Tuesday, 13 February 2018

5. Morals and Values - Do Followers of Jesus do Good?

5. Morals and Values - Do Followers of Jesus do Good?

We are still talking about Morals and Values, and who is the law giver - but also; do Christians do good?
It brings us back to the question, “Who is the law giver?”  If there is no ultimate lawgiver, or God, then morals become irrelevant. We are left with anarchy. If we can get away with it, then why not?  If there is no law giver -whatever morality is - right and wrong are just words without meaning or significance.  What is right for you might be wrong for me, but so what!  
Dr. Bahnsen says that, “If the God of the bible does not exist, all principled or moral complaint about what Hitler did to the Jews is irrelevant.  In a godless universe, what one “animal” does to other “animals” is ethically irrelevant.  There is no basis for indignation or outrage.  What happens, happens. Period. We are left with others’ feelings and desires versus the feelings and desires of Hitler – with neither having any more “right” than the other.”
If we support liberal freedom then, in a true atheist worldview, we should defend Hitler’s freedom to do as he desired!
Dr. Bahnsen sets forth a rational, objective case for the existence of the Christian God. A case which fully takes into account the crucial function of one’s worldview in his reasoning.  He is quoted in the tabloid for the Tabash debate as saying: “Pursued to their consistent end, the pre-suppositions of unbelief render man’s reasoning vacuous and his experience unintelligible. In short, they lead to the destruction of knowledge, the dead end of epistemological futility, and to utter foolishness.”  http://www.tabash.com/
I question here the argument that atheists and humanists do as much good in the world as the likes of Robert Raikes, Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Cadburys, Fry’s, Rowntree. The reality is that the Christian ethic, the moral bias of serving a living God gives us great reason to care for His world and the people created in his image.  Interestingly Dinesh D'Souza took Richard Dawkins to task for engaging in historical revisionism when it comes to the atrocities of atheist regimes and declared that Dawkins, "reveals a complete ignorance of history".
In a recent interview D'Souza declared:
Richard Dawkins argues that at least the atheist regimes didn't kill people in the name of atheism. Isn't it time for this biologist to get out of the lab and read a little history? Marxism and Communism were atheist ideologies. Stalin and Mao weren't dictators who happened to be atheist; atheism was part and parcel of their official doctrine.
It was no “accident”, as the Marxists liked to say, that they shut down the churches and persecuted the clergy...]
Dinesh D'Souza stated in another interview:
As one writer put it, “Leaders such as Stalin and Mao persecuted religious groups, not in a bid to expand atheism, but as a way of focusing people’s hatred on those groups to consolidate their own power.” Of course I agree that murderous regimes, whether Christian or atheist, are generally seeking to strengthen their position. But if Christian regimes are held responsible for their crimes committed in the name of Christianity, then atheist regimes should be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of atheism. And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they committed their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a “new man” and a “religion-free utopia?” These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration. They were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.” Joseph Stalin's atheistic regime killed tens of millions of people the vast majority of which were his own people.
The thing that I noted most as I looked through Wikipedia and other web sites and their arguments against my moral perspective, was that no one seemed to talk about “conscience”. Conscience is that strange inner-voice with which we are all born.  No one asked, “Where does that come from?” The Bible says in John chapter 1 that there is, “…a light that lights every man.” John is talking about Jesus in his Gospel when he makes that statement. However, there is also that light of “conscience” that every person has. And why would that be a surprise?  If, as I believe, we are made in the image of God, why would it be strange that there is a part of us that is God-like, telling us about good and bad, right and wrong?  Conscience is a strange thing, it tells us these things but does not make us do the right thing or stop us from doing wrong.  Dinesh D’ Souza says it much better than me:

