Marriage and my Vows, and what it means to me.

wedding vows
Marriage and my Vows

From John Lennox’s book, ‘God’s Undertaker – Has science buried God?’ – p. 40,41
“Let us imagine that my Aunt Matilda had baked a beautiful cake and we take it along to be analyzed by a group of the world’s top scientists. I, as master of ceremonies, ask them for an explanation of the cake and they go to work. The nutrition scientists will tell us about the number of calories in the cake an its nutritional effect; the biochemists will inform us about the structure of the proteins, fats etc. in the cake; the chemists, about the elements involved and their bonding; the physicists will be able to analyze the cake in terms of fundamental particles; and the mathematicians will no doubt offer us a set of elegant equations to describe the behavior of those particles.

Now that these experts, each in terms of his or her scientific discipline have given us an exhaustive description of the cake, can we say that the cake is completely explained? We have certainly been given a description of how the cake was made and how its various constituent elements relate to each other, but suppose I now ask the assembled group of experts a final question: Why was the cake made? The grin on Aunt Matilda’s face shows she knows the answer, for she made the cake, and she made it for a purpose. But all the nutrition scientists, biochemists, chemists, physicists and mathematicians in the world will not be able to answer the question – and it is no insult to their disciplines to state their incapacity to answer it. Their disciplines, which can cope with questions about the nature and structure of the cake, that is, answering the ‘how’ questions, cannot answer the ‘why’ questions connected with the purpose for which the cake was made. In fact, the only way we shall ever get an answer is if Aunt Matilda reveals it to us. But if she does not disclose the answer to us, the plain fact is that no amount of scientific analysis will enlighten us.”

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If there is anything worth learning, it’s that we DO NOT know everything, and no single system of understanding will EVER give us such knowledge. The above example stuck to my mind as I was about to be married, not only as a powerful refutation to the validity of scientism (” the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable”), but I was imagining someone attempting to give such a comprehensive explanation of my love and commitment, laying it all out…in the hopes of removing any spirituality behind it, just trying to make it all physics and biology…just imagine this: A man in a nice suit shows up, a very well educated person who just ran all of the correct tests on the subject, and he’s going to break it all down for me and explain every physical molecule and how they moved and interacted to make this all possible, and the thought made me want to laugh. How much more mysterious, complex and glorious is this human life, and so much more then what we give it credit.

Marichu and I was married on October 5th and we are now a happier couple. Personal Vows were exchanged. Shiny gold rings now adorn us, and I kissed my lovely bride with a mild tipping motion which officially sealed it.

I think about what this all means, these VOWS we give during a wedding in particular…and the first thing that seems obvious about any marriage, (regardless of it’s actual love-content) is that a person gets to have less taxes taken out of their paycheck, as the law recognizes me as a married man (cool, I guess, but not motivating at all to me as a REASON to marry)…beyond the legal ramifications involved in no longer being ‘single’ according to the law, what does this union of two lives really mean? In particular, Why do we humans take the time to give vows at all? Certainly these deep assurances being spoken are already understood at some point during the relationship, in order for it to be agreed that we should be standing there in the first place, getting married, and words can hardly be considered the most reliable and sincere vehicle of human intention (as the saying goes: “put your money where your mouth is”), and not all (I’d guess very few) people cling to HONESTY as an actual Principle..it’s something you “try” to live up to, sure…because like the golden rule, “you treat others as you would have them treat you back”, (but only when the risk is low enough) …certainly for most HONESTLY is not something so important you’d do virtually anything to avoid damaging it, but yet here we are, getting married and speaking the most meaningful words we can bring forth in our life that we have ever spoken (and getting very emotional over them), to that one special person that completes us. We make bold promises about our future, hoping against all odds that our ability to be honest IS seriously valued by our special someone as something more than a pragmatic “best attempt”.

