Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Darkness

"A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health, and a successful outcome to every situation and action" Ramez Sasson.

"I was blinded by the devil, born already ruined,
stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb". Bob Dylan.

Ever pondered what exactly gets you out of bed in the morning (assuming you are able to sleep at nights)?
The mind 'games' we usually have to play are pretty elaborate - presumptions that spin a fabric of social and personal 'norms' by which we can not only face but hopefully invest something into each fleeting moment called a day - granting the game some worth, so long as we do not probe or question too deeply.

The problems come, often, as we grow older. The mask of such illusion begins to slip as we become aware that the value of such a dance is flawed, and that so much of what is deemed 'the norm' is but a pretense - a device to keep us busy, distracted, from facing reality. The cracks are always there - the perpetual corruption in every aspect of life, whilst it may seek to change it's spots, continues apace, and the reality of decay and death encroaches, however we seek to project the 'I'm fine' persona to ourselves and to others.
In an honest analysis, we quickly find ourselves in agreement with the sobering analysis of Solomon - all of life amounts to no more than a painful futility.

The broken record of 'normal' life leaves us there, stranded and abandoned in a world which has us reaching for something to dull the pain - a darkness too terrible to comprehend - fueled by the misnomer that there is no true remedy. In the modernal mind, there is no actual escape - no aid or answer to this tragedy. Life becomes little more than 'dodging the bullet' for however long this can be achieved, until the moment when death slams us against the darkness from which there is no return.

Jesus Christ entered the arena of this dreadful malady and extinguished its rule.
He seeks to confront each of us with a greater reality - that our lives are not meant to be marked by such pathetic tragedy, but with life that has enduring value.
His death and resurrection reveal that the pain and misery of the present darkness have sought to usurp our true purpose and connection to what we are and are meant to be.

The choice is stark - a world enshrouded in a darkness which holds and devours all, or one marked by ultimate freedom from pain and sorrow, because of the one who has made us free, even in the midst of this present trial, to taste of eternal life.

In our mad world, that truth conveys a goodness and mercy which allows our troubled days here to be savored with a richer meaning than any broken dream.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The M a l a d y

"There is, after all, nothing inherently reasonable in the conviction that all of reality is simply an accidental confluence of physical causes, without any transcendent source or end. Materialism is not a fact of experience or a deduction of logic; it is a metaphysical prejudice, nothing more, and one that is arguably more irrational than almost any other"

Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart.

Some years ago, a popular 'voice' in the UK for atheism bewailed the fact that TV shows like the X Files and Supernatural were becoming so popular amongst young people. Why is it, he posited, in an 'explained' universe that we have this irrational need for the unfounded notions of there being something 'above and beyond' the observed and the understood?

A few days ago, I fell quite badly whilst at home, stubbing my toes and bruising my arm. There were certainly consequences of this action - pain being the immediate one! - and I understood what had occurred, but in no manner would I ever be able to equate such "accidents" as being responsible for anything beyond the momentary trial and current physical bruising I encountered - such events do not give rise to my "becoming" more 'developed' in any way as a physical creature.
The quote above really strips bare the 'supernaturalism' of the naturalists argument - "accident" (or to be more precise, chance) is essentially all they have to explain who and what we are, why we are and it is an entirely empty premise. That is why they fail to understand the need to empower the world around us with a reality that is unseen - why we inherently 'know' there is more to our existence than what immediately meets the eye.

Whenever we truly begin to encounter the complexity which furnishes our world, we are left wondering why materialists want us to believe that any information within this which 'speaks' of the possibility of design, of intelligent intent, is mute - is 'accidental', that the reality we must accept is that we merely exist by fluke. The human condition, however bent or burnt it may have been by the reality of our corrupted universe, knows that this is not the real state of play. The answer to US does not lye in our merely knowing all the facts and figures about our world. It doesn't explain those moments when we encounter something deeper, and we find ourselves pondering a truth which, as Einstein would have put it, points to a far greater intelligence than our own.

Book, TV and Movie fantasy and science fiction allow us to 'open a window' to a larger universe - one which the skeptics may hate, but we all understand, in that deepest place, is really there...

Life IS inherently spiritual, and the need of our times is to marry that profound need to the greatest reality - the life which comes from God, revealed and made ours, here and now, through Jesus Christ.

"There's another force at work here...there always has been. It's undeniable, we've all experienced it, everyone...has witnessed events they can't fathom let alone explain away by rational means. Whether we want to call that God or some sublime inspiration, or a divine force that we can't understand, it doesn't matter. IT"S HERE. IT EXISTS. And our destinies are entwined in its force"

Gaius Baltar - the Finale of the recent TV series, Battlestar Galactica.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Amidst perilious waters

"It's not supposed to be this way" Frodo Baggins - The Two Towers.

I received a circular e-mail this week which, using images of the holocaust, sought to raise concern that this dark chapter of history had been removed from the UK's national education curriculum.
I proceeded to check these claims and whilst they proved incorrect, there are concerns that some schools are not teaching on such events as they may be deemed 'difficult' for students with certain cultural or religious views to deal with.
I'm not sure anyone with a conscience wouldn't find scenes from a film like 'Schindler's List' most troubling, but the reality of that event, of the Killing Fields in Cambodia, the atrocities in Bosnia and the extermination of the Armenians, and many others besides needs to be part of our understanding of the 'modern' world, where certain beliefs and ideologies have generated such horror.

The mailing brought to mind a scene from the aforementioned film, of the children from the factory being rescued literally from the jaws of death at the gates of Auschwitz. I wondered in the light of over a century in which these dark actions of genocide have pervaded humanity what is the real value of such a moment? If modernism is correct, and history is merely as Darwin and others have defined it - a survival of the fittest - then the actions of one man in seeking to rescue a few lives from extermination is pointless - the universe is merely a large scale story of cold and dreadful cruelty with no purpose, so why should we seek to fashion ourselves as something garbed in virtues of altruism - the only absolute reality is death for the individual and extinction for all life, now or in the future.

And what of contemporary Christianity? What of those known figures from this field who say they believe in Christ and salvation yet inherently advocate peace with the very notions of our existence that have essentially invigorated such evil - that 'god' uses pain and suffering and death over millions of years as the means of His work - that this amounts to His "good" creation? What does redemption from sin and death, from a FALLEN creation mean in such a context? What are you left with beyond a "god" of the extermination camp?

Such approaches are doomed to fail us, because they merely leave us where we already are, trapped in the vicious cycle of corruption that now taints creation.

Christianity points us away from such to a greater reality -
a first, mature creation, made good, which then became corrupted.
It points us to promise in the healing of that first order, through the 'seed of the woman' - the man, Christ Jesus.
It points us always to miracle - creation, promise, incarnation, resurrection, glorification - those things which lie beyond the futility of the now - only there can this reality be granted viability and meaning, only then does saving lives become truly meaningful.

Our times are in great need for a reality that invests true meaning and worth into existence, that allows us to truly enjoy the goodness of life and earth knowing that these things truly have a value which goes beyond the misery of death and the trials we all encounter.
If we seek to remain locked into an understanding of reality derived from the same notions as the ancient pagans - that the universe essentially perpetuates itself, and we are no more than a fleeting 'blip' on that scope - then no action, no value, truly has meaning.

Christ has come and revealed to the world the glorious surety of a greater truth.
We are here by design, and our lives therefore have purpose. The key requirement now is for us to recognize that greater truth.