Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Search for Truth & Meaning

The search for truth is age old on our planet isn't it?  It winds between every brick building, every sand hut, and more precisely, the occasional thought of every human being on the planet.  It intersects our personal lives doesn't it?  It makes a demand, the most simple, yet infinitely complex demand and for our language, that question is "Why?"  It's a beautiful question.  So simple isn't it?  Yet the implications are so far reaching.  What question do children most commonly ask.  Why.  When I see a situation or demand, or thought that is both incredibly simple, yet infinitely complex, I see the hand of God at work in the world, or more precisely, in thought.

I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old, in the early 90s, at the old white house across from the mill where I grew up. And I remember this quite clearly for such an old memory.  I was standing in the kitchen thinking to myself.. "I wonder why I exist."  But more I remember the joy of discovery and the new existence in front of me. It felt so interesting and wonderful, everything was new. Yet I still wondered why.  

And as I think back on it, and recall myself thinking that, I start to realize that my thinking process at it's core has changed very little over the time from then until now.  I'm a seeker.  I always have been, and always will be.  But what happens when you find the answer?  The answer is indescribably wonderful, yet also a bit open ended.  

There is a paradox at work in comprehension of a connection to God.  It was that I couldn't understand it.  But let me stop you there, before you get frustrated.  It was not that it was an illogical decision, or a decision that departed from reason.  It was very much the opposite.  Christianity is both logical and reasonable.  It is also completely coherent.  

The problem was that I had been ingenuously seeking.  I had some misconceptions about what I would find, and I was looking for those things, whether consciously or unconsciously.  I will say I sought more genuinely than many I've seen.  

Some are so slanted in their seeking that they reject any and all possibility of divinity, sanctity, and most recently even coherence.  If someone reading this is seeking, let me encourage you to adopt as much neutrality regarding specific ideologies as possible.  If I really, truly, really, wanted to know the exact truth, no matter what it was, I had to seek without bias.  Wherever it would lead I would go, and then I could find truth, whatever it might be.

It takes a redefining of the entire search for meaning for philosophers and intellectuals to start chipping away at the blocks of Christianity.  Naturally that's what we've seen in our culture lately.  They say all truth is relative.  They say all morality is relative.  And there are observable societal shifts as a result of such ideologies.  We see increased depravity, immorality, economic corruption, political corruption, and a highly measurable increase in authoritarian governance.  John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  There is an increased creation of new laws, and an increased need for new laws, as the desperately evil heart of humanity discovers new ways of doing harm and evil to one another, and themselves.  

I remember I was about 15 years old and I was questioning my cousin whom I considered wise about the meaning of existence.  I recall clearly the conversation, that I asked her what the meaning was she said it was just whatever I wanted, whatever I decided, and just go for whatever.  Her policy was "whatever."  And I recall replying something to the effect of "What about morality?  What about goodness?  What about fighting for what's right?  And she replied, "Nope, just, whatever!"  And giggled.  And I replied, "Oh I see."  And she giggled again and said, "Yeah isn't it cool!?"  

And what I remember most clearly is what I thought directly after that statement.  I knew instantly, even at that young age, that she was most certainly wrong.  

If that was the ever-present meaning and truth for all existence, that drew all men and women in all life to it's cause to the very beginning of time, there would be no society, no structure, no compassion, and no humanity.  

The very idea of humane demands a moral law.  A moral law demands a moral law giver.  And I'm right back to the truth I'd been trying to run from in my own biased search.  But even when I searched biasedly, I was still deep down able to discern a direction that would leading inexorably in the opposite direction that I was heading.  

Many scientists and scientific atheists would have you believe that the scientific community has long ago crushed the old and backwards ways of Christianity, and set forth a new landscape of truth that is infinitely more coherent.  The opposite seems to be the case.  I once read something interesting, just a short quote that read "scientists have discovered that when anyone says scientists have discovered anything, people will instantly believe it."

And doesn't that seem to be true?  We tend to instantly accept the vague statement that scientists have discovered this, or discovered that.  We place a predetermined trust in such a statement, because the scientific method builds a coherent and observable argument for a conclusion.  Fair enough, I love it in fact.  How else would we have cell phones, sanitation, and all the very interesting gadgets and gizmos, and medications and medical procedures?  Science is a wonderful thing in and of itself.  I find it most intriguing to read articles and discover little tid bits about how my loving Father operates on the natural level, and in other ways as well!  It is such a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately human pride often gets in the way.  When scientists claim to know there is no God, this is simply a falsehood.  The scientific method is unable to prove or disprove such a hypothesis as "Is there a God?"  And into the 21st century we've started to see a new line, instead of "scientists have discovered" it's "scientists have now discovered..."  And a baseline I was taught as fact in high school and college science is now something totally different.  These are theories, theories that change, fair enough.  But they ought not to be taught as fact.

