Rising Higher - Faith & A Little Bit of Roundball

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Was it not God's choice to accommodate this mode of revelation to the historically and culturally, limited conceptual vocabularies of the day? The human writers inspired by God had no vocabulary for concepts like galactic redshift, thermonuclear fusion, plate tectonics, space-time metrics, radiometric dating, stellar evolution, ionizing radiation, chemical reactions, atomic spectra, deoxyribonucleic acid, proteinoid microspheres, genetic drift, molecular clocks, configurational entropy, microevolution, macroevolution, etc.

Hence, to expect the Scriptures to provide us with the kind of statements that would be directly relevant to the evaluation of contemporary scientific theories on the world's formative history strikes me as profoundly misguided. Plantinga's question, "Just how does Scripture work as a source of proper belief? This question regarding the proper epistemological role of the biblical text in the formulation and evaluation of theories-especially of scientific theories-deserves far more attention than Plantinga gives it in this particular paper.

One thing, however, seems clear to me: framing the Christian critique of evolutionary theories in the rhetoric of faith versus-reason offers little hope for growth in our reasoned understanding of either the Scriptures or the Creation. When the concept of special creation is presented in association with faith and the concept of evolutionary development is identified with reason, many persons within the Christian constituency that both Plantinga and I seek to serve leap with little hesitation to the conclusion that to speak approvingly of evolution is to be unfaithful to God our Creator.

Because my personal experience has provided me with more than enough of that rhetoric to make me nauseously weary, I strongly discourage further employment of the warfare metaphor in this context.

Is the "Grand Evolutionary Story" religiously neutral? The answer to this question depends, of course, on the precise definitions of both "religious neutrality" and the "Grand Evolutionary Story. What qualities must a scientific theory possess in order to be called religiously neutral? Does religious neutrality here require that a scientific theory be immune from employment in the mythology of all religious cultures, including atheistic ones? If so, then no scientific theory could possibly qualify. Given the creativity of the human imagination, anything from atomism to zoology could be incorporated into one's mythology.

Hence while it may be fitting to recognize that some scientific theories have in fact been woven into the fabric of more comprehensive myths, to equate religious neutrality with mythological immunity would be to trivialize the concept and to render it meaningless. Suppose, then, that we try to define religious neutrality by saying that a scientific theory is religiously neutral if it entails neither the affirmation nor the denial of religious dogma.

Taking "religious dogma" in the broad sense to mean both the formalized creeds of a religion and the set of communally held auxiliary beliefs traditionally associated with that religion, we are once again faced with a problem. Religious dogma taken in this broad sense could easily include beliefs about the physical universe its age, for instance that fall within the domain of empirical science.

Hence it soon becomes clear that almost any theory of modern science could entail either the denial or affirmation of a "deliverance of the faith" an element in the received tradition and thereby fail this test of religious neutrality. But what if we take "religious dogma" in the narrow sense of formalized creedal statements alone? Suppose, to be specific, we selected as a set of formalized creeds the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort? The neutrality test is now clarified substantially, but numerous scientific theories would still likely fail.

It is unavoidable that statements referring to the created world would be expressed in the conceptual vocabulary drawn from the world picture that prevailed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when these creeds were written. Hence, wherever contemporary science has replaced that vocabulary with new words and concepts a tension between modern science and the traditional creeds will necessarily arise.

Faith, Just a Little Bit of Faith

I would, however, argue for the religious inconclusiveness of contemporary theories of natural science in the restricted sense of logical independence from both modern Western naturalism and basic Christian theism. Suppose we define "basic Christian theism" by the Apostles' Creed and modern Western naturalism by Sagan's oft-quoted line, "The Cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be.


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I see no logical entanglement, for instance, between these religious commitments and the theories of big-bang cosmology, stellar evolution, plate tectonics and the like. That depends on how the GES is told. If the scope of the story is restricted to matters pertaining only to the physical properties, physical behavior and formative history of life forms, then the GES may well be logically independent of both theism and naturalism. If, on the other hand, the GES is told in such a way as to include substantive statements regarding the source of the world's existence, the relation ship of material behavior to divine governance, or the place of questions about purpose, value and ultimate meaning, then the GES will be inherently religious.

My personal conviction is that the scientific core of the story most likely to appear in the professional journal literature is logically independent of both theism and naturalism, but that the story told in most modern popularizations of evolutionary theory is embedded in a matrix of naturalistic apologetics, thereby giving many unwary readers the impression that the popularity of the scientific theory grows primarily because of its apologetic usefulness. Now, although this apologetic employment of evolutionary theory may help us understand some of the things we see these days-the popularity of certain books, the "creation-science" movement, large audiences at creation-evolution debates-we should be extremely cautious in assuming that apologetic attractiveness also accounts for the success of evolutionary theory in the arena of professional science.

On the advice of numerous Christian biologists I am led to the conclusion that the scientific success of the concept of biological evolution is the product of proper theory evaluation and that the apologetic employment of evolutionary theory in the "folk-science" of evolutionary naturalism is a regrettable and irritating cultural phenomenon that we must deal with on its own terms-not as science, but as the misemployment of science in a religious agenda.

