Well, that’s officially the longest title I’ve ever used. I’ve had some very interesting thoughts today due to both a philosophy class and a book I’m reading. They’ve been bouncing around all day, driving me crazy, so I decided to dump them here, in the form of pixels on a very small number of screens, because I know that very few people actually read my blog. That’s okay, it’s more for my own personal usage anyway. In the paraphrased words of Ray Bradbury, I write so as not to be dead. Not for the amusement of other people (though if my writing amuses you, I’m glad I could make your day a little brighter, whether it be because you think I’m insane and laughable, or because you actually enjoy reading what I write).
In case you’re wondering (which, if you’re reading this, then you just might be) I am currently reading a book called Not a Chance by R.C. Sproul. Basically, his argument is that chance is a myth in modern science and cosmology. Chance is largely viewed today as a force having causal power to cause effects, but this can’t be true, since chance is nothing. Chance is simply a term used when calculating mathematical probability. What effect, Sproul argues, does chance have on a coin’s landing face up or face down? None whatsoever. But when we say that things happened “by chance,” we are ascribing casual power to chance, which is, in reality, nothing. Ex nihilo, nihil fit. “Out of nothing, nothing comes.” Chance can do nothing, because chance is nothing. Nothing cannot do something.
Sproul is a reformed protestant theologian, but this book is not “about” God. It merely refutes the idea that chance can actually cause anything. In fact, Sproul, in the beginning of the first chapter, says that if chance has the power we ascribe to it, then God need not exist. It’s not that God once existed and now is no longer needed; it’s that if chance is truly a force, then God does not need to have ever existed. If chance has the power to create something, which would be self-creation because chance is nothing, then all logic is thrown out the window. God doesn’t need to exist because chance would be so much greater than God simply based on the fact that it could do infinitely more with infinitely less. The idea of God and the idea of chance having any sort of power are mutually exclusive concepts. If you’d like to read the book, I strongly encourage you to do so, because it takes a whole book to explain in full what I just hardly covered in one paragraph.
Inspired by my philosophy class and Dr. Sproul, I began thinking about the law of noncontradiction. (My computer thinks that “noncontradiction” isn’t a word. Silly spell check.) Two diametrically opposed statements can both be false, or one can be true and the other false, but it is impossible for them both to be true. If one is true, then the other is false. If one is false, that does not make the other one true. This would be a “bona fide contradiction” (thank you, Robert Sproul, for your overuse of “bona fide”). Even God cannot understand a contradiction. It’s something that is impossible. Now Niels Bohr famously stated that “the opposite of a profound truth may very well be a profound truth.” This is logically impossible if the law of noncontradiction holds true. Take, for example, the existence of God. I say He does exist, but plenty of people say He doesn’t. Some people choose not to take a side. But for the sake of my point, I’m going to stick with the Christians and the atheists (just to narrow it down). A Christian says, “Yes, God absolutely exists!” An atheist replies, “No, God does not.” Both of these cannot be true, because “X” cannot exist and not exist at the same time and in the same relationship. Even God cannot both exist and not exist in, say, Manhattan. He cannot be present and absent at the same time. Either He is there or He’s not. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe God is omniscient and omnipresent. But He has to either be or not be. He cannot be both.
Which leads to the thought that I’ve been trying to get at this entire time, a thought that I had while sitting outside waiting for my boyfriend: I strongly believe that the prevailing belief that truth is relative is a huge factor in the other prevailing attitude that “anyone who disagrees with me is evil/hates me.” I think that, way back in the day, that two people could believe two different things, acknowledge that only one could be true because they were contradictory, and actually have an intelligent conversation about it and remain buddies. Amazing concept. You don’t have to hate people for having a different opinion. You could just acknowledge that you thought differently and move on with your lives. If someone had a better, more grounded opinion than you did, you could listen to them and get new information from someone who knew more than you. Now truth is subjective. So truth is not only different from person to person, but truth is not something found outside of people. It has become something extremely personal, something that is “part of your core being” or something like that. (I don’t know, honestly. How do you even define it anymore?) So if someone says anything that is contradictory to someone’s personal values, their “truths,” it is taken as an assault on a personal level, because you are disagreeing with something that is a part of someone, not just something that they think or believe to be true. Truth can be objective without people getting uppity about everyone who thinks differently.
And actually, if, according to the theory that truth is relative, truth cannot be known by any one person, why bother to listen to anybody at all if the only truth that matters is my own? Why listen to what someone else has to say if they can’t possibly know Truth? I personally make it a point to listen to others, even those that I largely disagree with (I watched the DNC, give me some credit), and when I discover truth that is different than my current definition of truth, I change my definition. This especially applies to Christians, like myself. Christianity cannot exist in a world where truth is relative. It just can’t. Because God speaks in absolutes. God is an absolutely sovereign God. Jesus said that He (Jesus) is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him. How can that exist if truth is just whatever you happen to think it is? And if you disagree with me, that’s okay too. It’s not a blow to your intelligence to think differently than someone else. Some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met can 1) make mistakes, and 2) not make a mistake and still think differently than other intelligent people. All of this goes back to the theory of noncontradiction, though: God cannot exist and not exist at the same time and in the same relationship. Whichever side you’re on, one of us is wrong, or both of us are wrong, but we cannot both be right.