A sort of logic

Many of the things we believe come down to our assumptions. We might look at someone else and think their beliefs don’t make sense, that they are irrational.

Sometimes true.

But frequently we are missing something. We are missing the set of assumptions they are relying on.

For example, think about climate change.

Then assume that the world is ending. Not that you think it might be ending or could be ending. Assume that you are 100% positive the world will come to an end in the next decade or two.

Not just a generic eschatology either. Assume one of the more common and ostensibly orthodox western evangelical Protestant Christian eschatologies: the world is about to be utterly destroyed by a supreme deity that will then bring into being a new, perfected creation.

Assume that you know for sure that those events are about to play out. Or that they have already begun.

If so, why would climate change matter?

Why would mass extinctions and biodiversity loss matter?

Why would overpopulation and population sustainability matter?

If that assumption is true then none of those things matter.

I know that it is easy to shrug this topic off. Easy to say to ourselves: no one really believes that eschatological stuff.

But they do. Some believe it fervently and it informs their every decision and defines their entire thought process.

Many have a more dynamic thought process influenced by a host of other assumptions. But this end times belief is still one of their foundational assumptions about the world. It still informs and shapes their beliefs and actions. Even if they don’t think about eschatology with any regularity it still has an influence on all their cognitive processes.

The Theory and the Revelation

There is one sure way to completely shut down an argument: show the person you’re trying to sway that you haven’t done the background research to know what you’re talking about.

In the realm of religion and science there are 2 perfect examples

Evolution
&
Revelation

The Book of Revelation is the last book of the Christian Bible. It can go by a number of different names:

The Revelation to John
The Apocalypse of John
The Revelation
Revelation

I’ve even seen a long form of it spelled out as The Apocalypse of St John the Apostle

But it’s never called “Revelations”.

And anytime a person who’s trying to argue with a Christian adds an S onto Revelation there is a good chance that the Christian checks out.

The thought being:

This person isn’t taking this argument seriously enough to go do the tiny amount of research necessary to even argue with me.

Why would I listen to them, then?

The same in arguments about science.

The book The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin can also go several names:

On the Origin of Species
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

But it is never called “The Origin of the Species”

That’s not the name of the book and the same thing happens when people call it that in an argument.

The opponent checks out and doesn’t take the rest of the conversation seriously.

If you want to convince someone of your argument or even get them to take it seriously you have to understand the terms and sources they use. At least casually, so they’ll respect your thoughts on the subject.

In both these cases I’ve even seen works published with the wrong title. That shows that even editors of texts meant to be taken seriously haven’t done their due diligence to know the title of the book in question.

But these are just good examples

There are many more

The point is, before trying to persuade others you have to spend the time to know what others believe.

In all productive conversations I’ve ever had, it’s only when I try to see the world through beliefs that are not my own that I can approach someone to try to change their mind.

Suffering

Old question. REAL old.

If God loves us why do we suffer?

Does God control our actions? Our future? Every event, moment to moment? If so, why the moments of suffering?

I saw my friend today wondering out loud,

“Is God punishing me?”

I don’t think I’m going to end this debate in a blog…but I’ll try. At least a little bit. A smidgen.

My first thought would be about control.

What do I mean if I say God controls my future?

Do I mean God controls my every action? (kinda don’t think so)

Do I mean God controls all circumstances I find myself in? (kinda don’t think so on this one either. If I have control of my actions shouldn’t I think others do too?)

Do I mean that God has no control then!? (nah, but what do I mean then?)

🤔

I’ve come to the conclusion that I think about control in terms far too limited. I’ve started asking myself what kind of control the God I believe in has.

Reading the Bible does the trick.

The authors of that old collection of books all wrestled with the idea of God’s control, how evil could sometimes triumph.

Emerging from their frustration, through the books that claim to reveal God’s will I think it is very clear.

God controls the outcomes.

There may be a number of potential circumstances but God controls the eventual circumstances.

The events that will come to pass.

Over time they are all fulfilled and eventually they will culminate in a transformation of this world. In that culmination we will see the full triumph of light, love, mercy, compassion, humility, self sacrifice, and all that is good.

These will win out in the end.

In the meantime all our choices create the circumstances we see around us. Slowing eliminating the paths into the future. All of our individuals choices swirling together in a tumultuous converging path.

Each path we take leaves another behind,

& another

& another

Until there is only one left: that path of culmination.

Our burden is to chose the paths available to us. Then we have to deal with the paths laid before us by all others.

Which by the way includes God. I definitely think God acts and moves along these paths just as we do.

But God’s path is built of all the virtues listed above👆

And more

Ours, not so much.

Why bring us into this universe of possibilities where some choose viciousness and others chose tenderness?

Why allow the choices?

Why not start and culminate simultaneously? Why do we have to go through the long, grim pilgrimage of time?

I’d like to know, wouldn’t you?

So I guess I failed on that note. Maybe I’ll come back to that question later.

Until then I have faith that when time does culminate, peace will reign.

And all the wrongs of the past will be made right.

I can’t wait to see what THAT looks like

🙏

Without a doubt I have my own take on the way grace, forgiveness, and faith worm their way into all this. But that’ll have to wait till a later post 🤘

Brief warning: I’ll mostly be posting from my phone. Using a mobile device to view may work best 😎