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The unfortunate gap - you could refer to it as a missing link - in the Report's provision of metaphysical and clearly and cogently concatenated grounds to support its authoritative, and indeed authoritarian structure has been seen: and its concordance with the tenor of the Report has been noticed. If the Report is logically remiss, it is - shall we say artistically coherent, in that what it sees as dispensable, it dispenses with: its problem is that in so dispensing with grounds for logical objective validity, it leaves a gaping logical wound, where cogency should have been; and wounded structures tend to lack strength and, in the end, beauty.
Having long prepared, in preliminary analysis, throughout this work, we may now proceed quite directly and succinctly to this area, where reality was divided into a distinctive dichotomy. On the one hand, there reposed the scientific world with its scientific method and logic and attention to data and non contradiction; on the other, there in the symbolic (largely), the evaluative, the attitudinal, the 'subjective', the mythology-embracing or superistition-secreting world. (The reader will recall the creation of this generalised world by the Report).
Of this world, we recall the dignity, as also our need of tolerance for its ideological denizens - if denizens indeed can be symbolic; and its general noumena-clad, non-specifically-identifiable quality has been exposed (if the intrinsically un-exposable could be exposed: it is their riddle not ours - it is their antilogism, not ours). Like some weak maiden aunt, these denizens have, then, by the Report been given a place - with remonstration - in the family of ideas, perhaps more secure than would have been accorded them in the ... natural order of things.
Its Kantian type vulnerability to reason has been identified,
and the writer's own detailed academic treatment of this type of fault
has been signified (see Section IV, including
In addition, several other Christian-theistic treatments have been noted which, avoiding this consistency problem, this antilogism, indeed, also purport to give a consistent approach to reality - one, that is, which does not automatically disqualify itself through contradicting its own presuppositions as it proceeds. Such systems advisedly do not presuppose what precludes the knowledge of reality, whilst affirming in practice the perception of reality. This they, for their part, are so structured as to avoid, with the absolute truth of God, knowable and known, available.
On the other side, however, contradictory presuppositions and implications can indeed make a quaint tangle; but they cannot extricate themselves long enough to proclaim the truth. To call their logical impasse situation an 'inner logic' merely completes the fairy-tale atmosphere. Fairy tales can be nice for children, and may even form a part of their very early education; but to encourage them to accept a 'secular' system which is founded on this type of irrationality, it is not good. It is merely the profusion of confusion (cf. SMR pp. 934-35, and Barbs, Arrows and Balms 7, with That Magnificent Rock, Chs.5 and 7).
As had been observed, it is no part of the intrinsic nature of this work to provide in detail a coherent metaphysics. It is however deemed proper to note the availability of my own Reason for Faith*45a which does this, of my Predestination and Freewill which provides some elaborations and specialised analyses in the unique Biblical coherence and harmony, and of other approaches as noted above (pp. 67-69 supra, including *20 and *21). Indeed, it does seem fitting - for any who may not wish to take the time and trouble to examine minutely such works, demanding as they indeed may at first sight appear, for some - to make some brief and summary reference to a famous Cambridge author. He is one who is particularly helpful and stimulating in this area, with the short essay. This has the additional advantage of variety.
The name is C.S. Lewis, and the article immediately in view, is Meditation in a Toolshed, to be found in his God in the Dock collection. He adroitly avoids the problem of establishing by logic what by definition is deemed insusceptible to logic, of describing in logically valid and viable ways, what is held not logically viable, and of dealing intelligibly with what Schaeffer calls the 'second story', in his immensely well-documented, historic survey of attempts to manage metaphysically, and in particular, to do so without the self-declaring God.
Lewis not only deals aptly with the area so customarily confused, though in summary impact approach in this essay of his, rather than in detail: he is even rather charmingly refreshing and quaintly individual in the process.
We shall recount this contribution from Cambridge for the value it provides in helpful contrast to the errors at this point of the Report.
One day, in his toolshed, Lewis chances to perceive two disparate phenomena. (He does not dispense with these. wisely.)
