The last post on this blog spoke of assumption gaps and used some clever riddles to show how we naturally assume things in our thinking process. Whether consciously or subconsciously, once you make an assumption, the gap between what you think and reality can get further and further apart. This applies to matters of faith as much as anything else. Here are some examples from years ago in my own faith journey that are not uncommon. See if any of these ring a bell.
Ø Who made God? God’s existence would itself require an explanation, just as the existence of the universe or anything else does.
This kind of thinking could lead one to atheism since believers seem to be contradicting themselves. The flawed assumption is that God is a contingent being just like any other being in the universe (one thing among many). Metaphysics, however, will divide reality into two parts; conditioned reality and unconditioned reality. There are formal logic proofs that show how there must be one unique unconditioned reality (one thing that requires nothing else for its own existence). Additionally, this unconditioned reality must be completely unrestricted, intelligent, loving and must sustain the existence of everything else. We call this reality “God”. The proofs are too much to get into here, but I highly recommend THIS BOOK if you have the intellectual stamina.
Since this unconditioned reality would not be contingent upon time, the word “made” in the question “Who made God?” makes no sense. The word “made” is past tense which implies a beginning point, which implies time. So what can we say with our limited human language that does make some sense? God just IS. God hinted at this long before any metaphysicist did; I am that I am (Exodus 3:14).
Ø What’s the deal with original sin? Adam & Eve disobeyed, not me. I didn’t do anything, especially as a new born baby, so why should I have deal with original sin. It’s not fair!
The assumption here is that we are entitled to salvation. We have a right to the gift of grace and eternal life with God. The following analogy helped me tremendously.
Imagine your poor father befriended a billionaire before you were born. They were such good friends that the billionaire made your dad heir to his fortune. One day your father betrayed the billionaire, so he removed him from his will, leaving him in his poverty. Years later your father met your mother and you were born. Eventually, you learned the story of friendship and betrayal between the billionaire and your father. You realize that you would have been next in line for the fortune if your father would have remained a faithful friend, so you say, “My father betrayed him, not me. I didn't do anything, so why should I have to deal with poverty. It’s not fair! The fortune should still go to me”
The reality is that you never had a claim to the fortune in the first place.
Ø Next-up is a common and usually subconscious assumption well illustrated by St. Augustine in his early years when he asked, “From whence came evil?” Catholics teach that God is ALL good and ALL things come from God, so this begs the question, where did evil come from? How could evil come into being at all?
Ø When I first heard the titles of “Christ the King” and Mary “Queen of Heaven”, I thought to myself, “Did Jesus and Mary get married and now they rule as king & queen of heaven?”
The flawed assumption here is that a king and a queen are always husband and wife. In the ancient kingdom of Israel, the queen was always the mother of the king (not the wife or wives) and part of her role was to bring petitions to the king (1 Kings 2:13-21).
If we accept the premises that the Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament, the ancient kingdom of Israel foreshadows the new kingdom of Christ, and the King of Israel foreshadows Christ the King, then it makes sense to say Mary is the Queen of Heaven. In fact, it would be strange if it were otherwise.
Ø Here is one on Papal infallibility. How incredibly arrogant (or stupid) for an organization to declare their leader “infallible”. One would be wise to be suspicious of such a thing.
One common elementary blunder here is assuming that infallible means impeccable. To be impeccable means to be without sin, error or fault and no Pope fits the bill for this. It’s not about being perfect. In fact, it’s really not about “being” at all. It’s about teaching, teaching in the context of proper authority (ex-cathedra) on matters of faith and morals.
Catholics believe that God’s “decision point” on earth would not lead us astray. Think about it; if there really is a God, and he really cares about us, He would make sure we have a way to know what is true in terms of what to believe and how to behave (faith & morals). He would not leave us alone with our imperfect intuition and flawed interpretations of His will. If infallibility were rejected, we’d end up with teachings as numerous as they are wrong. Could you even imagine?
Perception is NOT reality; perception informs our response to reality. Since we seldom see things as they truly are, we fill-in the gaps with assumptions, the most harmful of which can be the subconscious ones. Even if we’ve got something basically right, we only see a small portion of its totality. The important thing is seeing what needs to be seen, and God always provides what is needed. Catholicism is given to everyone as a universal way of seeing; a way of seeing by which we can best respond to the world around us.
|You're kinda lost without it...|