Journal Entry #19: Sophie’s World “The Garden Party” to the “Big Bang”

Sophie’s World…

The chapters selected for this post were the culmination of a story that can befuddle, twist, and startle a reader as the story moves through the pages. Pages filled with scientifically impossible feats, a fascinating story of the battling of wills in the control of Sophie’s life. The Garden Party covers a stage of the story in which Sophie and Alberto are able to escape out of the book into the Spirit world – with fairy tales, and the Bat Mobile. The idea of a spirit world surrounding us, almost as another heaven or eternity is an interesting topic for another post.

I was impressed with the response the Major gave on the Big Bang – especially considering the fact these thoughts on Creation/Big Bang have not been considered widely until recently in everyday life. Philosophy is just one step ahead in some areas. The idea that God could have spoken to create something out of nothing – it simply fits with the “Big Bang”. And yet, the uncaused first cause just boggles people’s brains. As philosophy does to my brain.

I feel like a complete spoiler with referencing the very end of a story plot, because I really cannot even begin to unload the content from this story. I will say more in my “discourse” for Sophie’s World…

Gaarder, J. (1996). Sophie’s World. New York, NY: Berkley Books.

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Journal Entry #18: Smith on Postmodernism & Religion

Is there a future for God in Postmodernism?

If rejection of God is what characterizes postmodernism – than there really is no room for God. But – there are no neutral opinions, so than there is no outlook that is not either biased for or against God. Religious belief is really not irrational – rather, a different portion of pure rational. Pure rationality is not actually there, the bias that is created by one person’s belief is really just that what defines their idea of rationality, just simply snuck in and believed as “unbiased”. So just as a believer is biased, so is anyone else doing their best to come to terms with rationality.

So why is rational such a big deal? Religion is something that has to be left at the door – simply because of someone’s definition of rational? Or perhaps believers are actually the ones taking themselves out of the equation by refusing to touch the medium of postmodern philosophy. James Smith takes a look at postmodernism that really takes some “blinders” off the view believers hold. He presents that there is room for God – but leaves a challenge for believers: Is there a future for God in your own thinking?

Very much worth the watch! Lecture can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmjlDljju8Q

Journal Entry #17: Human, All too Human

God is dead, and God remains dead because we have killed Him. Who will wipe the blood from our hands? Nietzsche was considered as the pioneer for the idea of this “punk” philosophy. Forgetting anything that had been taught, removing truth as an absolute, his thoughts were written for the “free spirits” – challenging men to think for themselves. He wrote of walking through the woods onward along the paths of wisdom, be your own source of experience. Forgive yourself, live for your own pleasure, live for you own goals. He had freed himself of thoughts that were not his own, basically anything that was traditional, and he wanted everyone to be open-minded enough to find their own way. Nietzsche was his own heroic figure, forging the way into the new territory of thoughts, and putting himself into the realm and safety of philosophy in isolation. His imagination was better than relationships.

Oddly enough, he does make one think. To understand that we do have blood on our hands. But also knowing that God did not stay dead. Rather He sent His own Son, allowed Him to take our punishment, allowed Him to die. But He is no longer dead! One does not have to agree in Philosophy on all matters, but it is hard to deny the world around us. The Hope that only exists with One. No matter how you try to argue it, things do come back to our God. And I think Nietzsche brings us to desiring this understanding.

Anyways – Full documentary found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuxDMEDF6Vs

Journal Entry #16: Post-Modernism

At the end of Roderick’s lecture he states: “Philosophy, as I said, does not comfort for people who are comfortable, it shouldn’t. It doesn’t even provide comfort for the afflicted as you may have found out if you are afflicted. It is as I tried to warn you when I started, disconsolate in principle. Hegel says it in a scarier way. He says “Dialectics (or philosophy) does not run from death and devastation, but it tarries with it a while and looks it in the face.” Wonderful. Remind everyone you know to stay away from the study of Philosophy, especially if they are feeling down in the dumps.

But back to Postmodernism. The reason everyone seems to think its a horrible thing for churches may simply be because of the fact it is not clear how to fight. Postmodernism is that sneaky saturation that involves your senses without you knowing. Postmodernism is the message beneath the main story line in a movie.  And believers are saturated with the things the world wants out there, and brings complacency that doesn’t need be there. Can we really blame postmodernism? Or is that just human nature? I would propose that Christians should strive to learn about postmodernism and what it means to us, before they criticize what they do not understand. Being ready, rather, to always give an answer. Like Paul.