The Surprising Fact of Morality
Evolutionists have some ingenious explanations for morality.  But do they work?  Morality is both a universal and a surprising fact about human nature. When I say that morality is universal I am not referring to this or that moral code. In fact, I am not referring to an external moral code at all. Rather, I am referring to morality as the voice within, the interior source that Adam Smith called the “impartial spectator.” Morality in this sense is an uncoercive but authoritative judge. It has no power to compel us, but it speaks with unquestioned authority. Of course we can and frequently do reject what morality commands, but when we do so we cannot avoid guilt or regret. It is because of our capacity for self-impeachment and remorse that Aristotle famously called man “the beast with the red cheeks.” Aristotle’s description holds up very well more than 2,000 years later. Even people who most flagrantly repudiate morality — say, a chronic liar or a rapacious thief — nearly always respond to detection with excuses and rationalisations. They say, “Yes, I lied, but I had no alternative under the circumstances,” or “Yes, I stole, but I did so to support my family.” Hardly anyone says, “Of course I am a liar and a thief, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.” What this means is that morality supplies a universal criterion or standard even though this standard is almost universally violated. 
Morality is a surprising feature of humanity because it seems to defy the laws of evolution.  Evolution is descriptive: It says how we do behave. Morality is prescriptive: It says how we should behave. And beyond this, evolutionary behaviour appears to run in the opposite direction from moral behaviour. Evolution implies that we are selfish creatures who seek to survive and reproduce in the world. Indeed we are, but we are also unselfish creatures who seek the welfare of others, sometimes in preference to our own. We are participants in the game of life, understandably partial to our own welfare, while morality stands aloof, taking the impartial, or, “God’s eye view”, directing us to act in a manner conducive to the good of others. In sum, while evolution provides a descriptive account of human self-interest, morality provides a standard of human behaviour that frequently operates against self-interest.
So if we are mere evolutionary primates, how do we account for morality as a central and universal feature of our nature? Why would morality develop among creatures obsessively bent on survival and reproduction? Darwin himself recognized the problem. In “The Descent of Man, Darwin argued that “although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet . . . an advancement in the standard of morality will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another.”  Darwin’s point is that a tribe of virtuous patriots, with each of its members willing to make sacrifices for the group, would prove more successful and thus be favoured by natural selection over a tribe of self-serving individuals. This is the group-selection argument, and for many decades it was considered an acceptable way to reconcile evolution with morality.
But as biologists now recognize, the argument has a fatal flaw. The question we have to ask is how a tribe of individuals would become self-sacrificing in the first place. Imagine a tribe where, for instance, many people shared their food with others or volunteered to defend the tribe from external attack. Now what would be the fate of individual cheaters who benefited from this arrangement but hoarded their own food and themselves refused to volunteer to fight? Clearly these scoundrels would have the best deal of all. In other words, cheaters could easily become free riders, benefiting from the sacrifices of others but making no sacrifices themselves, and they would be more likely to survive than their more altruistic fellow tribesmen.
So do I still think morality or conscience is something that comes from the ‘God who is there,’ after reading all that is said about my opinions in the various discussions, Wikipedia and otherwise?  Even more so!

Adrian Hawkes
W. 1518
For UCB 3 Minute talk

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

4 Morals and Values - Good and Evil

4 Morals and Values  -  Good and Evil

While looking up something recently on Wikipedia, I discovered lots of comments about myself in discussion with Richard Dawkins.  Many of the comments following on from the discussion are statements like, “How ridiculous to think that morals come from any kind of God”.

Usually, in this kind of debate, there is a tendency to ridicule things that I have said. Well! That’s fine. I guess it goes along with getting involved and not being afraid of what I believe and understand – as well as being sure that it holds water and can stand up to cross examination. If one cannot stand the heat in the kitchen one shouldn’t really be cooking, should one?

I suppose I do get somewhat irritated in debates when people tell me what I believe, and then tell me how ridiculous it is to believe it, followed by an attempt prove how stupid I am.  Yet, all the time I am thinking, “I never believed that in the first place. And you have not given me space to say what I really do believe, or think.”  It’s what I call, “destroying straw men”. One puts up an argument, and then knocks it down. But if it was not an arguement in the first place, what is that? If I did not believe what they think I believe, and then they knock down what they believe I believe, without understanding or knowing or having me say what I believe, what is that?

In TV debates, especially those that are not live, there is the possibility that what was said is left on the cutting room floor.  I remember in one debate with Richard Dawkins, he said to me that he was more moral than me because he did not rape or pillage and neither did he require a God to stop him doing those things - whereas I did.  My reply, which I think must be on the cutting room floor was, “Bully for you. You ought to watch the news more often”.