One concerns an interesting shaft of light, which shines into the darkness and in which on which, there appear those dancing microscopic material mites - the dust particles (1). (One is reminded of a short story - was it not by Daudet?)
Next, Lewis walks into that light itself; thus he proceeds to participate in its energic radiations, its luminous activations, its particulate gyrations (2). Now all is told - except the thrust of the parable.
Phase one , where he simply LOOKS: is represented for his theoretical propounding, the case of an observer seeking to categorise and characterise a setting and its data. The anthropological observer is watching the natives of Collins St., or Africa or whatever location it might be. He makes his 'choice' insights (the absence of conceptual euphony is parabolically intentional) ... and has it all summed up: behold they are just this or that; they are to be explained thus and so, in this syndrome, setting or causal nexus or that. It is so.
Phase two, where he ENTERS the shaft of light then is considered. This it is which represented the experient, the native actually engaged in the war dances, the elated Australian victor excitedly waving his 1946 End of War Herald, wafting his perfumed letter or whatever affair of personal participation is seized.
Now however the scene changes. Now the very idea of sexual reductionism, emotive cynicism or mercenary projections, the very concept for the civic citizens for the African, of libidinous surges, resurgences of mysterious élan vital (or other semi-articulated lapses into slightly concatenated thought - the sort of thing Lewis in Mere Christianity has been seen to be exceedingly deft at exposing) - it is often quite abhorrent to the experient. It may not accord with what transpires, with the experiential unity and - (dare we say it? the word is so stretched as to be in danger of bursting) - with the existential delights of his mind, his soul, his spirit, his personality. (That verbal spread should cover the ab initio situation for most enquirers...)
How then shall we resolve any apparent or real contradiction between phase one and phase two: the reductionist and the participant, the observer and the experient?
Well, we shall summarise and perhaps extend the answer. First, neither episode is intrinsically preferred. There is no maiden aunt (the perceptive reader will recall the theoretical reference of this code word). Lewis protests that both episodes are of the order of perception and reflection. One is without; one is within. One can be considered one way, the other another. Sometimes folly may be detected on the part of the experient, whom the observer may apprise of it. Sometimes, an the other hand, the observer may be helped out of a misnomer, a folly, a theoretical flirtation with ignorant presumption or obsessive hypothesising, even self-justifying rationalism in the interests of guilt, or the advancement of pride, in his/her account: things which find a place only where Occam's razor has yet to shave ,and soon lose it when it is about its business; and so on.
Thus, in particular, the impact of the light may be real; the shaft of light a phenomenon of nature, may be real. The interaction may be real; the experience may be genuine, and sui generis. All of them however would need to be INVESTIGATED without romanticism on the one hand, or reductionism on the other.
What however is the basis for this realising of reality? Neither is it the logically elliptical subjectivism which fatuously forges 'truth' from the fires of non-validating feeling; nor is it the irrational reductionist, declaiming the truth while denying, in the process, all grounds for knowing it. Rather with an objective divine truth, a non-relativised basis definitively declared, does indeed exist. On such a basis, both claimants - the experient and the observer - have potential logical grounds for validation: then each has a rationally coherent method available for critical evaluation. And it is not self-invalidating.
The intellectual endeavours to avoid a creator are of course, as Dr Francis Schaeffer so intelligently documents, immense. Self-declaring deity is not à la mode. The striving with rationally impossible systems (which poor philosophy all but loses her name for - in that each 'new' way, shows up the last, often rather well) are an ingenious as futile. With a declared Creator, however, not only is objective logic able to live - the very Instrument with which we reason as to any system; but it does not even have to be denied. Now, at least in potential, it has rational and objective validity, The whole systematic, created conglomeration is construable without the lapses of dichotomy, the alogisms of the noumenal or the reductionistic obsessions as old an Thales and as new an neo-Democritan atomism.(Cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming… Ch.5, pp. 104Aff., That Magnificent Rock Ch.5, SMR pp. 315A-316C.)
Passing the illogicity on the one hand, and the alienated
strivings of observer-experient, now we even leave behind the need to speak
in myths. The actual factual God can speak to us. Now we do
not need to assess all things from a materialistic, reductionistic or similar
irrational base, from which nevertheless,
men must have the logical effrontery to state truly what is the system in which it exists.
The latter point*46 is
brilliantly made by Lewis in his Christian Reflections, in
such essays as
The Funeral of a Great Myth, or De Futilitate. The issue is also treated In his Religion without Dogma, found in God In the Dock.
No more is a relativistic component of an environment-heredity
set-up in an intrinsically deprived world, unequipped with author, creator
and unrelativised viewpoint, yet faced with the hideous enormity of declaring
the absolute truth: such as such inglorious contradictions as this: that
In relative, or better and more classic yet - that there is no absolute
truth (cf. p. 67ff. infra, as noted above). To Kant's obstacle
that our 'first cause' is involved in antinomy, because a cause is by definition
a participant in a chain, we turn only the other cheek and our mouth; for
there in a ready answer from a sufficient ground.
Let us pursue this as an example.
A cause, defined within a created system wherein chains of cause and effect sequences are observable, for example, is one thing. An adequate basis in terms of the source of the causal chain, is another. Kant's point is really no deeper then this. If you assume no Creator, then you cannot invent one later in the same closed system of thought. This dictum of Kant's is true of one thing, and irrelevant to the point at issue, another. It is an excellent example of getting out of a system, what you put in.
A sufficient condition for a causal chain may be its ground; and you could say its 'cause', if you managed to keep your wits about you for enough seconds to recall that a ground for causality is necessarily, systematically necessarily, not the same in species as a cause operative within the created system of that type. On the one hand, you have the propulsive, orienting, originative dynamics resident within an absolute Being, not beset with logical impossibilities. On the other, you have the derived causal chain thus endued with its concatenative existence. The point is not difficult, once the basis is clear. Some created chains proceed in an interlocking sense, and are able to cause things in this manner. Some creative events are able to produce such manufacturing chains. One causes causation; the other uses it to cause in a chain sequence. Of course, this sort of chain cannot EXCLUDE its Maker; it is just that it need not include His present action, just as engineers on earth need not be sitting on an engine they make, in order to make it go, though they may, on occasion want to ride on it for a reason.
Nor is this all. No more is causality - originating from the productive mind of man, in the Kantian noumenal approach - inconsistently implicated in its own engendering, so that inferentially it is functionally implanted in a causal system, before such a system exists. No more must men's minds as in Kant's view, produce the concept of causality; no more must it causeit ... so that it may exist; no more need these engender, as themselves the causative origin of the concept of causation, so that it may attach itself to events. It is, certainly, no mean feat to USE causation to PRODUCE causation, and to do it before it exists, so that it MAY exist. That was just a little much, even for Kant!
No more must causality be caused by use of itself, before it is there, in order to be. No more is an a posteriori concept found functioning in an a priori area, pre-existent before produced, the mother of its own existence, enlarging the womb before the womb so much as ... is.
Obsessions with presuppositional symbolism, likewise, may now be safely sat to rest. Their noumenal base is dead. Rationality, after all, could not disestablish itself. It is the endeavours to perform this feat which are defeated: not the rationality with which they strove.
The beauty - if we may refer to the term Schaeffer once used for the grace of a thing of such a kind - is that God is systematically and intrinsically non-self-contradictory. It in a distinction He shares with none of all the empires of thought, the clusters of considerations and the rearguards of religions. In the ultimates of metaphysics: truth is respectable again - and the rank impossibility of proclaiming it by implication from a basis which systematically excludes it, is removed at last.
A Being self-sufficient and eternal may be novel to those unaware of Him; but He presents absolutely no systematic difficulties, either in accounting for things or relative to the truth we all so readily proclaim including the ludicrous amusement, that it is true there is not truth, or that it is non-symbolically true that we are when explaining the ultimates, confined to symbols). In these specific matters, the interested reader is once again referred, for much more detail in the Kantian area, to my Predestination and Freewill (Appendix); and in the apologetic area. to my Reason for faith (now to SMR and That Magnificent Rock).
