October 22, 2020

Internet Monk Radio Podcast #158

podcast_logo.gifThis week: Being better missionaries. Christian blogosphere is empowering conversation. How we got from Chesterton to Ray Comfort’s Banana

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  1. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that those guys would turn to bananas to show how little we have in common with monkeys?

    I am sure the modern banana of commerce is the result of countless generations of breeding. Bananas do come in other sizes and colors. This one is most ideal for the market, so selected.

    • Come on now. Obviously in God’s providence he was merely killing two birds with one stone. Providing for humans and monkeys in the same fruit. 😛
      But yes that struck me too. For the most part I was about to believe it was a spoof!

  2. The banana video melted my brain.

    I realise they have the best of intentions, but jumping from dessert bananas, which are the result of cultivation and selection by human intervention as ProdigalSarah says, to “This proves the existence of God” is, um, a leap too far.

    Like St. Augustine says in his work on “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”:

    “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.”

    As regards Chesterton, as a journalist he would have considered that he was writing for ‘ordinary people’ and not particularly the well-educated or deeply thoughtful; he did debate publicly with people like H.G. Wells and G.B. Shaw and even Bertrand Russell. He was an art school drop-out and certainly had no university degree or particular training in philosophy or theology.

    Alas for modernity, I suppose, if the populism of fifty years ago is the high-brow work of today! 🙂

  3. Chesterton also addressed the philosophical implications of Darwinism. He also did it with a cutting and intellectual wit.

    I agree that something isn’t right with current evangelical apologetics. The goal seems to be to convert people to neo-conservatism, rather than to point them to God. If you are a rational, honest, and thinking human being, you won’t just be a Christian but a specific type of Christian. I am fascinated by the reports that Albert Camus may have become a Christian near the end of his life, but he probably never would have been a Christian palatable to fundamentalists (because he never publicly announce his faith nor was re-baptized as and adult lead many to believe that he didn’t believe) . If the days of authoritarian control in evangelicalism are truly over, there may eventually be room for thinking Christians. Here’s hoping.

    • very strong insights; I share your hope for a “thinking Christianity”,

      great points, Michael, and my prediction is: there will EITHER be a “raucous conversation” , or at least the beginnings of one, OR folks will slowly vote with their feet, and their time/wallet. Not reject their faith, but a top-down dominated form of it. The times, they are a changin’…..maybe if they’d been a changin’ a little faster, Mr.Dylan wouldn’t have chosen the Kaballah over the bible.

      Greg R

  4. Thanks for reminding me of the Banana Video! My favorite thing about it, if I remember it well, is the subtle ways God’s design seems to have anticipated consumerist culture. We are truly at the peak of our development as a society, but let us not forget that God is the great developer! Bananas are God’s Go-gurt!

  5. Are y’all talking about that video where “the banana fits perfectly in the hand”? Wasn’t what’s his face actor guy in that clip? Man I fell to the floor in a seizure attack of holy laughter at that one. As pointed out by an atheist observer, follow that line of thought to it’s logical conclusion, and imagine: What else in God’s creation seems to fit so perfectly in the human hand?

  6. Wow, I guess I really need to listen. I’ve not been impressed with Comfort or Cameron, so I don’t know where your ‘cast is going, but I love the stuff. Thanks, Monk.

  7. Grace Junkie says

    iMonk Michael,

    I got an uber-gnarly case of poison ivy while mountain biking in Chattanooga a few years ago. I searched the web for remedies and the best I found was the lowly hot air hair dryer. After showering, turn the blow dryer on maximum hot and hold it as close to the rash spots for as long as you can stand. This dries out the blemishes and feels amazingly soothing. Then apply a topical analgesic. Hey, it worked for me. As someone said concerning poison ivy, “Do nothing and it’ll take about 10 days to get over it. Treat it with your best remedies and count on about a week and a half until its gone”. Almost as irritating are the ongoing antics of the YEC crowd to make their theology part of the membership requirements to The Redeemed. I’ll bet the Comfort/Cameron edition of “The Origin of Species” will sell a ton (to other YECs). Oh, well.

  8. Michael,

    Are you familiar with the ministry of Reasons to Believe? They’re old-Earth creationists with a whole mess of scientists with Ph.D’s in various scientific disciplines who do look at both the Bible and nature to provide a model of creation that is both consistant with Scripture and science. I’ve been enjoying the podcasts by their lead scientist (an astronomer who’s name escapes me right now) called “More than a Theory.”

  9. Interesting podcast Michael, especially the part about the Cameron/Comfort edition…I totally concur with your statements along these lines… “It’s all about the culture war […] which has nothing to do with preaching the gospel” and the implications that go with those lines.
    Those thoughts and the related issues grieve me everytime I ponder them. In my opinion the cultural warriors and the willing participants and their pet crusades have neven been about bringing people into the kingdom and making disciples of Christ. No, I think at its roots, it’s mostly been about preserving a comfortable, often materialistic, persecution-free, insulated, “dirt-free” family, church, and community lifestyle. It’s also been about maintaining a culturally domineering position in these united states (in order to make it appear christian) which sadly appears at times to be more important than the nitty-gritty of the kingdom of God. And then I think of the millions, maybe even billions of dollars that cultural warriors have spent trying to “save” america…and my throat constricts. I’m not saying we should be totally silent but the last 30+ years have been a bad case of misplaced priorities…and what have we gained? This may be overly bold (and I don’t have a survey or data to back it up) but I have a suspicion that all this cultural warring has turned far more people towards outright agnosticism/atheism than anything that secular science/humanism has been able to do.

