My Story: an Intellectual Journey

My Story: an Intellectual Journey
by Glenn R. Morton

I am presenting this here hoping against hope, that someone whose heart is absolutely against a historical Bible will get their heart softened a bit. Here is my story.

I decided to tell the brutal truth about my life for once in my time here on earth. In part this is for my great grandkids who will never know me or my struggles, and in part for my youngest grandkids who will barely remember me. It isn’t a figurative story, it is actual history, but I have not told it in a strictly chronological order. I am not looking for sympathy or for someone to say I am a victim of anything or even for anyone to say "I’m sorry’; what is done was the fault of people not alive today. I am not a victim, like this snowflake generation is, who claim victimhood at the drop of a hat, after having lived quite privileged lives. I have done exceptionally well in life and most people think it is because I grew up in a loving 2 parent family–something quite untrue. But God used all of this to shape me into a person who could stand against two different crowds–the theologically liberal crowd, and the YEC crowd. While God didn’t cause the events described, people did, it is for this reason I tend to Arminism in my theology. Mankind has dominion and we have screwed it up royally.

I do not come from a long line of Christians. On my father’s side they were atheists. in 1830 my great-great grandmother, Laura, was born out of wedlock and raised by her father and his jilted wife (not Laura’s mother). I think Laura’s mother, Susannah, might have been a prostitute. She lived in that part of town later in life. Laura married my great great grandfather, William Morton and they had a son, George Washington Morton. Laura was unstable. She had 5 husbands in her life, one child out of wedlock and by age 15, George was on his fourth father and his only full sister had died. George grew up to be a salesman who sold windmills by day and impregnated farmer’s daughters at night. DNA, documents and history have proven at least 4 different families, 3 of which were near simultaneous. George abandoned all but my great grandmother. One of the abandoned wives did go into prostitution and her son, my grandfather’s half brother, eventually became the mob boss of Peoria, Illinois running the largest prostitution ring in US history up until that time. In 1915 he went to Leavenworth for 3 years. My father and grandfather were an atheists My grandfather was wonderful to me as a child and I remember him fondly and especially when he let me slide , not telling my mother of some bad things I did to and with my cousin. You will understand why this meant so much to me later, not wanting my mother to punish me. But earlier in Grandpa’s pre-retirement life he was a mean old drunk which is part of the story below.

On my mother’s side, half were nominal Christians, her other side was the guy I call the pedofile. At age 25 he was living with an unknown 15 year old. At age 35 he was married to a 22 year old. She was not the same woman as 10 years earlier, and at age 44, he married my great-great grandmother, age 16. Such behavior was not the norm even in the South in the 1800s contrary to rumors. This last pair did stay married for nearly 50 years though. My mother was not an atheist but a bat-crazy Baptist of sociopathic activities.

Some of my earliest memories seered into my brain was my mother’s punishment–pull down my pants and whip me with the buckle end of a belt 5-10 times, with often the buckle whiplashing around front and striking me where men hate to be hit. This was age 3 and continued until maybe 10 years old. I remember at times my bowels loosening because of the utter fear I was feeling as the punishment was started. Fear is a powerful biological laxative. She could go off at the drop of a hat, one never knew what would set her off, and if she didn’t have a belt handy, she would grab anything available and start whaling away. She left me with a great distrust of authority figures. My brother got it worse than me and I worse than my younger sister who was never hit by the belt. I think my mother had an issue with men. She never cuddled or played with us.

My father taught me that the best way to handle mom was to not be anywhere near her. Dad was largely gone (he said playing golf but I can’t imagine anyone playing THAT much golf). But as a kid, when he and mom would get into a row, he would grab my brother and I and take us out to the doghouse at an oil rig to sleep. I was an adult before I realized it really is called the doghouse, I had thought it was because we were in trouble. As I grew up, I would sequester myself in my room and read science books which made me want to become an astronomer. My brother, he was dumb, he thought he could woo mom like he could woo anyone else he met–he paid for that erroneous belief with pain. He did spend a lot of time over at friend’s houses, and after 18 returned home only once. Once when mom gave him a beating, he opened up the window yelling into the neighborhood, ‘Help my mother is beating me’. No one came and mom made it so he didn’t go to school the next day. I learned that day that what Gary had done was a bad idea. No one was going to help.

I didn’t know any of the details about this event until this year, when, after a 36 year hiatus, I talked to my cousin who lived with us for 8 months as a baby. My pregnant aunt caught polio and was put into an iron lung, a big barrel sized, early mechanical respirator. For you younger people, I am probably at the tail end of those who actually remember cases of polio. The Salk vaccine came in 1957; until then, hardly a family existed who hadn’t had some member affected by polio, made lame, limp, or killed. My cousin Maudie was born inside that iron lung and because Uncle Bob had to work, their older kids when to be with my grandparents and Maudie came to live with my Baptist mother of sociopathic activities. My mother starved Maudie, I think tried to starve her to death. This is fact–not figurative history. When after 8 months it was time for mom to give birth to my sister, Uncle Bob came to pick Maudie up and was horrified at her condition. Mom said it was diarhea, but the nurse who nursed my cousin back to health told Maudie years later that it was severe malnutrition. Pictures of Maudie show she didn’t grow much during her stay with us and she left with a protruding belly and vacant eyes. My mother had attempted to murder my cousin. Maudie asked me what had been going on at my house and I laughed and said, I don’t know, I was 5 years old when you were with us–I was not very observant at that age.

