The Proverbial Tree in our Spiritual Forest
In our culture and vernacular language we have several common everyday, sayings, expressions and questions that catch on which we all know, like: “curiosity kills the cat”, “the cat has nine lives”, “cat got your tongue?”, “can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, “truth will set you free”, and “silence is golden”. Or how about the question of if a tree falls down in a forest and no one is there to hear or see it did make a noise? This is the proverbial pop culture question that has peaked my interest as to what the spiritual angle might be in the answering of this philosophical question.
In this theoretical question of our culture, I have to wonder if we asked this philosophical question of our Christian faith what would be the possible underlying intent or implications that could be far reaching for us as women and men of faith. To arrive at the answer for this question one would have to start by answering the original question and consider the philosophical and logical basis of this question. Over the years of hearing this question of the falling tree in the forest proposed and debated this is the answer that I’ve have personally come up with. At face value I would say yes, the tree fell in the forest and it was noisy; yes, the noisy tree fell in the forest. A more accurate answer would be yes, the tree fell although it may have not be heard by anyone. One may rebut with the argument of sound travel or the audibleness of sound being contingent on having a witness to hear it or not. I would respond with my answer, that one’s answer to the question at hand is significant and applicable to our faith and Christianity. Why is it that in our culture, religion and faith that we assume that just because one may have not hear, see, experience or witness a thing or an event then, by default that automatically means it never happened? If it doesn’t happen to all of us or just one of us, then it can’t happen at all or to any of us ever. Having this position is most daring and presumptious of us. Philosophically if this is the answer to the question, then that is a reply that is most indeed ludicrous and nonsensical.As believers should we take this stance in our religion and faith we must evaluate what implications we are imposing on our faith and on God. What are the assumptions that we are putting forth and what does this say about our religion, beliefs and faith? How far reaching are these assumptions for us as believers?
If we as believers say “well it didn’t happen to me”, – we didn’t see a miracle take place, experience being healed, witness speaking in tongues, (other examples please) or weren’t aware of one’s journey or story of faith and spiritual growth so we say we don’t know or think that ever happened. The next step in our logic of this philosophical question is that in our spiritual forest the trees never fell. If we follow through with this pattern of logic the next step is then we are implying a couple of things. One being that if we did not have the same spiritual experience as on of our fellow sister or brother in Christ then we are saying it’s not possible, it could not have happened or that they did not experience what they are testifying to. This logic undermines our faith as individuals, our corporate faith, the whole of our faith and Christianity. More importantly would not this line of thinking and logic also have more serious and profound implications of, as fellow believers undercutting God’s ability to do and accomplish any and everything and to make all things possible through Him. For one to accept the answer of “no, the tree did not fall if no one witnessed it/heard it” to this philosophical question proposed, then how can that person hold to the truth found in Philippians 4:13 (“ I can do anything in Christ who strengths me”. Might we carefully consider our own answer to this question and if we say no, then what are we implying and what danger may lie before us as we start our path and journey through our spiritual forest?