The Christian Mind: Modern

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge
(Psalm 19)

I wish to return to and idea that has to do with the parable in our last post, and that is: Consciousness, free will and thought are non-negotiable: No theory can deny them without destroying itself in the process. If I say, “I propose I am not thinking right now,” then the proposal itself loses all credibility, for if I am not thinking, then I am not proposing. You cannot propose a thought without thinking.

Similarly, we have also said that no moral system can deny that morality is objective without destroying itself in the process. If I say “morality is merely an illusion” then any moral pronouncement I make (“thus and such is hateful”) becomes meaningless.

This is a recap of course. But what these two ideas have in common is that both are key features of the modern mind. We modern people like to think (or accept as unquestionably true) we are educated and sophisticated and are so much more advanced than our forebears. But we claim morality is merely a byproduct of evolution and yet continue to make moral pronouncements and live as though things like right and wrong actually exist. And we say consciousness is merely a chemical phenomenon, not realizing the very claim we are making is a product of that same phenomenon. For being so educated — and pardon the bluntness — we come across a bit dim.

There is also something troubling about such claims. It means things like beauty and truth and virtue and awe and splendor and compassion and love do not exist. These things seem core to who we are as human beings, even vital to what it means to be human. And yet we — as modern people — are willing to part with them. Quite easily, in fact. We are willing to part with them even if our very claims about truth that cause us to part with them are logically incoherent.

Why is this? I think it is because of the alternative. If we allow ourselves to recognize the logical incoherence of our conclusion, we would have to acknowledge that one of our assumptions is invalid. In the case of human thought being an illusion caused purely by chemical reactions, we would have to say, “Wait, no. That cannot possibly be true.” And then we would have to challenge the assumption that gave rise to that assumption: That humans are no more than biological machines. But what gave rise to that assumption? That reality itself is purely physical. This is the base assumption that cannot possibly be true.

But if our whole notion that reality is purely physical is not true, by definition that would mean reality is more than physical; it is more than nature. It would mean we live in a supernatural world. And this is something the modern mind is simply not prepared, or perhaps willing, to accept.

It is more willing to divest itself of all that is sacred and destroy itself in the process than acknowledge what cannot be denied. In short, it seems the modern mind would rather become nothing than acknowledge God.


Photo by Denis Degioanni on Unsplash

The Christian Mind: Parable

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge
(Psalm 19)

Two individuals walked along a solitary road at night. One looked up and said, “What immense beauty; what magnificent splendor. Certainly there is a God.”

The other turned and said, “What you see as beauty and splendor is neither. It is merely matter and energy and space. Look more closely: There is no God.”

The two continued walking. Moments later, the first said, “Behold how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. We can walk along this road, converse, reflect upon the world, know truth, know right from wrong, and even ponder God Himself. Certainly there is a God, and we are made in His image.”

To which the other said, “What you call fearfully and wonderfully made is neither. It is merely a result of accidental forces of nature. And what you call conversing and reflection is merely a chemical phenomenon. And what you call right and wrong is merely a survival mechanism. And what you call God is merely wish fulfillment. Look more closely: There is no God.”

“It is worse than that,” the other replied. “There is no us.”


Photo by Jakob Puff on Unsplash

The Christian Mind: Narrative

We’ve spent time in our past few essays laying a proper foundation to discuss Christian morality. Bottom line, any moral claim is an appeal to an authority beyond ourselves. By saying something is either right or wrong, we are claiming there is an ultimate standard by which human conduct is judged — what we called in our last post a Moral Authority.

In other words, you can say you do not like or prefer someone or something. But the moment you declare someone or something wrong or evil or unjust, you are imagining a standard beyond yourself. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Narrative”

The Christian Mind: Authority

A relative of mine on Facebook a while back was taken up by the news of Caitlin Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) having undergone surgery to become a female. The topic in the news at that time was whether it was appropriate to still call Caitlin “Bruce.” My relative felt strongly about the topic and posted the following:

Come on, people! It is 2016! If anyone of my Facebook friends insists on calling Caitlin Jenner ‘Bruce,’ tell me right now so I can unfriend you.

This, in many ways, represents what we might call the New Morality in America: Passionate, vocal, somewhat angry, more than just a bit self-righteous, and completely self-assured of its moral superiority. Honestly, I thought that was the Church’s job. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Authority”

The Christian Mind: Right

In our last post we explored whether it is wrong for moral values to be imposed upon society. This is an important question because in our day, there is this idea that no one’s values should be imposed upon anyone, much less society. To do so is to commit the modern-day mortal sin.

But the idea that moral values should not be imposed upon others — especially that we should be protected from others imposing their moral values upon us — is itself a moral value. This demonstrates what I called in our last post Newton’s Third Law of Belief: For every objection to the imposition of belief, there is an equal and opposite viewpoint imposing its own belief. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Right”