Merry say what?

Bear with a Christian’s sarcastic perception of the non-believer’s “Christmas”:

It’s that calm notion again. Can you sense it? That time of the year when culture itself cuddles with you and wraps you up in a treacherously blanket of imagined innocence and of white peace within. The month for mindfulness and picturesque afterthought. Photo albums, as some call them. That one and only time of the year when red isn’t a dangerous colour, but rather a sign of a baby born king and the exchange of humankind’s guilt for innocence — so they believe that one day of the year. The snow is descending from heaven like small angles singing praises to the king that was born two millennia ago. Peacefully all mankind sits back singing hymns along with the heavenly descenders. Children’s plays are created and acted out to the honour and glory of the old, sacred infant. Even the adults, having abandoned the unpleasant myths long ago, now lean back and hum along as the children sing, finding the good ol’ stories more attractive and believable than they have done throughout the whole preceding year. Oh the bliss — that sweet, sweet taste of wonderland perhaps not being fairytale after all. Even to such an extant does mankind relax that people find courage enough to visit their deceased ones, creating local traffic jams on every graveyard in town. The ding dong jingle bells resound over all the earth — an imaginary king is born — and nicely dressed men and women leave their houses to supernatural care for a few hours while they as gathered families flock to the churches to hear it all about their protecters — virgin st. Mary, baby king Jesus and the later St. Claus — all preached so gently and graciously. That good ol’ story of hope yonder. A tear rolls down on mothers cheek and even dad is moved to the brim of what his pride can take as their children act on stage. The whole world is in motion as Bach’s Christmas Oratorium is blasted in the cathedrals of the big cities and the local churches fills with chanting sweet carols. Oh, how life-giving and hopeful. How lovely and pleasant a time of hope! After church, sweet Christmas lasts a little longer. Just a little longer it is. Then, when the blessed imagination that nobody believes in is all over, mankind goes home again, strengthened, each one of them into the dark new year, forgetting about it all til next time.

Christmas is here again. Oh how sweet the emptiness — how wicked the blessed bliss of deception.

Another year has passed with obscure swiftness. It is hard not to get a bit philosophical at the end of things.We were discussing the contents of Christmas in the family this otherdsc_0515day, realising all over again how immensely empty it all should be for most people. I mean; I don’t object to people enjoying themselves and taking the heaviest of winter weeks off to relax. By no means! I am just a tiny little bit confused and perplexed to find my atheist friends lining up for church. May I suggest you keep your children out of the spider web of Christmas carol lies if you don’t believe the content therein? That you don’t sing praises to a two millennia old baby king found worthy of no further honour and glory than that of being shared with a fantasy figure like Santa Claus? And do I utter this hard critic because I don’t believe in Jesus as the Christ that he is? On the contrary. Rather precisely because I am one of those who do. But I do not believe in Santa Claus (and never would I let my children into believing on such silliness).  Neither do I believe  in the integrity of an atheist singing “Silent night”.

Happy holiday!

 

 

27, going on 72.

Wait — didn’t I just turn 7? At least my 17th anniversary isn’t that long ago, is it? Well, actually I just turned 27 a few days ago!

I went running this other day, and happened to pass by the school I went to when I first started primary school. It is out in the countryside, so I am not there very often.  I looked for my own mirror image in the large windows to do a check up on my running technique. As I passed by I saw a 27 year old man who looked like he was running in the hallway on the inside of the building. My imagination got feet on its own, and I soon realized that 20 years ago I would do precisely that. Run to classes inside those buildings. I mean; wasn’t that yesterday? No — it’s actually 20 years ago! An attentive, and from time to time rather anxious child once stood behind that window. A big backpack on his back and a hand safely put in mum’s. I so vividly saw him there on the inside, as he was walking in to attend his first class ever. All the questions swirling in his head. Was it safe in there? What was he to expect? Why did the room have to smell so strongly of..unknown? Why did that teacher chew gum all the time? Would he make it through the tests? Would he make it to learn all he was supposed to? Would they be allowed to play? Excited, reluctant and anticipating he went into the room. He had no idea what he would be like when he came out 20 years of shaping later. Standing there on the outside watching myself go into the room, I realized that the building hadn’t changed at all. Such a perspective. Though the building was the same, the world I saw around me when standing in it, looked so different back then, compared to now. Had I only known what the world is like from here … . Well — actually I am glad I didn’t.  A quite transfigured person stood on the outside now. Not only taller. Stronger. Wiser. Older. More guilty. Closer to death. More aware and more experienced. Yet; just as weak, as untaught , as inexperienced and as fragile, lacking and insufficient as the child on the inside: times a hundred. That hundredfold is the cost of awareness and maturity in a fallen world. Indeed; the man on the outside was in the same need of a hand reaching deep down from heaven to guide an otherwise lost child through life — into whatever class is next on the list.

