A faithful body of evidence: 1-21-09
January 21, 2009
I had my annual physical exam this week (the early verdict is that I'm not yet ready for my family to call the undertaker) and was pondering the marvels of the human body and what religion says about that. (I took the photo here at the "Bodies Revealed" exhibit at Union Station in Kansas City last year.)
Psalm 139 has it right when it says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." This does not deny or negate the role of science or the natural processes by which human bodies come into being. But it does acknowledge an ultimate source, or guarantor, of those processes and of the loving and creative mind and heart that ultimate source possesses.
Indeed, the more we know about the human body, the more in awe we are of its intricacies and the way in which its parts work together.
Later, Christians were to describe the body as the "temple of the Holy Spirit," drawing on the sixth chapter of the Apostle Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. As that temple, we are instructed to preserve, protect and defend that body -- to use presidential inauguration language still ringing in our ears. This understanding of the body should lead us not only to respect our own bodies but also to respect the bodies of all other people. Would that it more often did that.
In Islam there's a fascinating passage in the 23rd chapter, or surah, that describes how God "created the human being from an extraction of clay; then We made him into seminal fluid in a stopping place, secure,then We created a clot from seminal fluids, then We created tissue from the clot, then We created bones from tissue, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused another creation to grow." (I've given you a link above that has three different translations of the Qur'an. The translation I used here today is The Sublime Quran, translated by Laleh Bakhtiar.)
There's even this Web site that expounds on Islam's understanding of God's creation of the body drawn from this chapter.
I'm not a Muslim, but as I read this account, what I believe it is affirming is the divine intention to create humanity and to live in relationship with that creation.
I was playing outdoors the other day with one of my grandsons, hitting a ball back and forth with paddles. And I was watching closely as he was learning to coordinate the so-far untrained muscles of his body to be able to put paddle to ball at just the right instant. His brain was guiding his muscles, which were creating muscle memory. Marvelous.
If you've already broken your New Year's resolution to treat your own body with more respect this year, perhaps it will help to remember how important bodies are in theology. Indeed, in Christian theology, we affirm the ultimate "resurrection of the body," which is a far different idea from the old Greek notion of the immortality of the soul. But that's a subject for another day.
* * *
FAITH IN THE OBAMA ERA
After yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama, I participated in a panel discussion at St. Paul School of Theology about what the new presidency may mean for public theology and the relationship between church and state. One of my fellow panelists was Wallace Hartsfield II, pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and professor of Hebrew Bible at St. Paul. I thought you might want to hear (about 10-plus minutes) his remarks about the need to rethink respect, reconciliation and righteousness through the use of commitment, compassion and cooperation. So click on the link below. (And just ignore the applause at the start of the tape. It wasn't for me.)
Wallace Hatsfield is certainly an insightful man Bill, and respect, reconcilitation and righteousness are obvious purposes, but there are people who want believes to SHUT UP and SUBMIT and, at best, KEEP THEIR VIEWS COMPETELY PRIVATE.
A tag team of them, in fact, have taken over your discussion board.
Of course, the gospel message will not allow this, and the CONSTITUTION they CLAIM to respect DOES NOT require believers to do any such thing.
Posted by: adam harrison | January 21, 2009 at 05:43 AM
Regarding the tag team mentioned above, I reference a somewhat amusing analysis of their strategy.
All in fun, of course!
Posted by: adam harrison | January 21, 2009 at 05:50 AM
"And I was watching closely as he was learning to coordinate the so-far untrained muscles of his body to be able to put paddle to ball at just the right instant. His brain was guiding his muscles, which were creating muscle memory. Marvelous."
Yep! I've also marveled that a dog can perform nearly-instantaneous calculations of force, mass, lift, deceleration, and gravitational pull needed to catch a frisbie!
Posted by: Dave Miller | January 21, 2009 at 09:56 AM
And I marvel that you can provide nearly-instantaneious sarcastic, uncomprehening responses thinking you are hiding your atheistic preusppositions, Dave. LOL!
Seriously, if that is all you have to say about Bill's post, why bother? Why not join Iggy's group?
Posted by: Will Graham | January 21, 2009 at 11:08 AM
Where did our Elements of Atoms and ElectroMagnetic Force come from, that make LIFE as we Know it? From GOD?
