Thanks for engaging! I’m sure lots of folks don’t know what it means. No worries! Have you ever experienced such a coincidence?
No that was specifically in response to the idea of synchronicity coming “from a less savory place.” On the spectrum from naïve trust to paranoia, human civilization requires something more towards the trusting end of the spectrum. And I have rarely seen a preoccupation with evil and demons doing much good. Ignoring the bad guys may not make them go away but it does rob them of some of their power over us. And too often the invention of an enemy is used for manipulation and getting good people to do evil things.
Interesting question. I can often, easily speak of the same thing in both ways: coincidence and something divinely orchestrated. Depending on the circumstance I’m not usually entirely wedded to either view, because I see both as a possiblilty.
Generally, however, I lean toward a co-incidental understanding.
I’m confused, as well! They’re certainly interesting, but it can sometimes be difficult to know if it’s intentionally meaningful.
Most of my dreams are triggered by the stimulation of my prostate by my distended bladder…
When they occur in meaningful sets, we ought to get a clue, especially when they are God-related, as were the multiple instances in the thread about God’s interventions.
Even one-offs should remind us of God’s sovereignty.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
I don’t claim confusion. I don’t spend a lot of energy analyzing or agonizing over things I can’t be certain of.
If a Christian is going to focus on synchronicity, there are a number of considerations one must be ready to deal with:
Of PRIMARY concern: Does God speak to us in specific ways outside of his Word at all? (And I will leave the discussion of what comprises God’s Word for another thread.) Perhaps consider
Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.”
If one believes God does speak in such a way now:
What are the bounds of such communications?
- Interesting coincidences
- Desirable convergences of events
- Apparently coordinated disasters
- Languishing long until death
On what basis does one decide the bounds of such communications?
- What I want?
- What suits my needs?
- What confirms my already held beliefs?
- What helps me serve or obey Christ better? (His will is already clearly stated in his Word. We don’t need message via syncronicity.)
- What helps me love my neighbor better? (We already have this as well. We don’t need another word.)
- Something else?
How does one interpret such synchronistic events? How does one evaluate the validity of the interpretation?
When the interpretation involves someone else, on the basis of what real authority does the interpreter have a right to speak, much less direct another to act according to the interpretation? What if the recipient or others reject this subjective word, which may or may not be valid?
As I think through possible examples to list, which I have decided not to, I see so many hideous, ghastly things. I’ve been told by people, who must believe they have better skills of interpretation, that I should try to understand what God would have me learn from this or that. I am incapable of interpreting the synchronicities of suffering, misery, death, long-term grinding disability, crushed innocence, insanity, inequity, abuse of power and more in a way that would tell me anything other than that evil and injustice are overwhelming and the same hideous end awaits us all.
But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
So, I refrain from spending my limited mental energy on something so speculative. There is enough in God’s Word that is clearly spelled out. His revealed will is more than enough.
Over in the “The End of Apologetics” thread
Daniel Fisher quoted from Kierkegaard ( don’t have a citation):
Are you familiar with George Müller (not as an apologetic argument, but as encouragement for Christians)? (Even @Klax calls him ‘incarnational’. ; - )
I am, Dale. And he is an encouragement.
But I want to bring a stern warning as well, to those who want to interpret selectively and self-centeredly in ways that suit their fancies or their personal inclinations, ever seeking a special word, without having obeyed the most obvious commands of the Lord, or the ones that suit them. Ever taking the lovely, without facing the hideous realities that are here with us as well.
Müller was acting in sacrificial obedience to server others.
That is not normally the case.
Can we discern Sadducees today and spend our time more wisely?
In my estimation, the source of synchronicity would be a matter of faith. The detection of synchronicity is heavily biased because we are basing the importance of it on subjective human emotions and we are calculating backwards for the probability which is extremely susceptible to the Sharpshooter fallacy and confirmation bias. In order for synchronicity to start to move into the land of the objective we would need to predict what events will happen and when they will happen in the future, and then compare our predictions with real outcomes. To put it another way, if the universe is proceeding in a non-teleological manner would we expect false positives for synchronicity? I think we would.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying synchronicity is true or false in a teleological sense. Rather, the source is unknowable in an absolute or objective sense.
Dale, I don’t know what you’re getting at. And I’m not sure it’s even wise for me to ask.
How many crime scenes does it take to statistically and objectively establish an M.O.? Do you necessarily have to be able to predict where and when another will occur?
How would one statistically and objectively determine that a death was caused by God arranging specific confluences of events? What forensic evidence could we gather to demonstrate that God was at the crime scene? Who could we talk to that could provide objective evidence for God being anywhere at any given time? Is there camera footage that we can use to verify God’s presence at any place at any time point around the crime scene?
We have objective, as in externally and third party verifiable sets of facts at the time (and even now with respect to Rich Stearns probably and yours truly) linking otherwise disjoint and discrete events. It is a matter of connecting the fluorescent dots, not unlike a scarab at the window (hat tip to C. Jung).
How do you determine objectively that these are linked by a teleological process?
By their end result maybe? They perform a function.
Otherwise disjoint and discrete events don’t.
Can you objectively demonstrate that non-teleological processes could not produce a function?
Raindrops fill a rain gauge, so no. But when the objective events have intrinsic personal meaning connecting them…
Intrinsic personal meaning would be the subjective part of it. Like I said before, I’m not saying it is true or false, only that it is a matter of faith (which isn’t meant as a derogatory statement).