On the top of the hill -- yet making another step upwards.
On the top of the hill — yet making another step upwards.

As a child I would reason with myself and understand that at some point I would grow up and become an adult. I didn’t appreciate the thought much — unfortunate as it was to know that I once would have to sit down at the table, tending boring conversations instead of playing with LEGO. But it had to be so. After all that’s how the world works. I dreadfully hoped that at least somebody would teach me how to fill in those white and yellow bills before that time, because they looked so scary and complex with all those numbers on them! But even as I realized that adulthood was my ultimate destiny, and not an offer to be turned down, I also felt like it was a whole eternity until I was actually going to get there. After all, according to my experience, one year in itself took half an eternity, so ten years was quite incomprehensible!

Yet here I am; an adult, more or less. Perhaps a bit wiser. Perhaps a bit less childish and with some maturing aspects about myself.  But I still find the same childish tendency in myself. I know for certain that my final destiny from nature’s side — if God grant it so — are the gray hairs and a withering body. I might just have rounded the top of the hill now in my twenties, and downhill is more and more a fact. Though it looks like a distant future, I am soon going to turn 72 instead of 27. We all know age coming, but we don’t really grasp it, do we? Not until the day is there, and we look back and amaze at the swiftness of passing time.

As I screw up my eyes and scout down into the future, I wonder how the past looks from out there. Will I look back in regret and contempt? Will I look back at past youth, grumbling over my aging body and vanishing neural activity? I hope not. I hope that I will rather look at the present as past from a wiser and brighter future, knowing that I shall once look at it from eternity. My brain might not any more be as capable as it was when I was a child. I may not be as innocent as I was when I was an infant. It doesn’t matter. For I am one step closer to eternity with and in God. Shall I take another step or two upwards as I go down? For downhill is certainly coming.

We all chose whether we will have to look up to, or down at the past. If an old body, a vanishing memory and an altogether dying biological machinery is granted me to inhabit, then down it shall be. For I am yet to climb higher.

Released

A friend of mine just passed away in a tragic road accident. My thoughts go to his closest ones. I am in grief with them, and I mourn. Yet — I rejoice with the believing ones among them, that he now has met the God in whom he profeessed belief; a God who judges with righteousness. Let us not forget whence we came into this world.

 

Released

Lights everywhere, red-eyed people in deep grief. What all of us see to be the contours of a priest enters the room. “He is with us no more,” he begins, as he smiles from ear to ear. Silent snivel around the tables. Cries of helplessness break the peace. He is gone. At such direct notice people are not able to contain themselves, and his nearest hold each other close as dreary sobbing is heard across the little room of people in grey suits. Tears flow freely, and people in grey become people in grey spotted black and later people in black. He is gone. I sit a bit further behind in the room and contemplate the words. I see people cry. I see people who weep, and I see faces inconsolable. Myself, however, I find that my brain must be instructed to shut down its most human parts when tragedy hits. The most sensitive parts are shielded from exposure  to the worst storms. In retrospective I shall gradually have to feel these parts unravel and turn on again and start prosessing what has happened. First when the hurricane has left, is it safe to view the damages inflicted.  But as for now — “He is gone.” –The words just drop dead to the ground. Unprocessed. Yet others, I observe, don’t know how to feel. There is nothing wrong or right about how you feel, says a girl standing up to pass a last greeting to the passed away one. You just feel like you feel. She sits down, and others follow her in sharing memories. The walls of the little room we are assembled in for his remembrance reveal that we are all imprisoned. Patches of paint has fallen off here and there and scattered on the cold concrete floor. I raise up to tell my friend farewell, too. Memories of how we used to talk together cross my mind and move my lips. Memories of how we could discuss and disagree about pretty much everything between heaven and earth and back and beyond. I remember how we held each other accountable for the hope of freedom that lived in us. I sit down with the others and try to keep the hope of freedom beating. I look around me. In the corner I see the priestlike one again. The one who came with the message that  he thought to be a message of joy. A whisper that “God judge him for his lack of reverence and sorrow” fills the room. Not much of a priest, people murmur and look at a happy man in grey clothes hiding in a corner. He mumbles something like “I so long to the day when I will be in freedom with him.” People accuse him of having a distorted view of  the 10 feet rock solid reality surrounding us; the prison walls.

