Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Thankful for my Parents

I'm starting a group of blog posts that I hope I'll remember to finish, because it's probably one of the most important things I could do. I've discovered a hidden gem: something that has been missing from my life. It's called Gratitude. Whether it springs from humility or causes humility, or both, I'm not sure. But I do know it is essential to understanding life. So, I want to write posts about the things in life I really enjoy, from my friends to studying philosophy, to my professors, to my parents. So here goes!

My parents:  I am so thankful for them. Whatever the word privileged means, I think I partake in it in some fashion.  (privileged is a weird thing to me. Privileged seems to imply getting some good compared to not getting it.  But couldn't you also compare that same good to something better that you could have? Although that is the way people often speak of gratitude, I don't think it really springs from that kind of comparison, but rather from just enjoying things the way they are).  My Dad has always been the kind of Dad that will never stop wanting to spend time with you. Here I go comparing, but I feel this is necessary: Compared to other fathers who are, well, interested in spending time with their kids but mostly their businesses and work or whatever, my dad would take off a week of work to spend time with us and not give a flip about it. He has always been the "bear hug" kind of daddy. Every time I see him I get a huge hug and never feel a lack of warmth. My dad always disciplined us: He pushed me very hard when I couldn't see things about my future, but he knew they were important. He wanted excellence for me while he was raising myself and my brother Graham. When I wanted to give up on boy scouts, he was right there to either sternly or lovingly push me back on the path to success. My dad is always thinking of ways to have fun with us, be it shooting pistols with us, randomly making some dessert and bringing it up to my brother and I while we did homework, wrestling with us, or taking us out in the boat and fishing. I could go on and on. My Mom is an awesome woman with an inspiring moral character and set of virtues. I've always told her I want to marry any girl that's like her. Even though by profession she is an Accountant, she's an amazing counselor, and she's had to do a lot of that with me when it comes to girls and God. (the two things that have the capacity to existentially destroy any guy!) I've actually bragged about her to my friends. Most guys I know have sweet moms who are wonderful in their own way, but I have an added bonus in that not only do I have a godly mother but also one who is interested in apologetics and philosophy, and who realizes their importance. Thus, we have awesome times together discussing spiritual and philosophical things. I also appreciate my mom's ability to stand up to criticism and brush it off like it was never said, yet learn from it at the same time. I'm still trying to learn how to do that, and have only recently started making progress. I will always be thankful for the amazing fun times I've had with my parents that I will never forget. Further, I say with confidence that even though they, like all, have faults, in my experience the good in them far outweighs the faults!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Mind and Reality

It randomly hit me today why it is that we as humans have so much trouble holding onto and staying faithful to our belief in invisible truths. The reason is that when you believe in a truth that you can't currently verify with your senses, no matter what it is, you experience it. For example, if I believe that God exists, I'll experience God's existence. If I believe God doesn't exist, I'll experience God's non-existence. If after a fight I believe my friend hates me even though she said sorry, I'll experience that, even though it may not be the case. If I believe that what people think about me determines who I am, I'll experience that.

Now, if it's true that no matter what we believe, we experience it, then that means that all it takes is one change in belief, and we'll start experiencing the results of that change. That means that spiritual growth and faithfulness takes a lot of guts and devotion, because even though we may believe that we should experience more peace in our lives because God is sovereign, all it takes is creeping doubts to come in for us to change our belief that we should experience peace, and then we suddenly experience anxiety as if it were based in reality.

I've been trying to believe the fact that what other people think doesn't determine who I am. But all it takes is a creeping doubt to come into my mind and a mental slip, and I start believing that people determine who I am again, and I experience that too.

Let this be known, to myself and to others: Our whole experience of reality is a mental interpretation! Kant was right! Even the information we get from our senses is interpreted by our mind. When you walk by a row of cars and experience the fact that they have engines under their hoods, it's not because they have engines under their hoods, but because you believe that they do. Your belief that the person typing this is a real human being is not caused by the fact that I am a human being, but the fact that you believe it. The guy who feels his throat tighten and butterflies form in his stomach because the girl he likes smiled at him has a mental reaction which is not caused directly by the girl, but by his beliefs about her. When I stare at a cruise-liner ship in the ocean and experience it's immense weight, I experience my belief about it's weight. As I sit in a passenger jet and enjoy the experience of flying 3000 feet in the air, my experience of flight is not caused by the flight itself, but by the belief that I am flying. Lastly, my belief that I am a certain way in reality because I am that way in someone else's experience of reality is caused not by that person, but by my own beliefs.

Don't let this feel dehumanizing to you, it's actually mind-blowingly awesome! Our minds are so powerful, but we just need to keep in mind (hehe) the fact that our reality is our experience of reality, not directly reality itself. I believe that this is a view called "Critical Realism", as opposed to the belief that our experience of reality is reality, which is "Naive Realism".

So it is obvious that our experience of reality is caused by our beliefs about reality. But the real question, then, is whether our beliefs about reality are caused by the reality they supposedly bear witness to. My experience of you as a virtuous person is caused by my belief that you are a virtuous person, but is my belief that you are a virtuous person actually caused by your being a virtuous person.  Hmm, that also raises some questions as to whether our beliefs about reality are caused by reality itself or indirectly, but I'll just leave that one for now haha.  

Regardless: Main point is, check your beliefs. Just because you experience something as being the case doesn't mean it is.

my salute.

Some of my friends seem to just radiate some sort of glory. I want to understand it. I want to wrap my mind around it. I've been sitting philosophizing away thinking about the human mind and desires for months, and I've got nothing except this unsavory conclusion that it only comes from acting consistently with the truth and never giving up.  Ew! Who in this age would do that?!?   ..............   yeah.......

I want to be like you, my friends who are so angelic. I want to know the things you know and understand the things you understand. I'm tired of being an old hermit locking himself in a psychological cage of thinking in circles. It's been so long since I had joy, and the main thing keeping me from having it is fear of losing it again. But you're killing me with those smiles. You're killing me with your bright eyes. I think I've come to the end of my dreadful resistance.

I write this as a note of appreciation, respect, and thankfulness, that life lent me your presence. I will never forget you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Good News

I have to confess this: Over the past month and a half, my confidence in the truth of Christianity has been diminishing. I've committed myself to pursuing the truth, and so I've been trying to follow all of the arguments as closely as possible this whole time. Philosophical thinking and the evidence itself has very much altered the way I view the world and my Christian belief, and there's no changing that. But now tonight I've looked back over several of the arguments for the existence of God and realized I was underestimating their power in all my distraction with trying to assess and understand the arguments against God's existence. I am glad in that I don't have to fear slipping into agnosticism again as an epistemic state, though if I must I am perfectly content with it for the sake of truth. I am, however, enraptured with the love of God; the sacrifice of the God-Man Christ, and the idea of serving Him with everything I am. It's who I am; my personal identity. 

Knowing Jesus Christ has been the single most soul shaping and life altering thing that has ever happened to me, I don't ever want to give him up. But I know that if following the truth requires me to, I will, after his own spirit. I believe Jesus cared about the truth more than anything. Not in the same analytic "philosophical" way I try to, but he cared about doing what was true, caring about what was true, and understanding what was true. That is my life goal. The reason I must confess this is because I don't want my returning to confidence in my faith to be due to wanting to please my friends. I am well aware of how strong a desire I have to fit in with all of my Christian friends and I am also aware of how much that is biasing me towards wanting to be a Christian. There's nothing wrong with wanting a worldview to be true, but one must desire to follow the truth more than that! 

The way things stand, I still think that the argument from Contingency, some form of Cosmological argument, and the Cumulative design argument give fairly good evidence for the existence of God, along with the argument from desire/human nature after C.S. Lewis. The main hurdle for me that I am constantly trying to get over is the massive problem of Evil, Suffering, Injustice, whatever you want to call it, and the problem of personal identity and determinism prove to be small problems. Still, the evidence for God's existence trumps these, even though it's by not a whole lot. 

The way our epistemic situation is as humans, we should believe what is most likely until further evidence changes our views. God is most likely, so I must say that after I've verified my conclusions from tonight, I'm going to renew my trust in Him, and enjoy every minute of it as I continue studying and enjoying the glory of the world He created and most importantly himself! 

Every Second

I can see looking back on this college experience 10 years from now. I have no idea where I'll be. I have no idea if or who I'll be with in marriage. I have no idea what turns and twists, sorrows and joys will happen in my life from now until then.

