inbetween magnets

As a child I was endlessly fascinated by holding two magnets near to each other and feeling the invisible pressure between them; the word ‘magnet’ and ‘magic’ were interchangeable in my mind for years. Today while doing the dishes I realized that if there is a thing called truth, it is in the invisible pressure that holds beliefs apart; truth is what we turn away from to cling to our beliefs. While beliefs are solid unchanging stones you can hold in your hand, truth is an invisible pressure that shifts and varies according to the situation; a belief can be summed up in a finite series of words, truth must be experienced. This is a very unsettling idea, especially for those who cling tightly to their beliefs; when the stone of this belief is near those stones, the pressures can be enormous. Still, not every belief is connected to truth any more than any stone can generate a magnetic field despite however much the holder wishes it would; this does not stop us from fooling ourselves like moving a planchette about an Ouija board.

4 Responses to “inbetween magnets”

  1. “While beliefs are solid unchanging stones you can hold in your hand, truth is an invisible pressure that shifts and varies according to the situation”

    Are you really this much of a relativist? Truth “shifts and varies?” I think you need to expand on that thinking a bit. Allow me to run with your metaphor.

    Magnetism, like gravity is a constant in the universe. Physicists using rather complicated mathematics are able to describe it no matter where it occurs. What shifts and varies is the affects experienced by whatever is around it. Some might say this is a distinction without a difference as we can only perceive these affects and not the item in question itself. But for me it makes all the difference in the world.

    If Truth were not an absolute I would be lost. I understand that Heisenberg changed the rules by showing that the world is inherently unpredictable. But once again, we still find ourselves with more questions than answers. Just because we don’t fully understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I realize that amounts to heresy in a post modern world, but so be it.

    Looking back on what I’ve written I see I have not made much more of an argument than a school yard taunt of “Nuh-Uhh.” But, I’d encourage you to rethink the sentence I’ve quoted above and we can discuss further.

  2. Absolutes cannot exist; therefore relativity rules the day. Absolute Truth does not exist in our universe-it is a state that can only exist in the presence of the Eternal, and everything here is temporary. I am not denying the existence of Absolutes, I’m just saying that there are none on this side of the Event Horizon.

    While this is not an original example, it is effective at making the point…
    Is it true that killing is wrong? Killing what? Who? In what context? Is it right to kill plants so we may eat? Is it right to kill microorganisms that infect us? Is it right to kill a dangerous animal that is threatening people? Is it right to kill a person who is determined to threaten and harm other people? What if they can’t be subdued?
    The truth of whether or not killing is wrong isn’t at all objective but rather a completely subjective judgement-consider the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden; from the point of view of most Western observers this was a completely justified act, from another point of view it was an illegal assassination. The pressure of truth shifts depending upon how you shift the points of view around. The points of view don’t create truth, they just are a way of experiencing the phenomena. Truth exists not as a phenomena in the universe but rather as one of the underlying principles that make it possible.

    Does this make sense? I really appreciate your thoughts because I just sort of spit this out and hoped you would read it.

    • “Truth exists not as a phenomena in the universe but rather as one of the underlying principles that make it possible.
      Does this make sense?”

      No. No it doesn’t!
      The fact that _some_ truths are relative doesn’t mean that _all_ are!

      I do agree with your example about killing someone being relative. But it is a flawed argument. It only proves that our application of truth is relative. Seems to me, that your problem here is the definition of truth.

      It is possible for most, perhaps even all things we perceive to be relative yet Truth still exist. (Poor sentence structure but I think you’ll get it.) Must we be able to define something for it to exist? Electricity existed in the Middle Ages. We just didn’t have any light bulbs!

      For me,the most important point of your argument is this: “Absolutes cannot exist; therefore relativity rules the day. Absolute Truth does not exist in our universe-it is a state that can only exist in the presence of the Eternal, and everything here is temporary. I am not denying the existence of Absolutes, I’m just saying that there are none on this side of the Event Horizon.”

      This is why being a Christian is so important to me. The Godhead became Human! I mean, sit with that for a while. Then, sit with the fact that the Creator of the Universe allowed himself to suffer unbelievable pain for a rather long period of time. (You know your Bible better than I so you can probably tell me how long….) Remember during the Crucifixion scene when the Temple curtain was torn? There is the tear in your “Event -Horizon.” Methodists are fond of the phrase, “We are a Resurrection people!” Absolutes like Love, Truth and Grace came to us on that day!

      I cannot live in a world without Truth. For that would be a world without Hope. At risk of sounding too much like an Evangelical, I found Truth in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and in the workings of the Holy Spirit. I follow a Living God!

      I realize there is lots here. I’d be happy to unpack some of it if you’d like. But it will probably be Monday before I’m able to write anything again.

      Enjoy your weekend. Stay dry!

      As I always, My prayer for us all is:
      Peace and Good,
      Brother Kenny

  3. […] Dear Reader, this a continuation of a conversation that just got too unwieldy to keep in a comment box. The metaphors will make more sense if you read this full post and comment thread first. […]

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