Thursday, December 13, 2007

Story Time with New-Think

New-Think reader Blip has submitted a short story based upon (and even one instance of outright plagiarism) one of the many works of philosopher Francis Schaeffer. Enjoy.

Oh....for those who cannot be bothered with the short story...enjoy the cartoons. Click cartoons to enlarge.

Our Father
by Blip

There was a time before Great-Grandfather Hegel when we lived in blissful and reasonless hope. There was cause to believe that the effect of Great-Grandfather Hegel’s ways would be to bring a great enlightenment to our people. He died still believing it, never knowing, that he had opened a door to a staircase spiraling downward, below despair.

Back then no one really questioned why others would stop to help a stranger on the side of the road or band together to defeat a common enemy. We all knew what the enemy had done was wrong. It wasn’t even worth questioning. Someone robbed the grocer, we put him in jail. Someone was elected mayor, we gave him due respect. Little Suzy got pregnant before she was married and she was surely sent away. That is the way bad girls were handled.

Great-Grandfather Hegel was correct that we weren’t seeing things for what they really were. “Things aren’t always black and white”, he was fond of saying. What of the motive of the man who robbed the store. We don’t really know everything there is to know about Suzy, either. And about our enemy…..let’s look at things from his perspective. And about right and wrong….things aren’t always black and white. In such a diverse world we need to find unity. He had great faith that reason would lead the way.

Grandpa Hegel had many many children. This is the tale of the descending spiral staircase, however, so we will focus on Grandfather Kierk (Great-Grandfather Hegel’s first son). You and I call him Grandfather, but the truth of the matter is he is the father of everything that now is. Great-Grandfather Hegel opened the door to the staircase, but Grandfather Kirk grabbed the hands of our toddler parents and ran on the path of unaided reason down the stairs for everything he was worth.

Grandfather Kierk followed the path of reason his father had begun walking so many years before. Unfortunately, he found that the path did not lead where his father had hoped. And the staircase did lead beneath despair and Grandfather Kierk did give up hope that reason would lead him to the unity that had been sought for so long.

You see, his father said everything wasn’t always black and white…and Kierk had believed it. He would find a way to explain the grocery store robber. He would find a reason to help a stranger on the side of the road. He would find them on the path of reason. But he never found his answers. Funny thing though, he still knew that the stranger should be helped….later, many of his children found this a spineless thing.

So anytime Grandfather Kierk was asked about the purpose of life or the validity of love or about any other big, meaningful question that children are fond of asking he had only one answer. The answer was that he really had no answer based upon the path of reason he had followed. To find the answer to such a question one must jump onto the path of faith, which must be leapt onto from the path of reason….because the two paths never touch. He called it the leap of faith.

Like Great-Grandfather Hegel, Grandfather Kierk also had many children. They did not get along with each other. They all searched for the cornerstone that would hold everything up and bind everything neatly together. A few of them claimed to have found it.

Uncle Jasp said that one only needed to wait for a “final experience” that would give meaning to life. He could not tell you about his “final experience” because, according to him, it was inexpressible in normal language and categories. Besides, even asking the important questions that the “final experience” answers, betrays the fact that the asker has not had a “final experience”. There was no talking to Uncle Jasp.

It should be noted, however, that many followers of Uncle Jasp (and he still has many today) began using mind altering chemicals in hopes of gaining a “final experience” in doing so. An anonymous student penned the following:

King Heroin is my shepherd, I shall always want.
He maketh me to lie down in the gutters.
He leadeth me beside the troubled waters.
He destroyeth my soul.

Uncle Sart could plainly see that we live in an absurd universe. The sum total of everything, he said, was ridiculous. He claimed that acts of human will were the only means to authenticate anything. If he saw his neighbor bleeding on the side of the road he could equally authenticate himself by carrying him to the doctor or by finishing him off with a brick to the head. Even as far down beneath despair as Uncle Sart found himself, he never chose the brick to the head…..although many who learned from him found it a convenient justification for their immoral acts. I don’t know if he found that odd.

Uncle Degger was a strange old man. He also found everything meaningless and ended up in the same place as Uncle Sart….looking for proof that his existence was authentic. He did not do it through an act of human will like Uncle Sart, though. No, he authenticated his existence by feeling the incomprehensible angst. An indefinable sense of foreboding. Dread….which is not to be confused with fear; because fear has an object. He was strangley insistent about the distinction.

And then came my generation. What were we left with? Much that was rooted in nothing. So we look back to Great-Grandfather Hegel. Was he correct in saying that things aren’t always black and white? Before him we had believed that there was wrong and right, and good and evil….without knowing why we believed that. Maybe originally there had been some reason….but no one could argue with Great-Grandfather Hegel. No one could show him any unity in the diversity he saw. No one could give him a credible source of judgment between good and bad. Just a bunch of arbitrary rules and conventions. So he opened the door, and his offspring tumbled below despair.

Our generation cries out for an answer, for authenticity, for reason….and we do not even know why we desire these things. Perhaps there is a clue in the desire itself. Who will give an answer?

1 Corinthians 1
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

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