This is a recent Facebook discussion that I had with someone I had never met before.  For some reason I sent him a friend request.  Don´t remember why but this is the conversation that came out of that “mistake.”  Let me know what you think.

CBL:  I am pleased to receive your friend request. My goal is to bring interesting, educational discussions and images from ******* and around the world to my FB pages. I would love to find out how we know each other or if not, the reason you’d like to be my friend. Maybe we share a belief or have something in common. I sometimes get requests from “bots”. If I get such requests without reply, of course I ignore those. I love to hear from you. Welcome!

Bert:  Yes, I am a fellow ****** now living in Argentina. I am also an educator and writer. I am trying to connect with people again in *****. I would like to get to know you and be part of your connections. I´m looking forward to getting to know you better. Thanks. Bert

CBL:  I friended you and then looked at the things you had on your wall. No one besides yourself posted anything (you have that blocked) and it was all rather one-sided. Things in thousand year old books, from a time when people thought that the world was flat have no interest to me. You are welcome to visit my pages as they are open to anyone. Welcome.

Bert:  Wow, limited info and a bias against history. Flat world theory of the Middle Ages is now the litmus test of intelligence of ancient civilizations. That´s a novel approach to knowledge. My pages are also open to anyone. Even you. Welcome.

CBL:  Even me? LOL Thank you Bert.   By the way, what exactly do you mean by “Flat world theory of the Middle Ages is now the litmus test of intelligence of ancient civilizations.”

Bert:  You said, “Things in thousand year old books, from a time when people thought that the world was flat have no interest to me.” I assumed you were talking about the Bible (which is far more than a 1000 years old and was NOT written during the Middle Ages when the flat world theory was dominant). Forgive me if I made the wrong assumption. But leaving aside the Bible, I am fascinated that ancient knowledge of any sort seems not to be of interest to you. That is worthy of discussion in and of itself.

Are you of the opinion that science (in Frued´s famous words) fully reveals reality? Even if that were so, which I doubt, the “science” or knowledge of anthropology and sociology (not to dismiss literature or history in it´s own right) benefits tremendously, even today, from the insights of ancient civilizations. Anyway, that´s what I think. I would not advise equating flat world theory (or any scientific position) with the value of ancient knowledge.

Value is a fluid concept and is often utilitarian as well as rooted in basic beliefs of a person´s worldview. My suggestion is not to dismiss alternate views of the world too quickly. You might miss some very interesting points of view. Hope that helps. Bert

CBL:  Good point Bert. I’d love to have a great discussion over coffee on that topic with you someday. LOL

Bert:  That would be great.  A little difficult (about the coffee part) since I live in Argentina, but still something to look forward to someday. LOL

CBL:  Alright Bert… Who knows when you are in ****** next, or we in Argentina. I will tell you that I went to bible school in ******, read extensively, holy books etc. My father was a priest….. I just find that old books and religions cause more harm (judgement, hatred, devision, wars etc.) than they solve.

Bert:  That´s too bad. In the battle between idealistic romance and harsh reality, I choose the real God of happy endings. The harsh reality of judgment, hatred, division and wars (often started by or perpetuated by religion) can only be overcome first of all in our own hearts and then, by extension, in the world, when the God of the “old books” is loved and followed rather than trying to control him (and others). That is a step of faith that is a miracle in and of itself but always results in love and peace and joy and hope (idealistic, sacred romance). There is a vast difference between religion and a loving relationship with the God who loved us enough to die for us showing us the way of love (much tougher) rather than the way of power (much easier). But, that´s my take on the “old books” and their impact on people (not just institutions)….would love to have that coffee….maybe in Mexico….half way….what do you think?

CBL:  Hi Bert, we have a completely different view of the world. I love parts of Mexico. Maybe one day… LOL God who died for us? Give me a break. Many people give their lives for causes and that is not that special. Mothers die for their children, soldiers for silly ideas and for stupid leaders. The Japanese died for their country in Kamikaze situations. I live from the heart in love for all things. Everything you need to know is inside you.

