Raising Little Humans,  This Motherhood Journey

It Matters {Answering the BIG Questions}

GC Photography
GC Photography

Raising children is kind of a big deal. Raising children in the world we currently live in? Challenging and down right scary! Turn on the news at 6pm and you’re bombarded with images of pain, suffering and heartbreak.

I tend to be a worrier, (somewhere my husband just said AMEN!)  so when I fast forward our lives 20 years to our babies beginning to leave home, it kind of terrifies me. I can’t protect them forever and I can’t predict the future, but I can point them towards a living loving God who holds the universe in His hands. I can also do my best to equip them with the knowledge they need to defend their faith, so when they come face to face with adversity, which they absolutely will, they can say with conviction what they believe.

Sorry Mamas, are my words feeling a bit heavy today? The reason I’m telling you this, is because our church is taking up a new series this fall called The Great Debate.

great debate

No matter who you are or what you believe, you have a world view. This new series starting September 7th at Village Church is going to address these different world views seen in our culture today and what Jesus would say in conversation with people like Oprah, Ghandi and Richard Dawkins.
Here’s the topics and dates:

*Naturalism– The matter of the mind. (September 7th)
*Pantheism– The appeal of personal achievement. (September 14th)
*Theism – The basis of morality. (September 21st)
*Polytheism – The experience of the spirit. (September 28th)
*Statism – The structures of the state. (October 5th)
*Postmodernism – The ideal of acceptance. (October 12th)

The Great Debate from Village Church on Vimeo.

You may have never been to church before or haven’t been in years, but this really is the perfect opportunity to drop in and think about some things. What do you want out of life? What do you want for your childrens future? How do you answer those BIG questions your kids ask around the dinner table? It’s important stuff, and this series will at the least give you something to think about.

If the idea of attending a gathering full of people like me intimidates you, (and I am SO not intimidating, as you well know!) remember that the church isn’t a museum of good people, but a hospital for the broken. We all have hurts, scars and times where our faith is shaken. We really are a friendly bunch and we’d love to see you and your family visit. And BONUS Moms – we’ll totally watch and entertain your kids so you can relax for a change!

Service times are 8:30am, 10:10am & 11:50 at The Bell Center and 4pm at Chandos Pattison Auditorium – Both in Surrey! Let me know if you want to come so I can keep an eye out for you!

As always, you can reach me with any questions by leaving a comment below or messaging me via my Facebook page.

Much love to you friends,
Carolyn

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To keep up to date on all things Village Church, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also follow along with The Great Debate series here.

 

Comments

comments

6 Comments

  • Luke

    Hi. I wanted to give a member (?) of Village some feedback on the first installment and maybe ask a few questions to satisfy my curiosity. Just to get it out of the way, I would describe myself as an atheist (or agnostic atheist) rather than a Naturalist. I take no firm stance on Naturalism (might be true, might not be; I haven’t properly assessed the major arguments for and against it). Still, many of the issues Mark brought up for Naturalism are potential problems for me. Anyway, here we go . . .

    (1) The series name seems to be to be a bit of a misnomer. It wasn’t much of a debate no matter how you slice it. Mark attacked Naturalism virtually the whole time. As far as I can remember, nothing critical was said of Christianity. There was, of course, no one there to represent Naturalism. No one to respond to Mark. The other side was not given a fair hearing. So everyone was left with a thoroughly one-sided Great Debate, which, frankly, would be a more appropriate title for this series. Granted, I’m just going by the first installment. Perhaps the others will be different. But I’m doubtful. That leads me to my first question: Would you be interested in seeing a proper debate between a Naturalist (or atheist) and a Christian at Village? Do you think that would be good and helpful for the congregation? If you had the opportunity, would you push for something like that?

    (1.2) The text-in-your-questions format is not sufficient. For one, I personally didn’t really have “questions”. I had responses. Nonetheless, I did text some questions in, though at least for a couple I included a brief response somewhere in it (“brief”–it is, after all, a text!) Unfortunately, none were interacted with–as they weren’t read. There was only enough time for two questions! Gah, disappointed. I realize Mark may answer them in a video that will be put online, however, I don’t know if my questions will actually be read in full, nor do I know how many people will even bother to view it. I don’t mean to sound whiny and narcissistic here. “Hey, MY questions weren’t read! C’mon!” I’m just frustrated by the lack of question time and the fact that it was so lop-sided. (Even if my questions are read, refer back to point 1.)

