A Common Insanity

InsaneAsylum-1

There is a common insanity today. It is that we have separated all that we hold dear from reality: we have separated values from facts. As a result, morality has become a matter of personal preference, a sort of delusion that we indulge in. If separation has created the problem, a marriage of the two will fix it. So let’s do it. Let’s marry it. Here we go: All things are moral, from the rocks and the trees to the birds in the sky, even man himself. All things are for an end and all things are for a use. Water is good to drink, coal to burn, and wool to wear. A thing is good insofar as a working together of parts and efforts serves its proper end. This is essential to any being. A thwarting of that end or a misuse of it is wrong. Wool cannot be drunk, water cannot be spun, coal cannot be eaten. Each of these things in nature is an education to the mind, an education in proper use. Just like water has its proper use, so does a man and woman. A man cannot be a woman and a woman cannot be a man. Any argument that asserts otherwise requires the separation of nature from morality; a separation of facts from values. Marry them together and we have a foundation for right and wrong. Separate them and we merely have cultural preferences that aren’t founded in anything real; in short, a delusion.

Things have their proper use. Natural things are made to serve a certain end. We all look at something and ask “What it is for? What is its purpose?” Nature does have a purpose after all, doesn’t it? Things are made and formed in certain ways and not others. This is indeed evidence for God. If things produced an infinite variety of ends, i.e. if water was sometimes for making thread, if coal was sometimes for drinking, and never at any time could we figure out what was going to be produced next, there would be no such thing as purpose. There would only be chaos and we would not have evidence for God. But, things do happen quite regularly, don’t they. There is order. There is a God.

Nature is the ally of religion.

Advertisements

The Imitation: A Critique of Atheism

A frequent visitor of this blog, Tildeb, seems to think that reality is the only thing that is true. Well, my intention here is to show that reality is the very thing that contains untruth. He states, “How do you know what is straight? The notion of ‘straight’ (the principle) has various expressions of approximations in reality (the practice) that we utilize, and we utilize these approximations because they work.” … “We use a straight edge to draw a straight line” and this “shows how useful it is to utilize relative tools – both materialistic (a relatively straight edge) as well as theoretical (a relatively useful comparison like differences in quantity) – to help us function in reality when reality arbitrates what works.”

Straightness is a universal. One has only to look at the varying “degrees of straightness” modeled in the material world in order to grasp or extract the concept of straightness. The concept, that exists in the intellect, serves as the standard against which we hold all other straight things we find in the material world. In other words, a straight line in reality is true to the extent that it conforms to the ideal defined by the essence of straightness. A straight line drawn on a cracked sidewalk with a piece of chalk is not as true as one drawn on a table using a ruler and a pen. “True” is meant here in the sense of being genuine, or in the same sense that an arrow which hits its mark is true.

The intellect grasps the true forms of things. These true forms are the universals, the standards by which everything in the material world is judged. We ask ourselves, “does this straight line on my paper correctly instantiate the essence of what it means to be straight?” We trust a ruler to guide us because we see it already conforms to the universal we grasp in our intellects.  When you think about straightness, it is necessarily perfect straightness that you are contemplating, not the approximation of it. We find approximations in reality. You may be able to find tiny imperfections not detectable to the naked eye in almost all straight lines that exist in the material world. Closer inspection might reveal a straight line that is not true. But, when mankind comes to make a straight line, we do the best we can.

Now, inasmuch as the things that we see in this world correctly instantiate the universals, they are true. A squirrel that does not store nuts for the winter is not as true as a squirrel that does. A dog that has three legs is not as true as a dog that has four legs. A human that is blind is not as true a human as one that can see. All the world is judged to be true based upon these universals that we grasp. But, that is just it, we grasp them. We apprehend these things as if they were waiting for us to reach them in some way. But, how do they exist? The only way in which we experience them is in the mind. And it seems as if all of reality were built upon these things like great archetypes or blueprints made by some great architect. It follows then, that as only minds contain them, they exist primarily in the divine mind. Thus, a thing is true inasmuch as it expresses conformity to the divine intellect, and the Divine has shared his thoughts with us.

Now, It’s not hard to realize that if John tries to act like Carl, he is imitating him. He has become a crude copy of Carl. And when considered as a “Carl”, John is a less real Carl than Carl himself. In the same way, inasmuch as things in the material world imitate the universals and miss the mark, they are not true and are less real than the things they imitate. That being the case, we are living in a world that is not entirely true and may be more of a copy, a shadow, or a crude imitator than a perfect original. People like Tildeb, who let reality arbitrate what is true are letting falsehoods dictate what is right and wrong. If they really thought that way, they might think a three legged dog better than a four legged dog; or a blind man better than a seeing one. Indeed, they are blind themselves, for they confine themselves to see only the crude imitations, and never open their eyes to the truth.

Reverse Psychology

When the veil of human ignorance is taken away, we find out what has been happening all along: that we only seemed to be the questioners, the teachers, the testers, the judges, the knowing ones acting like scientists looking for God in a test tube. In reality we are the questioned, the tested, the students, the judged, the known ones. When God asks a question he either is the answer or the answer lies within him. That is the nature of God, which man does not have. Truth is not simply around God or known by him, truth is him. This is why when we answer his question, it does not leave us lost, but found. And not only found, but joined to the Truth himself. People who observe the world around us with the intent only to know ourselves better (our origins, our present condition, and our future), are still left with uncertainty, for who knows what new discoveries will confuse the present ones and suffer man to redefine himself once again. If men observe the world and ask the question, “Who is God?” instead of, “Who is man?”, we can obtain certainty. For this reason, belief in God is not religion, it is the discovery of the true nature of reality, for God is reality. Reality based on man is fictional, delusional, a fairy tale: as evidenced by the absence of satisfying truth in man based answers. Questions that originate in man leave us lost at sea. Questions that originate in God set us on dry land.

