A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

THE TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE, RELATIVELY SPEAKING

edited 1/24


I admit, I like reading Kierkegaard.  I like his parables.  My favorite I posted on the old blog, it's in the book, and come to think, it might still be on the old blog, about a theatre, the crowd and the fire.  You know, never mind, I will post it again, because I like it so much.

A theatre where a show is proceeding. Each section of the show, the music, the comics, and the dancers is more fantastic than the previous, and is enthusiastically applauded by the audience. Suddenly the manager comes forward. He apologizes for the interruption, but the theater is on fire, and he begs his patrons to leave in an orderly fashion. The audience think this is part of the evening show, and cheer thunderously. The manager again implores them to leave the burning building, and the crowd laughs and cheers. At last he can do no more and runs out of the building. Then the fire races through the whole building burning it,  and the fun-loving audience, to ashes. "And so," concluded Kierkegaard, "will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators."

I love that parable, doesn't it capture that lump in your gut when you look at the world today?  Did you see where because of the absolute cluster bomb of Obamacare, health insurance companies may be bankrupt this year?  Aetna's CEO said they may just get out of the business while they can.  I told you the whole plan of Obamacare was to force national health care on all of us.  Almost 70% of the people who have signed up are…. being put in Medicaid.

Sorry, none of that had anything to do with what I really want to talk about today.


There is a town where only ducks live.

Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down the main street to their church.

They waddle into the cathedral and squat in their pews.

The duck choir sings and then the duck pastor comes and reads from the duck bible.

He encourages them, “Ducks, God has given you wings!  With these wings you can fly!  With these wings you can rise up and soar like eagles!  No walls can confine you, no fences can hold you.  You have wings and you can fly like birds!”

All the ducks shout “Amen.”

And then they waddle home.

Obviously, the parable of the ducks is a message for we Christians, probably a great one if we pay attention.

Now, depending on your worldview, you might find Kierkegaard interesting or a heretic of some sort because he wrote that the truth can be subjective.  So how does a Christian resolve absolute truth, subjectivity, and relative truth?  Is it an Either/Or proposition or a Either/And?

Part one of the problem is to define words; relative is not the same thing as subjective.
That is the mistake many people make in this discussion, assuming relative and subjective are the same thing, they are not.

When I talk to some friends, who's life is going great, they always give thanks to God, which is the right thing to do.  All that we have is a gift from God; this is the message Daniel delivered to Nebuchadnezzar at the beginning of The Book of Daniel.  But what of the person in life, like me, struggling?  Is the struggle a gift from God?  Or is it a punishment from God?  If so, why?

So while a truth, God exists and all we have we have from God is an absolute truth, do you understand the subjectivity of such a truth depending on whether your life is clicking on all cylinders or your life is broken down in poverty, ill health, or other such issues?

Are absolutists as blind as relativists?

Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.


For example, death is absolute.  An absolute truth.  We die.  Our parents, brothers, sisters, children, pets, etc will die.  Absolute.  But death is relative in our lives.  What does death mean to a child, a teenager, someone in the prime of life and someone in the autumn of their life?  A couple married for 50 years and now one lies in a hospital bed, never to get out of the bed again, Death is Absolute, but is death the same to the one in the bed as to the one sitting next to the bed, watching their life partner slip away?

Love is absolute, but subjective to the one who loves another and has such love returned, and love that is not returned.  The love in the individual is absolute, but oh, what a difference between a love that is mirrored and a love that is refused.

Truth: absolute and subjective at the same time.

Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth - look at the dying man's struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.

And Nebuchadnezzar spent seven years in the wilderness, eating grass, punished for his sins of ego and placing himself above God; crazy to the bone, thinking himself a wild beast, which believe it or not, is an actual mental illness listed in the Psych journals.  Was this a blessing from God too?

The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man, but with God.

Stop and think about the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.  Were they absolute?  There were certainly lessons we are to learn from the parables but did you ever notice that most parables leave you hanging?  Did the man unconscious on the side of the road, the one the Good Samaritan picked up, ever recover?  What about the father and the older son in the Prodigal Son?  The parables of the Son of God are absolute and relative in that we see a lesson but never fully understand the ending.  But how you comprehend those parables are subjective.

Herein lies the problem with the absolutist: you assume because a person's specific opinion on X is wrong, according to your absolute view, that everything the person says is also wrong.  And that is the sin of the Absolutist.  Do I think everything Lewis, Tolkien, Aquinas, Kreeft, or Kierkegaard said or wrote is absolutely correctly in line with God our Father in Heaven?  No.  But then neither is everything I think or write.

Kierkegaard struggled with God.  I struggle with God and what I read in the Bible.  I do not find contradictions in the Bible, I do find paradoxes though.  And paradoxes are honey to a thinker but sometimes we end up wrong in our thinking of the paradoxes.

Just as we do in life.  The truth is absolute: our view of that absolute will be subjective.  Our view of God in this country, when we drive to church in a Benz, do our duties in church, drive home to our house and watch the playoffs on a 48 inch flat panel television is a different view of truth than the church goer in China, India, Pakistan, Columbia, and many other places who must sneak out, sneak home, and pray they are not found, beaten, raped, jailed, and put to death.  How can anyone possibly not see the subjectivity of the absolute?

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.


Read more at: http://www.loveaquote.com/authors/soren-kierkegaard-quotes/ 
Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth - look at the dying man's struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be i

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