Most people highly regard the sincerity and integrity in others (even those that lack it them-self), and they do so regardless if such things are weighed against any divine judgment that can later make amends of any falsehoods, or by weighing it more tenuously against the opinions of men/women they respect; but there is something about words so wrought (in VOWS) that brings about a very profound trust that as human beings, we can rise above the base animal-physical-mammalian level of merely existing, procreating, evolving, exploiting for gain, etc.. so much so that perhaps even the most adamant materialist among us can for a moment experience something akin to the non-physical (God), something transcending the “random unguided/undirected process of life” that is so blindly (pun-intended) championed by such a purely humanistic person. As humans we enjoy much phenomena that exists beyond mere physicality, these experiences and choices that MAKE us distinctly human are not something any other creature can partake in. Human choices and relationships not driven by a blind mechanical process, but rather a designed, intelligent, intentional one. What OUGHT TO BE (vs. what IS) is not easily decided by those that would demand and insist to measure it with their already intelligently-designed instruments before coming to terms with the answer.

Any methodological human system (science, philosophy, religion, etc) that is divorced from the entire scope of humanity and it’s experiences (and ALL that it includes, EX: that data which falls outside of it’s purview), will never be able to prove or explain my love and my conviction to Marichu on our wedding day, of how much she matters to me, of what this commitment we are making means; forever these things are powerfully subjectively mine and uniquely human. Because I have come to accept there is something higher, something more perfect, something of which my perfection tries to mimic and clearly never WILL match (at least in this life) as a standard for myself, this will motivate me and inspire me to continue to improve myself for her, and for us. Our willingness to make such vows during a ceremony and subject it to the criticisms and evaluation of others, all while existing in a less than stellar level of perfection than the ideals we hope to achieve, acts as a promise to one another (in the most sincere way) that we believe it’s possible to exceed what it means to be human, and any limits the world or others would place upon us in the future; and I believe that level of excellence is worth fighting for.

————

Wedding Vows

these are vows I spoke to Marichu on Oct 5th, 2013, they are what I’m fighting for, and always will:
“How do I express the depth of my heart for you with mere words, to speak so briefly and somehow do it justice? It’s just that I know how easy it is to merely say words of love and commitment, how little effort it takes a person to merely open their mouth and form words, but…

My love, if ever the strength of my words should be lacking, now or years from now; or if my ability to even speak someday be compromised, I vow that my heart would still beat just for you, and as strong as it does right now, standing here, in the witness of God and family, and friends, and I vow to you that it will never fail to find its most sincere expression, in some way, perhaps where words can be discarded as useless or irrelevant, because whether it be in light or darkness, in sunshine or rain; I vow that THIS love will always be for you, and you alone.

Even if the world should crumble around us, I vow that I will commit myself to keeping us both safe in the arms of God, always focused on our joy and passion, always aiming for greater sincerity and truth. My resolve to love you, protect you, keep you, and to cherish you every day of your life is beyond reproach. I vow with not only these words, but also with every deed of my life from this day forward, that I will stay true in my love to you, until my very last breath, and if God would see fit, if He would bless me so abundantly yet again, I will find you even when all the lights go out, to continue loving you beyond death, even beyond time itself.

I have been blessed to learn from a wisdom far, far greater than my own, a profound truth, and that truth is this: that, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails, and I vow that our love will never fail.

All of this and so much more I vow to you, my only love. Now, and forever. ”

I love you Marichu!

Philosophy: The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward.

The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward.

Philosophy - admitting that you are an intellectual coward - switch the light

Philosophy – admitting that you are an intellectual coward – switch the light

A sign of intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy is the total unwillingness to engage in debate because of how it “emotionally” irks you (or hurts your haughty pride.) – It is this sort of “intellectual featherweight” who has the gull to ask a question (as if purely teaching anything of value in the asking alone), and then refuse to hear possible true answers/correction. (by blocking you, or running away for example) – This level of extreme mental cowardice is a sign that virtually everything that person clings to is subject to the most grievous of error.  Because of this, most people who engage in a debate with someone of this attitude can conclude with a high degree of confidence, that the discussion being ducked and avoided is MOSTLY untested by the opponent, and they are therefore more likely to be false.

How much more honest( toward the lofty aim of acquiring unbiased facts) is it to respond with, “I simply don’t know.”

