash of world views, and people who have a traditional Christian view are being persecuted," he said. "There are nurses who are fired for not participating in abortions."

Christian pharmacists have also been fired for refusing to dispense birth control.

Broyde, the Emory professor, said such outcomes are to be expected: "I have the right to believe what I want to believe. I don't have the right to have a job with the same protections as my belief."

He says, for instance, that he could choose to be racist, but becoming a police officer and acting in accordance with racist beliefs would not be protected under the First Amendment.

"Just because an idea is protected doesn't mean my job is protected," Broyde said.

IT'S TROUBLING to call such conflicts "persecution," said John Macaulay, who teaches church history at Erskine College, a Christian school in Due West, S.C.

"There's a feeling that the church and Christians are under attack. Is it the persecution of the church in China or Pakistan? No, but in the U.S. it doesn't have to be because there are so many other examples degrading the church's authority," he said. "Historically, the church is at a point that it's never been before."

Since the Roman Empire, the church has gained power and influence and only recently experienced significant decline in authority, Macaulay said.

"I am concerned about the trend. It's not militant persecution, but it's in a form that seeks to take away power that Christians once had," he said.

Warren pastor McKinley hopes and expects a more vocal church body emerges from these conflicts. On Sunday, he reminded the congregation that their tax dollars support the school and they are not without a voice.

"There has always been a conflict with those who come under and receive God's authority in their lives and those who rebuff that," he said. "We're living in a day where the conflict of world views is the most vivid it's ever been. ... What is sufficient and authoritative for life? That is the debate. We won't accept anything less than the word of God."

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InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/02/10 - 07:47 pm
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baron, you comment to Pastor

baron, you comment to Pastor Dan White concerning his sugar level and weight was just plain rude. How do you know Pastor White is overweight? Just because there is a male picture for his avatar doesn't mean this is a picture of the poster.....wouldn't be fair to degrade you and assume your avatar is a picture of yourself now would it?

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 08:42 pm
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Wow baron - didn't know you

Wow baron - didn't know you were so hard-hearted. I guess you don't believe in Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, the PELL Grant for needy students. Whewww, a self-sufficent, self-made man who believes in only himself and taking care of only himself. One thing for sure, you are no hypocrite. Your hard-hardedness is across the board.

Don't forget to pack the U-Haul to follow the hearst when it takes your body to the grave.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 08:48 pm
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LOL - ICL - I am overweight.

LOL - ICL - I am overweight. I need to lose 30lbs and been working on it. But every time I lose a pound, I seem to gain 2! And, I am an insulin dependent diabetic - have been since I was 20 and I am 59. So maybe my sugar level was out of whack! LOL But, I do keep the sugar level under control. I always get good test results from the lab every three months. Of course, baron never has chemical imbalances. I think he is about perfect or close to it. Plenty of money. In perfect shape. Not a hypocrite. Not filled with pride and arrogance, but humble and grateful.

The picture is me and not an avatar. Was taken when my wife and I and another couple - good friends of ours - went on a cruise to Cozamel and saw the Mayan pyramids.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/02/10 - 08:50 pm
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Well even so Pastor Dan

Well even so Pastor Dan White, there is no call for someone to post personal ugly comments about one's appearance. Glad to hear your at least trying to get the weight off...hang in there.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 08:51 pm
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And baron - I guess humanism,

And baron - I guess humanism, logic, and reason is the answer to the world's problems, poverty, wars, and injustices. The only problem is that your superior reason is not in a leadership position, but you are just one of us - a blogger on the Chronicle.

If our leaders had your superior powers, the world would be a sane, safe, and nice place to live. Everyone would be able to make their own way, have plenty of money in the bank, and churches would be taxed out of existence so the taxes you want them to pay could be used for your Utopia.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 08:52 pm
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ICL - thanks. I enjoy going

ICL - thanks. I enjoy going toe to toe with baron and can take it. I think he can take it too. I was on the debate team in high school and college and love a good argument - especially when I win LOL.

momster59
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momster59 08/02/10 - 09:10 pm
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Pastor Dan - I am a

Pastor Dan - I am a vegetarian who hikes, bikes, canoes, lifts weights, dances, stands on my feet all day moving around at work and I still have problems managing my weight. I think you look fine. My mother died from diabetes, so make sure you manage yours well. Personal attacks are not called for.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 09:24 pm
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DaveMustaineRules Your 10:48

DaveMustaineRules Your 10:48 post was spot on. "Her (Jennifer's)beliefs, if brought into a counseling setting, clearly would prevent her from discovering the child had been abused. This is not an unlikely situation as sexual abuse at an early age can result in confusion regarding gender identity and sexual orientation."

