The next God-given principle that will lead to errors if it is ignored is causality.
Causality: For every effect there is a specific cause.
The opposite of this is randomness...there are no causes, things are random.
People don't REALLY believe things are random. They'd never let me smack them in the head and let me off when I said, "Hey, that was totally random." They'd never let me support my flawed point with "there is no cause".
More often than not, this effect comes out as "well, since we don't immediately know the cause we must not be able to know it or we aren't supposed to know it...so there is no reason to try to determine the cause."
Or my favorite: "Since we can't know ALL the causes, we shouldn't try to understand ANY of the causes." People think this leads to freedom...it doesn't.
(If you haven't seen this, we also have a video that illustrates all four principles using a sudoku puzzle. If the link doesn't work for you, copy and paste this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyJbPeLIsr8#GU5U2spHI_4)
Another abuse of causality can occur when people state “Everything happens for a reason”. What this does mean is the effects you see came from a specific cause. What this doesn’t mean is that God is the specific cause for everything that has happened.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7)
Sowing and Reaping are both HALVES of the same whole. They are the CAUSE and the EFFECT! This verse ties this principle DIRECTLY to God and those who fight it are deceived and attempting to mock God!!!!
The entire Bible is written in cause and effect fashion and is misinterpreted when people believe an effect can only come from one cause. Said another way, specific causes lead to specific effects, but the same effects don’t necessarily come from the same causes.
For instance, if I close my eyes for 60 seconds and drive my car 100 mph, the result will likely be an accident. The accident (effect) comes from a person closing his eyes (cause) and driving fast. However, every accident is not necessarily caused by a driver closing his eyes for 60 seconds and driving 100 mph.
One of the reasons people view the Bible as contradictory is because they believe effects have only one possible cause. For instance, the Bible clearly states what is on the inside of people is the cause and their actions are the effect. However, the Bible doesn’t say that all people who display similar actions (effects) have the same internal motivation (cause).
Yet, we are very quick to judge people’s intentions based on their actions. The Bible tells us (1 Samuel 16:7) that we judge the outside (effects) but God looks on the heart (cause). That is one of the reasons we make mistakes.
Let me be clear. I’m not saying you can’t know the causes by looking at the effects. We are supposed to do that. However, immediately assuming the effect has only one possible cause can lead to wrong conclusions. We may need to get more information.
For those who don’t believe in cause and effect, there’s really no reason for them to continue reading this blog. If you don’t believe in cause and effect, you can’t believe in intentional living. You simply need to wait for things to randomly happen to you.
Let's look at an example from the Bible:
"Don't reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man, and he will love you." (Proverbs 9:8)
First of all, the structure for both sentences is cause and effect. However, notice this doesn’t mean that everyone who hates you is a scoffer and everyone who loves you is a wise man.
Next, when you reprove someone, you are being contrastive and making the person uncomfortable. If they hate you, they are proving they don’t want to think like God…and the Bible calls them a “scoffer”.
Finally, the person who appreciates the reproof is someone who wants to remove contradictions. They know your contrastive thinking will cause them to grow in the Long Term. The Bible calls this person “wise”.
I believe a lot of unhappiness people have is because they treat causes as effects and effects as causes...like reason and feelings.
If I was terrified, the first questions you would ask is "Why?" (This proves we all think feelings are/should be an effect...a result of something.) If I said, "I don't know", I would be saying its just random...and if you responded with, "Okay" and walked away, people would say you are unfeeling.
Also, if I said I was happy and couldn't tell you why, most people would walk away feeling THAT was okay. Why? Because no one is getting hurt? What if my happiness is over the fact that you are experiencing misfortune? Is THAT okay for either of us?
When people make feelings pre-eminent, they are making feelings the cause...the result is lack of control and problems. If people don't want control, that is fine...but why do they want help, sympathy, etc? When feelings are the cause, the result is the person doesn't experience the feelings...the feelings experience the person. The feelings take the person for a ride and drop them off far from where they want to be.
When feelings are an effect, the person can FULLY experience the feelings. THAT is the life I want to live. This is true freedom. The key word is FULLY...and other way results in something less than FULLY because part of the person is preoccupied trying to determine the cause.
When I'm happy, I want to let go and FULLy experience it. And yes, when I'm sad, I want to let go and FULLY experience the sadness...and I can only do that when I know the cause.
A traditionalist will reverse causality. They will say that everyone with the same effect MUST have the same cause. That would be the same as saying every person who falls off a bridge did so because of the same cause. The post modern believes in randomness. A modern applies the first three principles in order to understand the “why” behind their circumstances.
When we deal with others, we won’t settle for anything less from them than these four principles. Traditionalists and post moderns actively try to avoid the personal application of these principles…and the cycle continues. I believe this traditionalists to post modern to traditionalist cycle can be broken if both sides would embrace their modern tendencies (instead of fighting them) and use these four principles to guide them.
One of the biggest abuses of causality today is that people preach the effects instead of the causes. People tell you to just have the effect or act like you have the effect...because they don't have a specific explanation of the cause. Here is a blog entry explaining this issue in depth. "Preaching the Effects"
(This post is two years old. In the summer of 2008, I gave a perspective on this principle as it relates to what physiologically happens in the brain in this post.)