Vertical News November 2008

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The Challenge of Intellectual Skepticism

Recently I was able to attend an eye-opening conference given by William Dembski, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, another in philosophy and a master's degree in theology. He recently coauthored the book Understanding Intelligent Design.

It was shocking to hear from Dr. Dembski at this conference that the number one reason many young Christians leave Christianity and become nonreligious is intellectual skepticism.

In a 2005 survey from The National Study of Youth and Religion, thousands of U.S. teenagers were asked, "Why did you fall away from the faith in which you were raised?"

The most common answer given was intellectual skepticism (32 percent). Their answers included, "Some stuff was too far-fetched for me to believe in," "I think scientifically there is no proof," and "There were too many questions that can't be answered." 

This means Christian youths were led to doubt that Christianity was true or became skeptical of the evidence affirming it. It is also likely that they found a more secular and naturalistic explanation of nature that seemed more satisfying.

Church leaders of major denominations acknowledge that between 69 and 94 percent of their young people are leaving the traditional church after high school—and not returning. That is roughly two out of three youths that leave their religion in the best-case scenario and in the worst case, nine out of 10 kids. Those are terrifying statistics for Christianity in general!

Yet consider the following facts about the increasing number of youths without a biblical worldview. These youth are:

  • 225 percent more likely to be angry with life.
  • 210 percent more likely to lack purpose in life.
  • 48 percent more likely to cheat on an exam.
  • 300 percent more likely to use illegal drugs.

No wonder James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family religious network, recently said that the great fear among parents today is the possibility that their kids will leave the faith.  Parents fear that the relativistic, sex-saturated and antibiblical culture will steal the hearts and minds of their children. And according to the shocking statistics of Christian youth dropouts, they have every reason to be frightened.

But is there a real basis for such intellectual skepticism that leads to such damaging results? Not when the scientific facts are carefully examined in an unbiased way. For instance, consider the following question: Is the universe the result of natural, unguided causes, as secular skeptics affirm, or is it carefully planned by an intelligent Designer?

In the conference with Dr. Dembski, it was pointed out how carefully fine-tuned the universe is, with some 30 cosmological constants, or physical laws, that carefully regulate it. How did these laws appear? Scientists don't have a clue—but these constants exist in the exact force needed for life to arise and thrive—and all interact more carefully and precisely than the cogs in a precious Swiss watch.

Take, for instance, just one of the 30 physical laws—the force of gravity. It is astoundingly calibrated to 1 x 10⁴⁰—a number so huge it is hard to imagine. But let's give it a try! Suppose you could extend a ruler from one end of the universe to the other. Cosmologists calculate that the force of gravity is so precisely fine-tuned that if you moved the calibration just one inch either way, it would prove catastrophic for order and life.

As Paul Davies, a famous physicist put it, "The cliché that ‘life is balanced on a knife-edge' is a staggering understatement in this case: no knife in the universe could have an edge that fine" (Cosmic Jackpot, 2007, p. 149). So the universe is not only finely tuned, but it is super finely tuned!

Yes, we live in the Age of Skepticism—far more now than ever in the past. But there is also so much positive evidence for the existence of God and the inspiration of the Scriptures that when carefully examined, we are without excuse to doubt them.

So don't let yourself be brainwashed in school or by the secular media or by skeptical friends. Search out the truth for yourself! Make a habit of reading the fine articles constantly coming out with more evidence about intelligent design and the inspiration of Scripture. The following free booklets can help you prove these things for yourself: Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe? and Is the Bible True?

As David exclaimed in Psalms 19:1-2 Psalms 19:1-2 [1] The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. [2] Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge.
American King James Version×
, "The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak: night after night they make Him known" (New Living Translation).

For Vertical Thought,
Mario Seiglie

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