When a person won’t even consider (at length) an opposing viewpoint, it is in fact a strong indicator (not absolute proof, but very little of that exists anyways) that such a person is embracing a FALSEHOOD. Why? Because their conviction is shown to be founded on little more than the sand of their shifting feelings and desires, and if not deserving of being considered on grounds greater than the emotional musings and wish-embracing of a person’s thoughts, why consider their view to be based on anything more objective?  Subjectivity is VITAL to the experience of every human life, but you CANNOT expect me to accept that your subjectivity carries more weight than my own does when discussing matters of metaphysical or epistemological truth claims.

For those of us with faith for example, if you cannot communicate with others actively about your beliefs and always feel you cannot DEFEND them (with some rigor), then perhaps cling to honesty as a virtue and accept that you may be blinded; please don’t try to lead others with your sightless and impotent faith, and your superstitious dogma that rejects the entire edifice of logic and reason; not because faith is intrinsically devoid of a valid rational process (it absolutely isn’t, despite what “new atheism” proponents try very hard to claim), but because you CANNOT or WILL not bother to even try to defend it on intellectual grounds. (Hint: for fear of revealing how weak your own position is?) – This may be a complete shock to many, but faith can be defended outside of quoting something from a “Holy Book” or how your family member experienced this or that, it’s possible by those who aren’t devoid of a strong understanding in Philosophy and the various philosophical systems that support the scientific process.   For starters, through  a grasp of objective truth, abductive reasoning, and the important ways that induction, inference and intuition contribute to human knowledge, etc…faith CAN BE (but admittedly, very more often is not) defensible as a rationally justified tool of cognition.

But let’s face something here head on: Your beliefs are of NO value to anybody if they crumble at the smallest challenge and you tuck-tail and flee. This goes equally for a person of faith with God as the focal point, or the sheer materialist and his faith in the ability of man to reason and understand the world as a focal point.  A belief is not intrinsic to truth, to conflate them is incredibly dangerous, and more often than not, beliefs espoused as such become mere tautology‘s being championed as absolutes; but I submit that if you can’t also defend your conclusions, of what possible enduring VALUE are your premises?  They make you feel happy; I suppose that’s a decent value…well, for you.

Philosophy: The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward, head in the sand

Don’t be like this, an intellectual coward with your head in the sand. Admit your lack of knowledge and you will grow.

Stop being an intellectual coward.  It’s okay to not know everything, but it’s NOT okay to give up trying and try to force others to do the same. Anything that is TRUE should illuminate ALL (to the greatest degree possible), just as a light flipped on strives to fill every corner of a darkened room, and such a position, a belief, a conclusion and the premises of it’s arguments should overcome (or at least meet squarely against, with force) ALL coherent objections.  It’s not always easy, sometimes it takes really hard work and intense study, sometimes you may even find yourself changing…but one should never flee like a frightened baby lion once a challenge is put forth against your claims, certainly not the most cherished beliefs you have (the moment you see a shadow blocking the candle that you opted to carry around is the time to lift it up a bit higher, or accept it’s light is dying and you need to replace it with a different one.)

I say, do yourself (and others) an immeasurable favor and increase your overall virtue in the process; stop believing in anything you won’t (or simply cannot) defend.  Understand that philosophy, faith, doubt, logic, reason, science, all exist to enrich your life, they shouldn’t be there to tear it down. Start embracing things you CAN not only believe in, but that you can live for (and even die for) , such as striving to be a better person,  for yourself and others! That’s something worth believing in, and I don’t care who you are, or what you think you know!

MUSIC TRACK REVIEW – Songs I love, and why. Mr. Gaunt Pt 1000 by Soap&Skin

MUSIC TRACK REVIEW

Band: Soap&Skin

Song: Mr. Gaunt Pt 1000 from the album ‘Lovetune for vacuum’

Album Lovetune For Vacuum by Soap & Skin featuring Mr. Guant Pt 1000

Album Lovetune For Vacuum by Soap & Skin featuring Mr. Guant Pt 1000

The odd-ball song title aside, I seriously question the humanity of anyone who listens to this song and fails to be touched by its beauty.  Its beauty is the humble acquiescence, the fragile acceptance that you don’t know everything, and in truth, probably very little that there is to know.  The most literal sense of the lyrics below could easily be asserted as an atheist position toward the existence of God…and this is clearly implied in the song, but to stop there and fail to interpret it a bit deeper, misses sooo much. This song is not a positive claim of any such thing, it is rather an expression of what is not known; of simple honesty.  It also applies to every single one of us that lives now, and that has ever lived, (and likely that ever will) on this earth.

