Monday, December 05, 2005

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This verse in the book of John is perhaps one of the most quoted and most popular verses in the Bible. The belief that the Christian God so much loved his created being, that he gave his only son in order for them not to perish. I realized however that there seems to be something wrong with this verse. But before analyzing the details of the verse, consider the following first:
First, God is acknowledged by Christians, without a doubt, as the Creator.
Second, God, as Christians put it, is both omnipotent, meaning having virtually unlimited authority or influence and omniscient, meaning all knowing.

Now, here’s my argument:

First, If God is the Creator, and he is omnipotent and omniscient, why would he create something which is bound to perish? Surely he could have done some remedy or perhaps foreseen such "disaster” to happen.

Second, If God is truly just, then why is there a condition that only those who believes in his only begotten shall not perish but have eternal life? Surely, one will contend that the justice of God is different from man’s definition or sense of justice, and that man should not question God, and that it is upon his pleasure that he does such. But then again, isn’t it pathetic for a creator to subject his creation to a conditional salvation? It is somewhat similar to a child playing with his toys. This will lead me to the predestination of man. That man is either destined, or appointed to salvation or perdition. If that is the case, then whatever man does, in no means can he redirect his appointed destiny. If that is so, he is either destined to believe, or destined not to. Thus, God has already decided for his creation in advance, and man has no control over this decision. He is either created to believe or he is created not to.

Quite pleasurable then huh?

Again, I would say, that the belief in God is not a logical one. For no amount of reason can explain or satisfy such a belief in God. Thus, belief in God requires faith, and faith alone.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.” – Epicurus

I somehow tend to agree with Epicurus in my view of death. We shall never know death while we are alive. And once we experience death, our life ceases. Is there a certain period, where life and death meet? Is it not a fact that when you are alive, you are alive, and when you are dead, you are dead? Is there such a thing as being half alive and half dead. Even those who are in a state of comatose should still be considered alive, be it that their life is resuscitated by artificial life support system.

Because we have no knowledge of what happens after this life, there should be no fear of death then. On the other hand, does it then mean that we should live an immoral life because we have no knowledge of death? Perhaps not, The issue of morality however does not lie primarily on one’s view of life or death for that matter.

Is this then the only life we live? I’m not sure. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But if in case that this is the only life we live, wouldn’t this view lead us to appreciate life even more? To cling to it very dearly, and to love every second of it?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Looking over a picture of the planets on the Internet, it is so amazing how vast space could be. I could never imagine. Consider this. We are living on the planet earth. The earth belongs to a group of planets called the Solar system, with the sun, as it’s central object. Our solar system belongs to a group of billions of stars called galaxy. Our galaxy, the Milky Way Galaxy is only one of the billions of galaxies in the observable universe.

The exact size of the universe is unknown. Who could ever know? We live in a vast expanse of space. It is quite an awesome thing to think about. This leads theists to accord it to a creator. Could something so wonderful and immense exist without a creator? I don’t know. I don’t believe in the theory of evolution either. But could the universe have existed without a beginning or without an end? Scientists predict an end to the sun, the solar system, the galaxies, and consequently to the whole universe. Therefore, if it will end, does it necessarily mean it had a beginning?

It might be argued that for an object to exist, it must have had a beginning. Thus, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that the whole universe had a definite beginning, and therefore was created, and therefore required a creator. But wouldn’t the creator, as an object, in order to exist require a beginning? Wouldn’t the creator be subject to the same principle? Should the creator not be treated as an “object” and therefore not subject to its own creator?

Monday, March 14, 2005

The idea of god or gods has been present since civilization began. In the absence of science, men needed to explain the things around them such as the changing of weather, different seasons, birth, life, death, and all other phenomena they have observed. Men of different trades sought an “object being” to respond to their needs. There came about different gods for different reasons and purposes. This gave birth to the polytheism of old civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans and Norsemen to name a few. We now call these beliefs mythology. It can now be said therefore that mythology is an extinct, legendary religion. Ironically however, most religions of today are not too distant from its mythological ancestor.