We don't know how she would react nor what she would say in a counseling situation with a homosexual. We can only assume and speculate.

I have a lesbian who occasionally attends my church. Through my counsel with her and from her journal that she allowed me to read, she revealed the rape by her father and brother which happened over and over. Her mother did nothing to defend her. She never received any praise from her parents - only humiliation and criticism. As a result, she has a hard time relating to men. She went on to graduate from college under very adverse circumstances and dabbled in eastern religions. She said she came to Christ because of his love and acceptance of her even with all of her faults. Her parents and siblings belittled her Christian faith to no end.

My personal belief is that God instituted marriage for one man and one woman together for life. Yet, I have been divorced and remarried, and many condemn me and say "How can you be a divorced and remarried preacher?" But thank God, He still loves me, accepts me with my faults, and restores me regardless of people's condemnation of me.

I have never condemned my lesbian friend but offer her unconditional love and understanding.

I remember one time in my early days as pastor that I preached hard against abortion. Little did I know that a visitor was sitting out there in the pew who had had an abortion. I went to follow up on her visit and went to her home. She told me she could never join my church because she had had an abortion. I had to do some fast back-tracking and offered her unconditional love and acceptance and assured her that our church would accept her. (I was the only one who knew of her abortion and kept it confidential). From that day til this, I never preach against abortion or homosexuality because I have found that people like that don't need condemnation but Christ's love and respond to His love like the sinners Jesus met along the dusty roads of Palistine.

I have searched the four Gospels and can never find where Jesus condemned a sinner. The only people he condemned were the puffed-up religious bureacrats - the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Baron would be proud of Christ's condemnatioin of the religious bureaucrats and organized religion!) Baron - please note - Jesus said to give to Caesar what was Caesar's and to God what is God's and he told Peter to go catch a fish that had the Temple tax in the fish's mouth so they could pay their taxes! No tax breaks for religion back in the New Testament day! We are fortunate to live in a nation that recognizes the value of churches and their ministries even though some - well many - waste the offerings.

Christ offered unconditonal love and acceptance to all sinners. That is why they flocked to him.

Take Zacchaeus for example. Jesus didn't condemn him as a greedy crooked tax collector, but offered to come to his house and eat with him. The results of such great love were that Zacchaeus repaid all of those he had stolen from and gave half his money to the poor.

If someone can find where Jesus condemned a sinner face-to-face, I'd like to know. Maybe I missed something.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 09:28 pm
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momster59 - thanks for the

momster59 - thanks for the encouraging words. The Bible says a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver. You have given me gold and silver with your kind words.

My paternal grandmother died from diabetes too. With the amazing advances in diabetic technology, a diabetic can now manage the disease instead of the disease managing him/her.

Read my article I wrote for the Chronicle about my diabetic doctor, Dr. Tom Huff and my blog about him.

Blog: http://chronicle.augusta.com/content/blog-post/dan-white/2010-06-11/dr-t...

Article: http://chronicle.augusta.com/life/your-faith/2010-06-11/physicians-work-...

momster59
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momster59 08/02/10 - 09:51 pm
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Pastor Dan - your story about

Pastor Dan - your story about condemning is true. I was raised in the knowledge of both my parents' religions. I raised my children in the same way, and took them to a church in this community as well as to spiritual gatherings of my father's faith.

I attended this church on a regular basis up until the day the preacher taught that divorce is never acceptable to God no matter what, even in cases of abuse.

My husband discovered drug use at his last duty station. He beat the living daylights out of me almost killing me and almost killed my child. Even after leaving him, he threatened me and my children and left dead cats in my driveway. Had I stayed, my children would have been forever emotionally scarred and I may have ended up dead. I have never stepped foot in that place of worship again, and now attend only the one form of worship.

By the way, this same husband got himself ordained a minister for tax purposes. The only members of his "church" is his new wife's family. He has never apologized, and owes me thousands of dollars in back child support and share of medical bills for my children. He stole all the money out of their college funds accounts and my bank account before he left. This type of person, and Westboro Church, and churches where the preacher wears $400 suits while begging for money from elderly and poor parishioners is why people get upset about the tax exemption of the church.

