Learning from the Opposition
Wayne C | February 23, 2023
The book, "The Art of War," has become a phenomenon in the past several decades. Many businessmen consider this book to have invaluable advice for "warring" with business rivals. The book was written by the 6th century BC Chinese general and military strategist, Sun Tzu. Incidentally, the book was required reading by General Norman Schwarzkopf for his troops during the Persian Gulf War. One quote from the book says, "Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will have no fear in 100 battles." We can learn much from our enemies.
Through the decades, I have occasionally been surprised to hear some, who would readily admit they are not Christians, express total confidence in God, the existence of hell, the judgment to come. Not in any kind of confession, but merely in general discussion. Then I have known some Christians who confessed a LACK of confidence in such matters. I understand that some have a belief in God that borders on superstition, and their belief is worth no more than superstition in that it prompts no obedience. It is still interesting to hear such confidence expressed.
Sometimes those who disagree with biblical views can offer valuable insights. Let's take a moment to consider a few quotes from self-avowed atheists, or former atheists, who have expressed statements regarding belief in a Creator. (Much of the following taken from: Thompson & Harrub, "Investigating Christian Evidences," pp.28-32).
Based on decades of studying the mind-brain relationship, Dr. John Eccles won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for his pioneering research on the synapse (the point at which nerve cells communicate with the brain). For scientists and others who believe that man is made only of matter (i.e. no "spirit"), Dr. Eccles' comments are quite refreshing. Eccles strongly defends the ancient religious belief that human beings consist of a mysterious compound of physical and intangible spirit.
Science writer John Gliedman wrote concerning Eccles' findings, "Each of us embodies a non-material thinking and perceiving self that "entered" our physical brain sometime during embryological development or very early childhood, says the man who helped lay the cornerstone of modern neurophysiology. . . . Boldly advancing what for most scientists is the greatest heresy of all, Eccles also asserts that our nonmaterial self survives the death of the physical brain."
In 1984, Dr. Eccles concluded, "Science and religion are very much alike. . . . The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance. We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence." (Modern Biology and the Turn to Belief in God, 1984, p.50)
Writing about the orderliness of the universe, Australian astrophysicist Paul Davies wrote, "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . . it seems as though someone has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the universe. . . . The impression of design is overwhelming." (The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability to Order the Universe, 1988, p.203)
In the 1994 Preface to his "The Physics of Immortality," prominent scientist Dr. Frank Tipler, wrote, "When I began my career as a cosmologist twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special brand of physics."
Those who are open to criticism understand the value of considering opposing thoughts. Many businesses have benefitted from inviting the views of those who dislike their products. As God's people, we should resist dogmatism and always be willing to consider other views. Sometimes listening to the opposition can be quite uplifting and beneficial.