Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Two Trees I-3

Act I, Scene 3

Nabal: Ok, I'll humor you, what is the Bible about, other than shepherds and camel traders?

Abel: The Bible is an amazing historical document. It proves that God exists and that Judaism was His revealed religion before Christ came and that Christianity is His revealed religion after.

Nabal: Why would God, if He is so great and almighty, care about petty human religion? And why would one of many religions be any better than the others when they are all the same?

Abel: All those other religions aren't God's revealed religion. It's His will that we follow His revealed religion...Stewart, you said you read the Bible, isn't that God's will?

Stewart: The Bible does talk about God's will, but I think His will is mainly related to Christ.

Abel: See Nabal, Stewart's right, and Christ revealed that Christianity is God's religion that we should follow so that we can go to heaven when we die. Right Stewart?

Stewart: Uhh...

Abel: Maybe it will help if we explain the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Brian: Yeah, I've always wondered why there are two parts to the Bible. And why are they called "Testaments"?

Stewart: A testament is like a will—various accomplishments bequeathed to the inheritors.

Abel: Right, and in the New Testament, God gave us Christianity and the way to go to heaven, and in the Old Testament, God gave us Judaism and the Law, which was replaced by Christianity, and certain facts about creation and the world.

Nabal: Certain facts? Like what?

Abel: Well, the Law tells us about good and evil...

Nabal: Those are just societal constructs to keep us from behaving in antisocial ways.

Brian: Are you dating a sociology major? Where did you learn that psychobabble?

Nabal: She's just a's not my fault she's not into the hard sciences.

Abel: ...and Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament tells us that the earth is 6,000 years old.

Nabal: Come on! Everything we've studied and everything we know shows the earth is older than that, by several orders of magnitude... next you're going to tell me the earth is flat too.

Abel: When it comes to the Bible versus science, I'll take the Bible, since it is infallible. Every word in the Bible is accurate and precise, and the Bible explicitly says the earth is only 6,000 years old. Evolution is...

Brian: Speaking of science, even if you don't believe it, we're going to be tested on neuroscience tomorrow and might want to finish up our studying before the library closes.

Stewart: All we had left was the electrophysiology chapter. Can we maybe go over how an action potential works and call it a day?

Brian: So, I think there are two main types of ions involved in the membrane voltage changes during an action potential, sodium and potassium...


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Two Trees I-2

Act I, Scene 2

Voice: Attention all students and library patrons. The library will be closing in thirty minutes.

Brian: Before you guys get into this, are we finished studying?

Nabal: I'm good, let's have this discussion Abel, no, I haven't heard of apologetics. But I definitely think you should apologize for reading the Bible.

Abel: That's not what "apologetics" means, the term refers to the systematic defense of God's existence and the truth of Christianity. It is the fundamental theme of the New Testament of the Bible.

Stewart: Are you guys sure you don't want to study for a few more minutes.

Abel: Well...

Nabal: I'm done, you guys study. What do you mean by "defense" of God's existence. How can you defend a falsehood. Don't you know that Darwin proved God didn't exist. You should really read some of the latest books on this, they'll clear you up in no time. Back me up here, Stewart, Brain, haven't you guys read Dawkins' latest?

Brian: Richard Dawkins?

Nabal: Yeah, now that guy knows the Bible—what a load of rubbish it is anyway.

Stewart: I beg to differ.

Nabal: What?

Stewart: That Richard Dawkins knows the Bible. He makes some mistakes in discussing it in The God Delusion. For example, in trying to assign motives to Matthew and Luke in writing each of their Gospels, he claims that Luke included kings worshiping Jesus as a child in order to impress the Gentiles who would read his Gospel.

Nabal: So?

Stewart: So, the Magi, or kings, coming from the east to worship Jesus was detailed in Matthew's Gospel, not Luke's. Dawkins made a mistake.

Nabal: Ahh, that's just a technicality.

Stewart: Also, I'd like to clear something up from before. You implied that I wouldn't be someone who reads the Bible. Well, I do read the Bible. Science is interesting and intellectually stimulating, and I'm glad we are studying it. But in order to satisfy something deep in me that longs for more, the Bible is just what I need. It sounds like Abel knows this as well. If you've never read the Bible, Nabal, you should at least give it a try. That's what any open-minded scientist would do, right? At least read something you want to disagree with to find out for yourself why it is wrong.

Nabal: That's why I read books by Richard Dawkins...

Brian: But that's just his point Nabal. If Stewart is right, Dawkins didn't even get all his facts straight when talking about the Bible in his book. I've never read the Bible either, but as a scientist, I would never dismiss something until I understood it's main point, and why that point is wrong. Isn't that what science is about—forming hypotheses, then testing them. It seems to me you've formed a hypothesis about the Bible, but are unwilling to test it.

Nabal: You guys are crazy.

Abel: No, they're just saying you need to read the Bible and understand it before you dismiss it. And when it comes to understanding the Bible, I'd be happy to help you.