Beach in South Uist
(Photo: Scott Murray)

Review time
I thought I would do a review of my blogs. What was all that about? I enjoyed the chats I had with Simple Faith in recent blogs. I hear he is away somewhere spreading the good news, so this gives me the chance to have a look at what I’ve been saying thus far. It’s always good to pause and consider, although I look forward to meeting Simple Faith again and continuing our conversation. Actually, I’m not all that convinced that he’s interested in philosophy and theoretical thought. Lucky sod! I wish I was like that: just a simple trust in Jesus without the intellect getting in the way. But then I think, every person is different in their heart and there is only one Other that knows your heart. As it says in psalm 7: ‘For the righteous God trieth the heart and the reins.’ So I’ll leave that judgement to the one who knows.

What my blogs are about
So what is there to review? Well, the blogs, 50 of them, cover a year of my life. Last year, at the end of June 2012, my wife was diagnosed with cancer and, wisely or unwisely, I started keeping a diary. But I published the diary retrospectively, starting on the 27th March this year. So blogs 1-32 are extracts from the diary; blog entries 33-50 are mostly a discussion of contemporary thought with particular focus on the Christian philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd.

The diary entries
When I started the diary we had no idea what would happen but I hope that the story of what happened will be of interest to people. For us, clearly the hand of God was evident in what was happening; so clear that it couldn’t be denied, and that includes the trans-physical happenings. Astonishment, stupefaction are not too strong words to use about how we felt. I have no idea who most of the people are who read the blogs, so I can’t say whether they are Christian believers or not. Obviously the reaction of believers to stories of trans-physical events will be different to non-believers.
The Cuillin
(Photo: Scott Murray)

The main reason for telling what happened
I imagine that believers and non-believers will have their own particular quarrels with our story, a story I find worth telling mainly because it strikes a severe blow at naturalism; for me, personally, a fatal blow. Naturalism is the belief that everything that happens can be explained, at least in principle, within a closed system of cause and effect. So there is no need for anything supernatural outside the system. Therefore, there is no need for God or a creator. Naturalism is the worldview of militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins. What happened to us proves to me that naturalism is a lie.

No militant atheists
I doubt if any militant atheists have read the blogs so far. Why do I say that? Well, going by the religious discussion forums on the internet, when militant atheists are involved (not all atheists of course) the discussion tends to descend into vitriol and personal abuse. Thankfully, there haven’t been any abusive comments so far.

Loch Voil, Stirlingshire
(Photo: Scott Murray)

Why Dooyeweerd?
Where does Dooyeweerd come into all this? The answer is that in trying to make sense of all that has happened to us, his philosophy makes most sense. I say that as a person who has had a life-long interest in philosophy. Simple Faith would probably say I’m nuts but I’ve already told him that you can’t understand where everything has gone wrong in the West without understanding what happened in philosophy. Of course I agree with him that faith can happen without philosophy. It can happen through the Holy Spirit informing and in-forming the heart. But that’s another story.

The subject-object relation problem

I’m not sure if I should mention this problem to Simple Faith when I see him again. Perhaps not, because for most people it’s a bit abstruse. Yet, it’s a central problem in philosophy and I for one could never quite understand Kant’s treatment of it, his splitting of reality into ‘appearances’ and the ‘thing-in-itself.’ What lies behind appearances is thinkable, as ideas, but not knowable according to Kant. This split has caused all kind of problems for philosophers ever since. Dooyeweerd, I think, solves this problem in a satisfactory way by reinstating God and faith and revelation in the equation. But more of that later …