Monday, July 02, 2007

it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish.

there are three truths that i have run across thus far in my life. i am sure to find more, or add to my simple list. at the end of the day it is truth we really want, whether in politics, or religion, or love; it is truth we desire.

1. relative truth: this truth is much more based not on the philosophical definition of relative truth (as in relative or subjective) but on relative as in a personal opinion. Where as a relativist would think that what is true for me may or may not be true for someone else, i am simplifying it to the notion that this type of truth is based on personal sentiment; such as this is my favorite type of food, this is my favorite hobby, this is my favorite type of music. this truth changes throughout life, whether by investigation into other types of cultures or opportunities.

2. truth/knowledge: this is truth that crosses cultures, races, and religion. such as the law of gravity, mathematics, and basic chemistry. no matter what god you believe in, if you throw a rock into the sky gravity is going to pull it back down to the earth. this truth does not waiver or change as rapidly as ones own personal 'relative' truth. this can be taught, learned, and expounded upon.

3. The Truth/The Way. this, i feel, is the deepest of all truth. this truth does not change but surpasses far beyond this life.  this is one's own personal belief in a higher power. if one believes that there is something beyond themselves, and after careful and meticulous investigation begins to follow the faith with all their mind, body, and soul than they to would agree that this is the deepest of all truths. for in this truth we find that it trumps both relative truth and knowledge. it is not in the calculations that we find this truth, but in our hearts.  'we know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.' -b. pascal

for me i have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, but that does not mean that i do not still have questions, it simply means i know who to turn to when i need the answers. as well, it does not mean that i do not search; i listen for knowledge wherever i can find it. i am NOT a proponent of universalism, but i do want to be a universal man (uomo universale). please do not confuse the two,  i want to know as much as i can about this world (and all of its cultures) that i believe God created.

'seek and ye shall find,' this search of for life and God is not one that requires a day or two of study, but a lifetime of longing and exploring. pierre abelard once said 'the beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.' it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

how can you even say The Truth/The Way and NOT be talking SOLEY about Jesus? one's own personal belief in a higher power? why even bother saying that? just straight up say God, Jesus, whatever... i guess that's your call....

Just Alice. said...

"it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish."
It was that line^^ that made me yell out, "HEC YEAH!". This blog itself rings of truth.
You could easily be a motivational speaker. I guess in a lot of ways you already are.

Lexi said...

"it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish."

That's actually the realization I came to about a month ago with regards to my faith. Ending one's search for something almost ensures that one will never find it, and I realized that my faith was of enough importance that I needed to continue my search and not merely leave it up to chance that I might perhaps one day stumble across it again. The doubt continues, but my hope and thirst has been renewed.

Anonymous said...

It is funny because this is exactly what my friends and I were talking about yesterday.
I basically agree with everything you have said here.
The one little difference I have is your truth/way is like an absolute truth. The only way you can have an absolute truth is if something an outside greater being (God) sees over it. Otherwise it is all relative.
I think you were purposely staying away from absolute truths.
Sorry if I didn't make very much sense.

wretch_likeme said...

"a lifetime of longing and exploring"--I like that. It always hurts me when people think its so strange that I'm interested in the teachings of other religions. Like they're afraid that I'm going to turn my back on my God. Everyone is searching for truth, and while I believe that Christianity is based on true Truth (if that makes sense), I think by understanding other religions and cultures one can have a different and deeper perspective on what the Bible is trying to teach us. Its so easy in the West to become used to the Christian cliches and forget what they once meant. Sometimes educating oneself about other religions and theologies makes our own beliefs clearer and more meaningful.

Griffith said...

dearest dearest dearest mr. christian,


thank you, thank you, thank you for your statement.
thank you for your honesty.
thank you for your courage.

most sincerely,
your brother

speaktome said...

i agree. i think though, that really, it's impossible to differentiate "The Truth/The Way" without identifying this as Jesus Christ, as you have said you follow Him. I don't mean to sound campy, but I think Truth, deepest Truth can't be relative. Truth is not "true for you, but since you're Christian and I'm *whatever religion/doctrine*, I have my own truth". i think Truth is true all the time. Truth and law are different in that a law can be bent, broken, different for the elite/poorest/richest/unbelieving. Purest Truth cannot. What do you think?

i was at church camp this past week. the theme was Carpe Diem, and one of the main points I snagged was that the truth is...me remaining safe, by my inaction, condemns my friends [even my best friends] who aren't followers of Jesus Christ to hell

Anonymous said...

This is very true, and i completely agree with the three types of truth. Even though the last one someone argued that it is solely about Christ, it is not. If i were buddhist id subscribe to the 4 noble truths, eightfold path, etc. Its a personal belief and what you find truth in.

sj. said...

phenomenal! love it.

