Wednesday, 2 November 2016

All bad but us?

"We have met the enemy, and he is us".

There's probably nothing that's worse in life than a sense of powerlessness - the discovery that you're incarcerated in a manner that leaves you incapable to determine or change what matters and thereby leaves you bereft at the very core of what counts.

I was bluntly made aware whilst listening to an annual lecture this week that modern society considers people like me to be so beguiled. You see, I've fallen under the illusion that when I consider the universe around me to speak of majesty and thereby design, I have been duped by an illusion that naturalism dogmatically propounds is superficial. Yes, there may be an 'appearance' of design about us, say those leading this charge, but the real story is, of course, evolution, so any adherence to the notion of purpose is tilting at windmills.

This deceptively circular conclusion reminded me a little of the reasoning of the fantasy movie some friends got to take me to see recently, in which a scientist contends with a mystic that we're all just dust and that images and ideas which say otherwise belong on nothing but gift shop cards. The mystic proceeds to 'open' the multiverse to the scientist's mind to contend this, but as the plot unfolds, numerous people die (become dust) and all the mysticism actually changes nothing about the natural state of affairs (decay and death), so, there you go - that's all there is.

Well, that's fair enough if that is all there is to say on these subjects, but it isn't.
Go back to the first point - does science show us that seeing design is nothing more than a smoke and mirrors act? Naturalists may like to thinks so, but as I've touched on here at other times, leading physicists in their most honest moments will tell you that such views are saturated with lashings of desirable conjecture to keep the ardent atheist rested in their assumptions, but that's as far away from what we actually do know as pinning down the real nature of who and what we are.

We have to start with the nature of what's really going on in this striking yet crippled thing called humanity - what is that trying to tell us? We have all manner of guises to keep ourselves from soberly looking at that, and the world that actually surrounds us, so until there's at least a little willingness to crack open that reflection, we're not really going to see who we truly are and what is happening in front of us.

The painful truth that Christianity points us to is that we first have to understand not just what we have discovered, but how much we have lost - that our race is currently alienated from what and where it should be, but the appetite and perception of there being much more hasn't left us. The reality is that we are powerless to really change this, no matter how much we learn or how loudly we object via our various alternative notions. The prison doesn't dissolve, and the greater reality can still be glimpsed through the bars, however constraining they may be. We need one from outside of our predicament, our disconnected state, to break through and change the nature of our unbreakable futility. Christianity reveals that this has happened at one particular place in our history, in the person of Jesus Christ, and what He has done disposes of all the other 'gift cards', whatever their particular denomination, because only He has broken down what divides us from what is meant to be - a home that will bring an end to all futility. In truth, then, we not only have to confront the issue of the transcendence of God, witnessed in the marvel of Creation's declaration, but His immanence by His becoming one of us, and doing so to rescue what had become lost.  

We can, of course, chose to see that as delusional, and stay behind the prison walls, but why would we choose to do so? The only answer is that we really do not wish to truly see and understand our own  situation, or the rescue that has been given to remedy this.

Materialism tells us that what we see and inhabit truly matters, but only in a temporal, transitory fashion - it will all come to dust. Christianity tells us that the ruin and decay are temporary - a repercussion of our rejection of life from God - but the day is closing when all things are redeemed in Jesus Christ and begin to inhabit their true estate.

Take a look through the bars, and ask yourself - isn't it better to engage with the wonder, as we were meant to?

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