But when I look back on it, how will I feel? I will think about the smiling faces of my friends. I'll long to be with them again. I'll long for the conversations of theological and philosophical topics with professors. I'll remember all of our excitement for the future. I'll remember how much fun it was to goof off at lunch. I'll remember how glorious it was to go hike up a mountain with a couple friends. To take taco-bell trips at 11:50 PM, 10 minutes before curfew. The glory of it all will incite acute nostalgia in my heart. But what am I doing right now to make this experience as spiritually enlightening, as love filled, and glorious as possible? Will I let my desire to be accepted prevent me from doing that thing which I will later look back on and wish I had done. Will my desire for comfort trump my ability to help a friend through serious brokenness through constant fellowship and trust? Ugh, it makes me so sick. The weightiness of the non-ambitious and sightless desires of the present plastered onto the background of all eternity and also even the scope of my own life seems so unreasonable. I am thankful that recently I have been able to become more eternal-minded, but this still is not enough. I want to go all the way.

Will I be able to look at people who originally really annoyed me and made me upset and say that I loved them with everything I could muster? Will I be able to think of my time with them fondly, to remember the color of their eyes and their smile; will I be able to appreciate their funny quirks, even when their annoying habits are on full display? Will I be able to look at girls more and more the way they really are instead of tools for my own sexual gratification? Can I look you in the eyes and tell you I'm burning out bright? Can I tell you I've lost everything for everything I was meant to be?

These are questions I've got to really push through right now.  There's no more waiting until "later" to be perfect, Evan. There's only the present moment. It's ALL I've got. All I have is now. Right now, will I make a choice which is going to contribute to spiritual growth, love, understanding, and knowledge? Every second I decide my own fate. There's no time for complacency.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Social Context Shrugged!

Each group of people has its own rules,
They say those who don't follow them act like fools
The rest of their lives, they will not seek or find,
That their own useful tools have made them all blind.

Tell me I'm wrong, believe them, I should?
You say that it's only for my own good.
But your "good" is subjective like ice cream taste
Will you use it to control the whole human race?

The social impulse has made us machines
We don't know how to look rightly at things!
When appearing the way you want me to be
Has become the goal of my life, I can see!
Your purpose for action has reduced me to fractions
Of everything I was meant to be.

I was feeling really rhym"ish" today.  What do you think?  Although there are some rough spots, given the goal of fluency and non-awkwardness in poetry (if such a goal exists!), I think the meaning behind it is something that's been on my mind a lot lately. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"happy is a yuppie word"

A random thought occurred to me a couple minutes ago that I want to share:

We all long to live in glorious realities of pleasure and peace and wonder. Think about it. Some adults climbing into their later lives look forward to retirement as this ultimate paradise that will free them from the mindless, dreadful routine of work. I myself always look towards the idea of myself being perfect and living in this Lord of the Rings/ Narnia type of reality where everything is glorious because of my perspective. Some look forward to marriage as an event which will end their unhappiness and begin the rest of their "happy ever after" life. In the summer we look forward to school because in school we'll be free from boredom, and in school we look forward to summer because we'll be free from school work.

The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to realize that 1) "happy ever after" cannot exist without some periodically temporary unhappiness and conviction, and 2) the "freedom" we look for in other circumstances is really available to us right now, if we would just unbind ourselves from our own mental shackles.

Turns out, the reality of "slavery" we live in is one of our own creation. The thing is, the "happy ever after" we long for cannot possible exist without conviction, because "happy ever after" is the result of living submersed in spiritual truth. Being submersed in spiritual truth cannot occur until we die to our other desires and the falsehoods we live in. Dying requires unhappiness and conviction. So here we are, right to the start again.  It eventually comes down to a choice.  Will we live in a lifetime of misery and unhappiness or will we put up with small periods of conviction and uncomfortability for a lifetime of joy?

The title comes from the Switchfoot song, "Happy is a Yuppie Word". You should check it out!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finding the Medium

I recently bought the Switchfoot Album-- "Vice Verses". I've really enjoyed listening to this album as its got a lot of songs I can just let it rip singing out the chorus/verses in the car and what not.

