When I was in college studying to be a teacher, one of our instructors asked what we taught. Everyone was required to give an answer. As we moved around the circle, responses such as science and math and history came out of the mouths of all of my classmates. When it was my turn, I evoked laughter from the others when I replied “students.” We continued around the circle to the finish line. I felt ridiculed by my peers, yet confident that I was correct. Indeed the teacher was teaching us an object lesson about the importance of our students as opposed to the subject matter, and my insight into this question won congratulations from the instructor. It felt great to go from zero to hero in sixty seconds. That feeling of being right is an awesome companion.
When we encounter a difference of opinion, we should be concerned about what is right. Unfortunately it often turns into a cat fight to determine who is right instead. That is a deterrent to truth finding. Everyone wants to have that feeling that comes from thinking that we’re right. It’s no fun to have your heart and mind pulled in different directions by multiple possibilities to the point of having doubts. It is easier to embrace something as truth and then shut our minds to any counterpoints. Some people don’t like being in conflict, so they believe that nobody is wrong, and everyone has their own path to truth and ultimately eternal life. It is obvious that not everybody possesses the truth since many of these beliefs contradict each other. That means that some people are clinging to error. The Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man but leads to destruction. That’s scary. If I’m in error, I want to find out now, not later. I want to hear God tell me, “Well done, faithful servant” when I reach the finish line. That will be much more rewarding than my college experience.
The main message of Christianity seems to conflict with all other “religions”. Yet even within Christianity a wide spectrum of beliefs can be seen with the naked eye, enough to provide plenty of room for vigorous argument. Believe me, the discourse concerning God’s will is generating enough fireworks to satisfy a fourth of July audience. Some of these arguments have gone back and forth for years and some of them are quite new. It is my intention in the next few months to bring you some of the different viewpoints. If our eternal destiny is tied to our belief system, then it is critical that we examine those beliefs with a high power microscope. Rational people should be able to discuss the evidence and, with an unbiased emotional detachment, weigh the pros and cons of various possibilities.
Unfortunately, in the journey to find truth, emotions often play a bigger role than logic and evidence. I’ll try to bring a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to the quest for truth. A search for absolute truth will be hard work but also should be more intriguing than the best mystery novel. My goal will be to leave dogmatism out of the equation and just suggest some potential interpretations of truth in a version of a what-if game. In addition to pleading my case for a particular viewpoint, I will give references to conflicting opinions. I don’t want people to make decisions in a void. In order to truly embrace a belief, you must weigh it against its detractors or competitors. Believe me, I will not be dodging controversy or watering anything down. I‘ve got my seat belt buckled because the sky pilot has predicted turbulence ahead. Methinks that logic and intellect might be insufficient to discover truth in the spiritual realm. We’ll explore that possibility as well.