We know the answer, but our kids likely don’t. I have a two-year-old and a four year-old, so they certainly do not. They are smart, and like any kids, they ask tons of questions. I took a personal oath early to tell them the truth. That’s why this issue has been so difficult for me.
Santa doesn’t add up. Our narrative gives us more questions than answers. Kids are supposed to simply accept this story, with very little evidence. Except perhaps the most important of all: presents. So we take these young people who are most vulnerable and moldable, and indoctrinate them in a lie. Why?
I want my kids to think. I want them to ask questions. And I want to be able to tell them the truth.
But they could tell their friends. Yes, they could. It sounds terrible, but is it? Is it bad that your child would learn that a fairy tale was a fairy tale from my child? I think the faster we are to sort out the part where people’s feelings matter more than the truth, we get to the bottom, and our kids begin to grow.
I have no doubt that my four year-old would play along knowing Santa is ‘pretend.’ They imagine all the time. Is it so ludicrous to think that they could deal with this simple truth?
The silver lining is the belief in something you cannot see. In the Christian worldview, this is what we call faith. But I simply do not what my kids to have faith in something that they have no reason to believe.
What if my kid tells your kid Jesus exists? It’s something that she and I believe is true, but you don’t necessarily believe. The point here is to have a discussion. To figure out which is more justified, belief or non-belief. If we can’t discuss what we believe and why we believe it, what are we doing?
I’ll hold off telling her for now. But I don’t know how long I’ll last.
It [love] keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13:1
So God keeps no record of wrongs.Fair enough. But what about loving myself?
We’re supposed to ‘love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Mark 12:31)’ Thus, part of loving ourselves is keeping no record of wrongs.
I think this is one of the things separating me from true happiness. I live in a delicate place in between worry and regret. As soon as I’m done worrying about what the right thing to do is, I start either regretting what I decided or doubting that what I did was right. It’s a no-win situation.
But if I try to love myself, I must keep no record of wrongs. I have to know that my sins are forgiven. This, there is no reason to worry about making a mistake. It’s not that we shouldn’t avoid paths that lead us away from God, quite the opposite.
So not only does God keep no record of wrongs, I shouldn’t either. For my own sanity, and because I think the Bible alludes to this as well.
I have some personal experience with intrusive thoughts. There were times in my life where I have been overcome with thoughts that were not my own. It’s terrifying, especially when the advisors at my disposal just believed that I was completely losing touch with reality. But wait…in the Christian worldview, spirits exist. And Paul even says that we should ‘test the spirits.’ So not only do they exist, but we should communicate with them, and figure out whether they come from God or not.In short, the spirit world can communicate with us.
Neurologists can stimulate different areas of the brain and trigger thoughts. My only thought here is that if a doctor can do this with a probe why couldn’t spirits? If the brain is so altered, surely God [or spirits] could plant thoughts. (A Thousand Brains, p. 37)
And honestly, I think this is how the spirit world works, in part. A spirit would be an entity with a probe of sorts. The inception of thoughts would be plausible.
I say this to say that the statement that ‘thoughts are simply electric activity of the brain’ may very well be true, but the source of that electric activity is the question. If a doctor can simulate thoughts during surgery, surely an all-knowing creator could simulate thoughts as well.
I’d also like to reference the boy that Jesus cured of epilepsy in the New Testament. We are told that the cause of the epilepsy is a spirit. But does that jive with what we know about seizures?
We can induce seizures with electric brain stimulation. If seizures are simply electric charge on the brain, and the spirit world can manifest itself by way of electricity, I think it would follow that spirits could cause epilepsy. I am not saying that all epilepsy is caused by spirits. Or that all spirits cause epilepsy. What I do know is that both of these things are true, and this is how I reconcile them.
TLDR: Thoughts are electrical activity. Seizures are electrical activity. Spirits can plant thoughts, therefore, spirits can cause seizures. And if we can remove spirits in these cases, we can remove the seizures.
Essentially we don’t know how the brain works. We can’t cure neurological diseases. We can’t cure all depression. We can’t really improve intelligence.
But what if a worldview has an untapped resource of explanation? Christian theism offers just that. Although it seems farfetched, and it is slightly terrifying.
Anyways, in Christianity humans are the battlefield. Constantly encountering spirits. And in this spiritual world, we are introduced to the explanatory power of the Christian worldview in the area of psychology.
What’s more important is that in subscribing to this model, we no longer need explanations about miracle healings of Alzheimer’s, because we know that if the presence of a spirit is causing the malady, the absence of it would lead to a miracle healing.
Not to mention, probably the scariest part: schizophrenia. If there is a spirit world, people that hear voices are actually hearing spirits. And we know that spirits can be cast out. Thus, schizophrenia is curable. But not by any pill or treatment, by the sovereign grace of God. Thus, the unexpected mitigation of this disease becomes less farfetched and more realistic.
So everywhere we look at the world, Christianity has answers, including the human mind. Perhaps the best answer to some of the biggest questions of medicine and science have been right under our nose this whole time. Maybe our biggest problem was trying to reconcile the complete with the incomplete, trying to merge modern psychology and psychiatry with the Christian narrative.
