Thursday, 12 December 2013

Secularism is dangerous, especially for secularists

Consider two possibilities:
Case 1: the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ happened
Case 2: the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ  did not happen

In Case 1 every single particle, creature, person and society in this universe is under the spiritual provenance and destiny of a triune monotheistic Creator. This includes the most strident of atheists and the most determined secular pressure groups who try to remove Christianity from a western society permeated by Christian ideals, albeit struggling to adhere to these .

In Case 2 1.5 billion people are living an illusion and 2000 years of world history are based on it. All the ideals of loving one’s enemy, sanctification of humanity and strengthening of the imago dei through Christ which led to the genesis of academic institutions from monastic orders,  peer reviewed scholarship,  pro-active charity, the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women are all based on a fantasy and would have happened anyway.

Suppose Case 1 is correct. Few would doubt that if this is true then much of the world is living in open defiance of God. From the Holy Bible, which we are assuming to be true in this scenario,  such behavior will have dire consequences for individuals, societies and nations, as it has done over thousands of years.

Suppose 2 is correct. Then all Christian morals are purely arbitrary, there is nothing sacred about the morality that has evolved in a Christian society and anything goes. We leave individuals to follow whatever morals or authority figures they wish.  The consequences would be horrific, at least after a generation or so as habits of righteous behavior faded away in the absence of spiritual leadership.

If now we assume that secularists are allowed to expunge a Christian presence from society this would lead to the same unfortunate result for both Case 1 and  Case 2, except for the faithful minority in Case 1 who  managed to maintain their faith while living in a godless social milieu, in that they would have the joy of life in Christ in this world and the next.  So Case 1 would lead to the same unfortunate result as Case 2 except for the minority fortified by faith.

So whether Christianity is true or not the imposition of a purely secular culture and removal of the spiritual source of Christian morals is a disastrous activity which, unchecked, would lead to descent into a pre-Christian world and unredeemed misery for unbelievers.

Aggressive secularism is not a path to peace (or even democracy as I hope to show in a future post; but meanwhile take a reflective look at the democratic institutions around you) and leaves the door open to anyone willing and able to exploit human weakness as a means to power and wealth. This applies whatever the truth or otherwise of Christianity.

Kyrie Eleison.

John Sears
Author: 2077: Knights of Peace (being prepared for publication)

Monday, 4 November 2013

The deep mystery of existence. 6. Water, the elixir of life

It has always been recognised that water is life-giving and refreshing in a way that no other liquid can be. It is also regarded as sacred by holy men of various faiths and Christ Himself used it as a metaphor when talking to the Samaritan woman at the well: ‘…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ John chapter 4, verse 14.

Blood also has been regarded with awe since the dawn of consciousness and considered sacred, as has the heart by which it is pumped around the body. And blood is over 80% water.
Water pervades our bodies not only as blood. It constitutes 90% of the lungs and over 70% of the brain, washes out waste in the kidney and liver and moistens mucous membranes. It regulates the body temperature of mammals and moves nutrients at the cellular level throughout the entire spectrum of the animal and plant kingdoms.

Tea, coffee, beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks all depend on water as the dominant ingredient. Medicines rely on water for their imbibing or dispensation in the form of soluble tablets. There is no food that does not have it as an ingredient or as a part of its production or preparation.

Water has also proved indispensable for civilisation. It permits hygiene (e.g. disinfectants) and waste disposal (e.g. sewage systems), commerce by ocean-going vessels as well as river transport, steam engines, steam turbines and water mills. It is used in innumerable manufacturing processes and the generation of electricity (e.g. hydroelectric power and cooling of nuclear reactors). Even the internal combustion engine depends on petroleum formed from organisms living in and depending on water 300 million years ago. Plate tectonics, a phenomenon apparently unique to Earth, depends on a water-related composition (OH) deep in the crust to help reduce friction between the crustal plates as they slide over each other.

Apart from its astonishing utilitarian value water enhances life in an aesthetic way. In oceans and the atmosphere it forms spectacular phenomenon such as violently churning seas, strange marine lighting effects, rainbows, billowing cumulonimbus clouds,  breathtaking sunsets, sparkling dew, patterns in frost, geometric perfection in ice crystals and undulating, pure white landscapes of snow.  All for the pleasure, inspiration and fear of conscious beings.

