Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Empirical Proselytizers

Logic - an intransient, universal abstract cannot be empirically tested. Yet, atheists readily accept it as something to believe in. The atheistic worldview is supported by it. One cannot accept 2 + 2 as 4 without first presupposing logic. But when atheists presuppose logic, it contradicts their dogmatic assertion that we cannot know anything without empirical proof, which is what they mean by evidence. There is no evidence, according to their qualified term, to support their presupposition. And presuppositions are something that everyone has regardless of their worldview. On these presuppositions rests the worldview. The new atheists, those arbiters of reason and logic, attack Christian a priori and act as if they have none, but they do. They believe in logic without having any "proof" or in other words empirical evidence for that belief. Their worldview is not exempt from presuppositions, which makes the scientific method as an epistemological absolute absolutely absurd. Everything a posteriori flows from faith, that insufferable word to some and that which to live by to others. We all have it. We all exercise it. It's only a matter of degree. From this, a foundational flaw in the constructs of the empirical proselytizer.

But are not logic and God different things? Is it comparing apples and oranges?

Certainly the objects of faith are different things. That is not the point. The point is that the atheist operates in faith with certain things, but not with others. He constructs a worldview in which only empirical proof will satisfy his belief in a certain object of faith, God. But belief in God is supported by evidence that is not empirical in nature. A statement like “you have no evidence for the existence of God" is true given the definition of evidence in an atheistic worldview. There is no empirical proof for God, logic, reason, morality, value, or any other abstract thing. These take some degree of faith to believe and all except God are accepted by the atheist. The atheist utilizes logic by faith, amongst a host of other things, but attacks the faith of others. The angst should not be directed at the principle of faith because there is no justification to criticize it. Instead, the atheist must take issue with the object of that faith, which is done and understandably so, but faith itself is disparaged without warrant. He accepts some things without the ability to scientifically test them and rejects others, depending on what suits him best. The comparison is much different than apples and oranges. It’s like apples and orchardists. The atheist eats the fruit and uses it for his use, but says, “There is no orchardist and if there is one I hate him.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monica: A Love Story

Monica married early in life. Rather she was given in marriage early in life. Her husband, a brutal and dissolute man, regularly demeaned her and committed infidelity. Monica committed to prayer continually for this man. Her wayward husband eventually became a Christian, reaching salvation, but died shortly thereafter, leaving their three children who were licentious as well. From youth, the eldest stole fruit for the sheer ephemeral thrill of sin. He went on to have a child out of wedlock and became an adherent of Manichaeism, a gnostic heresy. She committed to prayer for him as she had done with her faithless husband. Years later, he became a Christian, like his father. Though he did not die shortly after. He went on to become one of the most well known Early Church Fathers. City of God and Confessions being among the most reputable of his works, Augustine of Hippo and his writings are still studied by serious Christian thinkers and theologians to this day. Augustine, a product of an arranged, abusive and most unhappy marriage, was shaped and no doubt influenced by the example his mother had shown him of Christ's love.

Had Monica lived in 21st Century America, would she have been advised to stay with her faithless husband? I think we know the answer to that question. Did she deserve better? Absolutely. Does Christ deserve better? Yes. We are not worthy, yet He loves us the same. Did her husband love her like Christ loves the Church? No. Did she love him like Christ loves the Church? Yes! Her love for him is a manifestation of true love. It is the kind of love that Christ shows us. Christ is faithful to the faithless and He loves the unlovable. Christ loved us even when we were sinners. He loved us when we spat on Him and nailed Him to the cross. She loved when there was no earthly reason to love, but Christ showed us how to love truly. Monica understood this and followed The Divine Exemplar. And this example was no doubt a powerful witness to her own children. The spiritual fruit of which is evidenced in life and work of Augustine.

"From my tenderest infancy, I had in a manner sucked with my mother's milk that name of my Saviour, Thy Son; I kept it in the recesses of my heart; and all that presented itself to me without that Divine Name, though it might be elegant, well written, and even replete with truth, did not altogether carry me away." (Confessions, I, iv)

Here we see the promise of our Lord, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). Through obedience, the Holy Spirit implemented His glorious and transforming power, which is able to penetrate and change the hearts of the hardened brute and the hedonistic intellectual. Monica, believing this, and devoting her ways and prayer to God, demonstrated true love. What if we who claim that Divine Name exercised such love to the unlovable and the enrichment of marriages and godly children that would accompany? The Kingdom indistinguishable and abhorrent becomes vivid and attractive. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34-35)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

He is Hanging Here on This Gallows

Where is God when evil things happen? The Word made flesh, as with most good questions, answers this or at least gives us some understanding. The incarnation makes it possible for God to fully understand the plight of the afflicted. No greater injustice has ever been committed than at Calvary. Christ, a perfect and innocent being, underwent one of the most brutal deaths ever contrived by man. He was forsaken by those he loved. He was abandoned by His Father. He had the hate, malice, and sin of the world whipped and nailed into His body.

In Chapter 4 of Elie Wiesel's Night, there is a scene where a young boy is hanged. His weight is not enough to break his neck, so he slowly suffocates to death for over half an hour before a crowd of fellow prisoners. Having reached their pinnacle of hopelessness, Elie hears a man behind him ask:

"Where is God? Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows."

This is often read as Elie losing faith in God, but the death of faith and the death of God are two very different things. The death of God has power and hope because of the ultimate good resulting from it, where death of Faith does not. I think Elie is writing of the former. Christ's crucifixion places Him at the center of every atrocity ever committed. God is not distant whenever injustice occurs. God is hanging in the gallows at Buna. He is the starved. He is the raped. He is the murdered. Where is God when evil things happen? He's there. He's been there and He knows it well.