This paragraph is partly theory to fit together disparate facts told to me. I don’t think the family bought the diarrheic theory of Maudie’s condition. My dad about this time tried to divorce Mom, but his fear was that she would be given custody. Mom’s parents came down and told Dad that if he divorced their daughter they would take her and us kids and disappear back into the Tennessee mountains where they came from and he would never see us again. Dad stayed if mom would go get psychiatric help. She did go to a shrink, dad told me, and he diagnosed her as a sociopath causing her to refuse to go again because she didn’t like what he had said. Dad stayed but was largely absent from home, leaving us in her care anyway. Because dad didn’t go to church Gary and I stayed home to play until mom paid us a dime a week to go to church–this proves two things: I am a professional church-goer and we sold out cheap.

Everyone at church thought mom was a long-suffering dear Christian oppressed by her atheist husband; no one suspected of her hateful, hypocritical activities at home. Mom would write nasty letters to my grandfather telling him that she worshipped King Jesus while he worshipped King Alcohol. It was an ineffectual witnessing technique. She wrote nasty letters to everyone, and only 2 letters survive because everyone threw them away. She wrote a King Alcohol letter to my new wife when she learned that my father-in-law was bringing eggnog to a Christmas party. She refused to come. She refused to come to my children’s baby dedications on theological grounds. I think we were all relieved she wasn’t coming. Mom really hated that I started smoking at 15 and getting drunk on the weekends at 16. I think she was correct in this; it wasn’t a good thing. She also didn’t like that I married a ‘dirty Arab’ as she described my fiancé to my sister-in-law (my wife is of Lebanese descent), and she would be horrified to learn that I have grandchildren whose genes flow from China, the aboriginal New World, and Africa as well as Europe. She was not the kind of Christian anyone wanted to be.

Sometime around 10, I was sexually abused twice that year by someone close to me. Each time I came home and tried to feel clean. This is like the 7 thunders in Revelations, who it is will be sealed up until the next world. I have only told one of my sons that this even happened. Amazingly, I hold no ill-will towards that person, which is not the same for my mom. Again, I never considered myself a victim who could go ‘poor me’ in a self pity situation. Self-pity accomplishes nothing but run your friends off. I simply took steps to avoid that situation again. I was going to be in control as best I could be.

From age 10 to16 mom ceased the belt routine in favor of whacking us about the head and shoulders with whatever was handy. At 16, I hit back. She cried all day and I expected she was going to tell Dad, who never stood for us sassing back to mom much less hitting her. I expected real problems when Dad got home. Either she didn’t tell him or he told her she got what she deserved. I will never know which, but Dad’s wrath did not darken my bedroom door that night. It was about this time I quit going to church. I was 17 and I was moving to atheism, not hard core because I was a largely uninformed atheist. But then, I think Dad was as well.

At college, I was a physics major. I was interested in how the universe worked. I was interesting in truth, not fiction, and I chose one of the toughest disciplines I could. My profs didn’t hardly know who I was, because I never spoke to them outside of class–my fear of authority. I got good grades, 3.5 in physics but was overlooked for the physics honor society because no one knew who I was. I did go see the prof and beg my way into that society. Again I felt authority had let me down. An honor is not an honor if you have to beg for it, even though I had fulfilled all the requirements and it should have come automatically without begging.

I came out of college with a major in physics, minors in math, astronomy, Latin and anthropology, and then because there were no physics jobs, I did grad work in philosophy of science, until we found ourselves with a child on the way and I had to find employment. But that year of philosophy was the best spent year. In my interview, I recall telling Robert Newman, the Dept. Chair, that I was interested in Philosophy of Science and Religion, which he said “Most people say they aren’t related”. My life path begs to differ. In that year, I learned how to theory-build which made me a good exploration geophysicist where I made up theories of where oil was and was quite successful–a billion barrels found by me and my teams. Philosophy is all about what is a true statement and what is a false statement. Logic was developed as a tool to determine that.

One reason I didn’t know the profs was that I had to work my way through college, without college loans. My parents had told me that if Gary and I saved enough for 2 years of college they would pay the last two. We did. Gary being 4 years older got that benefit. When it came time for Dad to pick up my last two years, and I was broke, he told me that he couldn’t support me in college because he had Gary up in dental school, in Nebraska. I always knew Gary was the favorite–president of this and that organization, Eagle scout, Baptist RA’s Ambassador Royal Plenipotentiary, lettered in 3 sports, popular with the girls, and good looking like no body’s business. Girls my age would ask me to introduce them to him–they had no interest in me. So, I had to work, go to school and spend the weekends doing physics problems. What I didn’t know until my dad’s funeral when Gary’s widow told me was that Dad went to Gary at that time and told him he could no longer support him in dental school because he had me down at OU to support. Atheists can do this because there is no afterlife in which to be caught in their lie.

At the fraternity one night Campus Crusade, now Cru, sent Athletes in Action to share the gospel. They came to dinner and then would have a meeting afterwards. I, Phil and Jeff, sat at the dinner table with a light-weight wrestler. We did everything we could do to gross him out, offend him, pick on his religion. After dinner Jeff went upstairs to go study, Phil and I went in to listen, I think again we wanted to mock the Bible thumpers. Phil became a Christian that night. I was slightly appalled. but Phil’s life changed dramatically, in a good way. and a month later, he talked me into going to a Cru meeting. I saw kids that had meaning in their lives and were not like mom’s brand of harsh hypocritical Christianity. They presented the gospel, and I didn’t want what Mom had and was resisting as best I could. I stood up to leave when a rather blunt girl sitting next to me said “Where do you think you are going?” I guess I wasn’t going anywhere, I sat back down. lol. I became a Christian that night.
Over the next two years, I fell into YEC, not because I didn’t know the problems but because I was taught it was a theological necessity. Many YECS feel that way, I think of a friend Tony with whom I worked. He as a great geologist but fired because of his YEC beliefs–I worked desperately to save his job, but work quality didn’t matter to the religious bigots at the top. Tony should be mad at me for having tried to save his job. He went out and became a multi millionaire using the skills my company rejected, and if I had succeed, God couldn’t have blessed him in that way.

