Metaphor of Ships

Friends and philosophers,

I apologize for being so dilatory with my posts, but the fact is that as finals approach, deadlines must be met, papers submitted, and study guides created and memorized. It’s a whirlwind process that surely you’re all very familiar with so I shan’t spend further time describing it. Please take this modest post as a humble offering until which time my full evaluation of my recent readings can be offered at proper length.

As you know, I attended the Christian Center for Thought conference at Biola University recently. The plenary speakers were a very impressive list, including Plantinga, Woltersdorff, and Moser. I fully expected to have my intellectual gut punched, and the skeptical breath knocked out of me. Perhaps that was far too much to ask for. I was sadly, and profoundly underwhelmed by the lack of real philosophizing that occurred, even by the plenary speakers, and highly esteemed Fellows from Biola. Not a single one of them took on mantle of objective philosophy by starting from a point of argument that did not take for granted or assume the existence of God as a given. Worse yet, they adopted the “omni-omni” (as I have recently began calling the Judeo-Christian qualitiative attribution of divine characteristics) point of view, such that every question that I asked was immediately dismissed as a futile, and irrelevant inquiry due to God’s “omni-omni.” It was, in a word, heartbreaking.

In addition, (brace yourself for metaphor) I find that several ships of which I had become increasingly fond have left familiar harbors. It is very much as though I had turned around, standing atop some plateau, and surveyed the now entirely empty moorings where so many friendly flags had flown. Perhaps the waters were too rough and cold, or some treasure called them out to sea. Sadly, while some may see a vast expanse of promise beyond a golden horizon, I see a blank and endless line, draped with the sad, and dark uncertainty of navigation by the stars; for as we know, all stars someday burn out.

So, in that vein, I will leave you with this. I quote from a theist that at least had the emotional and intellectual honesty to question divine attributes, and ponder the meaning of life as a real human being- one that feels, and does so powerfully enough to have the foundations of his dogma laid bare for proper inspection. I find that I have much in common with this excerpt. I hope you do as well…

“It is an awful moment when the soul begins to find that the props upon which it has blindly rested are, many of them, rotten, and begins to suspect them all; when it begins to feel the nothingness of many of the traditionary opinions which have been received with implicit confidence, and in that horrible insecurity begins to doubt whether there be anything to believe at all. It is an awful hour – let him who has passed through say how awful – when this life has lost its meaning, and seems shriveled into a span; when the grave appears to be the end of all, human goodness nothing but a name, and the sky above this universe a dead expanse, black with the void from which God Himself has disappeared.”

-Frederick William Robertson

Life and Letters of Frederick W. Robertson (1847 – 1853)

Yours in contemplation,


About facedownphilosophy

Proud recipient of the "Award for Outstanding Excellence in the Field of Unrivaled Superiority"
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2 Responses to Metaphor of Ships

  1. whitefrozen says:

    Given that it’s a Christian conference at a Christian institution, one shouldn’t be surprised that the existence of God was accepted as a given.

    • My surprise came from the speakers behaving not as philosophers, but as reverends and pastors. Plantinga has a reputation, well, had a reputation of taking on difficult theological concepts ex nihil, so that’s really what I was expecting. For example, when I asked, “One can reasonably conclude from rational inspection and observation of the universe that intelligent design is responsible for natural laws, and existence in general. But to what does the deist appeal in order to make the leap from recognizing a Grand Architect who practices a hands-off sort of interaction with creation, to the theist doctrine that states that there is a personal relationship both sought by God, and experienced by humans?”

      His very, very displeasing answer was “Inspection of the scriptures, and religious experience.” Clearly, those are sufficient to a semi-deist philosopher who is trying to justify reasons for belief in theism.

      Nonetheless your point is well taken. Otherwise, it would be like me going to KFC and being disappointed to find that they did not serve spaghetti, but rather served chicken! Ha!

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