I haven’t been writing much. Probably because i have been doing a lot of thinking and struggling. In the end it is a good thing, but where it has left me is a bit in my own mind, working through various issues and seeking answers via prayer and study. Whether it be for distractionary purposes or due to fruitful reflection And here are a few thoughts that have arisen from my time.
On the BBC the other day someone was describing interactive ‘art’. The ‘artist’ was said to have completed a piece where he stood in a tree and began to cut off all the branches. He continued to do so until he cut off the very branch he was resting upon and fell off. I will be honest enough to say I don’t understand art very well, so my simple critique was swift and the same as Erika’s…”how is that art?” Anyway, artfulness or lack thereof aside, it made me think of it as analogous to something else (not that it could be an analogy of itself). When I have thought about the Christian worldview or more generally a theistic worldview many questions remain about how it is reconciled with one’s experiences. However, those questions pale in comparison to the difficulties that arise if one were to posit a world where God doesn’t exist. Much ink is spilt and energy spent arguing for God’s non-existence. In principle I think this is a legitimate endeavor. Wrestling with ideas, challenging ones in particular, is a stimulating activity which in the end, should one be interested, can result in the uncovering or discovery of truth.
Enter the piece of …’art’ (I couldn’t resist). If one spends their energy trying to cut the branches off the tree, at some point they may cut the very branch they are standing on. Where will they be then? In arguing for a solely material world ideas such as reason, meaning, morality and free will disappear. I wonder how many have used such things as these to argue for their position. Maybe the branches have a purpose. If you cut down the branch of reason, which relies on free will, one cannot then use reason to argue or present their views. If you cut down the branch of morality (objective), one cannot then appeal to morality as evidence that another’s worldview is faulty. If we are just the result of atoms running into each other and chemicals reacting, how then does one speak of purpose, love and meaning when discussing their worldview in distinction to another? Have they just cut the branch out from under themselves and still speak as though they have something to stand upon? Can’t have the branch and cut it off too!
Our family watched a noted scientist and philosopher (anti-theist) give his account of free will. In it he says that it doesn’t exist, but is an illusion that arises out of physical states which we have no control over and an inability to perceive. My youngest Gabe asked a good question that illustrates the quandary one could find themselves in. He said (with a fully sarcastic tone), “I guess he didn’t choose his wife or choose to love her or even choose to say the words that he just said.”………….Let us let that sink in for a bit. Ok, Gabe is only 12 and doesn’t hold a Ph.D in anything. Not sure that limits his ability to extrapolate and apply what is being said or taught. If I cut off the branch I am sitting on then I can’t pretend the branch is still there.