One of the most mysterious symptoms of COVID-19 is the widespread anosmia. That is, people lose their sense of smell. The most interesting part about it is that we really don’t have a good mechanism to describe it. Here’s my take:
I’ve discussed time perception in great length in other posts. For the sake of this one, time is essentially either perceived quickly or slowly. In any given amount of time, a certain amount of particles travel up the nasal passages. The shorter this sampling rate, the fewer the particles that register per unit time. Thus, when time is slow, smell could suffer.
Taste is also something that seems to diminish with smell, especially with COVID-19. I think the same concept applies. If less information hits the tongue in a given amount of time, you will have less taste. So the slower time is perceived, the more information is needed to make up the difference. And since the amount of information is likely the same, taste may suffer,
Watery eyes also seem to correlate the loss of taste and smell. In an older post, I theorize about how time perception could explain crying. This is no different. When time is slow, if blinking does not increase, the eyes are essentially being held open for longer stretches of relative time. And when the eyes are held open for long stretches of time, they water.
In conclusion, some of the main symptoms seem to be pretty easily explained by looking at them through the lens of time perception. And according to Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution is almost always the best.
Living with depression, you hear this phrase a lot. Most of us accept it, perhaps after some hesitation. I want to break it down.
The fact that I have thoughts means that I am separate from my thoughts. To observe thoughts, whatever makes me me is separate from whatever makes these thoughts. I think a good analogy is looking at your reflection in the mirror. You can see your reflection, but it’s not exactly you. It’s an image of you.
My thoughts are not part of the physical world. They exist only in my mind. While something may exist in my mind and the physical world, it is only necessary that they exist in my mind.
If thoughts exist, but not in the natural world, thoughts are evidence of the supernatural world. Not to mention, after we have a thought, we have the ability to act on the thought or not. This is the power of the will. To essentially say ‘no’ to a thought. That would make will power the ability to say ‘no.’ And I think that is a pretty good definition.
But if we have the power to say ‘no’ to a thought, we are not machines at all. The world cannot be deterministic because we have the ability not to act on a given thought. If we can say no, we are free. And if we are free, determinism is false.
Thus, because the mind produces thoughts and we can decline to act on them, both naturalism and determinism are false.
So something I stressed here was finding our natural state. I called it the ground state and viewed it as something to strive for. The problem is that humanity is damned. That’s the easiest way to say it. No one left to their own devices goes anywhere but down.
So the question Why does God send people to hell? is an easy one to answer. He doesn’t. Humanity is doomed. God simply offered a lifeline: a path to righteousness. Humans, in their natural state, go to hell. It takes the supernatural to save us.
I recently wrote about love being kind, and what I think that means. There was an interesting application when you take that and apply it to what the Bible says about God.
God is love, and love is kind, therefore God is kind. And kindness is action. Therefore, God is action.
I think this is a powerful takeaway. God is not potency, but action. Think of the perfectly complete triune God prior to the creation of the universe. Why create anything? Because God is action. In his perfect holiness he leaves no stone unturned, no good action undone. He does not sit idly by and watch us suffer, he takes an active role in our lives.
Perhaps the ultimate act was when he became man to save the world from their sins. He did not simply sit and watch the world burn, he sent a perfect and living sacrifice to right the wrong from the fall and to give all who believe in him the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
People who lose an eye have certain psychological ramifications, and I wanted to see if any of my previous research could shed any light on these victims. Perhaps, a new course of treatment could help those who suffer from conditions related to their eye loss.
So in our article about rethinking balance, we examine how light may have other functions inside the body. If light enters the body, and plays a role in the equilibrium process of the brain and eye, removing an eye would naturally impede this process. And while I don’t have the magical ability to give people sight back, I think if we could carefully allow light to enter the body in the same way, we could perhaps minimize the psychological effects of this organ loss.
So in the engineering of prosthetic eyes, I would make certain that light is allowed to pass through the device, into the eye. If I’m right, this should mitigate some of the side effects.
If experience is evidence, the main source of justification of these past events is our memory. Memory is a record of true propositions. It can be reliable, or not. But to remember something is to believe it to be true. And our memory serves as the path to all knowledge by way of this justification.
We are creatures of truth, and our memories serve as evidence of our past.
My memory has seemed to wane recently, and I’ve learned how dependent I was on it. When I lose justification about whether I said something or not, did something or not, I lose confidence. And if I don’t have internal justification with my memory, I seek external validation.
I’d be afraid to say something because I can’t remember whether I’ve already said it or not. I’d be scared to do something because I can’t remember if I’ve already done it or not. So I’d play a game of tact. I’d say it in a way that could be taken as my second time to say or do something.
Even facts that I know are based in memory. While my memory may not be the justification itself, it is the source of the justification. For example, I know that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. But how do I know that? I read it online. How did they know it?
So if knowledge is based on this justification, our memory, mine is waning. I still know the same things, yet I have less and less confidence in them. I keep trying to justify the justification: refusing to accept my memory. Instead I look for further evidence or justification of the memory that I do have. I basically don’t trust that what’s in my mind matches what’s in reality. And without the justification, my knowledge is just beliefs. True beliefs, but beliefs nonetheless.