    (2) Mark tends to give the impression that some arguments are slam-dunks, when they are anything but. Take Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. There wasn’t even a hint of a Naturalist’s response anywhere in his presentation of this argument. In case you don’t know, Plantinga’s argument has generated a fair amount of discussion since it first appeared. In 2002, a whole book was dedicated to it (Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism), and numerous papers have been written discussing it, both for and against. But there’s another problem. The vast majority of people (and, I suspect, 95-99% of people at Village) would not be able to adequately assess this argument (and I think I might have to include myself in there). The knowledge, and, I’ll say, “tools” needed to examine this argument are not easy to pick up. If you doubt this, take a look at the debate Plantinga and agnostic philosopher Paul Draper had at Infidels.org back in 2007 (http://infidels.org/library/modern/alvin_plantinga/conflict.html). So, it seems to me that ignorance is a killer here. Some may–mistakenly–think that it’s *obvious* that Plantinga (and Mark) are right. They’re ignorant of the complexity of the argument; of the issues involved; of the fact that there is much disagreement over it, etc. So Mark is–unwittingly (I don’t think he’s malicious or dishonest)–“capitalizing” on people’s ignorance. That’s a problem. That *does* bother me. (I don’t know how much reading Mark has really done on this argument; as far as I know, he just doesn’t know how controversial it really is, etc.) That leads me to my second question: Would you be in favor of Village recommending books and articles that argue against the arguments/claims that Mark made on Sunday? Or those in Skeptics Forum? Like a card with a list for those that wanted it? Why or why not?

    (3) There were at least a couple of things that Mark said that were incorrect and/or misleading. I’ll only cover one because I can’t remember the exact details of the other(s). I’d have to wait for the video to come online. The error/misleading statement was him saying that Evolution is a “theory”. Now, it’s true that’s it’s called the “Theory of Evolution”. However, in a scientific context, the word “theory” has a different meaning. It does *not* mean a good guess or something like that. The way Mark said it really gave that impression. (Fyi, I was at the 8:30 service; I do not know if Mark said it like this in the others, or if he said it at all.) When speaking to lay-audiences, it is crucial to make things like this clear. If you’re unaware of this different-meaning-in-a-scientific-context-thing, the following article should prove helpful: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

    Having a debate partner there to correct him would have benefited everyone.

    A couple other important things:

    (1) Naturalists (or atheists/agnostics) don’t play follow the leader (this isn’t meant as some subtle dig at Christians following Jesus, by the way). That Dawkins (a Naturalist) approves of aborting those with down-syndrome, does not mean that I (or Naturalists) ought to follow Dawkins on this. Arguments are required, not authority. I also do not know how this is suppose to follow from having a Naturalist worldview. Naturalism is “the idea or belief that only laws of nature (physical law) (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.” Possibly Mark is thinking that Naturalists ought to follow Nature or (specifically) Evolution. Something like, “Humankind kind must progress, must kill off the weak.” Notice that’s not in the definition of Naturalism. More importantly, why on earth must I (or a Naturalist) go along with that? There seems to be an implicit assumption that the Naturalist ought to believe that Nature is always good (or something like that). Put simply: From my perspective, we’ve “woken up” in a universe that does not care about us. Our genes “care” about making copies of themselves–using means that have frequently been nasty (though not always; in some environments, the fittest may be the most intelligent or helpful to one another; animals can team-up against predators, thus increasing their chances of survival). We can recognize this fact and say, “No thanks. That’s not how we want to live. Let’s try and figure out a better way and do the best we can.”

    (2) Mark mentioned Steven Pinker and Melissa Drexler–again. That’s the 18-year-old who put her newborn in a trash can. In my service, Mark just didn’t say enough here, leaving people with–potentially–the wrong impression. I’ll just say this: Fyi, Pinker most definitely did not approve of what she did. Nor does he anywhere state that we ought to if we hold to a Naturalist worldview. You can read Pinker’s article for yourself: http://www.gargaro.com/pinker.html

    Okay, this has gone long enough. I’ve been critical throughout, but I’d like to end on a positive note. I’m glad Village is doing this. I’m glad they did Skeptics Forum. Like you, I think this is “important stuff, and this series will at the least give [people] something to think about”. And hopefully, in will cause them to look even deeper into these issues.

    • momentsinmommyland

      Hi Luke. Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and leave your thoughts. Seriously, I appreciate it! I am a member and I will definitely pass along what you’ve said to our pastor or someone else who can properly address/answer your points 🙂 My husband loves this kind of thing and I’m sure he and I will go over what you’ve mentioned too!

    • Mathieu Bechard

      Hey Luke!
      My wife runs this blog, and since I’m interested in these types of discussion, I figured I’d respond to a few of your comments! I’m glad you attended the service last week, and I hope you come back again! I attend the 4PM service at Chandos, so if you ever decide to go to that one, let me know. If you want to talk in private, you can find me on Facebook and PM me (this is a “mommy blog” and not the best place for theological debates haha). My page is https://www.facebook.com/mathieu.bechard . I THINK that link will work. If not let me know.

