A Really Stupid Slogan
From Basket of Figs
You see it everywhere. It is on T-shirts. It assaults you from television,
and you hear it on the radio. It assaults reason. It assaults morality. It
assaults godliness. It is a superb advertising slogan for an irrational age.
"Just do it." Don't think about it. Do not measure the consequences.
Do not listen to anyone. "Just do it." Do what? Whatever. Whatever
comes into your mind. Do not allow reason or restraint, or the advice
of old folks, or the collective wisdom of the race, and certainly not
the precepts of the Bible, keep you from doing it. Don't think about
it. "Just do it." If you think too much, you are a stick-in-the mud.
"Don't you have a life?" is the devastating put-down. Live life with
gusto. "Just do it."
This is what you would expect from a culture that has assaulted
rationality. If the law of contradiction is not valid and true contradictions
can be reconciled in God; if the Bible does not contain propositional*
truth, then there is nothing to evaluate the existentialist moment. The
existentialist believes that existence is prior to thought. Therefore,
"Just do it." No proposition can be finally true, not even God's own
affirmation that He lives forever. The only thing certain is my existence,
which I must affirm as more basic than reason.
[Definition: *proposition: a statement that can be contradicted, and
considered either true or false. Hence, it can be considered true, and
other propositions derived from it. For instance, God cannot deny
himself means that God cannot lie. It also means that faith is not
a leap in the dark, but trust in God's promises. The things that
the Bible affirms to be true are true because God cannot deny Himself.
The law of contradiction is an expression of God's own nature, for He
cannot deny Himself. Propositional truth depends upon the law of
contradiction and the integrity of God's Word, for He cannot lie.]
If the only thing certain is my existence, then experience is the only
thing that counts. Then I cannot really believe in God unless I have
experienced Him. I then define truth in terms of what I experience,
or think I experience. I do not study the propositions of the Bible to
discover the nature of God. No, God cannot be known by the use of
rational study of the Bible. I must "feel the text," I don't want "dry
Bible study." I must "find what it means to me," for the Bible is
certainly not God's revelation of Himself to the whole world, but it
is a very flexible book that speaks to each one differently, and each
one is called to find out "what it means for him." Truth is totally
subjectivized, and there is no standard left. Because there is no
standard left, there is no way to hold anyone accountable for his
activities, for why should anyone submit to having other peoples'
"values forced on him." Everyone needs to "Just do it."
Some dispense with meaning all together, throw themselves into
the world, and "just do it." If we are really pious, we will say
"Let go, and let God" as we plunge into the bottomless pit of
irrationality. Others retain the form of the faith, drawing on the
spiritual capital of the past, but the form is as fragile as a house of
cards. Or as the blind leading the blind, we rest in the keeping of
rules, some of which might even be God's commandments.
It might be also well for us to remember Jesus' thoughtful words:
"What king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not
down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand
to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?"
(Luke 15:31) If it is stupid to go to war without rationally considering
the alternatives, how much more stupid is it to go into eternity without
adequate preparation. A half-hearted preparation for eternity is
stupid, and Jesus tells us plainly: "Whosoever does not bear his
cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." But why try to
reconcile that with justification by faith, for the Bible is full of
contradictions, isn't it?
On the other hand, Jesus doesn't seem to be advocating a philosophy
of "Just do it?" now, does He? His Spirit is the spirit of love, and of
power, and of a sound mind; not hate, weakness, and silliness.