Posts Tagged ‘Rosalind Picard’

thinking, religionWhen this graphic (posted on an Internet atheism community) caught my attention, the first thing I thought was: Religion? Yech.

I’ve written often about the poison of “religion”. Not the dictionary version, which few people in our culture understand or care about. No, I’m writing about the version that most people think of as soon as the word is mentioned:

  • People who are smug and judgmental.
  • People who don’t really care what happens to others who aren’t in their religious group.
  • People who are happy to welcome others into their group/church, as long as THOSE people change themselves to fit in.
  • People who spend their time being angry, paranoid and opposing things, rather than supporting anything.
  • People on TV who promise wealth and a good life as long as you send them money.

I follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the Son of God), so I want nothing to do with this “religion”. Indeed, He doesn’t either. In the Bible, some of Jesus’s most passionate words are against smug, arrogant, rule-obsessed “religious” leaders.

So what about the “thinking” part of this graphic? It’s easy to assume it’s true because in our culture, thinking people of faith are generally ignored by the media. Indeed, some of them may face such opposition to their faith in Jesus that they keep it hidden.

But they are out there. Here are just a few examples of these faith-filled thinkers, listed on Wikipedia:

Rosalind Picard (born 1962) is a Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. She’s also founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group and co-director of the Things That Think Consortium. Picard says she was raised an atheist, but converted to Christianity as a young adult.

John Lennox (born 1945) is a mathematician, philosopher of science and pastoral adviser. His books include the mathematical The Theory of Infinite Soluble Groups and the faith-oriented God’s Undertaker – Has Science buried God?

Father Andrew Pinsent (born 1966), a Catholic priest, is the Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University in England. He is also a particle physicist.

These three highly respected people think, therefore they are people of faith. This suggests the graphic that inspired this essay has little to do with reality. In the end, your level of intelligence has nothing to do with whether you believe in God and His Son.

Whether you believe in God and His Son has EVERYTHING to do with humility. A willingness to admit you don’t have all the answers (and never will, in this life); you don’t understand everything (and never will, in this life); and a realization that your life can be better, right now, because you believe in a loving God who offers this broken world the gift of His Son.

What do you think? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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10440724_10152229802268262_1660947865292267107_nIndoctrination: the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view – Dictionary.com

I found this graphic on an Internet atheism community, so it’s obviously aimed squarely at people of faith. The inference is clear: believing in a loving creator is false, so the only way to make it acceptable is to brainwash young minds that don’t know any better.

If that’s true, then how does one explain Rosalind Picard? According to Wikipedia, she’s a professor of media arts and sciences at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Picard is also director and founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, and chief scientist and co-founder of Affectiva, an emotion measurement technology company.

Here’s the kicker: Picard, 53, says she was raised an atheist, but converted to Christianity as a young adult. So is it fair to say she was indoctrinated to believe there is no God? And if that’s true, why did this brilliant scientific mind go in the opposite direction – and stay there?

Let’s be honest here: absolutely EVERYONE gets certain ideas hammered into their minds while they’re young and defenceless. Deny it all you want, but think hard about your own life.

  • If you live in a developed country, wasn’t it likely you were indoctrinated with the virtues of capitalism and democracy?
  • If your father abandoned your mother at a very young age, isn’t it possible you were indoctrinated to believe that he (and often, by extension, all men) are self-centred and irresponsible?
  • If you live in certain Middle Eastern countries, isn’t it quite feasible that you were indoctrinated to think of the United States — and by extension, the entire “west” — as immoral and evil?

In each of these cases, the truth didn’t matter very much. The world was seen through biased eyes, just as I believe the graphic that sparked this essay was created with a deep-seeded bias.

So, if you’ve given this some thought and realize you’ve had a long bias against following Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God), then maybe this is the time to investigate this whole Christianity thing with an open mind.

Why Christianity and not other faiths? Consider these facts:
1.  Eight hugely important predictions about Jesus, made in the Bible’s Old Testament, came true. Among these were where Jesus was born, the fact He would be betrayed by a friend, that He would be crucified and that He would be resurrected.

2.  Jesus said that He alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can find God without Him. Nice claim, but what backs it up? The Bible details all kinds of miracles performed by Jesus, including healing diseases, restoring sight, feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread & fish and coming back from the dead.

3.  As the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org) explains, “Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Krishna did not rise from the dead.  Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God and raised others from the dead. Why trust anyone else?”

So what makes all this credible? Simply read about the life of one of Jesus’s most devoted followers, Paul of Tarsus. I write about him, and how he is a testament to Jesus’s reality, here: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-g3

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stupidYears ago, I would have blindly accepted this graphic, which was kindly supplied by an internet atheist community. It’s simple, right? “Religious” people hate science and scientists have no use for “religion”. End of story.

Well, not so fast. First of all, I follow Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God) but I’m absolutely not “religious” (here’s why:  http://wp.me/p2wzRb-cP). That said, is faith really just for people who are too dumb to figure out science?

Let’s examine the evidence. I went to Wikipedia and found an entry called ‘List of Christian thinkers in science’. The list from the past is looooong, but I skipped that because people opposed to Jesus could claim science simply hadn’t advanced enough for these thinkers to toss God on the trash heap.

I jumped down to the bottom and found more than 60 (that’s correct; sixty) living thinkers in the fields of engineering, physics and astronomy, chemistry and biomedical sciences.

There are likely more, since Wikipedia notes “This list is non-exhaustive and is limited to those scientists whose Christian beliefs or thoughts, in writing or speaking, are relevant to their notability.”

Want a few names? How about:

  • Rosalind Picard, a Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT.
  • Don Page, a Canadian theoretical physicist who focuses on quantum cosmology.
  • Karl Giberson, a Canadian physicist who has published several books on the relationship between science and religion, such as The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions.
  • Joseph Taylor, an American astrophysicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery (with Russell Alan Hulse) of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation.
  • Ben Carson, an American neurosurgeon. He is credited with being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head.

Is Wikipedia just a patsy for Jesus followers? Just in case someone out there is wondering, I investigated other sources.

The MIT site includes Rosalind Picard and her list of accomplishments is simply astonishing.  Don Page, Ph.D, is part of the physics faculty at the University of Alberta. Karl Giberson has a Ph.D from Rice University. The Nobel Prize website has an entry for 1993 winner Joseph Taylor. And the Academy of Achievement website inducted Dr. Ben Carson along with the likes of conservationist Jane Goodall, economist Milton Friedman and architect Frank Gehry.

All this leads to what I think is an obvious point: You absolutely do not have to be “stupid” to be a person of faith. In fact, I feel quite within my rights to leave you with this question: since following Jesus makes perfect sense to these brilliant people, shouldn’t it be worth your serious consideration? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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