I woke up thinking about the Knowledge argument. Yes, I am really weird! Actually I suspect I was thinking about Ex Machina that includes it. It goes by some other names – Mary’s room or Mary the super-scientist – yet fundamentally it is a thought experiment by Frank Jackson. In short:
… Jackson’s Mary is a scientist who knows everything there is to know about the science of color, but has never experienced color. The question that Jackson raises is: once she experiences color, does she learn anything new? Jackson claims that she does.
I find that idea really interesting. I think we sometimes, in a modern scientific world, downplay experience in epistemology. Is something that I know but have never experienced really “knowledge”?
So allow me to move the discussion in a theological direction. Does the experience of Jesus change me? Can I know Jesus without ever experiencing Him? Of course these questions actually influence the way we do “mission” and “evangelism”. Unfortunately sometimes “sharing my faith” is more about personal validation than transformation.
I think that I can tell people about Jesus and then the individual experiences Him. So is the speaking about really transformative or is the experience that may or may not follow? Of course, the issue is further complicated by the very fact that Jesus is a person and not an idea. A person who needs to be encountered. It is the personal meeting with Jesus that transforms – what role does my speaking about Him play?
Anyway, I was wondering what gospel story could be used to illustrate the above philosophical point? The Road to Emmaus? The blind man in John 9? Any suggestions?