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Question for christians who accept evolutionary theory
The reason I ask this question is because Biblical literalism absolves God from all the suffering and all the things labeled sinful in the world. This world-view implies that the creator-god never intended for these things to be here, but that they were brought into the world by the dissent of mankind.
But if evolution is how this god choose to bring humans into the world, then 'sin' because problematic: what is often called sinful (lust, anger, envy, etc.) are simply natural responses to the environment. Mankind can no longer be blamed for bringing these things into the world.
I would dispute that Biblical literalism of all types absolves God from being the origin of suffering. Many Calvinists today are YECs and are fairly literalist in their reading of Genesis, but many see God as being the ultimate cause of every thing that comes to pass (including sin). They typically make the distinction that God is not the one who is actually committing the sin.
Alvin Plantinga makes the argument that the problem of evil is impotent because it does not account for the fact that God may have a good purpose for the evil in the world.
I don't really understand this. Isn't an explanation of consciousness sufficient for a concept of the 'self'?
Neuroscience can explain how an individual human (or as Thuggernautz referred to, an individual animal) perceives itself. And it can, in a sense, account for a self at one moment. But it cannot account for any continuity of self. Similar to what I said earlier, a purely materialistic view can see no true connection or continuity between a former self and the current self. There are probably more, but I mentioned memory connecting current self to the past self, and similarity in location in time and space. But these connections are arbitrary - nothing more than a random configuration of atoms. Under this view, I am as connected to my previous self as the computer I am typing on is connected to the speck of dust orbiting the red giant Betelgeuse. Any other connection you can make is arbitrary. Neuroscience can explain some of the connections we make and why those connections make me feel as though I am a self, but that does nothing to explain the arbitrariness. In addition to lacking ability to prove the continuity of self, it lacks the ability to give any value to the self or the person. This is not really a question of science, but a philosophical question: one of metaphysics.
"Knowing is the responsible human struggle to rely on clues to focus on a coherent pattern and submit to its reality." -Esther Meek
That's an interesting way of looking at it. You adequately mention what I would describe as 'full self' from a purely physical standpoint; the continuity of memory of current self; the history of which must be included into the current as well. But then you go on to say that those connections are arbitrary, and provide a rather confusing comparison to a computer. To keep with the computer allegory, surely the connection to previous self is the contents of the hard-drive, the memory, whilst current self is whatever resultant image is being projected on screen at the new given point in time. Looking at the physical aspect of it, it is entirely possible to have a completely new self, or at least a new perception of self, if your memory is completely wiped. True amnesia will do it, severe brain trauma, alzheimer's... all behaviour and memory altering events such as these can completely change what other people, and even what you, used to define as yourself.
In that sense, it seems the evidence is stronger for a purely physical cause for both consciousness and self; and that any metaphysical explanation is both unsupported and unnecessary.
Christianity being human centric is incredibly wrong.. Christianity is NOT human centric. That's go to be some of the most inaccurate theology I've ever read and I can't imagine which verse led you to think that. Christianity is accepting that we were designed to give God glory, as well as everything else. Direct quote from Paul, "He must become more and more and I must become less and less."
If we think of God as the creator of the universe that created us to glorify Him, the abundant size of the universe perfectly fits this as it shows how small we are compared to the creator of the universe (using Louie Giglio's arguments a bit here, hehe.)
I have my opinions on evolution but I'm not the most educated so I'll refrain from participating in that debate. If you're curious of my views, view this post's edit history.
Psalm 18:6 'But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.'