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One aspect of the scientific enterprise brought to our attention by Thomas Kuhn is that our doing of science and our talking about what we do in science may be quite different from one another, even to the point of incongruity. Hence we have no right uncritically to assume that the popular rhetoric of biologists like Provine or Dawkins constitutes an accurate indicator of how theories of biological evolution have in fact achieved their present state of credibility in the professional arena.

In his argument against the idea that the GES could be religiously neutral neutrality being defined, apparently, as mythological immunity Plantinga called attention to several examples of the way in which proponents of naturalism have incorporated the concept of evolution into their mythology. The example that played the leading role in the development of this point was the quotation from Richard Dawkins: "although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Plantinga goes on to explain why he grants Dawkins' point. The question at issue, he says, is, "How is it that there are all the kinds of floras and faunas we behold; how did they all get here? The central problem with each is a failure to distinguish authentically religious questions from questions accessible to modern empirical science-the common error of treating creation and evolution as if they were in essence alternative answers to the same question. If the "how" question posed by Plantinga is meant to focus our attention on the physical, chemical, biological and chronological questions of the formative history of the particular array of flora and fauna we now see, then a Christian's reference to their having been created by the Lord, while religiously very important, is scientifically irrelevant.

But if, on the other hand, Plantinga's "how" question is meant to focus our attention on the authentically religious question of whether or not the formative history of the universe and its life forms is an expression of the sovereign Creator's intentions and is radically dependent on God's enabling sustenance and directing governance, then an atheist's reference to the concept of biological evolution, while scientifically important, is religiously irrelevant or at least inconclusive.

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Consequently, I find Dawkins' claims to intellectual fulfillment extremely shallow and unsatisfying, and I find Plantinga's granting of Dawkins' point very puzzling. Dawkins deserves a far larger dose of Plantinga's analytical, rhetorical and polemical skills than he received in this essay.

Perhaps the point I wish to make could best be illustrated by recounting a little-known episode from the Copernican controversy. Our story centers on the Soltheists, a medieval society of sun-worshipers, whose flourishing was attributed by many observers to the heliocentric theory of the solar system made famous by Copernicus.

Glory days

The Soltheists took immediate advantage of the Copernican theory. For them it was not merely a theory of terrestrial revolution, but the "Principle of Solar Centrality. To the scientific concept of the orbital centrality of the sun they could easily append the religious concept of the divine identity of the Sun.

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In ancient Egypt this would have been seen as a Reinterpretation of the heliocentric theory. Hardric Snikwad, author of an utterly wrong-headed book that shamelessly exploited the Copernican theory in his Soltheist mythology, was recognized as one of the more colorful and outspoken advocates of the Principle of Solar Centrality and an ardent admirer of Copernicus. In fact, at one of those elegant, candle-lit, bibulous Bullford Academy dinners he leaned over and remarked to a like-minded colleague, "Although Soltheism. Overhearing this specious remark was another dinner guest, World B.

Brenda's Diary

Fixed, who used to play roundball with the Alexandria Ptolemaics. Fixed quickly seized the occasion to score a point in favor of his own agenda and responded in a confident voice that all nearby diners could hear, "Snikward's remark confirms a suspicion I've held for a long time. The theory of terrestrial revolution is no more than a thin scientific disguise for the religious Principle of Solar Centrality.

The concept of earth's dual motion is not only contradicted by what the Scriptures, taken at face value, seem to teach cf. Although it was not immediately apparent to the diners listening to this exchange, Snikwad was actually quite pleased with the kind of adversarial approach taken by Fixed, because it gave the appearance ol making the truth of biblical theism dependent on the falsehood of the Copernican theory regarding planetary motions-a matter not essentially religious but relevant because the Ptolemaic picture had become historically associated with other deliverances of the Christian faith and because a popular exegetical tradition in support of that picture had developed.

One of the listeners, however, was displeased with both of the contenders. A further 11 overseas players have been recruited this season, with 27 nations now represented across the ten clubs. Among the new international names are experienced Chile defender Pablo Contreras who has joined Melbourne Victory, while Malta captain Michael Mifsud has inked a deal with cross-town rivals Heart. The highest profile import remains former Juventus and Italy superstar Alessandro Del Piero at Sydney FC, who brings both extra global attention and new spectators in equal measure.

Del Piero continues to defy the evidence of his year-old birth certificate with sparkling and energetic displays last term yielding 14 goals in 24 appearances. And Del Piero says players coming from overseas should not underestimate the level of the A-League. It's wrong if someone thinks they can come here and say, 'I played in Europe so I can go to Australia and it is very easy'.

That is not true. Most of the people who played on recording sessions were the best musicians in town. You had arrived. Through all of his travails, Moore said his sense of faith and giving to others — following the example of religious men and women — stuck with him.

The Project Gutenberg E-text of New Witnesses for God (Vol. 2 of 3), by B. H. Roberts

He said he hopes his legacy is helping others. Moore also will receive an honorary doctorate of music from Loyola University New Orleans at its graduation ceremonies in the Superdome. Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon clarionherald. See the 3D FlipBook for the story and recipes below. Skip to content. Moore joked that his mother discovered his vocal talent.

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