      Anyway, I can only agree with you on many of your points. There wasn’t much time for Q&A (but hey at the 4PM service, we got through half a dozen questions), but as you know, Mark is planning on answering most (or all?) of the questions during the week. You’re right that the service wasn’t set up as a formal debate, and it wasn’t really intended to. The “debate” is the debate that’s been going on since the beginning of mankind, and this series is simply to show what the (very basic) Christian response is to the major worldviews. I’m not in charge of determining what Village church can or will do in the future, but I’m guessing they won’t be hosting any live debates. I’d check out YouTube for that.

      You’re right that Mark called evolution a theory, because that’s what it is. I suppose if he had said “Hey everyone, Evolution is JUST a theory, so you don’t need to accept it”, then I would understand your point. However, he called evolution a theory (which it is) and proceeded to give some scientific reasons why Christians are skeptical of the theory. I find this an odd complaint about his treatment of Evolution, but maybe I’m missing something.

      You claim that you don’t need to “go along” with naturalistic ideas (survival of the fittest, killing the weak), and that we should “figure out a better way and do the best we can“ but you seem to be missing the point. If you are a product of evolution, of the laws of nature, and if everything is governed by natural law, then how can you go against that? Aren’t you just a complicated biological robot reacting to the chemical interactions in your brain? As soon as you talk about free will, you’re talking about something immaterial. Matter behaves according to the laws of physics and chemistry – there is no right or wrong, good or evil. It just is. Is that all you are? The product of blind natural laws? If so, you can’t figure out a better way. You can’t even think freely. You are simply reacting to pre-determined laws. On naturalism, you are reduced to a biological machine re-acting to the laws of chemistry and there is nothing you can do about it.

      As you said, this series will get people thinking, and I also hope that it gets people to start looking deeper into these important issues. It’s amazing how so many people can live their lives day to day and never stop and THINK about their worldview. There is only one truth, and we can’t all be right! I’m convinced that Christianity is true, and I hope that one day you’ll become convinced of that as well! Christianity offers the only solution to the problem of evil – the evil in our own lives that we all commit on a regular basis, from coveting, lying, pride, lust, etc – and that solution is forgiveness through Jesus Christ. But you probably think that that is just crazy talk so I’ll stop now 😛 Haha

      Anyway, I hope to hear from you! Though we may never agree, we can still respectfully disagree and so I thank you for that. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!
      Cheers,
      Mat

      • Luke

        Hi, Mat. Thanks for the friendly reply.

        Regarding Mark calling Evolution a theory. When everyday people hear the word “theory” they tend to think “guess” or something along those lines. As in, “Well, that’s just my theory, anyway.” A scientific theory, which Evolution is, is emphatically not this kind of theory. That’s the problem. Mark did not explain this. He did not say “scientific” before saying “theory” and then explain to us why he was doing so, and what was going on here. Or anything like that. People not versed in science are typically unaware of the different meanings. If a science instructor used the word “theory” in front of a group of novices and failed to point this out, that instructor would not be acting like a good, responsible instructor. As I said in my initial comment, “When speaking to lay-audiences, it is crucial to make things like this clear.” Just to let you know, I engage in online and face-to-face conversations with people of different religious persuasions quite frequently. I actually have talked with 6 (!) Mormons in the past month and a half (which has actually got me interested in researching the origins of Mormons, as I’ve done for Christianity). Anyway, it’s hard to count all the times people have said something like, “Well, Evolution is a theory, right?” And by that they mean something like, “good guess.” I still remember my best friend saying precisely this 4 years ago, me correcting him, and him being confused. It was only after I got him to read what actual biologists/scientists have written on the matter that he finally understood–and conceded he was wrong. (Throwing in “just” is unnecessary; they’re still using the word “theory” wrong, as I’m always quick to find out.) If you still think this is an odd complaint, rather than a fairly important one, I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree. Consequently, I won’t say anymore here (unless asked).

        Regarding this comment of yours:

        “If you are a product of evolution, of the laws of nature, and if everything is governed by natural law, then how can you go against that? Aren’t you just a complicated biological robot reacting to the chemical interactions in your brain? [. . .] On naturalism, you are reduced to a biological machine re-acting to the laws of chemistry and there is nothing you can do about it.”

        Free Will (perhaps especially on Naturalism) is another very complex issue where there is much disagreement among experts, which makes me very cautious about drawing conclusions.