If you watch the news you can see that there is an awful lot of inhumanity and suffering in the world. I live in one of those areas where young people can be stabbed or shot just because they happened to have strayed into the wrong post code area.  My questions are; “Why are we so awful to each other?  And what has happened to a moral basis?”  I would argue that as we move away from an understanding of a God, who ultimately will judge and question all of our life’s responses, we then become more selfish and less inclined to care for each other, or have any basis for moral decisions. Our moral compass deteriorates.

The humanist argues that our morals come from the fact that we are, “simply human”. They say that any sense of morality developes out of our selfishness and survival needs, or, as Richard Dawkins would argue; “The selfish gene is simply protecting itself by being moral towards others”.

I often ask the question, “Why do we have right and wrong? Where do we get such concepts?”  The arguements on Wikipedia, in answer to what I said about morals, seem to conclude that it’s just because we are human.  I’m sorry, but that just will not do.  If doing wrong gives me an advantage, and I can avoid getting caught, why not go ahead and do it?  Morals like that don’t seem to me to be moral at all.

In a discussion on morality, Richard Dawkins was asked: "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”  
Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right?  I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question. But whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”  

The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied.  He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."

Richard Dawkins' commentary on Adolf Hitler 
 Essay: Richard Dawkins' comment concerning Adolf Hitler  http://conservapedia.com/Richard_Dawkins 
 Richard Dawkins, atheist atrocities, and historical revisionism

Adrian Hawkes
W. 724

Friday, 15 December 2017

Morals and Values 3. Do We Have Them?

Morals and Values 3. 
Morals and Conscience
 Do we have them?

This is the third time I have talked about this subject from which you will gather that I think it’s important, especially in the light of some the recent events in the UK, such as  riots.  However I believe they are only a symptom of something deeper.

Politicians, of all shades, including the prime ministers are discussing this subject and it is playing central stage on many TV and Radio Programmes.  Perhaps, then, it really is important. There is also deep concern about our schools and our young people – how, the politicians and TV pundits ask, can we install morals into young people so that they do not smash up our streets and destroy our society?

Many responses to my talks and that can be summed up as follows, ‘Morals don’t need to come from the Bible, The Koran, or from a god, they surely can come from within ourselves?’ to which I answer, ‘yes of course they can but what sort of moral guide would that be?’

We need to go one step back and ask, why we need to have morals at all, and what is it that propels us to even ask these questions.  My answer encompasses the whole issue of conscience.

What is conscience? What is our conscience?  My argument would be that conscience is a part of us that we are all born with.  Some people disagree with this concept and say that we don’t have a conscience, but I strongly believe that we do. We each have our own individual conscience, unique to us personally. That means that it only works for us, it doesn’t work for anyone else.  What it instils in us is the general sense of right and wrong.

In a nutshell, right and wrong for you might be different to the right and wrong for me, but there will, most definitely, be a personal right and wrong. This concept is far beyond the idea that we do things because they are convenient or inconvenient or because we know we can ‘get away with it’.

How does conscience work, well for the individual, and I do stress the individual in any given situation it will say to the person, ‘yes that is right do it,’ or, ‘No, that is wrong! You should not do it.’  You conscience does not impel you, it does not force you in any direction, it will only hint at the decision you should make, the final decision that decides the action is the result of your decision making process, which I would call the will. 

When you have carried out an act, you know if it is wrong without anyone telling you, you will feel uncomfortable and disturbed; the pendulum of your conscience has swung into the negative zone.  For many people when they obey their consciences and do what they feel is right they often say they feel good, when they disobey their conscience they feel bad, or despondent, but the feeling does not prevent them from disobeying.

Interestingly the Bible does have some comments on this.  John 1:9 is obviously talking about Jesus the Christ, but also the implication is that there is a ‘light’, or the word I use, conscience that is there in every person, and Romans 2:14 says this, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves.”  In other words we all have it, and we use it, our conscience, personally.
This means that we will have different views of right or wrong according first of all to us, and then as we grow and develop, according to what we learn from our family and surrounding culture and education.

