Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Problem of Pleasure.

"I felt in my bones, first that this world does not explain itself . . . .Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning and meaning must have someone to mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art. . .Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design.--And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin."

G. K. Chesterton, on his return to the Christian faith, after his long odyssey through a desolate philosophical wasteland.
Atheists present us with a paradox. The existence of a loving God with the misery that we all witness. And none of us can deny the occasional complaint, Why pain and Why me?
Chesterton, however, cheerfully turned the problem of pain back to the atheists of his day.
The atheists said "There's pain. Thus, there's no God."
Chesterton said "There's pleasure. Explain, please."
He meant reconcile unwarranted, unnecessary delight with random chance.
In a world that exploded into existence out of sheer dumb luck, a universe squeezed by staggering odds out of the passing eons of time, what right had pleasure to exist?
As far as I know, they have yet to answer. They're too busy being mad at God for not existing.
And they have raised the heights of morality higher than the monument in Babel ever towered.
What heroism, to be moral, when there is no obligation to be so.
How achingly beautiful, to find meaning when there was none created.
And how courageous, to face a world without a benevolent Equalizer.
If they could just sell this idea of responsible nihilism to the masses, not to mention the occasional Hitler.
Atheists and agnostics face a giant obstacle in human nature.
Evil embarrasses their grandiose humanism, over and over again. Every day in a thousand little deeds committed by each of the five billion of this earth's inhabitants their aims are frustrated. I suppose, however, that is the seduction. The goal of altruism is a pipe dream. And pride drives them on like a sharpened ox goad. They need no God or threat of reprisal to force their goodness. We hold to morals because we are afraid. They hold to morality simply because.
Pleasure, however, does pose a problem for materialistic atheism.
I sat in a parking lot waiting for Devan tonight.
NPR played on the radio. (If they only knew how discordant and disruptive their commentary is to their music) Robert Schumann, I think, was the composer. Simple, contemplative piano.
A cold rain gusted down over the shopping center.
I was looking out the windshield at the reflection of the street lights mirrored on the dimpled surface of the parking lot. A yellow street curb lay directly in front of me, and an impressionistic portrayal of the curb lay directly below that.
Without even trying, I felt vaguely surprised at such beauty. And for my eyes only, apparently. No one else was looking.
On the dashboard, I then saw the image of the tiny rivulets of water coursing down the windshield, reflected on the vinyl covered Styrofoam. I felt unworthy to look upon it.
On the pavement outside, I watched as each drop of rain pelted into the shallow peddles, and saw each individual drop explode into a perfect symmetrical vision, as it collided with the asphalt and shattered up to catch the light and refract God's seven perfect colors.
Why me?
Why was I chosen to have the privilege of sitting in that resplendent rain-soaked parking lot, watching thousands of points of light dancing and twinkling before my eyes?
One drop was all I needed to see in order to justify my creation.
I assume since it was dark, no one saw me taking pictures with my phone of the puddles in the parking lot.
But I really don't care.
When I have the unmitigated gall to ask why me? in the future, I'll take out my cell phone, flip it open and shrug.
I have no idea.


Jennifer said...

I enjoyed your blog. Thankful for even the smallest things that bring us pleasure. From the piano playing on the radio to the beautiful colors we get to experience. We truly are bleesed.

Anonymous said...

I think. At least I think I think. I think, but I don't know how to put my thoughts into words. Where did that "Kid" get his brain? From his daddy, of course, because his mom still has hers.

Devan said...

God is so good to us...I am truly grateful that the Lord allows me the privilege to experience one of His greatest gifts...Life. (And I'm also thankful that He's given me the gift of "you" to share it with.)