Monday, January 24, 2011

If you want to know what water is like, don't ask the fish.

That is an old Chinese proverb (I think) can't honestly remember where I heard it, the Idea is that a fish that has been immersed in water it's whole life would have no common point of reference with us to explain to us what water is like. we think water is wet, does the fish? so likewise us, having grown up in the culture we find ourselves in...see the dilemma? we absorb traits from the culture around us. if we had grown up in a culture that has, for all our life called the color of grass purple, well, you get the picture.
 If we were to apply this to the subject of truth, how DO we find truth, can people actually find truth? God says yes, in the bible, do we understand it fully, no, but that does not mean one should give up trying and say it's not possible, People can have a relationship with truth, God says so, and wrote a book about it, in fact. as a society though, our relationship with truth is quite distant in this day and time, it would benefit all to think and study about this problem.

one of the problems of our post-modern philosophy of today is this:

borrowed from this website
You are here: Philosophy >> Nihilism
Nihilism – Abandoning Values and Knowledge
Nihilism derives its name from the Latin root nihil, meaning nothing, that which does not exist. This same root is found in the verb “annihilate” -- to bring to nothing, to destroy completely. Nihilism is the belief which:

  • labels all values as worthless, therefore, nothing can be known or communicated.
  • associates itself with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism, having no loyalties.
The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), is most often associated with nihilism. In Will to Power [notes 1883-1888], he writes, “Every belief, every considering something true, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world.” For Nietzsche, there is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it. The objective of nihilism manifests itself in several perspectives:
  • Epistemological nihilism denies the possibility of knowledge and truth, and is linked to extreme skepticism.
  • Political nihilism advocates the prior destruction of all existing political, social, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any future improvement.
  • Ethical nihilism (moral nihilism) rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Good and evil are vague, and related values are simply the result of social and emotional pressures.
  • Existential nihilism, the most well-known view, affirms that life has no intrinsic meaning or value.
Nihilism – A Meaningless World
Shakespeare’s Macbeth eloquently summarizes existential nihilism's perspective, disdaining life:

    Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Philosophers’ predictions of nihilism’s impact on society are grim. Existentialist, Albert Camus (1913-1960), labeled nihilism as the most disturbing problem of the 20th century. His essay, The Rebel1 paints a terrifying picture of “how metaphysical collapse often ends in total negation and the victory of nihilism, characterized by profound hatred, pathological destruction, and incalculable death.” Helmut Thielicke’s, Nihilism: Its Origin and Nature, with a Christian Answer2 warns, “Nihilism literally has only one truth to declare, namely, that ultimately Nothingness prevails and the world is meaningless."

Nihilism – Beyond Nothingness
Nihilism--choosing to believe in Nothingness--involves a high price. An individual may choose to “feel” rather than think, exert their “will to power” than pray, give thanks, or obey God. After an impressive career of literary and philosophical creativity, Friedrich Nietzsche lost all control of his mental faculties. Upon seeing a horse mistreated, he began sobbing uncontrollably and collapsed into a catatonic state. Nietzsche died August 25, 1900, diagnosed as utterly insane. While saying Yes to “life” but No to God, the Prophet of Nihilism missed both.

Beyond the nothingness of nihilism, there is One who is greater than unbelief; One who touched humanity (1 John 5:20) and assures us that our lives are not meaningless (Acts 17:24-28). 

a detailed treatise about this problem of human perception here

 Have a Blessed day.

1 comment:

Fiat Veritas said...

The content of this post is superb until God comes into the argument. I believe that human beings are impure and therefore they are not worthy of mentioning God wherever and whenever. It is a huge stretch to say that God loves man because if God exists then He is beyond reason. A man must assume he knows how God thinks so that he can say that God loves man. If man assumes how God thinks then he is taking the Lord in vain and therefore man breaks one of the commandments. Furthermore, man cannot come close to knowing how god thinks.
Perception is another interesting topic the post addresses. I ran into a catholic woman the other day and I asked her what her perception of perfection is. She said that God is perfect. I then I asked what she believed Jesus ate. She answered, “The same as you or I, meat!” I was deeply offended that she compared me to Jesus because that in itself is blaspheme. It is a sin to compare to Jesus to a man and only God may make comparisons. In addition, she also made the assumption that I eat meat. I am vegetarian and the moment she said Jesus eats meat I responded with, “My idea of perfection does not involve hurting animals nor killing them for their flesh.” We had a conflict of what perfection is. Since we could not agree on perfection, we could not even agree on the perfect God.
I find the quotes by the existentialists enlightening and I find that the conclusion does not follow the trail of thought that the philosophers have in mind. I feel that the author of the post attempts a proof by contradiction when he says that God is the answer to nihilism and to the existential dilemma.