Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Why Are Humans So Different From Animals?

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

When was the last time you saw a cat perform a kidney transplant for another cat? Or when was the last time you saw a dog compose a symphony on par with Mozart’s Requiem? What about mice who architect skyscrapers to contain office space for the mice who act as accountants? Have you ever seen any group of apes who question the meaning and purpose of life and build holy places to worship in? What about the other apes who debate that there is no God? Have you ever seen a magna carta or a constitution written by lions to limit the power of the lion in charge of the herd? Has a sheep ever written a bill of rights for all the other sheep? When was the last time you saw a romantic frog couple that gazed in awe of a sunset? In your lifetime, have you have you ever seen a bear write a love sonnet on par with Shakespeare to his wife? What about a platypus who paints self portraits of other platypuses? What about the pigs who pioneered arithmetic similar to calculus? Where are all the monkeys who have developed micro computers and video game consoles? How many fish have engineered space crafts to fly to the moon? Are there any movies which have been directed, produced, and filmed by camels?

Perhaps you see where I am going. It is non disputable that Humans are very different than animals in their ability to create and judge. However why is it that Humans are on such a different level of intellect than animals? Some may say it is because humans have larger brain mass. While it is true that humans do generally have larger brains than animals, many animals have similar traits. For example, look at a dog, cat, lion, donkey, horse, camel, insert your own four legged animal here. There are many animals that have four legs. There are many animals that have teeth. Again there are many animals that can breathe. Indeed, there are many animals that have a digestive system. However there are none who have gone to the moon except humans! So the fundamental question is why are humans so different in their ability to aspire to greater works?

Some people may resort to responding that the human intellectual and discretionary abilities are by chance. Humans are nothing more than apart of a cosmic accident who happens to be very lucky. Could it be that humans are simply by chance far more advanced than animals? Imagine while walking to work one morning, you see a man eating a warm piece of toast smothered in raspberry jam. Having a ravenous hunger yourself, you ask the man where he purchased the toast. However he replies with a laugh at your inquiry. He says to you, “This morning a space shuttle entered our atmosphere. An astronaut threw some toast outside of the space craft to see just how burnt the toast would be after catching on flames from entering our atmosphere. Luckily, due to the angle at which it fell, it didn’t burn but it became toasty. While going to pick up my morning paper, it fell 6 miles from the sky into my hand. In addition to that, by accident, the paper boy threw a jar of raspberry jam at my house instead of the morning paper! To make things better, I just happened to have a paper knife on hand in my front jacket pocket! Oh what luck! I didn’t have to go to the bread bakery 20 feet down the road!” Indeed, I am sure that by some minuscule statistic this would be plausible. However is it reasonable? I would dare say not! In the same way, so many animals have so many common features but still without a doubt, humans are by far superior in their intellect and ability to create.

Some people may respond saying that animals only create what they need. Music is not a need, it is a pleasure. Secular scientists consider humans as an animal. So why do humans create music, art, literature, etc? My high school was a magnet fine arts school. Why do we have fine arts schools? Furthermore, the organization “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” aka PETA, by their very name seem to suggest that animals are mistreated by humans. For example, look at the bull fights in Spain. Bulls are scared and killed for entertainment. I must say that I think it is very wrong for any human to mistreat an animal; however it does beg the question. Why don’t animals realize they are being mistreated and rise up against the humans to the extent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm? Why don’t animals organize themselves in some manner and over throw a city or country in response to their mistreatment? Humans have done it countless times throughout history! The many rebellions of France and the foundation of America are examples.

I believe the Bible presents the most reasonable explanation of why Humans are so remarkably different than animals.

“24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” – Genesis 1:24-31 (New King James Version)

Although Humans are not GOD, we were created in His image. GOD is an infinitely creative GOD who painted the stars in the Heaven, brought forth the Earth, and breathed life into the nostrils of every living creature. To top it off, He created humans in His image thus giving us the ability of discretion, conscience, wisdom, imagination, and the understanding to modify His creation.

There indeed is a GOD and creation is a testimony to His existence!

Until next time,
Your friend,
Brandon Fogerty

Is There a God?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

From generation to generation, many great thinkers have pondered this question. Almost every tribe, culture, country, and people have asked this question. The Greeks believed in the human like Olympus gods such as Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite, etc. The Romans believed in similar gods such as Jupiter, Phoebus Apollo, Venus, etc. Then you have the middle-eastern people including the Hittites, Phoenicians, Canaanites, Philistines, etc who believed in gods such as Baal, Astarte, Marduk, etc. The Jews believed in the God named Yahweh or Jehovah. The Christians also worshiped Yahweh in addition to worshiping his son Jesus Christ whom is still believed to be one and the same with Yahweh. The Asians were also a people subject to the idea of a God. Prehistoric Hinduism dates back as far as 3000 BC with its countless gods. Even Buddhism was an exodus from the Hindu faith. The Mahayana buddhists of China, Korea, and Japan worship countless gods similarly to the Hindus today. The isolated Australian aborigines were also pantheist who believed in gods such as Altjira, Anjea, Pundjel, etc. The Native Americans believed in gods such as Aakuluujjusi, Eeyeekalduk, Bototo, etc.

