When it comes to explanations for origins, the origin of the universe seems to be the logical place to begin the discussion. That’s where I usually start. But as a way of transitioning from the previous topic of morality, I will take a different approach and first consider where reason and logic come from at all.
Think about it (pun intended). The very fact that we can have a discussion about the nature of morality, or the origin of the universe — or anything at all — means that we have the capacity to consider alternative ideas. Ideas are not physical things. So, how can we do that? What is it about the physical neurons that make up our brains transmitting electro-chemical signals back and forth that gives us the ability to compare alternatives between non-physical things like concepts and ideas? How do we explain “intentionality” or free will?
The one thing about this life that we know and experience directly and without any doubt is the awareness of the “self.” We know we exist because we experience the physical realities of the world. But just who is it that has these experiences? There seems to be something about “us” that cannot be explained by the physical stuff we can see, touch, taste, hear, or smell, and it is something for which a purely physical, atheistic universe cannot even begin to account.
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My mom has Alzheimer’s Disease.
Most of us have read about it or seen movies about it, but until you experience what it does to a loved one, those are nothing but detached observations that can’t possibly describe the evil tyrant that Alzheimer’s is. Yes, its attack is relentless and debilitating. But the person who has the disease is not its only victim. In fact, the sad reality is that the victim seems blissfully unaware that anything is wrong with them — at least I pray that is the case — while those who love them must stand helplessly by and watch the one they love drift further and further away, even while they’re sitting right in front of you.
My mom tells stories from years ago but can’t remember that she just ate dinner. The stories are jumbled and intertwined. Sometimes she laughs or gets sad as she tells them, whether the emotion is appropriate to the story she’s telling or not. She warns us about imaginary problems and wonders why people who have been dead for many years haven’t stopped by to see her. We go along with the stories and ask questions to hear her tell more. We love to hear her tell them. We heed her warnings and encourage her to tells us more. We remind her who we are and where we live — several times a day. We tell her about the five grandsons she is shocked to learn she has — even as she can recite us their names in order if we prompt her in the right way. My wife and I explain that yes, we really did invite her to our wedding 30 years ago and, yes, that man over there has been her husband since 1956.
There are glimpses of coherence that pop in and out, but those moments seem to be showing themselves less often.
She loves to watch old movies. The beauty of that love is that you can tune into the American Movie Classics channel on TV at any point during a broadcast and she becomes completely engrossed in the story from that point forward. Unfortunately, it also means the TV is on a lot — and not just replaying old movies. The incessant news. The sports. The blathering chatter and audio pollution is ever-present in her family room. Her ears never get a rest from it. Sadly, both she, and we, have gotten too used to hearing it. It’s background noise.
But last Sunday morning we turned it off.
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Why Get On The Bike?
What is it that motivates you? What is it that gives your life meaning and purpose? Is it simply the chemicals and biological material that make up your body, or is it more than that? Is it something that makes no sense in a purely physical world? My friend Tim’s story not only defies the odds; it defies the Naturalistic paradigm we all have been told to accept.
Tim is a physical therapist and a triathlete. The guy is not only in the best physical condition of most anyone I know, he helps fix other people who are trying to get that way. More importantly, Tim is a husband and father who loves his family deeply because he loves his God sincerely. Six weeks ago Tim felt lousy after returning from a bike ride. He was anxious about work and moving to a new house so he attributed his worn out feeling to the stressors in his life. He was tired and weak. The next day he was feeling even more out of sorts. His wife told him to go for a run. Afterward he felt worse. That night he contracted a fever with a temperature of 104.5. The next day he went to the doctor who gave him some antibiotics and drew some blood. Three days later Tim was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
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