Marlene
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Marlene 08/02/10 - 10:03 pm
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Fiat -- I happen to be quite

Fiat -- I happen to be quite tolerant of others' beliefs... to quote Virginia's most famous radical, Thomas Jefferson:

"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

What I vehemently and vociferously oppose is the imposition of the beliefs of a radical sect of fanatics' interpretation of a a set of writings written in the Bronze Age, heavily edited and horribly mistranslated.

Our laws at every level are to be based on reason and logic, not the ravings of religious fanatics who in the past condoned and fought for the slavery of an entire continent's people, the subjugation of an entire gender, and the denial of basic civil rights to anyone who was not white, male, Protestant, and property owners.

You believe I'm not worthy of civil rights under our *secular* Constitution? Fine... you have that right. What you do NOT have, my fine feathered bigot, is the right to impose your bigotry on the laws of the land.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 10:26 pm
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Marlene - "Religious fanatics

Marlene - "Religious fanatics who in the past condoned and fought for the slavery of an entire continent's people." Indeed, a horrible abuse of religion. However, "true" Christians like Harriet Tubman and many others fought for freedom.

I believe all are worthy of civil rights and the 10 amendment rights of our Consititution including Jennifer Keeton who I believe is having her First Amendment right for freedom of religion and religious convictions taken from her.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 08/02/10 - 10:33 pm
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Yes, momster59 "This type of

Yes, momster59 "This type of person, and Westboro Church, and churches where the preacher wears $400 suits while begging for money from elderly and poor parishioners is why people get upset about the tax exemption of the church."

Religion looks good to frauds and thus it is understandable why baron and so many others want churches taxed.

I can understand your bitterness toward organized religion now.

Thank God you made it through your trials and tribulations and an abusive husband. I know the emotional scars and pain are intense.

Thanks for sharing.

Blessing and peace everyone.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/02/10 - 10:34 pm
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Pastor Dan WhiteMonday, Aug.

Pastor Dan WhiteMonday, Aug. 2 8:42 PM I guess you don't believe in Social Security, unemployment benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, the PELL Grant for needy students.
------------------------
I don't believe it is the right of the government in a free country to rob from some citizens in order to give their money to others or to setup unsustainable ponzi schemes like SS and Medicare. It is no different than the government deciding that some people and property owners deserves special tax breaks due to their religion. I sure don't believe in that and never will. I believe in personal responsibility. EVERYBODY in America is provided the same opportunities. If someone chooses not to take advantage of those opportunities and refuses to embrace education and decides they don't need any job skills then so be it, but that does not entitle them to receive, by the force of the government, what other people have worked for.

If people can't or won't take care of themselves and their family and friends and charities and bleeding hearts refuse to take care of them then they have only the right to curl up and die and rid this country and this world of a useless and unsustainable population of parasites. Social Darwinism will always win out in the end and the longer it takes for people to embrace it then the more painful it will eventually be.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 08/02/10 - 11:04 pm
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Marlene, if you were so

Marlene, if you were so tolerant of us who believe differently than you, then how is it that your 3:04pm raging rant about us got pulled?

And you find me imposing my beliefs on you and are certain that I "believe [you're] not worthy of civil rights under our *secular* Constitution" because I suggested that you scale back the level of bile and do a reality check on your own tolerance?

Do you have voices in your head that tell you this stuff?

Calling me a bigot is just lame. I can virtually guarantee you haven't read more than a small fraction of what I have written on this controversy, or you would know how lame that is. You haven't got anything rational as an answer to me so you attempt to attack my character. How enlightened of you. And it shows how very tolerant you are of my beliefs.

You dishonor Thomas Jefferson by your cynical use of his words to pretend you support his view when, in fact, you do not.

I still urge you to bring yourself under control and discuss these issue with civility.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/03/10 - 09:43 am
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baron posted: If people can't

baron posted: If people can't or won't take care of themselves and their family and friends and charities and bleeding hearts refuse to take care of them then they have only the right to curl up and die and rid this country and this world of a useless and unsustainable population of parasites. Social Darwinism will always win out in the end and the longer it takes for people to embrace it then the more painful it will eventually be."