Although many people have disagreed on the name of God, or how many gods there are, most every culture in the world has agreed that indeed there is some kind of super natural deity. Now I offer a fair caveat. Just because the majority of people over time believed in a God or gods, it by no means proves that there is one. Just because a large group of people believe or think something, it does make it factual. However it does raise an interesting point. Why do so many people from all sides of the planet have this idea of a God? Some may say because of trade the idea spread. However that doesn’t really work. If I spread the idea across the world that if we all wear purple jackets and eat corn flakes and water melons for a month, in 254 years after we die, we will all get wings and be happy swimming in a giant sized warm Jacuzzi drinking free Pepsi for life, I would probably be laughed at or thought of as someone who belongs in a mental institution. However even if the God idea was passed via trade, many people believed, bled, and even died for that idea via terrorism or through persecution. Some may say we believe in God because we have a gene that tells us to. However there is no such thing as a god gene and even if there were, why would we have it or even need it. Why hasn’t the gene gone away by now. Furthermore, why isn’t the secularist number increasing in society rather than decreasing?

Today, we still see most of the world worshipping some god. In fact most of the world is religious. Although secularism seems somewhat popular here in the US, its seems secularism is not a “favorable trait” and “natural selection” is beginning to rid the world of this “unfavorable trait” in the human species. The reason being is because secularism is an escape from reality. Secularism simply can not answer the question that boggles the mind of open logical thinkers.

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Take a look at the Mona Lisa. It is a very beautiful painting which any artist could tell you, took time to create. Notice the different shades of skin color. Notices the shadows around the eyes. Do you see the wrinkles in her dress or the intricate inter woven design on her blouse near her bosom? Anyone who looks at the Mona Lisa for a moment knows for sure without the slightest doubt that there must have been a painter. Even if they don’t know the name of the painter, they know there was one. To think that the painting drew itself, or that over millions of years, paint fell from the sky and landed on the canvas in such a way that it formed this detailed and intricate painting shows one’s foolishness. In the same regard, if you see a building, you know there is a builder. Even if the builder is dead, buried, and his or her body has rotted away. You can’t see, hear, touch, or taste the builder. Yet you know there must have been a builder because the building is proof of a builder. You can’t have a building without a builder.

In the same way, we have a creation that is EXTREMELY complex and well organized. If our planet was a little closer to the sun, we would all experience Venus like temperatures and burn up. If our planet was a little further from the sun, we would all experience temperatures like Mars and freeze to death. If the moon was a little closer to the earth, we would have massive destructive tidal waves with ravenous hungers devouring our planet. If it were further away, we would not have any ocean at all. The air that you are breathing is 80% nitrogen and only 20% oxygen. You have just the right amount of oxygen to survive. Our planet is one of the few planets that have an atmosphere which burns up most extra terrestrial debris so that we don’t have to worry about being killed by an asteroid on our way to work or school. Water is essential to human life. The fact that water is different from virtually any other liquid demonstrates evidence of a designer. Water is denser in its liquid form than in its solid form. That means that water freezes from top to bottom as opposed to bottom up. If water froze from bottom up, in cold winters most aquatic life would die. The list goes on and on. We are not a cosmic accident and to say so is foolish. Look out your window. Basic arithmetic demonstrates that 0 + 0 always equals 0. Nothing + Nothing = Nothing! As the old adage says, “You can’t stick a pack of dynamite in a printing press and get the Declaration of Independence.” Want proof of God’s existence? Look out your window! You have a creation which is absolute proof of a creator! You can’t have a creation without a creator.

As a computer scientist, I once decided to develop a circuit which would act as a digital timer with a light blinking every second. I had to get the right resistors, a 555 digital timer circuit, the right sized capacitors, conducting cables, a bread board, and finally some batteries. It took me about an hour to complete the project. After playing with my finished creation, I thought, I wonder what the probability would be that I could develop the same timer if I took a handful of these components and through them like darts all into place randomly onto a bread board. Obviously that was a dumb thought because it would never happen. Furthermore, even throwing the parts onto a bread board demonstrated some kind of order and the mere fact that I would be throwing them showed at the very least, a disorganized creator. My point is, this idea of a creation having a creator can not be escaped! When I examined the circuit with detail, I noticed some shocking similarities between my body and the circuit. For example, the cables act as a medium which allows electric current to propagate from one component to another. In the same way, my veins act as a medium which allows blood to propagate from one organ to another. My circuit utilized resistors which restrict the flow of electric current so that another component does not get too much current and thus fry. In the same way, blood clots restrict the amount of blood that flows out of the body so that I don’t die. The capacitor stores a charge and then when it is filled, explodes all the current to the next component. In the same way, my heart gathers blood and then explodes the blood to all the other parts of my body. Finally, the 555 timer is the component which tells the current where to flow. In the same way, my brain tells my electric current where to go and my organs how to function. My body is far more complex than a simple digital timer circuit and we know that the digital circuit can’t be formed without a designer. How then can a human being just come into existence by accident? The human eye alone contains millions of light sensitive cells which allow a human to process light and process an image!