At age 19, I told my roommate, with whom I had the Turkish translator experience that I was going to solve the creation/evolution issue. Little did I know what God had in store for me. The translator experience became my anchor when my 15 years of doubt about the truth of Christianity almost drove me to chuck it all and return to the path of my forefather’s athiesm. My turkish translator experience can be found at https://discourse.biologos.org/t/my-turkish-translator-experience/40632. I found a solution but no one liked it.

When my brother died of brain cancer when I was 25, it left a huge hole in my heart and panicked me. I figured I might go at age 29 as well and I began working on the creationist issues manically. One night I griped to my wife about what Henry Morris didn’t know about geology and she shut me up with the question, “Can you do any better?”, I shut my mouth and returned to my home office and began to think about different solutions. That led to me publishing 30 creationist items many of which were in the Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 1 in Ex Nihilo and a couple of other places. My 1979 paper was the most influential one among the creationists. I did radiative physics analysis of how the vapor canopy as envisioned by Henry Morris and Jody Dillow, would turn the Earth hot as Venus. It took 10 years of debate but in the early 90s most creationists dropped the vapor canopy some actually citing my paper and saying I was correct. I think it has been taken up again in this century but I am not sure. My YEC solutions didn’t work either and by 1985 scientific data came in that destroyed what I had carefully crafted to explain a young earth without violating geology or physics. This and the fact that a new editor came in the CRSQ with the express instructions to stop any more of my publications, the rejection of a book I tried to publish and my layoff from my job of 11 years, led to the start of my 15 year crisis of faith. Like my friend Tony above, I too was fired because the Vice President didn’t believe I could be a good geophysicist and believe YEC. The ironic thing was, I had already started moving away from YEC at the time I was fired.

The heavens rained on me (some might say whizzed on me) during this time. I came home to tell my wife that I had been laid off and she told me she had breast cancer. She had the better tale of woe that day. I raged at God for leading me down this path and dumping me. I felt my prayers went no higher than the ceiling if they even got that far. This was 1986 and my son needed an $80K/year medicine and I had no insurance. My oldest son doesn’t remember this now, but he came asking to go to the movie with his friends. I had to say no, he thought I was mean, but I literally (not figuratively) had no money with which to send him. Sixth graders don’t understand layoffs very well and my son was no exception. Dad was supposed to be a money tree regardless.

Around 1979 or 1980 my wife won volunteer of the year for Josh McDowell’s organization. Through her, I met Josh and offered my assistance if he ever wanted to know anything about creation/evolution. Josh took me up on that saying he wanted a book on that topic and would I write a bunch of chapters for that book. I did. I wrote 2/3s of that book. Another friend of mine in Dallas Russ Wise wrote about 20% of the book. Neither of us were listed as co-authors, we were thanked on an page near or after the table of contents. I was devastated that I had gotten no credit for what I wrote. I was mad and hurt that they had removed my copyright notice on each of the pages I sent them and published it(I still have those original type written pages) I immediately thought of the rich man in the Bible who cheats the poor (He was famous and I was unknown at the time, hoping this would be a big break for me). Most might have sued, but I thought of Abraham who decided to let God handle his situation. Looking back on that, I am glad I let it go, my name is not prominently displayed on a book of horrible false science! Josh may have made the money (I got none), but in the long run this was a big favor. Once again, though, people in power screwed me over. It is why I don’t trust them–the famous are mostly out for themselves and don’t expect help or gratitude from them that is far too much to ask of them–they are the leaders of the mindless crowd ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS FENCE(see below).

The odd thing about the creation/evolution ‘mission’ I was on was that God would never let me quit it. I quit it in 1985-1990. A 1987 article in CRSQ was totally written by George Howe from our correspondence, but he would not put his name on my ideas so it appears that I actually wrote an article. the ideas and most sentences were mine, but I didn’t write or submit it. I just reviewed it. I quit again in 1999, and again in 2004, and again in 2016, and here I am again. I am hopelessly stupid and haven’t gotten the message that no one likes the fish I am peddling. I figure I probably have only a couple more years of fish peddling but who knows, I have outlived 3 prognostications of my death, so I might still be here in 5 years. God has been good to keep me alive for 16 years with a cancer I was told would kill me by 2005. Another miracle in my life and the doctors don’t know why. I think it is prayer.

In 1991, Jim Lippard saw me on Talk.Origins and asked me to comment on a YEC problem with pseudogenes. Jim had heard that I, who had published 31 YEC items was now in post-yec mode. That forced my change of beliefs from YEC to evolutionist out into the public eye. I was 41, still a believer, but one in search of an answer to my problems. The theological left, which is most of those reading this where I will first post this, agree with atheists like Lippard that the Bible has no historical or scientific content in early Genesis. Unlike the liberals, Lippard and atheists are intellectually consistent. they disbelieve the Bible and consider it unworthy of anything because it is false; liberals say it is ‘figurative’ stories or metaphors not meant to be taken seriously. I can’t get around Huxley’s view of this approach, and you shouldn’t either:

If we are to listen to many expositors of no mean authority, we must believe that what seems so clearly defined in Genesis__as if very great pains had been taken that there should be no possibility of mistake__is not the meaning of the text at all. The account is divided into periods that we may make just as long or as short as convenience requires. We are also to understand that it is consistent with the original text to believe that the most complex plants and animals may have been evolved by natural processes, lasting for millions of years, out of structureless rudiments. A person who is not a Hebrew scholar can only stand aside and admire the marvelous flexibility of a language which admits of such diverse interpretations.” Thomas H. Huxley, “Lectures on Evolution” in Agnosticism and Christianity, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 14

and I couldn’t get around H. G. Well’s atheistic critique either:

If all the animals and man have been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there would have been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no Fall, the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which current teaching bases Christian emotion and morality, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961), p. 776-777