“Whence did you come in, then?” he replies.

The guards come into the room and dissolve the meeting. “Everybody back to their rooms — now!” Silent, sad and with a broken hope we return to our cells and sit our respective beds. A distant whistle of joy from the cell of the priestlike. The one whos perception of reality, they say, is insane and wishful thinking. He still waits for his freedom. For the day when his transgressions have been atoned for.

And they are right — only the one who knows freedom can be imprisoned.

The more you know you are imprisoned, the less sorry you feel for the release of a fellow prisoner. Of course we shall mourn and be in grief for those who pass from this faint world and into reality. But let us never forget just that: Reality is beyond — not here — awaiting those who know that they are imprisoned.

Over my dead body.

Life is utterly strange – and short. Over my dead body shall some day rest a stone. I found myself tarrying around in a graveyard yesterday. Around me a thousand dead bodies. I couldn’t see the bodies, and I smelled no sent of death. What met my eyes, rather, was nice carved stones with beautiful flowers surrounding. I can’t stop reflecting on the irony of how the garden of death can produce such nice flourishing flower beds. My grandpa was buried here some 7  years ago, and as I walk around to locate the stone that keeps him under the earth, I take notice of the many sayings and words written on the tomb stones.

 

"Where roses never die."
“Where roses never die.”

I guess, if you want to extract one sentence to summarize a person’s life, it be the one written over his tomb. Save those 50 percent going “Rest in peace”, “Thanks for everything”, “Remembering you with joy” or the like of typical words. Saying the same as all the others, your words loose information. It is that which stands out from the rest that conveys meaning. The essence of information must be its deviation from triviality. I passed a woman’s tomb with a simple

 

Thanks.

and went humm… Strange how you can take away a couple of words, and all of a sudden what you are left with says more than what you started from. To me it spoke of a husband truly grateful to his dearly loved wife now gone. She had been of great value to him. Perhaps she helped him a lot. Of the loving and serving kind, maybe. Overbearing and magnanimous, I imagine, always valuing his life over her own. Who knows what gratitude was spelled in that one word? A truly great word to put on a tomb.

I pass a tomb with a long story of small bear resting in big bear’s arms. Interesting but indeed strange to put on a tomb stone. It probably says a lot about the departed — or the remaining family. More likely it conveys information about both parties. On I wander and wonder. The treasures hidden in the graveyards are the kinds you have to dig deep for. They are like pearls enclosed in oysters.  You have to take the work to look for them, and when you find one, you have to realize its value. Ah — another book spelled out in one sentence:

Nobody knows the day before the sun has set.

Choice words from a non-believer, I take it. Sad words. A screaming voice of hope that something is awaiting yonder. A voice that isn’t on terms with the divine or the heavenly realms. A shout for justice; a prayer hoping for good times for a struggling, good soul now gone. Must have been a good funeral. Utterly sad though. He is lost into the big void of nothing. Oh — I walk on.

"Nobody knows the day before the sun sets."
“Nobody knows the day before the sun sets.”

Talking of nothing; here’s a grave with no inscription. Wow; the subtlety of nothing. How it shouts against me. How it screams everything but “nothing”. As if it wasn’t already weird enough, the grave is set in order! Flowers and nice stone tiles surrounding it. How odd. What can the meaning of this be? A mindful soul left behind in speechless grief. Where words seemed futile. Or perhaps the deceased was a man of facts? A man relented with the terms dictated by every life’s eventual fate? Confused I walk on. I pass a “Where roses never die” — save graveyards? — and finally reach my destination;

All by grace.