Any logical person can see that something has to have designed us. However if something designed us, who designed him or her? A common objective made by atheists is “Who made God?” No one made God because God is eternal. Now I can hear the atheists screaming right now “No fair! You can’t say that because you just said everything has a maker!” Indeed, everything that has been created has a creator. However God has no creator because he wasn’t created! Furthermore, it would be illogical to believe that God had a creator because it would strip him of his almighty power. In, addition there would be an illogical indefinite recursion of Gods.

I am a computer scientist who in his spare time likes to develop video games. Imagine I create a game where the player plays as a blue penguin that has to eat 5 yellow donuts every minute in order to live. Does that mean I the developer also need to eat 5 yellow donuts per minute to live? Absolutely not! I developer, from my own imagination, developed the rules which govern that video game universe. The game characters which I have developed must obey the rules of the game which I have developed. However as the game developer, I am not subject to those rules. Likewise, God is an all powerful spirit who is not subject to the laws of this universe. He doesn’t need to be created because he lives outside of this universe and is eternal. Now atheists love to come back with the response “How come the universe can’t be eternal?”

That is indeed a very fair question. There are several ways to answer this question both scientifically and philosophically. However I will give one example using science.

The second law of thermodynamics says that our universe’s usable energy is decreasing. If that is so, that means that the universe must not be eternal otherwise it would have run out of usable energy an eternity ago. I will use Ravi Zacharias’ car paradigm to further demonstrate this point. If your car was eternal, that would imply that it is self sustaining. That means regardless of what events may occur, the car should always be able to run. However we know that generally, our vehicles need to be filled up with gas regularly. If we neglect our cars, they will cease to drive us from point A to point B. The reason is because they have run out of their energy (fuel). If a vehicle has run out of fuel, which implies that at some point fuel was injected into the vehicle. In the same regard, if our universe has energy and it is running out of energy, then at some point energy must have been injected into our universe. Thus the universe is not eternal and we should be asking who injected our universe with energy.

Imagine a group of 50 men in a room watching the superbowl football game. Imagine they have a coupon for a pizza with only one toping. What is the probability that they will all agree on the same toping. Some will probably want garlic, while others want sausage. Others may prefer pepperoni while others may be vegetarians and want onions. How about the lactosentolerant who can’t eat the cheese? Now imagine the same 50 men are presented an 8 year old girl. Then they are asked if it is morally justified to brutally rape her. What is the probability that all the men will agree that indeed it is wrong? Probably most if not all the men will agree that it is wrong. The reason is because they have a conscience that tells them it is wrong. Some may say that it depends on your culture. However If I go to some tribe in Africa and ask the same question, they will also probably agree that it is wrong.

Indeed, some things are relative to culture. My girlfriend happens to be Japanese. A couple of years ago, I visited her and her parents in Japan. I quickly realized that we should take our shoes before entering a house. In addition, the front of the shoes should be facing towards the door. When eating, we should wait for everyone to arrive at the table before eating. Also we eat with chop sticks instead of forks and spoons. One should never place their chopsticks vertically in their rice as it is rude. I looked at all these traditions and thought “Wow, that’s different.” However if one of those Japanese were to come to the US and she a young girl being brutally raped, they wouldn’t just say “Oh wow, that’s new. That’s different!” They would probably call the police because they know it is wrong to rape the girl. If everyone can agree on common principles, that must mean there is a principle setter. If people are simply animals evolving and only caring about reproducing their own genes, why give charity to starving children in Africa? Who cares about morality!? One’s own well being is all that counts! You see, despite what some atheists will try and have people believe, people have a conscience regardless of whether or not they choose to obey it all the time. However our morality may sometimes affect our own survival. Think about a Mother who runs in the way of an oncoming car to save her daughter from sure death. She didn’t have to do that. Infact, her morality caused her death. Shouldn’t she care more about her own survival? What we see is that indeed, sometimes our morality takes precedence over our own survival. If morality is a command that can sometimes take precedence over our own survival, where do we get these commands and who is the commander? Our morality in and of itself is also evidence that we are not mere animals but men and women who were created in the image of God.

So if we know there is a God, how do we know which religion to follow or believe? Furthermore, why should we care? Stay tuned because I will be tackling this issue in my next post. If you enjoyed this topic and would like further information, I suggest you check out a good book on an introduction to Christian apologetics called “Who Made God?” by Ravi Zacharias. Thanks!

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?” – Thomas Jefferson

Your friend,
Brandon Fogerty
Merry CHRISTmas!