It isn’t just YECs(as was implied here yesterday), who hold to the idea that if there is no historical basis to our historical religion then it collapses like a house of cards. Atheists believe this logic and are intellectually consistent in rejecting Christianity. We no longer believe that malaria comes from bad air. Nor do we opine upon the figurative wonders of the message behind the bad air theory of malaria (which means in Italian I believe, ‘bad’(mal) air (aria)). Nor do we marvel about the deep meaning of Phlogiston theory anymore. We simply say it is false and move on to another view. In no other sphere of life do we proclaim that what is false is still to be believed, except in religion, and all religions do it. Few of you have read the Kiti ‘i’ Iqan, the Bahai book, but it says that if you leave copper in the earth for 70 years it turns into gold. Bahai adherents say that is figurative as well in order to defend their religion. A person can defend any intellectual position at all if one resorts to the technique that it isn’t telling us anything verifiable but is figurative and thus the theology contained in the observationally false document is meaningful anyway. This is the theological equivalent of declaring victory and going home, whether you won the war or not! If a football team declared they won the game and left the field with 4 m left in the 2nd quarter, would we believe them? The liberal way is to say they won a moral victory so it is true. The rational way is to say they forfeited the game, thus losing it. The YEC way is to say they left in the second quarter of baseball. Neither awarding a moral victory nor changing the game is rational.

Believing in the illogical is not a substitute for faith. In my mind believing the illogical is not evidence of faith; it is evidence of illogic. Faith is more than mental belief; it is stepping out and trusting God even when the ice looks mighty thin. Doing like Peter stepping onto the sea, or the supposedly nonexistent Noah building a nonexistent boat with no assurance of rain. Those who have not lived this kind of life, have missed incredible things. Saving faith is not Kierkegaard’s belief in the absurd; it is faith in a living God who can do things we find unbelievable, but which might leave some evidence of it’s happening. Events like the creation and the Flood are things subject to scientific scrutiny–especially the Flood which would leave geologic deposits as every flood does, and there are no widespread (away from the rivers) Holocene deposits to be found in the Mesopotamian basin, period. Geologically that rules out that basin as the site of the flood. No normal riverine flood could match the Biblical description.

There is another way to look at this: The atheist view of the Bible is cold. The YEC position that Genesis is history is hot even if they don’t understand and mis-represent how it happened, they believe what they think is God’s word. The ahistorical Genesis view is utterly lukewarm. It doesn’t truly believe what God inspired, so the view can’t be said to foster action for the Lord, but neither is it willing to go with the utterly cold atheists. I am reminded of what our Lord said about lukewarm: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. But then, that will probably be said to be figurative as well. For my part, insisting on a truly historical Genesis, I will stand proudly along with the YECs, but not with their stinking science. I will stand proudly with the liberals on science but not with the unbelief.

During this time I was struck with the potential of the Mediterranean infilling to match fact for fact with the geological details of the Noachian flood. I had to fight like a she-cat defending her kits in order to get that published. A debate was set up for me and Dick Fisher on the old ASA list, and I showed so many flaws with the Mesopotamian flood locality (like water has to flow uphill to carry the ark up several thousand feet to land on the Mts of Ararat and that such a flood would flush everything down to the Persian Gulf and Indian ocean in three weeks and that if water actually reached the Ararat mountain heights one had a global flood.) I shamed the editor into reconsidering publishing a physically plausible flood scenario even if it was at the unapproved time epoch everyone believed of the flood. I had proven that he had published flood theories that violated known laws of physics, like a hurricane that lasted on land for a full year–could God do that? Yes, but it would have left evidence and there is none.

But my doubts continued and got to the point where I wondered seriously if I can’t trust Christians of this age to deal with verification and refutation of theories via observational data, HOW ON EARTH CAN I TRUST THE OBSERVATIONS OF THE UNEDUCATED DISCIPLES ABOUT A RISEN MESSIAH? This still bothers me occasionally. We have to depend on the truthfulness of the disciple’s description of the resurrection. We have no choice. We can’t observe the event ourselves. This event can’t be figurative. If it didn’t actually/factually happen, then, well you know, Christianity collapses. Jesus didn’t have to walk on water for Christianity to be true, but he did have to rise physically from the grave. If we turn this event into a merely spiritual/irrefutable figurative, mental belief, then there is nothing to see in Christianity. It isn’t merely a house of cards, it was the biggest scam in earth history.
I see no other logical choice here, and yes, my faith involves the use of logic and yours should too. Billions believe Mohammed was God’s prophet. There is no observational data to support that statement. It might be true, but it might be false. It is a statement about the mental state of the person saying this. The person who says “Mohammed is God’s prophet” is describing his mental belief, not an observational fact. Similarly if we say the resurrection is merely spiritual and not historical, then we are reduced to the same state, merely describing the values of our brain’s memory banks, that those memory locations are filled with the belief that Jesus arose spiritually. Having something in our brain’s memory banks does not ensure that it is true; it merely ensures that it is an existing belief state.

As I see it, the theological liberals are slowly eating away the foundations of our religion–event after miraculous event is said to be figurative and not real–Adam and Eve’s creation, talking snakes, Balaam’s donkey, Lot’s wife(just a just-so story) Creation is reduced to the merest tiny unprovable metaphysical squeek, lacking observational evidence supporting it, “Of course God created the universe”. The Vienna circle would hate a statement like that because there is nothing observational about it. And because it lacks observational content, it also lacks power.

Stephen Weinberg famously offended the Christians at a Philip Johnson Nature of Nature conference at Baylor in 2000, which I recorded, when he said of various God’s,

I would define supernatural to mean Zeus, or Jehovah, or Christ, or Allah or Ahura Mazda or things like that. And, I strongly suspect that the people who are raising the issue of naturalism really have that on their mind anyway. I can’t keep repeating that list so I will just and I really don’t want to give offence to any particular sect, so I just lump them all together as faeries. Supernaturalism is the, well, naturalism is the belief that things are the way they are for reasons that have nothing to do with faeries.” Steven Weinberg, Transcript of tape, Weinberg/Schaefer Debate, Baylor University, Thursday April 13.

