TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET?
By: Gene Conti, MD
Why does everything in the United States (and the world for that matter) seem to be going to hell in a handbasket? What is that handbasket thing about anyway? And who’s carrying it to hell? Ah, the riddles of life! The answers in due time.
Everything seems to be falling apart. If you are a Catholic/Christian reading this, most of you would probably answer thusly – There is no love left in the world. God has been removed. Satan is taking control. These are all good and correct responses; however they give no explanation as to how and why all this has come about. And unless you know the how and why, one has no idea where to start to correct the problem.
Let me play with your head a bit. I suggest that the average Catholic (let’s include all Christians) simply doesn’t know basic right from wrong. Surprised? I’m going to propose a number of statements to challenge you. After reading each one, mark “Right” if you feel that the statement is the morally correct approach. Mark “Wrong” if you believe the statement is not in line with our Judeo-Christian principles. And mark “Neither” if you feel that there is no correct or morally superior position to the statement either way. So, let’s start:
- Two people of the same sex should be allowed to marry or at least have a civil union if they truly love each other. Our Lord did command us to love one another.
- A 22 year-old woman is accosted by hoodlums beaten, gang raped and becomes pregnant. She opts for an abortion.
- A family crosses the southern US border illegally. They are willing to work and are just looking for a better life for themselves and their children.
- A committed lesbian couple who have been together for 15 years wish to adopt a child. They have already helped raise the child of a family member who passed away. They have proven themselves. Let them adopt a child.
- A political candidate is running for office. He appears honest and forthright. He wants to balance the budget and promote economic prosperity and stability. He happens to be pro-choice. Your friends have decided to vote for this gentleman since his motives are pure and he is looking out for the common good.
- A student in High School science class is given the topic of earth origins as a class assignment. He approaches it from a young earth (6 thousand year) Biblical viewpoint. His research is documented with appropriate scientific references. His teacher dismisses the report on the grounds that it is not consistent with accepted geological principles. Religion is a matter of faith, and science is for the classroom.
- A child in the cafeteria blesses herself to say grace quietly before eating her lunch. A teacher notices and the girl is taken to the principal’s office. The girl is told she must be tolerant of others of different faiths, and her actions could be offensive to some. Besides, she is in effect breaking the law of “separation of church and state."
- Situation Ethics and Relative Morality are University level courses, with discussions of various options in different situations, because no one can determine what is absolute moral truth. We must learn to accept other viewpoints, moral codes, religions, experiences, etc.
- You live in NYC which doesn’t allow personal ownership of guns. You have been selected to serve on a jury. There was a break in to an apartment late at night. The renter heard voices. He grabbed his gun. One of the thieves entered his bedroom; he fired and killed the intruder. The renter is brought up on charges of murder and possessing an illegal weapon. There must be some punishment since the law was broken and a human being was killed.
- A major pharmaceutical firm plans to develop an R&D Center in the jungles of Borneo. As part of its service to the community, it wishes to educate and civilize the indigenous peoples who live there. For hundreds of years, their traditions and religion have practiced a form of cannibalism. Interfering with their tribal practices in order to modernize them will destroy their way of life. Live and let live. Find some other community work to perform.
I will give you the answers to the quiz, but first let us discuss some things that may cause you to change some of your answers.
The Bible today has become equivalent to a buffet for Catholics and Christians as a whole. Sort of pick what you like and leave what you don’t. It has been proven that there are many inaccuracies, fables, old legends and myths in it. There is much metaphor and allegory, especially in Genesis, used to get certain lessons of faith across. The Bible is a book of faith and morals. It is not a history book nor a science text. Or is it? Hmmm, let’s see.
We learn about the history of the world and science in school, and faith and morals in church. In school, we are taught about how historically all space, time and matter began with the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago. Then the formation of our solar system, and earth about 4.5 billion years ago. Early rudimentary life forms began to develop about one billion plus years ago in the primitive oceans. Eventually, life moved onto the land and evolved through the amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, the lower primates to hominids, and then man. Upward and onward! The history of the early hunter-gatherers of 15-20 thousand years ago, and then the development of the agrarian societies. Finally, around 5 thousand or so years B.C.E., language, and the written word.
Now the Bible, starting with Genesis, gives an entirely different history of the world. God created the universe and earth in six essentially 24 hour days culminating with Adam and Eve, and then Noah’s Flood and Tower of Babel. All this began around six thousand years ago, if you add up all the “begats." Adam begat Seth who begat Enos who begat ……all the way through Abraham and eventually Jesus. This IS entirely different from what is taught in school. Though, schools today do teach what and how to “begat!"
The Roman Catholic Church, virtually all Protestant sects, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims believed in the creation account as written in the Bible until about the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. Things began getting shaky then. Which history of the world is correct?
Most Catholics, hey most people, don’t think of Genesis as real history that took place in real space and time. Genesis is usually relegated to allegory, metaphor, or as one priest put it – myth! In case you are wondering as to the official position of the Magesterium of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican I (1868), the Pontifical Bible Commission (1909), and even ALL papal encyclicals, is of a literal Adam, and a literal Eve, in a literal Garden of Eden, and a literal global hydraulic cataclysmic Noahic Flood. None of these Apostolic Commissions nor Papal Encyclicals has ever denied the “begats." Yet most seminaries and Catholic colleges today, and their respective religious, teach from the lectern or pulpit from a secular humanist viewpoint, essentially agreeing with modern science. The modern Catholic position is modified, taking a Theistic evolutionary stance. God started the ball rolling, being the Prime Mover, and evolutionary processes from Cosmology to Biology proceeded from there. Some believe that God intervened at points along the way. Let us evaluate the validity of this modern, liberal Catholic interpretation of Genesis.
