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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Naturalism, Christianity, and Human Dignity

Naturalism, Christianity, and Human Dignity
So naturalism diverges from Christianity on the question of human origins, but also on the question of human nature. I was raised to believe that people and animals are different kinds of things in their very nature. Not so with naturalism.






Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Learning: What's My Worldview?

Naturalism, Christianity, and Human Dignity

By Evan Nehring

So naturalism diverges from Christianity on the question of human origins, but also on the question of human nature. I was raised to believe that people and animals are different kinds of things in their very nature. Not so with naturalism. On that view there is little or no human dignity above the animals. From the UC Berkeley website:

The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother.
 Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we're all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.[1]
Photo Credit: Trekking Rinjani on Flickr Creative Commons


The biblical worldview, on the other hand, says that man was created a little lower than the angels and was given dominion and stewardship over creation. Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died and rose again for the forgiveness and salvation of man. We Homo sapiens have great worth, purpose and dignity in the Christian worldview!


Comments Are Always Welcome...

Is this idea important to you? Should human nature stand above the rest of nature? Is the biblical, Christian view dignifying to humans or just arrogant?

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[1] An introduction to evolution. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_02, accessed May 13, 2013.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Evan,

    I'd like to suggest that "related to" does not imply "equal with".

    Einstein was outstanding among his relatives, he was greatly different in terms of his mathematical abilities and understanding of physics.

    In just the same way it's entirely possible to accept the idea that all life is related without concluding that all life is equal. We humans are far different in our abilities from even our closest animal cousins.

    There is really no conflict, I think, between the scientific evidence for evolution and a saving faith in Christ.

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    Replies
    1. Chris, thanks for dropping by. We're going to disagree on this one. No reason not to have tea together and look forward to eternity in heaven together. This point of disagreement certainly doesn't rise to the level of salvation in Jesus Christ.

      For me, the nature of something springs from it's nativity, it's birth. In Jeremiah 1 God says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I think that's a very significant idea.

      I contend that much of the evolution camp has a very specific goal of dislodging faith in Jesus and loyalty to Creator God. I know there are many gradations of evolution theory but I maintain a basic distrust of the broad motives.

      I expect you're more of a scientist than I am. I respect that. I also think there's a common sense grasp of faith and science which makes me confident to represent the "we are not descendants of apes and trees" camp.

      All the best to you today, friend.

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  2. Thanks Evan,

    Good to read your gentle reply, I appreciate it. Gentleness is part of the fruit of the Spirit, after all.

    I was a professional biologist for about 20 years before moving on to IT and web development. I have to say that in that time all the scientists I knew had no goal other than extending their knowledge of the universe through painstaking and careful study.

    Sadly, there are some notable, rude, sometimes arrogant exceptions; and even more sadly, the same is sometimes true of a few of the faith camp.

    I may hold you to that cup of tea, and certainly to eternity!

    Bless you and thanks again.

    PS - I've taken the liberty of adding you to the list of blogs on my own site.

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