Bert:  Really? You think that dying for your children or your country is the same as dying for your sworn enemy? If it´s so easy, why don´t we all do it. That would solve a lot of problems, wouldn´t it. Instead of killing, arguing, fighting allow yourself to be killed, defeated, hurt by someone who hates you, or is indifferent towards you, or simply someone who has no respect or care for you. I wonder how that would work in divorce situations or in the courtroom or on the battlefield, or in religion. Instead of trying to control others, allow yourself to be controlled. Not so common. In fact, Jesus said that to find your life you need to give it up. Crazy talk. Of course, that´s only possible if you actually believe that God exists, that he loves you (even though you want nothing to do with his authority in your life), and that his eternal life and, more importantly, his eternal pleasure with us, is reward enough for a life of sacrifice – just like Jesus Christ did.

Yes, you´re right. Crazy talk. Idealistic romantic baldarash…..dangerous, in fact, in the harsh realities of our world….but when you do it, God can use you to transform lives (e.g. Mother Teresa among many, many others). Yes, it takes faith. Of course it takes faith. Faith in God, in his goodness, in his care for us, is the one thing that is in short supply for whatever reason. Maybe that´s why things happen the way they do. Maybe the development of faith in the hearts of man, together with hope and love, especially love, is the point…..is the only thing that can last into eternity….is the only thing worth dying for…..the love of your enemy turned friend……..unrealistic horse shit, of course….or maybe not.

Yes, we have two very different views of the world…..but it´s still fun to talk about…..and is probably a bit more important than the latest hockey game or World Cup……at least it is from my point of view…..by the way, I´m drinking my coffee already…..how´s yours?

CBL:  Hi Bert, I am glad that you have good coffee. Praise the Lord. LOL  In my years, I studied auto suggestion, hypnosis, voodoo and the power of the mind. “Faith” and “belief” fit nicely into those categories.  If you want to “believe” something hard enough your mind will co-operate.

Faith and belief are blind, a kind of hypnosis and has no basis in fact or science.
Did you study or at least read a bit about current quantum physics, string theory and the latest, “W” (wave) theory?

It’s magnificent and so much more meaningful, fascinating and utterly awesome than a few thousand year old story of a guy on a cross whom none of us met.
The bible has been written and re-written so many times by people who like to control others and proves nothing.  It baffles me how it continues to ‘suck’ people in. It must be that scary thing called the “unknown”. Safer and easier to make up a story about afterlife etc.

And this thing about ‘eternity’ and a ‘loving God’… none of us can know that Bert. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional or lying. “Love is good” and “We are One” and “Life is Magic” – I can say with certainty. Amen.

Bert:  Yes, I agree….you have to want to believe…..and yes, it is blind in the sense that it does not have the certainty of scientific fact…at least, not yet…..I guess, once you are dead, you´ll know one way or the other….or not know anything at all anymore….a very real possibility…..

But I do think that you are a bit extreme to say that faith and belief have no basis in fact or science…..really? I hope that you are only talking about faith and belief in God and not in the act of having faith or believing in something without scientific proof….what a poor world we would be if science fully revealed reality or was the final arbitrer of truth or of what was worthy of our faith and belief….

Yes, I have studied quantum physics, string theory, chaos theory and wave theory etc…..at least enough to know the general idea….interesting stuff….

Life is magnificent and meaningful and fascinating and utterly awesome as you say….the question is why? I´m not sure where you get your meaning from since you are a collection of chance happenings in a random universe…..but certainly you can create your own meaning in life…..the question is whether your meaning in life can handle the realities of life, such as pain, and suffering and finally death…..

Yes, I want to believe in God. William James said that we need to have a will to believe….and I think that is true….but where does that wanting come from…..is it, as Frued said, a need for a father figure….an authority, hopefully loving, that we can appeal to in order to control the chaos of a dangerous and uncertain world….perhaps…..is it, as Fuerebach said, a need for meaning and significance in a meaningless world, or a need for identity and purpose…..all of those things are true….we have needs and believing in God can fulfill them…..

I need the intimacy of love with a woman….my wife gives that to me…but our relationship is more than that….in fact, any of us would say that a relationship of love has to be more than a question of what you need….it has to be rooted in giving rather than receiving….even if receiving is a natural part of the interactive nature of love….we give without thought to receiving…that is love….even though we hope and need that love to be returned…..it cannot be the focus of our motivation or it will spoil the very thing it needs…..we all know that….love for God is the same…..

