Tag Archives: fadingdust

Self-myth

I found this over at “Mark’s blog”:http://fadingdust.wordpress.com the other day:

bq. p. 118: “Americans will go to almost any lengths to avoid sounding negative, pessimistic, or defeatist, even if it means being somewhat less than honest or candid. They try to stay away from topics they refer to as ‘downers’ and to stay out of conversations that ‘bring you down,’ as in down from the giddy heights of optimism and happiness. These topics include anything to do with evil or the dark side of human nature, which Americans either ignore or try to explain away, anything that suggests failure, defeat, or any kind of setback – especially with death, the ultimate setback – or anything to do with limits or limitations, such as reasons why something cannot be done, should not be tried, or is impossible.”

What does it say about American culture when a statement of this kind needs to be included in a travel guide for those coming to our country? Apparently, America really _is_ the feel-good nation of the world, where everything we do is aimed toward making ourselves feel better about our position in life and about our place in the world.

But then again, we already knew that. We’re the nation that preaches a brand of tolerance that forbids anyone else from introducing viewpoints that might conflict with these little universes we have constructed around ourselves. We’re the nation with the highest quality forms of entertainment so that we can escape the trials and hardships of life and feel better for a little while. We are a people of non-truth because relative truth makes it easier for us to create the kind of world we really want to live in.

People are not evil – they are inherently good, and those who stray to acts of evil are nothing more than products of their abusive environments. We do not fail at anything – it is always someone else’s fault when things go wrong because we absolutely know beyond doubt that we are both deserving of success in everything we do and also skilled enough to achieve success. There are no limits in life because truly if we set our minds to something, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

All myths. All lies we Americans tell ourselves because the act of facing the truth – that people really are evil at the core, requiring grace to overcome that inherent dark nature; that failure is a fact of life and that we ourselves are very often the cause of our own failures; that life is fraught with limitations and that, in many cases, just because we set our minds to accomplish something, we will never ever accomplish because we simply haven’t the ability; that, yes, we will all one day die and pass from this mortal coil – is too horrifying for us to contemplate. Somehow, the American culture has come to the conclusion that it is our right to be happy all the time and that real life has no right to infringe upon that happiness. Well, the _truth_ is that life is hard, and it is often very painful. No amount of denial or redefinition of truth will ever change that fact, no matter how hard we try to do so.

Time to face up to the facts, folks. It’s apparent that the rest of world realizes our culture lives in a cloud of delusion. Time we did so, as well. And once you’ve done this, go seek out some Christians. I can guarantee you they can tell you about a hope that makes it possible to face the world’s evil and darkness with strength and courage.

Finite to Infinite

I’ve been delighted that a “friend”:http://fadingdust.wordpress.com of mine has joined the ranks of bloggers. He never fails to stimulate my thinking, and his “entry”:http://fadingdust.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/evil-problems/ from the other day is no exception:

bq. As to another application, while studying philosophy here in seminary, I’m curious about Plato & Natural Theology. Philosophy has always been ‘searching’ for a conception of God that is ‘pure-God’, consistent, full, beyond disbelief. But it’s a search without an end. Who’s to say your conception of God “is”? You conception of God will never be The Concept of God, it will always only be Your Conception of God, in-so-far as it’s based only in your head & not in external info (like God’s own self-revelation).

As usual, I’m taking one piece of his monologue and running in a slightly different, but related, direction with it. Yes, I like philosophical rabbit-trails. They’re fun.

He’s correct in saying that no conception of God will ever be consistent, full, or beyond disbelief. Ultimately, none of us can ever have a concept or understanding of God that is comprehensive and total. God is, by definition, infinite; we as humans are, by definition, finite. It is simply impossible to fit the infinite into the finite. The finite will never be able to contain it all, let alone comprehend it or understand it. This is the nature of the created to the Creator. He will always, ever be so much bigger than us that all we will ever be able to understand of Him will be just the very, very tip of a massive iceberg. In point of fact, it is safe to say that our human (finite) understanding of an infinite God will always be infinitely small.

This is exactly the reason why faith is a necessary factor in relating to an infinite God. We have to understand that, since we are infinitely smaller than Him, there will always be an infinite number of things about Him that we simply cannot comprehend or understand, that will be forever beyond our reach to see, know, or experience. This is why faith is absolutely crucial to our ability to relate to an infinite God. We have to trust that God is good, despite the fact that He does not reveal everything to us, knowing that we are simply unable to grasp all that knowledge.

This is also why science will always fail to fully explain everything that exists and happens in the universe. Science is, by its very nature, a finite tool. It is a construct of finite men and so is inherently limited. Because the ability of men to see and know and understand is limited, so too is science limited in the same ways. Science _is_ a useful tool for learning more about that which finite men can experience, but science can never be the all-encompassing, comprehensive tool of study that mankind would like it to be.

Faith and science are not mutually exclusive tools. They are, in fact, complements to one another, particularly when wielded with wisdom and patience.