Antoinette said...

I definitely agree with what you're saying.. but at times doubting is frustrating for me, as if it were wrong to doubt and I'm just "supposed to" know and understand. Sometimes I ask questions and forget to look for the answers, but I'm sure if I keep searching I'll eventually find truth.

And by the way, it was great meeting you yesterday. Later on in the day, I came across a framed picture of the Dalai Lama around the amphitheater and was reminded of your previous post.

Tobe said...

I'm German but shouldn't it be:
"It's human to doubt, it's ending the conquest for truth that is foolish." ?? Again, I may be wrong, but I was just really wondering...

However, I really LOVED this entry and I'm deeply thankful for you posting it, especially the quote of Pierre Abelard! Thank you Steven!!

Gabrielle said...

I totally agree with Alice. Your posts are so interesting. It really makes me think about who I am as a person. I really love the title, because it is so true. You should find truth, not just give up on it. You are a very interesting person. I am glad that you are the person I truly admire. Your blogs are always great to read, and I love reading them. They are very interesting, they speak for themselves. Thank-you for sharing your thoughts. Mine, compared to yours, are nothing.
~ELLE~

guard my dreams said...

this is so true. the thing that i find so sad is that so many people only focus on relative truth and never move on to The Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

after i read the post before this one i said something about how i thought that what the Dalai Lama said was a beautiful approach to the wrong thing. though i do believe that the more you search and study to learn more about The Truth the closer you will come to knowing God better and better, i dont know how that fits in with what i said about the Dalai Lama. can you find Truth in religions that go against the Bible? i really dont know how i feel about that. ive never really thought that hard about it, honestly. but i will now. thank you, stephen, for writing these things that make me question and think on a deeper level. maybe through learning how to think on deeper levels i will come a little closer to The Truth.

philip said...

let us not be afraid of the truth. for me, truth is one of the scariest things out there. what if the truth is that there is no god? objectively, it could be true. objectively, a lot of things could be true. god could hate the world, whether or not people choose to believe it. god might not even care about the world. objectively, these could be true.

other truths can be just as scary like: lonliness, depression, and sorrow.

i'm sorry for being so negative, but truth is such an overwhelming idea/concept for me.

Anonymous said...

This post comforts me. Too mnay times I have been confronted by people I considered to be close to me about questioning the things of God, despite the fact that our role models in the Bible did exactly that. It does us no good to follow our beliefs blindly. It truly is in our nature to question, and God welcomes our questioning and doubts. He doesn't get angry with us because of it. The pursuit of God entails such time of doubts. Thank you for your posts!

chris said...

i came to the same realization about 2 months ago, it will surely take an entire lifetime or even longer to find truths to God, and im fine with that. the other forms of truth were...well, true too. :P good post.

Anonymous said...

"In battling evil, excess is good; for he
who is moderate in announcing the truth
is presenting half-truth. He conceals the
other half out of fear of the people's wrath"

Kahlil-- Syrian poet/philosopher

who can make sense of it all? said...

Truth is subjective to one’s own experiences. Our truth of reality is often very different to that of another, as we are “blind” to some experiences. I want to value and see truth in the light of all of life experiences. Metaphysically, I know that the reality and truth of God’s existence is that He is real and true; although I cannot physically see Him I believe in Him. And this truth of God is absolute. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The truth of God doesn’t change.

Questions bring freedom. Freedom that I dont have to be God and dont have to pretend that I have it all figured out. I can just let God be God. Being a Christian is more about celebrating mystery than conquering it. The mystery IS the truth.


Because truth is insight into God and God is infinite and God has no boundaries or edges, truth always has layers and depth and texture. It is no wonder we continue to question question question...yet we will never fathom all the mysteries of God. He IS.

Truth is bigger than any religion and the world is God's and everything in it.If you come across truth in any form, it isnt outside your faith as a Christian. Your faith just got bigger. To be a Christian is to claim truth wherever you find it- Rob Bell

I continue to question, and embrace whatever is true and good and beautiful wherever it is found.

dgbowyer-at-gmail.com said...

It's so important to continually have questions about our faith. That's how we grow in it. It's important for us to remember that one of the gifts God gave us is our brains!

Daniel+

liz said...

Yeah I agree with you. People are always wanting to know the truth, wanting to know if there's something more to this world than meets the eye. This was a good blog to read.

Holleigh said...

Stephen;
It makes me slightly angry that anything I say here has probably been said before by another person.
But, bless you for making me think.
I love to think I'll meet you one day in heaven.

themockingbyrd said...