All I can say barron is that you are one cold hearted person.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/03/10 - 09:59 am
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mr. baron, is a hurting man.

mr. baron, is a hurting man.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/03/10 - 10:51 am
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Nothing about me is hurting.

Nothing about me is hurting. I'm a realist and that must be a difficult concept for those of you living in a fantasyland.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/03/10 - 11:23 am
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justiceforeva, you are not

justiceforeva, you are not asking too much to be understood. But you are asking too much for Christians to be silent in the affairs of the government. We live in the same country as non believers and the laws are for ALL of us. Remember justice and liberty for all.

I have read many of your comments and there are times I agree with you and I am not picking a fight with you now.

Did you see my post about the book? I really think you might like it. Not trying to convert you, not my job, and I respect your right to choose; I really do. I think you will enjoy the politics in the book.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/03/10 - 11:24 am
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baron, you can be a realist

baron, you can be a realist and still have compassion for your fellow man. It just makes me wonder if you had a relative or maybe even a child and due to unforseen circumstances they fell on hard times, would you deny them help or would you tell them....you made bad choices, deal with it.

JusticeForEva
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JusticeForEva 08/03/10 - 11:36 am
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Willow my point is Christians

Willow my point is Christians are about 80% of the country. I don't see where anyone is telling you or anyone else you can't be a Christian or have Christian beliefs. What people are trying to say is that Christians aren't the only ones who live in this country. Not everyone believes The Bible. The attitude I get from a lot of Christians is that it's their way...their belief...or the highway. My atheists/agnostics/other religions/etc that I know are not that way. They are just angry and are finally standing up for themselves and saying "Hey we live here! This nation isn't just for the Christians! We have rights too". Like Ms. Keeton's case for example; I've seen nowhere where no one said she couldn't believe whatever she wanted. The fact is she seems to want a whole school to change and conform to suit her beliefs. That's not how it works. Sorry. Keep your beliefs in your church/private home. Until churches start letting themselves be taxed they really should have no say so in governmental affairs anyhow....

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/03/10 - 11:56 am
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justice, thanks for the

justice, thanks for the respectful sharing. I have to take off for now, but I am going to reread later and process it more. I am interested in your views. I am a little blown away though, by the 80% of the country is Christian...I actually think we are in the great minority. Best regards, wb

corgimom
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corgimom 08/03/10 - 12:38 pm
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"Do you have voices in your

"Do you have voices in your head that tell you this stuff?"

"I still urge you to bring yourself under control and discuss these issue with civility."

These are Christian or civil remarks? Wow.

corgimom
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corgimom 08/03/10 - 12:45 pm
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Pastor Dan White, take a long

Pastor Dan White, take a long look around at a lot of the churches in Augusta. They are huge. Their campuses are huge. They build multi-million dollar buildings.

And they do it all tax-free.

Do you think that they can't afford to pay taxes?

To say that churches need to pay taxes is not necessarily mean. When churches were granted exemptions against taxes, nobody envisioned the enormous churches that have come into existence.

Isn't it just as mean to insist that poor people pay taxes? What's the difference?

Marlene
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Marlene 08/03/10 - 01:04 pm
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Pastor Dan -- In no way,

Pastor Dan -- In no way, shape or form are Ms. Keeton's First Amendment rights being taken away! She'll *always* have the perfect right to spew her bigoted bile anywhere she wants.

What she does NOT have is the right *as a student in a state-supported school, under a program which is under the rules and regulations of a professional counseling organization* to have views which are in direct opposition to the views of the organization! Had she been at a private religious school who may or may not have an affiliation with a Christian counselling professional organization, there would've been no story.

Once again, we have another example of a dogmatic, fundamentalist Christian demanding special rights to accommodate her religious views. The ADF has a long history of attempting to use the judicial system to try and force their narrow-minded and dogmatic religious interpretation of Bronze Age writings into secular law, which is prohibited under the Establishment Clause.

Pastor Dan, maybe you should do a little reading on the reasons why the Free Exercise Clause is never allowed to usurp the Establishment Clause.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 08/03/10 - 02:40 pm
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Yeah, Corgi. They are

Yeah, Corgi. They are Christian and civil. They just aren't warm, fuzzy and PC. How can you not know this kind of thing? Are you stuck on equating Christianity with "being nice"? Please tell me you aren't.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/03/10 - 02:50 pm
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Marlene posted: "What she

Marlene posted: "What she does NOT have is the right *as a student in a state-supported school, under a program which is under the rules and regulations of a professional counseling organization* to have views which are in direct opposition to the views of the organization!"

