The Extreme Tendency

Was it the best burger you ever had?

Is Chevy terrible when compared to Ford?

Does Marvel kick DC’s butt?

We humans are funny things. In wrestling with viewpoints and opinions we tend to be quite diametric in nature. We believe we can only be passionate, and only be right, if we polarize one viewpoint at the expense of another.

For truths, this is misguided at best. I like what Pastor Kirk Gilchrist says: Why do we Christians believe we have to promote either only the cross or only the resurrection to win? Why can’t we win by promoting both?

For errors, as CS Lewis so eloquently puts it, the enemy always introduces fallacy into the world in pairs. His hope is to get us to vehemently oppose the obvious one in order to gradually lure us into the more subtle of the two. As a Christian, should you be an individualist, concerning yourself with your own affairs and personal destiny, or should you be a totalitarian, ensuring that everyone arrives at the same conclusions, and therefore, the same benefits that you do?

As emotional humans, we also have a tendency to not believe our facts, stories or analyses are true unless they are the truest. That is to say, that they are the most exceptional, the most verbose points offered in a conversation. As such, we tend to pin on them something of the extravagant, when really just the simple facts would do. To make our point about a complaint, we say, “Because so many people are complaining too.” When really, only two people share the same complaint with us. Or, “It’s a mess everywhere!” When in actuality, it’s only a mess in one corner of the room.

I’ve had my own bout with both polarization and exaggeration, and as such, I’m more prone to perceive them in others. Most of it is birthed either out of insecurity, or someone’s propensity to lie. Neither are good, and neither are right. The truth of any matter can stand on its own two feet and doesn’t need my or your help to make it more right or sensational. The truth is the ultimate sensation.

If we can be less extreme and more accurate, we’ll be more qualified in telling the truest, fullest facts available to tell. And in turn, this makes us the most believable, because every word we say can be respected. We become truth-carriers.

In plain terms, our words, not just our actions, have the power to make us trustworthy.

Avoid the error-pairs; promote both sides of the truth; and temper your sensationalism.

ch:

God Is Logical

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There’s an underlying assumption in modern academia which precludes discussion about the existence of God or faith’s role in science that divine invention or interjection is, as Spock would put it, illogical.

Intellectual Christians are growing louder—perhaps because they’ve grown weary of their ideology being thrown under the bus, and perhaps because technology has given them the means to connect globally—speaking outside of the illustrious Ivy League halls of Liberalism, finding a forum with which to present meaningful evidence.

To such clear, concise thinkers, I raise my proverbial glass and toast you. After all, (William) Ockham’s razor is in your favor, concluding that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. The body of evidence should always shift in favor of a superior body begetting a sub-ferior derivative. Unless, of course, academia has permission to adjust the thermodynamic law of entropy as well.

What I’m excited to see, if competing interests will allow it—as they still hold sway, at least for the time being—is a meaningful dialog where science and faith exist in the same breath. For if they don’t have it, the rest of us will. Maybe not as eloquently as some, but we’ll have it. Brash. Bold. Beautiful. Faith always places superior pressure on systems extracted from its own nature, science being one of them. Cantankerous, yes, loud, also. But the discussion will be had.

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

• Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Principia (1687)

Among the living, one of my favorite intellectuals is the incomparable Ravi Zacharias whom I had the pleasure of first hearing at Cornell University in the early 1990′s. And of the deceased, a thinker who passed away the year before I was born, the great Kurt Gödel.

Another, what I might call a pop-scholar, who I admire for his sometimes verbose but articulate examination of the scientific world is Dr. William Lane Craig. I haven’t found a single man I ever agreed with in totality, least of all myself, and save only Christ; Lane is no exception. I always encourage my audience to do their own research and their own reasoning. But Lane’s recent (and well done) video presentation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument is compelling, to say the least.

As mankind receives more enlightenment from the mind of the Lord, my hope is that the knowledge will be accompanied by an increasing humility toward and acknowledgment of the source and nature of its origin.

Argue well, argue wisely, argue graciously,

ch:

Forest = Cereal

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Last night I had an amazing summer conversation with my daughter, Eva, outside under the pines.

Correction: it was a listening session. A single, unending stream of thought (less one addition from me) where I realized my baby girl is much less baby and far more girl.

But I’m sure in both our minds it will be remembered as a conversation, because we experienced it together.

We were playing a game my Daddy and I made up when I was little called It’s Like When, in which one person says a word and the second person has to give a real life application of that word without using the word specifically.

Her word was “forest.”

Apparently my answer of, “It’s like when you’re surrounded by trees,” wasn’t good enough.

“No, Dad,” she corrected.

“It’s like animals everywhere. Rabbits and deer. But we don’t shoot them. Only Popop shoots deer because he likes to eat them. We only eat animals when we eat Cheeseburgers.”

“Those are cows.” (My one addition).

“Ew. Gross. Yeah, and we don’t shoot cows too much. If there are no cows, then there’s no milk. And if there’s no milk, there’s no cereal. And can you imagine life without cereal? I can’t. I mean, what would we even eat?”

I have no idea.

So there you have it, a true Dwight Schrute-ism á la Evangeline Hopper:

Forest equals cereal.

You’re welcome.

ch:

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Logic May Not Be Enough

But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.

Sounds like something a froofy, superstitious Christian might say. You know, one of those Darwinian dismissing, shallow Creationist, faith-believing, science-hating, anti-progressive people who go to church without thinking, and have never read a book outside of the Bible.

Or it could be that Nikola Tesla stumbled upon a very eloquent, if not oversimplified, explanation for his own spirit-man.

But what would one of the world’s greatest minds know about that kind of thing? He’s so totally last century, like.

ch:

Logic. Should be logical. Right?

If you’re a Christian, even marginally, there are a certain number of tenants that you hold to. That God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, to name a few of the foundational. But one that’s been in constant debate between sacred and secular in the modern age–a dividing line, if you will–is that of God as Creator.

It fascinates me how those who operate at high levels of intellectual capacity, setting the standards for science and higher learning, often times refuse to operate by their own laws, and further, fail to acknowledge what seems so elementary to a simpleton like me. Occam’s razor, the meta-theoretical principle that the simplest solution is usually the correct one, would seem to apply when comparing a billion years of anti-entropic evolution versus intelligent design.

But all hope is not lost. During some recent research on the subject of Atheists turning to belief (of any form), a friend passed on an article to me worth quoting, concerning Anthony Flew, a leading atheist and British philosophy professor.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. ‘A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature,’ Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Granted, Flew’s budding theology is on par with that of a baby Christian, looking more like deism than relational evangelical Christianity. But a step is a step. And more importantly, paves the way for other such cerebral thinkers that are nearing the end of a similar question: Shouldn’t the most logical conclusion, when asking about the origin of life, be the One that began it all?

Is this a trend? Or is Professor Flew just a senile old man that should be ignored? ch: