Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pondering The Unknowable

Get a piece of paper and draw a 1 on one side and 0 on the other.

If God = 1 and no God = 0, explain how two people can arrive at diametric conclusions based on where each is standing in relation to this piece of paper. If one is standing directly in front of the side with the 1 on it, clearly God seems to exist. But if another is standing directly in front of the side with the 0 on it, clearly God seems not to exist. Project what happens at different viewing angles.

Many will support either view until the piece of paper is sufficiently outside the direct line of sight of either, much like how a projection screen's image becomes lost beyond recognition when a critical viewing angle is achieved. What happens when this piece of paper is viewed edge on? Neither view is supported nor rejected though believers of either will likely claim it supports only their view.

But the real question is, which, if any, should be the “correct” viewing angle? If one is above all interested in finding truth, it seems any view is just as “correct” as any other. On the other hand, I can not help but think many, perhaps without realizing it, are above all interested in finding what will afford them the warmest and fuzziest feelings about life. I would beg for caution though. It would be a mistake to assume truth equates to only that which feels good. For if I could wholeheartedly convince myself that children were never abused, all things being equal, I would feel better about life. However, I know this to be patently false and further I know that my believing this warm and fuzzy fallacy would do nothing to make child abuse disappear.

My point is this: if truth is sought, one must let truth be what it is, not what one wants it to be! Of course one can point out the obvious flaw with this argument: we know children are abused but we do not know whether God exists. So in response to this, it will likely be reasoned that we should err on the notion that God does in fact exist. But why would one choose to believe He does exist as opposed to believing He does not? Most likely, because it sounds warm and fuzzy.

One might claim I do not want to believe in God. I would concur with this statement, more or less. However, I feel it important to add that neither do I not want to believe in God! My personal account of all available evidence does not convince me of either. If God exists, would He/She/It approve of my conclusion? Many will say no for obvious reasons I shan't get into, but I have a different viewpoint.

What is one thing God might or perhaps should value and honor above all else? Critical thinking, perhaps? He gave us a brain so why would or should we not use it? Who might God honor more? Somebody who is impartially devoted to finding truth wherever it may lurk or only those lucky enough to have been blessed by The Divine One with a mind-set hardwired to conclude only the absolutely “correct” view(s) on reality. 

Perhaps God preset our viewing angles? If this is the case, I pity the poor bloke whose viewing angle God preset directly on the 0. Of course it needs to be pointed out that this thinking assumes He might care what somebody believes!

On a final but very important note, in my opinion one of the most integral parts of finding truth is introspection.....really getting to know oneself by asking hard, honest questions. Truth is not found by looking for it, rather truth is simply the remnants found in the aftermath of incinerating all falsehoods.

How do we know when all falsehoods have been eliminated? We don't! That is the principle reason truth is so elusive.

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