As far as the Vienna Circle and Weinberg would be concerned, the statement that “God created the universe” would be equivalent to saying “Faeries created the universe.” And they would be correct–the two bare statements are equivalent. If that is all we got, a bare statement with no observational support, I fear Weinberg wins. He, like my atheist boss once did, would laugh at the idea that a fictional Genesis supports the truth of the Bible’s salvation story. As my boss said, “It would STILLLL be false!!!”

The thing that kept me a Christian was that I couldn’t get around that Turkish translator event. I couldn’t call it a fluke and it gave one clear message, God is more powerful than any of us ever thought. From that I reasoned that the two boxes Christian theologians have placed us in, YEC or a historically false Bible (with which the atheists gladly agree), are shackles on our ability to solve the problem. Solutions to any philosophical or scientific problem rarely come within the present paradigm. There is always a disruptor. I am not the disruptor because no one likes my views. Maybe one of you can do a better job of finding a solution than I did, but a solution that maintains the historicity of the Biblical account is a crucial need. YECs need not apply. Y’all know nothing about science.

In the last few years, God has shown me some more wonders, scientific evidence for the existence of the immaterial soul–was given this while reading a scientific article the week after I found my cancer had gone to my bones and I was a bit bummed. It was like God sending me a cheer up card–you will survive your death it said. Physicists have avoided that data for 100 years, and Christians seem not to be interested in it, which amazes me. And in the last few weeks I have been shown possible evidence to answer questions about the Exodus (again Christians here in this crowd seem uninterested), and a marvelous solution to the census numbers in Exodus passed my way in the form of a paper my Michael Bar-Ron. His solution has been out there for 60 years but translators continue to translate eleph as 1000 rather than as chief which is logically more fitting, thus once again making the Biblical record look stupid and false. Why we Christians prefer an ahistorical stupid illogical book, or adherence to a false YEC science, or a translation that makes no logical sense, amazes me and makes me think that people don’t really trust God to be able to answer those issues. For all these years, even when my trust was extremely weak, I have, in fact, trusted God that there were logical answers to these problems. I now know them and that has added great power to my witness. Kierkegaard was wrong, knowing is power. I KNOW the Bible stories are real, in a way similar to how St John knew of a resurrected man. That knowledge led St. John to risk his 86 year old life trying to bring back a lost sheep who was now the murderous leader of a gang of criminals. Only KNOWING that he had seen a man rise from the grave can give an 86 year old that kind of bravery; generally we oldster are cognizant we have no strength left to give a good fight. A spiritual/figurative resurrection couldn’t do that.

This raises the question, why would God send me on a mission that I have sworn off of 4 times in my life, each time vowing never to have anything to do with it again, only to be drawn back to it like a moth to the flame where I can see my ideas scoffed at as ‘science fiction’ as one writer on this board said of them? Or asked why I would want a historical Bible as a moderator here once asked. I can’t ever seem to once and for all leave this area. It seems to be an attraction I can’t resist. I don’t know why God gave me this thankless task; but I know in my gut and with all the fiber of my being that this was God’s will for my life.

I remember as a kid hearing a preacher ask the kids, “How many of you want to know God’s will for your life?” Almost everyone raised their hand. Then he asked, “How many of you are willing to do whatever it is he has for you?” Almost all hands dropped to the side, including mine. I certainly didn’t want to be a missionary in some foreign country (and yet I ended up living on two other continents sharing the gospel). The preacher then said, those with your hands raised will be the ones to find God’s will. I deeply believe that what I have done with my life was God’s will for my life. Everyone else appears to disagree with that view given the results that have come my way–here and there someone thanks me for these views, but mostly, they are ignored, ridiculed and misunderstood.

I will say to those of you who have not lived an intellectual life like me, traveling far from the comfort zones of YEC or ahistorical Genesis, you have missed living a wonderful life. I have learned more about why Jesus was rejected: the crowd knew that nothing good comes out of Galilee, the crowd knew he wasn’t the messiah and thus couldn’t forgive sins, the leaders all knew Jesus was a country bumpkin, born out of wedlock, from flyover land like me, not worthy of notice and a troublesome irritant at best and most importantly the arrogance of the highly educated who knew that only uneducated country folk would fall for a guy like Jesus. This last reason is why so few of the leaders seriously considered Jesus’s claims. One of the things I think we Christians are called to be is a troublesome irritant to our society by reminding them that there is a God watching over things and pay back is coming if we don’t accept God’s get out of jail card, which he graciously provided for us. I will finish with a couple of Bible verses,

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat

Crowds are almost always the wrong place to be. They panic and trample people, and they lead to huge financial losses when the crowd is selling their stocks and the prices are low, that should be the time to buy, but few do–they are selling with the crowd. Similarly, the world crowd all believe in a universal salvation and it is offensive to them to believe otherwise. Even many here believe in a universal salvation. But if that is the case, what was the point of the cross? Be a Buddhist, no one has to die and you still get where you want to go, nirvana or heaven. The crowd believes in hell, just not for themselves. I think it is incumbent upon us Christians to evaluate whether we are pleasing the crowd, or pleasing God. Are we trying to impress our atheist colleagues that we too believe the bible is ahistorical and we don’t believe in spooky supernatural events? As Paul asks in Galatians, a book I once had totally memorized but sadly have lost it over the years: do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ

Pleasing men means being in the crowd–look around, how crowded is the intellectual space you occupy?