    Finally, what did Jesus do when the majority of His culture rejected Him? I believe He allowed them to freely choose that course. There were consequences of course, and the rejectors suffered but they could not say that they had turned from an angry, coercive, manipulating or domineering Jesus. The only impression I can see them having would be of the humble, loving, inviting Jesus. He and His followers did not “make war” for or against a culture. They didn’t run for office or legislate this or that, or out-media blitz anyone. They just lived a counter-culture and that was enough to turn things upside-down.

  10. Michael-
    Great podcast. I was particularly interested in the creationist topic. As a physician-scientist I had similar questions about the validity of creationism soon after becoming a Christ follower, not particularly prior to however. Thankfully the truth in love I experienced early in my walk and my certainty in what Christ has done overpowered any questions I had or still have about creationism. Despite this I am certain it would have created a stir if I brought it up among my crew of Christian friends.

    I believe we have much more to gain in telling others about what has been clearly revealed in Christ than speculating or debating on what has not. From what I’ve seen of Ray Comfort on youtube, it seems he keeps the gospel at the forefront and creationism secondary (on the defensive).

  11. Michael,
    I disagree with your point of view. I do agree that we as the Church should not be sidetracked into the culture war, and that the focus of the gospel presentation should be on what God has done for us, not what we can do for God. However, apologetics is a broad field that Creation Science fits into. To believe that modern science is pure science and not propaganda is naive. Apologetics has a place in renewing our minds as well as stimulating the thought of the lost to examine their own lost assumptions. All these people who you say are feeling like they are being rejected by another faith community because they do not embrace creationism and a belief in a young Earth I have not seen. Ken Ham has pointed out in his book, “They Are Already Gone,” that we have a generation that who believe the propaganda of government schools is truth and that the Bible is only good for moral stories, but is not the inerrant inspired Word of God. All knowledge begins with assumptions of faith that we call a premise. The secular scientific community begins their scientific process with the assumption that there is no God. The accuracy of the premise determines the accuracy of the conclusions. Creation Science begins with both the assumption that there is a God who created everything, but also, that this God is the God declared in the Bible. With that assumption they also proceed with the assumption that the God of the Bible is also capable of creating a document that is inerrant and inspired by Him.

    I do not accept every theory of Creation Science as true. For I recognize that all theories are not facts but systems based upon hypothesizes of facts. However, I put more credence in a theory beginning with the Bible than the imagination and propaganda of secular atheists with an agenda to convince everyone that there is no God who created everything nor an accountability to that God.

  12. Dear Mr. Spencer,

    As I was listening to your podcast- what came to my mind after a while is that you hold strong feelings towards YEC-ists for a plethora of reasons, some founded, some maybe not. But is it not true with the example you gave towards the end of the podcast that the fault does not lie necessarily with the concept of a ‘literal creation’ but the lack of “love” shown by those individuals…by them not listening and honestly dealing with the scientific questions reasonably and for not properly judging a person as a christian if they believe only this, this, and this, instead of believing that fundamentally it is a condition of the heart that God in Jesus by His Spirit gave/ and will teach the individual and keep him from falling? And not hold over him ” your not one of us if you do not etc…” because periphery things may not always be agreed upon but it is a proper, biblical, coherent view of the gospel that is our life blood?

    Myself- I am philosophically a Creationist because I need a few questions answered before I can accept an old earth…I am not approaching it scientifically…I have a great respect for reasonable science. But it would not be coherent for me philosophically to abandon Η Εξαήμερος Δημιουργία just yet…because of the way I am reading Scripture…if it can be reasonably and coherently shown different, without bastardizing the text, I am willing to change! I do not believe that in order for one to be a christian that they need to accept a young earth creation in order to be a brother or sister with me that would be absurd….one time I did believe the opposite but that was my foolish sin…to inform you!

    Thank you!


  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    I have seen “Ray Comfort’s Banana” — one of the funniest unintentional “Ambiguously Gay Duo”-style skits ever recorded.

    (In fanfic, there’s this thing called “slash” — gay erotica fanfics “shipping” any two same-sex leads in a book, movie, or TV show: Kirk-slash-Spock (which originated the name), Cagney-slash-Lacey, Starsky-slash-Hutch, Luke-slash-Han, Frodo-slash-Sam, you name it. They say if you have two male characters in the same story, some fanboy (usually a fangirl) will try to Slash it. WHY DO THEY INSIST ON MAKING IT EASY FOR THE SLASHIES? RAY COMFORT’S BANANA ACT JUST SCREAMS “SLASH ME!”)