Monday, April 7, 2008

What Is Truth?

Img_0553 What Is Truth?

How do we determine what is true and what is not? Is it a feeling we get? A tradition passed down? A belief we simply have or don't have? Do the rules of logic even enter the discussion? Why do some people use an entirely different set of rules for determining spiritual truth than they do for determining scientific truth? After all, if someone doesn't believe that milk comes from cows, do we say, "Well, that may be true for you" or do we try to find a way to explain the truth to them?

Granted, the great spiritual questions about the nature of God and the origin of the universe are a lot more complex than the inner workings of the dairy industry. Does that mean we should throw out the logical methods of FINDING real answers? Should we just give up on the quest for truth and say "whatever works for you"? "It's all much too complicated, so there must not BE any answers." If we asked our scientists to share that way of thinking, they would laugh in our faces.

Some may argue that the very nature of spiritual issues requires a more flexible kind of thinking. But to that I might respond, "Really? Is there any 'flexibility' regarding the view that we should be more flexible? Or are you absolutely rigid in your feelings about that?" If we choose to use a different way of thinking to discover spiritual truth, we have to ask, why are we doing this? Throwing away logic has not helped to advance our knowledge in any other field of study. Why should we so randomly decide to throw away logic as we pursue the most complex questions in the universe?

I believe the answer we don't want to face is that we CHOOSE to throw away logic. Why? Because we like our freedom. We are not interested in changing anything about the way we live. We want to do what we want to do. What's comfortable. If we approach the questions of God with a desire for real answers, we may have to make some real changes in our lives based on what we discover. Changes that will be difficult and that may even cause pain. So to avoid it we convince ourselves that speaking vaguely about spiritual matters, using poetic sounding metaphors instead of defined ideas, makes us more spiritual somehow. And no one likes conflict, so we don't challenge the spiritual ideas of others unless their ideas by nature challenge our own. Live and let live.

And "well done", we have less ugly conflict. We have less healthy conflict, too. What else has been sacrificed in the exchange?

-Paeter Frandsen

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