IMG_2771
“All by grace.”

So true. I think nobody would give him the testimony of being an easy person, or that of a person having led a perfect life. As humans we tend to forget the good sides of a person as he or she is around, and then, when the person is wiped off the surface we are otherwise bound to, we praise him or her far beyond that of truth. But I think the words my grandma chose for grandpas tomb were perfect.They reflect how he would approach strangers: Without judging and with grace.  The result of having had to learn the hard way himself. Harsh upbringing. No recognition despite of his great many talents.  All by grace. The words reflect what as a result of his background inevitably was needed in his own life; grace. Those words were perfect — and beautiful! They tell the story of a believer. There is hope. They pass the knowledge of judgment and righteousness. Of eternal salvation for every repenting sinner. Truly wonderful.

As I walked off, it struck me that there was one tomb I still hadn’t seen. That one tomb I will spend more time by than any other tomb, but yet never will see — save from beneath. My own tomb. What story will it tell? I might not be the one choosing the words, but I can dictate the terms. I am 26 years of age, and I can barely imagine that I some day will join the resting party of the dead. But I will. What story will then be carved in stone above me?

Now is the time to tell.

The last supper

You sit there on the edge of your bed with an empty look on your face. Furrows of concern that weren’t there before the verdict was reached, have now made their way unto your face. A soft trembling accompany your arm as you release the tension with which it was forced down into the bed out of sheer stress. You lift it to rub your face. Before you in the room a table is set with the most wonderful dishes.

Fate is fixed and lot is laughing.
Fate is fixed and lot is laughing.

Dishes you never tasted and dishes you never even knew. Candles are lit to create the perfect atmosphere for you to enjoy, all as you asked for. Yourself you are dressed up in the very best of suits. Vine of the finest sort is in your cup. Beethoven’s 5th is playing as fate is knocking harder and harder on the door. You tilt your head and clench your fists. The same empty look on your face is now starring at the table. At the delicious meals. Even the most picky would find his way with this table. Pleasures to lift any starving soul out of the pit. But for your own destiny there is no remedy. You take a long, deep sigh. Shake your head. What pleasure is there in the finest dishes when you are dying? When your own death is carved in stone — soon quite literary so? What liberty is there in pleasure when you know it is soon ending? What delight is there in fancy meals when your guts and mind constantly keep working on an ever increasing awareness of the three shots being injected tomorrow? “Enjoy” the jailer had said as he left the room and locked. What an insult. What fool would sit down to feed in such a situation? What idiot could be occupied with pleasure in such circumstances? At the thought of it, you realize how bizarre  a position you are in. All this splendid food on the most expensive service, and you can’t possibly find any enjoyment in it. The situation is getting more and more tense. The point of despair is long surpassed by now. Cortisols, adrenalins and the like are racing through your system at such high rates that you are starting to wonder if you at all will live through to the execution tomorrow morning. There really is nothing you can do to change anything. The  sentence is passed, and all you can do is to wait for its fulfillment. You crawl on the floor and scratch your finger nails against the floor until blood decorate the situation with deep, dark red. Again. For hours you just lay there. Stare down into the floor on which you drivel. Gaze at the roof as if you saw directly into heaven’s secrets. Then. Finally you lift your head and stare down to your feet and the table of lookers beyond. You take a last deep sight, shake your shoulders, wipe off your by now dirty face of despair and walk over to the table. What fool sits down to have his fill in such a situation, you angrily mumble as you throw yourself over it all with the worst of manners.

If the last supper wasn’t already eaten during Passover in Palestine two thousand years ago, life is but a big insulting pleasure. Nothing but a last meal. What fool could sit down to enjoy it?

The gene-ius in us

I just watched a documentary about manipulating genes. In the documentary we among others meet a Chinese girl, Lin Lin, who works as a researcher manipulating pig embryos. Listen to her fluent Chinglish:

 “I still remember the first time I see this embryos under my microscope. And then after 4 months and these embryos they are becoming the pigs. And I am just thinking  oh, these pigs they are used to be the embryos under my microscope, and I make these embryos. I am so exited about that!” -“Why?”, asks the interviewer. “Oh, it is really like being a mum.

