Ben Carson and the Bible: Maybe He Should Get a Second Opinion

Posted by PeteEnns on November 3, 2015 in Fundamentalism politics 141 Comments

deadstate-Ben-Carson25 years ago Dr. Ben Carson’s gifted hands performed a delicate procedure on an extended family member—and his name has been spoken with great fondness, even reverence, in family gatherings ever since. He’s done great things and judging by those who know him, I am certain he is a kind and decent man I would be privileged to know.

But speaking as a fellow Christian, I wish Dr. Carson would get a second opinion before he brings up the Bible again. Or perhaps better yet, stop bringing it up altogether.

I’m not a Bible hater. The opposite. I love the Bible. I am a professor who deals with the wonderful complexities of the Bible and who teaches others to do the same. I help guide young Christians to maturity in their reading of the Bible so they can respect its voice rather than drag the Bible into strange places where it simply doesn’t belong.

Which brings me back to Ben Carson.

In a now famous Tweet, Carson recently claimed that his outsider status in Washington is analogous to Noah building the ark without prior carpentry experience:

“It is important to remember that amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.”

I wish this was simply rhetoric to appease the Christian fundamentalist vote—though that would be bad enough—but I deeply suspect there’s more going on here.

I’d bet good money Carson really does think that, as God’s man, and based on a Bible story, God will be sure to raise him far above his current level of incompetence and endow him with needed ability and insight to be POTUS. Just elect him and you’ll all see.

Such a quizzical merger of humble dependence on God’s help and self-assured confidence that God will no doubtCIc6vWhUYAAp0r4 give it—not to mention a childlike, flannelgraph handling of a complex, adult, and horrific story from the book of Genesis.

Carson has also put forward a “biblical” system for taxation—the Old Testament “tithe” where the Israelites set apart 10% of their crops and cattle as an “offering” (i.e., sacrifice) to God. Hence, Carson reasons, a tithe is God’s biblical economic template and therefore a 10% flat tax rate is sure to work.

Has Carson run the numbers? Has he thought this through? Has he even understood what a tithe is in the Bible? Or is he content to trust the Bible to give him God’s Iron Age plan for a 21st century global economy?

I wonder, too, who exactly plays the role of “God“ in this modern biblical remix. The state, which gladly receives the tithe from the worshipping masses? Carson’s beginning to sound like those dratted Communists (Socialists, Democrats, etc.) who erased God and put themselves in his place.

I’m not sure what’s informing Carson’s reading of the Bible here, but it seems more of a “off the top of the head” comment encouraged in an evangelical Bible study: “And what does this verse mean to you? What do you feel God is telling you?”

No thanks. I don’t even know where to begin to make sense of what Carson is thinking here, and I sort of resent the fact that he’s putting me in the place to do so.

More disturbing to me is that Carson feels his grasp of the Bible also makes him competent in matters of science.

Evolution, Carson assures us, is the work of the devil. The Big Bang doesn’t fare much better. (And I don’t have the energy to bring up global warming.)

Carson knows these modern theories are wrong because the Bible tells us that God made the cosmos in 6 days and formed Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from Adam’s side. Nothing can contradict this plain language God has given us, and so evolution and astrophysics are of the devil precisely because they are so devilishly convincing.

God’s Word always trumps evidence, no matter how apparently convincing. Just ask Galileo.

The issue here isn’t simply Carson’s failure to grasp science, as many note. The problem is his unexamined  assumption that the Bible is simply “there” for him to use as he sees fit, that a simple reading of Bible verses is enough to qualify him as an authority on everything from tax policy to astrophysics.

The Bible doesn’t work that way, and if this intelligent and gifted man expanded his sphere of Christian conversation partners, he would know that.

Does Carson not know or does he not care that there are roughly a bazillion deeply devoted and educated Christians out there who know a lot about the Bible, the ancient world, and how science works, and who are working overtime to rid American culture of the kind of biblical naiveté Carson is promoting?

What is disappointing to me in all this is that Ben Carson is, as I said, a good a decent man, with a gift to cut open your body and repair a spinal column with less effort that it takes for most of us to unjam our zippers. But this kind of “I’m just doing what God says” vibe may be quaint in private, but it is horribly irresponsible of an adult with a public voice—and disastrous as blueprint for running the country.

Carson’s handling of the Bible is as convincing to me as a faith healer would have been to Carson in that operating room 25 years ago.

brazen-serpentHad someone come in and gently suggested that Carson cancel the procedure because God heals those who cry out to him (Psalm 30:2) or push the high tech equipment aside and simple erect a bronze serpent so the patient look upon it and be healed (Numbers 21:9), he would have called security. And rightly so.

I’m glad Carson isn’t beholden to his own rhetoric in his own profession. I wish he would extend the same courtesy to areas outside of his expertise.

And as for me, I’m getting a bit weary of  breaking eye contact when someone brings up the latest Carson quote.

 

 

 

141 Comments

  • It’s perplexing – and not a little disturbing – that any physician would *not* be on board with evolution. After all, I’m sure Carson would promote his former patients getting an annual flu shot (annual due to the fact that the flu virus evolves).

    • This is a straw man if ever there was one. No person I know of denies INTRA-species evolution. A virus does evolve, but only into another type of virus. Just like Darwin’s finches, they evolved, but invariably, they still were finches, not one single example of one distinct species evolving into another exists, not even in the fossil record, no matter what these so called “scientists” tell you. There is no record of a finch becoming a lizard for example, or even a simple virus developing into an amoeba. Once can deny INTER-species evolution without denying that some evolution does take place.

      • Completely wrong. There are plenty of examples of evolution of new species. To name two: The Faeroe Island house mouse, and the Lake Nagubago Cichlids.

        All evolution is, is the accumulation of differences. To take the example of the Cichlids, as differences accumulate they become different forms of fish. They can no longer interbreed. This means that any differences that accumulate in one group do not get shared with the other. They become further and further apart. If one group develops lung like structures (as many species of fish do) and the other do not, then they are well on the way to developing amphibians. A million years later, sufficient differences accumulate to make the descendants of one group frogs while the other remain fish. This is not all made up theory. The fossil record is full of intermediate forms that occur at different periods in time. Embryology can reveal the succession and evolution of different body forms as the fetus goes through changes that were initially part of an earlier species. DNA comparison can reveal the branches of descent, of the tree of life.

        Evolution is fact, we know the mechanisms and we have the evidence.

      • Edwin, the problem with memorizing the mindless mantras of non-scientists like Ken Ham who don’t know how science operates (nor what the Theory of Evolution states) is that you confidentally pronounce a string of meaningless, straw-man absurdities which cause science-literate people shake their heads in disbelief. However, our public schools must share some of the blame—as well as citizens who give school boards and teachers so much grief about teaching evolutionary biology that most textbook barely deal with evolution and tend to confine it to a chapter or two so that weary biology teachers can skip those chapters and avoid a lot of hassles from parents. (Yes, it is an endless circle of fear and mediocrity.) Those who know what the Theory of Evolution states and understand the basic evolutionary processes realize that the Theory of Evolution is probably the very best attested of all scientific theories—but you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about when I say that so you are quite content to embrace the Argument from Personal Incredulity fallacy when spewed by ignorant non-scientists like Ken Ham. I understand your dilemma because I was once an evolution-hating Young Earth Creationist fan of “creation science”. Because I was a science professor and a skilled debater, I could get huge applause from Young Earth Creationist audiences, but much like Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Jason Lisle, and Eric Hovind, I had a very limited background in biology (16 credit hours) and managed to earn all A’s in those courses while avoiding learning all that much about the Theory of Evolution. And also much like them, I honestly believed that the Bible gave me important scientific knowledge that all the PhD scientists of the world lacked.

        How did I find my way out of the trap of man-made traditions and into an acceptance of what God actually created? A lot of work on my Hebrew fluency was the most important element, and then a lot of double-checking of the dishonest quote-mines which flowed pathologically from Drs. Gish, Morris, and Whitcomb. I was so troubled by the dishonesty that I confronted Dr. Gish backstage. His excuses made no sense. But I was totally shocked when an audience member nailed him during a Q&A and Dr. Gish promised to correct what was clearly a huge error in “the next edition of my book.” Not only did the next edition say nothing to correct the error, Dr. Gish repeated the fallacy at the very next “creation conference” the following weekend. (His promise was apparently forgotten.) I became increasingly troubled: “If we have the truths of God, why should we need to lie about the science?” What did my colleagues say in reply? “Why don’t you worry more about the godless atheists’ lies?” I surprised them by giving them an answer: “I don’t worry about what the atheists are saying because they don’t represent Jesus Christ nor me. On the other hand, Christ-followers are called to care about the truth and should never lie so habitually.”

        Needless to say, my popularity as a “creation science” speaker began to drop. That was a good thing because I couldn’t repeat the lies any more. So, believe it or not, Edwin, I do understand where you are coming from. In those days I said plenty of clueless pseudo-science babble which I had memorized from THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) and because I knew so little of the REAL science, I had no idea how ridiculous I sounded.

        What amazes me most, however, is that the mindless drivel I picked up from THE GENESIS FLOOD is still being promoted today! Even in the mid-1970’s when God convicted me of my personal culpability in promoting the man-made traditions and pathological lies of “creation science”, it took a lot of work for the non-biologist to debunk such a book. By that time I had taken a post with a smaller university and I had drive many miles to reach a university library of sufficient size to check the citations and see just how dishonest were the quote-mines. There was no World Wide Web —and certainly no Talkorigins.org—which made a point-by-point refutation a simple matter. By contrast, nowadays all you need to do is have an open mind and start reading what real scientists have published. (A half century ago, the “creation science” movement was so similar to today in that–much like most other cult-like organizations–we focused only on what “creation scientists” claimed and carefully avoided reading real textbooks and learning the science for ourselves. It should surprise no one today that Young Earth Creationist ministry websites carefully censor posts which might risk exposing their fans to the actual science. They even avoid clickable links to the real science due to the same fears.)

