Daily Archives: Mar 28, 2019
The Quest For Truth
I have been nominated for the “3.2.2 Quote Me!” on the topic of TRUTH by the wonderful Li the creator of Tao Talk, as you can see from Li’s post below:
This is a topic I love. I remembered that I made an attempt at this four months ago. Am I allowed to admit that I am slightly shattered after the BAKE-OFF, even though loved every moment? So I hoped it would be alright if I present the quotes I included when I published this in November. It might be familiar to some of you.
Just in case you are not familiar with the “3.2.1. Quote Me!” challenges, I have included some of the rules below, and please do look at the original post created by Rory, the creator of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!
Thank the Nominator.
Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.
Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’
Right… well… where on earth to begin? Well, where do most people start their search for truth? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think many lean towards either science or religion in their quest for truth.
Now… who am I to be overly assertive on any of these subjects? Nothing qualifies me to be dogmatic. However, I have every right to be in search of truth. I am a human. I have questions. I want answers. And I do believe there are answers, and that there is truth. What I have no intention of doing is insulting anyone, so forgive my waffling. I just don’t want to be disrespectful to all of the genuine people who are honestly searching for truth, and trying to live their lives in a right way, to the best of their understanding.
I go to a lot of dinner parties, which tend to be with a lot of middle-aged people nowadays, and I have enjoyed hearing the beliefs and views of some very interesting people. I love someone who can reason, and is happy to consider and contemplate without ever resorting to insults. I have to say, the cleverest people seem to be those who are not close-minded, but preserve their reasoning ability and develop a discussion logically.
And so before I give you my two quotes…one in connection with science, one more on a religious note – I just want to say, I do understand why many feel cynical. Too many outright lies, half-truths, distortions of truth, twisting of truth by far.
We are like sponges when we are little ones, absorbing incredible amounts of information, and then there comes a point when we cotton to the fact that some of what we have been taught is not real, not true. We learn that people, especially the big-promise makers, don’t always keep their promises. We taste disillusionment and doubt. We wonder, is there anyone, anything I can really trust?
Many reach the conclusion that there is no truth, except hard truths that kind of extinguish hope and optimism. Now, I love humour…but I think many have given up their quest for truth, and just see an endless source of comedy in the hypocrisy of those who set themselves up as truth-sayers, gurus, experts.
I feel there are some who set out to deliberately deceive and profit, by extorting money from those who trust them. Some just seem rather mercenary in their zeal to promote their conclusions. There are others who seem to have a gigantic chip on their shoulder or their knickers in a twist, and just attack everyone else, but don’t have anything truly substantial to offer themselves. Or those come across as if they have been deeply let down and pained by those they trusted. There are others who genuinely believe they are correct and speak with passion, and yet their statements or teachings have holes in them. I don’t think they are deliberately trying to manipulate anyone, but perhaps they are being over-confidant and presumptuous in their claims.
Hmm – the question of what is truth? Who is sincerely telling the truth to the best of their understanding?
I honestly feel more inclined to trust those who display humility and recognize that our view is limited. We may not have all the facts, so it is unwise to be dogmatic about conclusions and not allow for the possibility that we might be wrong, at least in some respects. We should always be prepared to learn more and correct our understanding. I am also inclined to prefer those who don’t try to over-complicate things with highfalutin explanations and technical terminology that Joe Bloggs, Jane Doe and I cannot understand. Even profound concepts can be presented in simple terms by an effective teacher.
Right…I just wanted to get that out of the way! Let’s crack on with my two quotes:
It was the first part of this quote I wanted to feature. Only I will say this: SCIENCE SHOULD BE THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH. But I do not believe that is always the case.
I love science. I am particularly drawn to physics. In essence, I have always felt that a true scientific approach involves the search for answers to questions and testing out the various theoretical possibilities to see how they work. I have a mathematical mind and I am always interested in the mathematical probability of a theory.
I appreciate the candour of renowned scientists, such as neuro-scientist David Eagleman, who wrote: “Good science is always open-minded, and the history of science is one of surprises.” Or physicist Paul Davies, who observed: “The search for a closed logical scheme that provides a complete and self-consistent explanation for everything is doomed to failure.” Both of these men seem honest.
Although I have a keen interest in physics and a passion for learning and understanding how things work. I am not sure that science alone can answer all of our questions as humans. Remarkable things have been discovered by scientists. I do believe there are some very genuine and open-minded scientists who will continue to learn and discover amazing things.
Yet in the vain search to use knowledge to make a profit, an enormous price seems to be hanging over mankind, due to the misuse of science. Some have used the discoveries of scientists to great detriment. Nuclear physics – is amazing…but it has been used to make nuclear weapons. The marvels of aviation, which can be used to unite the world, or used to drop bombs to destroy members of our human family. Plastic! – it’s hard to hear that word without feeling provoked at the moment.
Too many are using science to make a a profit at the expense of so much. Too many cases of false results, false evidence, in order to make money or win fame at the end of the day. Too many theories promoted as fact. Annoying! I feel rather angry when I read of the falsifying of evidence. It makes a mockery of a profession which should be a search for truth, not for profit.
Working in pharmacy…you can see how much money can be made from promoting a wonder-drug or treatment. One drugs company may promote their new product on the market by dissing the products that have been relied on previously. They can sound very convincing, very authoritative. Do they sincerely believe their product will make a huge improvement to people’s health…or is their marketing just very clever – all leading to a great big fat profit?
