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Daniel Bryant

The Hitch-Hicker's Guide to Eden

Thinking Outside the Box


This book is dedicated to my wife, Peggy Bryant. She is the love of my life, and my friend. She inspires me to follow my dreams, and to think outside the box!


BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
80331 Munich

Preface

This is a compilation of some of my writings over the years, many of which I have produced as eBooks on Bookrix.com and made for free on various eBook sites, such as Google Books, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and several others. The other writings come mostly from my Facebook Blog.

I offer my perspective on various issues, but more importantly, I challenge the reader to think, and not just accept blindly many of the packaged solutions and preconceived patterns of thought our society offers.

As the reader will notice very quickly, the foundation for many of my observations and conclusions have, as their framework, the opening chapters of the book of Genesis. I would like to challenge you to think through some of the things you have been taught and have taken for granted. It is my contention that there are many wrong ideologies that have influenced our interpretation of life in this day. Through time these have captured the minds of men and prevented many people from being able to think rightly on important matters.

You may not agree with some of what I say, but if I have challenged you to think outside the box, and think independently, I will feel that I have accomplished my objective.

You will also notice that the writings in the first part of the book are longer, more drawn out presentations of my worldview, based mostly on the Biblical account of Creation. This is really the foundation for a right understanding of reality, and it is important to get it right. I probably get a little too redundant on some themes, admittedly.

The second part of the book is shorter observations, life lessons from my observations in Scripture, and my own experiences.

I do not try to answer all of the questions that Scripture poses. That would take a whole world of books. But, it is my hope, that in reading this, some would be challenged, and learn to love the Word of God, and as a result, grow richly in their relationship with Him. Let His holy name be praised!

I hope you enjoy. Feel free to communicate any feedback to daniel.mark.bryant@gmail.com. Please note that when I am writing, and refer to the human race, or man, I mostly use the male gender. This is simply for the sake of making writing easier, and in no way reflects an idea that male is superior to female. I also frequently use “man” meaning “mankind” or “the human race” for the same reason. It just makes writing easier than constantly differentiating between male and female.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction: Your truth, my truth

A common phrase that I often hear people use goes something like this: “That may be true for you, but it is not true for me.” Or, “That is your truth, but it is not my truth.” This seems to imply that we can all just believe whatever we want to, and because we believe it, it then becomes true for us. Truth becomes a personal matter. Rather than putting that phraseology in terms of truth, it would make more sense to put it into terms of belief. It would make more sense to say, “That is what you believe, but it is not what I believe.” People believe many things, but just believing something does not make it true. In order for anything to be true, it has to correspond to reality. In order for humans to be able to have reasonable communication, there has to be a consensus of how we interpret reality. Right now, I am typing this on a Dell Laptop. I do not know of any sane person who might witness me typing on this Dell Laptop and ever come to the conclusion that the device I am using is anything else. If a person walked up to me and said, “That is a nice purple elephant you are using to type on” I would not say, “Well, saying it is a purple elephant is your truth, but it is not mine. My truth is that it is a Dell Laptop.” Instead, I would probably think, “This person is a nut case.”

It seems very reasonable and straight forward using that exaggerated example. But, if you think about it, it seems like people who throw out those terms about truth being a personal matter don’t really take that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. That is the fallacy of Relativism. It makes the interpretation of reality a very subjective matter. This breaks down all sane communication. It eventually leads to a form of communication in which words mean nothing. If our ideology does not conform to reality, it is meaningless. In all practicality, we do not live our lives this way, despite what might come out of our mouths.

Some of the definitions of relativism are as follows:

“a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals or groups holding them”, “the theory that value judgements, as of truth, beauty, or morality, have no universal validity but are valid only for the persons or groups holding them”, “the belief that there is no absolute truth, only the truths that a particular individual or culture happen to believe.”

If there is no such thing as ultimate truth, truth that exists in and of itself, apart from what individuals or groups of people do or do not think or believe, then there is no basis for individuals or groups of people to judge the actions of others as either right or wrong. Saying that we do not judge the actions or beliefs of others sounds very enlightened and tolerant in theory, but it is not what we put into practice in our behavior, so the theory or idea of relativism has no basis in reality. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean by this:

Any sane person who knows anything about world history understands what a horrible nightmare unfolded in Germany from 1933 to 1945 under the reign of Adolf Hitler. Millions of Jews and other minority groups deemed undesirable by the Nazi party were tortured and exterminated. Many other examples throughout world history could be used to illustrate this, I just chose to use this one to make a point.

The irony of this is that, even though we understand this as a horrible tragedy, to the people of Germany at the time of severe economic hardship, this seemed like the answer to their problems, and seemed reasonable to a large portion of the population at the time. Many people in Germany probably just bought into the propaganda initially because it offered the promise of a more secure life. In the end it turned out to be nothing but a hellish nightmare.

If relativism as a paradigm of reality has any validity, then the acts of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party cannot be judged by others as being wrong. To them, at the time, it seemed right. We know this is not reality. Everything inside a sane person screams out that this is wrong. Genocide, whatever the context is reprehensible.

If you are a parent, imagine that one of your children were brutally and senselessly murdered in a mass shooting, (which, as of late, has become far too commonplace.) Would you be willing to hold to the idea that there was nothing wrong with the actions of a deranged person who took your child’s life in an act of violence simply because to the murderer, his truth was that the act was justifiable and necessary, based on his interpretation of reality? I don’t think so! You would probably want to get your hands on that person and administer your own brand of justice!

So, getting back to what I said earlier, relativism sounds good in theory, but it has no basis in reality. This is not the way people, even those who hold to the dogma of relativism, live their lives in the real world. It is a self-contradicting interpretation of life.

So, the next time you hear someone mouth a phrase that goes something along these lines, “That is your truth, but it is not my truth”, ask yourself the question, “Is it possible that truth does exist?” I believe that it does, and it is not based at all on our private, subjective interpretations. This being case, the discovery of absolute truth should be the highest aspiration that any of us have. Reality, ultimate reality exists regardless of our culturally influenced opinions.

People use a common expression, "You think too much." I think all the time. I am always thinking. I can't shut it off. Sometimes I wish I could. I sometimes wish my mind had an OFF switch I could flip when I get tired. It doesn't.

Some people don't think enough. They just blindly listen to all of the current chatter, and take popular, current trends for granted and blindly go with the ideologies of the crowd, whether they realize that is what they are doing or not.

There are lots of great thinkers in the world. The problem is that thinking, in and of itself, is not enough. Many people think and come to the wrong conclusions. Thinking, in and of itself, will always lead to the wrong conclusions in regards to ultimate matters, and ultimate reality. We live in a society that has been mentally and spiritually poisoned by the idea that there is no such thing as ultimate truth. With this as a guiding principle, people think, and come to the wrong conclusions.

Ultimately our understanding of truth has to start with faith. Everyone starts with a faith in something whether they realize and/or admit it. A lot of people in our society have a faith in Science's ability to answer all of our questions. This is foolish. Science is important, and I am not discrediting it. Science is the observation of the material world as we are able to perceive it with our physical senses, and then drawing conclusions and making predictions about the outcome of if/then scenarios. Experiments to prove anything have to repeatable, with the same outcome, so science helps us predict how our world behaves. It serves a good purpose. But it is not ultimate truth. That has to originate outside of ourselves.

Right thinking starts with a faith that ultimate truth does exist, it can found, and it is knowable. Wrong thinking starts with the notion that man's mental capacities are the ultimate measure, and that there is nothing outside of that. But if you think about it, that notion is also a form of faith, because the idea that the human mind is also the ultimate measure can't be proven, and if it is said that it can be proven, then you wind up with the paradox that you are starting with the very thing you are attempting to prove, and using that measure to prove it. That makes no sense. That is like me saying, "I am going to prove that what I am writing is true by comparing it to what I am writing." The previous sentence proves the absurdity of this notion. You can't compare your idea to itself to prove anything.

Children always start out asking the WHY questions. Why is the sky blue? Why don't cats like water, etc. They do ask the WHAT questions, I don't deny that, but the WHY question seems to be more predominant.

We all start out asking the why questions, and we should continue to do so throughout all our lives. But something inside us hardens as we get older. We seem to stop asking the Why questions. Science, which I simply define as the observation and manipulation of matter, and the prediction of outcomes based on repetition, can answer a lot of the What questions, and it is useful. But it cannot answer the Why question. Right theology answers the Why questions. I love good theology. Yes, it is based on faith, but so is everything else, whether people admit it and/or recognize it or not. Any system of thought, no matter what it is, has to start out with some given, some unanswerable question, some starting point, and that is faith in that one thing, no matter what it is. Faith, rightly defined, is not a religious matter at all, it is simply a fact. You have faith, or belief in something you can take for granted. You have to, otherwise you would go insane. The problem is, too many people start out with the wrong given, the wrong first thing that can be taken for granted, and disregard the right ones. An atheist has just as great a faith, or belief, as a theologian, he is just starting out with the wrong first principle and then building everything else on that foundation.