The problem is that we all break our own rules, and go against our own conscience.

Conscience can of course be educated and that is where the moral discussion enters the stage.  Who will define that moral code, will it be just me, will it be my culture, or will it be God?

It is possible for our conscience to be developed and refined by all sorts of external things, including education.

But who should define the moral code, which one will we adopt?

We need to understand that the moral code that Jesus defines is quite amazing in that it is contrary to all other moral codes that I know anything about, but please tell me if you know something different. 

Think about some of those moral imperatives and how counter-culture they are; ‘love your enemies, do good to those who do bad to you,’ for starters. What sort of Moral code do you want people to follow?  

What moral code is required for our culture to follow and for you personally?

Adrian Hawkes
W. 824
3 Minute talk for UCB

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Morality and Values 2 - CONSCIENCE

 Morality and Values
2. Where does Morality come from?
I ended last time by talking about the Atheist Richard Dawkins and what he said to me. Let me continue with that.
Richard Dawkins often says, that being an atheist is not indicative of one with a depressing philosophy. Actually, he says it makes one appreciate life more and love life.  Again I say, “Bully for you!” The problem is, that one doesn’t have to travel very far to find people who are starving, people who have been enslaved, and people who have every reason not to love life. If you now want them to believe that atheism is the truth, and not be depressed by such a philosophy, all I can say is “HELP!”” It’s the most depressing view of life that I can imagine. Thank God it isn’t the truth!
So where does Morality come from? I note that even some of the comments on what I think - listed in Wikipedia – observe that I am saying that we live in a moral universe, and that there is a base line for morality, and that this base line comes from somewhere else. That somewhere else, I would say, is God.  Yes! That is what I am saying. Morality without a moral law giver is craziness. It is not morality. As Charles Grandison Finney would have put it:
Opposed to this is willing self-gratification; a practical treating of self as if the gratification of our own desires, appetites, etc., were of supreme importance. Now in this ultimate choice of the good of universal being, or of self-gratification as an ultimate end, moral character must reside. Primarily, surely, it can reside nowhere else. It is this ultimate choice that gives direction and character to all the subordinate actions of the will; that gives direction to the volitions, the actions, and the omissions of all our voluntary lives. This ultimate choice is the root or fountain from which all volition and all moral action spring.
I guess even Richard would agree with some of that, as the basic premise is, as far as he is concerned, that morality only comes from our own selfishness to survive or not be killed. That, according to him, is why we don’t have mayhem on the streets.  I live in an area where we have postcode crime, knife and gun crime. So; the morality is: You don’t live in my postcode area?  You are there - so you need killing. That seems a Great morality. Not!
Going back to Dawkins’ statement I quoted earlier where I responded with “Bully for you”  Richard seems to take no note of the Hitler’s, the Pol Pots, and the Stalin’s of this world; which again makes me think - if morality is only up to our moving to a value system that selfishly benefits ourselves alone - we can get around it. If it is to my benefit - why not circumvent the law of the land, or the moral law, if there is no ultimate sanction or moral law giver?
It has always interested me that the Bible talks about God giving “light” to every person who comes into the world. What is that light?
Personally, I have always seen that light as being the conscience that dwells in each and every person.  We can obey conscience or disobey it. It is as if one has embedded within themselves a little bit of God. If we obey it, we feel good, if we disobey it we feel bad. However, it does not force us either way. We have freewill. We have choice.  Again, to quote Finney on the subject of conscience, he talks about “moral insanity”:
Moral insanity, on the other hand, is will-madness. The man retains his intellectual powers unimpaired, but he sets his heart fully to evil. He refuses to yield to the demands of his conscience. He practically discards the obligations of moral responsibility. He has the powers of free moral agency, but persistently abuses them. He has a reason which affirms obligation, but he refuses obedience to its affirmations.
So; where do I think Morality comes from?
It comes from the Law Giver – that is God. And he has created and designed a moral universe. A universe that ultimately works towards the best good for all the created order. That means us and God too.  We can pretend it is not there. We can work against it. We can listen to our conscience – and we can ignore it. But none of those things make it not there.