This is life that I created. It is by my hand.”

Wow. Those last words belong to nobody but God Almighty. Anyway; so I thought. Manipulating the genome of pigs, the researchers are able to play God, making, molding and shaping individuals according to their own preferences, desires,wishes and ideas about what is best for humankind. The more we know about the genes of individuals, the more precise alterations can be made.  This is not science fiction. Not any more. Combined knowledge of phenotypes (macroscopic traits) and genotypes (an individual’s set of genes) give us rich insight into which genes plays which roles. This is real life, and it is happening daily. What is the goal of it all? At the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in China they have the capacity for sequencing 2000 human genomes per day. Why?

Illustrational; from the documentary.
Illustrational; from the documentary.

To perfect humans, naturally. At least that would be a natural implementation of the information gathered on the institute and its counterparts all around the globe. Just like we perfect tomatoes today, we can increase the power of evolution by going beyond natural selection. Human selection by breeding would be much faster and more controllable.

The sequencing power they have at BGI is enormous, if believing what we hear in the documentary. There seems to be nothing but a matter of time before we for instance understand which genes are responsible for elevated IQ score. It surely will turn out to be a complex affair , but with the combined effort of all the scientist teams around the globe now focusing in on the genetic code and the sequencing of individuals, I can hardly imagine that there is much more than a turtles walk across the road before we are there. As some of the scientists met in the documentary were dreaming about; the population mean IQ score could effectively be increased by picking and choosing our offspring. This would in turn lead to a population willing to change and adapt more efficiently. There would be a much greater human potential to realize. I guess they are right. We would all be smarter. And so it goes with all other desirable traits, too. We will all be more attractive. We will breed extremely caring and self-sacrificing nurses. We will breed heroic and brave soldiers and we will breed strategic leaders. Fantastic, indeed. But really – it is mind blowing to think about. Evolving from one-celled organisms, through some fishy intermediaries crawling up on the shore and all the way through to becoming majestic individuals capable of nothing less than altering their own genomic material! Individuals whose life and future is in their own hands to change and experiment with. Not only your own life. You can soon choose the features of your children. Oh my.

Waiwaiwaiwait. Hold on for just a second. What is actually going on here? A few thousand years back, God looked down at us humans, as in Babel a tower was raised into the heavens. With unrestricted control he said in omnipotence that

” If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” (NET, Gen 11,6-7)

We speak the same language again, and are obviously more connected than anytime before. We research, develop, understand, teach, acquire new skills together with new technology and expand at a higher rate than ever seen before in history. There seem to be no boundaries to what we can do. Soon we will be on Mars. We have thoughts and theories stretching back to the very start of the presently known universe. We can manipulate our own genes or even clone ourselves.

Why does this happen? Where are the boundaries? What does God say when he looks down from heaven today? What about the concepts of spirit and soul that we can read about in the Bible. Where is it? Can we make souls? Many questions that until the present age have seemed artificial and far-fetched are now demanding answers. As Christians I think we will have to face many questions in the future.

What are your thoughts about it?

Stupendous claims indeed.

The Skeptics Week is currently going on at NTNU, and I have found myself defending my faith many times already. A faith I have been examining quite intently on my own over the course of the last year or so – a process that seems to just have started. A healthy process, I believe. But like anything healthy in this wicked world, it doesn’t always taste so invitingly pleasant.

Photographer: Cathrine Lindberg
Photographer: Cathrine Lindberg

And what exactly is it, that I defend? I claim to believe that somebody rose from the dead about 2000 years ago. Nothing less. On a cabin trip this weekend, where candles, darkness, the guitar and squeaking walls seemed to create just the right atmosphere, the topic of God versus science; arrogance versus ignorance came up. How can we possibly know? According to some, Gödel destroys the battle ground even before the battle gets started. A lovely discussion indeed it was, though, with some jolly good British accent. A good warm up for the Skeptics week, and after the debate between dr. Payne and Law yesterday, I went down to ask the agnostic part in the debate – mr. Law – his opinion on my stupendous claims as a Christian.

“Is there any way I could possibly convince you that somebody rose from the dead for say – quite hypothetically – 2000 years ago?” I asked.
“No,” he answered, just as honest as I had hoped for him to be, and then seemed to feel obliged to add a  “well, I couldn’t rule it out as a theoretical possibility, but I think it is going to be tough for you.”

Quite frankly no, then. There is no way I could possibly convince mr. Law that somebody did this. At this point, as a good Christian I should probably fold my hands and shake my head at such a shockingly arrogant position. In fact the topic of the debate was; “Accused of arrogance; is Jesus the only way?” a good topic for a debate, except many Christians would at this point wonder if the accusation was addressed to the right part. To be a bit more fair with him, and in the same spirit of honestness (or hotness, as my spell-checker suggests) as he answered me with, I quite frankly understand his position, and on logical grounds I might even respect it. And perhaps so should (or do) you?

What if somebody came along and preached that as a matter of fact Caesar himself rose from the dead 2000 years ago. As a Christian you wouldn’t believe it for a second. Or say a Muslim woke you up at night and said Muhammad came about 1400 years ago preaching as a prophet from God. You wouldn’t even have to wake up to shake your head, turn around and sleep on. Not because you are arrogant. No, not at all, but because you QUITE FRANKLY wouldn’t believe it. You couldn’t, and you shouldn’t. And why is that so?
“The evidence that this claim is true simply isn’t good enough! ” you shout in my ears. And this is where the philosophers start dancing around mr. Law, because that is exactly what he claimed about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead;

“There simply isn’t enough evidence – and how could there possibly be?”

I think that is a fair question to ask, and we as Christians could ask ourselves the same question. Is there any way that I would believe that Caesar rose from the dead if somebody came along in a professors suit and tried to convince me with historical facts, dates and a convincing voice? Or, to be more self-examining and less pleasant;

is there enough evidence to believe that Jesus rose from the dead 2000 year ago – which indeed is a rather radical claim?

After all that strikes at the very core of the Christian faith, and thus it better be true. As Paul puts it:

 “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep  in Christ have also perished. For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.
(NET 1Cor 15,13-19)

So I find myself asking why it is that I so strongly have believed up till now. Not believed as in “I think perhaps…”, but as the Bible puts it; with full certainty (Heb 11,1). In fact I have believed  so strongly that if somebody came to me only a couple of years back and said they didn’t believe there was a god, I would write him off as a liar and think he just didn’t want there to be a God ( of course that is true for many, but not everybody, I believe – or is it?).

I have my own answers to the boldfaced question, but it seems as if at the moment I prefer just asking questions, and not giving away my answer, so in the spirit of Socrates you will have to give birth to the answers on your own.

How can you possible believe that somebody rose from the dead 2000 years ago? What is your evidence?

If you know God, I think you know the answer.

A few resources on my faith

The Skeptics week at NTNU is approaching, and after meeting with the subjects of this years grilling I figured I would upload some of the material I have used in different settings over the course of the last couple of years. I haven’t had the time to read through it all very intently, so please use with care and don’t write me off as lost case if you find something horrible in there (but do let me know!) 😉 . Hopefully it might be useful input whether you are a christian or not 🙂

  • Evidence; a pp-presentation with a gross summary of why I believe (Nb! from 2013)
  • Is the Original New Testament Lost; This is a summary of the key points found in this debate (youtube) between dr. Wallace (Christian) and dr. Ehrman (agnostic). This is a very instructive debate, but the notes listed are only of value if you have watched the debate, I am afraid.
  • Spørsmål å tenke igjennom før Grilling (mix between norwegian and english…); the answers I prepared before taking part in “Grill a Christian” at the Skeptics week 2014 (NTNU). Also contains a few useful definitions, and an even shorter summary of key points in the debate mentioned above.
  • Interview with Bahrt Ehrmann; this is a really interesting, short interview with agnostic Bible scholar Bahrt Ehrman on claims in the Da Vinci Code.

Please visit Skeptics Week if you are interested in attending debates and/ or talks on the topic of God, faith and hope (or the lack of it, according to some).

