At The Table

Thinking about Jesus, culture, and everyday life.

Category: History (page 2 of 9)

The Flow of History and The Work of Ideas

“There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind – what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought world flow through their fingertips or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of the dictators sword.

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay the grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions.

“As a man thinketh, so is he,” is really most profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world.”¹

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Reason and the Resurrection

The idea of the resurrection of has been criticized and mocked from the very earliest days of christianity. Jesus debated with the Sadducees – a group of Jewish scholars who generally dismissed the possibly of the miraculous or supernatural. When Paul spoke with the Greeks in Athens, they listened to his argument, up until he got to the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Then they just mocked and dismissed him.

There seems to be an element of appeal in this dismissal of such fantastical notions. A reasonable rootedness in reality. There is indeed a goodness and virtue in such a gesture. It’s so much easier to believe in magical stories that explain away some of the big questions of life. The modern mind needs reason and foundation. There is no room for blind faith here. We have grown out of that. Continue reading

Unpacking the Modern Myth

“The picture so often painted of Christians huddling together on an ever narrower strip of beach while the incoming tide of “Science” mounts higher and higher corresponds to nothing in my own experience. That grand myth which I asked you to admire a few minutes ago is not for me a hostile novelty breaking in on my traditional beliefs. On the contrary, that cosmology is what I started from. Deepening distrust and final abandonment of it long preceded my conversion to Christianity. Long before I believed Theology to be true I had already decided that the popular scientific picture at any rate was false.

One absolutely central inconsistency ruins it; it is the one we touched on a fortnight ago. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory—in other words, unless Reason is an absolute—all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction.

They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based. The difficulty is to me a fatal one; and the fact that when you put it to many scientists, far from having an answer, they seem not even to understand what the difficulty is, assures me that I have not found a mare’s nest but detected a radical disease in their whole mode of thought from the very beginning. The man who has once understood the situation is compelled henceforth to regard the scientific cosmology as being, in principle, a myth; though no doubt a great many true particulars have been worked into it.”

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That Crazy Stuff People Believe

Have you heard some of the crazy stuff people believe these days? I mean its nuts. For one, there are those thousands of people that believe that that God wants them to take over the world for him, murdering, robbing and raping anyone who gets in the way. There’s also people that think that God just created the whole universe in 6 days. Yeah, just erase hundreds of years of scientific research for the sake of a “Holy Book” that was written thousands of years ago. If that’s not wild enough, there are people who actually look out on the universe and see nothing but a biological machine completely void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. Many of these people really believe that love and beauty are not real at all – they are mere evolutionary mirages who’s sole function is to keep us moving. Talk about crazy!

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Real Change Takes Time

We are perhaps never more aware of our pace through life, as we are at the year’s end. It is a time when I realize how full the year has been; how many things have happened in such a seemingly short time. Life seems to become more and more compressed and time itself seems to bend as the months slide by, like a sleigh ride down a hill that gets steeper and steeper. And yet despite all the speed and the clutter of happenings, one of the frustrating facts that seems to hit me every year is ME. Although the scenery around me is in constant flux, I find over and over that I am still very much the same weak me that I was before.

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