Dealing then. as we are, with religion, and returning
more directly to the field of religious education, we have no need for
the creation of obscurity and self-contradictions as a substitute for coherence
in some new mental 'world' with some new 'inner logic' which blushes at
facts and romances with irrationality.
Wishing in short, to be reasonable, inter alia, we would not procure the Report Religion. We would not imbibe it, or have it imbibed where we are responsible, we would leave the education of the young who are Christians, to those who understand Christianity Biblically. Categorically, the Report would be rationally rejected.
It remains to codify some of its presuppositions, and
ponder its creed.
*45a This work has since been replaced by The Shadow of a Mighty Rock and That Magnificent Rock, in the context of the 22 volumes by the present author, now in this site.
C.S. Lewis in his Christian Reflections p.64, says:
The brain may be in all sorts of relations to the star no doubt : it is in a spacial relation, and a time relation, and a quantitative relation. But to talk of one bit of matter as being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense. It might conceivably turn out to be the case that every atom in the universe thought, and thought truly, about every other. But that relation between any two atoms would be something quite distinct from the physical relations between them.
In God in the Dock p.136, he pursues such a consideration:
What we should speak of an his 'thoughts' were merely the last link of a causal chain in which all the previous links were irrational. He spoke as he did because the matter of his brain was behaving in a certain way: and the whole history of the universe up to that moment had forced it to behave in that way. What he called his thought was essentially a phenomenon of the same sort as his other secretions - the form which the vast irrational process of nature was bound to take at a particular point of space and time.
Of course it did not feel like that to him or to us while it was going on. He appeared to himself to be studying the nature of things, to be in some way aware of realities, even supersensuous realities, outside his own head. But if strict naturalism is right, he was deluded: he was merely enjoying the conscious reflection of irrationally determined events in his own hand. It appeared to him that his thoughts (as he called them) could have to outer realities that wholly immaterial relation which we call truth or falsehood: though in fact, being but the shadow of cerebral events, it is not easy to see that they could have any relation to the outer world except causal relations. And when (he) defended scientists, speaking of their devotion to truth and their constant following of the best light they know, it seemed to him that he was choosing an attitude in obedience to an ideal. He did not feel that he was merely suffering a reaction determined by ultimately amoral and irrational sources, and no more capable of rightness or wrongness than a hiccup or a sneeze.
In Christian Reflections, p.64, we may proceed:
A great many people think that it is due to the fact that Nature produced the mind. But on the assumption that Nature is herself mindless this provides no explanation. To be the result of a series of mindless events is one thing: to be a kind of plan or true account of the laws according to which those mindless events happened is quite another. Thus the Gulf Stream produces all sorts of results: for instance, the temperature of the Irish Sea. What it does not produce is maps of the Gulf Stream. But if logic, as we find it operative in our own minds, is really a result of mindless nature, then it is a result as improbable as that. The laws whereby logic obliges us to think turn out to be the laws according to which every event in space end time must happen. The man who thinks this an ordinary or probable result does not really understand. It is as if cabbages in addition to resulting from the laws of botany also gave lectures in that subject: or as if, when I knocked out my pipe, the ashes arranged themselves into letters which read:
'We are the ashes of a knocked-out pipe.' But if the validity of knowledge cannot be explained in that way, and if perpetual happy coincidence throughout the whole of recorded time is out of the question, then surely we must seek the real explanation elsewhere.
In God in the Dock, pp. 137-8, he notes succinctly:
It would be impossible to accept naturalism itself if we really and consistently believed naturalism. For naturalism is a system of thought. But for naturalism all thoughts are mere events with irrational causes... For meaning is a relation of a wholly new kind, as remote, ass mysterious, as opaque to empirical study as the soul itself...
Naturalism goes on claiming territory after territory: first the inorganic, then the lower organisms, then man's body, then his emotions. But when it takes the final step and we attempt a naturalistic account of thought itself, suddenly the whole thing unravels. The last fatal step has invalidated all the preceding ones...