Fantasy Map Making

The Global Positioning System utilized by many thousands of electronic devices to guide our road travels on trips near are far has greatly eased getting to the right place at the right time.  If you've ever, and I assume this applies to many of you, tried to get somewhere you've never been, say some friend's house in Boston and you happen to be from Oolitic, IN (which I'm not thankfully and with respect to the happy citizens of that little burg), get lost, and are trying to find it with a folded map and eyes squinting to read the road names, you are thrilled, exhilarated, and awed beyond belief when the little square box with the screen on the dashboard simply talks you to your intended destination. OK, so that is really old news, but my point is this.  Just because times change, the basics do not.  Though the GPS-enabled device does a great deal of work for me, it still relies on maps, and we still rely on the little maps it shows us.  If your GPS merely exclaimed your longitude and latitude to 10 decimal points, it might be cool but not helpful driving down busy, unfamiliar streets in Boston.  However, because it display your position on an actual map real-time as you are moving, it changes everything.

The maps that underlie the GPS are absolutely essential.  Indeed, getting to know a locale or region is still best done by interacting with a map itself while the GPS is most useful on the road. It is very ancient technology wedded to an amazingly advanced, massive, modern technological delivery system.

Truth, even truth known for centuries or millenia, is still truth.  Rudolf Bultmann once said, "It is impossible to use electrical light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time to believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles."  In my opinion, this is just a form of chronological, progressive elitism.  This is a belief that we are smarter and know better than ancestors and that a knowledge of how something works removes all mystery.  Do we know more than our ancestors?  Certainly.  Are we smarter than our ancestors?  No.  They were human, we are human, nothing's changed there.

That's a key point.  Many hold today that since "everything has changed" then truth has changed or is relative or needs updating.  Granted that a map of Boston in 1880 is not going to be that helpful today, though it might be very interesting.  Herman Melville, according to an anecdote I once heard, wrote a story about a son sailing to a distant destination who was given a map of that far flung locale by his father only to arrive and find that his father's old map was now utterly useless.  That's a problem.

But has everything changed?  Sure the population count has gone way, way up, but really humans are still humans.  That's way the ancient wisdom is so amazing, particularly the Christian Scriptures, but even many of the observations of the pagan Greeks and Romans.  I don't think your worldview map needs updating, if the Scriptures are right about God and humanity, then they're always accurate.  That's why the Bible's picture of man is spot on and always spot on and if that isn't a landmark on your worldview GPS then you are going to make great errors of judgment.

So many attempts at understanding and relating to reality do not look like attempts to update the map and engage reality directly, but are akin to fantasy map making.  When I was a kid, avidly reading fantasy from J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan, I would imagine my own Middle Earths and draw up maps of my invented worlds.

This looks like today's politicking and philosophizing.  If you don't like the way the world is or the way the universe works, you just draw your own map of your invented reality, and declare, "see, my world!"  What would you think of pulling up to a convenient store on a Boston street asking for the maps and the guy over the counter says, "Oh! The maps, how about this one, my favorite, it's a map of Boston as I imagine it?"  You wouldn't give a dime for it.

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