We see at present people worshipping different beings for different reasons. There are deities “specializing” in fertility, for animals, for good crops and what-have-yous. Does this not suggest that man, is in need of a being to direct his attention to? A being to worship? It could well then suggest or indicate that man has a longing for a supernatural being. Could I then say that there is that necessity of a supernatural being to act as an object of praise during good and prosperous times, as an object of petition during want or suffering, or as an object of ‘direction’ when man cannot anymore find reason?

If it could be established that man is in need of a supernatural being to worship, does it necessarily point to the existence of that necessity? Not necessarily so! The necessity of an object does not prove its existence. On the other hand, the necessity of an object may give rise to its invention. Could it be possible then that this need gave rise to a Necessary Invention, that is God?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The question of a deity has been a foremost question asked since the beginning of time. We know of the ancient civilization who sought to polytheism (which we now know as mythology) in order to explain the things around them such as the changing of weather, different seasons, birth, life, death, and what-have-yous. Thus, we can say that man was in need of an explanation to his environment and events in his life. Therefore, can we say then that man is in need of a supernatural being, to worship, to praise, to pray to, to blame. In short, man is in need of a supernatural being, to provide reason for his existence and the things surrounding him. Could we then agree on that premise?

If that be the case, and you say yes, we may then conclude that there is that "void" or "need" in man for a supernatural (or call it supreme) being. We then automatically conclude that since there is a need for a supernatural being, that there is God. If it is then established that man is in need of a supernatural being, does it necessarily point to the existence of that necessity? Not necessarily so. The necessity of an object does not necessarily prove its existence.

The First Cause (or Efficient Cause) was one of Thomas Aquinas' Five ways of knowing God. He mentioned that everything has efficient cause, concluded that it is not possible not to have a first cause, and attributed that first cause to be God. In both points of Atheism and Christianity, this is debatable and endless. What do i mean? Consider that a person who believes in the existence of God, would already attribute God as the first cause (of everything), and naturally, a person who doesn't believe in God, would deny attribute to God as the first cause.

If a Godly person would defend his belief with his faith, without any considerable reason of why he believes such, but only because he believes, then the question of "Does God exist?" is moot and academic, and as a rule, should not engage in challenging the "belief" of those who seek the answer apart from the Bible and Christianity. Because if you are truly a "Christian," isn't it the work of the Holy Spirit (and not the Christian) to "regenerate" man? However, if one would really be "truthful" in his search and in answering this question, he would consider every possible aspect.

Friday, March 04, 2005

In my attempt in examining my belief, a friend presupposed (or presumed) that I now have no (or lost my) purpose in life. I realize that in my attempt, I am in fact trying to establish my real purpose in life. It is no coincidence that I’m reading a book by Viktor Frankl who developed the “logotheraphy” or the will to meaning, which theorizes that “this striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the motivational force in man.” And also, to quote Nietzsche who said “he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Thus, I would say I am indeed seeking my true purpose in life, or to borrow Frankl’s term, my will to meaning.

Now I go back to examining my belief. I recall once in January (9 to be precise) that one of the point of our pastor in his message was about conviction. Conviction, he said, is something you are willing to die for. That simple statement triggered in me, a series of questions. I asked myself, what am I willing to give up for my belief? Am I willing to give up, even my life, for it? If I say yes, then is my belief that worth dying for? Am I able to live, even to die for the sake of my ideals? Am I then believing the truth if I’m willing to die for it? Not necessarily! I may be convicted by my belief, but it does not necessarily mean I believe what is true. It only means I believe. It only means I believe it to be true. Consider that even those who commit suicide and acts of terrorism have as much, if not more intense conviction.

I’ve been reading selected, random works by Nietzsche. Admittedly, I can’t bear yet to take on the whole of his writing. It is worth to note that he is an atheist who cannot believe the idea of a Christian God who “begets children with a mortal woman,” nor a doctrine that teaches “a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice” nor among other things “sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god.” He believes in the “ubermensch” or the superman (overman). To him, that which we cannot become, that is his ubermensch. In a similar manner, there is a concept among Christians that God is someone humans cannot fully understand. Meaning, if they can understand God, then he is no God at all. This concept then leads me to an estoppel. Any attempt to fully understand God diminishes his being a God?