        The account you give is one of Hard Determinism. To me, that’s just not obviously true. To put it vaguely, there may very well be something we’re missing, especially, I think, in a world in which there just weren’t any gods. Atheism could be true, but Naturalism false, as atheism only *necessarily* eliminates one thing: gods.

        I have to withhold judgement here until I look into the matter more.

        And now back to the first part of what you said:

        “You claim that you don’t need to “go along” with naturalistic ideas (survival of the fittest, killing the weak), and that we should “figure out a better way and do the best we can“ but you seem to be missing the point.”

        No, I wasn’t missing the point–because I was addressing a different one. See, I don’t share your view that if Evolution (or Naturalism) is true, then Hard Determinism is true. It might be true; it might not be. As I said in my first post, I take no strong stance on Naturalism. Free Will in a Naturalist’s world (or just a godless one) is an area where I am regrettably not well-read. I have only done some preliminary looking into the matter–and I’m aware there is much disagreement and certainly no consensus among philosophers and scientists*. So, I am willing to look at this issue from multiple perspectives (e.g., there is free will; there isn’t free will; or there is free will to a certain extent). I was, of course, assuming we have free will in my first response. (Unless my memory is failing me, Mark never brought up free will at the 8:30 service, so I did not think to even comment on it. I actually thought he was granting free will to the Naturalist and saying, “Why aren’t you killing off the weak?”)

        * A book just recently came out called “Moral Psychology: Free Will and Moral Responsibility”. Noted philosophers and scientists go back and forth for over 400 pages. To get a better idea of what’s discussed and the complexity of the issues involved, see the review at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews :
        http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/48373-moral psychology-volume-4-free-will-and-moral-responsibility/

        And one book I’ve had my eye on for quite some time now is by philosopher and process theologian David Ray Griffin. It is called “Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem”. He argues for a view called “Pan-experientialism”, which “provide[s] a naturalistic account of the emergence of consciousness—an account that also does justice to the freedom that we all presuppose in practice.”

        I hope to get to these books (and others like them) sometime in the next year or two. Mormonism is on my plate right now. The missionaries made me do it! Anyway, I wanted to mention them to also give you an idea of how much I would like to work through before coming to any kind of conclusion on these frustratingly difficult matters.

        Some Leftovers:

        (1) Believe it or not, I would like it if Christianity (or something like it) were true. A supremely powerful, loving God watching over me and my loved ones. A pleasant afterlife. Yes, please. But my experience and studies tell me it is not. And as Sagan warned, “When we are self-indulgent and uncritical, when we confuse hopes and facts, we slide into pseudoscience and superstition.”

        (2) Regarding your comments on the title of the series. Fair enough.

        (3) Maybe you’ve assessed the matter are convinced that Hard Determinism is true on a godless worldview. Okay. But–again–I have not. Perhaps my assessment will be different. Perhaps you erred somewhere (perhaps not). I guess I can just end this by saying: Time will tell (or not–perhaps we’ll never find out, if atheism is true).

        (4) Dealing with very complex and controversial issues; or, My Grey Bin.

        I have a certain way of going about things. If I stumble on some issue that, say, is related to the Theism/Atheism debate, I will consider a few questions, like: What kind of knowledge do I need to assess this? How complex is it? Is it one that would take a significant amount of time to work through? Who are the experts working on it? What have they written? What conclusions have they reached? Is there substantial disagreement among them? If it’s at least very complex and there is substantial disagreement among them, well, that issue is going in my Grey Bin–which is a place in my mind I keep issues like that. I won’t forget about it. It’ll always be in (and on) my mind–but I’m going to put it off to the side. Will get to it later. It’s something I’ll have to devote a fairly significant amount of time to. I will try not to let it get in the way of other issues I’m dealing with–unless I have reason to believe that it (probably) intersects with them. Then I will look at said issue(s) from multiple perspectives (e.g., If Y is true, then what? If X is true, then what?) This is a rough account, anyway.

        (5) It should be clear but I want to emphasize that I don’t have answers or firm views on some major issues. Words like, Maybe, Probably, Possibly, Could be, run through my mind frequently. Dealing with this stuff will probably turn out be a life-long project. I’m not terribly confident I’ll find the answers either. But, hopefully, I’ll enjoy the hunt.

        (6) If I’m not working, I’ll be there every Sunday for this series. I always enjoy listening to the music.

        I actually don’t have a Facebook account. I deleted it years ago. I can cease commenting here now. No big deal. I will happily give you the last word if you’d like. I have said what I wanted to; got off my chest what I needed to. I’m glad I was allowed to do that. And if I ever plan on going to Chandos, sure, I’ll find a way to let you know.

        (Hope I caught all my errors this time. The perfectionist in me was so not pleased with that first post!)

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