Choose Your Own Adventure

When we are young we have faith in our parents. We obey them (hopefully) because they love us and they show us how life is, and what it should be. As we get older we put faith in our teachers trusting that they are authorities on Mathematics, Science, English, and so on. Each time we learn, we receive by faith the things they teach us since we have no first-hand knowledge of the things they relate to us. It’s better than making each generation rediscover everything over again. However, there is a time to learn what others teach and a time to gather knowledge ourselves. We begin to have faith in ourselves that we have the capabilities to understand the right ways of life. In the process of attaining knowledge we endeavor to reject faulty knowledge. But, we cannot be 100% certain that the knowledge we acquire is free of corruption since it cannot be independently verified by an outside source. Although some people see evidence of a Creator,  no 3rd party materializes in front of us to provide confirmation or denial of our findings, and these findings are subject to further criticism from every other person looking for answers or just looking to poke holes in other people’s findings. At this point, two types of people can emerge. The first is a person who begins to find the answers of life within himself, picking himself up by his bootstraps, so to speak, creating his own meaning and purpose, reality and truth. He has faith in himself. The other man perceives that his own reason has limitations and is therefore inadequate to get the answers needed. Since he perceives that the human experience is common to all, he looks for answers outside of himself and humanity. He puts faith in a 3rd party in order to confirm or deny his findings.

What is the difference between a man who has faith in himself and his human teachers, and the man who puts his faith in God? Both of them have faith, but the object of their faith is different. What are the outcomes?

The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish. This does not mean he only thinks of himself, but rather that all of his charitable and self-serving acts come from values formed from his own authority. His self and others like him are the highest forms of life he can find. He creates his own meaning, his own reality, his own purpose, and his own morality. Essentially he is his own property. He can do with himself what he wants. The obstacles to this, however, are others and laws of society. He respects others because it is reasonable, but he may decide that it is not reasonable if he so wishes. As his self grows in value, he can reason anything he wants. He eventually does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone it was for a good reason even if society does not agree. If he commits suicide he is only hurting himself and it is just fine because he is his own property. If he hurts others it can be justified. Reasons exist to respect other’s “property”, but reasons also exist that justify the disrespect of other’s “property”. The choice is his. He is the judge and jury. He could be the most moral person or the least moral person. Most everyone will not take it this far. They adopt this philosophy in moderation. Herein lies temporary harmony with the rest of men. However, this philosophy taken to the end of itself can lead to the destruction of self and others and it’s perfectly reasonable.

The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless. This does not mean he never thinks of himself, but rather that all of this charitable and self-serving acts are derived from values given by his Maker. God is the highest form of life he can find. In understanding God’s identity, he realizes his own identity, and derives from God his meaning, reality, purpose, and morality. Essentially, he is God’s property. He can do with himself what he wants, but he gives his self away to the Self of God. In this act, a new identity emerges that naturally follows the character of God. He respects others because they are God’s property, and we are all tenants, so to speak. He does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone he goes against God’s character. If he commits suicide he is destroying God’s property. If he justifies hurting others, he must ignore God’s laws. Reasons exist to respect God’s property. Reasons not to respect God’s property are products of a corrupt mind. The choice is still the man’s choice, but God is the judge and jury. The man’s degree of morality is dependent upon his conformity to the character of God. Most everyone will not take this as far as it will go. We don’t like to give up our selves completely. We adopt this philosophy in moderation. However, herein lies contention with men, God, and self. This philosophy taken to its end can diminish the self and the lead to a new identity created by God.

Now the paths are laid out before you. Which path will you choose?

 

(Picture created by Luke.)

The Robot and the Doll

Value, meaning, importance, or significance are not things which can be imposed upon us; they can only come from us based upon what we care about. They are not discovered, but rather created through our interaction with the world around us. Thus the very act of caring about something creates meaning, value, and in the end morality.

This excerpt was taken from here.

This is a statement of philosophy, not a statement of fact. We can, indeed, place our own meaning on things. This is true. However, whether the meaning and purpose that we place on objects and ourselves is accurate or not we are not sure of. The validity of subjective meaning would be plausible if not for one thing. This world is not our property. We do not own it. We did not make it. We cannot attest to its origin or its future. We were not here when it came into existence. Sure, we can create, as it were, “out of nothing” our own meaning, but when we do we take the place of authority over it. In this act, we become impostors. Consider the following:

A man builds a robot, then he leaves never to return. Another man finds it and decides that it would make a nice doll for his daughter. He rejects any notion that the robot, now a doll, had any purpose or meaning other than what he gives it. He makes himself the final authority on the issue, and since he does not see any “maker” of the doll around to refute the claim, he rests his case.

Does he not take the place of the maker in this analogy? Does he not then become an impostor, a fake? Bringing this back to reality, we did not even make ourselves! Can we attest to our meaning without taking the place of something if not someone?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Dear Restricted Atheist,

You live inside of a box. The Atheist says, “My reason is all that matters. What reason I find outside of myself, I find in others, and seek to add it to my own so that my view of reality is broadened.” Self, ego, or “I”, is your greatest obstacle to understanding Ultimate Reality. Your sense of unique, irreducible, distinct, individual personhood, is the ultimate illusion and the great obstacle to supreme enlightenment. Truth and reality are connected to the “I” that is distinct and separate from humanity, the one who calls himself “I Am”. The answer to ultimate truth and reality is not a statement or a piece of evidence. It is a person. Atheists live inside their box of reason. Christians realize that the “box” is an illusion, a distraction that obscures your view of the truth. Only when we understand the divine “I” can we truly understand the human “I”. This is not a blind faith, but an enlightening one.

“We have reasoned ourselves into oblivion” – Anonymous