Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Two Trees

If you've read these pages before, you may have noticed a short play was written. This served as a rough draft for a now published version, available on the Amazon Kindle bookstore. I've removed all but the first Act from this site, with the hope that the small number of you who care about what's written here, might actually go buy the book (for only $0.99).

If you have a Kindle-compatible device (http://goo.gl/qLxoj) and an Amazon account, you can find the book by clicking the cover below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

The First and the Last

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

What is the last thing you do before falling asleep at night?

All of us begin life as helpless infants, completely dependent on those who care for us.

It is how our lives end that really matters. Tremendous success at a given point in our life may define us, but is that enough to sustain us at the end? The people I admire most are those who end their lives at the highest point. I have always enjoyed the comparison of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the book of Genesis. Abraham died at an old age, having remarried following the death of his wife, Sarah. Isaac ended his life blind, after having been deceived into blessing the younger of his twin sons. But Jacob ended his life clearly blessing his grandsons, surrounded by his family, and was buried with his father and grandfather followed by a glorious procession. Before he died, he issued a marvelous prophecy, full of light and meaning regarding the future of his twelve sons.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my grandfather went to be with the Lord in a way I feel is similar to that of Jacob.

I have much of my life to live, but I hope that each day, with what I do when I awake and what I do as I go to sleep, I would have the kind of life that ends as Jacob or Grandpa's did.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How do you know? (2)

part 2

Given that God is, the remaining question is how can we know more about Him other than that He defines reality. The answer is experiential knowledge. While many beliefs about God have been put forth throughout history, it is our experience of Him that truly validates any knowledge about Him we may have. This is similar to many people forming many different opinions regarding a certain type of food, but only those who have actually eaten it are really qualified to comment.

This is the primary reason I find theological debate mostly useless—it is done by those who have not experienced God. Those who deny God's existence are simply fools. If they were honest with themselves, they would admit that they merely doubt God's existence because they have not yet had sufficient evidence to convince them. On a deeper level, I would suggest that these people actually hope that God doesn't exist and have in fact come across quite a bit of evidence that they would like to ignore. But those who engage in more "substantial" theological debates about God fall into two camps—those who believe in Him and those who don't. There is not much difference between them. The knowledge that forms their debate is based mainly on belief, consideration of the evidence for various attributes or actions of God. However, most of those involved in such debates tend to emphasize narrow domains of evidence that support their hopes about who God is and what He does. Being the foundation and essence of reality, God is unsearchably deep. Therefore, avoiding an ever deepening understanding of Him causes one to miss much and form a warped perspective of God.

Experience is the antidote. Once one has experienced God, they realize that what they have touched is unsearchably deep, indescribably rich, and extends infinitely beyond what they can comprehend. Yet this experience brings with it knowledge of God that both satisfies the recipient while at the same time encouraging them to go deeper. Thus the only commentary on who God is and what He does that I trust is that put forth by those who have experienced God and who encourage others to do so. In fact, these people need not debate much. They know that if those who would argue with them would simply experience God in even the most minuscule way, they would have a revolutionary change in their knowledge of reality.

This experience supports all other means of knowledge as well. The beliefs of those who experience God are more substantial, being based on compelling evidence (namely the Bible) that matches their experience. Some aspects of God's person and work even reveal themselves to be self-evident, becoming facts to those who experience God. And the hope held by those who experience God is more firm, more real, and more obtainable than any other earthly hope. What a thing it is that man can experience God.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How do you know? (1)

part 1

In assessing reality, there are four primary ways by which we may know what is true or real and what is not.

  • Facts - First we have facts, either those things which are by definition true, or things that are self-evident. 2 + 2 equals 4 and all men are created equal. Facts define our reality and are not debatable.
  • Belief - Next are assessments of reality that we are convinced are true by the evidence around us. Much of our knowledge is actually belief rather than fact. We believe a certain form of government is superior to another; we believe man's behavior is (or is not) causing climate change; we believe someone is guilty or innocent of a crime. These are not facts, although they can be supported by a great amount of evidence and therefore be hard to argue against or refute.
  • Experience - Third, we have knowledge based on experience, that is, what we have seen, touched, smelled, tasted, heard, or otherwise interacted with subjectively. I am not hungry right now because I just ate breakfast; this is my reality based on my experience. While occasionally, experience can be misleading or deceiving, it is usually safe to assume that if someone has experienced something, it is true. Arguing against what someone knows based on their experience if you have not had that experience is especially foolish. I would never claim to surpass my wife in knowledge of childbirth because she has had that experience and I have not, and never will.
  • Hope - Finally, there is hope, what we wish to be true whether or not there is evidence for it, and whether or not it is or will be true. We hope a certain team will win the big game, but this is never certain until the event is concluded (Superbowl XLII). It is hard to argue with hope.
An important point that follows from this is that one cannot know something is not true unless it contradicts a fact. To say that something doesn't exist, that another's belief is false, or that no one has had a certain experience is folly; at best you can express doubt that something is true, never absolute certainty.

While nearly all human knowledge of reality comes from these four points, there is a fifth - God. God is the hope of many. Some claim to have experienced Him. Many believe in Him. Various philosophers have even debated if God is a fact. I would go beyond this by saying that God is not merely a fact, He supersedes even definitions and self-evident truths. God is. There is no debate, there is no argument, all of reality is based on this simple premise that God is. Therefore, those who define their reality questioning or even denying this basic premise are deceived.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Finger smiley face

When I was little, this was one of the ways my father would keep me entertained. Last night, a good little boy wanted to run around and get into things, so I picked him up and put him on my lap during dinner. He didn't like that much so he climbed over to mommy and a short while later slipped, bumping his head in the process. This made him a bit upset, so I got my pen out and made a finger smiley face for him.

He was captivated. After staring at his new friend for a minute, he gave "him" a little kiss, and then made "him" give mommy a kiss too. Unless you become like little children...indeed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Contradiction

My reaction after reading Nature News' recent article on the Templeton Foundation.
Quoted in the article: "'Religion is based on dogma and belief, whereas science is based on doubt and questioning... In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice.' The purpose of the Templeton Foundation is to break down that wall, he says — to reconcile the irreconcilable and give religion scholarly legitimacy."
Religion doesn't have scholarly legitimacy? Or is he implying that only science does? Which sciences in particular—is physics more legitimate than biology? And what about history, linguistics, literature, government, economics, and other non-scientific fields? Are these to be dismissed because they achieve their knowledge base by means other than the scientific method?

I love science; but I love the Triune God more. I don't care much for religion, as it distracts people from the very God they purport to be worshipping. But if science and religion (that is, God) are "irreconcilable" then I am a walking contradiction. Rather, I think the real issue is that everyone wants desperately to believe that what they are filled and occupied with is the real meaning of the universe. By definition, however, science is not the meaning of the universe but one of many means by which we investigate our universe. God, by definition, is the meaning of the universe, and the universe is meaningless without Him. The real contradiction is to not be filled with God. To quote The Economy of God
If we do not contain God and know God as our content, we are a senseless contradiction.