Cause & Effect
by Brian Knowles
(This article is an excerpt from the May-June 2006 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
“Life, as it daily unfolds on this planet, is largely a matter of cause & effect. Things don’t just happen – they happen for reasons. We don’t always know the reasons, but if we probe deeply enough, we may discover at least some of them. My wife, for example, suffers from migraine headaches (as do some 23 million other Americans). She knows some of the reasons why she gets these devastating headaches – food allergies for example – but she doesn’t yet know the main reason. She can reduce the number of headaches she gets by avoiding the offending foods, but she cannot eradicate them entirely, because there is some deeper cause of which she is as yet unaware. For many years, I have been subject to asthmatic attacks. I know virtually all of the triggers for these attacks, so, for the most part I am able to avoid them.
There are some things – like smog and pollen – that I can’t realistically avoid, so when those are bad, I experience symptoms. I do what I can to control those symptoms with patent medicines and efforts to eat “clean” and detoxify my body. (Yes, I realize that the use of patent medicines and detoxification are mutually exclusive ideas.) I stay away from certain kinds of dogs, all cats and horses, and, where possible, dust. These are minor examples of cause & effect. The condition of the whole world is the cumulative result of a myriad of cause & effect factors, many of which we don’t fully understand, some of which we do, and others about which we are in denial. Some of the causes of present day problems were set in motion centuries – perhaps millennia – ago. Like ripples in a lake, they spread out until they finally hit the shore. When we, as Christians, seek to analyze these cause & effect factors, we are sometimes guilty of gross oversimplification. In many cases, causes are multiple and complex. Everything bad that happens is not simply the result of “sin.” Sometimes it’s a lack of expertise or knowledge on the part of someone who’s causing something…”
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