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I have yet to come across anyone with my view of the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, that humanity comes not from genetics but from what God taught Adam and Eve, and that evolution is more compatible with Christianity and the Bible than creationism. The creationists, however, are quite a crowd and I meet tons of them, stubbornly refusing to see the overwhelming evidence for evolution. Furthermore I hear testimony from many that being a part of that crowd is a big part of why they bought into it when they did. Sure there are a lot of atheists and those who treat the Adam and Eve story as nothing but a metaphor. I have little doubt that many are simply tired of letting cult interpretations of the Bible dictate what facts and scientific findings they pay attention to – and they no doubt simply want to remove from their thinking what (the Bible) has become nothing but a tool of dishonest rhetoric and manipulation.

But I see no great crowds with my view of things. And I have little doubt that in my case you will see that as the reason why I am wrong. LOL Empty rhetoric is so flexible that way, lending itself so easily to the forked tongue of hypocritical double talk.

I am reminded of serial killers and rapists who also say they are on a mission from God. Clearly, saying so and even believing so does not make it so. But perhaps more importantly… just because God sends you an a mission does not mean that your views on all things is from God and perfectly correct.

Hi Mitch you would lose that bet. I do not see the number of adherents as any basis for truth or falsehood. I think you need to take some philosophy courses to see that my philosopher training specifically excludes the classical ad populum argument which is, “Everyone knows xyz” That is a formal logical fallacy because it presents no evidence other than the popularity of the argument. I actually admire your creativity in your view. I disagree with it on other grounds as I recall it from our discussions but it isn’t for lack of popularity that I disagree with it.

From my perspective both YEC and ahistorical genesis views are a bit cultish. If you disagree with either side (and I disagree with both) you get loads of push back multiple people piling on saying the same thing, and both of those views are utterly non-creative. There is nothing original in accepting what ‘everyone’ believes. I happen to think we should be creative and original in our thought. You are, I clearly am, but conformity to the grand mass delusion is eerily similar to the book 1984 and politics on both sides today. Hope you are doing well.

You wrote: I am reminded of serial killers and rapists who also say they are on a mission from God. Clearly, saying so and even believing so does not make it so. But perhaps more importantly… just because God sends you an a mission does not mean that your views on all things is from God and perfectly correct

Thank you for connecting me with serial killers and rapists. That is one of the most novel insults I have ever had, but it is at least creative. lol

There are some bets which one is happier to lose than to win.

I suppose it is more relevant and lot kinder to simply point out all those who believe they are sent on missions from God for so many different religions, denominations and groups. I have pointed out before, that as a physicist, I tend to see much of the truth revealed in extremes.

[long and redundant quote of self removed by moderator to prevent everyone from spraining their scroll fingers.]

In human behavior truth is found nearer the top of the Gaussian curve than out at 5 sigma. Humans are too complex for simple physics to model.

I am going to add this quote from an old Christianity Today article, about Mencken’s view of Christianity. I think Menken is correct in his logic but I have no problem with the supernatural. I fear that many of those who have given up on any historicity in the Genesis stories think Mencken was correct but agree with him that faith in such things is illogical. The problem is that one must still believe in the supernatural at the point of the resurrection, so if one has to get wet in the rain, why fear at such times getting wet by jumping into the swimming pool?

Of course, supernaturalism was to Mencken superstition. God and ghosts, hell preaching and snake oil for rheumatism—they were all the same; and there was as much evidence for witches as for immortality. “Faith may be defined briefly,” he said, “as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.” Since he felt he did not accept anything on faith, every Christian was, ipso facto , a fool, since being a Christian demanded acceptance of the supernatural by faith.

Obviously Mencken was not proselytizing for Christianity when he thus insisted on the supernaturalism of Christianity. But he drew the line clean in a way many with more claims to Christian truth than he could well emulate.

Mencken saw Christ’s supernatural Resurrection as central to Christian doctrine and demanded to know if it really happened. If it did, he admitted, there might be something to Christianity. If not—and of course he chose that side—it was “sheer nonsense.” Grabill, V. L. (1956). [Mencken from the Grave]. Christianity Today , 1 (6), 17.

The top of the curve displays the most obvious. Physcists have found it is the rare extremes which reveals the less obvious which tends to be hidden in the crowd of data most of the time.

And that is where Mencken was rather willfully indulging in self-delusion. Everyone accepts things on faith. It is unavoidable. It is how logic works – you draw conclusions from premises accepted on faith. So which is worse? The one who is fooled by others or the one who fools himself?

We disagree on the extreme because people. If people’s consciousness is ruled by the material world and I know we disagree on that, they would be ruled by an extremely large number of extremely complex non-linear equations that feed back on each other. Physics does not have the tools to deal with such a system, much less the computational power to model it. Going to the extremes in people just finds you weird one-offs, anecdotes, not general rules.

We agree on Mencken being delusional but you seem to avoid the real issue he raises. if we Christians have to believe in the miraculous at the resurrection, we are already believers in supernatural, spooky things. To act like other lesser spooky things are not acceptable is like saying I don’t take bribes after one already took an earlier bribe. That is why I wrote that if we are already drenched in the rain of supernaturalism with the resurrection, what is the point of acting like the acceptance of other the supernatural events is beneath our dignity? The other miracles in the Bible, talking snake, talking donkey, Lot’s wife are just the swimming pool of supernaturalism. If we are wet in the rain of the resurrectin, what exactly is the basis of the reluctance to jump in the swimming pool of the other biblical stories?

Depends on what you mean by miraculous.

If by miraculous you mean things contrary to the laws of nature, then no, I don’t believe in such things. I do not believe that God breaks the laws of nature which He created and no I don’t believe anything else breaks the laws of nature which He created either.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in miracles or that I believe the science describes the limits of reality. I believe in a spiritual aspect to reality which includes God described in the Bible as spirit. I believe as taught by Paul in 1 Cor 15 that resurrection is a bodily resurrection to a spiritual body not to a physical body and yes this includes the resurrected Jesus who was not a feeble dead spirit or ghost but a powerful life giving spirit capable of anything we can do and more – not breaking the laws of nature but not confined to them either. And I don’t define miracles as God contradicting Himself but by doing good and unexpected things which the laws of nature allow even if they are not cause of them.

An event 2000 years ago told by a few witness in a book should hardly be described as being drenched in the rain of supernaturalism. And not if you include all the miracles in the Bible either. We know the talking snake was not a talking snake but Lucifer - the Bible makes this clear. Thus it is a demonstrable fact that the Bible uses metaphors, parables, and symbols. Excessive literalism is an example of what Jesus talked about in Matthew 13, of people closing their ears, eyes, and mind to refuse the truth.

It is the reluctance to put the Bible on the shelf with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in the fantasy section, having absolutely NOTHING to do with real life – because in REAL LIFE we are NOT swimming in any supernatural anything.

Mitch, if you disbelieve those other miracles, you have already placed the Bible on the shelf with Frodo and Harry. Your view that God doesn’t violate natural law means much of the Bible is false, regardless of what shelf you place the Bible

In my discussions on another thread where RichardG is acting like I am a young-earth creationist, I think I will use my story thread to point out that I am not a YEC. In 2006 I was invited to debate Henry Morris III at LeTourneau university in East Texas. ICR’s account of this debate can be found at ICR account

My account is below, written the day after the debate. Below that I will try to post my 15 slides of my debate years ago. I think they should disabuse anyone that I am a simple YEC like RichardG

Last night I had the debate with Henry Morris. When I arrived on campus, I met one of the guys who organized this. He told me I wasn’t the most popular person in the debate. He said that people had been calling him all day asking if Henry Morris was going to show up. (the callers obviously didn’t know that THE Henry Morris was dead). He said that no one was asking if Glenn Morton was going to show up. :slight_smile:

When I got to the building for the debate, I was getting my usual nightly stream of calls from China and was outside the building on the phone when Henry and his wife walked up. I finished the call and introduced myself… He was a pleasant fellow, rotund and looks a bit like his father. We had dinner with the faculty sponsers and I sat next to Henry and we had a great conversation. One thing will become important for later so I should note that I told him that I had had many christians call me names like, apostate, heretic and Son of Satan. He commented that that was too bad and people shouldn’t do that. (remember this). We had left our laptops set up in the presentation room while we were across the hall at dinner. When we came back into the room, I discovered to my horror that my computer was black screen unable to boot. But, I had happily put a copy of the talk on a CD so we used another computer and everything went well. Being the paranoid SOB that I am, I suspected someone did that, but, I no longer think that after talking to my IT guy. Just an unlucky coincidence. A friend who was there(who was a graduate of ICR & had had Henry as a teacher) and Henry both said the same thing–it must be a sign.

Before the talk, I had joked with the organizer that I was the ‘designated devil’. He was horrified at my joke, took me seriously and assured me it wasn’t like this. Then I found out that the moderator was a member of Henry’s Sunday school class. The introduction went something like this: ““On the Left, physically if not politically, is my good friend Dr. Glenn Morton, who used to be a young-earth creationist but he left the fold.”” On the right, is my good friend, Dr. Henry Morris, I know his heart as I am in his Sunday School class and he is a deep thinker."" (that probably isn’t quite the quotation but it was something like that–Neutrality defined right there). I thought again of the ‘designated devil’ and for the umpteenth billionth time, I had to tell an audience that I didn’t have a Ph. D.

ICR had also sent a filming crew. The rather slimy guy who was running that with his son, wired me up for sound. Somewhere during my talk, my mike fell off my shirt and dangled at ground level where I kept stepping on the microphone. I don’t think they got a good sound track from me. I doubt they got a good microphone back. The dad was, what my friend called, a cub reporter. More later.

As I told y’all I was going to take a new approach. The format was that I had a 20 minute time to present, He then had 10 minutes to question me. He then had 20 minutes and I had 10 minutes to question him. After that the audience was able to ask questions for 30 minutes

*I have uploaded the powerpoint below.[…removed stuff on the size of my pdf which is below in .png form.

Now, I have given talks in front of YECs before, but they always have a hostile look on their faces. Last night, was entirely different. They were LISTENING and I could tell it. By taking a biblical literalist position and arguing that the Bible taught an old earth, evolution, the origin of life and the big bang (and cosmic expansion), they couldn’t claim I was the devil. I had laughed and joked with Henry in front of the standing room only crowd. I was fastidiously cordial (something very hard for me). I wanted them to see that I was a nice guy.

Early on I noted that I knew many atheists who are formerly young-earth creationists. This came back to haunt me a bit after the debate was over.

I would discuss a bit of theology, then show a picture from geology and hit them with the question, how does this happen with 4 ft per hour of sediment raining down upon the-(whatever).? Then I would go to the next slide and repeat the theology/geology cycle and end with, how did that happen with 4 ft per hour of sediment raining down on their head? This was kind of a push me–pull you approach.

By starting with the first point on the 2nd slide (that the historicity of the bible is important), they couldn’t accuse me of being the devil. They laughed at my slide on what planet was Abraham from, so I was able to get some humor into the talk. Humor humanizes.

When I was through, I was actually surprised at the level of applause I got. It was Henry’s turn to question me, he was clearly thrown off balance. He said something like ““oh my goodness what do I say to that.”” He was trying hard to come up with critical questions. One funny thing happened. His microphone didn’t work so I gave him mine. He then asked me how I was going to answer his questions. I simply said, ““You could give it back to me”” The audience laughed. He asked me whether it was the science that was driving me to re-interpret the Bible. I told him it was the Hebrew. He then challenged my re-interpretation by asking me if I had made up the new meanings. I noted that the Hebrew dictionaries gave me the meanings and I could chose an interpretation that would make the bible historical. I then turned to the audience and aske ““if we have two possible interpretations, why on earth would we chose the one which would make the Bible false.”” Henry then asked me what gave me the authority to re-interpret the Bible. I said, it was my desire to have a historical bible? He asked me nothing that I recall about the science (I want to see the tape because in the heat of these things everything is distorted–it is an alternate state of reality.)

Henry then made his presentation. There was no science at all. It was a stock presentation on why the Bible must be read as global flood, no death before the fall and frankly he went at it so rapidly that his bullet points were flashing up and disappearing like lightening bug flashes. I frankly couldn’t follow it and was worriying that I too would have trouble asking questions. I finally picked up on death before the fall and thought of asking him about the meteor craters in the geologic column as I had forgotten to speak to that picture when I was on that slide. He ran out of time and had to simply stop in the middle of his FEDEX salesman presentation. What I recall asking him was if no one died before the fall doesn’t this create a Wiley Coyote universe in which a meteor could fall on the coyote and he would pop back up after the impact. He said, something like meteors didn’t hit the earth then because the earth was perfect. I tried again. I asked if a cow ate grass that had ants and aphids on it would the cow be gentlemanly enough to let the poor creatures escape before chomping on the grass. He said that those animals don’t have the breath of life. That the life is in the blood, which, he said, they don’t have, but they have some goo. I then pointed out the slide I hadn’t spoken to and noted that there were 4.8 billion megatons of meteorite impacts during the flood year, if the geologic column was due to a one year global flood. I also noted that the world’s nuclear arsenals only have 13,000 megatons so if we are worried about that killing all life, how did Noah survive such an onslaught and if it was miraculous, why not simply say the entire flood was miraculous. He claimed that we didn’t find meteor impacts in the geologic column. I said that we do find meteor fragments in the geologic column. I can’t recall what he said then.

I then noted that the Haymond formation requires animals burrow something like 40 layers per day if it was deposited by a global flood and asked if they were on drugs. (audience laughed) I think he made the comment that we couldn’t know the rates because they were based upon the model and the assumptions and that their model was every bit as explanatory as mine. I asked him to explain the Haymond formation and he said he didn’t know what that was.
We had a few rounds about cellular death and apoptosis (which word I forgot and had to ask help from the audience).

Then the floor was opened for questions. I got a question about the whale standing up in diatomite. I wasn’t entirely happy with my answer (I guess I need to re-look at that). One young lady asked Henry what gave him the right and authority to interpret the Bible in the way he did? (a parallel to Henry’s question to me). He claimed that he was not interpreting it but was letting the words speak for themselves. I got a question about what the rainbow meant. I didn’t fully understand what the guy was asking but finally when I did, I said, it meant God wasn’t going to reduce us to 8 people again. The issue of why God is still causing local floods is still an issue. One guy asked Morris if we couldn’t make inferences about the past. Morris said yes but there were limits. That guy emailed me today and is disgusted with YEC.

I think the thing that won the debate for me was nothing I did. I told you I had a friend who was an ICR grad. He made a statement that he had started out as a YEC and then went into the oil industry (I hired him out of college 25 years ago). He told the audience that he was time agnostic now–it didn’t matter and he told the students to go where the data said to go. Then he asked Morris a question that he expected would be a softball for Morris. The question was: There are many theological issues over which christians disagree which are not fundamental to the faith. Can’t one be a good christian and believe in an old earth?
He expected a ‘yes’. However Morris said, ““It’s like being a Christian and an adulteror”” There was a massive collective gasp that went through the audience. All eyes turned to me to see how I would react. I sat still (thinking to myself what Huxley said to his friend at the Wilberforce debate–The Lord hath delivered him into my hands–I was also humorously thinking that I hoped he didn’t talk to my wife!). He said other stuff, but at that moment I couldn’t listen to what he was saying. When he was through, the moderator offered me a chance to respond. I simply said I didn’t know what I could say to that. To which the moderator said ““We know you aren’t an adulteror”” (which, thinking like a scientist who evaluates evidence everyday, I thought, How do you (moderartor), know?) My wife thought his remark a wee bit tacky. My friend, felt bad for me until afterwords when we talked, he began to see it as absolutely hilarious. It is ironic that the guy who was clucking his tongue about people calling me an apostate/heretic/son of satan would compare me, even if inadvertently with an adulteror! I told my friend that he had won the debate for me.

Afterwords, my friend, I and Henry were surrounded by questioners… One guy was giving me grief for claiming that former YECs were actually atheists, when one young man at this christian college spoke up and said that He would be one of those except that my web pages brought him back to the faith–which shut that other guy up. The ICR cub reporter/father came up to me and asked me about the atheist statement, that YECs had become atheist. He asked me if I thought they had ever been christians. I told him he couldn’t quote me on my views in those regard because I am in sales, not management. God sees the heart, I don’t and it isn’t my job to judge those peoples status. I told him that I was merely describing them as they described themselves. No telling how I will be misquoted by this cretan.

Afterwards, at a local Wafflehouse, I sat down with my friend, whom I have known for 26 years and who has no problem telling me my faults what he thought. He gave me some minor presentation suggestions, but then said, 'short answer, you cleaned his clock, but, I would be able to do it without any preparation!"", which I took as a reason not to feel too confident of my debating skills! Honesty demands that I admit that I bribed him by buying his meal. He had driven 4 hours to come see this. But one of the important things, he said that he felt that my presentation was very accessible and understandable and let people see that the old earth could be Biblical. My friend isn’t an evolutionist, so I asked him about my lawn mowing analogy (on the slide). He said that it was a fantastic analogy (I don’t think I have yet converted him).

you can find my views on Genesis 1 and how to make it historical here

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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