Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Questions Lie in Wait

Reason (like death) robs a man of the delusion of His divinity. Throw out reason and man is free to create reality in his own image. Perception is the only reality the non-discerning may know.

We seem to live in a non-discerning world. It seems that hypersensitivity to being judgmental, bigoted, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic, calls us to throw out our minds in the name of a mindless religious faith known as “political correctness”.

Technology is an affront to this disposition. Science births technology by drawing a line delineating truth from falsehood. Many people explain this as a dichotomy. They see the world as being divided. After all, some truth is quantitative and others are qualitative.

Two plus two equals four. There is no room for argument. But we have no such formulas for determining a suspected universal, transcendent morality. Many people don’t even believe such a thing exists, however they will moralize against those of us who do.

In his book, “God Is Not Great”, Christopher Hitchens moralizes against the church, claiming that organized religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, racist, etc… But what is wrong with those things if God doesn’t exist? WHY are these things wrong in an atheist’s world? Says who?

What if reason is transcendent? What if life’s mysteries are only the limitations of our empirical reach or our presuppositions? What if the mysteries of the world are not an excuse for us to throw our brains out the window, but rather a call to explore?

Imagine if Albert Einstein would have never asked himself why the speed of light was observed to violate Newton’s physics. He would have never discovered E=MC2. Imagine if Kepler would have never asked questions about the anomalies in the Ptolemaic cosmological model. He would never have discovered that the orbits of the celestial bodies are elliptical instead of perfect circles.

I am a music teacher. When I teach creativity to students, I teach them that the key is to ask questions. I challenge them to question a scale and ask, “What can I possibly do with those seven notes?” I then challenge them to explore the possibilities. This curiosity and sense of exploration inevitably leads to creativity.

Creativity breathes life into what is otherwise simply meaningless exercises. When I teach scales, intervals, arpeggios, chords and music theory, my students' eyes glaze over. But when I coax them to be creative with these objects by questioning their possibilities, these things come to life in the dynamic we call music. 

Christianity says that the Word became flesh and came to live among us. All the rules and ritual, the sometimes mindless traditionalism, the cleansings, religious ceremonies, sacrifices and duties, came alive in the form of Jesus Christ. Faith, with all of its ambiguity and mystery, breathes life into a dead Word.

Rock beats scissors...

What discoveries in life lie in wait because of questions you are not asking?

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