I’m working on a project right now and came across a beautiful quote that I love dearly. I’m afraid it’s not suitable for the project, but it’s desperately worth keeping somewhere. Perhaps I shall turn this blog into a commonplace book.
From Charles Spurgeon:
Two sorts of people have wrought great mischief, and yet they are neither of them worth being considered as judges in the matter: they are both of them disqualified. It is essential than an umpire should know both sides of a question, and neither of these is thus instructed. The first is the irreligious scientist. What does he know about religion? What can he know? He is out of court when the question is—Does science agree with religion? Obviously he who would answer this query must know both of the two things in the question. The second is a better man, but capable of still more mischief. I mean the unscientific Christian, who will trouble his head about reconciling the Bible with science. He had better leave it alone, and not begin his tinkering trade. The mistake made by such men has been that in trying to solve a difficulty, they have either twisted the Bible, or contorted science. The solution has soon been seen to be erroneous, and then we hear the cry that Scripture has been defeated. Not at all; not at all. It is only a vain gloss upon it which has been removed. Here is a good brother who writes a tremendous book, to prove that the six days of creation represent six great geological periods; and he shows how the geological strata, and the organisms thereof, follow very much in the order of the Genesis story of creation. It may be so, or it may be not so; but if anybody should before long show that the strata do not lie in any such order, what would be my reply? I should say that the Bible never taught that they did. The Bible said, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” That leaves any length of time for your fire-ages and your ice-periods, and all that, before the establishment of the present age of man.1 Then we reach the six days in which the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and rested on the seventh day. There is nothing said about long ages of time, but, on the contrary, “the evening and the morning were the first day”, and “the evening and the morning were the second day”; and so on. I do not here lay down any theory, but simply say that if our friend’s great book is all fudge, the Bible is not responsible for it. It is true that his theory has an appearance of support from the parallelism which he makes out between the organic life of the ages and that of the seven days; but this may be accounted for from the fact that God usually follows a certain order whether he works in long periods or short ones. I do not know, and I do not care, much about the question; but I want to say that, if you smash up an explanation you must not imagine that you have damaged the Scriptural truth which seemed to require the explanation: you have only burned the wooden palisades with which well-meaning men thought to protect an impregnable fort which needed no such defence. For the most part, we had better leave a difficulty where it is, rather than make another difficulty by our theory. Why make a second hole in the kettle, to mend the first? Especially when the first hole is not there at all, and needs no mending. Believe everything in science which is proved: it will not come to much. You need not fear that your faith will be over-burdened. And then believe everything which is clearly in the Word of God, whether it is proved by outside evidence or not. No proof is needed when God speaks. If he hath said it, this is evidence enough.
“If he hath said it, this is evidence enough.”
Right. THIS is why you converted-you weren’t persuaded by real evidence. You were persuaded because of emotion. The fact that you think THIS qualifies as evidence shows you were never really a rigorous minded atheist.
Bill, I’m afraid you misunderstand. This quote was not supposed to indicate why I believe, or to even really give a reason to believe in Christianity. It was addressed to Christians who worry about science but are already persuaded of the authority of Scripture. Your comment, which shows you approached this post with a much different agenda, indicates that you failed to appreciate the audience or purpose of this quote. Much of my work is in helping Christians better understand and appreciate science, which is why I shared it. So no, this played absolutely zero role in my conversion, nor do I think it qualifies as “evidence.” I hope that, just as I strove to be a rigorous minded atheist when I studied Hume (and his ought-is fallacies) and Nietzsche and Rand and Camus (though I haven’t posted so much about these things), you would strive to be a rigorous minded reader by not jumping to conclusions about the author’s purpose, rigor, and intelligence without more context.