Campbell’s Law tells us that as soon as a number is used as the measurement for something, someone will get confused and start gaming the number, believing that they’re also improving the underlying metric, when, in actuality, they’re merely making the number go up.

Really interesting concept.

This is a really good perspective on delegation and communication:

As a leader, whenever you delegate a task, you need to make it clear what level of authority you are conferring to others:

  • Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.

  • Level 2: Research the topic and report back. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.

  • Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation.Give me the pros and cons of each option, but tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.

  • Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.

  • Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.

Read the rest.

“I was going to go to [X], but I may not because I’m not sure if I’ll agree with what they’ll say.”

More here.

C. S. Lewis is one of the writers that has shaped my worldview the most.

Most know him as the author of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the Chronicles of Narnia… but he was also a lay theologian – giving talks and writing books that thoughtfully considered matters of faith and Christianity.

The book Mere Christianity was my first foray into reading his books, and challenged me profoundly. He answered questions I wasn’t asking – but left me wondering why I wasn’t asking the same questions.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
― C.S. Lewis

thinking aloud: the source

Matt commented on my previous post Rationality / Airplanes / Christianity with a huge comment that raised a lot of interesting points, so I thought I might unpack my response (with his permission) as a series of posts.

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Belief statements – I do like the phrase “Non-belief is not a belief, in the same way abstinence is not a sex position”. It sounds really slick, and a lot better than the phrases that I use in my blog posts.

However I think that we are talking about different things, and I hope I can make this clear / sensical (the opposite of nonsensical).

Whenever I talk about belief, I talk about guiding values that determine our actions.

Google time: “an acceptance that something exists, or is true, especially one without proof” or “trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something).

To “withhold belief due to lack of evidence” is fine, but it still has a bearing on the way you make decisions doesn’t it? Let’s not talk about the existence of God. Let’s talk about something a bit more practical – death.

Do you believe that there is life after death? Yes or no? You can withhold belief due to a lack of evidence – but then (I’m not actually challenging you to answer this on a public blog comment. This is my personal blog and my space for introspection and openness with the readers) how does that affect the way you live your life?

If there is life after death – enduring consciousness, then you would want to make sure you were living in light of that. Preparing yourself, or what have you.

If there is no life after death – then you should make the most of every single opportunity. Miss nothing. Regret nothing.

But if you are withholding an assertion of belief due to lack of evidence, what is the answer you give to yourself for the “why”?

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Do I make sense when I say that a statement of non-belief, or a withholding of assertion is still a “belief statement” in that it has a bearing on your decision making process?

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And finally to finish off these posts – I’m really glad I’ve been challenged to think through these things, and I look forward to the discussion that entails. But I’d like to point any readers back to the Bible.

It is very easy for us to reject the claims of Christianity based upon the experiences that we’ve had with Christians (a lot are jerks – me included). It is also very easy to reject Christianity based on the holes in the arguments presented by some in the public realm.

It’s pretty easy to reject Christianity because we can’t personally verify the historical accuracy.

It is even easier to reject Christianity because we don’t like what it says.

I’m glad that we agree that decisions should be based on rationality, and evidence – but I think it gets a bit grey in areas of morality.

I urge you to go back to the source, the Bible, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and determine whether or not what the Bible says speaks to you.

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As a final comment and heavy example – abortion.

Do you think that abortion should be allowed?

If there were a vote on it, which box would you tick, and why? [Yes / No]

(I’m assuming there isn’t a “it depends” box for the sake of this example – it’s more about introspection than actual application)

Some of the questions that arise:

  • When does “life” begin? How do we empirically determine when “life” begins? Is it the first cell division, or the first heartbeat, or when the ultrasound looks like a baby? Or at the point of birth?
  • Does the woman’s right to choose, outweigh the unborn baby’s right to life? (If it is alive)

I don’t think we have any empirical evidence to support either view, but I can draw some extreme examples.

What if it’s a young working professional woman who was raped?

What if it’s a young indigenous girl who already has three kids?

What if it’s a couple who wanted a boy instead? (real example)

What if the baby is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome?

What if they just don’t want the baby?

Ultimately – our beliefs will determine which box we tick. Our guiding values that determine our actions.

thinking aloud: leap of faith

Matt commented on my previous post Rationality / Airplanes / Christianity with a huge comment that raised a lot of interesting points, so I thought I might unpack my response (with his permission) as a series of posts.

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I think “leap of faith” might have been an overstatement. Maybe everything that we do requires a “step” of faith, in that, we cannot know all of the evidence. With day-to-day activities, it may seem pretty straight forward. But a lot of the way we live, acts upon presumption.

Going back to the plane example – taking things to their logical conclusion, unfortunately there is no 100% evidence that the very plane that I am boarding wont crash. I must assume that all of the safety features are functional, that the pre-requisite checks have been performed, and that the regular servicing and maintenance is in line with safety standards. And that the weather report is accurate and our plane won’t be flying into a hurricane. I can not know 100% that the plane I’m boarding is safe.

thinking aloud: the role of doubt

Matt commented on my previous post Rationality / Airplanes / Christianity with a huge comment that raised a lot of interesting points, so I thought I might unpack my response (with his permission) as a series of posts.

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Doubt.

I think a common representation of Christianity is that it condemns doubt.

Going back to our friend Google dictionary, doubt is “a feeling of uncertainty, or a lack of conviction”.

But is faith the absence of doubt? Can we have both faith and doubt at the same time?

Matthew 14:22-33 recounts the story of Jesus walking on the water, and Peter going out and giving it a go.

The word condemn means to “express complete disapproval of” or “sentence to a particular punishment, especially death”.

In the account, Peter starts to sink, and cries out, “Lord, save me” and is immediately rescued by Jesus. He doubts in Jesus’ ability to make him walk on the water, but still has faith in his provision and protection. And he isn’t “condemned”, he’s saved by Jesus.

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I can’t speak for every single congregation, or for the wider Church in general, but I do believe that we’ve done a lot of wrong, and a lot of well-intentioned people have insisted on blind faith, and have indeed condemned doubt. But we really should have an open dialogue for the things that challenge us and cause us to doubt.

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On a related topic in “condemnation” and doubt, which you might be thinking about – one of the accusations made against Christianity is that if it is true, then those who don’t believe are condemned to hell.

Tim Keller preaches a good sermon on hell, in a series exploring New Yorkers’ common objections to Christianity.

I’m going to oversimplify one of the points he makes in his sermon, and suggest another thought experiment. I’m not saying this is theologically accurate, but it’s an idea that helped me frame my thinking – after a lot of introspection.

If Heaven is spending eternity with God, why would a non-Christian want to go there? If they don’t want anything to do with him in this lifetime?

Then, what if hell is just absolute separation from God? What if the consciousness endures, and you have only yourself for company for the rest of eternity? Free to re-live your worst mistakes, the greatest tragedies to befall you in life, and to re-experience hurt and loss over and over again, in the infinite blackness of yourself?

Absolutely terrifying.