Well…you have to wait and see often. Although my appetite to read scientific books has never diminished, I do not at all feel that science has any kind of monopoly on truth. But it should be the search for truth. That all depends on the integrity and humility and honesty of individual scientists.
So, now I turn to the second area where many turn to in their search for truth: religion.
I am going to apply the same approach to this quote, and say: RELIGIOUS TRUTH SHOULD SET YOU FREE. But I do not believe that all religious beliefs are true, neither do I believe that all lead to freedom.
I don’t want to be belligerent on this subject. I have no right to be. I feel that a person’s religious views are very close to their heart. I don’t want to go around bruising hearts. So I am going to tread carefully and I am not going to start throwing insults around at any religious groups.
Let me say first though that I do believe in a Creator. Someone that fashioned matter into remarkable creations. Not just a force of energy, but a person with a remarkable personality. I do believe that He possesses love, power, wisdom and that He wants us to know Him and that He wants us to find the answers to our questions – especially why there is so much going wrong with this world and is there any hope for things to get better? In saying this I am not inviting any bullish remarks from those who might have drawn a very different conclusion to me. I am just being up front about my own view because I truly am trying to write a post that is free from bias.
However, I certainly do not believe that religion as a whole is trustworthy. I refer to both the teachings or doctrines that exist and the behaviour and attitude of individuals, especially religious leaders. There are no doubt many who are sincere in themselves. But as with science, there are also those who have been motivated by wealth and prominence. I feel indignant by how many have used religion to beguile others and have extorted a massive profit.
In addition, surely nobody in their right mind would deny that there are too many pages of bloodshed in the history of religion by far. Lots of damage has been done by those who have claimed to represent the Almighty and yet have abused the positions of trust they have been placed in. I am not surprised that there are some who feel very angry with religion, and are now averse to anything associated with religion or a Creator. It is again something that makes me feel incensed that many religions have put people off believing in a Creator who cares.
Now, I really don’t want to single out any religious groups – I don’t feel I have any right to mock someone’s treasured beliefs. So I am going to steer clear of mentioning any specific doctrines and religious teachings that I feel are far from true. I have friends and workmates who have religious beliefs very different from my own. Some seem more devoted to their religious beliefs than others.
I have read a lot about the major religions of the world, but I feel I know more about Christianity and it’s history than other religions. I have read in various books that there are anywhere between 37,000 – 42,000 different Christian denominations. Some of those have very different understandings of the role of Christ, the route to forgiveness, which practices are acceptable or not, the perception of the soul, the hope for the future of mankind and for those who have died. Same leader, same scriptures – wildly different teachings.
I don’t wish to cause any offence to anyone or to sound critical. But I can sympathise with anyone who is put off from searching to answers to their questions at all when there is such an array of contradictory answers being offered by different groups.
Yet I will say this, I do believe that some religious groups are a lot closer to truth than others. I think that both their teachings and their conduct and attitude to others, manifest that they have a lot more truth in them. They make religion look good. I respect those that have a faith based on clear reason and who try to live by their faith in sincerity. Especially when they are able to engage in a reasonable discussion about their beliefs, answering questions, but remaining calm and respectful about and towards those who do not share their beliefs.
There is no perfect group of people. Every family, club, group, community, or organization will have to face that at times individuals will not represent them well. But for a group of imperfect people, there are some religious groups who definitely win my respect by their honesty and humility. I have all the time in the world for people like that. I would be happy to invite them into my little nest for a cup of tea on a rainy Saturday morning to hear more about their views, but they probably walk past my gate without every realizing it leads to an abode where they would find a warm welcome.
Well… I am one of… is it seven or eight billion humans, who have the capacity to ponder “what is it all about?”. There are a lot of people who are convinced they are right, telling me what to believe. I am fascinated by science and religion. But as I have gained experience in life and have talked with people from all backgrounds, I am drawn to those that bear the stamp of truth.
I don’t tolerate those who cannot have a discussion with a respectful attitude. I am not interested in mental boxing matches. Then there are those I can see that may feel they are genuine and are full of conviction, but despite their sincerity, I discern big holes in their reasoning. On the other hand, I have started to probe more carefully those who speak with eloquence and profess to have all the answers. It’s up to me to test out what I read, see, hear and to decide whether I am reading truth, half-truths, a twisting of the truth, or outright lies. I have felt many of my questions have been answered satisfactorily. Especially why there is so much going wrong on a planet that has the potential to be a paradise? I have a lot of hope that the future will be better. But I do have more questions and I am eager to read, listen, learn more and more.
But that process should not be just about me picking my favourites, what tickles my ears…like running around a sweet shop and making up your own goodie bag. I try to be unbiased and careful in my approach to what I read. I do ask:
- who is saying this?
- is their reasoning sound?
- what is their evidence?
- what authority do they rely upon?
- what are they trying to accomplish?
- does their conduct match with their teachings?
- do their ideas bring beneficial results?
- are these ideas actually leading to anything worthwhile or is this person just attacking others?
- are they after my money? (they will be disappointed if they are because I hardly have a bean!)
I feel as if I am getting close to exhausting this subject of truth…indeed I am feeling exhausted myself. I hope I have not left you feeling as exhausted as I am.
But that is partly because I am trying so hard to be unbiased and trying to be careful. I do not want to offend anyone! For kindness and truth should adorn any discussion about subjects that are so very close to people’s hearts.
My nominees are three bloggers who I think are probably just as concerned with a kind and respectful approach to the subject of truth, or any other subject, as I am:
Tales from the mind of Kristian