About 10-15 years ago, I wrote a sci-fi book focused around some ethical conundrums. It is intended to raise a lot of important questions we need to deal with considering where technology is going, but is also intended to delve into the foundation of the abortion discussion.
My life feels like a series of pendulum swings. As I learn more and as I attempt to empathize with views I don't initially hold, I find myself being flung between extremes of belief until time levels me out somewhere closer to the middle. One of these back-and-forths has been on the issue of "Pascal's Wager." For those unfamiliar with this idea, Pascal basically said that when one looks at the choice of becoming a Christian or not, they are wiser to choose Christianity even if it seems like it is less probable. So long as Christianity is potentially true, one should choose to believe in Christ. Why? Because if you do believe in Christ and turn out to be wrong, you've lost nothing. However, if you don't believe and it ends up being true, then you lose eternity. If Buddhism is true and I don't believe in it in this life, I'll eventually arrive at bliss. But if Christianity is true and I fail to believe, I'm damned forever.
I initially thought Pascal's wager was brilliant. It made perfect sense to me. You should obviously see that in the risk/reward analysis, it is way better to believe in Christianity. However, after some years, Pascal's Wager left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. As I thought about it more and as I listened to atheists speak more (rather than just listening to my Christian community), I recognized several problems I had with Pascal's Wager, at least as most Christians were using it.
1) It emphasized intellectual assent without consideration of Lordship theology and assent of actions.
2) It didn't narrow one's choice down to Christianity, as there are other religions which have eternal judgment as a possibility from which one would want to escape.
3) It emphasized potential risk while dismissing (or not accounting for) probability. For example, a large bird could drop a heavy stone on my head from hundreds of feet and kill me, yet I don't, and won't, walk around with a helmet knowing there is a huge consequence should the event occur. The probability of its occurrence is practically zero. Falling out of bed is another example, as it kills about 450 people in the U.S. each year and injures close to 2 million, yet most of us take minimal precautions.
The issue of purpose couldn't be more important than it is today. As much of the Western World shifts away from religion and towards atheism (particularly materialism), they are left with a gaping hole in their lives. Without moral commands or the divine direction that once guided individuals and nations, many irreligious are left searching for that which can infuse their lives with purpose. Most end up landing on some system of self-purpose because it's easy, convenient, and unobtrusive. This system of self-purposing generally means that each individual must figure out or fashion their own purpose in life. Once a purpose is identified, then life can meaningfully be lived.
While self-purposing sounds fantastic (who wouldn't want to just follow their own desires?), there's one problem for materialists. Self-purposing is incoherent on their system. It can't be done. It's absolutely unintelligible. To discover why materialism cannot provide purpose - and especially self-purpose - I'll explore deeper the concept of purpose.
John Lennon, singer and song writer for the Beatles, was one of the most popular musicians of all time. But Lennon didn't just write music. He was a lyricist who incorporated his philosophy into his music. On the topic before us today, love, one of Lennon's more popular songs entitled "All You Need Is Love" declared just that. All we need is love. Lennon wrote another very popular song entitled "Imagine," which was a vision of how we could build a world saturated with the love Lennon thought we needed. Lennon says, "Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No Hell Below us. Above us, only sky... You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us. And the world will live as one." In Lennon's mind, religion was an impediment to love, not a conduit. If we could just get rid of religion - if we could just get rid of the division religion causes, then the world could finally be free to love.
Unfortunately, Lennon was a far better musician than he was a philosopher. But despite his poor philosophy, his beliefs have been peddled to hundreds of millions of listeners throughout the decades, and his beliefs have unfortunately gained popularity. Like Lennon, many today believe that love would be in a much better condition if we could just rid it of the burden of religion. However, I am here to tell you that without religion - specifically without a religion like Christianity which has a relational God at its center - love is dead.
Catalina and I have a somewhat unconventional way of handling property issues with our children. We developed it after reading a parenting book which highlighted our often pharasaical approach to parenting. Whenever a property dispute used to arise between our children, our immediate question had always been, "Who had it first?" But this didn't teach our children anything except that power and dominance came by a speedy and selfish appropriation of property. While we had a clear method for resolving the issue, our parenting did not at all address the idolatry of control, selfishness, a lack of consideration of others, and other issues of the heart. After realizing this pitfall, reading articles and books, and talking with those who were much wiser than we were, we decided to institute "Toy Jail."
*The views and ideas on this site are in no way affiliated with any organization, business, or individuals we are a part of or work with. They're also not theological certainties. They're simply thinking out loud, on issues and difficulties as I process things.