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Dexter

Distinguish truth from non-truth

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Ok, so I am taking some liberty on the General Christian Theology topic because this is a little more abstract theology based on a C.S. Lewis book. I'll be giving away some spoilers to the 7th book in the Chronicles of Narnia series so if you wanted to read that you may want to skip this one. 

 

So, some setup: *SPOILERS*

In the 7th book of the Chronicle's of Narnia, The Last Battle, a talking Ape finds a lion pelt left behind by some hunters and conceives a plan to gain power and influence. He lives with a talking Donkey who's a simpleton but a loyal companion. The Ape convinces the Donkey to wear the lion pelt then starts a cult saying that he is a representative of the great lion Aslan (the Christ allegory of the story). He builds a hut that the Donkey hides in during the day and at night, he brings the Donkey out to show everyone that Aslan had returned to Narnia. Well, as Narnia is a theocratic autocracy, this caused problems. Near the climax of the story, four dwarves demand to enter the hut to see Aslan, not for any love of him but because they felt it was owed them. They enter the hut just before the real Aslan shows up and starts the apocalypse cause he ain't having any of this. For some clever story symbolism that is lost in this very short synopsis, Aslan turns the door to the hut into the portal to his homeland (heaven) as all the creatures of the world gather at the doorway and he judges whether they can enter through or not. After the last are judged, Aslan and the protagonists pass through the portal where it is forever shut behind them and Narnia fades into oblivion. 

 

But after the story protagonists enter heaven, they notice the four dwarves not far from the doorway huddled together. So a female protagonists approaches them and expressed how beautiful the land was. The dwarves didn't understand what she was talking about and asked how she could call a dung-filled barn beautiful. She was confused and insisted that it was a bright day. They said that it was dark and they couldn't hardly see their hands in front of them for how dark it was in the hut. She then plucked a fragrant and aromatic flower and put it to a dwarf's nose and he knocked it away cursing at her demanding to know why she put a piece of dung under his nose. Aslan then approaches and explains that because they never believed, all they can see is the hut. They cannot experience heaven. 

 

Now, sorry for all that build-up. On to the theology. Even as a kid when I read this, I wondered, how would the protagonists know that the reality they are experiencing is actually the real one. All the have is Aslan's word that theirs is the real one and the reality the dwarves were experiencing wasn't. But how could you test that? And not to mention, you have an externally imposed bias. Based upon my reading of the books, I'd expect Aslan to get very angry if he was asked to prove himself. The reason I bring all of this up here is because Aslan is an allegory for god, or at least, C.S. Lewis's understanding of him. And so I apply this same thought experiment to god as well. 

 

God says that his word is reality and any other is not. But was basis do we have to go by this? Well, his word that it is. Yet if we were to task god to prove this, historically it has made him very angry. So how could we actually test for and distinguish realities without enraging him who has the power to cause eternal pain and torment if questioned?

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You can't. It's a fear tactic to keep people in the fold. But Christians are rarely concerned with testing God or proving the religion objectively anyway. Most just assume it's true and think everybody else should assume the same thing, evidence or no evidence. Testing doesn't come into the equation much.  

 

Oh, and the faithful would have plenty of excuses to worm their way out of a testing failure. A non-answer would be dismissed as God's right to stay silent, and opposing evidence would be explained away. You can't win no matter what you do. 

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