A World without Love
Is there such a thing as Post-Christian?
Back in 1964 (yes, we must enter the WABAC Machine from Sherman and Mr. Peabody), there was a musical duo Peter and Gordon who were a part of the British Invasion of the early 1960’s. Their fame came after their song, A World Without Love rocketed to the number one chart position in both England and the United States.
It wasn’t necessarily the message of the song A World Without Love that “struck a chord” (this is where the “Unrepentant Pun Alert” should go) with the musical populace, but the gently flowing music and pleasant harmonies of Peter and Gordon. The song lamented a complete rejection of any desire to live in a world where love doesn’t exist.
Now as quickly as I just referenced 1964 and a song over fifty years old, I will now reverse course and take us screaming into the proverbial future! I read a tremendous amount of Science Fiction. Very few of these stories contain any reference to the Judeo-Christian God, yet they all find within their plot arcs the concept of love.
Of course, this doesn’t surprise me. I’m not really expecting them to mention God but I have been conditioned to expect some kind of mention or obsession with love. I enter the story understanding I am entering a humanistic, naturalistic and even atheistic worldview, so I am prepared for the onslaught of a philosophy which runs counter to my worldview.
Whether I am watching Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Jean Luc Picard or James Tiberius Kirk in the various iterations of Star Trek or merely being wildly amused by Guardians of the
Galaxy, I find it interesting that all references to “God” or any supreme being has been scrubbed from these stories, yet the concept of love, its pursuit and sometimes its attainment is included and even celebrated. Why is that?
A book I initially read many years ago but have reviewed recently, is Meaning by Michael Polanyi and Harry Prosch. One of the most striking statements these authors make in this book is “That freedom of thought is rendered pointless and must disappear wherever reason and morality are deprived of their status as a force in their own right.” They continue:
When a judge in a court of law can no longer appeal to law and justice; when neither a witness, nor the newspapers, nor even a scientist reporting on his experiments can speak the truth as he knows it; when in public life there is no moral principle commanding respect; when revelations of religion and of art are denied any substance; then there are no grounds left on which any individual may justly make a stand against the rules of the day. Such is the simple logic of totalitarianism. A nihilistic regime will have to undertake the day-to-day direction of all activities which are otherwise guided by the intellectual and moral principles that nihilism declares empty and void. Principles must be replaced by the decrees of an all-embracing party line.
Polanyi and Prosch have made an incredible observation: science, culture and government do not have the ability to provide meaning and fulfillment to the human existence! One of the reasons I leave many movies thoroughly entertained but completely unfulfilled has more to do with life’s meaning and purpose than whether or not the movie’s star happened to win and live to see another sequel. Even more stark is the concepts of love found in Hollywood productions are often an odd mix of humanistic desires (“What’s in it for me?”) and compassionate empathy (“What can I do for you?”).
Even when we find ourselves experiencing all the emotions and angst of the characters on the screen, our brains are making moment-by-moment judgments regarding what is right and wrong, what is just and fair and what is real and true. This is why we cheer when the “bad guy” gets atomized because he was thrown into a particle accelerator by the movie’s protagonist!
This is also why we recognize physical attraction between the characters, why we connect and become invested in the relationships we see building within the plot. Even though we are entering a world, or a universe, in which there is obviously no God and even fewer moral compunctions, we still expect there to be a “right” and a “wrong.”
Yet if the movie producers want to sell the movie, the “bad guy” must lose and the “good guy” must win; unless, of course, you’re John Wayne in The Cowboys—yet John’s entourage won on his behalf!
Here’s the opening “bottom line” to this series of discussions: if there is truly no God, if absolutes do not really “morally” exist, if “love” is something which can be defined moment-by-moment pragmatically, then why is there a winner and a loser? Why doesn’t everyone just kill a bunch of people and then everyone just go home and enjoy themselves? Why do people place so much importance on the concept of love?
Why do we insist on reflecting the characteristics—and love—of a non-existent God?
Seriously? Getting What We’ve Gotten!
Posted by Jim Grieme
While forgetfulness is a universally experienced bane of humanity, what is now being considered—and even demanded—by many in today’s culture has not so much been forgotten as it has never been learned.
To be forgetful is one thing entirely and is a forgivable problem. Those with family members who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease understand the personal anguish associated with those who have lapsed into the terribly increasing nothingness of those diseases. These families would never blame their loved ones for forgetting; they only possess a deep longing for its cure.
Yet to not know, to be controlled by a veritable arrogance of this agnostic lack of situational awareness, often produces derision in the observers of those who refuse to know. The realization of those who witness this pandemic of ignorance is this: even if they had the opportunity to show those caught up in their blissful celebration, those affected would never desire to see the presentation of reality nor do they possess the mindset to appreciate what they would deem as an antagonistic view.
Their reaction would demonstrate the wisdom of not casting one’s pearls before swine; they would eat as food which should be digested as wisdom.
Ideas have consequences. Words have meaning. Meaning demands that absolute truth must exist. Truth ignored will bring consequences.
I do not believe in an esoteric version of truth; I believe truth is embodied in a Person. There exists One who is Truth. This Truth is absolute. This Truth exists. Someone may choose to not believe in Him, yet He cannot be dismissed or ignored; true, one may attempt to do so, but the consequences are profound.
If something in the wisdom presented by humanity—whether philosophically, scientifically, or practically—if such wisdom is true, the One who embodies Truth is the originator and the owner of such Truth.
Too many of the ideas being spread like nightsoil on a field are being seriously considered as viable options to consider. Are people forgetful? Yes, but that’s part of being human. Are people ignorant? Absolutely! Yet ignorance is an addressable weakness; yet to do so one must acknowledge their lack of knowledge and seek to overcome that lack with knowledge.
Today, because of the prevalence and overwhelming acceptance of postmodernity, everyone can determine their own truth. If someone speaks an idea into existence, then we are forced to accept it, unless the speaker is deemed to be unenlightened by those who “know the truth”—who know their truth—and then it is derided and rejected.
To get well when one is sick, it isn’t the fact a doctor exists somewhere and because there is a doctor “out there somewhere” the sickness will be cured. No, the one who is sick must admit they are sick. Then they must seek out a doctor who possess the “true” treatment regimen which will then make the one who is sick better or well.
Education, filling people with “knowledge,” will not cure the diseases which now wrack our society and culture; in many ways, unfettered knowledge possessed by those who lack wisdom, contributes to the turmoil we are currently experiencing.
The English, Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, invented what has been attributed to him as “Ockham’s Razor.” When a problem has more than two answers which address all the facts of the problem, the simplest answer will be the one most often correct.
The answer to the complex problems facing our world, our society and our culture, should not be addressed by complex and obviously recycled answers. It is time to set aside arrogance, to reject labels of unsophistication and patriarchy, and consider the One who is Truth, Life and the only Way out of our predicament. Jesus Christ is the only viable answer to the chaos we are witnessing and experiencing.
Unfortunately, many will reject this answer. Instead they will opt to once again keep doing what has always been done.
And they will keep receiving what has always been received.
Posted in Social Commentary
Tags: absolute truth, agnosticism, arrogance, consequences, culture, forgetfulness, idiocy, ignorance, Jesus Christ, knowledge, Meaning, pandemic, pearls before swine, postmodernism, society, wisdom