This thought has been firing the synapses in my head the last few days:
So much religious faith begins (and ends) with: “We have the truth.” Thereafter, the “life of faith” is not a search for truth but a search for buttressing one’s beliefs. Can this be called an honest search for truth?
I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ teaching: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” A wise statement, though here’s the dilemma:
If truth makes you free then you have the freedom to seek truth wherever it may be found, which may include changing what you thought was true.
Compare the activity of Science: begin with a theory (“I think this is true”) then seek for evidence the theory is based on fact, that it is, in fact, true. The scientific (and honest philosophical) endeavor is to keep looking, investigating, asking the hard questions, open to new discoveries, new truths.
A scientist does not say: “I proved the truth of my theory; the search is over. I’m done!” No. The task of testing the truth is perpetual, an endless process of learning.
The question bouncing in my brain is: Can any belief (religious or not) be true, if there is no honest search for truth?
Very true, Chris, but since there is very little provable truth in religious beliefs, including accurate historical accounts, that’s probably why they don’t encourage truth seeking, don’t you think?
That’s certainly part of my thinking, Sara. Of course, there are people of faith who understand faith as a motivator for doing practical things–feeding the hungry, etc–without so much emphasis on “true beliefs.” The “proof” of the “truth” of their faith is in the action. Yet, I would say it simply proves the truth that they are thoughtful, compassionate human beings. Thanks for the comment.
Seems like the truth of any moment may not be the same as the truth of the next. Today’s proof might not apply to tomorrow’s situation. One person’s proof is another’s pudding, the flavor may not be the same.
And truth isn’t always so tasty, is it, Jim? Some of it seems a bit half-baked!