Let’s face it, this world is one where we fall in love with so many things (and just as easily out of love), and it’s natural to attribute destiny to our otherwise repetitious, mundane lives.  Destiny is a promise of implicit order in the world, however mysterious the details may be.  To hold that something providential is happening gives real weight to our lives, but it carries a very high price, and it’s the widespread and radically different and varied religion and philosophies of our world. This point hardly proves them all wrong, any more then it proves which ones cling to Truth, but it is an interesting state of mind and heart to be stricken with enough humility for even a few seconds to be honest enough to admit, that “you just don’t know”, how liberating this truly is.  It is then, and only then that we can justify ‘with integrity and sincerity’ what we believe, and then try to honestly figure out why we believe it.

I have no doubt that this is a charming world full of people who believe so many varied things, including so many amazing things that I have never even considered, or in fact hasn’t even been a blip on my radar, and when I say I, I surely mean everyone without exception.  Yet, it’s a world that can equally be a place of true despair, either natural in its complete indifference to our plight, or forced upon us by the blackest of hearts among us…but at the end of the day, if we should survive and hold our heads up we can reflect upon what we know, which is something no other species on earth can do…we see that we know with certainty is exactly and succinctly sang about in this song; “it’s just a sky.”  The singer here accepts that she lacks absolute knowledge to the contrary and is brave enough to admit it, concluding that “I don’t know where, where I go”.

There is a profound sense of loss here with such an admittance, but the flip side of this is the realization that she will never be satisfied until the object of such desire is attained, and that thankfully she hasn’t been blinded by dogma.  Is it truly hopeless as a first impression might seem, or is there an object of her senses out there in the world somewhere that can absolve her of this “lack of faith”?  How is it that she can earn the right to “fall in love with the world” and not feel cheated that it’s [only] “just a sky”?  Why is this feeling even there?

We all struggle in our lives to be successful, to prosper and IF we have the common sense and the heart to remember that we could not have survived on our own…we share that prosperity with those we care about. We all have this deep longing to understand, to make sense of it all, to justify our actions and the actions of others.  By what standard? Don’t let this question slip by easily. We dare not say it’s subjective because we know some things are wrong, we just know they are and we undermine the validity of the (“subjective”) objection itself if we deny it.  If we are honest about it, we admit we have a deep sense of moral rightness (EX: any sane person would agree that torturing a baby is evil), that that all the subjective moralists or post-modern (self-defeating) gobbledygook philosophy can’t take away from each of us these simple facts.

We humans have a mind that is wholly unique in its capability to reason, reflect, judge and process information, a mind of incredible consciousness that can turn itself inward to introspect the meaning of our actions and thoughts as quickly as it turns outward to socialize and interpret the physical data coming in through our senses, and I believe it’s in that capacity to reflect on that division, somewhere between science, which has proven to be a powerful methodology to master the physical world’s what we sense, and between philosophy and religion, which has proven to be powerful systems to master the mind and heart’s what we feel, that we shall find it. Despite all the introspection and analysis, we turn our heads upward and then ‘experience’ (free from science, religion and philosophy) “just the sky”.

Perhaps the object of this deeply human craving truly does await us, even though now being wholly separate from the errors of senseless mind, and the deceptions of mindless sense? Someday to be that final bridge that can span that awful chasm of deep longing in our souls, and connect us all gloriously and completely to such light; to profound clarity; no longer blinded, deluded or partially understood.  No longer viewing the world through a mirror darkly.

If such reconciliation of love and knowledge is possible and is the fate of mankind’s unique existence, then I know “where I go” will be as clear as the sky itself, because mark my words, if anyone goes, we’ll all be going there together.

Soap&Skin – Mr. Gaunt Pt 1000 Lyrics:

I fell in love with you world
but I know, I know it’s just a sky
I don’t know where, where I go