A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yes, You Can Know Reality!

The Age of Irrationalism

There is a light that lights every man that comes into the world, according to the Apostle John, who was not a
fool [John 1:9]. In fact, John wrote in his first epistle that he and the other apostles had intimate knowledge of
that Light:

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life,
which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we
unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his
Son Jesus Christ. –1John 1:2,3

John and the apostles were not ontological agnostics, which is the reigning religion of the modern world. The
ontological agnostic [the OA] cannot not say anything about reality, but only can give you his view of it. 
“That’s my opinion and you have yours,” is the way he puts it, humbly, of course, for he really knows that he
is humble, and those who are certain of things are proud and pushy. He wouldn’t dare be pushy and proud
because his opinion is that pushy and proud are bad.

It seems very humble to him—did I already say that?—to think that the real truth about God cannot be
known. There is so much strife and trouble when people get certain about God, and the OA hates religious
strife. He doesn’t like people who are not OA’s and tends to shun their company. The better educated the
OA is the more settled he becomes in his opinion that there is nothing true that can be said about God except
that nobody should say anything about God, for he has heard many learned and profound lectures to packed
classrooms about God and His infinite unknowability. The subject is very deep and only a very learned
person could say so much about that of which nothing can or should be said.

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his
might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and
knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:
for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jer 9:23-24)

It is a good thing to glory in the knowledge of God and foolish to deny its truth, especially that God is active
in the world in kindness, judgment, and righteousness. There are those who know these things for they seek
for wisdom as for hidden treasures. [Proverbs 2] Others are willingly ignorant. [2Peter 3:5]

Very Religious.
The OA is religious, of course, and feels awe at the great abyss in his mind that he calls God. He might get tears
in his eyes at the wonder of the utter void and bottomless grandeur of what he doesn’t know about God—
the glory of undifferentiated meaning. As I said, he is very religious, muttering about mystery, myth, and

Called to Non-Thinking?
The call of the Gospel is for men to forsake their thoughts and their unrighteous deeds, but the Gospel is not
a call to non-thinking or non-doing. Because God is often silent doesn’t mean that He has no Word. [Psalm

Jesus assumed that a rational man would know that his soul was worth more than the whole world. Just as
Nebuchadnezzar knew that his dream of the great tree in Daniel 4 was expected to make sense to him, so
there are things revealed in the very being of man which man must understand. Jesus’ words and
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream were expected to connect to things in a man that only a fool would deny. It is the
fool who says there is no god, precisely because he is a fool and out of touch.

It just doesn’t make sense to gain the world and lose the soul. As Hamlet’s friend told him, “It takes no ghost
from the grave to tell us this, m’Lord.” The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For the invisible things of him from
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal
power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Ro 1:20 av)

What Are You Worth?
Why wouldn’t anyone know that a man is worth more than a sparrow? Of course, a mind so steeped in
idolatry that it can’t tell a hawk from a handsaw, might argue for equal rights for the sparrow, but the Lord
doesn’t try to prove the obvious. He assumed that nobody but a fool would deny that a man is worth many
sparrows. From this sensible concept He argued that the God that takes care of the sparrows will certainly
take care of men who are worth more than sparrows. Only an OA would doubt the force of the argument.

In the same way, when our Lord was accused of practicing medicine arts on the Sabbath by healing a poor
sick woman, He argued that this daughter of Abraham was worth far more than an ox. “Which of you,” He
said, “would not get your ox out of the stall on the Sabbath and lead him away to watering?” He called them
hypocrites, and they were, for they knew that the stupid stuff they were advancing as godliness was stupid
stuff. Jesus’ words didn’t make the stuff stupid; He is the Light that exposes stupid stuff.

As if this were not enough, Jesus went after those who worried more about clothes than the body. How
stupid is that? “Is not the body more than raiment?” He asked. Is not the body the instrument by which we
connect to other minds? Shouldn’t we, therefore, take more care of the body than we do of our clothes? But
you have to know what the body is, before you can figure that out. But with all their folly, didn’t even the
ancient pagans know that the mind was more than the body?

And what of life itself? Are w given the great gift of life to stuff our bodies with food? Isn’t life more than
food? Only by non-thinking can the Christian be stupid enough to say, “You cannot trust your thoughts,” and
go through the motions of life without study of his Bible. Real study makes you think and meditate, but some
really are convinced that those who think do not truly believe. Only the blind leading the blind would advise
not thinking in the reading of the Bible.

Isn’t It Insane? Jesus said that a sensible man should know the difference between a gnat and a camel: that
law, mercy, and judgment are more important than the tithe of mint, anise, and cumin. Jesus reveals sin as a
kind of insanity, a suspension of reason, a mental sickness. It is precisely this suspension of thought that the
Light came to change: to deliver man from the darkness corrupting his mind—this disconnection from reality.

Forsake Wicked Thoughts; Not Thinking.
The unrighteous man is called to forsake his thoughts, but not to forsake thinking. The Lord told the man who
buried his talent that he should have put the money out to usury. But wait! Didn’t the law forbid usury? He is
faulted precisely for his rebellious ignorance. Blind obedience is not obedience, not for a man created in the
image of God. It is a great fool who would strain out the gnats and swallow camels. Only those bereft of
reason would do so. We are warned of being like horses and mules, whose mouths must be held in with bit
and bridle. They need bits and bridles precisely because they have no understanding. [Psalm 32:9]

It is not true that man cannot know the nature of things. He can know what a pig is, what a cow is, and
which one not to milk. It is childish not to know: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,even
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:14)

Soundness of mind is the gift of the Spirit. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind.” (2Ti 1:7). The Holy Spirit does not trade in madness. “Hear now this, O foolish
people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:” (Jer 5:21
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