Saturday, June 2, 2007

Instead of quietly agreeing

Instead of quietly agreeing that unswerving, unquestioning belief in one's chosen doctrine(s), numerous questions will arise for anyone who presumes that his Doctrine(s) are better and special because of their truth value.

1. Is truth something that once found, the quest comes to an end? Once the quest is accomplished, one returns home with no further need of arduous labors and difficult journeys. But what if questing is found to be an enjoyable and even pleasurable activity? A famous passage from Lessing captures this ethos perfectly:

If God held all truth in his right hand, and in his left the persistent striving for the truth, and while warning me against eternal error, should say:
Choose! I should humbly bow before his left hand, and say, "Father, give thy gift; the pure truth is for thee alone."
[Lessing, Werke, Vol. 2, p. 53.]

2. Is it possible that irony comes into play? For instance, with Christianity could the means of presentation of the Message of Christianity be in conflict with the content of the Message?

Consider the possibility of the Sermon on the Mount being used as a justification for unchristian activities? Even the content and experience of revelation of truth has a history. As the story of the revelation is shared, told, and retold it accretes its own history. I find the image of a snowball rolling down a hill, growing larger and larger, most apt. Is the content of the original revelation recoverable and separable from the meanings, additions, and interpretations that have become attached to the original revelation over time and history?

3. How can human beings be certain that firmness of belief and conviction are any guarantee of truth? Sincerity proves nothing. Evidence is lacking to suppose that believers and followers of other convictions and religions are any less sincere than Christians, Evangelical or otherwise.

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