Right out of the gate I will admit that I am no one special. Not really. I possess no great adventures to divulge, nor am I an accredited scholar in possession of a wealth of doctorates. All that said, I do invariably possess the one thing that absolutely qualifies me in our modern world to write this blog: a point of view.
There are over 7 billion people on Earth. Of those, 3.5+ billion of them use the internet, and of those, at least 1 billion are active on Facebook at this very moment, with countless others using various other forms of social media. Our world is now more connected than it has ever been, where even the most distant members of our species are as close to us as a smartphone or a PC, and as such it has somehow become fashionable today to share our opinions on everything. EVERYTHING.
As for me, though I possess my own range of opinions, adhering to most with a level of fervency that would frighten small children and millennials, I am, you see, quite introverted. I am not a social creature by nature, and though I feel strongly about the topics that motivate me, I tend to keep my opinions of them largely to myself, or otherwise express them amongst close friends and family. That said, this particular exercise, whereby I have tentatively raised my head up out of the metaphorical foxhole, has been encouraged by my dear wife. She has seen something in me and my thoughts, it seems, that she feels is worthy of sharing, and I am inclined, at least for now, to comply. Otherwise I fear she would have had to endure them alone, being subjected at length to my ponderous philosophizing. Poor dear. No wonder she was anxious to have me air them through alternative means…
In any event you may be wondering what the point of all this is? Bear with me for a moment as I descend into the most pressing of my current opinions.
As I see it, without a doubt one of the most serious failings of our society is that people are quickly losing their ability to think critically, to rationally and conscientiously consider the information they receive and apply it to what they already believe. We now almost instinctively take that which we are presented with and accept it at face value, seemingly forgetting much of what we personally know to the contrary. The impact is made all the more dramatic when information comes from a “trusted” source, be it a public figure, a celebrity, a politician, etc. Because of their role in our world, because so many are accepted as “authorities” in their particular capacity, we simply accept what they say and move on.
Don’t misunderstand me here. Instruction is wonderfully necessary in our society. We need to learn what we don’t know from those who we believe do. It is absolutely appropriate to do so. It’s part of who we are. Even so, there is a serious two-fold problem with this in our current world: apathy and laziness.
With all of our modern conveniences, it is far too easy to become idle in life. We have successfully spent generations refining our technology to give us a more comfortable existence. As our electric bills certainly testify, our homes are power-consuming monsters ravenously feeding on untold kilowatt-hours while we busy ourselves with diversion upon useless diversion.
That may seem harsh, but go ahead and ask yourself, “How productive have I been today?” No, seriously, go ahead and think about it. Now, I admit that I’m just as guilty as everyone else, but hear me out on this.
Whether it is because of our addictions to television, or games, or Facebook, or any such thing, we are a culture that has, like none before it, become obsessed with the meaningless and fleeting. This condition has invariably led us to a point where many don’t really think about their place in this world. We just exist, day by day, in the midst of something like a daze. It’s easy to hear a bit of information and just accept it for what we believe it is, thinking no more about it than what we have been told. From my own observations I can say that I see this most in the young adults of our civilization, the so-called millennials. Though mellennials are an easy target here with their focus on entertainment and misguided varieties of social justice (sigh), don’t mistake them as the only demographic that fits into our persistent culture of apathy. We all, in one capacity or another, find ourselves in a state of self-imposed exile, restricting our attention to a limited sphere of interests while expecting that the rest of the world and it’s goings-on will continue to survive without us caring.
Because of that apathy, because we just can’t seem to find within ourselves an appreciable quantity of interest or concern for things that seemingly don’t affect us, we take what we hear and put it in a particular little mental box, storing it as our given reference to a given topic, our token tidbits and factoids for life. We rely on these things, our little libraries of collective information, because it is simply too easy not too. Even so, one should wonder, at least every now and then, how much of that information, that social narrative spanning our cumulative existence, is actually and truly correct. Do you really know what you know?
Societal apathy of course is followed step-by-step by it’s ugly sister, intellectual laziness. In our abundant interconnectedness, we can easily miss out on gaining a better understanding of a particular issue because it requires a minimum of effort to simply Google an answer to our problems. In years past, in the long-lost age that pre-dated the PC, where research truly required diligence and dedication and a certain quantity of discussion, learning was not an option. In our efforts to understand something, we invariably were forced to confront a number of perspectives, and in the process found ourselves made all the better for it. Not so for many today. Got a problem? Just Google it. Google it and accept the first thing you see. It doesn’t matter that there are a range of interpretations on the matter or that there are various statistical models that indicate alternatives to the accepted conclusion, all that matters is that Google is diligent in providing us with the mainstream answer, and we diligently accept it in turn.
Even in the bastions of the intelligentsia, the epicenter of our technology and knowledge and cultural advancement, our colleges and universities, where deep questions invariably lead to even deeper answers, there continues a trend which has persisted for over three hundred years, whereby certain perspectives are ruled-out wholesale because of their premise, because the implications of those position are seemingly out-of-step with that which is accepted as proper by the intellectual elites among us. As such, certain matters are condemned out-of-hand, dismissed because they are fantasy. After generations of such behavior, how many of the greatest minds among us are inescapably limited because they have been trained to see the world through a particular and limited lense?
Consider the words of Colin & Janet Bord, who wrote concerning the matter that:
“Science is an attempt to categorize and assimilate the knowledge which they do obtain about their environment. It is the rationalists’ means of holding at bay a natural fear of the unknown. Unfortunately science is now limited by the basic materialism of its adopted viewpoint and any individual who, however unwittingly, attempts to enlarge the boundaries of accepted knowledge by introducing facts which cannot be accommodated within a rational materialistic framework is immediately discredited and attacked by the accepted authorities and indeed by all ‘right-thinking’ men.”