Love is transcendent…..it takes us out of ourselves and our own needs and focus us on the other…..it is a limit to our will but a voluntary limit…..we don´t just desire to be limited by love (the old ball and chain)…..love doesn´t even consider it´s slavery a limit but rather an opportunity….a freedom…..even if it costs us everything we have….and are…..

Yes, I know….romantic balderdash…..too idealistic for the harsh reality of this dangerous world….but most people think that it is the only thing that makes this world worthwhile…the only meaning that makes sense….the one desire…the one wanting that is its own reward…..and yet, can our human love overcome pain, and suffering and death…..it can certainly help….but overcome it….that is an unrealistic expectation of love…….

Unless of course, God exists …..and he loves us….and his view of the world is the true reality…..and that the evil within each of us can be overcome….and therefore pain and suffering can be given new meaning….and death can be overcome by life…..maybe….but only if God exists….if that old book is true….if dying in order to live really works….what a risk, what a terrible, incredible risk, to sacrifice everything in this life, the good and the bad, for something better…..to make God the center of your life….to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and your neighbor as yourself….even if you don´t like your neighbor….even if he is out to get you….he is your sworn enemy….or just a pain in the neck….to get involved in the problems and disasters and dangers of someone else´s life…..just because God asked you to…..just because you want to please this God whom you believe loves you and will take care of you into eternity…..because he takes care of you, you don´t have to follow the principle of prudent self-interest but rather the imprudence of extravegant love…..yes, that old book is a terrible thing….making people take that kind of risk on romantic, full on, no bars hold kind of love for a God we aren´t even scientifically sure is there…..but our hearts say that he is …..

At the same time, there is a lot of evidence, even if it isn´t total scientific proof….after all, if God is there, he created the universe….he was behind the Big Bang…..he made this universe for a reason….I have a hard time believing that something can come from nothing without intelligence behind it…..and intelligence implies a person……I have a hard time believing that chaos can become order without intelligence…..we have no experience anywhere in life for these three truths…..that something can come from nothing by chance….that there is creative intelligence that is not a person…..and that order can come from chaos by a combination of chance over time….a cosmic lottery game….just be happy, we say, after all we won, didn´t we? We are here after all….so even neo-darwinism and atheistic secular humanism are also a worldview that takes faith and belief…..interesting that we can´t escape it…..

I want to believe in God…..I want to love Him and recieve His love back….I want to please him and I am willing to pay a practical, everyday price to follow Him no matter what…..why? Who knows….I am in love…..and love is always a mystery….could I be wrong….sure…..but love is its own reward…..and the mystery of happiness and meaning in life and true significance is bound up with a love that can overcome death and evil …..within me first of all…but also finally in the world…..

You are right…..Love is good…..We are one….and Life is Magic…..those are value statements…..and beliefs…and you have faith in those certainties….good for you…..the question is why? Why is love good…..why is oneness good but so illusive…a fact of life that we seldom live by…..and especially, why is life magical….what is the name of the magician….and why don´t you trust the God of beauty and joy and awesome space and time to love you enough to face yourself and the evil within…..

The why questions are the hardest ones….but love is the answer to them all…..still, I don´t blame you for not WANTING to love God….your vision of God, and your vision of truth and the nature of reality aren´t the same as mine….who is right? Will we ever know? In the end, faith (like love) is a gift but you have to want to receive the gift in order to get it…..

Someone once said that if you believe, you need no proof. If you don´t believe, no proof will ever be enough…..I agree….the problem is that there is never sufficient scientific proof for things like love and faith and hope…..and yet life would be much poorer without them…..

Hope that helps…..yes, the coffee is great……lol….

Bert:  Many people believe that Christians live in a fantasy that cannot face reality but Christians believe that their so called fantasy is the true reality.

So, the question is….would you rather live out the fantasy of good overcoming evil and the triumph of love and the reality of eternity, meaning and ultimate relational significance or the reality of evil and ultimate despair and death?

Yes, many would say that reality is always better than fantasy but we live in a post-modern world that recognizes that we have no access to reality as it truly is.

As Nietche said, there is no truth only interpretation. And that is true for mankind, no doubt. But what if there really is a God?

He would be the ultimate reality and the object of our longing for a love that overcomes the evil within….or have we justified, rationalized, ignored that fundamental truth of life….that evil is within before it is without and that we do not love, we are not one, and the magic of life is more often black magic…..What if there really is a God who fulfills our sighing after beauty and joy and “happily ever after” endings, that turns our fantasies into a deeper, more abiding reality that lasts beyond life into eternity with the lover of our soul.

