Life, the Universe, and Everything, from the Outside In

Free Thought?

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It’s interesting, no, really crucial, to think of what it means to be human. Despite all the Hollywood glitz to the contrary man is the only creature on this planet with the ability to reason. The so-called “dumb animals” can react or respond, or follow hard-wired instincts, but as one anthropologist offered, after years of primate studies, the highest chimpanzee is intellectually closer to the cockroach than to humanity. Not to disparage our four-legged neighbors, but let’s consider this:

God has made us in His image and, though the perfect image has been deeply scarred, we do still have such marks as an attraction to goodness, desire to love and be loved, and the ability to reason and to create. The Bible tells us that “the world, the flesh, and the devil” are at odds with the God Whose image we bear, and so is intent on destroying that image. How do we see that? All around us are enticements to set aside any idea of love as being more than using others for personal thrills, or of goodness as more than self-preservation.  Our reasoning itself seems to be the greatest target, and the greatest threat to that three-fold attack on our humanity. Even the so-called “free thinkers,” more often than not, merely cluster around a popular myth, and if any hold a differing opinion, launch personal slanders against them and pride themselves on their “critical thinking.”

The truth is that, if God has indeed given us these divine “markers” in our lives we have a holy responsibility to use and develop them. If Michaelangelo had stuck with smashing stone in the quarries, that would have been a loss. Not only for the fact of his own career, but for the millions of people who have seen his achievements and gone on to do greater things in their own lives. So much the more, why should we choose to live stupefied lives when we have the ability to ask questions and even find the answers?

In fact, human history is filled with attempts to take away that ability. Despots to this day seek to control the Press, censor literature and other media, and either control or destroy the Church. (We could list here names covering the field of political and religious leaders who have sought to control the people’s hearts and minds through lies and coercion.) Loyal followers, rather than working through with their own minds what they see being done, pacify themselves with mantras of faith in (whatever) the System. After all, they are assured, the only people who see things differently are kooks, fanatics, anarchists, armininianists, commies, intolerant fascists, or just plain paranoid. But we’re not like them, are we? (At this point, eyes roll, tongues cluck, and nervous chuckles may be heard.)

For a year and a half now, this blog has been offering opinions, insights, and, at times, rather controversial statements. During much of this time I have been taking part in discussions on other websites. In the discussions I would often find people who would, even as “Christians,” condemn me as one or another of the above list when they could not answer me with evidence or reason. In some cases I could almost hear them saying, “I like my opinions! How dare you expect me to think?” Others, probably most, will read this or that and say, “Well, that’s just his opinion, but I don’t have to believe it!” Maybe not, and maybe not. How many people “do the math” of checking out if it is opinion, or if there is real evidence there? This is not a question of some lonely computer geek hoping for a conversation. This blog already costs me more time than I can really justify. The point is that if we refuse to think things through, refuse find out whether things as important as what is discussed here, are true, then at the very best we are taking the divine treasure of reason, tossing it on the heap, and taking our place with the cockroaches. At worst, we are forcing ourselves to be Exhibit A in answering the question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?”


Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 10 September, 2008 at 10:10

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