The other day, I was driving to my friends house and I was listening to the album really jammin' out. By the time I got close to house, I had about a minute left until I had to turn the music off. I was thinking, "Ok. I really want to find one that I can sing at the top of my lungs to!" At that point I proceeded to fumble around looking through the album, trying to decide which song to play. But I couldn't make up my mind. One song seemed good, but there could be another song that I would like better! So I kept on looking for a song that would best suite the situation. At that point, it occurred to me that I was perfectly illustrating the tendency that I have and the type of person I am-- the kind of person who is so preoccupied with having truth beliefs that I end up not believing anything at all.  The kind of person who is so preoccupied trying to find out what the best commitment to make is that I never commit to anything at all. This realization, of course, caused me to do the rational thing and just choose a song before I had no time left at all.

In this kind of situation there are two types of dispositions. Given the desire to listen to a song with a lot of soul in it-- more specifically one that's got a lot of heavy guitar and soul-penetrating lyrics-- a person with unchecked disposition A would just find a song that at least minimally conforms to these characteristics in a short amount of time and pick it, because hey, there's only a few minutes left, and I've got to listen to something-- completely missing out on doing what they were supposed to do (choose a specific song conforming to the criterion). The other kind of person with unchecked disposition B will be so preoccupied with trying to fit the criterion that he never actually chooses anything, and when he does decide to, there will be no more opportunity for him to choose-- again, completely missing out on doing what he was supposed to do.

In this life, humans have the duty to find out what is the truth, and we're faced with the fact that we don't have very much time to do it, and even if we do obtain a small amount, we're guaranteed to have messed up some. Again, there are two types of unchecked dispositions. Unchecked disposition A will believe what seems apparently right because he realizes he doesn't know everything, he's going to mess up, and he's "got to believe something", will probably end up not believing the truth, but still believed something and acted consistently with it. Unchecked Disposition B will restlessly question again and again everything, mercilessly pondering any choice he could make, to the point that he finds almost every option unbelievable because of a few small problems he picked up on in his thinking about it, with a burning desire to know what is actually true, but a lack of desire to commit to one view.

I see problems with both of these dispositions. You can't just believe what seems right, and nor can you not commit to anything. I see humility and pride in both dispositions-- A realizes that if something is true he must act according to it, but fails to deal with the fact that the beliefs he was raised in are, given the probability of the situation, probably not true. B realizes that the beliefs he grew up with are probably false and does everything he can to find out what really is true, but fails to, essentially, act consistently with anything.

The best way is to find a medium between the two traits. It consists of two absolute desires-- the desire to act consistently with what one believes and the desire to know the truth. But a balancing of the effects of the desires must happen.

I must sadly confess that I find my own disposition to be very strongly that of B. I love thinking about and questioning stuff for hours on end, and I want very much to know what the truth is, but it is hard for me to settle on one truth and believe it, for the instant I do so I immediately begin to wonder if it is true or not. There was a point in my life when I was more balanced, leaning towards A, but now I feel I am at least very strongly B.   This is going to take a lot of conviction and faith to overcome.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Joy and Sorrow

Christianity is a worldview which sets you up for suffering. That may seem weird, but it's actually beautiful.
Ok, so here's what happens: Christians are commanded to love one another. And it seems really plausible that when we love someone we sympathize with them and make their well-being part of our own well-being. Once we form a relationship with someone, the part of them that lives in us, if hurting, pains us in the sense that we desire their well being-- and if that desire isn't met, we suffer (suffering isn't limited to physical suffering).

But does that mean that we're miserable? Oh, of course not! To take an isolated event of suffering amongst the sum of all experienced things (which for the Christian includes the love of God, the good of other friends, hope of the friend doing well soon, etc.) and extrapolate it to be the totality of a person's experience is not logical! There are quite a few things to satisfy us even when we lose our satisfaction in one thing.

So, Christians are commanded to suffer. But Christians are also commanded to be satisfied in God. Essentially it means that Christians are commanded to have intense desires for others good, expect them to not be met, expect them to put us through searing pain, but also expect to have the satisfaction of God running through it all.

In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf embodies this:

"Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry.  Yet in the wizard’s face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy:  a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Moral Excellence and How to Believe the Truth?

Here's some really cool stuff I've been finding about attempting to become a morally virtuous person through the truth.

I've read about Aristotle's writing on the mediums (haven't read it directly yet), and from what I've seen, he's right. Virtue requires balancing yourself on an incredibly precise disposition that takes your whole life to get right.  It's not like balancing on a tight-beam, because there's only two real ways you can fall off on a tight beam. You can mess up any number of ways in becoming a virtuous person.  It's like trying to balance yourself on the tip of a tall church steeple. The falls are hard, getting back to the top is hard, and it's incredibly scary until you gain confidence.