Adrian Hawkes
For UCB 3 minute talk
W. 774

Monday, 9 October 2017

Morality and Values 1 - ETHOS


Morality and Values  1.

This subject of “Morality and Values,” I observe presents such problems.

I was part of a government think tank in looking at OFSTED inspections of schools. One of the things they looked at is the moral dimension of the ethos of the state schools.  My problem was – and is: How does one get hold of and understand morals and morality?  In this small group, on the discussion  of “Moral teaching in Schools”, were Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Evangelical Christians, and Humanists.

All of us - apart from the humanist - agreed that morals has to come from some kind of law giver. And actually, in all of our thinking, we concluded that the law giver must be God – that is, apart from the humanist - who said “There isn’t a God! So morals must come from somewhere else”.
I went on to argue that in terms of generosity, in such things as tsunamis, famines, natural and man made disasters and the like, the UK Is actually quite generous in its giving. I put this down to the Judeo Christian influence in the historical background of the nation. The humanist said, “Now don’t be silly! It is due to the fact that we were once great colonists”.   Hmm! I thought that was all about greed, trade, and getting lots of power and things for ourselves?

Anyway! Having been one of those interviewed by Richard Dawkins for his, “Religion is the root of all evil” programmes, I find the stuff all over the internet, usually with many of “the learned” atheists - so called - poking fun at my opinions.  Funnily enough, I have read Richard’s book, “The God delusion”. One of the things that struck me from the volume is how often the base of “who we are” and “where we are”, comes down to “luck” and simple good fortune - at least according to Mr Dawkins’ book. 

God seems a better thesis to me.

And of course, both in the programme and on the net, as well as – defiantly - in Wikipedia, comes the discussion of morality.  I am sort of “amused” that in at least one article or comment, the fact that we live in a moral universe  - and one “without God” according to the “atheists” - is actually argued from the fact that some fish have a symbiotic relationship with cleaner fish and actually protect them. This, so they claim, is the logical grounds as to why we don’t go around on our streets killing each other. 

The fish story is used to suggest that violence and killing is – sort of - wiser not too.

One of the things that Richard Dawkins said to me in the interview for his programme, (which I have not seen on the TV repeats or YouTube, so I guess it’s on the cutting room floor), was; “I am more righteous than you”. I, of course, said “Oh! And how is that?” To which he replied, “I don’t go around pillaging and raping, and I don’t need a God to stop me. You, Adrian, need God to stop you.” 

To which I answered “Bully for you! You maybe ought to watch the international news every day!”

One Swallow does not a summer make.

Adrian Hawkes
W. 550
 Edited KL

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

How to Create Gender Equality

How to Create Gender Equality

I think this desperate need within society is not easy at all to bring into being – to put it mildly. However, as it’s been in the news again just lately, I would like to have a go at how I believe it can be done.  We have particularly noted the wages problem in the BBC. And, make no mistake, we are told it’s much worse throughout the rest of the country.  If one happens to have been born female, then those persons will receive around 17% less than their male counterpart, even though they may be doing exactly the same job in the same office.

Why is it not so easy to change this and bring in a satisfactory sense of equality? Because we have to change a deep set culture, or even lots of different sub-cultures, and much of the thinking that has formed that culture goes back a long way, ingraining itself into people’s thinking over many generations?

What is that ingrained thinking? At a basic level it really is a fact that Males are in charge. Because they are more intelligent? Stronger? Could it be that they are better?  Females are, of course, lesser because they are not so clever or as strong, and therefore men need to be in charge. (That is a comment of sarcasm – please don’t write in to complain.)

What we tend to do is address symptoms of this disease. This means that we are wanting to increase women’s wages and make it, “equal jobs for equal pay” right across the board.  The trouble is that such an action, once taken, still will not have addressed the thinking, just the symptoms that came into being because of that thinking.

Legislation would change things, though that would be somewhat of a blunt instrument. We know that laws can change wrong to right (and sometimes even change right to wrong), so we must not underestimate the power of a passed law by government.

However, I do think we need to address the issue of equality at its base. The foundational  base is how people think. The way that people think has been formed by their family, the government, the educational system, the community that they mix with, the business pressures that they have been exposed to, the history that brought the issue into being, and even the language. 

So it’s about changing people’s thinking. Changing the thinking that says men are superior, woman are inferior.   That means influencing, educating, legislating and seeking to change the cultural mind-set that makes the acceptance of the statement above acceptable.

I listened recently to young lads, of non UK origin being interviewed on TV about what they thought about the so called “honour killings”. Their answers were horrific. They said things like, “If my sister had dishonoured my family, then, yes, I think she should be killed”.   The whole idea that women are lesser, builds the strong presupposition that their freedoms of expression, their friends, their choice of dress, and all of their relationships must of necessity be controlled by men.

Sumptuary legislation, where ever it comes from, is always about power and domination.  I hear comments like, “… but that woman chose to dress like this!”  My question is one step further back. “Who pressurises them to choose, or to exercise their supposed freedom in that way?”  The probable answer is their religion, the law, their culture, and all those facets of life that are their personally accepted conventions.  Then we need to ask, “Why is it so?” The answer will be, “Because men dictate it”. (http://adrianhawkes.co.uk/sumptuary-legislation-2/)

We can achieve equality, but we need to deal with the symptoms, i.e. equal pay and opportunities and the like, but we also need to address the underlying cultural perception. We will need to do that by education, legislation and a strong argument against our historical position. In other words; a full scale attack on the current cultural position and underlying thinking.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited KL
w. 551

Monday, 7 August 2017

Maybe I need some Helpful Understanding?

Maybe I need some Helpful Understanding?
It seems to me that after deciding on becoming a follower of Jesus, one then enters a relationship with God Himself.  This effectively changes the way that we are. This, I understand, is done by changing our minds by changing the way we think, which will in turn change our actions.

So; we should become the kind of people who love our enemies, do good to those who would seek to harm us, treat others as more important than ourselves, recognise that all humans are made in the image of God and therefore need to be respected and highly regarded.  I would then expect us (that is-all Jesus followers) to be generous, to see neither male nor female, bond nor free, this nationality or that - in fact caring for one another however possible

So; I am not sure how to express my disappointment, and lack of understanding on several fronts. Recently, reading an American article, (and I don’t think what I am about to say only reflects only on the USA- it just happened to be an American writer whose article I was reading) the writer noted that in the restaurant industry in the USA it was difficult to get staff to do the Sunday shift. They surveyed widely to try and understand why this was so.  Waiting staff are apparently not that well paid in America, and therefore tips become a very important part of staff income. 

It appeared, after the results of the survey had been assessed, that staff did not like the Sunday shift as they said, that, “Sunday is the day that all the church people come in to eat -  and they are the meanest and least generous of our customers”.  Why is it like that?

Friends of mine, both in the journalistic as well as the political world, tell me that the most vitriolic letters and communications, the ones that are “the most condemning” and, in their words, “the most unkind” of all the correspondence they receive (and this is both in the USA and in the UK) comes from people who express in their letters, that they are Christians.  Again why is this so?

I know it has always been a “secret evil” in society, but again; why is it that we keep seeing the misuse of children and the abuse of people of the opposite sex from selfish desires, so often by Christians who express themselves as leaders in the church or in church organisations.  Why?
I wonder!

Have these people really met God? Do they really understand what it is to have been changed by their relationship with God?  Or are they just “label” people? Are they hiding under the epithet “Christian” as a word that may seem to be a useful label to stick on their activities to cloak their dark activities?

Recently, I have stopped responding when people ask me, “Are you a Christian?”I wonder what that means. Usually my response is, “I am a follower of Jesus, and I want that to be more than just a label. I want it to be demonstrated in living lifestyle and action.”

Jesus said to his early followers; “This is how people will know that you are my disciples, in that you have love one for another”. 

I reckon that is not just love for other disciples. I think it should be possible to demonstrate that in the wider world with all races, colours and creeds.  To people who are created in the image of “the God who is there.”

What is it that I have not understood?

w. 610.