Bravo, bravo, and Amen!

I'll sacrifice my quest for originality to the higher calling of noting and congratulating words fitly spoken--An excellent, excellent entry.

It bothers me, occasionally, that my peers are reluctant to question our shared faith and theology--if it can't stand up under the most critical and painstaking scrutiny, it's not worth believing, right? If I'm wrong about the universe, I wish to know it, and to know it as soon as possible.

While I don't agree with some previous commenters on this post that we should treat other religions as equally valid, I will bring up my comment on the last entry regarding a beautiful approach to the wrong thing and say that there are lots of ugly and inefficient approaches to the right thing, and when we come across a thing of beauty, it's best to seize ahold thereof immediately.

Margaret said...

"To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his." Job 12:13

You can seek throughout all the earth the wisdom of man, but you need to make sure that you are also seeking God's wisdom above all other's or they might lead you astray!!!

day na said...

'seek and ye shall find'...

i can't say anymore; just know that those words mean more to me than most people know.

thank you for your words!

Timmy the tortoise said...

A good read, I enjoyed it. My thoughts:

Truth is the holy grail. That comforting knowledge which we all, naturally, search for. There is something comforting about truth, if you know it then there is nothing to worry about. If you are unsure or completely unknowing of something, you naturally worry.However, if this truth is an irrelevant and needless truth, there is nothing to be gained from it. I am talking about the truth about higher power. I am an Atheist, in the true sense of the word, I see no need for the belief in a higher power. If it was to be discovered that there is some deity, a god in the heavens, would it change anything?

Thus, it is my conclusion that, the third of your truths is not relevant or needed. I see no need for the "conquest for truth" regarding higher powers, it has no impact on my life, and why search for something you may never find? It is so uncertain as to whether there is a god, why waste valuable time which could be used to save lives or make peace? There is so much at hand, on this planet, to be dealt with. So many issues which need attention, I just see the pursuit of religion a waste of valuable time which could be focussed one something more productive.

Well, those are my thoughts. I may disagree with you, but I certainly respect your views.

Navarre said...

Truth is a funny one. The only system in ontology which gives us real truth is foundationalism, i.e Finding an indubitable foundational truth, then building a tower of logic on top of it saying "If that is true then this is true" etc...

Philosophy is essentially knowing you will never know everything and trying anyway, just for the meaning of the latin words "Philo" "sophy", Love of knowledge. That is what philosophy is, by definition.

You mention relativism, but moved over it quite quickly. It is no self-evident truth that we all share the same truth. There is no definite certainty that there is objective truth or even an objective universe. All we ever know or experience is our minds interpretation of the world, we think. In actual fact, we never know anything but what our minds create. Sense's don't let the world in, they just try to communicate what it looks like.

I too am an atheist, as the word originally meant, without a belief in God. Everyone is born an atheist, without a belief in a higher power. Through my journey from agnostic, through anti-theist, I have finally realised what atheism is. The existence of God is irrelevant. It makes no difference to my life or the world in general. The only God that has an impact is the God in peoples heads, the one they use to give credence to their own actions and decisions.

A nice read, a nice blog in general.

Anonymous said...

This blog is probably one of my favorites. Dealing with the topic of truth. What is truth.
It is interesting to read the three categories/definitions.
I like how you said "the Way."
I like that phrase.
Life is a journey. There is a way isn't there. You sounded like you meant it in a spiritual way.
I am not an athiest. I believe in using logic. I believe in using my mind. I believe in being productive. I do not believe we are living only for the next world.
I believe life starts now and our spirits last forever.
Have you ever felt something warm inside you? Is it not just physical, but emotive, soulish?
I could logically talk myself into or out of a lot of things.
But when the day is over, is there something beyond this shell of a body that makes me who and what I am.
I find that Christ was about the moment and not just another world. I find His teachings relevant to today and tomorrow. I find Him encouraging others to be productive. (Ever hear the parable of the talents, for example?)
A higher power is not an excuse to not live empowered lives or focus our energy on something wasteful, but to channel it like a riverbank.
These are interesting thoughts to me. Thanks for sharing your views and for listening to mine.

Book of James said...

Ah yes the old what difference does it make argument. I think we would mostly agree that we all have free will in this world. I am talking the freedom to make choices in our lives. Sure there are folks that don’t have the same degree and latitude of freedom as folk in the US and UK, but for the most part we are free to believe in God or to believe there is no God.

Regardless of your position, I respect your right to decide what to believe. I also hold out hope that with age and perspective you will reconsider your conclusions. I must admit that I am not on a quest for truth; I am not looking for God. I do believe in God and I know where my God is. My God gives me the strength and foundation to accept autism, to understand death, Job loss, infidelity. All of the things that Life can throw at you.