Take these two truths: You must believe about and experience reality accurately AND It's impossible to do so from a human perspective given our natural subjective tendency to false beliefs, misleading emotions, the paradoxical nature of our souls, and etc.

So you find a medium between these two and say, Ok, I'm going to seek all truth I can possible find, experience reality in a way as accurately as I possibly can, and realize that sometimes it will feel irrational because I have to do things backwards in order to get a paradoxical result (for example, dying to your desires to be in a relationship with a woman in order to have an actual good dating relationship and marriage), or continuing to accept something reason tells you is true when you don't feel like it's true at all. Prima facie this seems absurd, but in reality it's the most rational thing you could do!

Given these two truths, one has to pragmatically and cautiously pursue that which is not pragmatic, but infinite. You can err on the side of pragmatism, AND you can err on the side of truth.

The way you could err on the side of pragmatism is to believe or avoid certain truths because doing so works and feels right, without a concern for truth, or because they fit in with the rest of your beliefs. The way you could err on the side of truth is to continue to obstinately believe and dwell on one paralyzing thing-- an action which seems rational to you, but which has such a negative effect on you that it rids you of the ability to understand any other truths. I call these truths reality defeating truths. Though they may be true, if they have such a negative effect on us that they cause us to give up pursuing truth, we may as well not believe them (at least temporarily) in order to believe everything else that is true.

It's a pragmatic trade off-- One insignificant falsehood for millions of other truths. Seems completely rational. But I'll tell you what, it drives me nuts. I can't sleep at night because of doing things like that. Most of the human race are pragmatic thinkers, and I would feel honored to count myself one, but I am a psychotic infinite-minded thinker who is overly obsessed with what is actually true rather than what helps me believe truth on the whole. But as you can see, if the goal is to believe as many truths as possible, it is hard to see why you would hold to one truth out of billions which results in spiritual defeat, rather than enable yourself to understand thousands of other truths by withholding from belief in it.

I have a criterion for which kinds of truths I can withhold from belief in, however. There are some painful truths which we must accept even though they hurt a lot.

Here are some criteria, which, if true, I will not allow myself to withhold from a potentially reality defeating belief.

1. If something can be done about the reality it corresponds to such that it can become false or not reality defeating if I do something about it. (for example, it may be painful for me to believe that my wife is cheating on me, but if I can do something about it, then that belief cannot be withheld from. Or if a person finds out that God exists, Christianity is true, and he is going to Hell, he shouldn't withhold from that belief because he can do something about it)

2. If it is not subjectively reality defeating but you just don't like it. Wah! Deal with it-- cry it out, hit something, take a day to work through it, and move on.

3. If it is incredibly momentous. There may be a belief which I cannot do something about, nor which I can accept after all types of cognitive therapy, but which would affect every decision I make and every belief I had. If this is the case, then I distance myself from the truth as much as possible, yet take it into account in my thinking. There's a way to distance yourself from certain truths so that you rationally assent to them but do not experience them.  For example, I am well aware of the fact that there are a number of incredibly beautiful  and godly girls at the college I go to, but if I made myself consciously aware and experiential of this truth at all times, my desires to be in a relationship and/or sexual desires would become so strong as to be uncontrollable and would result in my desires to know the truth becoming overpowered by the formerly mentioned relational desires. One has to experience reality in such a way that is most conducive to experiencing it accurately. If I focused on the problem of evil all of the time, I would have a hard time being a Christian. But since my access to reality also includes good philosophical reasons for the existence of God and historical evidence for the Resurrection, it becomes easier to be a Christian.

In the same fashion, there are certain actions I could take which are very dangerous and destructive to an understanding of the truth. For me that is questioning. I question everything so much that I often question every reality which does not sit with my emotions. That's not right. But I do it!

In light of this, in order to be rational I take my tendencies to question things and limit them to the rational questioning and not psychotic questioning. If my questioning of something derives from a psychotic desire to fit my beliefs with my emotions, I put my foot down and simply force myself to stop, no matter how irrational it feels. This seems, in the limited scope of things, irrational. Because questioning things can only end up in more refined beliefs, right? But on the large scale, my psychotic questioning has the same effect as a reality defeating belief has, so I withhold from it and wait until I'm being more rational to question things.