      • >” There is no record of a finch becoming a lizard for example, or even a simple virus developing into an amoeba. ”

        Of course there isn’t! There’s not a real scientist on this planet who would EVER claim that a finch becomes a lizard or a virus develops into an amoeba. You have confirmed for all to see that you have NO IDEA what the Theory of Evolution describes and why we know it is such a useful explanation of the changes we observe in living things over time.

        ===> I will make it very simple for you, Edwin:
        If ever “a finch became a lizard” or “a simple virus developed into an amoeba”, that would DECISIVELY DEBUNK the Theory of Evolution!

        PLEASE: Educate yourself on what the Theory of Evolution states and learn about the enormous piles of evidence which supports it. Learn how 150+ years of falsification testing has failed to overthrow a theory which explains the evidence so well.

        If you think you’ve found some serious flaw in the Theory of Evolution, I would encourage you to publish it in a peer-reviewed journal and start working on the acceptance speech for your Nobel Prize. You would be the envy of every biologist on the planet. Every scientist imagines what it would be like to do what Einstein did: expose a major limitation in the prevailing theory and provide a BETTER explanation for the available data—and describe the falsification testing that will put your new theory through its paces and demonstrate its advantages and superiority in comparison to the long prevailing theory. Einstein’s physics provided better explanations than Newton’s physics. If you can expose a fatal flaw in the Theory of Evolution and provide a BETTER explanation for the evidence we observe in the biosphere, you will achieve fame rivaling Einstein’s. (And I will enjoy telling people how I saw you explain your revolutionary new theory before you were famous.)

        P.S. Can you tell us exactly how much a finch would have to change before you would consider it a “non-finch”? How many changes must take place before an amoeba becomes a non-amoeba? If those questions are too difficult—especially if you think such changes are impossible—I will give you some much simpler questions to answer: When does a baby become a toddler? When does a child become an adult? At what moment in time does a pre-pubescent human become pubescent?

        if those are too difficult, how about:
        What is the exact spot where the Appalachian Mountains begin?
        Where is the line separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean?
        Exactly when did the Latin language disappear?
        Who were the very last speakers of Latin who gave birth to Italian speakers?
        For that matter, which child was the very first speaker of Italian? (And what were the chances that the first speaker of Italian would grow up and find some other speaker of Italian so that they could produce Italian speaking children?)
        Did the parents of that very first speaker of Italian look at each other and exclaim, “What’s he saying? I can’t understand a darn thing this crazy kid says!”

        A BIG HINT for Edward: When you say “There is no record of a finch becoming a lizard, for example.”, you sound just as clueless as someone who says, “There is no record of the language of Latin-speaking parents evolving into an Italian-speaking child!” Do you agree that languages evolve over time?

        Of course languages change over time. Yet, there is no exact moment in history when “a Latin-speaker turned into an Italian speaker”. The gradual linguistic evolution did NOT mean that some set of parents found themselves unable to understand the language of their children. Yet, if Latin-literate parents wrote a letter to their descendents a thousand years later, their Italian-literate descendents would have a very very difficult time figuring out what the time-capsule letter said.

        Yes, Edward. Language evolution provides many useful analogies for understanding biological evolution. You are WRONGLY assuming that our generalized NAMES for biological organisms define with exactness the “boundaries” beyond which a species is allowed to evolve. If you TRULY BELIEVE such boundaries exist, explain them to us all! Explain how a WORD defined by human speakers (e.g., finch) somehow GOVERNS various varieties of birds so that they STOP evolving at some certain point. (HINT: words like “dog”, “cat”, and “cow” group various categories animals. Yet, Hebrew and Chinese draw those boundaries differently, using various words in those languages to group and classify those animal varieties in ways entirely foreign to you and me. LIkewise, even the official Latin names for species and all of the various taxonomic groupings are largely human constructs for how we like to “organize” the variety of life we observe on earth. That’s why scientists who classify beetles may disagree on which beetles are closely related subspecies and which are distinct species requiring separate genus-specie names.

        Zoologists estimate that dogs began to branch off from a wolf-type ancestor some 27,000 years ago. Does that mean that some particular wolf gave birth to a dog? No, just as the Great Plains gradually transitions to the Rocky Mountains without an obvious exact boundary line, nobody will be able to say when or which animal was the very first non-wolf dog.

        Ironically, even evolution-denying Young Earth Creationists understand that there is no exact boundary for evolution—because they find it impossible to define what they mean by the Biblical KIND (or BARAMIN, according to the “baraminologists” at Answers in Genesis!) In the 1960’s most creationists said a KIND was simply a “species”. But when it became apparent that “species DO evolve into other species”, they started expanding KIND to mean all the species of a genus or even a family! They refuse to define a KIND in any meaningful way because they must keep the term vague and flexible—so that it can be forced into compliance with any and all new data. (Some creationists have even claimed that BACTERIA is a single kind! They might as well say “All animals are a single kind.”)

        Edwin, we await your tutelage.

      • Funny, I had this very same conversation with my daughter on the way in to school this morning. Surgeons are (thankful as we all are) technicians. That does not mean they are comfortable with abstract thinking on, say, philosophical and theological issues. And that is not an offense to say so. We are not all the same.

        • Which is why the humanities, arts, literature, music, and social studies, are so important in K-16 and beyond. Science (STEM as it seems to be known more and more) helps us to understand how the world we live in works, from its smallest to its largest dimensions. But without those other areas–what I think of as the non-religious Wisdom literature–we cannot know how best to live within the material world STEM describes for us.

          To go back to the second Jurassic Park movie, science may reveal to us that we CAN bring back the dinosaur, but it doesn’t help us to decide if we SHOULD or not. (A sly example of how the arts help us think about things, even escapist summer cinema fare!)

          Writing this I just had a thought. Could we use HALMSS–humanities, arts, etc. as above–as the counterpart to STEM? Is there already an acronym? It seems this days if there’s no acronym, something really doesn’t exist.

          • I can’t agree with this. That may be the case for the T and E of STEM, but not for science and mathematics. I wouldn’t exactly call Newton or Einstein technicians. I taught chemistry at the college level for several years. Invariably, pre-med students were the least creative students in the class, and the most resistant to dealing with abstract concepts.

    • Do I want my doctor to operate from the idea that humans are in some sense a biological equivalent to the virus that is making me sick or to operate from the point of view that I am created in God’s image and worthy of respect and dignity and all efforts to preserve my life and help me flourish?

      • That’s quite a false dichotomy, and “biological equivalent” is quite a straw man.
        One can easily have “both” if the silly “a biological equivalent” is replaced with the accurate “biologically related to”.

      • Of course we would all want to be viewed with the utmost dignity – but what does that have to do with someone believing in evolution? I don’t see where one precludes the other.

      • Do you actually believe that “the Image of God” in Genesis is saying that Adam’s biology is somehow a copy of God’s? Don’t you believe God is a spirit?

        Furthermore, I have NEVER seen a biology textbook which claimed that a human is “a biological equivalent” to a virus.

        What is your evidence that the Theory of Evolution says anything about how much “respect and dignity” is due a patient? How does it impact a doctor’s hippocratic oath to preserve life? (It sounds like somebody picked up a straw man version of the science.)

  • By a wild coincidence, I just received my Second Edition, Tenth Anniversary #Inspiration and Incarnation# in the mail yesterday. So far I’ve only looked at the appendices and the table of contents, but I really look forward to diving into it. I was converted and came to real faith only late in life, and because I grew up Catholic, I had never really read the Bible, and I never really thought about theology in any depth. I’ve been working to address that problem for over eight years now, and until recently it has been rather haphazard, and based largely on what has come to hand.

    I wish #Inspiration and Incarnation# had come to hand at the beginning of this remedial education project. I think I would be farther along now if it had. I know I should have read this one before #The Evolution of Adam#, but hey, sometimes things just work out that way…

    And yeah, you could get a serious headache trying to figure out how Ben Carson and a number of our other presidential contenders can believe the things they do. It would be funny, except for the fact that people who think just like them are making laws, based on some pretty screwy ideas, that have real world consequences not just for us, but for people around the world.

  • What a shock, liberal Bible “scholar” does not like a conservative using the Bible. Quotes like “I help guide young Christians to maturity in their reading of the Bible
    so they can respect its voice rather than drag the Bible into strange
    places where it simply doesn’t belong”, and who exactly are you to decide where the bible does and does not belong? Who are you to decide what the Bible does and does not speak to? Oh,that’s right, one of the liberal scholars who do exactly what you accuse Dr Carson of doing, using the Bible as you see fit.

    Probably the biggest problem with this article is the glaring logical fallacy of appealing to popularity as if that somehow supports the correctness of your side. “Does Carson not know or does he not care that there are roughly a
    bazillion deeply devoted and educated Christians out there who know a
    lot about the Bible, the ancient world, and how science works, and who
    are working overtime to rid American culture of the kind of biblical
    naiveté Carson is promoting?” So how many is a bazillion, because I would say that there are probably equally as many who actually read and believe the Bible literally. Many of them are very intelligent and articulate and still dismiss much of what you call science.

