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By In Culture, Theology, Wisdom

Angel, Absurdism, and Faith (not the girl)

Angel absurdism (i.e. pushing absurdism on the TV show) relies on you missing the real absurdity.

Atheism tries to make sense by pretending that not making sense is a special virtue. You can see it especially clearly in the brief exchange below in which Joss Whedon mentions the story in Season 2, episode 16 of the TV show Angel, “Epiphany“:

YouTube – Joss Whedon: Atheist & Absurdist.

I used to love Whedon, who has now moved on to the Marvel Avenger franchise. His browncoat-betraying anti-Romney propaganda, in which he pretended all sorts of central-planet death myths like overpopulation were true, pretty much ended my positive feeling toward him. I confess I harbor a fantasy that he was offered the work with the Marvel movies by a mysterious figure who made him sign in blood.

angel kate

But I still think the exchange above is profitable to think about.

I have extreme skepticism about what Whedon claims he has suffered for his atheism. I also hate the hearing the word “faith” used for an opinion on God’s existence. Whether or not God is trustworthy is a matter of faith. Whether or not he exists has nothing to do with faith (and Hebrews doesn’t say otherwise).

But I’m posting this because I remember actually liking Angel’s slogan: “If what we do doesn’t matter; then all that matters is what we do.” And I feel really stupid for not seeing the irrationality of it immediately. Sometimes I think paradoxes give off the glint of hidden wisdom when they are just plain nonsense.

Angel’s conclusion at the end of Season 2 (or near the end) was that (to repeat) “If what we do doesn’t matter then all that matters is what we do.”

If what we do doesn’t matter, then anything might matter except what we do. You can’t draw the contradiction of a premise from that premise as if it followed as a conclusion from it.

Now that I’ve gotten that issue out of the way (in my own mind, at least), let me say why I think Whedon’s view appeals to people, especially to Christians.

Being able to evaluate and value one’s decisions and commitments without having knowledge of the eternal plan for them is a requirement for the human condition. It is set forth most starkly in the Bible in the book called Ecclesiastes.

So, I think the appeal is precisely because Whedon’s view is a close replica of the truth.

But I don’t think it works if there is no plan at all. (And claiming there is no plan seems to actually assert endless knowledge rather than humbly deny it. But that argument would be endless, so I’ll let it go.) It is one thing to make decisions and do your best without understanding why your circumstances exist or how you fit into a larger picture. But it is another to say that there is no picture.

To really act as Angel does actually requires faith. And that, in my opinion, is why Whedon had to include a miracle in his story. Viewers would have felt like there was no point without it.<>создание тур а

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By In Culture, Theology

God’s Not Dead: The Film’s Crisis of Confidence

What follows are notes on one element, the narrative confidence, of God’s Not Dead; for a more complete treatment, see my review at FilmFisher.

Nearly seventy-five years after his death, Sigmund Freud is still taught and studied continuously on the average university campus, but where might surprise you. It isn’t in the Psychology departments, where they have largely dismissed him as liberal and antiquated, but in the Literature departments, where his theories of the subconscious will (the id) are brought to bear on literary texts. The real meaning of a work of literature, say the Freudian readers, is not the meaning intended by the author, but the meaning unintentionally communicated by the author; i.e. read between the lines, and don’t bother yourself about the lines at all. As anyone but the most committed Freudian will readily admit, this is a flawed, unbalanced approach to art, but it does get at a kernel of truth—it is simply an over-application of a timeless observation. Men didn’t need Freud to tell them that a whole lot of human communication is nonverbal and, yes, unintentional (more…)

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By In Scribblings

Christians form human shield to prevent Chinese government from bulldozing a church

Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.

In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China’s officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.

Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (£2.91 million) and almost six years to build.

Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: “Demolish” and “Illegal construction” onto its towering facade. Read the rest…

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By In Theology

Questions Science Will Never Solve?

Blogger George Dvorsky has written a piece titled, 8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve. Dvorsky’s premise is that philosophy goes where “hard science” cannot, therefore some of the most fundamental questions of our existence cannot be answered with absolute certainty. The eight questions listed in the article are: Why is there something rather than nothing? Is our universe real? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Is there life after death? Can you really experience anything objectively? What is the best moral system? And What are numbers?

The Christian faith, of course, has answers to all of these questions to some degree. We may not have exhaustive knowledge of every topic but we do possess a view of reality that is consistent within itself and that serves as a guide for philosophical musings. As for Dvorsky, not so much. On the existence of the universe:

Why is there all this stuff in the universe, and why is it governed by such exquisitely precise laws? And why should anything exist at all? We inhabit a universe with such things as spiral galaxies, the aurora borealis, and SpongeBob Squarepants.”

(more…)

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