Today the power of science is progressively revealing just how astonishing is this substance. When it was formulated – in some non-temporal, non-spatial but mindful way, before our universe of space, time and energy came into being, the water molecule was given a particular structure using particular atoms (two hydrogen and one oxygen) forming bonds of a particular strength at a particular angle to each other, with electrical charge distributed within the molecule in a particular way and with charges attracting each other with a particular strength. A miniscule departure would have meant no water and no living systems.

This configuration of atoms and their properties is further dependent on a host of very finely tuned fundamental physical constants: for example, the electromagnetic force constant which determines the strength of attraction between electrical charges inside and between water molecules has to be right to within 40 decimal places. See also A universe built for life; but how much life?

The fundamental nature of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water molecule and the interaction between these molecules leads to a remarkable set of properties. Had any one of these properties been very slightly out there would be no life on this planet.


Dissolving power: greater than for any other liquid. This, for example, allows it to carry a rich diversity of nutrients around the body and transport minerals and salts using oceans, lakes, rivers, rain, sleet, snow, fog, mist and cloud. No other liquid would do.

Viscosity: a measure of how thick and treacle-like is a liquid. If water was more viscous it would be too difficult to pump round the circulatory system of a mammal, while sub-cellular and inter-cellular transport would have been impossible. Aquatic creatures would have found it difficult to swim and diffusion of dissolved oxygen into cells would be too slow.  If it was too thin there would be profuse bleeding upon injury and cells would not have been able to retain their shape and structure.

Surface tension: this governs the tendency of a liquid to assemble itself into a droplet or a bubble. Had this been lower there would be no rain, or dew or fog or mist or cloud – all essential to the operation of the life- sustaining global water cycle and planet-wide transport of elements crucial to life as well as of bacteria and viruses, which are themselves essential for the functioning of plants and animals.

Adhesion: this is the ability of a liquid to stick to a surface. Combined with surface tension it determines capillarity. Without this property water would not be soaked up by wet paper, for instance. It is a measure of how easily a liquid rises up a microscopic tube. microtubes are ubiquitous in the plant world, allowing water to be imbibed by roots and distributed throughout the plant. No other liquid has such a high capillarity.

Density: water is unique in having a maximum density above its freezing point, i.e. at 4 deg C. When the temperature falls below this level there is expansion. Water is also alone in being more dense as a solid (i.e. ice) than as a liquid. Overall, the result is that instead of seas, lakes and rivers freezing solid from the bottom upwards a thin thermally insulating layer of ice forms on the surface.

Thermal conductivity: a measure of how well heat is transmitted through a medium. Water has the highest thermal conductivity of any substance and this is just as well since it means that, combined with water’s high specific heat, the sea temperature evens itself out over the planet. Large temperature differences would result in a severely chaotic climate hostile to life. The high thermal conductivity is equally crucial in allowing cells to dissipate heat and so avoid destruction through overheating.

Specific heat: this is the amount of heat needed to warm up a given volume of a substance. This is very high for water so that a mass of water holds a lot of heat and cools only slowly. As stated above it means large temperature differences between bodies of water are avoided.

Latent heat of evaporation: this is the heat needed to turn a liquid into a vapour. For water it is extremely high and this is fortunate since otherwise there would be no water left on earth. Neither would organisms be able to shed heat through evaporation.

Vapour pressure: water has a high vapour pressure and this means that the air above it can hold a lot of moisture, thus enabling rain to form. Since water has the largest heat of evaporation, its vapour pressure increases more rapidly with increasing temperature than for other liquids.

Boiling point and melting point: these are anomalously high. Because they are both high the water remains in liquid form at normal atmospheric pressure and so able to perform its miraculous life giving functions. Its role in the biosphere largely depends on water being able to exist in the liquid state for 4 billion years and to assume a variety of forms of precipitation (snow, hail, rain, fog, mist, dew). This planet is the only one we know of which allows this.

I can’t begin to do justice to this subject so if you want to look further I recommend a seven part series, starting with this one, from the RTB website.

Does all this mean that life appears wherever there is water? If that were so living planets would abound. Unfortunately, this looks increasingly unlikely since water, though crucial, is only a necessary condition for life, not a sufficient one. Numerous conditions (e.g. stable environment and protection from harmful radiation), too many to mention here (see Our precious planet), appear to be needed and we still have not much idea how it got started or what it really is. 

See also
Our perception of reality, ancient and modern

John Sears

Contact me via

Monday, 30 September 2013

Why pride can be deadly (updated 23 October 2015)

usually we are not this obvious

For most of my life I have been puzzled as to why pride should be regarded by many as a major sin. Recently I started to focus in on this question and have come to believe that it is not just a socially undesirable weakness (e.g. bragging about yourself at a party) but a serious threat to both the individual and society.

 I am not talking about joyful satisfaction in achieving a desired result (e.g. delight in having produced an aesthetically pleasing item of pottery) but the kind of pride which blots out truth, distorts reality. It is a failure to recognise that every attribute possessed by an individual comes ultimately from outside of space and time, as does the entire universe – which is a euphemism for saying we are created in a supernatural realm. As Mick Jagger said: ‘everything I have I owe to God.’

Self love is not the same as pride. Loving yourself is wishing yourself to be good in the eyes of God. This is how we love our enemies - wanting them to be good in the same sense. The proud think they are already OK. They are out of kilter with reality, with truth, and that usually causes something to go wrong.

The most pleasant and philanthropic of people fall prey to this elevated sense of self-worth. It denies truth and shows lack of humility. Why is that so important?  What is so dangerous about people who, deep down, think they owe nothing to the Creator, that they can be their own God, either because they think there is no deity or because they have no union with God or because they invent an imaginary one to suit them.

Consider a bridge. Most would agree that it must be safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing. To bring this about requires recognition of certain laws of physics, a knowledge of ergonomics and some connection to the spiritual aspects of reality. If the people involved start putting their egotistical pride first and fail to show humility then things are guaranteed to go wrong.  The integrity of the design software which calculates stresses and strains may not be checked sufficiently thoroughly because the proud chief architect recommends it and may not like being questioned. The traffic projections of the proud town planner may not be questioned. Or the person controlling costs may have a cost-cutting reputation among his peers which he enjoys and so may quash an attractive design because it would cost 10% more than an uglier alternative, even though the extra cost could easily be met.

Advances in our understanding of the natural world can be held up when a scientist decides that all his abilities come from him and that there is no Creator. I know of two such cases in modern times. First the cosmologist Fred Hoyle refused to believe that the universe had been created from nothing detectable by man, because this would mean the existence of a creator and so clung to his Steady State theory in the face of mounting evidence for what he derisively termed the ‘Big Bang’ theory now accepted by main stream scientists under that very name. Secondly, Richard Dawkins clings to the neo-Darwinist ‘selfish gene’ model of evolution because it fits in with his faith in a godless universe, and refuses to consider the innumerable observations of nature which do not fit the selfish gene model and tries to rubbish all rival theories. In the last few years almost everything about neo-Darwinism has been invalidated yet pride causes neo-Darwinists to cling to  doctrine rather than rewrite the biology textbooks to acknowledge that nature seems likely to be a cognitive learning system with real, not apparent, design the essential feature. They even try to dismiss the quantum computing aspects of nature as a product of chance and the extraordinary life oriented characteristics of our universe as explicable in terms of an infinite number of imaginary, unfalsifiable unicorn universes. If the next generation of scientists swallow this the future of scientific progress, built on the Holy Spirit of Truth, would be bleak.

Even philanthropy can be dangerous if done out of pride rather than humility i.e. in the belief that you are an entity reliant solely on your self and that out of the goodness of your heart you have graciously and magnanimously donated money to help deprived people in another country. Because of your sense of importance you fail to see certain truths, such as the possibility that the money may end up buying weapons for militant Islam or to line the pockets of corrupt locals, or to incite tribal jealousy.


My central point is that for individuals and societies to function harmoniously and to progress both materially and spiritually there has to be a recognition of truth. When people, social groups or organisations or armies or nations lack humility they cannot recognise truth: pride blots it out and all actions become misdirected towards a false reality which can only have dire consequences in the real world, even though done with the best of intentions from a self-centered perspective. 

A prime example of good intentions gone wrong is the attempt to create a Communist state in Russia. The idea of making everyone equal in wealth and in opportunities for education and in receipt of health services was good, even Christian in a practical sense.  However, it was not realistic because it failed to recognise the sinful nature of man and the need of man for a relationship to God. As a result the experiment went horribly wrong. A heavy price was paid for Marx's pride and those who enslaved themselves to his ideology because God was absent from them.

Another case of a well meaning man-made intention  failing because of divorcement from reality - by putting human self-esteem above subjugation to God - was the enactment of a self esteem policy in education over the last two or three decades in much of the west.  Basically, the idea was that by making everyone win at school self esteem would be boosted. This neglects to teach children how to deal with failure, a situation they are bound to encounter later in life, and could be damaging to them as they experience the real world.                     .

 Deregulation of the financial system has had and continues to have dangerous consequences and not only from human greed. Traders and investors lose their grip on reality because they are bloated with pride in their financial shrewdness or prowess. Computer systems are used to trade in fractions of a second to make money and the persons responsible for setting up and authorising such trading technology bask in pride because of short term, market distorting gains and fail to see the consequences of neglecting companies which could make money by doing something  useful. In the long term this means financial chaos, massive unemployment and social collapse.

Unlimited immigration is another example. A large part of the intelligentsia in certain western nations labelled any attempt to control immigration as ‘racist’ and in my own country (UK), at least, public discussion in the media of the inevitable problems this would cause was suppressed. These intellectuals elevated their own sense of fairness over that of God because they lacked the humility to submit themselves to God. There was naive adherence to a man-made doctrine of open borders which led to a huge influx not only of immigrant workers, which undermined wages and made it less necessary for employers to finance training or pay a living wage while at the same time depriving other countries of workers they had trained at great expense. Militant Islam was another consequence. The West now has to spend tens of  billions of dollars   p.a. on maintaining the security of its own citizens, be they native or naturalized.

When pride takes the form of nationalism or ethnic identity it is fairly obvious that this can lead to violence and discrimination. Unfortunately, well meaning policies such as unlimited immigration or communism can also lead to violence as an unintended consequence. Truth must not be neglected and truth cannot be reached without the humility that derives from a belief in our own fallibility as humans created by but not equal to God.

Finally, I read recently why pride is uniquely sinful. To quote C.S.Lewis, from his classic book Mere Christianity: 'Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison....Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind..... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.'

John Sears

Author of 2077: Knights of Peace

Reach me at

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why bite the hand that feeds us?

The western societies of today, formerly known as Christendom, still have Christian ideals which have served us well. Although they are frequently not adherred to I take it as self evident that it is better to have them than not.

1. Love of  friend, neighbour and enemy.

2. Charity towards the poor and the suffering regardless of religion or race.

3. Endless seeking of truth  (including scientific truth).

4. Endless progress of technology (largely through application of scientific truth).

Some other parts of the world are adopting them and their societies are advancing accordingly in quality and security of life. They are crucial to who we are. From where do they originate and gain sustenance? From belief in the risen Jesus Christ.

1 and 2 were directly commanded by Christ and have transformed pagan societies into the relatively benevolent ones of today. Because they were propagated in the belief of their supernatural divine origin and universality they were taken seriously in all manner of situations ranging from peace to war.

3 and 4 stem from two aspects of the image of God in whom we are made and in whom we are sanctified through Christ. God is the source of divine truth and creativity in all the monotheistic Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism). In Christianity the truthfulness and creativity are sanctified in man through Jesus Christ.

Today there is a widespread hypocritical, self-righteous streak in the secular west. There is a constant judgement of the Christian churches by humanists and materialists: there seems to be a concerted attack on the misdemeanours of priests going back decades and centuries, presumably with the aim of discrediting the church and undermining the message previously preached.

Yet by what godless standard are these judgements made? Why are the misdemeanours actually ‘wrong’? Why are they not mere evolutionary accidents, no more meaningfully regarded as wrong than are products of chance?

No moral imperatives, no promises or standards of behaviour can be asserted unless backed by the belief in the sacred. Humanists and philosophical materialists have to make arbitrary laws. Even the assertion that man is sacred comes from man himself, a bag of chemicals, and so carries no real weight.

The churches they attack were born out of the early followers and apostles and spread the the way of Christ throughout the world over 2000 years by a painful, untidy process. Given the fallen nature of man this is what one would expect in institutions of millions of people. Western society has been fed through the hand of god with Christian values by working through the churches.

Now humanists and atheists make moral judgements of churches while removing the foundation of those judgements, i.e. God. They are breaking up the very foundations on which western civilisation rests and which were laid by the monasteries and travelling preachers through the ages, often, unfortunately, modified for expediency. 

It is vital that the churches should atone for past sins in some way to the satisfaction of all, because, if I am right, they are to serve as the salt of the earth, a divine sanctum of holiness and light in a dark and crazy world rather than compel us to live in a maze with no centre. However, to remove the divine source from which morality and truth itself  originate is to remove the right to deem any action moral or immoral.

Only believers in this divine source can meaningfully attack the clerical institutions.

The church is the hand by which society is spiritually fed. If the hand has scars we need to heal it, not bite it.

John Sears

Author, 2077 AD

Reach me at

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The deep mystery of existence.2.Time and space

Our material cosmos was created from beyond space and time, from a greater reality where there is no time arrow, no flow of events, no past, no present, no future, and no spatial separation.

The incomprehensible reality which gave birth to our natural material world is a self existing uncaused first cause which created our existence, something totally beyond our power to detect or investigate- not only at present but at any time in the future.

Even in the universe which we inhabit there are hints of timelessness and spacelessness. At the sub-molecular level quantum physics shows that the states of quantum entangled particles (e.g. their spin states) are instantaneously connected totally independently of separation in space and time.

To be entangled the separated particles (e.g. electrons) must have originated in the same quantum system, typically an atom. The entire universe today originated in the same quantum system, one trillion trillionth the size of a hydrogen atom before expanding in just one second to the size of a galaxy and in 13.7 billion years to its present volume. If I understand the physics correctly this means that every single atomic particle in the universe in all states of matter is interacting with  atomic particles in all locations simultaneously - past, present and future, near and far. From their perspective time and space do not exist.

Each cell of each virus, bacterium, plant or animal comprises intricate, purposeful machinery at the molecular level and is likely to be instantaneously interacting with all other cells in the biosphere, as well as the rest of the universe. This includes, for example, the neurones in our brain. So the multiplicity of living systems forms an interconnected organic whole, giving the universe a teleological nature. A cosmic mind that comes from....what? Do you dare say it?

There is another respect in which timelessness invades our universe of ten billion quadrillion stars. Normally we expect to take a certain time to solve complex problems. Yet in times of crisis, such as an impending multiple car crash one is sometimes able to work out the best way to avoid death or injury in just a fraction of the time which would normally be needed, a time which seems much longer to the motorist. It is as though one has been given extra 'time' in which to work out a survival strategy.

It is common knowledge that two lovers become oblivious to the passage of time being registered by the rest of the world. A taste, foreshadowing or dim reflection of eternal life, perhaps? It is also a fact that when bored time passes slowly while when fully occupied with a challenging task or when experiencing a lot of events on holiday or engaged in an adventure we believe that a longer time has elapsed than the clock or calendar indicates. And as St. Augustine of Hippo observed the past no longer exists, the present has no duration and the future has not yet occurred.

What is measured by clocks is  a human construct useful in coordinating, planning, recording and understanding events. Similarly with space as measured with rulers or other devices. The mathematical relationships between mass, uniform velocity, space and time are given in the equations of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity, while in the General Theory acceleration and gravity are related, showing that space-time is a continuum affected by gravity.

But what the experiences associated with these concepts of space and time really amount to and why they are given to us is a total mystery.

See also

The deep mystery of existence. 1. Where does reality come from?


Author 2077 AD

Reach me at