Concerning the Paradox of Fiction

A short musing on the paradox of fiction and the condition of man.

Paradox of fiction:

a) We often have emotions for fictional character and situations know to be purely fictional.
b) emotions for objects logically presuppose beliefs in the existence of those objects.
c) We do not harbor any beliefs in the existence of objects which we know to be fictional

Separate these three premises seem probable to be true. Yet together they contradict each other. Such is the paradox.

What if our emotional reaction to characters of fiction is the same sort of reaction of empathy that God has to his creation. Surely fiction is created work, and Man made in the image of God places value on creation. Is it then unreasonable to suppose that our empathy for purely fictional created beings and places is a shadow of the way God empathizes with his own creation? It seems that both creations are limited in many extents, and both creations have creators that empathize with them.

The next notable idea is the objection to any argument that tries to claim that we are feeling true emotions about fictional characters. The objection is one that asks if we think characters are real, or have true emotions towards them, then why are we not moved to action as would be true of when we know the characters to be real. I think the answer could very well lie in Jesus Christ (They all do don't they? haha). What I mean is that in man's fallen condition, rarely is a man moved to action unless self-gain is perceived. Or, for someone they believe is worthy of their life, a man may die. But for something so unworthy as fiction no man would dare to die. Yet does this not sound like what Christ has done for us? I am not stating in any way that we should try to die for fictional characters, but simply that the fallen shadow of man sees in part, and in so doing can not reason why we empathize with our creations, yet do not act on their behalf. For me, I sense some eerie connection. Or maybe it's just late with too much philosophy to read. Hrmph.

Consulted -

Emotion in Response to Art : A Survey of the Terrain - Jerrold Levinson
The Paradox of Caring : Fiction and the Philosophy of the Mind - Gregory Currie

Romans 5:7-9 (English Standard Version)

7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8but ">(A) God shows his love for us in that">(B) while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore,(C) we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from(D) the wrath of God.

I'm Confused

I just watched the ABC Nightline Special on "Does Satan Exist." One of the featured speakers responded to the question, "You speak as if God and good exist and are just experienced, while evil and satan are fairy tales. But at the same time you hold true that Good and Evil are different sides of the infinite. I don't understand how your argument says that evil must exist for good to exist, and that you hold to a God that is real, but you don't think satan is real."

The featured guest said, "Any time you put conditions on God or think of God you put limitations on his being. By thinking of God you think of something finite, but you can't do that because God is infinite."

.... So You can't think of God because God is infinite and any thought you have of God is finite. Yet you just had an idea about what is inifite. How can you have a finite idea about the infinite when your argument clearly states you can't. Pretty sure this is a logical fallacy...

... And the other guy said "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." If this was true, then science is completely fallacious.

No Longer I, But Christ In Me

  The inherent nature of man to be continually pursing that which his heart desires is something which is readily identifiable across human culture and history. There are two basic states in which the heart loves. It can be a love for an object or concept which is at a distance, and thus becomes a state of desire. Or it can be a love of which the thing desired is possessed, which then becomes a state of indulgence (Chalmers).
The human mind and body go to work daily and readily to fulfill these loves of the heart. It is consumed with obtaining these desires, which give the individual identity and purpose. When the heart is devoid of such desires as can happen when one retires from a profession, such is the strength of desire of the heart to pursue something that no amount of previous success and achievement can possibly assuage it.
It is not enough then simply to preach repentance of sins and abstinence from misconducts. For if only ask of others and ourselves to give up those things which our hearts pursue, yet give them nothing to fill the void, the task will be unfruitful and painful. If the mechanism of the heart is left with nothing to pursue or work towards, but instead is left with desert, the attempt to turn from the desires of the heart will be futile.
We must then exchange the old desires and loves with new, more powerfully intoxicating and capturing than that of the old desires. This must be done through love, kindness, and gentleness, in order to offer a taste of the spring of life which flows out of the regenerated heart. Left to our own corruption and powerlessness, this is an impossibility. One might turn from one sin to pursue another, but by no means does man alone have the capacity to forego sin and be righteous.
The only way for us to exchange our old desires with new ones is by finding a new passion for the heart, and the only way to find righteous desires instead of depraved is through the grace and love of God through faith in the atoning work of Christ Jesus, who paid for sin that our hearts pursue. This faith has been gifted to us, since it was not something we deserved or merited. Since we have then been forgiven much, our hearts see the new desire for Christ, and we love much. In so doing the one who now lives in this flesh is not the one who died with Christ, who nailed my old heart to the cross, but it is now Christ who lives in me and gives my heart the desire to follow after him, exchanging my old desires for new ones.

Consulted - The Expulsive Power of a New Affection - Thomas Chalmers

1 John 2: 15-16 - "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world."

Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Ephesians 2:8 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

My God, My Father

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My God, my Father! while I stray
Far from my home in life
s rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
  Thy will be done!

Though dark my path, and sad my lot,

Let me “be still,” and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
  Thy will be done!

But if my fainting heart be blessed
With The Holy Spirit for its guest,
My God! to Thee I leave the rest
  Thy will be done!

If Thou should call me to resign
What most I prize, ne
ver was mine;
I only yield Thee what is
  Thy will be done!

Renew my will from day to day,
Blend it with
Thine and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
  Thy will be done!

My God, my Father! while I stray
Far from my home in life
s rough way,
Oh! teach me from my heart to say,
  Thy will be done!

Thy will be done!

Thy will be done!

Thy will be done!

Thy will be done!