    Does Dr Carson’s lack of experience eliminate him from office? Please explain to me what real life experience our current president has when he entered office. Dr Carson’s comment was simply that God has a history of using men to accomplish His plans, and not necessarily using the most qualified to do so. Look at Moses, David, all the disciples, God did not choose them based on their education or experience and they changed the world. Nothing is more encouraging to Christianity than a person who actually leans on Christ in them rather on their own abilities, experiences, or education. Perhaps “Professor” Enns could learn a thing or two about not leaning on his own understanding from Dr Carson, but I doubt it.

    Pastor FedEx

    • Buddy, If you think Pete Enns is a “liberal” you gotta get out more! He’s probably still right of center on most people’s spectra, though of course that depends a lot on where the observer is standing.

    • I read the Bible literally. But, I must say, for years and years I have found myself SO disappointed that the trees of the field will not clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12.) Recalcitrant trees! Does one need any additional proof of the fallenness of creation?

    • There is a great post on this very site about reading the bible literally. You should give it a look.

      In light of that post, I would argue there are not equally as many people who pray to and love a rock based lord, but hey I may be wrong.

    • As President, Dr. Carson would represent all Americans, regardless of political position or religious beliefs. It is concerning to some that he would expect a Muslim to denounce fundamentalism as prerequisite for the office but not expect the same for a Christian.
      As Dr. Carson has stated and I paraphrase, “we do not want a Theocracy”. I agree.

  • Thank you. I just encountered a committed follower of Carson (that may need to be committed) this weekend. Your perspective is very helpful.

  • I have no doubt that Dr. Carson is a great human being and a good Christian, but he is nowhere near ready to become President of the USA. Perhaps he should spend the next year in Eastern University’s Christian Studies Department.

    p.s. When are you going to do a similar piece on Donald Trump’s knowledge of the Bible and Christianity, or did I miss it?

    • Folks have written about the hypocrisy of Trump’s comments on the Bible, apparently trying to be more of a Christian (i.e., instead of an Easter/Christmas Christian, a campaign season Christian) than he is in practice. This article on Carson is different – it is a different type of hypocrisy – reasonably asking why he wouldn’t rely on Biblical (medical) prophesy in his field of expertise, but would in areas (economics, tax, environment) where he is not a worldly expert.

  • I really wish people wouldn’t feel the need to the qualifier that Carson “is a nice kind man” before critiquing him. This is someone whose answer to a question about torture was that the United States shouldn’t be held to the Geneva Convention, who said no “bullet ridden body” was worth any increased regulation on guns, and who basically victim blamed the school massacre victims in Washington for not pulling a Rambo on the shooter.

    He’s not a “nice man” . . he strikes me as borderline sociopathic. Sociopaths have actually been known to be skilled surgeons because they can perform their work with complete detachment.

  • One of the underlying concepts of your comments about science is that man knows more than God knows. If you believe that, then I don’t think that you can accurately consider yourself to be a Christian. The big question about creation is not “Did God really do this in 6 days?” but “Why did God choose a 6 day creation?” God is capable of having created everything instantaneously but He choose to do it over 6 days and rest on the 7th. If your God is not big enough to accomplish that, then He is not big enough to be God.

    • You are making a common claim that the Bible=God, which Pete has written a lot about (and shows is not a sound conception from a theological or pure scholarly angle) I recommend his books!

  • Great post. It is amazing and frustrating how many people I know who are experts in their field assume that expertise in the Bible is suspect. Or on the other side, assume expertise in physics for example is transferable when it comes to the Bible. As you suggest, just because someone is an amazing surgeon or world-class physicist does not make them great Bible readers.

    On the other hand, at least Ben Carson won’t get the Ken Ham vote because Ham believes Noah had amazing technological advances when he built the ark. 😉

  • Pete,

    You and I come from a vastly different perspective on many things, but I think here we agree. :) For me, this eisegetical hermeneutic arises frequently in a post-Biblically literate culture, that all too often attempts to read itself back into the ancient narrative of Scripture. Instead of attempting to understand the beauty and complexity of the original narrative in its context and culture, we spiritualize ourselves as the hero who is attempting to overcome whatever villain the narrative is currently affording us. When we read of David and Goliath we become the boy king who is battling our daily giants. When we read of Noah, we become the one who was called by God to be saved in the midst of a rebellious world. Yet, frankly, if we were in these narratives, we would have either been the ones cowering in fear of the champion fighter or the people floating dead on top of the water. To be clear I am sure Dr. Carson is as good of a man as a sinner can be. But, his way of reading Scripture is not really that surprising. I see it everywhere I look.

    -Kendall

  • When will the “educational elite” Christians humble themselves? Darwin’s theory of evolution is simply that–a theory, a religion in and of itself. You’re being used as a tool to add to the deception. Yours is a dangerous arrogance.

    • You do not understand the definition of theory as used in science, mathematics and so on. It does not mean a “hypothetical” or “conjecture.” And it sure is not anything religious! As properly used in science a theory is simply that collection of principles, methods, etc. used to explain and predict various phenomena. Cf: intelligent design theory.

      • But at the same time the scientific method says that a theory is not a “final truth”; scientific results are always open to challenge by new observations and should be considered provisional. That is, science says that the Theory of Evolution is not a “final truth”, it’s just a provisional parsimonious explanation of certain phenomena. Which is basically what Barbara and those like her are saying.

        I think if we got together on this point, that the Theory of Evolution is not Final Truth, it would be less threatening to those who find Final Truth elsewhere.

        PS Pete, looking forward to your newsletter on Certainty but it hasn’t come yet. I know, you’re busy.

        • Where would you suggest looking for this “final truth”? In the scientific sense, “truth” is the narrative that best explains the extant data. Evolution does that, at least in its more nuanced forms. I’m guessing that Barbara is not seeking to proffer a better narrative for making sense of the extant data, but is instead proposing something quite the opposite.

          • Science isn’t allowed to just make things up: doing predictions is not the same as “how things actually are”. That is, Newton’s Law of Gravitation makes very good predictions although scientists (these days) know his theory of a force acting at a distance is wrong. Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity eliminates that problem but nobody knows how it hooks up with the Theory of Quantum Mechanics. So the “Final Truth” about the gravitational effect is … not available at this time.

            Actual scientists know this perfectly well.

        • “it’s just a provisional parsimonious explanation of certain phenomena”

          By your definition, so is the claim that smoking can cause lung cancer. So light up

          • Do you think that nobody should make a policy change except in the light of absolute certainty? That’s what climate-chage denialists assert. I used to smoke cigarettes, but they made me feel bad, so I quit.

    • A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.

      The difference between micro and macro evolution is only one of scale.

      Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

      Faith as defined by the Apostle Paul is, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

      It is not arrogance to be a person of faith while confirming the principals of the scientific method. This was a very well reasoned article in my opinion.

      • Please show me how the “theory of Evolution” was acquired through scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. Have you ever been able to create a second big bang and see it happen? The big bang cannot be repeatedly tested and confirmed so how is that science? Also, if God says he created the world in 6 days, what is wrong with having the faith to believe that God could do such a thing?

        • Anybody who doesn’t even know that the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the Big Bang probably needs to study a bit before making pronouncements about science.
          This is like somebody arguing against the resurrection of Jesus because they don’t see historical evidence for the Exodus.

          And the question is not whether God could do such a thing — we all (at least those of us here who are Christians) agree that God could. But whether God did create that way is a different question — one that can be addressed by sound exegesis and the evidence in God’s creation.

        • As other posters have noted, the Big Bang and the theory of evolution by natural selection are very different things. In terms of testing the Big Bang, you are correct that the entire sequence cannot be run again, but there is a lot of observed data which is consistent with that explanation and with no other. Here are two. When we run the light from stars and galaxies through a spectrometer, we observe that the signature lines for their component elements are present–hydrogen, helium, etc.–but they are “red shifted.” That is, they are moved to the red side of the visible light spectrum. This is produced by the Doppler effect, and it can only happen when the source of the light is moving away. The greater the red shift, the greater the speed of the retreating object. We find that all stars and galaxies are moving away, and those that are the farthest move the fastest. Run this expanding universe scenario backwards in your mind, and eventually all objects coalesce into a lump, a singularity if you will. Similarly, scientists have found that there is a level of background heat, or radiation, in space. Empty space is not perfectly cold. This background energy is exactly what would be predicted if the original energy of the Big Bang were dissipated over the existing universe.

          Explain this data any other way, and you get a Nobel Prize.

      • I always appreciated the concise definition of RELIGION in a textbook I used for a Religious Studies Dept. R101 introductory course long ago: “a reverence and/or devotion to that which is transcendent.” That definition also does a nice job of covering both theistic and non-theistic religions, including the many eastern traditions which tend to baffle westerners.

        Needless to say, when various Young Earth Creationist ministry leaders complain that “the Theory of Evolution is entirely materialist/naturalistic”, they can’t simultaneously call it a “religion” and make any sort of consistent sense. Science doesn’t deal in the transcendent because the scientific method has no tools or procedures to do so. Therefore, science is the very opposite of religion. (Of course, such leaders typically confuse the methodological naturalism of science with the philosophical naturalism of some types of atheism.)

        Obviously, evolutionary biology is methodologically naturalistic because all of science is methodologically naturalistic—just as the Christian philosophers who first defined “natural philosophy” (which became modern science) meant for it to be defined! Those who are familiar with the history of science know that the various pioneers of modern science which Christians have traditionally honored were the ones who realized that science is most useful and independent of theological “peer pressure” and religious dogma when scientists focus solely on explaining everything in terms of natural processes. That didn’t mean that they “denied God”. (In fact, many of those pioneer scientists of Christendom also wrote theological discourses.) They recognized that methodological naturalism was absolutely essential to separating science from centuries of ancient Greek philosophy and religious traditions. (Contrary to what the Discovery Institute and Ken Ham at AIG so often tell us, it was NOT “godless atheists” who established methodological naturalism as the foundation of modern science.)

