Sunday, December 19, 2010

Absolutes Assumed

John Piper's newest book, Think, has been excellent. The following quote made me write in the margin, "Absolutes assumed just in thinking/communication".

"Relativists employ the law of non-contradiction and the law of cause and effect whenever they talk about their belief in relativism and its relation to the world... People keep saying all is relative, when they know their very thinking and talking involves principles that are not relative."

In other words, as soon as someone attempts to communicate they assume enormous and far reaching absolutes. The first assumption (law of non-contradiction) is when they say they have A in their pocket that it does not mean they have non-A. The second assumption (law of cause and effect) is when they speak (cause) it will have an effect (communication). Now, these assumptions really start to matter when someone attempts to communicate their beliefs because they make more assumptions on top of the first two. They may assume that right and wrong exist, or that altruism is good and exploitation is bad. So when you communicate your worldview or defend your beliefs, you are admitting absolutes and meta-standards exist, even if you think they don't. Piper puts his finger on the motivation behind embracing a self-contradicting non-standard standard like relativism.

"People don't embrace relativism because it is philosophically satisfying. They embrace it because it is physically and emotionally gratifying."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lord of the Leaves

We accept that laws dictate and arrange the world around us. Storms, movement of atoms, or just a fresh breeze, all seen as being governed by something; be it laws of nature or constants in the universe. But because we are conscious and the leaves of a tree are not, we automatically reject the idea that something governs us. Leaves do not "choose" their destination due to wind and weather. The shape and weight of the leaf may play a part in the direction and movement, but ultimately it is the wind that governs. What if we are governed in a similar way? An unseen but active hand guiding all we do? And what if the laws and constants we sense in the natural world are merely fingertips, gripping and maintaining all that we see?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Son of Adam

Why do I constantly make commitments to myself and others only to not keep them? Is it the resemblance of a covenant that forces my neck to go stiff? Is it just laziness? I typically settle for lower quality things over what I know is better. Like my first parents I give in to what I know is less in exchange for what is great. Is this man's constant plight? To knowingly choose what he should not? Thousands of years separate me from Adam, and yet truly I act as his descendant.

"Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good." -Aslan

Friday, January 01, 2010

Eternal Pleasure

Part of the reason moments of pleasure or joy are so enjoyable is because deep down we know we are tasting something other worldly. This is why addiction is so easy to fall into. We know a moment of pleasure is not something man deserves to have access to, so we seek it all the more. We become so desperate that any means, no matter how damaging, will suit our aim to feel more pleasure. Rather than straining to satisfy an unquenchable thirst by chasing rain drops, we can drink from the cup that promises us to thirst no more. And we should remember that any moment of pleasure or joy is undeserved. You will either pursue the moments themselves, or pursue the source of them. The first is illusive and damning, the other is illuminating and freeing.