Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Listen for a Who

In the classic Dr. Seuss book, “Horton Hears a Who”, an elephant discovers a tiny world in a speck of dust. None of the animals can hear the life that he hears so they dismiss Horton as a nut case and try to take the little speck of dust away.

If you've read this blog enough by now, you'll know that I believe in asking the "why?" questions. I was probably the annoying kid in the backseat of the car asking my parents, “Why do you always drive over the speed limit?  Why do we slow down for cops? Why can’t I drive?”

Often times I find we focus on the “what?” questions without diving into the “why?” questions. I can explain this blog you are reading to be a series of digital 0’s and 1’s (binary) that are electronically represented to your computer’s CPU and digitally interpreted as text and computer instructions that allow this amazing miracle of the internet to even happen. But if I don’t understand “why?” what good is such an answer?

Using this example, you can’t dive into the “why?” without diving into the intentions of the original developers (Arpanet), today’s web content providers and surfers of the Internet. The “why” question begs the question of purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning inevitably point to someone’s volition, i.e. , their will.

When I ask atheists and agnostics the why questions regarding morality, I often catch them trying to give answers like, “well it is obvious” or “just because” or even “if you have to ask, you are a moron!”  This is no answer at all. Answering “just because” to the questions of “Why is killing evil?” or “How can good be objectively defined?” is the equivalent of saying there is no cause for such beliefs. Something that is causeless would have to be eternal since it has no beginning. That is a divine quality. What has no cause except for God?

And this is something many people don’t understand when they ask, “Who created God?” Something HAS to be causeless.  If an atheist rejects belief in God, they have to believe in a causeless process, a set of natural laws. They are replacing one problem with another.

Many times, I catch people unwilling to ask the why questions. I often find people are NOT willing to let their questions go deep enough. Sometimes it’s the old excuse of “since we can’t no everything, let’s bury our heads in the sand”. This mindset lacks discernment. Unfortunately, I see this often with people of faith.

But most often, I see people who are afraid to ask the why questions because they lead to a “who”. Horton gets the idea of having the people of Who-ville make the loudest noise possible so that the other animals would hear and believe. It took everyone in the community of Who-ville to get this word out.

If believers want to get the word out about the reality of God’s love, we need to be a living question, causing others to think the thoughts that lead from the what, to the why and from the why to the who.

To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in
stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in
such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist.

Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard

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