The misty flats

Words are not mine in the exam period. Spending at least 7 hours a day at the university preparing for the great finals of the year the first thing I feel like doing when I get back home is definitely not writing a blog post. At times I think I spend too much time at school. I didn’t say I spend too much time preparing for exams, mind you. I start with fresh spirits — 8am — good hopes for the day! Since I am redoing an exam in particle physics this exam period I start by reading a paragraph or two on  fundamental particles in the Standard Model. Or about quark confinement, perhaps.  There is no thought confinement going on in my head however, and suddenly my mind spins off ( I am sure they will find spin 1 Bensons one day)  to one of the few lectures this semester where I was not only physically present in the lecture, but also mentally; the lecture on the Highs Mechanism and the Highs Bosons. Another container of new particles. And then the more fundamental philosophical question begs itself: Are they real? At this point I recall sitting in a philosophy class a few years back — freshPoles3man almost — where some odd philosophical fellow presented the dilemma of knowing whether the world is as it is because that is how we perceive it, or if we perceive it as we do because that is how the world truly is. Well… I thought; an amusing dilemma. It didn’t occupy me more than that, though. I could hardly believe, of course, that careers were (or worse; are) spent thinking on that question and the like! I couldn’t prove it, but still; of course the reality around us truly is as we perceive it. That is precisely why we perceive it that way, I would exclaim, waving my arms. Not so sure any more. Now I tend to think the other option is the more obvious one. “Reality”, as we call it, is a perception of the “real world” acquired through observational interaction with it, I would say (but not die for it!). And even how sure’em can make us that the magician put the coin into the box — even how real it occured to us — he never did so! At least not according to his reality, which prevails over our own in the end, when he takes the coin out from behind his ear. What is reality in the first place? Another question; why do we assume that we can explain the fundamental elements of the world by particles? Why do we hold the belief (for those of us who do, that is!) that particles, localized quanta of fields as they are, is a complete basis for the description of reality. That is a question I have wondered about for ages. Well — not ages, but. Are extra dimensions real? Which one is the more fundamental entity; potentials (favored by QED) or fields (favored by classical electrodynamics — and perhaps by intuition)?

And by that time my little spinning session is over, and I look back down into my book. Then the watch. The night is already there, and I realize I didn’t finish half of what I intended to. OK, perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but in the end the spinoff of all these small detours of mine is nothing but shortened time for doing what I am supposed to in the so-called exam period. Some of us haven’t got a clue what that word means yet.

Is my education destroying or building my intellect? What about me as a human being — a self reflection far more fundamental (since that is our terminology today…) than my IQ score. Does it build me?

I am sure it does. But where does all this fog come from. It is tempting to take just another infinitesimally small step down into the misty flats. The terrain looks so flat and easy down there. A nice white layer covering over every little bump. John Oxenham got the words for it, I recon:

The Way
To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way,
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
and the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The Rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go.

J. Oxenham

The Gospel

Illustrational
Illustrational

The following links contain the article (Norwegian) that I wrote in preparing to the leadership training in TKS this fall, and the PP-presentation (Norwegian) used under the talk. The gospel, though, is not for leaders. The gospel calls on apprentices, trainees and employees — and leaders, too. It encourages true discipleship, ultimately resulting in, and expressed through, a heart-felt confession of Galatians 2:20;

I have been crucified with Christand it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Gal 2.20, NET Bible)

The gospel. Such elegance — what wisdom; so brilliant a master-plan. I have heard it said, that it cannot be fathomed in words. Yet so perfectly simple in it’s manifestation. So trivial in appearance that the wise constantly confuse it with fraud and humbug.

The article is not a finished chapter, I am afraid. I think I have got more questions on my own now, than I had when I started out a few months ago. Also, I feel that the clear lines of coherence I intended to draw in it, are missing, which is something that I am absolutely not pleased with. Yet; I do not hold an infinite amount of time at present, so I have to call it there (for now), and leave it for the future to embark upon. What is found beneath, therefore, is not “all said and done”, and so much could be added. Hopefully, though, it can stimulate to further investigations on your own. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I hope I have asked some of the right questions.

Please contact me with remarks, complaints, requests or even questions — all according to what you find reading along with you:

Unfortunately everything is in Norwegian, but hopefully a translation will be ready in due time…