Saturday, June 7, 2008

A View of the World

I have been thinking about my world view. I have been thinking about it an awful lot lately. By world view, I mean the basic framework of ideas and beliefs that we all develop over the span of our lives by which we try to interpret events in our lives and in the world, interact with them, and perhaps, take action to make a difference in the actual outcome. My own world view has provided me guidance in choosing a wife, raising our children, maximizing the pleasures in life and troubled me with how I should vote this November. My worldview has gotten me in trouble with family members and co-workers that have a different world view. My worldview has endeared me to some and to others. . Not so much.

The trouble with thinking . . . well, it requires thought. After all, resolved questions often leave fragments of other questions that also beg resolution. This is a very laborious process and in so doing, we will have unwittingly entered the domain of the philosopher. This idea of the strain of mental thought being laborious was captured so well by Auguste Rodin, the French artist and sculptor, in one of his best know pieces or work called “The Thinker”.

Philosophers, as I have been told, discuss and debate the weightier matters of life and existence. They talk about “being” and “truth” and “reality”. If I should actually meet one someday, I would probably leave any participated discussion more confused for the reasons I have already spoken of. Any attempt to explain and rationalize or justify a position must be defended and debated. To be sure, this takes a certain degree of knowledge and skill. Sadly, to many times in my life, I have experienced the shear frustration of being right about something but coming across so terribly wrong. So why bother?

Trust me on this. . I am a little older and a little wiser than I use to be. . but if we take some time to learn just a little bit about anything, simple logic, and our built in BS detector called “common sense”, tempered with genuine concern and humility, can allow us to be more than conquerors on the battlefield of ideas.

If you are like me, and I suspect that you are, do you ever wonder why we are so easily entertained? Why are we creatures so bent on pleasure and self preservation? Why we long to escape, even for just a moment, an hour, a weekend? We eat (and get fat) we drink (and get drunk) and make merry (and get a shot of penicillin if we are not careful). At the core, I suspect we are longing for something that this world cannot provide. British writer and scholar CS Lewis would be quick to conclude and point out the possibility exists that we were created for a different world. I figured since we sat at the bar stool with the philosopher we might as well go for a walk up a very steep hill . . .a mountain actually . . .and as we approach the summit we see several old gentlemen with long grey beards sitting around the fire. They have been there a very long time and perhaps will be there a bit longer. While they respect the philosopher in their own way, these men are theologians. They know that the philosopher is painting in the dark; or at least painting in a dimly lit room.

If time and space permitted, I would like to share some thoughts on basic theology, anthropology, morality, metaphysics and epistemology. They are the key components to our understanding of the world around us. We live our lives and hardly ever give them a thought. I hope this blog stimulates your interest to think, to challenge your presuppositions, to open your mind to a new way of thinking. I hope the opportunity presents itself to write more on these things in the very near future.

Oh, by the way, that old question, “what came first, the chicken or the egg” . . .The chicken, of course! You see, a consistent world view can permit some of life’s archaic mysteries to be resolved.


Anonymous said...

Interesting analogy between a philosopher and a theologian, I would actually suggest that the philosopher is looking for a light or guidance to paint the room, whilst the theologian is painting something they cannot quite see but have taken instruction on doing so. Now there is noting to say that the philosopher can’t also be a theologian.

Tom Sawyer said...

Good points for discussion. The trouble occurs when philosophers look inward for that light because the human heart is a very deep and dark well to draw from. . If the philosopher looks outward, there is the light of creation which SHOULD be sufficient to cause a philosopher, at a minimum, to consider natural theology which teaches the creature about the goodness, wisdom and power of a Creator.

I agree that a philosopher can be a theologian. In fact, my point was everyone is, to some degree, a theologian; that is evident that humanity, as a whole, is incurably religious. Sadly, poor theology results in little god's and that just will not do in a modern era; I suspect this is why the Decalogue specifically condemns idolatry.

Good theology SHOULD lead to worship which SHOULD lead men and women to their true humanity.

I do need to confess, to the same degree that I love theology, I hate religion. To me, theology is understanding who I am in light of Who God is and what He is like. It is a 'looking up' and pondering the majestic and the holy.

Religion just heaps a ton of man made rules and regulations and rituals that just darken the sky and blot out the warmth and radiance of the sun.