My blog has been in existence now for about two and a half weeks. Any kind of blog system or discussion forum system is automatically found by automated software on the web that looks for places to try and create fake links to another page. They are fake because they create comments that are not from real users. Someone is starting some webpage for something and they want to make search engines rank their page higher. Links from other sites to your website do help search engines find your site. My website does not get a lot of traffic but I do get referrals from some other creationism related websites that have links to it. In the years I’ve had my website, search engines have found my site via traffic linking people to my site, and the various articles with my name on other creation ministry websites. I can’t remember any case where I asked for such a link on another site, though I’m not positive. I certainly did not go all over the internet creating bogus links to my site just to promote it. This was slowly accomplished over time. So most of my traffic on my website, and requests to my newsletter, are real people. People have referred their friends to my site or my newsletter. I hope the same happens with this blog.
In the short time my blog has existed there has been so far 16 fake comments that some persons or programs have tried to post to my site just to make a link to their site. Their hope is that people reading my site will see the fake posts and click the link out of curiosity. But I have installed a system on my site called Akismet that prevents comment spam. So far it’s working pretty well. I can tell the fakes from the real readers, so far. So the fake comments haven’t been seen on the blog.
All this makes me think of Jesus’ parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. Here’s the beginning of this from the NIV Bible (1984). “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat ….”
This is like comment spam. I put what I hope is worthwhile posts on my blog hoping that it will help some who read it. But there is more traffic from the fakes so far than from real readers. But I will delete the spam (the weeds). Operating a blog means you have to deal with the weeds some so that real readers can have something to read. In Jesus’ parable, the weeds are left until the end of history when Jesus returns. Jesus will send angels to get rid of the weeds so the righteous can live in peace. Jesus has the right to do this because of who he is and what he has done. The righteous in the parable are referred to as the wheat. The seed of the truth of the gospel is spread abroad among both weeds and wheat. The weeds and wheat both grow for a time. Some weeds look a lot like wheat (I know this because I grew up in Kansas). Some may have trouble telling the difference between weeds and wheat, at least when you look from a distance. But the God who sows the message knows the difference between the real believers and the fakes. One good thing is that it is possible for weeds to become wheat in real life! A nonbeliever can become a believer. Jesus has been making this kind of metamorphosis in human lives for a long time now.
Just a little update on this post. It’s now March 17, 2012 and there are 33 fake comments I’ve received since this post. More weeds with the wheat. Sending them to binary oblivion.
Some skeptics who like to try and debunk Christianity may say that the experience of a Christian is a delusion. That when Christians talk about experiencing God changing their life they are only engaging in wishful thinking or deceiving themselves about the nature of their experience. They would point to people who believe other religions who might also say that their religion changes their lives (in positive ways) also. So what is the difference between a Christian who’s life changes and someone of another religion who’s life changes? This also brings up the issue of what are the roles of external objective evidence, such as historical or scientific evidence, versus subjective experience? The skeptics may say, like John Loftus for instance, that subjective experience is not evidence at all.
It is true that a Christian’s personal relationship with God is a subjective experience. But there is an objective basis behind Christianity that is not affected by my feelings or perceptions. Christianity has its basis in historical events, such as the history of ancient Israel and the life and ministry of Jesus Christ in the first century. I would not say it’s impossible for a Christian to delude themself, but that does not make their whole faith experience a delusion. If there are many people who have a very similar subjective experience of faith in God changing their lives in positive ways because of believing in the same objective truths from history, then there must be something to it! Millions of people from different cultures, languages, education levels, and nations have experienced many positive changes in their lives as a result of becoming a Christian. This is not something to just dismiss. It is not like the experience of people from other religious faiths, such as Mormonism or Islam for instance. Mormons and Muslims do not have an experience like a Christian. There may be outward similarities to a Christian’s behavior in these religions. There are some commendable things about Mormonism and Islam in many outward behaviors but that does not make it the same. There is a deeper more subtle satisfaction that is experienced in the Christian life that people of other religions do not know. If a person is a Christian but they do not live an obedient Christian life, they do not by that failure disprove Christianity. They just generate confusion. There are many who by living the Christian life have demonstrated that their faith explains human experience better than other beliefs.
I think that many of the things that show the authenticity of a Christian’s faith are things that are long term patterns that are demonstrated over time in the person’s life. In other words don’t judge the reality of my faith based on whether I have a good day or a bad day. But, if my faith makes permanent positive changes in my life that last a lifetime, then that is a kind of “evidence” that it is real. When I was a nonchristian and 20 years old, I was seeing a psychiatrist on campus at Kansas State University. He was a Harvard graduate and was not a Christian. When I became a Christian, he did not try to dissuade me from my faith. He saw that my involvement with Christian people and with Church was a good thing for me and he observed me making good decisions in my life that were healthier than the way I had been in the past. My attitudes about myself were different as well. So, my Christian conversion was not part of the problem that led me to see a psychiatrist, it was really part of the solution that led to my psychiatrist telling me I didn’t need to see him any more. I really believe that if someone would have asked my psychiatrist then if I was deluding myself, he would have said no. He would have been able to observe the difference in me believing a delusion and me growing in maturity and going in a healthy direction in my personal life. Delusions don’t really meet people’s needs and often they don’t make a good life-long experience. Others around someone who believes a delusion may be able to see that something is wrong in their life easier than they can see themselves. I think Christian faith makes for a balanced healthy life, if you live a life obedient to God and you learn to really understand what the Bible teaches about life. No one is perfect, so it is never nearly perfect, but it is significant. I’m now in my 50’s and I’m certainly not perfect, but God has brought me a long way from where I was.