The “Game of Why”: how kids are the smartest of us all and everything leads to God.

game of why

Kids are freaking brilliant. They ask important questions without caring if those questions are considered “impolite/improper” or even “silly.” Adults, one the other hand, while having many facts and experiences have become desensitized from the questions that truly matter. Adults are boring, unimaginative, “proper,” “realistic” and a whole load of other rubbish at times. Thankfully there are kids around to teach us and remind us of the important things.

The Game of “Why?”

And one of the most important things is the “Game of Why” that kids are so fond of playing. In recent encounters with my two nieces and my nephew I have found them to be full of genuine curiosity about the world (as well as full of secret plans for global domination, starting with making me obey them). The many simple and routine tasks and realms of knowledge that we take for granted are approached very differently by kids. Instead of brushing things off as “this is just the way the world is” or even avoiding the topic altogether, kids genuinely want to know why things are the way they are.

Adults know that trees are green and the sky is blue. Really smart adults know the scientific details of plant pigmentation, light scattering particles in the atmosphere, the retinal photoreceptors that capture these light reflections, and even of the retinoptic organization of brain that causes us to see colors. But even the smartest adults usually stop there, once the mechanics are figured out, there is no more wonder. Kids on the other hand will ultimately ask “why?” They are often the only ones that genuinely want to ask “silly” question such as: “why is the sky blue rather than bright green?” or “why is there color at all?”

Imagine this conversation, I turn to a child and say

“Look at that wonderful sky, it is a fabulous blue color.”

He replies “Why?”

“Because of the way our eyes and brain interpret the light that is emitted from the sun and scattered through the atmosphere.”

“Why?”

Depending on my worldview I will say “Because God made it that way” or “We don’t know” or “It’s all but a marvelous random occurrence.”

“Why?”

And that is the question, is it not? For the Christian, why did God make it that way? For the agnostic, why don’t you know, ought not you explore even harder? For the atheist, why is it random and why does randomness exist?

The Wisdom of “Why?”

Here then is the wisdom of “why,” it causes you to turn from your repetitive monotony and think or reflect on the ultimate purposes in the universe and in your life. By asking “why” as often and as much as you can you are differentiating yourself from a robot or a machine. The more you live without asking “why,” the more you are behaving like a complete automaton, rather than a sentient being.

Imagine we miraculously fell into another universe where the people were composed from metal, and to make matters harder, they had developed robots, also out of metal. These robots were almost identical in appearance to their sentient metal creators, yet they were simply automatons that followed directions, much like the characters in a video game. You point your mouse to the right and click, and the character obeys without question and so on. Upon our arrival, how would we distinguish who were the real people and who were the automatons? Based on the question they ask. Very likely the sentient beings would instantly look to us and want to know who we are and why we are here. The identical robots would continue working without wondering “why?”

Unfortunately that is what many of us gravitate towards. We become automatons, working and fulfilling certain functions as though we are mindless fragments in a large machine. If we could truly see the history of our world then we would see mountains of bodies that plodded through a few meaningless years and died, never questioning any of it. Oh the horrors of such a reality. There must have been hundreds of battlefields filled with thousands of dead teenagers who were given a sword and told to march, most of whom never asked “why am I here for” but simply marched. There are generations of people that could have made the world a better place if they asked “why?” Instead, they simply followed their cultural programing as automatons. The Nazi’s of Hitler’s time could have asked “why do we hate the Jews?” Yet most simply and mindlessly obeyed the flow of culture and the social expectations of nationalism.

Even now so many of us avoid the big questions and simply obey our biological urges to eat, sleep, have sex, without wondering what is its meaning. We follow our greedy desire to possess things; mindlessly focusing our whole life on graduating, getting a job, and getting promoted to earn more money all of which we will leave when we die. We hardly question why jobs and careers and money exist in the first place. Like an automaton we are immersed in our social circles and events, being obedient to them, without asking why they really matter. Our culture programs us to think Gucci or Prada is desirable and we obey its hypnotizing call, paying outrageous prices for an intangible and abstract idea without asking “why?” We are told what we must buy, wear, think, look like, live like, and we obey without question, as though we are robots on a preprogrammed mission.

We live in a fascinating world of mysteries and paradoxes screaming for exploration, and yet we are so easily governed into simply “doing” and “obeying” rather than “being” and “questioning.” Instead of wondering why we are here and what is the ultimate purpose of every tiny thing, we often mindlessly and mundanely live out our days, much like a wind-up toy. We don’t care who wound us up or why, but rather move our mechanical feet staring down the whole time.

The Answers to “Why?”

Now here lies the intrigue, if we were more prone to ask why, we would reach one of three life-altering conclusions”

1.  There is a purpose to the universe because there is a Creator.

2. We don’t know anything at all and we are hopelessly lost.

3. There is not point or purpose to live, everything is futile.

Ultimately every single “why” question will lead you to one of these three question.  It is perhaps the frightening reality of each one that strives us to avoid asking them. Whatever the case, no matter what the original statement is, after a while the “Game of Why” will bring you to one of these three unavoidable conclusions.

Let’s explore three different scenarios, each with a father and a child who is a pro at the “Game of Why.”

1. The agnostic

“Son, this pizza is quite delicious”

“Why?”

“Because it has wonderful ingredients”

“Why?”

“Because someone decided to make it tasty”

“Why?”

“Because they wanted to make money”

 “Why?”

“Because they want to live and be happy”

 “Why?”

“Because that is the way they are “

“Why?”

“Because they evolved from nothing and became like this”

“Why?”

 “Because that’s the way the universe works”

“Why?”

“Honestly, we don’t really know”

“Why don’t you know?”

“Because I don’t know… what to know”

2. The atheist

“Son, this pizza is quite delicious”

 “Why?”

“Because it has wonderful ingredients”

“Why?”

“Because someone decided to make it tasty”

“Why?”

“Because they wanted to make money”

 “Why?”

“Because they want to live and be happy”

 “Why?”

“Because that is the way they are “

“Why?”

“Because they evolved from nothing and became like this”

“Why?”

 “Because that’s the way the universe works”

“Why?”

“There is no reason, it’s all a meaningless void ”

“Why is there no reason?”

“There is no reason… that there is no reason ”

3. The theist

“Son, this pizza is quite delicious”

 “Why?”

“Because it has wonderful ingredients”

“Why?”

“Because someone decided to make it tasty”

“Why?”

“Because they wanted to make money”

 “Why?”

“Because they want to live and be happy”

 “Why?”

“Because that is the way they are “

“Why?”

“Because that’s the way the universe works”

“Why?”

“Because there is a God who made it this way ”

“Why did God make it like this?”

“That is a good question, there must be a purpose, even if we dont know it.”

 

At the end of the day these are the only three conclusions, pick one. “Because I don’t know… what to know.” “There is no reason… that there is no reason.” “That is a good question, there must be a purpose, even if we don’t know it.”

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