We all have heard of absolutes, but I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lack of general understanding about what exactly an absolute is and how we can tell it is there or isn’t. So I thought I would attempt to define it.
I can give you an easy example of a material absolute: Suppose I was sitting next to a table lamp. I can touch the lamp, I can see the lamp, I could even smell it if I wished. The lamp is a material absolute. No human being could change the fact that the lamp is real.
Now suppose someone were to say that they don’t believe the lamp is really there. They might disbelieve their eyes, or perhaps there is something wrong with their sense of touch. Even if they cannot feel the lamp, or see it, does that mean the lamp isn’t real?
Well you could say I am hallucinating the lamp, then I run into the same problem in reverse. Just because I can see it or feel it, does that mean it’s real?
The fact is, either the lamp is there or it isn’t. Those are two absolute realities. Only one person can be right and one wrong.
If the lamp is there, then it doesn’t matter whether the other person can sense it or not, it’s still there.
Does that make sense? But I can take it a step further.
Assuming the lamp is there, the other person might say that as long as they don’t believe it’s there it can’t affect them. I could turn it on or off and they could see or not see, but they might say it doesn’t matter.
I could even hit them with the lamp and they couldn’t feel it.
But if I were to injure them, that would prove the lamp is real.
(You might say that an injury isn’t real if you can’t feel it, but what about a bug bite? Or a head injury that knocks you out. You might not feel either, but one at least is certainly life threatening. Actually the worse the injury, in some cases, the less you can feel it because of damaged nerves.)
If nothing happens to them, then I was in error.
So the question is not if there is an absolute, but which absolute it is.
But what about believing in a lie? Doesn’t that harm you?
Yes, but that’s proof of my point. Truth (reality) will harm you or help you whether you believe it or not. A lie will not harm you until you let it.
It’s the difference between hallucinating a truck barreling toward you on the highway and actually standing on the highway in front of a moving truck. The first one will hurt you only if you believe it and do something stupid; the second will hurt you whether you believe it or not. Unless you move.
Truth is like a truck. Dangerous when it’s coming against you; but life saving if you’re inside it. (Trucks save lives don’t they?)
Lies on the other hand are you hurting yourself. They are nothing in of themselves, except a trick.
An absolute then is a thing not subject to change no matter the circumstance.
You’ve probably heard that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form into another. Matter (like the lamp) is an absolute for us.
And I dare say there are absolutes far more sure then material ones.
You know a tree by its fruit.
Now, and you probably saw this coming, suppose the lamp was God?
Many people cannot feel God, many more cannot see Him; but some claim to have felt Him and some claim not to.
We’ve seen that seeing and feeling themselves are not proof of the absolute of anything.
Even though God is not a material absolute, the same rules will apply. Either He is there or he is not. One person is perceiving the truth, the other is blind.
I think the evidence of God is much the same, without the lamp on, one cannot see; without God, there is no meaning in life.
If God were to strike someone they might not recognize it as Him but there would still be a blow. A mark.
The question is not if the absolute is there, but which it is, and if you will believe it.
Notice that at the moment there is just as much probability for atheism as theism.
This whole exercise might seem totally obvious; but nowadays it isn’t. Many people believe there are no absolutes, so theoretically the person who sees and the one who doesn’t are equally perceptive.
But it doesn’t work: Real things leave an impression. It could be a bruise or it could be an effect on your life, but it will be there; whether you see it or not. The proof is in the damage or improvement in your condition.
This works with emotional things too. We see it in the effects addictions have on people, addictions of all kinds, activity and substance related. The people themselves may fail to see the difference but their family and friends don’t.
It is no good trying to pretend that blindness isn’t real. All kinds of blindness.
Oddly enough I don’t hear it talked of a whole lot anymore. Being blind to the truth.
Okay that about wraps this up, but if anything in this post was unclear, please comment and let me know, I am open to suggestions. It’s a tricky subject to tackle.
Until next time–Natasha.