Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It Stands to Reason

A phrase that I simply cannot stand is, "Anything is possible."

As a logician, it pains me when people say such stupid things. This statement is OBVIOUSLY self-contradictory. It takes about 0.02 seconds to come up with an example of something that is not possible. For instance, I cannot physically be both 5 years old and 55 years old at the same time. I could continue with examples, but you have already come up with examples of your own no doubt.

I have not written the past few days. It is the crash I inevitably go through once I accomplish a goal. I need to take a little time to recover and set new goals. I have also not allowed myself to set any time consuming projects. If I am to do that, it will be a writing project. Specifically, the second novel.

As a result, I have been doing a lot of thinking. These thoughts do have a catalyst. As strange as it may seem, the Stargate episodes I have been watching have finally gotten good. It took until its ninth season for it to start asking really deep questions about life and death. The first eight seasons were your standard TV bullshit. Every episode its own little story and at the end it was concluded with a pretty bow slapped on top. It seems this candy is what endures on television, because any show I have ever seen that has an intelligent, well crafted, story arc continuing from episode to episode, dies a quick death.

In the ninth season, the show begins to have a serious continuing arc that allows one to go into some serious theological and philosophical debates. So what happens? The show becomes so cerebral that, after changing it's formula, it is canceled by the end of the second season under this new format. I am not here to discuss or debate the stupidity of the average television viewer. I understand that most people cannot handle discussions any deeper than what lies in their tissues after they blow their nose. I typically put these people in the "Cows just chewing away at their cud" category and move on. If you're reading this, you're unlikely to be one of those people.

Since I have been thinking away at these deep issues for a few days, I will likely talk about them in my posts for a few days. We shall see. Anyway, getting back to my initial comment and tying it in with Stargate episodes. In short, the show begs the objective question, "what is God?" or "what is a god?" I think I'll get into those questions at a later date. For now, I will discuss my views, and get into more tomorrow.

First off, I do believe in God as a creator, however, I am not a Christian. Naturally, I believe in many of the Christian principles of the Bible, and some of the principles, I do not. Simply put, I am not a Christian because I do not accept that Christ was the direct Son of God. I believe he was the son of God in the same way that we are all children of God.

That said, I do not believe in an all knowing, all powerful creator. If such a thing existed, anything would be possible and we all agreed at the beginning that that was a self contradictory statement. Feel free to reassess your opinions that you carved out of the first paragraph. I am not here to convince you my thoughts are correct. I am simply expressing my thoughts.

Back in the days when I was learning and teaching fencing, one of the students was a Presbyterian Minister. She and I became good friends, mostly, because I did not treat her as a Minister. I treated her like anyone else. She found it refreshing to have a friend who was not associated with her religion, but that is not to say we never discussed theological matters. Naturally, I proposed the age old question, "Can God create a stone that he himself cannot move?"

Obviously, the question is self-referential intentionally. In logic, it well known that the cause of many many paradoxes are due to self-referential statements. The obvious verbal paradox created here is that we have set the stage for something that God cannot hope to accomplish. Either God cannot create such a stone, or it is possible for there to exist stones that God cannot move.

My friend countered with, "Why would he want to?" A valid point, although, not a logically valid point. We can all see the sensibility of her statement, but it evades the argument without addressing it. If you go back to one of the logical fallacy pages I offered last month in my Slip Sliding Away post, this type of counterargument is called an irrelevant appeal.

The above discussion is a funny thing that is a cousin to faith itself. The question is not illogical to ask, but the answer, either way, is irrelevant. It is a curious thing that it is up to the individual as to how much logical self-contradiction we allow our perception of God to have. If you choose to accept God as an all knowing, anything is possible, type of God, then you are allowing your universe to make as little sense as is logically possible. Contrariwise, if you accept that God has limits. That is, there exists things that even God cannot accomplish, your universe can actually be made logically consistent.

Again, this is just the logician throwing out my thoughts, my but this makes sense to me. I have no problems in believing in a creator that has flaws and is even capable of failure. My universe is not consistent otherwise and that is unacceptable to me because God did not create the universe to be so messy. I used to tell my calculus students that if I didn't make five mistakes by lunchtime, I wasn't trying hard enough. If I was truly made in God's image and I am but a shadow of that likeness, I hesitate to imagine how many mistakes God sets out to make by lunchtime.

No comments: