So the other day I was listening to a podcast which gave me one of those “oh that is what that means” moments. A few weeks ago, a member of the UK Parliament evidently accused “feminist zealots” of wanting to “have their cake and eat it too”. In response, a number of feminists posted pictures of themselves eating cake on Twitter. Commenting on this episode, an atheist and skeptic that I follow on YouTube made a video where he pointed out, in a somewhat indelicate manner, that this saying could be more correctly formulated “Eating your cake and possessing it afterwards”. This incident made me feel extremely stupid and reminded me of a famous quote.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. -Abraham Lincoln
Now don’t get me wrong. I always understood that “have their cake and eat it too” was meant to describe a mutually exclusive possibility because this was clear from the various contexts in which it was used. But I always thought that it was a bit of a dumb saying. “Surely one must have a cake in order to eat it? Unless, of course, one is talking about a stolen cake? But I don’t understand how that changes anything? Just a dumb saying I guess.” It is only an accident that my confusion on this topic was not previously a matter of public record.
As I have considered this issue it has made me want to reiterate a basic truth that I think is extremely important. The temptation that I have had as an educated Christian is to try to have an answer for every possible atheist objection. This temptation comes from a basic pride that must be recognized and repudiated. “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer to an atheist objection. After all, how could I, as a finite human being, possibly be expected to explain all the actions of an omniscient and omnipotent being? As I hope I have made clear in other posts, the purpose of this blog is to share my best answers to certain questions in the hope that I can aid other people on the journey of intellectual exploration and growth that is the Christian life. I do not have all the answers and the existence of an infinite and all-knowing God whose actions a finite being can fully comprehend and explain is as self-contradictory as “eating your cake and possessing it afterwards”.