So in other words, you're saying she has to change her religious beliefs in order to go to a state-supported school and get her degree? I do believe that is exactly opposite of what the school said, that they were not trying to change her religious views? Now which is it?

Does she or doesn't she have to change her religious beliefs? And if so, that is most definitely discrimination.

Marlene, I understand your passion regarding this, but your ugly side is showing. If you toned down the hateful "spewing" as you like to say, then possibly someone would take you more serious and actually give your posting some thought.

follower
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follower 08/03/10 - 02:52 pm
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Baron wrote, "Social

Baron wrote,
"Social Darwinism will always win out in the end and the longer it takes for people to embrace it then the more painful it will eventually be."

But Baron, doesn't Darwinism say that everything is getting better? Isn't it the theory that we are continually evolving?

While we have seen medical and nutritional breakthroughs that enable us to live longer, we certainly aren't more civil. We have more and more technology, but we are also more stressed. We have the age of communication, but we don't communicate anything other than information. Are we better? A picture of the world doesn't see to be that way.

I agree that all people should take advantage of the opportunities available, care for their families, prepare for the future, and obey the laws of the land, and live respectful of others. But in the utopia you describe, there is no room for error. You've made your way, and have no time or compassion for others. What a lonely world you must live in.

The joy you get from helping others in a time of need far exceeds anything you do alone for yourself.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/03/10 - 03:06 pm
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follower you and ICL need to

follower you and ICL need to open your minds and comprehend what I say so I don't have to repeat it. "If people can't or won't take care of themselves and their family and friends and charities and bleeding hearts refuse to take care of them ".......no part of this insinuates that I wouldn't help my family or friends or others in which I choose. However, I have no obligation to support others against my will due to the government forcibly robbing me in order for it to provide for others.

Much of Darwinism is currently being preempted by various forms of socialism via unsustainable welfare and government support programs. When these programs' sustainability eventually runs out (and it is) then the evolution back to a new normal will be very painful for many.

tmimbs
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tmimbs 08/03/10 - 03:13 pm
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The following is quite

The following is quite interesting and thought provoking..........and well said!!!

Absolutely brilliant! Worth the read.

God vs. Science

"Let me explain the problem science has with religion."
The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks
one of his new students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'

'Yes sir,' the student says.

'So you believe in God?'

'Absolutely '

'Is God good?'

'Sure! God's good.'

'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'

'Yes'

'Are you good or evil?'

'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible! He considers for a moment.
'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can
cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good...!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could.
Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does
he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to
Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Can you answer that one?'

The student remains silent. 'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He
takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to
relax. 'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er..yes,' the student says.

'Is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one.. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in
this world?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'

'Yes'

'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything,
then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle
that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred?
Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them ?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question.
'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks
away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. 'Tell me,'
he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to
identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not.'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have
you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that
matter?'

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'

'Yes'

'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn't exist... What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies.. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has
with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His
own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat? '

' Yes.

'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room
suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. 'You can have
lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white
heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We
can hit down to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go
any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would
be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Everybody or object is
susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes
a body or matter have or transmit energy.. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the
total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe
the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal
units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just
the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding
like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't
darkness?'

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of
something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing
light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called
darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In
reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness
darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a
good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start
with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you
explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains.. 'You
argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God.
You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can
measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.' 'It uses electricity
and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To
view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death
cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just
the absence of it.' 'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that
they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes,
of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where
the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot
even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching
your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has
subsided. 'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other
student, let me give you an example of what I mean.' The student looks
around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the
professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter. 'Is there anyone
here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain,
touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so.. So,
according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable
protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.'
'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face
unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I
Guess you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,'
the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?' Now
uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it Every
day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in The
multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world.. These
manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does
not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God.. It is just like
darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of
God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man
does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes
when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'

The professor sat down.

If you read it all the way through and had a smile on your face when you
finished, mail to your friends and family with the title 'God vs. Science'

PS: The student was Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein wrote a book titled 'God vs. Science' in 1921.....

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