My life began with childlike faith. After then going through the dark forests of positivistic science, to which I gladly gave myself for so many years, I was finally able, through contemplation of the whole, to emerge into the light of day with a view of things that is both visionary and empirical.

It is a view that has roots in faith, and from it builds bridges of scientific coherence towards a new kind of visionary faith rooted in scientific understanding. This new kind of faith and understanding is based on a new form of observation. It depends for its success on our belief (as human beings) that our feelings are legitimate. Indeed, my experiments have shown that in the form I have cast them, feelings are more legitimate and reliable, perhaps, than many kinds of experimental procedure.

It is in this way that I was led from architecture to the intellectual knowledge of God. It was my love of architecture and building from which I slowly formed an edifice of thought that shows us the existence of God as a necessary, real phenomenon as surely as we have previously known the world as made of space and matter.

-thus Chris Alexander, Making the Garden

Our feelings are legitimate.

I’m not always sure why you guys read this blog or what you find of value in it.  I don’t ask, because I don’t cater.  Folks sometimes volunteer that they like the little parables.

Me, I’m proud of my discovery of what glory is; of virtue charts; of the parable of the nest of thorns; of the world’s worst pun; of my Christmas posting; of the insight into how time and eternity are integrated; and a few others.  It feels good to reflect on that.

But it may be the most important insight I ever had is one I don’t take much pride in.  It’s too obvious.  Too many people already know it.  It’s the argument from meaning.

It’s similar to C.S. Lewis’ argument in Mere Christianity that even people who deny morality still have an instinctual moral sense.  Ditto with people who deny that life is meaningful.  They seem to think that their denial at least is meaningful.

In a universe without meaning, nihilism is just another delusion.

In a nutshell, the argument is that we have a sense that life is meaningful and our lives are meaningful.  That sense is true.  Our lives are not meaningful if they don’t make a lasting and intelligible difference.  If time is all there is, our lives do not make a lasting and intelligible difference.  Therefore, either we ourselves are immortal and we ourselves and our friends and family will be affected forever by the things we do and say now; or else there is an omniscient eternal observer who forever cherishes the good we’ve done and regrets the evil; or both.  An excerpt:

The soul living on must be forever, of course. It isn’t the length of our lifespan that makes death a problem. It’s death itself. But if the soul is immortal, either because it continues forever in time, or because it exists in some sort of eternal state, or both, then death doesn’t apply. For our lives to be meaningful now, our existence as souls must be intelligibly connected to our lives now. That means that we must continue to have morality and meaning and be agents and aware to some degree. Even if our values then far transcend our current values, there must be some point of connection to our current ones.

I recommend the whole thing.  Feel free to comment here.

You will also want to see this bit from our friend Bruce Charlton and this from our friend SPDI.

Continue reading at the original source →