"Biblical" Decision Making

A long time ago, I subscribed to The American Vision’s “Weekly Digest” and, although I personally find that much of its content “rubs against my grain”, I continue to receive it.

In a recent newsletter, I read the following article: “Scientists Said it. We’re Forced To Believe It.” at: Tuesday, October 5, 2021 by Gary DeMar]

  • " Is there such a thing as “science”? There isn’t. Science is not a thing like a shovel used for digging, a microscope for viewing what can’t be seen with the naked eye, or a gun to send a projectile through the air. To “follow the science” means to follow the opinions, theories, and conclusions of people who collect and organize knowledge (the meaning of the Latin scientia ) in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.
  • The process of scientific discovery requires many first principles that exist before science can be done. A scientist must presuppose the reasonableness of reason, the logic of logic, that what is done experimentally today will work in the way under the same circumstances tomorrow:
    • " Every scientific outcome will be determined a priori by the presuppositions that the scientist, who is engaged in the scientific endeavor, holds by faith. Nobody is presupposition-free, but we all need presuppositions, by way of worldview, in order to make sense of reality. In other words, before a person — Christian or non-Christian — begins any scientific endeavor, he or she already holds basic presuppositions concerning metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. A person holds these presuppositions or assumptions by faith since he or she cannot gain any knowledge or understanding without having a concept about reality (metaphysics), knowledge (epistemology), and morality (ethics) first. …
    • The scientist who thinks that he is neutral, or “facts-only,” as is often claimed, has already fallen into the trap of his own biases without even knowing it.[1]"

For those who are unfamiliar with the theological-philosophical foundation of The American Vision in general, and Gary DeMar in particular, I’m going to go out on a limb and summarize it as: “Ultra-Orthodox Calvinist”. IMO, they are to Christianity what the Haredim are to Judaism.

However, the purpose of my brief summary is to focus on the topic of " ‘Biblical’ Decision Making".

According to The American Vision’s “Statement of Faith”,

  • The Doctrine of Scripture
    We believe that the Scriptures, of both Old and New Testaments, are the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God written. The Bible is the complete revelation of God’s will for salvation, and the ultimate authority on all issues of life, faith, and practice of the Christian religion. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

It is my impression that The American Vision’s Doctrine of Scripture justifies the assertion in the article cited above, that: “Science vs. Faith is a Great False Dichotomy”. [Cf. Science vs. Faith: The Great False Dichotomy] Consequently, I believe–if I haven’t misunderstood the claim and its theological-philosophical foundation–that The American Vision and its proponents are saying that “Science-based Decision Making” is non-Biblical and bad for Christians, whereas “Biblical Decision Making” is good for Christians.

What, then is “Biblical Decision Making”?

The article posted by Gary Demar begins with this verse: “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17)..

“Cool!” I say. I have often seen others agree with the first argument given for doing or not doing something, and I confess that I have done the same thing. The verse from Proverbs simply says, “Hold on! Don’t automatically assume that the first argument is the best argument.”

What, then, does the Bible say we should do when there is a dispute over whether to do or not to do something?

Proverbs 18:18 tells us: “Casting lots causes contentions to cease and separates the mighty.”

So that’s the “Biblical” method for deciding whether to do or not to do something.

Here, I am reminded of Annie Duke’s book: “Thinking in bets: making smarter decisions when you don’t have all the facts”. Now, that’s “Biblical” decision making. After all, as Annie Duke notes in her book: “Life is Poker, not Chess.” The moral? The Bible says: “Gamble your way through life.”

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As a linguist, this is an interesting use of the word thing.

True.

I reject the presupposition that presuppositions are held by faith. Some are, but that doesn’t mean that presupposition means “assumption believed to be true based on faith.”

This is a convoluted way of explaining that everyone has an epistemology and a priori presuppositions. But that doesn’t mean that all epistemologies are “faith-based.”

Sounds like this guy just realized we live in postmodernity and are all limited by our perspectives and social-cultural locations. Welcome to a discussion the rest of us had in 1997, dude.

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I like “Decision Making by the Book,” by Haddon Robinson. In sum, he says that Proverbs and most of the Bible tell us to use our earthly wisdom to make decisions–God gave us brains, after all and He seldom intervenes. We used it as a Sunday School text a few years ago.

Decision Making by the Book: How to Choose Wisely in an Age of Options: Robinson, Dr. Haddon: 9781572930216: Amazon.com: Books

I like your humorous review, @Terry_Sampson . Do you think that Asimov’s quote might be relevant here?
“When people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together”

Thanks.

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Sigh. Another facepalm rant by someone who hasn’t set foot in a laboratory since finishing compulsory science education at the first possible opportunity at age sixteen, quite clearly doesn’t even have the foggiest what science even is, let alone what scientists actually do, but thinks that just because he’s getting his scientific understanding from “reliable” sources such as Answers in Genesis and hasn’t been “brainwashed” by a science degree, that somehow means he is better qualified to discuss the subject than “secular” scientists.

Does he even realise that scientists reach their conclusions by measuring things? Does he even understand that science is something that many of us have to get right in order to do our jobs properly – very often in situations where not doing so would kill people?

Basically, what he is arguing for is postmodernism in a cheap cassock. The right to make things up and invent your own alternative reality, and to then try to use the Bible to defend that right.

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All that you say is way over my head. i am a simple man.

But talking about Science. i love Science, always have, i was the kid that got the new Chemistry set for Christmas.

Here is the Truth, Science is only relevant to the physics of a particular planet. Science conducted on Jupiter, will be NOTHING like Science done on Earth.
Here is another TRUTH, Science is squashed by Faith. NOT visa versa.
It is Scientifically IMPOSSIBLE to walk on water. Yet Faith can do it anyways. Therefore a persons Faith is not bound to the laws of the Science of this planet.
It is not Scientifically possible to turn water into wine in a matter of a few minutes. Yet God can do so.
It is not Scietifically possible to turn a few fishes into thousands of fishes in a few minutes. Yet God is able to do so.
It is not Scietifically possible to turn a few loaves of Bread into many loaves of bread either, But God did so.
It is not Scientifically possible to create an entire planet in 6 days. Yet God is able to do so. This generation utterly fails to understand the Power of God and what He is able to do. It’s like trying to explain to fish how to play Chess. They don’t have a clue. Likewise Humans don’t have a clue what God can actually do, they don’t believe God could actually create a planet in 6 days, because it is they that can’t fathom that being done. And the most ironic things about the whole 6 day thing is, God could have done it in ONE.

Like i said this generation has no clue. Just because Scientist say the Earth can’t be created in 6 days, does not mean Christians should believe what they teach.

i love Science. Buy my Faith is greater than any Science done on this planet. If Science contradicts the Word of God, that is an evil science, and i can care less how much evidence they present to back up that evil science.

OK I’ve had a closer look at Gary DeMar’s post. To be fair, I think he does have a legitimate concern. There are certain people who, especially when discussing certain political “hot potato” issues, have a tendency to cry “the science is settled,” as if it were some kind of magic shibboleth with which to shut down debate, and he is trying to address the question: how should we, as Christians, respond to this? When can we legitimately challenge people who claim that “the science is settled,” and how?

The problem is that because of his lack of scientific understanding and experience, he isn’t able to provide any effective answers to these questions, and he just descends into diatribe and conspiracy theories when he tries, and ends up sounding like he’s demanding the right to believe whatever he wants to believe without any regard for hard facts whatsoever.

I think that there is a case to be made that the scientific consensus can be swayed by political pressures in some circumstances. However, we do need to be careful here. Such a challenge is only likely to be credible if:

  • The consensus in question is fairly immature
  • There is no other science that depends on the theory in question
  • The theory has no practical applications whose success or profitability depend on it being correct
  • The challenge has no conflicts of interest whose success or profitability depend on the theory being wrong.

This might be instructive:

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Just one point here that you need to be aware of. The problem is that we’re not just talking about the Earth being created in six days. We’re talking about evidence for 4.5 billion years of history that never happened being created in six days. That’s a completely different ball game altogether.

The fact of the matter is that the Earth bears testimony to a long and detailed history of specific, identifiable events happening at specific, identifiable times with specific, identifiable causes and specific, identifiable effects. Sure, God could create a planet in six 24-hour days. But for Him to create a record for a detailed history of 4.5 billion years of events that never happened in six 24-hour days seems out of character given what we read about His character and nature in the Bible.

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What evidence? Just because humans say something is evidence, does not make it evidence. If Scientists were to examine the Wine that Jesus made, they would most certainly say “the Evidence shows us this wine is 100 years old” When in reality it was made a minute ago.

And another thing, Humans method of Dating, is WAY OFF. They do not understand that the atmosphere we have today is NOT the same atmosphere prior to the Flood. ALL of their dating methods is solely based on THIS atmosphere that we have today.

i was going to respond to the rest of what you replied, but it seems to have disappeared. A few minutes ago, the Evidence of what you said was a FACT, now it is not.

Oh, its back up again.

[quote=“jammycakes, post:7, topic:47083”]
The fact of the matter is that the Earth bears testimony to a long and detailed history of specific, identifiable events happening at specific, identifiable times with specific, identifiable causes and specific, identifiable effects. [/quote]

Specific, identifiable times. is what is in question. Just because a human archeologist says a ruin is 15,000 years old, does not make that the Truth. The method of Dating is SERIOUSLY FLAWED. i have made a video about Carbon 14 Dating, and just how Wrong it actually is: https://youtu.be/ZlbtbkeX-0k

God did NOT create a 4.5 Billion years of events. Man did that thing. God according to His Own Word created a Record of 6,000 years of events, via His own Word of God. The Word of God teaches 6,000 years. The word of humans teaches 4.5 billion years of events. Surely you can see this Truth.

We clearly and plainly read in the Bible 6,000 years of events. Believe that and not what humans teach.

My apologies for the confusion – I deleted it because I thought that I was probably getting off-topic by following this line of discussion. I’ve restored it to keep things coherent. But the moderators are able to separate out these replies into a discussion of its own if necessary. I’ll leave them to make that call.

Regarding your other points – there’s a lot I could say to address the specifics, but the most important point – and the one I made earlier about this thread in general – is that if you are going to address scientific claims, you must first make sure that you know what you are talking about and that your facts are straight.

The Bible leaves a lot of things open to interpretation about things such as the age of the Earth, the Flood, or even evolution. But there are some things about which it is completely unequivocal and leaves nothing open to interpretation whatsoever. For starters, the need for accurate and honest weights and measurements:

¹³Do not have two differing weights in your bag — one heavy, one light. ¹⁴Do not have two differing measures in your house — one large, one small. ¹⁵You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is giving you. ¹⁶For the Lᴏʀᴅ your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

You need to understand that scientists determine the age of the Earth by measuring things. This means that if you are going to challenge their conclusions about the age of the Earth, you must make sure that your own approach to weights and measurements is accurate and honest when you do so. In particular:

  • You must make sure that your account of the raw evidence is accurate. If something exists, and it has attributes that can be measured, then it is evidence.
  • You must make sure that your account of the scientific theory, and the way that the evidence is interpreted, is accurate. In other words, you must make sure that you are challenging what scientists teach in reality, and not a garbled misrepresentation of it.
  • You must make sure that your quotations are accurate. Any time you quote anyone, you must make sure that you are fairly, accurately and transparently representing both the context from which the quote was taken, and the views of the person making it.
  • You must make sure that your approach to measurements is accurate. You must not exaggerate nor downplay the extent or significance of discrepancies and uncertainties, for example.

I’ve got a three-part series of posts that explain what that means in detail. Start here:

(Also, part 2 and part 3)

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Is there really such a thing as a shovel?

And though I think it’s entirely fictitious but the 12th disciple to replace Judas was finalized by chance (God?).

Gamble on Jesus. Nothing else.

Yeah but science and logic and reason and rationality and soundness of mind and a broad education and experience are all biases!!! What are we to do???

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Well I would not want to contradict the word of Dave, so I will not trouble myself to educate you as to why carbon dating is reliable. But I do ask, if your stance is that your interpretation of the Bible says it, you believe it, and anyone who does not go along is evil, why do you even bother? You are deeply ignorant of the science of carbon dating, and that presents no love of science, science which includes physics, geology, and dendrochronology. If these subjects disturb you, avoid them, but do not mistake your apologetics for science.

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That’s presumptuous of you Ron. Science is whatever DD says it is. It’s like modern art, you know? Pareidolia.

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