Full lecture can be found here: http://rickroderick.org/108-philosophy-and-post-modern-culture-1990/

Journal Entry #15: Kierkegaard

Roderick brings a whole new spin into things as he approaches philosophers who touch on religion, specifically Christianity. Of course, he makes his statements clearly away from criticizing anyone in particular, but interesting all the same.

Kierkegaard is brought up after a recap of Nietzsche, and as Roderick points out – he is very much pointedly against Christianity. Kierkegaard is famous for his statement that in “…a place where all are Christians, ipso facto (by the fact itself) none are Christians” Of course, he also goes on to describe the human as despair. Not really in despair, but the self is this despairing relation. You can’t be cured of it. You are it. And this only begins to show the lack of his hope. Nietzsche says God is dead, and people can go on to say that we have killed Him. Perhaps we have killed the world’s view of God – but I had a really hard time understanding how I am simply a part of despair, with nothing to live for. And I haven’t even touched on his views of human or non-human. Kierkegaard’s thoughts are very thought provoking, and I would suggest that one would want to be comfortable with refuting Niezsche thoughts before arguing with Kierkegaard’s thoughts…

Full lecture here: http://rickroderick.org/107-kierkegaard-and-the-contemporary-spirit-1990/

Philosophy. The thoughts that challenge all your thoughts.

Journal Entry #14: Nietzsche

Indubitably, there is no study of Philosophy without eventually running into men such as Friedrich Nietzsche, and I was fascinated at his ideas – especially in his specific criticism of Christianity. Nietzsche held the view that knowledge is a form of power, and he seemed to wield it as his own personal weapon. All that he claimed to know or not know was put forward in almost all abrasive ways, and he did not seem to shrivel away from any controversy surrounding his thoughts. In fact, as I was reading through Roderick’s exposition on Nietzsche’s thoughts, I came upon the realization that dear old Friedrich would likely be still fighting tooth and nail for these theories. Well, he may have changed his mind following his death, but his main target was Christianity – and this is what really stood out to me.

Roderick explained some of the thoughts quite well, in an outline sort of manner. Niestzsche first suggests that Christianity inculcates us in bad reading. He saw this “dynamic of resentment and envy as being, as it were, the unspoken, or the code beneath the code of Christianity.” And he may very well be right in a way, Christians, or those who claim to be Christian as part of this nation – may very well adhere to this code. So, then according to Nietzsche, beneath the Old Testament’s doctrine of love and compassion, there is submerged a doctrine of resentment and hatred. He argues that love is meaningless without discrimination, and also criticizes Christianity’s distinction between earthly and carnal kinds of love. Biblically minded fellow, he was not. But his thoughts are worthy of making every believer squirm and strive to move onward and upward, ensuring a life above reproach.

The whole lecture is found here: http://rickroderick.org/106-nietzsche-knowledge-and-belief-1990/

I suggest reading/listening to it – but it is a tough one!

Journal Entry #13: “Hegel and Modern Life”

Hegel was conservative. Words like this are bound to grab the interest of many politically interested folk, or shut down any interest of those of us who are just fed up with the discussion of liberals and conservatives. However, this did intrigue me enough to work through a bit of the lecture, if not all of it.

Conservative is not a term people think of when looking at Philosophers, but maybe this is because those uneducated in Philosophy only know such names as Marx, Plato, and Aristotle – all with not so conservative thought processes. Or maybe some of them were, I just don’t fully understand them enough. Oh well, back to Hegel. Capitalism and Democracy are presented by Roderick as being two of the most important keys to Hegel’s thoughts. Both of these may be simply from our thinking that they worked in the past, and could work again. But Hegel also mentions that the world is somewhat also scary in this regard, because it deals with so much work and thought. And eventually, if you stick to your guns, it gets trickier – “…because someone may expect you to do what you say.”

There is one thing I completely agree with Roderick on in this lecture though. As much as there is talk about a perfect society, or America being the top of all, it’s really not true. If we do not understand where good solid information and ideas come from, those who have lived out their lives, we become a “…society that produces…pathological (tendencies), it neither has nor deserves a very long existence.” Enough said America.