GOD can never been Known by Humans, made from Visible Elements. How GOD made Visible and Invisible Life, that makes our Universe, may never Be Known.
How did the Combination of Elements Visible and Invisible begin? By Three Persons in One Godhead, or Evolution? We have again Evolved up to High Tech today.
Who are the Gods of Religion on Earth, that made Humans in 'his' Image. It has to be a Physical Person. We get a Hint in Genesis. The Lord God did make Life up to the Human Species, on Earth.
Elohim, a group of our High Tech Human Ancestors, made male and female Human Clones in their Image.
Today we Know how to Create Clone Life, but so far we cannot, create a Female Clone from the stem cells of the male rib.
This does not mean it was impossible, for Humans to do this 'in the beginning' of Life on Earth.
This High Tech information was written down in writings, that were guarded down through time, with careful translations, by Religious Monks.
Bill: "Indeed, the more we know about the human body, the more in awe we are of its intricacies and the way in which its parts work together."
Now we Need to Accept, with High Tech Science Regeneration, Humans can Live Forever in High Tech Reproduced Purebred Physical Male and Female Clone Bodies, on Planets and in Spaceships.
We Need to Accept that God, our High Tech Human Ancestors, did not Reproduce Adam and Eve as Children, but as High Tech Adult Human Clones.
Misbred Heterosexual Born Humans, that Die, at least recorded this High Tech Truth in Religion and Myth, for High Tech Humans Today.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM
It was great to see Obama mention "non believers" in his speech yesterday. A stark contrast to W's father who said he did not consider atheists American citizens. What a change.
Immediately after the inauguration ceremony several freethinking groups around the country issued press releases commending Obama for it - I posted them on our site http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org
A truly remarkable turn of events and a historic moment.
Washington post has this today about it (2 pages to this article at the bottom) - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/20/AR2009012003302.html?hpid=sec-religion
And in today's special Inauguration editions of The Washington Post, the American Humanist Association is running a full-page ad that uses Barack Obama’s own words about his Humanist mother to show that you can indeed raise excellent, moral, ethical and hard-working children without resorting to religion
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM
Yesterday, Chief Justice Roberts when administering the oath of office to Obama stumbled TWICE and INCORRECTLY PRONOUNCED THE OATH. Obama was thrown off by it and actually stumbled and gave opportunity to Roberts to correct it which he did not and did it again for the second time.
I wonder if this kind of a foofo could have been avoided if the Chief Justice FOLLOWED THE OATH IN WRITING AS PRESCRIBED IN THE CONSTITUTION? Surely, the nerves were all firing up for all of them there but the 35 words in the oath are pretty symbolic and are EASIER TO PRONOUNCED WHEN YOU READ IT. This has been done before many times.
Also, it would help too for the Chief Justice to refresh his memory and not add "So help me God?" (with a question mark and high pitch raised tone of voice) ********as it is not in the Presidential oath of office.******* BUT A PERSONAL INSERTING OF RELIGIOUS DOGMA INTO A PUBLIC GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL CEREMONY.
Well, a small thing, but again, if Roberts was "rational" and not relied on his memory for 35 words he thought he could have said flying by the seat of his pants, this would have spared all the TV and radio pundits as well as endless news articles and bloggers all the funny comments.
**** Aren't you folks too old to have an imaginary friend?
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 12:36 PM
A couple of months ago I posted a study of patients and doctors that starkly showed a difference in perception of faith/science working in health. If I recall correctly 20% or so of doctors said that prayer works while 70% of patients said it did. Goes to show you that rationality vs. irrationality is a battle that is clearly going to be waged in minds of people and with progress that science is going through.
Religion has changed dramatically since Enligthenment and Dark ages. Gone are condemnations that earth is not flat, not center of the universe, that witches should be killed. Clearly, doctors and people in the know have the knowledge and revelation from whatever god it is that prayer doesn't work and study after study shows it.
I think religious people in every church need to start reading articles like this below and get to grips with rationality and start understanding that "rights" of others are more important that "rights of god" and "god's love for all of us." If she is there, she has a thick skin and should not worry about us.
We will all be better for it. It is better to be intellectually honest instead of finding the god of the gaps who may or may not be real. This morning at the breakfast we talked about why there is no open microphone or challenging of the minister during sermon at the church and why they get away with "scientific, rational, and logical nonsense" in their sermons - e.g. like Warren yesterday during the prayer at Obama's inauguration talked about "respect" for every living person and creature. What the heck is he talking about when he clearly defines "respect" to gays and non believers in terms of "sin" and "evil" biblically, thus putting himself clearly above any other "moral law" even of this land if you want to call it this way. Moral relativism of god vs. moral relativism of Rick Warren vs. Zeitgeist of the country.
"Trials Loom for Parents Who Embraced Faith Over Medicine"
WESTON, Wis. — Kara Neumann, 11, had grown so weak that she could not walk or speak. Her parents, who believe that God alone has the ability to heal the sick, prayed for her recovery but did not take her to a doctor.
*** Aren't you folks too old to have an imaginary friend?
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 01:14 PM
For those who care, W'S father never said he did not consider atheists American citizens.
Of course, Iggy is not an American citizen either, but its not because he is an atheist! LOL!
Glad to see you finally came out of the closet, Iggy!
By the way, HUMANIST does not necessarly equal ATHEIST, so cut the pretense, "sport"!
Posted by: Will Graham | January 21, 2009 at 01:16 PM
This week's Daily promise, 1/21/09: Obeying God brings great joy
Is obeying God worth it?
If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant. Job 36:11 NLT
The benefits of obedience
Sometimes you may wonder if obeying God is worth it. Job's friend, Elihu, concluded in Job 36:11 that God is just and does bless those who obey him. If you don't reap the benefits of obedience in this life, you will in the next."
Can we reap benefits in Heaven, After Death? Or is there Another Physical Life on Earth, After Death? Reincarnation of our Elements that changed back to elements at Death, Into another Physical Body?
Is that what Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth means? No loss of Elements at Death?
Jesus went Alive, in a Regenerated physical Body, up into Space. Is that the example of Life After Death, that Religion teaches?
We do have the High Tech Science to Know Humans can Reproduce Purebred Humans. We just have not Evolved all the Way as yet.
When Spirit/Soul and Body are Joined we have Physical Life. What is Spirit Life without a Physical Body? A Ghost?
All these phrases, written by Humans without High Tech Science Knowledge, still kept this Knowledge for us, until we could translate the information about High Tech Science Humans, with Eternal Physical Life After Birth.
So what are we doing with our High Tech Science, but using Elements for Toxic Pollution and Nuclear Bombs, instead of for Eternal Physical Life. Why?
Who is our Enemies? Our Brothers/Sisters of Life? Why?
High Tech Eternal Physical Life After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships, can be Proved in the Past, with Scripture, Myth, and High Tech Science.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 21, 2009 at 02:14 PM
Proven medical facts vs. unproven faith...
Rationality vs. irrationality... Government run on proven facts vs. unproven faith... Others telling each other to run life on proven facts vs. unproven faith Parallels are uncanny and are far reaching.
How come religious folks cannot run their own lives on faith/their own belief and let others rely on their own "faith/facts/philosophy/outlook on life" as it should be in the secular society US is? What is it in Christianity that makes it so unlike Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and other religions? I think "eternal salvation through salivation" is perhaps the easiest way to explain it, the "carrots and sticks" theology that bursts at the seams of rationality in light of all the changes happening in this country and around the world. Once there is clear "white & black" or what you'd call "absolute truth", it becomes clear that your truth has to be the only truth there is.
I like the argument brought up by the ad in Washington Post today from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that government "should run on facts, not faith,". The foundation asks Obama to "restore the Jeffersonian 'wall of separation between church and state.' This is an ad different from the one that American Humanists put out today.
Just updated http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org with this...
Inauguration Matters: Freedom From Religion group asks Obama to 'rebuild that wall'
The group, which bills itself as "the largest association of freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) in the United States" and campaigns for keeping religion out of government, purchased a large advertisement in the Washington Post newspaper's inaugural special edition.
*** Aren't you folks too old to have an imaginary friend?
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 02:32 PM
Hmmm...this is interesting.
Two days ago I was suspected of being a cryptic bible literalist; today I'm suspected of being a closet atheist.
I must be doing something right!
Posted by: Dave Miller | January 21, 2009 at 02:48 PM
God bless you, Dave.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 21, 2009 at 03:04 PM
Iggy keeps asking if we are too old to have an imaginary friend.
Actually, not ever having had an imaginary friend, I am not sure how to answer that question.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 21, 2009 at 03:11 PM
Obama is clearly not an atheist, and he clearly stated "so help me God.".
Quit pretending like this is some kind of victory for your side Iggy.
You lost this round.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 21, 2009 at 03:19 PM
Back atcha, Will.
Posted by: Dave Miller | January 21, 2009 at 03:25 PM
(Disclaimer: I was formerly Lynnehs. I have edited my typepad account to change my username. I will no longer be using Lynnehs.)
Although an atheist President would be wonderful in the very same way that electing the first black (and the first biracial) President was wonderful, anyone who had been paying attention to Obama's campaign knew that he is a liberal Christian. So what? The important thing is that he is pro-human rights, no matter what his religion. And the fact that he acknowledged in his inaugural address that there are nonbelievers who are Americans too is an important historical first. But it is not just a victory for atheists. It is a victory for everyone sick of religious divisiveness.
"Atheism as a challenge to organized religion has a worthy vocation to fulfill." --Retired Bishop John Shelby Spong
Posted by: Lynne - www.kcfreethinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 04:04 PM
Will and Dave
President Obama phoned me on the hot line this afternoon and told me to tell you two he is an agnostic. Feel better?
I spoke with god this morning and he has not heard of you, so you must be imaginary, but then how would I know you? I don’t know, this god character truly is mysterious.
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 04:17 PM
And...speaking of "fearfully and wonderfully made," Bill, Will, and whoever else might be interested, how about these bacteria?
Posted by: Dave Miller | January 21, 2009 at 06:51 PM
I have read Sins of Scripture by Spong I found it most interesting. I’m not sure I fully understand why he wants to keep Christianity alive, but he is no enemy of fairness.
What Lynne has posted can be educating. Give it a try.
"Atheism as a challenge to organized religion has a worthy vocation to fulfill." --Retired Bishop John Shelby Spong http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/john_shelby_spong/2007/01/i_welcome_the_attention_that_1.html
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
I agree, Aren’t folks too old to have an imaginary friend?
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 07:06 PM
Believe on Jesus Christ and you will be Saved. From What?
Sin? Death? Our Brothers/Sisters of Life? The Destruction of our Ozone Canopy? The Planetary Fire, burning our Toxic Waste and Nuclear Bombs?
For Life After Death? Jesus is Alive, so why do Humans want to Die to be with Jesus?
Jesus was seen going up into Space Alive, in an Alive Human Body.
We Know Humans can go up into Space Alive. So this is done by Human High Tech Science, not Supernatural Religiosity.
It is Time to Understand All Scripture and Myth, with Supernatural Human Actions, by Human High Tech Science.
All these Religious teachings were established by Fallen Humans without High Tech Science Knowledge.
Our High Tech Science did not Evolve on Earth today, it was here at the Colonization of Earth and during the Noah/Atlantis Society.
Life Really is for Living Humans After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships like the Gods, our Human Ancestors in Genesis, other parts of Scripture and Myth.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 21, 2009 at 07:53 PM
Lynne, although Obama is clearly for human rights...to a certain extent, and depending on who he defines as human...atheism can take no particular credit for this.
After all, atheism, if you are defining it a simply lack of belief in God, entails no particular ethic; you could be an atheist and just as well be a Dialectical Materialist, an adovcocate of Nietzsche's Will To Power, or a proponent of a eugenics plan to create a master race. Or an Existentialist for that matter.
Six one way, half a dozen of the other.
So please don't pretend Obama owes atheism any particular credit for his pro human rights stand, such as it is.
Posted by: adam harrison | January 21, 2009 at 07:59 PM
Interesting 4:17 post, "Cole".
Two blatant lies in one post.
Jokes of course.
But still lies.
Funny you have to resort to that to make an argument.
Posted by: adam harrison | January 21, 2009 at 08:01 PM
"What is Truth?" John 18:38
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
Posted by: a.theist | January 21, 2009 at 08:02 PM
No adamh. Those were jokes. Jokes and lies are separate. If you lived in the real world, natural world, you would know this, of course.
And troll, I wasn’t trying to make an argument, just a statement.
You should grow up, and stop believing in your imaginary friends. There is a real world out there, Sir. Give it a chance and maybe your brain will make a connection and you won’t have to radar down the hall.
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | January 21, 2009 at 10:21 PM