Philosophy/Theology 1: What is real?

A jumping off point

Before I jump to questions about G and Jesus and Christianity and is healing thing? I need a platform, a dock floating in the deep water. We’ll need a place to jump from and return to, a safe place where we can bask in the warm sun and talk about things.

We – all of humankind – talk like we know, yet we rarely do. It’s a favorite example of mine, but how can the atheist know there is no G? They can’t, of course. And while you’re there chuckling, thinking I’ve got Sam Harris on the ropes, hands tied behind his back, well, your pastor or priest can’t know that G is real, either. Heck, none of us can know for sure that the world wasn’t poofed into existence last Thursday. Try that one on for size.

Science leaves us nothing here

I’m most comfortable with scientific evidence, but it fails us here. There is evidence for G, but not surety. There is evidence for no G, too. If you think I’m talking in circles, arguing for what is both true and false, well, you’re inching nearer. I used to think that Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer was close when he argued that the real starting place for questions about G and science and nature is why there is something rather than nothing. But he assumed that there was something. I assume it, too, and so do you, and we act like it with every decision. I won’t defend it, but many do, in long books with big words and tiny type, and it’s all so…limiting.

It’s such a small view.

It’s such a small view that humankind, seemingly sentient bags of wet proteins, try to logic their way in and around to G. Or to no G. I often think we are like bacteria, borne in the gut of a fish swimming through the deepest channel of the deepest depth of the ocean, meeting with other bacteria to talk about how stars are made in distant galaxies. All from inside a fish’s colon. Maybe I speak too highly of us…

What is left?

If we can’t know – if neither the atheist nor the believer can know with any sense of hold-it-in-your-handedness, what to do? We choose. We believe. We have faith. And since we cannot know and since our minds are notoriously frail at knowing and remembering, we hold beliefs loosely, giving primacy to experience, but never quite trusting that either.

We believe by faith. It’s all we’re left with. That’s the dock. From here we can take a dive.

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