    • Are numbers also deception? There are no such things as numbers. We made them up in order to communicate information. We see a number if things, and use these social constructs (numbers, letters, words, speech) to share information deal with the world around us.

      From the beginning of the Bible we can see that the way the world is referred to changes based on who is speaking and when. God talks, and the Bible is written to multiple audiences. Just because something was not included in the Bible, does not mean it is deception, otherwise we would be stuck with 2nd Century technology.

      A looking glass was considered heretical because it altered in which you see God’s perfect creation. This science is that lens. It allows us to see the big things and the small things with greater detail, and with more understanding. Science does not detract from God’s creation, in fact, it is a revelation.

      • I don’t want to open yet another can-of-worms but just to make readers aware, statements like “There are no such things as numbers.” and “Numbers are social constructs.” are a good way to ignite a firestorm in many academic circles. I had a Mathematics department chair who also taught philosophy courses would go absolutely apoplectic whenever he heard such statements. (When I interviewed for my Assistant Professor position, my senior colleague in another department who had encouraged me to apply, so that we could more easily collaborate, warned me: “Whatever you do, never let him hear you use the words “social construct”.) While many would be fine with “Numerals are social constructs”—because numeral are written symbols—what some would derisively call the excesses of social constructionism have riled many an academic.

        I’m not trying to agree or disagree with anyone and, as the saying goes, I personally “have no skin in the game.” But I’d feel remiss not to at least mention how controversial social constructionism can be. If anyone is interested in such debates, simply Googling the aforementioned statements will displays thousands of webpages representing various points along the position spectra. And if you check any of the relevant Wikipedia pages, you will probably see at the top of such articles “The neutrality of this article is disputed.” as well as demands for more citations.

        Even though I occasionally taught some courses for the History & Philosophy of Science Dept., I kept my distance from even the 400-level Philosophy of Mathematics courses because I lacked sufficient background in a “culture” which always seemed to me to be a very “cliquish elite” at my previous institution. So I’m definitely not the right person to ask on these topics but I later worked at an evangelical seminary where I always urged students planning to go to the mission field to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the Pirahã tribe of the Amazon, both for their “lack of numbers” and their lack of origins mythology—and their lack of even concepts of deity. The Piraha culture and language definitely shake up many popular presuppositions about human thought.

    • Proving once again that those who denounce evolution as only a “theory” don’t understand the meaning of the word.

    • Barbara, because I observe evolutionary processes at work throughout God’s creation, I have no reason to deny what God in his wisdom chose to use to diversify life on earth and to adapt living organisms to all sorts of environments. I know what science is (the scientific method defines it) and I know what religion is, so I know the Theory of Evolution to be not all “religion” or “religious” in any way. You say “Yours is a dangerous arrogance.” Yet some would say that denying what God chose to create is the epitome of arrogance. However, I spent many of my younger years as a “creation science” loving, evolution-hating, Young Earth Creationist and I do know all of the arguments, both from the scriptures and from “creation science.” So I do understand where you are coming from.

      Thankfully, God didn’t abandon me to my arrogance. Indeed, arrogance is one of many human foibles that we are all prone to see and identify in others while failing to see our own hypocrisy and ignorance. That was certainly the case with me—and I’ve spent my recent years of retirement trying my best to “undo” the damage I caused in teaching my students and audiences of the 1960’s and 1970’s that they should deny evolutionary processes and billions of years of the earth’s history. (Of course, I also told them that 6/24 hour days was the ONLY way to look at the earth’s origins.) Yet, I’ve often asked myself, “If I could could back in time and rebuke my young ‘creation scientist’ professor self who was so sure that his interpretations of Genesis and the scientific data were borderline infallible, how would I do it?” I don’t have a good answer for that. But that realization does make me thankful that God is patient with us. All of us. We all have tremendous blind spots. And in my case I was very blind towards the powerful influences of man-made TRADITIONS and the peer-pressures within my church and denomination which convinced me that “we alone” had the truth.

      No doubt God uses countless different means to rebuke us and convince us of our errors. In my case it was a gradually developed fluency in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the scriptures which eventually gave me a wake-up call to how easily my views had been molded by man-made traditions to blindly accept THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.) as if it were holy scripture. Once God’s scriptures had changed me, I was thrilled and encouraged to see how well the scientific evidence harmonized with what the scriptures had been saying all along. Should I have been able to see the truth years sooner? I don’t know.

  • As a Christian economist I can tell you there is some decent data that implies that the Laffer curve does peak between 10% and 20% tax rate. I will stick to my area of expertise and suggest that everyone and anyone wishing to speak on economic policy and analysis actually take a course, read a book and learn a bit about the subject before making any pronouncements. I think Carson has issues on his economics, but tax policy is not one of them. The fact that Abraham paid Melchelzidek a 10% tithe and Joseph set up a 20% flat tax in Egypt is only support for what other research (but certainly not all) has found or suggested. If Carson is equating this tax plan to the worship act of tithing then that is a problem but I do not see that, I see it is a guide for what is an appropriate rate to take from a person’s labor and wealth. To assume the state in entitled to more is like saying the state is more important than the church I would not expect a Christian to endorse that view. I will end by asking the author where does the Bible not belong? If Christ is redeeming all of creation and there is not a square inch He does not claim as His then what part of creation is His word to be excluded from?

    • “As a Christian economist I can tell you there is some decent data that implies that the Laffer curve does peak between 10% and 20% tax rate.”

      Ummm, no. This is complete and irrevocably false. Even Arthur Laffer himself doesn’t make this ridiculous claim (real world data shows it comes up closer to 70%)

  • As a Christian economist I can tell you there
    is some decent data that implies that the Laffer curve does peak between
    10% and 20% tax rate. I will stick to my area of expertise and suggest
    that everyone and anyone wishing to speak on economic policy and
    analysis actually take a course, read a book and learn a bit about the
    subject before making any pronouncements. I think Carson has issues on
    his economics, but tax policy is not one of them. The fact that Abraham
    paid Melchelzidek a 10% tithe and Joseph set up a 20% flat tax in Egypt
    is only support for what other research (but certainly not all) has
    found or suggested. If Carson is equating this tax plan to the worship
    act of tithing then that is a problem but I do not see that at alI I see it as a guide for what is an appropriate rate to take from a person’s
    labor and wealth. To assume the state in entitled to more is like saying
    the state is more important than the church. I will end by asking the
    author where does the Bible not belong? If Christ is redeeming all of
    creation and there is not a square inch He does not claim as His then where are these “strange places where it simply doesn’t belong”?

    • Many of the breakthroughs in science have been made by Catholic priests/monks (e.g. Gregor Mendel). When asked about the harmony between the Bible and Science, I saw a Catholic priest/astronomer state that any modern science book is outdated within a few years today. The Bible is essentially 2,000 years old. The Bible therefore, the priest said, cannot be construed as a science book, and should not be taken as such.

  • a) I don’t get your ark issue. It’s a pithy statement that’s been around for my entire lifetime. How does it mean he doesn’t understand the bible?

    b) the OT tithe was the tax. It paid for infrastructure and leadership. And we’d all be a lot better off if our government were small enough to run on a 10% flat tax. Plus, he’s already said he doubts 10% would work and it would likely be more like 17 or 18%.

    c) I’m an old earther, but I really cringe at the hubris and attitude most evolutionists show towards young earthers. “You can’t build a bridge if you believe in a 6000 year old earth!” Give me a break.

    Get off your high horse and start researching the issues. You look shallow.

    • (a) “It’s a pithy statement that’s been around for my entire lifetime.” It’s also a statement void of any clear Biblical truth. I see it as simply a way to observe that sometimes professionals make big mistakes while amateurs sometimes don’t because the later many not be overly sure of themselves. That’s quite true—but it is not a lesson found in the Genesis account. It would be more accurate to say that someone (like Noah) doing what God has told them to do will fulfill God’s purposes. Whether Noah was an amateur or a professional was irrelevant to that fact and the Bible doesn’t state anything about Noah’s professional or amateur status. The old “maxim” simply makes an assumption.) And when you want your appendix removed, do you hire a professional or an amateur? How about to replace the transmission on your car? Perhaps that “pithy statement” is making an observation about hubris and relying on God, not the relative quality of a professional’s vs. an amateur’s skills.

      (b) I would certainly be interested to learn what “infrastructure” the OT tithe paid for. (The tabernacle and temple were not “infrastructure” nor were the priests “leadership”. The tithe did not pay for roads, bridges, or a police force. The Levitical priests did not govern the people and were not treated as “leaders”. They performed various services associated with Israel’s worship of YHWH. They needed to eat food and wear clothes so God made provision for the rest of the tribes to support them through the tithes and gifts.)

      (c) I have no idea where “You can’t build a bridge if you believe in a 6000 year old earth!” Can you identify what “evolutionists” are making such a claim? Or is it a “quotation” you made up? (I will be happy to “give me/you a break” if you can show me that “evolutionists” are habitually making that statement. I’ve done a great deal of research into young earth creationism, which is my own church background and was my own belief for many years, and yet I’ve never heard anything like that. So I would appreciate your citation to add to my notes.)