Note that I like Nietzsche and am fascinated by his controversial ideas. But I do not share his contempt with Christianity, its God and Christians. He is a genius (or to others a madman) in challenging popular ideas and wasn’t afraid to be ridiculed of his belief. Still, I want to point out that he lacks the moral value that I admire in a philosopher.

I believe that Christians (or any other religion for that matter) should not be afraid to find out or read any ideas opposed to their belief. If that would make them doubt their belief, then it must put a question on the credibility of their belief, or on the knowledge of the believer, instead of the absurdity of the oppose idea.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

For weeks, I have been plagued by my search for “truth.” How did it come about? And what do I mean exactly?

I have always agreed with Sun Tzu when he said “know yourself and know your enemy, in a hundred battle you will never lose.” In fact, Socrates even referred to the words inscribed on the temple at Delphi which reads “know yourself.” In contemplating that thought, I then ask “who am I?” thus, the beginning of a “self assessment.”

In order to arrive to a truthful self assessment, it has to be systematic. An analysis has to be made on my heritage (this shall include my family and it’s values), culture (my ethnicity and its tradition), history, and my ideology or set of belief. The latter led me to ask “what is my ideology? What do I really believe?”

To believe in something either indicates that one is absolutely sure that what he believes is true, or that one gives full trust or confidence to its proponent. Am I then absolutely sure of what I believe? If not, could there be a systematic approach to examine my belief? This question I shall try to undertake.

Foremost of the question of one’s belief would relate to one’s belief in God, in a god, in a deity, or in a divine being. To believe in God, in a god, in a deity, or in a divine being means to have faith. But could there be such a thing as a methodical or systematic approach in establishing faith? If a scientific approach is possible, would it not contradict the very essence of faith? That faith is that which puts one’s trust or hope, even in the absence of reason, even in the presence of opposition, to a deity?

Notwithstanding, I shall try to attempt, for purposes of establishing reason, for my satisfaction. In order to be able to arrive at a conclusion in a systematic and methodical approach, all bias (if present) must be (if possible) totally prevented. To do this, I must try to “unlearn” all the doctrines I “knew.” You may say it is not possible. But still, I say that an attempt must be made. Those factors that influence bias or partiality must be avoided. As an example, I must point out that to refer to the bible as the infallible word of God already establishes that there is a god. That god indicated in the bible. In which case, this would make my attempt useless. That is what I mean by avoiding factors that influence bias or partiality.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

To be able to grasp a clear perspective of the things around us, it is sometimes a good idea to step back. By “stepping back” I refer to the idea of playing in a game of chess.

Consider that we are players in a game of chess. We are gripped by pressures of the clock, having to respond, time-bound, and with much consideration of the consequence of our every move. There would be instances where it becomes a necessity to step our of the game, stand up, and like the “on-lookers,” try to analyze the game from a different view. Then perhaps, we can play a good game of life. They say “it’s not all about winning, but how you play the game.” We may not end up victorious, but we would have played well.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Walk, don’t run. Have you tried to walk slowly? Slower than your usual way of walking? Walk as if you don’t have anywhere to go to. Walk as if you don’t intend to reach your destination.

In a society where everything is being rushed, and where everyone is in a hurry, it would be abnormal to take things slow. Yet, in my observation, it seems to me, that when you try to slow your pace, you will become more aware of the things around you.

When we do slow down, we avoid deciding based on our impulse. And if we do, we end up making better judgement. Better judgement because we can give more time to intently inspect the things, and people, that surround us. Unlike when we speed up our pace, we tend to be left with “first impressions” or imprints of what we see. But this should not be the case if we intently gaze at things around us. “First impressions” to our surroundings, is similar to “initial reactions” to our situations. It is something natural, but something which could be controlled or corrected.

So slow down. Walk, don’t run.