Sure it´s idealistic romanticism but if it is true, if it corresponds too reality as it really is…..beyond our ability to determine on our own, of course, but what if He showed up, revealed Himself, got involved in our history and had an “old book” written about it, which he controlled to make sure that it reached us whole and sure….what if its true?

It changes everything…..yes, the question is how do you and I KNOW it´s true….how do we ever know if love is true….it takes faith….evidence as well, but not proof…that defeats the very goal of the exercise…to trust, to believe despite appearances, to know the other and trust in the love that binds you to each other….yes, maybe that is too much to ask of human love…that´s why we think romance is unrealistic because we only think of human romance…what about the sacred romance…His romance of us….not our romance of him….I don´t even trust my own love for Him, my own loyalty, my own commitment to respond in kind to the unconditional love of God for me….too true….but He loves me….that is the reality on which I stand….in faith, I believe…..

Now everything makes sense, the evidence of my self-awareneness and natural craving for eternal significance in the hands of my heavenly Father who is the only one who can handle and mold and fashion a true reality out of this evil world full of wonder and disaster in unequal measure.

He is the only one who can fashion a true reality, according to his vision for the universe, that takes this human fantasy that we are in charge, that we are the molders of our own destiny, our own meaning and significance, and turn that evil and desperate fantasy into the true reality of love, unconditional love and favor to those who don´t deserve it.

That is his glory and we can participate in that very glory, the glory of a character, a person, who is willing to sacrifice everything for his enemy in order to please his God….against all odds….against all explanation…..against all sense….love tends to be that way.

The true reality is a fantasy world of love and faith and hope in a God we aren´t sure is there and an eternal happily ever after we aren´t sure will happen except by faith, which is a deep way of knowing truths that are not scientific but rather relational.

And we WANT it, not just need it….and that is the mystery of love….even love for God. Faith, hope and love are the only things that make this life worthwhile. It makes sense that they are the foundation stones of a new reality…. that is a fantasy that is true, was always true and will come to pass.

Yes, be realistic, even scientific, look for evidence but don´t deny the intuition of your heart that believes that this reality will become a fantasy, that good will overcome evil and that God will have the final say.

CBL:  You wrote “we have needs and believing in God can fulfill that”. I do not have such a need to believe in something that we cannot know. Life is awesome and mysterious in its splendor. Yet, I have suffered and still one of the happiest people you will ever meet. I used to believe in Santa Klaus and the Tooth Fairy too.

CBL:  God will have the final say??? Will come to pass? OMG. You know it all. LOL If that is true, why even talk about it? Silly man…

Bert:  Did I ever tell you that I was Dutch, too? At least Dutch Canadian….my parents are from Drente and Friesland and came over after the war…..my Dad started a Dutch Store and brought all kinds of things over from Holland (or bought from a distribution company that imported things from Holland). I´ve never been there myself, but my wife has visited Amsterdam…..She is also Dutch but from Argentina…..we met here…..

CBL:  You ain´t much if you aint Dutch! LOL   The ‘God’ particle was found just recently. Wow, THAT is fascinating and so much more interesting than an old book about a dead guy with a beard. LOL

Bert:  How do you know that he had a beard? LOL

Bert:  You say that you have suffered…..care to share?

CBL:  I am writing a book. Too long a story. lol I am setting up a fundraiser for children in need right now. Expecting over 200 people at my place tomorrow… 🙂

Bert:  Hope that goes well……Let me know when your book is ready. Would love to buy a copy….

Bert:  I have a book of short stories called Jesus was an Alien (and other stories of faith) as well as a full length historical novel called The Temptations of the Cross. The first one I hope to publish this year and the second one needs a bit more work in the editing process and hopefully will be published next year.

Bert:  I am also writing a series called The Desert Warrior……What is the title of your book and what is it all about?

CBL:  If you like, send me your email and I can send you a few chapters. Too busy here to go into details…Chao!

Bert:  Don´t worry about it right now….of course, do it later when you have time…..my email address is bamsing@yahoo.com

The Desert Warrior

Reflections by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 vanKregten Publishers.  All rights reserved.
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