      I did not find the article “shallow” nor did I think the author shallow. Under the circumstances, I thought he was extremely gracious towards Dr. Carson. I’ve read interviews from several years ago (which have been removed from the Seventh Day Adventist website after he became a candidate) which shocked me because Carson shared a series of “science facts” which convinced me that he would flunk a sixth grade science test. While I could appreciate his sincere motives in wanting to “prove God through science”, virtually every one of his science “factoids” were completely wrong. (For example, he thought the earth’s orbit around the sun to be circular—yes, a very common error–but he was emphasizing “If the earth were just one million miles closer to the sun, we’d all burn to a crisp and if we were one million miles further from the sun, we’d freeze to death. That perfect tuning of the earth’s orbit proves that there is a Creator God behind it all.” I pointed out to him and SDA readers that the earth’s orbit is more like an ellipse and the earth’s distance from the sun varies annually by several million miles—and we experience summer in the northern hemisphere when we are FURTHER from the sun. I don’t necessarily look down on Dr. Carson for making a half dozen similar science blunders in the course of a single interview, but I wish he wouldn’t be so ignorant of sixth grade science when claiming that these alleged “scientific facts” somehow “prove God.” Lots of non-theists read it and thought “Ha! The Christian is 0 for 6 in a single interview. So I guess he just disproved God as creator!” (And yes, I could identify the fellow Yale alumnus who was so embarrassed by Dr. Carson’s interview that he wrote him an email pointing out many of the same errors that I had flagged. He even offered to proofread the “science book” Carson claimed to be writing, a book which would contain the very same science blunders he provided in the SDA interview. Carson thanked him for his offer—but never followed up by sending him the book’s draft. Hopefully we convinced Carson that sixth grade science used to “prove God” is not his area of expertise.

      Ned Nederlander wrote: “Get off your high horse and start researching the issues. You look shallow.”

      Perhaps Dr. Carson should get off his “high horse” and start researching the issues. He certainly sounds shallow—and totally ignorant of sixth grade science and “scientific proofs of God as Creator.” Fallacious “proofs of God” tend to convince people of the opposite.

      • a) Where did Carson say it was in the biblical account? He was using it as a trite way to say he doesn’t need to have presidential experience to be president. In fact, he was using it to say “that sometimes professionals make
        big mistakes while amateurs sometimes don’t because the later many not
        be overly sure of themselves. That’s quite true.”

        b) They didn’t have roads, bridges, or a police force. They had Levites, and they paid to supports them. NT Wright among many other OT scholars have compared the tithe to a tax.

        c) Bill Nye the pseudo science guy and Dawkins have both said it. I’m shocked you haven’t been able to source it and can only assume the results were too numerous to bother with.

        I think you’re both seeing his scientific mistakes and then mis-attributing other things he says to be more biblical mistakes and the sum somehow makes him unable to be a good president. It’s hubris, it’s wrong.

        • “I think you’re both seeing his scientific mistakes and then mis-attributing other things he says to be more biblical mistakes and the sum somehow makes him unable to be a good president.”

          False.

  • I’m kind of shocked at this rather uncharitable attack. Maybe Carson is using the Books of the Bible wrongly. But I missed the memo where we decided attacking people who are actually reading the Books of the Bible to show people how they should be reading the Books of the Bible was a smart plan – or even biblically supportable.

    • Jim Moore, I would remind you that:
      (1) The fact that you think it wrong for someone to point out “Maybe Carson is using the Books of the Bible wrongly” tells me that you don’t consider misuse of the Bible problematic.
      (2) The “memo” you missed is the Bible itself, where we are told to to assess what people who claim to speak for God are saying.
      (3) The fact that somebody is “actually reading the Books of the Bible” does not give them a “pass” on misrepresenting it. Sadly, many will cite Carson as yet another God-talking Christian who sounds like a fool. The Bible says that we as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ should be considered fools for just one reason: the foolishness of the cross.
      (4) The author was not “attacking” Carson nor was the author “uncharitable”. He praised Carson’s medical skills and assessed the folly of Carson’s false teachings. (No matter how we may try to parse our words charitably, Dr. Carson is spreading unwise personal opinions wrapped in pseudo-Biblical language. Many audiences will assume that he is telling them what the Bible claims our government should be doing, even though he is misrepresenting the Bible.
      (5) You appear to not be concerned about Carson’s nonsense while implying that the author’s standing up for Biblical truth (by pointing to the nonsense) is something very wrong. I didn’t get the memo that says Christians should ignore the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs and the teachings of Jesus Christ and allow those who ignore both to do so with impunity.

      After a lifetime of teaching the scriptures, I understand why the author’s words are “Biblically supportable” while Dr. Carson’s are not. As to your words, I would encourage you to read the scriptures and determine whether your rebuke of the author is “Biblically supportable.”

      • Thanks for the take downs. My first observation is ya’ll must not know what an attack is.

        Secondly, it’s not that I don’t think the misuse of the Books of the Bible is problematic. I just think it’s almost unavoidable. The Books we have are complex, counter-intuitive, and mysterious. And as Rob Bell always says, “Let’s start by asking why we have these books.” Carson hasn’t learned that lesson yet but he might if he is loved right where he is now.

        I know so many people who started their walks where Carson is and ended up where Enns is. But I don’t know anyone who got there as a result of Enns’ methods above. Anyone who is reading the Books of the Bible is heading in the right direction even if they are doing it poorly.

        But Tertius you do get one thing right, I am unconcerned with Carson’s nonsense. He’s speaking as he believes he should. He’s using the Books of the Bible in a way that’s not uncommon even if it fails to meet our standards. I’m not concerned because in the Books of the Bible itself God allows people to ascribe all sorts of evil to him. Certainly the Canaanite Invasion teaches that if nothing else. God let’s us get it wrong and loves us anyway. Even when we actually do evil in his name. Church history suggests the same.

        So yes, I’m more offended by Pete Enns uncharacteristic attack than I am about Carson’s “nonsense.” I learned my attitude from Pete Enns!

        Finally it’s funny to see all the theologians and “Bible teachers” rushing in to discuss politics and the political use of the Books of the Bible. While they chastise a politician trespassing into their territory. Personally I think you guys should stay off our turf. Or maybe we won’t criticize your appropriation of our field if you don’t criticize our appropriation of yours. Nothing good comes from a theologian getting involved in politics. And that’s from a lifetime of teaching (and practicing) the art.

        • Enns’s methods? What do you mean? Are these my private methods? But for the record, I know plenty of people who have moved on from fundamentalism by being exposed to–let’s call them-alternate reading strategies.

          A lot of words here, Jim. Complete this sentence: “Ben Carson’s handling of the Bible is a good idea because. . . “

          • Thanks for asking Pete. Ben Carson’s handling of the Bible is a good idea because he demonstrates that smart people can look to the Bible as relevant to discussions of modern, every day policy choices.

            When I worked on the Hill I had a lot of debates with Members and their staff about the idea that the principles of the United States were based on Biblical ideas. They would declare to me that history shows that leaders were using the Bible as they made decisions. But I continually challenged them that if that was no longer true it wasn’t because “America had abandoned its heritage” it was because they were more interested in defining history than in letting their Biblical convictions inform their current policy choices.

            “What is the Bible telling you about how we should treat immigrants?” I would ask, “What is the Bible telling you about debt relief?” I would challenge staff members about when was the last time they included a Biblical reference in their bosses speech. Most said never. And these were by and large publicly Christian leaders. I became known as the guy on the Hill who would say we should do this because “Jesus loves ___.” These conversations got me in a lot of trouble but I did have one or two victories as well.

            So here comes silly Ben Carson using the Bible to justify his ideas. I know for a fact that some of his employees wish he wouldn’t do that. But Carson does the best he can with what he has and he’s ridiculed for it by, wait for it, theologians! People who should want the world to see the Bible being used as much as possible.

            As far as methods go. Your blog is a method. You are a gifted teacher and you are doing important work. It’s needed. It’s useful. It matters. It matters more than who wins the next election. I know this because I have bought a lot of your books and given them away. I’ve seen lives changed and people comforted as they learn another way to approach the Books of the Bible. I’ve also seen a few people lose jobs because they started thinking like you.

            As you scan these comments you’ll catch the drift that when you attack a conservative your progressive buddies line up to support you. It’s low hanging fruit. Because the conservatives who need to hear you no longer trust your commitment to just improving the way evangelicals read the revealed Word of God. You’ve just halved the audience who is listening to you.

            And more personally, you’ve undermined me, who has staked his reputation on your scholarship. There are now literally dozens of DC people who I can’t quote you to because they will just say “Didn’t he attack Carson? So do you think he was right about Carson, Jim?” And I’m trying to avoid partisanship because Jesus is standing above all of this and outside of this and calling his people to follow him and him only.

            I’m standing in the middle trying to do something down here. And you would like what I’m trying to do. So stop making it hard and focus on your mission. Please. Your Friend and Brother, Jim Moore

          • And he said:“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” “The Bible is like a pool. Shallow enough that a little child can come and get a drink without fear of drowning, yet so deep scholars can swim in it and never touch bottom.”

        • >”While they chastise a politician trespassing into their territory.”

          (1) NOBODY said that politicians shouldn’t “trespass” into anybody’s “territory.” I challenge you to cite where someone claimed Carson “trespassed” on someone’s exclusive turf. If you can’t, I hope that you will retract the untrue assertion. (However, I find it hard to believe that your reading comprehension skills could be that rusty.)

          (2) My hunch is that Dr. Carson would object to being called “a politician”. From what I’ve heard of his speeches, he’s proudly declares himself NOT a politician. (Of course, many would say that running for office automatically makes one a politician because that’s what politicians do.)

          (3) Carson’s statements which he alleges are based on the Bible are entirely fair game for EVERYBODY to rebut or agree as they see fit. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone say that theologians are “trespassing” when they address political topics. Can you tell us what others occupations are not (according to you) supposed to discuss what politicians do? (Do you think that any occupations should be denied the vote as well? Or just expressing themselves?)

          (4) An associate sent me a link to this webpage so this article is my first exposure to Pete Enn’s “methods”—although at this point I’m not sure what his “methods” are. Perhaps someone will enlighten me on the alleged specific dangers so that I can more readily spot them—unless that would again be trespassing on somebody’s “territory”.

          P.S. I have the strong suspicion that somebody is pulling our legs. That fine. I enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor.

    • There was no criticism for reading the books of the Bible. Mr. Enns is clearly suggesting that someone running for POTUS and expressly basing tax and environmental policy on the Bible, and suggesting that Darwin’s theory was inspired by Satan, is doing himself, the country, and rational Christians a great disservice. I certainly agree. It seems we don’t focus on a candidate’s real details until he is a front runner. Carson is getting his 15 minutes in the spotlight, and while he may be appealing to folks who think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church on Sunday, most others will find his comment that Satan inspired the theory of evolution a disqualifyer.

      Buh bye, Ben. Thanks for the effort.

  • he never said 10% would be the tax rate. on several occasions, he has corrected multiple people who don’t listen (such as yourself) that it would be a flat tax of at least 15%. he even said this at the most recent GOP debate! and have you ever read the fair tax? same concept.

    • Personally I’m all for a flat tax, but your comment misses the point entirely. Carson is basing his flat tax on a “biblical principle” as justification. And his move toward 15% etc. is a concession that the biblical model is unfeasible–even allowing its relevance for the sake of discussion here.Rooting a flat tax in the Bible is naive at best and pandering to the religious right at worst.

      • While some aspects of the flat tax appeal to me, I don’t like the idea of massively increasing taxes on the poor. Most nations abandoned the flat tax long ago because of the regressive tax ramifications. Also, lawmakers in many nations eventually realized that a flat tax rate unfairly taxed the poor and middle class to pay for infrastructure which benefits the rich more than anybody else. Yes, loopholes and all sorts of deductions make the inequalities worse but the poor and middle class are already disproportionately harmed by excessive taxes. I’ve yet to see a flat tax that didn’t greatly harm the poor. (If somebody can solve that problem, I’d love to see a flat tax established. But I object to the unfairness of raising taxes on the poor.)

        Indeed, I have often wondered: Have any of the politicians who have endorsed a flat tax of the type Carson wants ever bothered to calculate the impact on the poor? Have they looked at the historical data? (Anybody remember when the negative income tax was proposed in order to give the poor some relief from onerous taxes? A version of it eventually was implemented via the Earned Income Tax Credit.)

      • Also, call it pandering all you want. But the left truly do pander to the left far more often. And it usually involves a lot of handout incentives that I do not believe are actually solving the root of the issue.

    • “You make $10bn a year, you pay a billion; you make $10 a year, you pay one. That’s pretty damn fair if you ask me,” Carson said on Fox News Sunday. (That was May 10, 2015). He “never said 10% would be the tax rate”?

        • No, Ben. It’s not just a “round number analogy.” He is appealing to the Bible as a guide for taxation. He began naively with 10% and then increased the rate because 10% was unsustainable. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t really serious about grounding his idea in the Bible. The percentages are irrelevant.

          • I never said he wasn’t serious about grounding his idea from the Bible. I believe that was his intention. However, I do know that 10% was not the intended amount. It is an analogy when it comes to his explanation.

    • Here is Ben Carson in the first Republican debate:

      “And that’s why I’ve advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions, you get rid of all the loopholes.”

      And here is Carson in his memoir, “A Wall Street Mogul who made $10 billion would be required to give $1 billion. A Harlem schoolteacher who made $50,000 would be required to give $5,000.”

      He’s been proposing a tithe for a long time; so even though he waffled at the Boulder debate and shifted his numbers to 15%, you can hardly say that Pete Enns and others “don’t listen”.

      • No, he is using round simply numbers as a comparison for his plan. He was never planning on creating a 10% flat tax. He knows that would not be sustainable. He has stated this multiple times before the GOP debate. People are simply taking his analogy out of context and calling it a final plan. It’s not final. So I will continue to be under the impression that people don’t listen or do their research on Ben Carson. So many assume every statement of his is final. See the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfGQG7oH-CY

        • “Round Number Analogy”? Like, “You make $10bn a year, you pay 1.5 billion; you make $10 a year, you pay $1.50” for 15%?

          One can round in a much more reasonable ball park than 10%, but there’s no indication that he thought of anything other than 10% until very recently.

      • I think the answer is pretty simple. Carson wants both a flat tax and a balanced budget. So after cutting spending, trimming waste, and eliminating the convoluted systm of tax credits, exemptions, and deductions the percentage paid is adjusted accordingly.

        • Everybody wants a balanced budget and a simpler tax code. Carson’s solution of a proportional tax is hardly new. It is also quite clear that 10 percent has been his example for quite a long time. Long before his recent equivocations on the amount of the percentage.

  • Dr. Carson is a great role-model for young people in that he overcame (according to his autobiography) very discouraging poverty, a self-destructive temper, and a dangerous propensity towards out-of-control violence. He became world famous for his medical skills. His affable manner and inspirational talks have made him a valued speaker. I hope he will resume that motivational role and continue to do much good throughout his retirement. It frustrates me to watch him sully such a positive image by making bold pronouncements on topics upon which he is poorly prepared and so woefully misinformed. Even the most fervent sincerity without knowledge is an unfortunate combination.

  • You say you and many other scholars know much more about the Bible, the ancient times and the science. It may be so. What you seem not to know and understand is the GOD BEHIND THOSE LINES WRITEN IN THE BIBLE.
    You talk very much here about science and economics and I wonder “do you know WHO CREATED ECONOMICS??”.. “DO YOU KNOW WHO CREATED THE SCIENCE??” Do you even know what science means?
    Let me give you the 101 of science:
    For a fact to be scientifically proven it has to be:
    a) MEASURABLE and
    b) REPEATABLE
    Could you please send me a copy of the log the scientists have after REPEATING the Big Bang?
    Let me tell you about one more thing I’ve seen in the persons studying the Bible.
    Humility is the word that describes best. Just ask Our Father to give you pardon and He will. He said so and I believe Him.
    Apparently so does Mr. Carson.
    You were saying at one moment that when Dr Carson was operating he didn’t stop the op to ask God to heal the persons. You are right! He didn’t. But do you know why? Because God usually send me and you to help our peers.. The “problem” starts when we don’t accept His call. If He does everything for us through wonders, what would then be our purpose?? And the get the answer for this question look to the life of the great Lev Tolstoi. I really help you’ll learn something!

    Best regards! :)

    • > “Could you please send me a copy of the log the scientists have after REPEATING the Big Bang?”

      Why should I do the work for you? You can go online and order the textbooks just like anybody else. (Or you could use Google and visit various university departments online where they cover such basics. You assume that because you are uninformed about the science, everyone is equally uninformed. This is the Argument from Personal Incredulity fallacy. It is one of the most common logical fallacies found on “creation science” ministry websites.) If you think the Big Bang theory is not based upon measurable and repeatable science….well….that would explain your confusion. Do you make the same claims about the Theory of Evolution? (I also suspect, based upon the misunderstandings of some of my undergraduate students, that you don’t know what “repeatability” in science means.)

      I DO believe God created everything—which is why I believe EVIDENCE MATTERS and that God has clearly revealed to us the history of the universe within his creation. I left the Young Earth Creationist “creation science” movement when I could no longer accept the blind denials of what God created. I refuse to believe God is a deceiver and hopelessly illogical. (I reject the tiny deity imagined by the man-made traditions which infected the church of my youth. The God of the Bible is no liar and he certainly doesn’t try to mislead us. In the 1950’s I remember several preachers at IFCA churches telling their congregations, “God put dinosaur bones in the ground to test the faith of his people and to confuse the godless atheist scientists.” At least I give them credit for saying outright what many of my “creation science” colleagues implied but refused to admit outright.)

    • No, but neither did Saul or Samson.

      But Bill . . those are stories. You’re pulling a Ben Carson here. Plus, you are assuming these figures from an Iron Age theocracy are models for western democracy, which I would contend is bad Bible reading. It also leaves open the question “What else would you like to carry over from the OT?” Yahweh endorsed enslaving foreigners (Num 31) and the treatment of slaves and virgin women as property. Should we execute people for breaking the sabbath?

  • I can assure my American cousins that from a distance, i.e. Australia, the whole suite of potential presidential candidates, particularly Republicans are looking rather scary and/or rather ridiculous. The thought of some of these people having the power that comes with the office gives one shudders. My other thought is what other world leaders would think of such people purporting to represent the US on the international stage. Naiveté in politics doesn’t bode well for dealing with people like Putin or President Xi. As much as people rail against the current system, to be a successful President one needs to be a politician. Well and truly gone are the days of the “log cabin” presidents.

  • Well.. it seems to me that the author has his own way of reading the Bible, and he’s upset that Dr. Carson disagrees with him. I’m not really convinced that the author is obviously correct. Frankly the constant references to Iron Age vs modernism implies that the author thinks we should ignore the clear morality tales in the Bible for a more esoteric reading that makes the Bible more… comfortable for how he wants to live his life.

    Nor, by the way, do I see how believing the Bible is a source of guidance for today disqualifies a man from being President any more than it disqualifies him from being a surgeon. Obviously Dr. Carson’s belief in the Bible and his religion has not prevented him from being successful at one of the most modern activities of science. So why should it harm his ability to be President?

    Additionally, on the subjects brought up I tend to agree more with Dr. Carson. I though his reference to Noah and the Ark was merely rhetoric, which in the American tradition draws on Biblical motifs – was Abraham Lincoln trying to placate “fundamentalists” with his biblical drawn imagery? However, if Ben Carson did mean to imply that God will aid him as a President, well I like that! I think Presidents who are humble enough to depend on God instead of their own strength is a good thing. Maybe that’s why Dr. Carson is such a good doctor? Maybe he doesn’t attribute his success to his strength alone?

    On the subject of taxes, I interpret Dr. Carson’s point to be that if God asks only 10% of our income, then why does the Government think it should be entitled to more? Really… why do other people always feel that the Government is entitled to everyone’s money. Shouldn’t the Government take as little as possible?

    On Evolution? Who cares? The President of the United States does not teach college Biology, so what does that even matter?

    All these complaints sound to me more like they come down to one thing: Dr. Carson’s beliefs on the Bible are signals that he has a more conservative view of the world, and the author has a liberal view. Of course, the fact that Dr. Carson is running for President on the Republican ticket already signals that, so why are you dragging religion into this?

    Just say you oppose Dr. Carson because he’s too conservative for you. That’s a perfectly respectable reason to oppose a candidate.

    • “Well.. it seems to me that the author has his own way of reading the Bible, and he’s upset that Dr. Carson disagrees with him.”

      Let me stop you right there, cowboy.

    • Either somebody has organized an elaborate prank here or the server is displaying different text for different people. (Of course, it could also be possible that reading comprehension expectations were suspended for this page but I somehow missed the memo.)

      What probably amazes me most is the fact that in the 1960’s most fundamentalist churches in the Bible Belt taught that Seventh Day Adventism was “an heretical cult preaching a false Gospel” and they would have rejected an SDA candidate automatically, regardless of what he said. In fact, I remember how John Whitcomb Jr. carefully “sanitized” George McReady Price’s “creation science” of all references and associates with SDA prophetess Ellen White’s alleged visions of creation when he and Henry Morris wrote THE GENESIS FLOOD. If he had openly spoken of how he got his ideas from Price and White, the book which launched the “creation science” movement would have been roundly rejected. Years later, Whitcomb admitted exactly that.

      Indeed, I remember well when anybody in a fundamentalist church said anything positive about anything or anyone associated with Seventh Day Adventism, they would have been ostracized as embracing “a work’s salvation” and “a rejection of the Gospel by returning to living by the Old Testament law.” (Anybody remember “The Kingdom of the Cults”?) I feel like I’m in a time-warp and alternate universe where criticism of an SDA helps make the author a “liberal”.

      I have nothing against Dr. Carson as an individual. I just hate to see yet another babbler of nonsense convincing non-Christians that Christians are ignorant of basic science and common sense. I’ve personally challenged Carson on his “proofs of God” based on his ignorance of sixth grade science. Several of us privately offered to help him correct his most ridiculous science errors which he said he was publishing in his next book. (This was before he was a candidate when we saw his ridiculous claims on the SDA website where he was interviewed about his “scientific arguments for God.”) He thanked us for the offer but we never heard from him again. As far as I know, he continues to spew the rubbish which suggests he slept through elementary school science classes. I’d hate to imagine how he handles high school science.)

      • We can thank that liberal (sic) preacher Donald Grey Barnhouse for helping evangelicals adjust our thinking on the cult status of the SDA church. When a young Walter Martin was a doctoral student at NYU he shocked DGB by insisting his research proved that SDA was not a cult at all but members of the body of Christ. Barnhouse’s September 1956 Eternity magazine article led to the acceptance of SDA in evangelicalism although DGB took lots of flak from fundamentalists.

    • “On the subject of taxes, I interpret Dr. Carson’s point to be that if God asks only 10% of our income, then why does the Government think it should be entitled to more? Really… why do other people always feel that the Government is entitled to everyone’s money. Shouldn’t the Government take as little as possible?”

      Because we don’t live in an economically equitable society, and people’s placement on that economic scale is mostly due to circumstance. Thus government aid can alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of people who are poor (and work hard) for not fault of their own; it ensures if their child gets a serious illness, he or she won’t die because their parents can’t pay the medical bills. It ensures an elderly person beset by crippling arthritis and can no longer work gets help buying groceries. It helps a mother working three jobs is able to provide childcare for their toddler. Denying these people such aid because they don’t want the “government’s hands on my money” is a slap in the face to anything that Christian ethics stands for.

      “On Evolution? Who cares? The President of the United States does not teach college Biology, so what does that even matter?”

      Generally, people consider wise leaders as who accept mainstream scientific conclusions because so much of the modern world relies on science and the validity of the scientific method at discerning what works and what doesn’t. To not believe in a major cornerstone of 21st century science because of a certain reading of an ancient religious creation narrative suggests major issues with that person’s overall judgement and soundness for leadership.

    • George W Bush said he used the Bible and his beliefs as his guide to invade Iraq. That should answer all questions here.

  • A Big Bang, and then life starts.
    That I guess it somehow causes the breath of life.
    Then we all gradually evolve into people.
    I guess all the humans evolved at the same speed since we re all at the same point in our evolution.
    And that makes sense?

    • Amy, if you’re truly interested and want to know more about this subject (which you are demonstrating you are lacking some basic knowledge of . . and that’s not an insult; I lack some basic knowledge of my HVAC system), there are lots of good books out there that explain evolution and how homo sapians developed.

    • Amy Schroeder wrote:
      “A Big Bang, and then life starts. That I guess it somehow causes the breath of life.”

      Are you implying that find it hard to believe that God could create a universe which operated according to what humans describe as “the laws of physics” and that those natural processes—which God declared “very good”—could produce biological life, just as God the Creator intended? That was yet another reason why I left the “creation science” movement long ago. It greatly bothered me that all of the Young Earth Creationist I knew from growing up in a fundamentalist church as well as my colleagues within the movement had such a weak and limited view of our creator. I contrasted the puny and limited deity of the Bible Belt Young Earth Creationism I knew so well with the omnipotent, omniscience God of the Bible.

      It also amazed me that when a Christian clergyman first published what Fred Hoyle would eventually deplore as “the Big Bang” theory, many atheist physicists at that time accused Dr. Lemaitre of “letting his Christian religion dictate his physics”. At a time when most physicists assumed that the universe had always existed, they well understood that what we call The Big Bang Theory implied that the universe had a beginning—and, as William Lane Craig emphasizes in promoting the Kalaam Cosmological Argument— “That which has a beginning has a beginner.” So it always amazes me that so many Christians deplore the Big Bang Theory as some sort of “atheist plot” and don’t instead see it as “another instance where theologians already knew from the Bible something that those godless atheist scientists failed to realize until recent times: the universe had a beginning.” Shouldn’t “creation science” fans love the Big Bang Theory for its potential harmony with a time in the past when everything was created?

      Amy Schroeder, perhaps you can explain this strange phenomena. Why did some atheists claim the Big Bang Theory was inspired by the Biblical doctrine of creation while so many Christians in America today think the Big Bang Theory is an evil conspiracy promoted by godless scientists?

      (As to your complaint about human evolution, I confess that I have no idea what you are saying. Could you please elaborate? Also, is it possible that evolution makes no sense to you because you have no idea what evolution is and how evolutionary processes operate? Do you think it possible that some of us do understand the basics of evolutionary biology so that it makes complete sense to us? Have you ever taken a logic class where the Argument from Personal Incredulity fallacy was discussed?)

  • Sure, Tim. I appreciate the questions.

    1. The Iron Age is the period of history during which the Israelites lived in the land of Canaan, and it is marked by rather gruesome practices of those tribal cultures and that do not translate to later periods, and especially not to our day.

    2. Carson most certainly did not use the flannelgraph image. I used to it to describe the level of biblical discourse he engages is not much better than a child’s.

    3. I do not think Carson is arguing for a more Christian influence because what he is describing isn’t Christianity but simplistic biblicism. I do think there is a place for Christian influence in the political sphere–an important one, in fact–that is not what Carson is doing. Misusing the Bible as a model for taxation or for discounting science isn’t Christianity.

    • Thank you. In regard to your 1st answer, do you mean the concept of the biblical tithe is a product of this Iron Age, or do you just mean that Carson is trying to integrate a philosophy borne from a troubling time into a modern, dissimilar setting? It seems like you’re not arguing that the concept of giving God our first fruits is wrong, but that Carson’s comparison to the present tax system is not analogous. I’m just trying to gain a deeper understanding of your reference.

      • Not sure I would say either. I think Christ is our “first fruits” ( a la Paul). I don;t think the OT is there for us to pick principles and see how they apply. Thinking that way is part of the evangelical and fundamentalist problem when it comes to scripture–biblicism. I think there are better ways that have long been articulated in church history.

        • Pete again–see above–I find it amazing that you place yourself in a position of telling people how to interpret the Bible and when to apply it. The Apostle Paul explicitly says the OT was written exactly for extracting principles to guide our lives—and again this is exactly what the NT claims regarding the WHOLE of Scripture. Spiritualizing it to fit into your or someone else’s acceptable social or political framework is exactly what Peter warns against. It likely means what it means when read as any other book. I think you’d have series problems with Jesus’ exegesis and application of Scripture had you been around in His day.

          • You’ve gotten Paul wrong, I think. “Principle for our lives?!” Where does he say that? You’re parroting the standard lines that doesn’t bear up under scrutiny, in the opinion of those who do not share your starting point.

            • I Corinthians 10 for one place. Are you seriously going to argue that Paul and Jesus did not take the OT as truth? As the basis for their beliefs and preaching? Can you give me some examples where that is so??? And Im waiting for a thoughtful reply to my logical arguments. You seem to be taking the posture that you know more about the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture than Jesus. Do you ? And you seem to be one who will accept what the Book has to say about salvation, but arbitrarily reject what it has to say about things you find harder to line up with your “modernist” views. And you cannot see how that is contradictory?

              • I’m not sure that’s a “principle” as much as it is a midrashic-typological handling of the OT text (not to mention a participation in an early Jewish legend about a moving rock.) But I see this is likely wasted effort. You have your mind made up, and that is fine. The Lord bless you and keep you.

  • That’s why I’m glad the Bible itself questions that simplistic view of faith. I wish rationalists would read and understand Job and Ecclesiastes. Frankly, some evangelicals and fundamentalists, too, for perpetuating the “God will do you favors” idea. Now that’s a real myth.

    • People eat it up. We want and need a savior. We love significance and a show. The “perpetuating” orientation seems to center the problem in the clergy, the sellers of the “real myth’s” snake oil.

      I’m laity. I think the problem is better conceived as centered in us. And I think that’s where the fix is. We simply gotta stop following con men. We need to follow those who are humble. Those who serve. Those who genuinely live selflessly for the other.

      The “God will do you favors” only makes since in the context of an orthodox Christology, where the incarnation of “God” is Jesus of Nazareth, where what we know of him is that he will do favors for the most unworthy. And then from there if there were not a substitutionary and individualistic soteriology but a theotic and cosmic one, where that same Son of God is believed to live within the believe, here in this scenario the vicar would reliably take up that same Cross too. And invite others to do the same. And that the Christ-follower will do the unworthy other, outsider, and stranger favors as matter of Essence and Energy. That wouldn’t even run fowl with Job or Ecclessiastes. Or the Gospels. But, it would be a very different religion from the one we have today.

      Big Bang. Yep. Life starts. Yep. Somehow. We hardly have much insight into that. Then evolution. Yep. And people. Yep. That makes a lot of sense.

      But what doesn’t make much sense at all is what Christians actual believe and do (not in a hypocritical way but in a sincere way) with the tradition they’ve been given.

      People want a God who does them favors. Not a God that lives within them–certainly not in the, live, move, and have being kind of way–who does favors for others.

      And that is Christianity’s triumph of the ego over the Cross.

      It’s a shameful religion all in all. Profound latent (if not dead) opportunity, but not on the trajectory to transform the world for good, or God.

    • Let’s not get carried away just because we humans choose to blow each other up with IEDs. God has given everything needed for a good life. He does me a favor every day he doesn’t strike me down for my moral failures or even make me pay cash for my silly mistakes.

  • Great post! Ben Carson seems like a good guy, but when I first heard the tithe quote I was done with him. Although in fairness, Bush 43 wasn’t much better and I voted for him.

  • If any Theory is not a Final Truth, but only a provisional best-we-know-of explanation, why do you all jump on people like Barbara for saying that the Theory of Evolution is not a Final Truth? That the theory of Evolution is just that, a theory, a provisional explanation? One that explains a lot, but not everything?

  • I find it interesting how some readers find it impossible to believe that criticisms of Carson are based on anything but his Conservatism. Is it really that hard to believe that some of us find Carson’s patterns of illogical thought and completely ignoring evidence (as well as his failure to ever learn sixth-grade science) indicative of being poorly prepared for a major leadership position? I wonder if we are seeing projection at work: Those who insist people dislike Carson solely for being conservative may be reminding us that they make their voting decisions on exactly those kinds of simplistic assessments.

    I’m regularly vilified on “liberal” websites for being a “Christian conservative”, so it gives me a chuckle whenever I see myself labelled among the “dangerous liberals” simply because I don’t give someone like Dr. Carson a free pass because he shares my reverence for the Bible and worship of Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. You remind me of my days long ago when I was young preacher in IFCA churches: I saw everything in a simplistic “us vs. them” dualism. Everything was about choosing “sides”—and, obviously, “our side” was always the side of God and the good guys. No matter what.

    The President of the United States can’t know everything, and that’s why much of his typical day is spent getting updates from experts in countless fields of specialization. Based on my familiarity with Carson’s opinions, reading his interviews and articles from long before he declared his candidacy, I see a man who is habitually prone to rejecting all evidence and the counsel of knowledgeable experts (Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”) solely on the casual whim of his own “liver shivers.” No doubt, like most of the emotive types I’ve observed in leadership positions, Carson sincerely believes that the latest idea which popped into his head is “the voice of God” providing the guidance he prayed for. I would like to think that that casual assumption is something most Christ-followers grow out of as they become more mature and better understand the scriptures. Most believers eventually discover first-hand that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and that it is very easy to confuse our own immature thoughts as coming from God. As a young professor, I was certain that the adrenaline rush I felt after winning another debate (or so I was told by enthusiastically supportive Christian audiences) was absolutely certain proof of God’s approval for what I was doing and that I had successfully defended “the truths of God and His Word.” Today I look back with great embarrassment and a sense of shame, knowing that I had shown zeal without sufficient knowledge and that I was of the blind leading the blind, all for the sake of the unbiblical man-made tradition of “creation science.”

    I’ve always told my students that “You will know that you are growing in wisdom when you begin to know what and how much you don’t know.” Based on Dr. Carson’s interviews and books, I’m saddened that Carson has yet to begin that kind of growth in wisdom. In defiance of the scriptures in the Book of Proverbs, he habitually rejects the safety which comes from the counsel of knowledgeable people, and he exhibits the scorn and mockery of that knowledge which the Bible calls the downfall of the fool. (Alert: Here is where someone with complete ignorance of Aramaic will wrongly accuse me of “calling your brother a fool.”) Of course, in the case of a Seventh Day Adventist like Dr. Carson, I well remember when my Bible Belt congregation would have called me “an obvious theological liberal” for daring to consider an SDA “heretic” a Christian brother! Indeed, that is exactly why Dr. John Whitcomb Jr. never told his readers and audiences until many years later that the book which launched the “creation science” movement, THE GENESIS FLOOD (1962, Henry Morris & John Whitcomb Jr.), was based upon the beliefs of SDA George McReady Price, who based them on the alleged “prophecies and visions” of Ellen White.

    (Any reader not familiar with SDA Prophetess Ellen White should look up her visions online. My personal favorites include her “scenic tour” of the planets of the solar system—where, oddly enough, only the planets known to scientists in her day were in the tour and what she described aloud as she “visited” each planet harmonized almost verbatim what scientists were wrongly speculating in the newspapers she read at the time. Needless to say, both in White’s day and a century later, my fundamentalist colleagues liked to remind everyone that in ancient Israel a prophet who claimed to speak for God was subject to the death penalty when their words proved untrue. It is also interesting that modern day physicians and scientists who are familiar with the lifelong symptoms of patients who suffered the same kind of childhood brain injury as “Prophetess White” have read the accounts of White’s behavior and distressing symptoms before, during, and after her “visions” and declared them textbook examples of the sufferings of brain trauma victims. They found nothing surprising about White’s recurrent periods of hallucination, paranoia, distress, and depression which accompanied each of her “prophetic episodes.” I’ve wondered what Carson would say about White and her revered place within Seventh Day Adventism. Of course, because Carson is an Old Earth Creationist, even many SDAs would call him a heretic!)

    Isn’t it interesting that those projecting their own emotive thought processes on everybody else are willing to defend Dr. Carson simply because he is a conservative? We see this strange phenomena with Ken Ham as well. At any other time, Ham angrily deplores those “compromising Christians”, even fellow creationists like Dr. Hugh Ross, who dare to believe in billions of years of earth history—but because Ham despises the critics of Carson even more, Ham praises Carson and never says a peep about Carson being a terrible compromiser who “ignores Biblical authority” and “is in league with Satan” and is a heretic because SDA’s “believe in salvation by works.” (Isn’t it interesting that the same Young Earth Creationist movement which once considered such “compromising Christians” far more dangerous to the Church than “even the most godless atheist” is willing to look the other way when they like a man’s politics? When convenient, the evil heretic becomes a dear brother in the Lord! Perhaps some of my critics in these threads can better explain this inconsistency.)

    So, to those who claim that any of us who criticize Carson simply hate his conservative politics, are you willing to admit that you defend Carson solely because you LIKE his conservatism? (Hypocrisy much?)

  • I know this. When I lost faith, some Christians told me it wasn’t “real Christianity” I lost; they challenged me to explore broader in the tradition. I did. While I didn’t exactly find a kind of belief again (certainly not like before), I did find what I think to be much better forms of Christianity.

  • I think that Carson has now proved himself beyond idiocy and that all his patients have been saved by divine intervention. It just goes to show that there is no correlation between efficacy and rationality. (A certain amount of irony thrown in there).

  • My first visit here and I’m confused as to your main point. You criticize Carson for his use of the Bible to inform policies on things like taxation, environmentalism and evolution. But you just make the claim that he is using the Bible wrongly without explaining how. Are you saying the Bible should inform tax policy in a different way, or are you saying that Carson is wrong because the Bible was not intended to inform these areas at all?

  • I appreciate your comment, prnitz. A lot of what you say has been addressed in the comments. On your last point, though, let me reiterate that the Bible historically has not worked well as informing political policies in any specific way, and it certainly doesn’t “claim:” to do so.

    • My point about its claims is that the Bible DOES claim to be reliable, trustworthy, true and right”. It DOES claim to be God-breathed–which means a Divine product. The problem I see with your viewpoint is you seem to have a view of the Bible directly contrary to the Bible’s view of itself! And worse, directly contrary to Jesus’ own view of Scripture. isn’t it a little contradictory given a little thought to assume you have a more accurate view of the Bible than Jesus? Or similarly, isn’t it odd for someone to call themselves a Christian by believing what the Bible has to say about Christ, the cross, redemption, etc. but ignore what the Bible has to say on other matters feeling confident you know better?

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