If you actually finished this, you ought to be a counselor. Have a good day :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012


In the past two days, I have entered my second existential crisis of the past month. I want to share the contents of it to unravel the complicated thoughts in my head and sort out my solutions.

In my head I've been straddling the line between psychology and philosophy as I've been thinking about human interface with reality. Our experience of reality is interpreted by so many beliefs, standards, and judgments that it's honestly been overwhelming to dissect my own experience of reality. It's been really cool in the sense that it felt like I was standing outside of myself doing surgery on my spiritual world, examining all of the assumptions. Guess what I found out? I'm wrong. I have so many false beliefs about reality; false perspectives, methods, standards, and judgments that I really have had to do some soul searching to decide if it's really worth it to me to tear all of this apart and start from scratch.

To give an example, one of the false realities I was living in was what I'll call a metaphysic of superstition. A metaphysic is something I'll call a "view on the nature of reality". I was interpreting the world through this view that if it is "established" that you ought to do something a certain way, or that you ought to do a certain thing, then it simply can't be done another way. For example, if everyone has always prayed with their eyes shut, then it's wrong to do it another way. This is largely a part of my personality type-- I'm very judging on the Meyers-Briggs test (INFJ) and my neurons are wired in such a way that they interpret reality in established patterns. To me it is, literally, excruciatingly painful to snap out of an established pattern. They're comfortable to me. But the simply reality is that it isn't true that I have to look at things that way. That's just the way I would prefer to do it. But honestly, I don't want my world to be limited to my preferences. I wanna see things the way they are.

The next and most imminent existential crisis that I can predict to "destroy" me in the next few months is that of the deconstruction of society and culture.

It has recently occurred to me that the established patterns of culture, society, language, etc. are all constructs. No more than a secret hand-shake between friends.

What's even more interesting is money is not objectively valuable. It's agreed on by the people. It may seem weird to some that this is just occurring to me, but it is. I always "knew" it, but now it's crashing on me like actually being slapped in the face instead of just thinking about being slapped.

Imagine you're playing a game like murder in the dark or hide-and-seek, (or manhunt, whichever you prefer). It's a game where everyone agrees to certain rules. If you don't follow the rules you're cheating and everyone gets mad at you.

Now, add three-hundred million people to this scenario, change the rules a little bit, make everyone agree to follow them, and, if not, they'll be put in jail, killed, or fined. Then you've got a Civilization.

Does some rule become more real because more people agree to it?

It's all the same. Languages, customs, State lines. There is no objective and established way to do things. There is no objective language. Why, then, do we do the things we do? Pragmatism. Whatever works is sufficient. Everything is characterized by pragmatism. For example, cars don't look the way they do because there's some objective "form" for the way a car should look, nor books, airplanes, houses (notice how houses in the North have chimneys with very pointed roofs; low angles-- so the snow will roll off, and in the wamer areas, houses have roofs at bigger angles). Pragmatism is everywhere. And we treat it objectively!

The human body and animal bodies are full of pragmatic structures as well. Every physical object is the way it is not for itself, but for some other means. Whether this, in biological structures, is due to descent from a common ancestor or due to the direct creation by God of pragmatic creaturely body structures is an interesting question.

The end of all this is the difference between an objectively meaningful world in which God exists or a world in which there is no value.  When it comes to extrinsic value, one thing A is useful for obtaining valuable thing  B. Therefore A is extrinsically valuable in relation to B (it's value is derived from the good of B). B can only be valuable if it is valuable in itself or if B derives it's value from C. C can only be valuable if C derives its value in relation to D or if C is intrinsically valuable. As you can see, you've got to stop somewhere. If anything is valuable at all, something is intrinsically valuable. And although almost everything we do our bidding with on this Earth-- our bodies, our languages, societies, vehicles, etc. has extrinsic value, if God exists, then they end in things that are intrinsically valuable, like the objective value of human life, the objective value of a clean conscience, the objective value of the natural world, etc.

Oh my goodness! This world is complicated!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Mornië utúlië
Hary' estel, hiruval mallelya
Mornië alantië
Marë vanda sí elyessë

Mornie utulie (Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie alantie (Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

It's not sweating moral exertion that helps us find righteousness and peace. It's just believing the truth. For if you believe the truth, you will act according to the truth. Just believe the truth; it's as simple as that. 

From "May it Be"