Before we do, some may already be inquiring as to who is writing this article? I attended a Catholic University (which shall remain unnamed), and majored in Biology. My first Theology course was Salvation History, where I learned that Charlton Heston did not part the Red Sea. The children of Israel went through the “reed sea” which bogged down the pharaoh’s chariots. By the time I graduated with my B.S., I had converted to atheism or at least a convicted agnostic. I proceeded on to a Master’s Program in Marine Science. Then a stint as a High School science teacher for a few years, and finally on to Medical School. After which I began my internship and residency, and have now been practicing Emergency Medicine for almost thirty years.
Both my parents were hardcore Roman Catholics. Dad read the Bible almost daily, and Mom prayed the Rosary. I would belittle my Dad for reading that book of fairy tales. I was “edu-macated!" As an aside, the latest Barna studies show that children from religious families (attending church every week), upon graduation from college, at least 70% will have turned their back on their faith. And those are the religious kids! Close to 70% of professed Catholics don’t believe in the literal body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. I personally know a priest or two who disbelieve likewise.
The theory that is taught as gospel in school is that over millions of years, during the early formation of the earth, there was much upheaval. Volcanoes, lightning, torrential rain pounding the rocks and nascent ocean. We’ve all seen Disney, Discover and Nova programs proselytizing this. Eventually, in some warm pond enough of the right chemicals got together ignited by a lightning strike and VOILA ! – the first living cell was born. Some type of bacteria or virus is speculated on. And it was self replicating!
Scientists have tried, in vain, since the early Miller-Urey experiments of the 1950’s to create life from scratch. The key is “from scratch," raw elements only please. The closest we have gotten is a tarry and toxic mixture with some amino acids. But aren’t they the “building blocks of life” you ask? Ahh yeah, but that’s like saying bricks were made (somehow) and then the Empire State building is going to form itself (somehow), complete with all its plumbing, windows, wiring, elevators, heating and air, steel framework, etc., etc. The entire structure must be built without ANY outside intelligent input, no blueprint, nothing but blind random chance, i.e. blind and deaf workers. Oh, by the way, your bricks (amino acids) are of different sizes. Oops!
To give you some idea of the complexity of just ONE living cell, it has been compared to an entire city complete with subways, buses, trucks, traffic lights, elevators, stores, buildings, factories, etc. Each interacting correctly and on time, with the other components, to make it work flawlessly. It would be easier to start with a single cell and create a human, than it would be to take water, lightning, and rocks to create one cell.
As an analogy, let’s take the personal computer and the human brain to give you just a teensy weensy glimpse into the awesome power of God. Now, the evolutionists claim that the human brain evolved over supposed millions of years. The Bible (God) claims that He did it on Day Six. Remember, He created the land animals, then Adam and Eve. Again, if you add up the “begats," that puts you at around six thousand years ago.
The average personal computer has around 5 million electronic interconnections (not wires). As of 2009, there were approximately 1 billion personal computers in the world. The average brain has approximately the same number of neuronal interconnections as those 1 billion computers. That’s 5 million x 1 billion = total number of neuronal (electronic) interconnections in ONE human brain. Hope you have a calculator for that. Helloooo, that’s just one brain! Male or female? I don’t know, they are wired differently. Ask any married man or woman for confirmation.
If I told you that even one personal computer came about by blind random chance (evolution) from raw iron, bauxite (aluminum), copper, silver, silicon, oil (plastic), etc. slowly over millions of years you would say I’m nuts. Call the little men in the white coats. Yet, you are willing to take on blind faith that the human brain evolved over those supposed millions of years starting with rain, lightning, and rocks?! Personally, one needs more faith in that evolutionary fairy tale.
At this point, you’re probably saying, evolution/creation who cares? What the deuce does any of this have to do with right and wrong?
Some of you pseudo-intellectuals are also starting to get your dander up. Hey, I once thought likewise. How could I have been lied to, you’re saying? What about all those science courses I took in undergrad, then grad, and ultimately doctoral programs? No way! Something is missing! You are just twisting the facts! I’m not going to be taken for a fool by some religious clap trap! I’m intelligent!
Then THINK!! Analyze, check this stuff out – properly. Smarter men than you and I have been taken in by this evolutionary paradigm. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Evaluate this creation model objectively. Test it scientifically. Or do you have ulterior motives? After over two years of intense investigation, I came to the inescapable conclusion that the entire evolutionary/millions of years model was a complete sham, a farce. And I was spitting mad! I was angry that I had been lied to through all those years of science courses. One reason I majored in the sciences was I thought that science was the search for the truth. It is. But evolution is NOT science, it is a philosophy!
Second, I was angry that I could no longer carry on my heathen ways. Huh??? THINK! If evolution is true and the entire universe and all that it contains is here by blind random chance – and that is exactly what evolution demands, then who are you answerable to? Simply no one but yourself. Truth is then relative to your own worldview. You alone determine right and wrong. If evolution is true there is no God, no rules, no ultimate authority to answer to. Definitely not that book of fairy tales ordering me around.
Example: I state I want to marry my horse and a transsexual and two prostitutes (one male and one female). Tell me I’m wrong. You can’t. You may argue that it sounds disgusting or that societal convention over hundreds of years shows otherwise. I can easily respond and claim that you are a bigot, homophobe, intolerant…. You know the drill. My ACLU attorney will prove in a court of law that my horse and I love one another. You are trying to deny my love for those prostitutes and the transsexual. Who are you to dictate to me? What are you going to do? Fall back on the Ten Suggestions of Charlton Heston? He barely got through the reed sea with the Israeli slaves. Besides separation of church and state forbids you from interfering. Just go back to your pew sit down and suck it up!
Gene Conti, MD