Diversion Pole and Dilemma Pole

“If the logic of God’s truth pulls in one direction and the logic of unbelief pulls in the opposite direction, unbelief will never face the full logic of either. Both destinations would be unthinkable, though for entirely different reasons, as both would mean the end of unbelief. The logic of God’s truth would lead to God, and the logic of unbelief would lead to disaster. Unbelief therefore lives in tension between the two worlds. As Francis’s Schaeffer pointed out (and his whole apologetics turned on this point), ‘The more logical a non-Christian is to his own presuppositions, the further he is from the real world; and the nearer he is to the real world, the more illogical he is to his presuppositions.’

There are therefore two poles in the unbelieving mind and heart, which I call the ‘dilemma pole’ and the ‘diversion pole.’ The dilemma pole expresses the logic of the fact that the more consistent people are to their own view of reality, the less close they are to God’s reality and the more likely they are to feel their dilemma. The diversion pole expresses the fact the less consistent people are to their own view of reality, the closer they are to God’s reality, so the more they must find a diversion. Neither pole is necessarily closer to God, because unbelief as unbelief will not bow to God either way, but the people at either pole are relating to God and to their own claims to truth in entirely different ways.

Expressed like that, it is obviously that most people would prefer to be closer to the inconsistency but comfort of the diversion pole, rather than to the courage and consistency but discomfort of the dilemma pole. In other words, most would prefer to live as if God were there, with all the benefits that makes possible, even though they deny God in both theory and practice. The reverse is harder to carry off, and for that reason it is also rarer.”

(Guiness, Fool’s Talk, 96)

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