I am not sure what people that believe there is no God do. Does it work to just count on yourself, talk through things with your friends, talk to a therapist? Is that all there is? I used to not even worry if there was a God or not. When I was a child I thought like a child.

Waste of time? Ask yourself do I spend more time playing video games or saving lives and making peace? I just don’t remember seeing much about the humanitarian efforts of atheists. I am sure there are some I am just not sure of the magnitude of the efforts. To be honest I think the majority of people are wasting time on idle persuits.

The recurring theme I hear is “The existence of God is irrelevant”, “regarding higher powers, it has no impact on my life…” and “It makes no difference to my life or the world in general”. If you were to kill my child because you two got into an argument and because I believe in God, I decided to forgive you instead of kill you, I suppose that my belief in God might actually impact your life. The fact that someone believes in God means that God for them exists.

As acknowledging as you both are of the uncertainties in life, I would think you might rethink some of the absolutes that you are holding on to. I certainly don’t expect to change your mind and you will likely not change mine. I do appreciate that you would put yourselves out there. Thanks for the opportunity for considered and reasonable dialog.

Cheers,

Lizzy said...

i like the way you distinguished between universalism and interest in the universe. i think much the same way, but am so often misunderstood when i try to explain this, especially to hyper-conservative christians.

thank you for this piece. it was true.

Ikustak said...

Thank you, for you have inspired me in more ways than one with this blog.

Keep up the brilliant writing.

Kaila said...

My frequent doubt and constant cynical thoughts scare me sometimes...

Elodie said...

You phrased this way better than I ever could.

Joseph said...

I JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT ANBERLIN LIKE YESTERDAY and today i went out and bought Cities. It is definitely going to be my favorite cd.

sue said...

this is nice. to anonymous: hey.. he's still learning man. searching for answers.. looking for the best path or something. no one can be so certain about something like this.
and for the record, since, i'm not christian or catholic, the blog is very general. it's good.
so yeah. good one stephen.

Anonymous said...

i think it's pretty cool that you're so open about things but yet so grounded in your faith. great post anyway (:

tehillim said...

'seek and ye shall find,' this search of for life and God is not one that requires a day or two of study, but a lifetime of longing and exploring.

amen, brother. may we open our hearts to the truth that sets them free and free at last.

Gardenia said...

I like when you write:

"but that does not mean that i do not still have questions, it simply means i know who to turn to when i need the answers."

It takes courage to know who to turn to when the world throws you curve balls...and it takes greater courage to know there will be a response.

Gardenia said...

I appreciate what u say when your write:

but that does not mean that i do not still have questions, it simply means i know who to turn to when i need the answers.

It takes courage to turn to Him when the world throws you curve balls and it takes greater courage to trust in a response.

Anonymous said...

Jesus said "I am the way the TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me John 14:6"

Truth: All of us are sinners.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23"

Truth: The penalty for are sins is death.
"For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23a"

Truth: Salvation is a gift that God gives freely.
"...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 6:23b"

Truth: Christ paid the price (wage) for our sins.
"And while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8"

Truth: All you have to do to have eternal life is believe in Christ.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved...Acts 16:31"


Truth: Salvation is a gift. We are unable to do enough good works to earn our salvation.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9"

I truly believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and all the truth that we may search for can be found in it.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16"

So to me if the conquest for truth ends in your eternal salvation through Christ Jesus, I do not think it is foolish.
"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Matthew 16:26"

Keep up the good work Stephen.
I am praying for you.

Your Cuz,
Scott

Chris said...

Enjoyed this post! It's taken me a while to comment as I was trying to think of something inspiring and thought provoking to write, but since it's not all about me...check out truthforlife.org

Will said...

Just beautiful

alison wonderland said...

i've kind of been wondering about truth, and what it is, and whether or not i am supposed to question it.

i guess i should say that i believe in all the truths you have mentioned here. i believe that absolute truth is found in God. i believe all the truths you mentioned are found in and through God.

anyway.
i went on a trip to africa this last month, and a lot of people i went with were very challenging.
in good ways and bad...
like, i am really really questioning things right now.
mostly in good ways.
i've just been wondering about what the real truth about certain things are (baptism - are you saved without it?, etc.) and it's actually been really good, because it's been causing me to just think and probe, and wonder and be encouraged...even if i am a little confused.

so, thank you for posting this, and i really appreciated the last paragraph from your last entry, which together just encouraged me to never stop questioning and learning and challenging.
thank you.

i hope this made sense.
it's very late here and i'm very jet lagged.

i hope things are going well for you.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Alison Wonderland,

Your question about baptism - are you saved without it?

