I received my undergraduate degree in philosophy, my main interest being the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. At that time I was a good positivistic atheist, and theological matters not only did not interest me, but I considered them to be nonsensical. But at any rate, Wittgenstein’s notion of explanations eventually coming to an end struck me at that time as being rather profound. In metaphysics, read theology, we often want to go beyond where our language can meaningfully take us, and to do so is to reach metaphorical bedrock. At some point, we have to give up on explaining why we do what we do, and simply say, “Well, this is just what I do.” Or to put it aphoristically like Wittgenstein, “If I have exhausted the justifications, I have reached bedrock and my spade is turned. Then I am inclined to say: ‘This is simply what I do.'”
Since college my notions of reason and faith have matured somewhat, and I’ve come to see faith as being an enriching, grounding, and ultimately purpose giving component of life. But, while I certainly agree with the sentiment and notion behind apologetics as traditionally practiced, I feel that the enterprise is misguided. To attempt to “prove” the existence of God is not only to push our reason where it cannot go, but also to miss the entire point of faith. For me, and what I aim to discuss periodically here, apologetics should be about showing how faith can have tangible effects on one’s life for the better, and in cases where faith seems to be in conflict with reason, to find a way around such obstacles. And, all I mean by this is that to witness to someone we must show them a better way of life, a better way of living.
So that’s why the title of this blog. For now, it’s My Spade is Turned.