And please don’t answer me “You can’t handle the Truth!”….
Seriously, what is this thing we call “Truth” especially in the context of religion? The Christians say they have it, the Jews say they have it, the Muslims say we have it, Hindu, Atheist, Pagan, etc. all say they have the definitive answer on the truth when it comes to religion and/or spirituality.
In my honest opinion, and I’m probably going to get slammed for this, I think we are all right! I believe that “truth” lays somewhere in between all of our preconceived notions, yet at the same time is consistent through the myriad of interpretations of such, no matter how many variables there may be.
In short I think we are all caught in our own little oftentimes personal, Matrix.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own perspective, we don’t even take the time or even consider the alternative. To do so in my opinion, neglects the very thing that makes us “better” or more “advanced” than the beasts, and that is to reason.
For my “religious” folk, answer this question, how did you arrive at “truth”?
Some may answer I knew it the moment I read the Tanakh, Bible, Quran, Vedas, etc. Some may just say I just know it and it’s consistent with what I read in the Tanakh, Bible, Quran, Vedas, etc. i.e. pretty much the same response.
I have always found this answer the most interesting of all and in a way have made it my life’s work to analyze people of faith, i.e. Religious Studies.
I would like to know how we arrive at truth, but most importantly how do we “know”? Granted, some might just say “Well Robert, this is a study of Epistemology” and you would be correct. However, it’s interesting nevertheless.
Most of this may or may not make sense at this point, but give me time; I plan on have multiple parts to this discussion….
I guess this expose’ came about or frequents my mind most when I ask the question “What made you become a….insert religion/dogma/or non-religion…?” The answers are fascinating, well at least to me. In my studies, I have learned the best answers or those I perceive as best:) tend to come from converts to a religion or believe it or not atheists.
Now let me explain:
In Psychological nativism or the “nature vs. nurture” theory states that we are predisposed to certain “skills” or “abilities” that are hard-wired into our brain at birth, I don’t completely agree with that theory per se, but more so another within that field or study of psychology coined by Annette Karmiloff-Smith known as the representational redescription or RR model of development which argues against such strict nativism and which proposes that the brain may become modular through experience within certain domains (such as social interaction or visual perception) rather than modules being genetically pre-specified.
What that means is I believe that we are predisposed to our perception or belief in what is or isn’t truth. I believe that the very method at how we arrive at such conclusions derives from this predisposition. For instance, most Christians that I know, I was once one of them btw, say they know the Bible is the truth, because when they were looking for the truth, they opened the Bible, read it, and through prayer and meditation, etc. they knew it to be true. Sounds pretty clear cut to most. But my question has always been, well what are they leaving out?
Most Christians that I know are black. I’m not pointing this out for a racial discussion, but more so to clarify my point through my personal experience. Being black in America comes with “certain” predispositions, and in religion, the biggest one is Christianity. Without the long history lesson, our forefathers arrived at these shores in bondage primarily having animists’ beliefs and many were also Muslim. Our slave masters eventually “converted” us to Christianity. So even to this day most black Americans are Christian. That is the facts.
Now my point: Because the majority of us are Christian, it is in my opinion that when we go looking for truth in religion, the majority of us will pick up a Bible and most the King James Version to be specific. I’m not saying there’s a problem with this btw; however think about this for a minute. If the last several generations of your family are Christian, if your parents are Christian, if you were taken to Church as a child even if only for Christmas and Easter, and you live in a 70 plus percent Christian country, should we really be surprised that when as an adult, teen, etc. you decided to go look for the truth, that your first and oft times last step, is a Bible?
The same goes for the Muslim born in majority Muslim countries, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.
I guess my question is how can we truly say that we have the “truth” if we lost all objectivity in the process of searching, by only considering one source, which we already were predisposed to believe contained the truth anyway?
For instance, if you come from a Christian background, when you looked for the truth, why didn’t you pick up a Quran? Why not a book by an Atheist?
Even if you did go to the Bible first, did you read the Quran and Atheist book as well? Why or Why not?
What I have found like I mentioned earlier, is that those who are converts and atheists in my humble opinion give the “best” answers to these questions.
My reason is that they have weighed the options even in the context of their predispositions, and have made an objective, reasoned, and sometimes controversial or dangerous decision to be something different than what their parents were. Unless of course you’re an atheist and your parents were also atheists, you only count if you became a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. at least in the context of this discussion. 🙂
Where am I going with this?
In the Bible as well as the Quran, we are taught about Abraham (saw) the patriarch of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. We are taught many things about him and his children, but I want to focus on one and the most important thing about him in the context of this post.
Abraham was born into a family that was polytheistic, and then he was called by God to leave his family, home, and country serve this One God and go to a land that He would show him. Of course for the biblical scholars, he was called Abram at that time. 🙂 Anyway, the detail most Rabbi’s, Ministers, and Imams I have witnessed miss and don’t focus that much on, is how much of a burden Abraham must have felt to give up all that he loved and all that he KNEW to go out and do something completely different. It takes are certain type of person to do such things, and that of course in exegesis, is why Abraham is the patriarch and the father of many and whom Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their lineage.
I believe we should all have a similar mindset. I’m not saying give up what you believe in, however we should objectively know why we believe what we believe. I have always been a fan of the statement that its one thing to have faith and or believe and it’s an entirely different thing to know.
If we were raised in a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheistic, etc. environment and are replicas of that environment, I believe we are victims of our own little Matrix. The difference of course boils down to CHOICE.
So would you rather take the red pill or the blue pill? Either way, know that each has its consequences, but in the end at least know why you took it.
Of course, we should all know by now, there is no spoon.
To be continued….