In my understanding of the Bible, we are saved by putting our faith in Christ, turning away from our sin and trying to live as the Bible teaches. The act of baptism is our outward profession of faith to others.

Hope that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I believe the bible is the book of truth.. after being a Christian for about 12 years I'm still finding things in the bible I hadn't seen before... things that blow my mind!

I love learning and digging for truth in subjects and topics that many people don't have answers for... I love how God can show me a truth... and shortly after I can use it, help others, and grow with that truth!

Bottom line is... Find truth and trust in the lord... the answers are there... the truth is there... we just have to seek it!

Love for syndicated humility: said...

Without problems there is no solution.

Without questions there is no answers.

I finally broke down and got a blogspot. Plus, I've met a couple of your friends.

Zach Hunter and the 3 kids in the chours on Fin. diffrent occasions


LOL, ps.

I'm your friend.

Dianna said...

CS Lewis once wrote that "If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair." I couldn't help but think of that quote as I read your blog today.

Someone may have already covered this, but as I haven't read the other comments yet, I don't know. I think problems with the search for truth arise when people mistake truth #1 for the whole truth (rather, all the truth there is, as it were). I have friends who would tell you that the truth (every truth involving religion, especially) is relative and subjective to the person. While this statement does recognize truth as extant in the world, it does not recognize any power within that truth by diminishing it to the taste of a person. It's just a sneaky way, therefore, of saying "There is no real truth." Which, of course, is a philosophically indefensible position.

Truth should be recognized, therefore, for the power that it has; otherwise we are simply degrading it into soft soap and wishful thinking, as it were.

I am pleased that you see life this way. Very rarely do I encounter someone who so willing embraces the concept of searching for truth in everything while still recognizing Jesus as the source of truth. Truth can and does come from other sources. Have I assumed rightly that you hold an "all truth is God's truth" philosophical stance?

Thanks for writing.

Sai said...

to each his own. :)

Christopher said...

I've learned in my life that trials and tribulations lead to a stronger faith. Just as Jesus told us to take take gladness in our trials, we must also take gladness in questions in faith as well, for in the end we know we will come out stronger. Faith without doubt is dead.

tara said...

thank you so much for this :)

Min Lee said...

Sometimes the truth is scary

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm always intrigued when I read your blogs. I think because you're a christian (as am I) yet you quote the dali lama, and other non-christian religious leaders. But I think its refreshing. In the church, it's almost taboo to seek knowledge and truth from anywhere except the Bible. I don't believe that the Bible is the only source of truth. It's neat. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog from a Brother in christ.
Peace

Caz said...

I tend to believe that "the truth/the way" should fall under the same category as “truth/knowledge.” It seems that the second category is describing universal truths; propositions that are true despite opinion or religion or politics, such as, like you said, the law of gravity. “The Truth/The Way” you say, “is one's own personal belief in a higher power.” I believe that this personal belief in a higher power exists universally as does the law of gravity. One may not know what that higher power is, but they certainly know it exists. This awareness of something transcendent is undeniable, absolute and universal. It is the result of God’s general revelation. Romans 1 states, “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

That quote by Pascal is fabulous! It totally bashes the dichotomy between faith and reason. Today people, including Christians, tend to think that faith and reason are entirely contradictory. But one cannot attain “The Way” simply by way of reason, nor simply by way of faith. For faith and reason complement each other and are both required in one’s search for “the way.”

What a beautiful topic, and what a beautiful blog…well done!

Grant said...

I'm just curious. You said you have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, but do you view Him as the only access to God? Jesus says: "i am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." But as Christians, we are to believe that Christ is the only way to the God. Do you think that someone who is Muslim or Mormon or Buddhist will also be in heaven with the followers of Christ because they believe they are following truth?
For me personally, I have a lot of problems with churches that encourage us to stay within our safe Christian circles and judge everyone we know who does wrong things. But as Believers, isn't it our job and hopefully our joy to spread the news of Jesus Christ? Not through judging or condemning but through love. Because of our love for our fellow man, shouldn't we want them to believe in the only true faith in Jesus Christ?
It seems far too popular these days for "Christians" to say something along the lines of "Christianity is right for me, but whatever you believe is right for you." This goes against everything Jesus ever preached. It is not our job to judge; it's God's. But when you have a deep-rooted faith and assurance of Jesus Christ, you cannot ever say there is another way to God apart from faith in His Son.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, it all makes perfect sense. i loved when you said, "for me i have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, but that does not mean that i do not still have questions, it simply means i know who to turn to when i need the answers." This is the exact same way I feel.