Thursday, June 28, 2012

So, Why Bother?

The other day, I wrote about Kurt Goedel and the God of the Gaps.   In it, I told of how Goedel proved that no system of knowledge is complete and that we will never have full knowledge this side of eternity.

In my adult Bible study last Sunday, we covered some similar territory, and one of my members asked, "So what's the point of even trying?"

It's a good question in some regards.  I've had some time to think about such an answer, and I'm going to put one out there just for the fun of it.

#1. Do you stop eating knowing you will be hungry a few hours later?  Just because you can't ever find satisfaction, will you cease to stop the activity?

That's the smart alec response.  I do have some deeper thoughts as well.

#2. If we cease to look for the Truth and perhaps capture a part of it, where does that lead us?  If we choose to stop striving for Truth, what are the consequences?

Relativism?  Nihlism?  Complacency?  All three?

If we remove a search for Truth from the equation, I think we end up in dire straits.  I think we end up with no compass to help us understand right and wrong; just and unjust.  I think we finally end up believing there is no purpose or reason for our existence other than to simply enjoy what time we have on this planet, make the most of it, and let everything--and everyone--be d@mned.  That might sound harsh, but I believe it to be the truth.  (Irony noted.)

What must be noted is that just because we can't fully find the Truth doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  It also doesn't mean we can't come close to the Truth at times.  In fact, circumstances demand that we have some sort of means to judge wheter something is right or wrong.  We don't just leave that up to what any given society says at any given time.  If we thought Truth was only based in what a society said was true, we'd have to say the Holocaust was just one country's way of understanding the truth; that destroying the Native American culture and way of life was O.K. because it was manifest destiny; that forcing women to stay covered and be subservient to the whim of a man is fine and dandy, and if that woman is raped, it's o.k. to kill her because she brought dishonor to a family; etc.  That's the reality of cultural relativism.  Anyone want to go there?

The minute we begin saying something is better than something else, we have made a judgment of Truth.  The minute we have called something right and something wrong, we have made a judgment of Truth.  No one I know of does not make some sort of judgment in this fashion. 

The ultimate question that I think must be asked is who is closer or closest to the Truth?  And what would being closest to the Truth look like in terms of how we treat one another as human beings?  What would being closest to the Truth look like in terms of how we care for creation?  What would being closest to the Truth look like in terms of justice and compassion and care? 

Do you really want to give up pursuit of those questions?

1 comment:

Kathy said...

In another post you mentioned the saints. Some of them have said -- I can't remember who -- that even in Heaven we will never fully know The Truth. God is beyond anything we could ever know, even in all eternity.

Now if you are talking about knowing enough "truth" about how to live here on earth, that is simple. Jesus explained it all.

It is very sad that people have become so totally confused.