The true meaning of apathy

For whatever reason, I have always associated apathy with a certain level of bitterness and cynicism. Obviously, the definition is erroneous, because apathy would imply there are no strong feelings such as the aforementioned bitterness or cynicism, but in my day-to-day life, such emotions have always been there. Apathy was reached via frustration and, eventually, giving up; I felt that I had become apathetic once I had decided to no longer care about a subject (usually because it was annoying me so much).

I have now learned the true way. Apathy is not reached via a decision, for if a decision must be made, one is clearly not apathetic. Rather, it is a state of being. And regarding my finals, I reached this nirvana.

I just didn’t care. I had other things I cared more about, so my finals had no hold on my whatsoever. I wasn’t giving up on the classes and throwing in the towel. Towels are worth keeping, so instead I slung it over my shoulder and sauntered into the sunset. There are better, more interesting things over the horizon, and I have no reason to stay here.

April accurately pointed out how terrible apathy is, for it means that one doesn’t even care enough to dislike or hate something. But with limited application, I think it can be a beneficial state indeed. Like Luke Skywalker who learned that the true power of the force is to balance between Light and Dark, I think we need to learn to let go of the less important things. To be happily apathetic in some circumstances.

My finals are over, and for a couple of days, my schedule is busier than ever with social calls and spending time with people. This is always the case at the beginning of a new chapter, as we attempt to get re-acquainted and learn about the dark holes each other have recently crawled from. But a glorious time is upon us, and we are set free by limited apathy.

I’m already looking forward to next November.

Considering Faith

Perhaps the hardest aspect of evangelizing is that the Bible simply doesn’t make sense to a non-believer. I don’t know how many non-Christians I’ve heard say, “I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, and it’s terrible!” A taoist wrote that the Bible was base and vulgar compared to the Tao Te Ching; long and rambling rather than succint and poetic like a holy text should be. Who cares about long lists of genealogy or measurements of geography? An atheist might remark on the war and violence in the Old Testament and a polytheist might point out that the concept of the Holy Trinity is clearly not monotheistic.

Each of these statements, however, is made in ignorance. The Hebrew Bible, what we Christians call the Old Testament, was written for the Jews who care a great deal about genealogy. It wasn’t just a holy text to them, but also a record of their history. War in the Old Testament only makes sense if you understand the difference between murder and execution (the first committed by an individual, the second by a nation), and the Holy Trinity has always been a matter of faith.

What I have found is that, for every question someone might bring up that attempts to tear down or discredit our faith, there is a reasonable and satisfying answer. But more often than not, the questioner will not seek out the answer simply because they have no faith. With no strong belief that God is good, there is no reason to look beyond base assumptions; one can simply write the Bible off and give up. But for the Christian, it is imperative that we learn the answers to these questions or we will be unable to give an account for our faith. How can we expect someone else to acknowledge even the reasonableness of our beliefs if we cannot state why we hold those beliefs?

If we are unable or unwilling to ask questions, seek answers, and then accept what we find, we must ask ourselves what kind of faith we hold. Are we so unsure and so weak that we fear chasing after the Truth? If that is the case, pray that God helps your unfaith and gives you the strength to seek honestly. He will give answers eventually, but we must remain faithful and steadfast in our desire for God’s Truth.

Thinking about the divine

The blasphemer is, indeed, fundamentally natural and prosaic, for he speaks in a commonplace manner about that which he believes to be commonplace. But the ordinary preacher and religious orator speaks in a commonplace manner about that which he believes to be divine.-G.K. Chesterton

Before I could become Christian, back in 2002, I first had to have all my questions answered, at least to a reasonable extent. Christianity had to make sense to me, and though this didn’t mean that every little question was completely answered (for there still remains a great many questions about God and this world), I needed to find my faith in his righteousness through understanding of his Word. My hope is to help others who seek the same understanding by writing about Christianity and addressing some of those questions.

I do not want to misrepresent myself, though, for I do not mean to imply by the title of this blog that my writing attempts to make the divine common. Rather, I hope to represent the common man by considering simple theological matters that confront us everyday and to discuss these thoughts in a manner that can be understood by all. Like C.S. Lewis writes in the introduction to Mere Christianity, it is not mere because it is small, but because it is foundational. It is the core of our faith.

The thoughts in this blog will wander in and around those core issues, touching on the tangents and seeking to answer the questions that frustrate, confuse, or tempt both Christians and non-Christians alike. It is through questioning and seeking answers that we find the Truth, which is Jesus, and draw closer to God. Therefore it is important that we at least think about these things.

Jesus says that he stands at the door and knocks. If you choose to open the door, but never ask or learn anything further, you haven’t actually walked through it. My hope is to make that step a little easier.

Just another pretty face

Cross-posted from FnC College Ministries

My senior year of high school, particularly the latter half of it, was filled with meetings and obligations, ceremonies and hand-shaking. There’s a lot going on for most seniors, but between Speech & Debate, National Honours Society, running computer technical support at our school, having to both set up for and then attend these events, Baccalaureate, a slew of other things… I was busy, a new Christian to boot, and working hard to retain my priorities. I’d always put people first (and grades nearing last), so it was no surprise that I was late for a senior banquet honouring Speech & Debate students because I was talking on the phone with an old friend. When I did arrive (just a minute or so before the formal beginning), Danny Haase, the preeminent senior on the squad, asked where I’d been. “Talking to a girl,” I replied, and he paused for a moment. “Yes, that about sums up your Speech career,” he said.

It didn’t really hit me until a conversation with Ryan a few months ago that I was, apparently, something of a lady’s man. We were talking about life experience, both in travel and dating, and as I talked about my various relationships, I realized that I’d had quite a few. All these names and faces, all these memories, all the drama coupled with a lot of good times. Few of these relationships were serious, but there were a lot of them, and I was startled by the fact. I had always viewed myself as a lonely nerd, both misunderstood and misunderstanding.

Despite my confused perceptions about myself, some very valuable lessons came out of my high school relational experiences. In a conversation with a good friend of mine several years ago, we were discussing what we found attractive in women. I’d had dozens of relationships and he’d been dating a girl for a year or two who was smart and very attractive, though somewhat clingy. When we both looked around a room, we might notice who the most attractive women were, but we didn’t care a whole lot. We’d note them, but we wouldn’t stare. “She’s just another pretty face,” he’d say. “Just like all the others.”

Of course, the implication (which you might not derive from these words, but I assure you was the case) was that, until you got to know someone, their physical beauty was relatively insignificant. We’d both dated, known, or had some level of relationship with a bevy of beautiful women, and it didn’t impress us anymore. Who cares about physical beauty if you can’t have a good conversation?

This morning when I signed onto Facebook, I saw some new photos of a Christian girl I know who is also a model. I’ve known some very awesome models before, but I have trouble respecting this girl after seeing the type of life she leads: jetting around the world, wearing very little clothing, dozens of guys hanging off her and, essentially, throwing herself at the highest bidder. In the same way that I have trouble understanding how a Christian can be a politician, I have trouble understanding Christian models. Even so, I know it’s possible… but when you embrace the lifestyle so completely (for a politician, by lying, cheating, and double-dealing; for a model, by wantonly throwing money around, giving in completely to vanity, and essentially selling your body to be idolized), I lose all respect for that person.

It makes me sad, but she’s become just another pretty face.