A Story of Religious Inquiry (part 2)
by, 04-02-2011 at 08:17 AM (152 Views)
Bill: I hope this is starting to make sense.
Frank: It is in a way, but I still have my reservations. Let me run this analogy by you.
Frank: The way I see it, itís a lot like watching football on the television. Some people passionately follow one team to the degree that they buy tons of memorabilia and jerseys, name their dog ďElway,Ē and passionately scream for their team each Sunday. They really devote one part of their life to such a team.
Bill: Dude, weíre talking about A here, not just some football team.
Frank: Well, from my perspective, this is how it looks.
Bill: Thatís tragicÖ
Frank: Well follow my argument anyway and see where itís applicable. Any way, I donít see a problem with it at first glance, but some tremendous problems arise at times. First of all, it seems completely arbitrary how one chooses a team. Me, I was born in Minnesota. Do you think it is at all odd that Iím a Vikings fan?
Bill: Ha, ha. Not at all.
Frank: This was pure chance. If I was born in Dallas, I may have been a Cowboys fan. Do you see the ďthrowennessĒ of it all?
Bill: The problem with your analogy is that the Vikings didnít create the NFL.
Both: Ha, ha, ha!
Bill: You see, it isnít simply a matter of choosing which team to follow. Thereís really only one team.
Frank: Then it seems youíve missed my point, for there are many teams -countless teams. To continue with my analogy, there are people everywhere who swear by their teamís supremacy, regardless of performance. They can be 7-9 for the season and people will still claim that they are the best team in the league. Isnít that strange?
Bill: Itís gotta be hard living in Detroit!
Both: Ha, ha, ha!!
Frank: I canít imagine! But people do love the Lions.
Bill: I see where youíre going with this, but I still think youíre way off the mark.
Frank: If you havenít followed my analogy so far, at least please humor me a bit more. My concern is that when people who follow different teams get together, they tend to get quite upset with each other. If my team is losing and the guy Iím watching the game with is celebrating, you cannot help but become frustrated. It seems to me that at the very least tension is inevitable. This is especially true when it comes to the Super Bowl. ďThere can be only one.Ē
Bill: This is where I think your analogy falls apart. The way I see it, thereís really only one team and if everyone would cheer for that team, we could all live together happily.
Frank: I just donít see the world that way. What of other teams then?
Bill: Other teams are simply in the wrong league, or wrong sport. Itís like converting someone who watches elementary school kick ball over to watching the Vikings.
Frank: Well, to return to my analogy, I think that the overwhelming bit of information that you are overlooking is that every last team in the NFL has the exact same attitude as you do. What do you make of that? I mean they seriously have the same passion as you, the same conviction as you and even came to accept their truth through faith as you did.
Bill: Well, it saddens me that they have fallen upon false words for the fact of the matter is that they are mistaken.
Frank: That is exactly what they would say about you.
Bill: Hey, their loss.
Frank: I really donít think you see the big picture here.
Bill: Well, Iím afraid youíve missed it too. A is love and life, there is no more perfect truth than that.
Frank: ďA truth revealed through faithĒ you mean?
Bill: No, just look around you. Is this not self-evident?
Frank: No, it isnít. What is evident is that you are referencing the vocabulary of your placard to talk about everyday things that add superfluous metaphysics.
Bill: Humanity would be lost without these teachings!
Frank: Perhaps that was true, but I just donít see that to be the case anymore.
Bill: Again, thatís your loss, Frank. Say, I never realized that you donít have a placard at all. Everyone has a placard to define themselves, but I donít recall seeing yours. Where is it?
Frank: Well, I donít think youíll like it.
Bill: Iím an easy going guy, try me!
Frank pulls out his placard and shows it to Bill. It reads, ďPlease put down your placard and investigate the physical world and the workings of your mind-body.Ē
Bill: Iím sorry, but that is the craziest placard I have ever seen. It, it just doesnít even make sense. It isnít even a statement.
Frank: Youíre right. This isnít a statement. This one defines a method. From my perspective, this makes worlds of sense.
Bill: I mean, Iíve seen some ďB = BĒ placards and even came across some ďC = CĒ and I could sorta follow what they were getting at, but this takes the cake! It just doesnít even make sense!
Frank: This doesnít make sense? Youíve got to be kidding me!
Bill: Well, to me faith makes perfect sense; A created all then sent a message about A which is to be accepted through faith. But what youíre saying is circular and just, well, non-sense.
Frank: Bill, to me your perspective is circular non-sense.
Bill: I was kinda getting that impression. This doesnít bode well at all.
Frank: HmmmÖ can you at least see my point, where Iím coming from? Because I think I see your perspective, and I even see the merits of yours.
Bill: Frank, this perspective is just soooooo different. Iím not sure if I can make heads or tails of it.
Frank: Well, the more I think of this impasse, can we both conclude that our systems of orienting ourselves towards the world are both linguistically and logically circular?
Frank: You see, my placard says to drop the placard, which is a self-referential negation. Your placard then says ďA = AĒ which is a self-referential affirmation.
Bill: I would never conclude that!
Frank: Could you just humor me for the sake of argument?
Bill: Well, I suppose.
Frank: You also must admit that the perspective of your placard is quite absurd. And by absurd, I mean not conforming to ordinary ways of thinking.
Bill: Well, A does work in mysterious ways and there certainly are many stories that are pretty off the charts when it comes to following ďreasonableĒ ways of thinking, so in the sense of ďa-typicalĒ and ďnormally unaccounted for,Ē Iíll say itís most defiantly absurd.
Frank: As I mentioned, absurdity is not necessarily a bad thing. Next, do you see my point about self-reference in faith? A is true because A is true?
Bill: I disagree fundamentally, but I see how you are forcing my beliefs into that logical formulation.
Frank: Good. Now, it seems to me that each of our systems require self-reference because they are trying to address the individual. ďAĒ without ďyouĒ would not be an A worth investigating, would it?
Bill: You have a good point there. If A were not the very core of my being, I would have no reason to celebrate it, like if A were only that which animated some people but not all. Clearly A created everyone and not just some people, so if It was not universal, It would hardly be worth my energy.
Frank: Well, thatís certainly an interesting way to phrase it. So you agree that in general every placard must reference the individual in some way?
Frank: Getting back to absurdity, it seems that in logic, computer programming and the field of artificial intelligence that self-reference makes for a very difficult problem as self-referential systems tend to be wildly absurd. Itís kind of like the statement ďthis statement is true.Ē
Bill: But doesnít that make the statement true?
Frank: Hardly, because thereís nothing to refer the statement too. We tend to think that such things are just self-evident, but the fact of the matter is that they are insanely absurd. Next, take the statement, ďThis statement is false.Ē Isnít that a humdinger?
Bill: So, if the statement is false, that means it isnít true, which negates its own falseness making it true. But if itís true, then its true that it is false, so it is also not true. Whoa, my brain hurts.
Frank: Excellent, Bill! The absurdity of the first statement is not so apparent, but the absurdity of the second comes out pretty quickly.
Bill: And how!