The point is this: We all seem addicted to looking at the world through a very tiny spectrum, and that which we see is invariably shaded by what we are told rather than we ourselves have come to know.
I realized just how deeply my own life was impacted by this fact several years ago, when quite by accident I was forced to realize that the naturalistic world I believed in was utterly flawed. I was then a dedicated believer in nothing but the natural world. I was an atheist, and not the quite, indifferent type either, but rather one of the brooding, angry “new atheists” that actively disliked all that is related to Christianity in particular. That I found myself of that persuasion then was no surprise to me, having always been absolutely infatuated with science and the natural world; realms of tangible existence that are saturated in godless naturalism. In particular I gravitated to paleontology, the study of ancient life, especially dinosaurs, and from there I was more generally interested in biology as a whole.
Without going through the particulars here of exactly where my obsessions brought me, I will say that over the years I took in as much information on those materials as I could find, and building upon those I sought to make a name for myself. In the midst of my efforts however came a life changing realization from which I realized there was no going back. Over the course of a few eventful months in 2010-2011, I came to understand the world around me in a whole new light, and in doing so my eyes were opened to a reality I scarcely could have imagined before. The world which I had known before had been utterly destroyed around me, the pillars of naturalism upon which I had constructed my philosophical edifice were shattered to pieces. For me, it was at first as though all was lost, but then there came a light…
You see, it was not my own doing that lead to the downfall of the world I once believed in. The cataclysm that wrecked my view of life was not accidental. No, friend, it was something far more profound than it may simply sound here. As my naturalistic worldview collapsed into a shattered and broken mess, there was something overpowering behind it. My towers of imperfect belief fell not because of some rattling earthquake of insight, but rather they were uttered destroyed by fiery light from above, a torrential hail of burning questions which ignited my mind, casting warm incandescence upon the true reality that surrounded us all. I am convinced it was no accident. As I turned my back on the broken pillars of naturalism, I found God. I became a Christian. And from that point forth everything in my life began to change.
Reflecting on the matter, I must agree with the famed theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, the so-called father of quantum theory, when he said, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” It has been keenly accurate in not only my own experience, but in many subsequent observations I have had of others.
Since that time, some five years ago now, I have sought to see the world through new eyes, finally learning to question what I see around me and thinking critically about the connections that may exist just beyond the obvious. I question what I see on the news, what I read in the headlines, what is written in the journals, all with the unrelenting understanding now that even the most objective of these sources, despite their fervent protestations to the contrary, are irrevocably biased in their presentation. Whether there is a targeted agenda to infuse our worldviews with false information or rather it is a condition born out of the collective atrophication of our ability to think critically, there is a need to reinvigorate our interest in the world around us, to acknowledge that there are proceedings that require our attention in both the tangible realm and in the one beyond our ken. We must, as a people, open our blinded eyes to a reality that exists right beneath our noses.
That brings us to the point of this blog, of my newfound efforts. Whether you agree with my contentions or not, the fact of the matter is that I experienced nothing short of a life-changing revelation when I finally realized just how wrong I was about this existence five years ago. Because of my personal paradigm shift, I am dogged by the compulsion to say something, to try to have you too to see that the world we are often presented across the news media and in our classrooms and in essentially every other such intellectual portal may be less than accurate in its presentation. I want you to consider alternatives to what you may have been assured were the facts. I want you to see that, for a few, there is incentive to keeping you in the dark.
Make no mistake, the driving force behind this blog is of course my Christian faith, the most profound motivator in the way I see the world, and it is through this persuasion that I interpret the information I saturate myself in. It is an inescapable aspect of who I am now. While some may absolutely despise that facet of my personality, I can honestly admit that through it I have been able to reconcile so many of the questions that once plagued my fallen heart. Life simply makes more sense from the position in which I now stand. As C. S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
So what exactly is FOUNDRY4? Quite simply, I aim here to take a look at a range of scientific, historical, philosophical, and experiential topics and present my thoughts on them in an attempt to open the doors to insights that may lay beyond the headlines. Relevant issues from around the globe will frequently be discussed, as will topics from any number of scientific journals and other such sources. Just as a refinery takes rock-mingled ore and purifies it into something finer, eventually casting the good material into a better form than it started, such will be the objective here, refining streams of information into a clearer form, exposing many flaws and overlooked considerations.
Let’s be clear: I’m not perfect, neither is my opinion, and I will invariably offer that opinion on all the matters presented, but that said, it is my objective to present those issues to you in such a ways as to open your eyes to the alternatives. You by no means should feel compelled to accept or otherwise agree with me. I want you to discover the truth for yourselves on your own terms. I don’t mean that as some new-agey take on subjective truth or moral relativity, for I firmly believe that right is right, wrong is wrong, and that there is an immutable truth beneath every consideration. I want you to care enough to look beyond the surface and find that truth. Opinions can change, but the truth is immortal.
In all cases you should ask yourself why you maintain the positions you do on given matters, specifically acknowledging that we as a people are seemingly predisposed to bias based on our feelings. I would point you the words of Herbert Spencer who said, “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” How many of us have made our minds up about something before we truly understood the totality of the matter? How many time have we been wrong?
In closing, I will ask that all comments be presented with decency and civility, with each of us bearing in mind the fact that, whatever the topic of discussion, this is still at its heart the blog of an ex-atheist who became a Christian, written from a believer’s viewpoint with the intent of sharing not only my opinions but also that which I am utterly convinced is the truth. As I am new to this I would have you be lenient as I feel my way through the process, and new articles, artwork, and other posts will come as often as time permits. I hope you enjoy them.
All that said, all of the pleasantries having been duly performed, I welcome you to my first post on my first blog.
Welcome to FOUNDRY4.