Rick Roderick’s Lecture:

105 Hegel and Modern Life (1990)

Journal Entry #12: “Kant & the Path to Enlightenment”

Roderick absolutely fascinates me. Giving up so many, many hours of time and study into Philosophy – and still seem to be having an absolute ball teaching it? Not my idea of the best career ever. However, I really enjoy that he enjoys it, it makes learning from his speaking much more fun!

Kant and the Path to Enlightenment takes a great many turns as Roderick explains it as concisely as possible. The portion that stuck out best for my understanding was the contrast between Kant’s Deontology and Mill’s Utilitarianism. Kant’s universal statement that all things should be “…the greater happiness for the greater amount of people…” is understood more by somewhat of an American outlook. But then if you apply it to all people it really “seems to violate our sense of justice.” If everyone in the world were to share America’s wealth, everyone in a third World country would be happier, but we would feel cheated. Kinda like a socialism concept. Mill’s thinking that “We know happiness is good because that’s what people go after, so, it’s good” just doesn’t fly either, however, so both concepts are just not meant to be Universal.

I don’t know. It’s almost as if the more you reason, the more you realize there is no fix-all solution until you factor in that unknown factor – the existence of God. It kinda really makes sense. But I’ll let you think on that one.

Rick Roderick’s Lecture:

103 Kant and the Path to Enlightenment (1990)

Journal Entry #11: “Return to the Source – The Matrix & Philosophy”

I’ll admit it. I think this was a pretty nerdy portion of this Philosophy course. But at the same time it was so absolutely spot on and thought provoking that it became enjoyable! I recently watched The Matrix trilogy with some friends, and we had discussed it from a Theological point of view, not really considering how Philosophical it really was.

I loved some of their absolutely nerdy comments about the small philosophical details in The Matrix, such as: “…Neo stashes his illegal software inside a hollowed-out copy of a book by French postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard entitled Simulacra and Simulation.” It’s something that anyone who watches the movie likely would never recognize, and yet it is there. And it is not just there, but pretty solidly placed for it’s philosophical value in the story.

Of course, as a believer I also was fascinated by the clear analogy of Neo being “The One”, the connection to the physical world, and his physical & philosophical struggles throughout the movie series. It is impossible to miss the Plato’s Cave reasoning in the storyline, and it is particularly clear as Neo eventually knows to “…take nothing at face value, and to question the existence of even those things, such as chairs, that seem most real.” What do Philosophy and Christianity have in common? Is it the struggle to understand what cannot be understood? Is it coming to the realization that true wisdom comes from our own ignorance? Is it where Neo “…returns to the source where light (Creator) created us in the beginning…and…we realized where we should be heading.”?

To be honest, I really don’t know. But what I do know is that I don’t know. And that is where the good stuff happens!

Video Link:

Secondary Source for fun reading on another angle of thoughts:

http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/1/matrix.htm

 

Journal Entry #10: Thomas Aquinas Discussion

The existence of God, an argument that is not simply classified into Theological or Philosophical. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways presented to prove the existence of God are an incredible resource for challenging your own understanding of God’s existence, and can strengthen your stand on His existence. This argument is not necessarily to convince an atheist of God’s existence, as we do not want to argue someone into salvation, but rather as a foundation for any philosopher or Christian who desires to strengthen and broaden their understanding.

Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways are:
1. The argument from motion.
2. The nature of the efficient cause.
3. Possibility and Necessity.
4. Gradation.
5. Governance of the world.

Two of the ways that specifically caught my interest were four and five. Gradation was assigned to my group for discussion, and is a simple but fascinating thought to think that if we argue there is hot, hotter, and hottest, than there must be some ultimate heat that is the cause of all hot. In this same manner, there is something that is the cause for all things, source of their being, goodness, and every other perfection – this is God. Kinda mind-blowing – simple, but extensive thought to consider.

The other argument, concept, statement of Aquinas that resounded most clearly with me was the Governance of the world. The explanation behind this shows the things that always act in the same way, say for instance trees, always striving to obtain the best result. Trees do not obtain their end by good luck, but rather by design – like a bullet striking it’s target. “Therefore”, Aquinas’ statement reads, “some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.” Or just take a look around, are the trees in your yard there for a purpose? If so, why are they there, how did they come to be there, and what will they accomplish when they die or are cut down? An effective, thought-provoking argument. And I’m sure many people have never thought about the design of the trees in their yard.

My resource can be found at the link below, and I encourage anyone who may read this to dig deeper – read it for yourself!
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm