Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two halves of the Whole

One of the primary realizations I had during my years as a
functional Atheist was that that particular World View only
treated half of what might be termed "the Human Condition";
Consider this:

A Christian and an Atheist are the presenters at some local
college, debating, say, the existence of God... The debate is
intellectually stimulating and lively, and the Q&A session with
the students is interesting...

But then the presentations are over, the students file out of
the building, and the two speakers close their briefcases and
exit the stage through a side door and into the alley,
to their cars...

At that moment, they cease to be "speakers" and go back to
being, well, people: They both have worries and concerns,
children and mortgages, papers to write, email to answer,
dogs to feed at home and spouses who will ask how
the conference went...

Of the two, whose World View easily shifts to the more
personal side of his existence? The Atheist must "console"
himself with his belief that the Universe is a cold, massive
expanse of mysterious matter, and that the emergence of
Intelligence -- complete with Joys, Duty, Pleasure and Pain,
Values, Morality, LOVE, etc. -- is nothing more than a cosmic
accident, an against-all-odds mishap of exponential proportions,
all of which comes to a meaningless ENDING at Death without
the slightest bit of significance beyond what he, in ridiculously
fickle wishfulness, chooses to assign to it...

But the Christian is perfectly free to enjoy the the benefits of
Meaning both beyond as well as within the Universe, and to
appeal to a Mind that gives purpose and meaning and significance
to even the weakest Intelligence among us, and whose very
existence provides the Hope that some of us will not only, one day,
enjoy Him forever, but the satisfaction and Joy of beginning to
enjoy Him here, in this life... The same God for the mind is God
for the heart, the infinite First Cause and the personal Father...

Summarily, the Christian World View engages BOTH sides of what
we yearn for as Human Beings -- TRUTH and BEAUTY -- a
unification of Mind and the Heart, while the Atheist must shoulder
a vacuous and bitter Emptiness here which ends in Annihilation;
and so I found that I could not reconcile this nearly universal, innate
yearning -- our instinctive search for Meaning, even Belonging --
with a World View that is predicated on such Randomness,
and then, Final Despair...

There are 2 caveats for Christians, here:

1. We cannot simply focus on the emotional delights of our
World View and live as if the mind does not matter... We are
to always be ready to give a REASON for the Hope
that is within us, and FACT must come before FAITH...

Indeed, Christians who do not have a solid, philosophical
grounding for their Beliefs are missing out on an
enormous body of material that could profoundly deepen
their Faith and impact their lives; the "I don't need
philosophy, I've got my faith" approach is like ignoring
a birthday letter from your father because you just want
the $20 bill he put inside for you... Faith without
REASON is ignorant and incomplete...

2. We must not live as if the present World is of little
consequence; indeed, the foundational Truth of our faith is that
what we do here very MUCH matters to God, a God who invaded
our present Reality to make access to His world a reality for
those of us who believe... We are told that we are LIARS if we
say we love God (the "sweet by-and-by") if we do not love
our neighbor (the "here-and-now")...

Any World View that does not thoroughly appeal to BOTH
the Mind and the Heart is incomplete; and I have not found
any other beyond Christianity that does so, and in such
a way as to make our LOVING GOD, the Lover of our
very Souls, the focal point of ALL of existence...

1 comment:

Greg Kern said...
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