Tag Archives: science

Splitting the Body and Soul

We go to a MD to get our physical bodies repaired, we go to a PsyD for mental health concerns, and we go to a pastor for spirit and soul related matters. In effect, 21st century healing is based upon 3 distinct professions, for which some of the time work together, but for which much of the time ignore one another, or even call one another’s expertise into question. A friend suggests that in doing so, we are splitting the mind, body, spirit, and soul into separate parts, rather than looking at them as a whole.

I think part of the driver for this is that the church walked away from the sciences once science started to call church power structures into question. Consider what happened to Gallileo, and that it took until 1992 for him to be vindicated by Pope John Paul II.

Consider the use of anesthesia and the pain of childbirth 100+ years ago. Genesis 3:16 states To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” thus many Christians held to the view that anesthesia / pain killers should not be used during childbirth, as it does an end run around Genesis.


Consider Ben Franklin’s lightning experiments which brought about the lightning rod, at least for those outside of the churches power structure. 3000 people died and 1/6 of the city of Bresia was destroyed when the Church of San Nazaro was hit by lightning and the explosives located within detonated… all because if a lighting rod worked, it no longer was an act of satan, but an act of electrical charge distribution, and thus doctrine would be forced to change.

Today, non-believers, and many believers  look at such and are incredulous. How could the church be so wrong? Was doctrine really all that important that it led to ignoring the obvious evidence right in front of people?

And yet, there are those who defend the churches view. Consider the philosopher Feyerabend. “The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.”

So how does that square? I’m not a philosopher, but if the church says the square is blue, and with my own eyes I see that it is red… I’m going to have to go with red, irrespective of what the church says. Its really not a matter of faith, obedience, or trust, when clear and convincing observation says otherwise. I don’t see it in any other way than an issue of maintaining power. Ethical and social consequences may play a role, but preserving falsehoods to block the truth has a way of coming back to bite. Its the whole do a little evil that good may come that Paul warns us against in Romans 3.

This is not to say ethical and social consequences should be entirely ignored. I think those tend to be sold short to our peril… but the evidence should be plainly laid out for all too see, even if as Jack Nicholson spoke so plainly, “you can’t handle the truth”

At some point in the future, there likely will be similar folks looking back on the past and seeing the churches overt efforts to clearly break mind, body, spirit and soul apart from one another, all the while medicine/science is making inroads to put them back together.

Will that be a truth the church can handle?

Spurgeon on Faith in the Sun

It takes about eight minutes for light to reach us from the sun We may judge of the pace at which that light comes when we reflect that a cannon ball rushing with the swiftest possible velocity would take seven years to get there and that a train travelling at the rate of thirty miles an hour and never stopping for refreshments would require more than three hundred and fifty years before it would reach the terminus You may thus form some slight idea of the distance that we are from the sun and this I think furnishes us with a good illustration of faith There is no man who can know except by faith that the sun exists That he did exist eight minutes ago I know for here is a ray of light that has just come from him and told me that but I cannot be sure that he is existing at this moment There are some of the fixed stars that are at such a vast distance from the earth that a ray of light from them takes hundreds of years to reach us and for aught we know they may have been extinct long ago Yet we still put them down in our chart of the heavens and we can only keep them there by faith for as through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so it is only by faith that we can know that any of them now exist When we come to examine the matter closely we find that our eyesight and all our faculties and senses are not sufficient to give us positive conviction with regard to these heavenly bodies and therefore we still have to exercise faith so is it to a high degree in spiritual affairs we walk by faith not by sight

Consistent Ethic of Life?

Brandon stated: Dom Hélder Câmara talked about a ‘consistent ethic of life’, wherein *all* life possesses equal value, and the marked lack of a consistent ethic of life has been one of my long standing critiques of the “pro-life” (or more appropriately: “anti-abortion”) movement.
Links to http://thelewisnote.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-miscarriage-matters-if-youre-pro.html

When you spit the “anti-abortion” movement into its sexual purity vs the life aspect, the inconsistency almost completely goes away if one looks at the sexual purity side alone. 

Alas, said splitting off often leads to the heart wrenching commentary many of those ladies received post miscarriage. I’m guilty of this too, ie I would grieve for a highly promising youth group leader killed by a drunk driver on the way to church… but for someone who started out with 4 embryos via fertility treatments and only 1 took, not so much. It would be the same lack of grief for the unborn with the young couple who keeps on trying to have children, but the zygote never implants. 

The end state gets really ethically murky, as in the above situations, its no longer a natural or even probability issue… going in, its known that said actions will result in deaths, despite your hope that eventually one might survive. Its a similar murky deal as concerns environmental issues… ie we know with significant confidence that some pollutants and/or specific concentrations result in massive increases to the probability of miscarriage and/or fertility issues. We also suspect a few others, and there are many others which might lead to trouble but we turn a blind eye out of convenience / intentional ignorance. Bottom line, we as society as well as individuals have made the call either by pocket book or by voting that the cost of reducing the rate of miscarriages / infertility is too high to justify.

This then runs into the tribal values… ie a consistent ethic of life for the unborn while it sounds good is anathema to most groups who put a very high value on sexual purity. Environmental issues, reproductive science etc are not only counter to the tribal mores, they are a distraction from the bottom line issue of sexual purity… Ie, we need to stop abortion, we don’t want to splinter our efforts to save zygotes, they workaround it by stating the death of the unborn is by chance, or is natural, and its definitely not by intent… which flies in the face of observational evidence to the contrary.

If one does hold to a consistent ethic of life from conception… things get really sticky too. Ie, contraceptives prevent fertilization, but when you go off them, you now generate a bunch of zygotes of which you play the probability game for one to implant and to survive to birth, leaving who knows how many to die. Its probably a good thing that human nature overruns scientific knowledge or our species would cease to exist, at least within the confines of those who wish to ascribe to a consistent ethic of life from conception.