Then we are moving from understanding to indoctrination.  We are placing a worldview, unproven, though observable as it is, with the full possibility of changing our fundamental baseline whenever we discover something new.  

I was going for a walk tonight under the stars, I had been wrestling with some tough questions.  My faith isn't perfect, and despite knowing to trust and believe, I often delve into my many questions about the nature of my living Father, and the nature of my reason for existing and being connected to him.  So I was bumping my head repeatedly on the limits of my ability to comprehend a timeless and infinite God, deeply wondering how God could exist forever and always, and wrestling with that idea with my own conception of existence relating to creation.  Doesn't God have to be created by something, because all one step below God was created by him?  So I was applying a simple human understanding of existence, creation, to the creator, and that wasn't working out well.  I was confused, so I went for a walk.

As I walked I was thinking to myself, Christianity requires that I believe in an all loving God, and of course I do, because of endless amounts of experiential evidence.  At the core of the belief is a requirement for me to address and admit my own inability as a human with a limited intellect to comprehend the full make up and origin as well as direction of God and his universe.  For a thoughtful seeker like myself, that is a most difficult thing to do!  I must admit I most desperately want to know the specifics.  In fact, it took winding up in such a desperately defeated situation mentally, physically, and emotionally that I literally had no choice but to call out to the creator of all things with a very simple prayer that superseded understanding.  "Jesus help me."

And there in is the experience evidence that drives me forward today.  He did help me.  That was the final piece of the puzzle, when all my star gazing and intellectual run around's failed to address and cure the fact that I was dying slowly to drug addiction.  

From there I thought to myself, does science and evolution theory provide what God is refusing to provide for my intellect?  Does science race perfectly in fact to the very origin of the universe and show me irrefutable proof of where it all came from and exactly why I exist here at this moment right now?  It most certainly does not.  In the past century, century, that's 100 years, scientists have made incredibly boastful and arrogant assumptions based on chunks of rock and clay, telescopes, and highly detailed I grant you, but limited observations about the incredibly expansive universe around them.  

And from there I scoped out, to the entire range of human history, thousands and thousands of years, and my goodness, who are we to say, in just the last 100, or 50 years just exactly where it all came from and exactly what is going on here?  We look at the entire scope of human history, how many billions of people have lived and died on this planet, and little old you and I, we've got it all figured out.  

Let's try and get humble about the approach if not anything else.  

Science postulates that for some reason all the atoms required just always existed, and then exploded, aimlessly careening into the endless abyss of dark space.  There is no time machine, where they go back and video record the forming of the universe and say "here it is, see and believe."  To me the "always existed" idea was as open ended as the idea of an all powerful God.  It didn't answer any of my questions.  Once again I was left with a leap of faith to take.  Many take that leap of faith, due to calculations and assumptions constantly changing, on the idea that since matter, it's composition and age are somewhat observable, that this data justifies a leap to the conclusion that the building blocks of the universe always existed, in some untouchable void until they chose to spontaneously burst into the current universal composition.

Yes, this is what I think about when I walk around my neighborhood at night.  So if you see me walking don't run me over, I'm obviously in a lot deeper thought that I probably ought to be.  

At the heart of my biased seeking in the past was not a sincere desire to know the truth, that was secondary to the heart of my search, my search was to find something that wasn't related to Christianity, and more true than Christianity.  Inevitably I was walked around the mullberry bush many times in endless circles of thought that lead to endless circles of addiction.  My infinite arrogance, fear, and anger were central to this search.  It was only by the inexhaustibly long and devastating process of losing everything I had, and more importantly every I was in the most painful and agonizing way possible, was my ego effectively crushed to the point where I still could not even see the truth, but I could do only one thing, call out desperately for help.

And how blessed I was to be able to make that call to the Creator.  Many die I imagine stubbornly refusing to make that call, as the last vestiges of their crippled and miserable lives slip away from them.  I exist and write this today because the Father drew me to Jesus, to know his name, and to call out in his name.  And I was healed.  

That sacrifice was adequate to save my wreckage drug addicted life, and turn it anew.  So I didn't have all the data.  I didn't know what would happen, or if anything at all would happen when I called out to Jesus Christ.  I just didn't have another option in front of me.  So I took a leap to save my own life selfishly, and defeated, and Jesus saw fit to restore me so I could now work in his service.  That indwelling of Christ allows me to become less selfish day by day, less mean day by day, and less evil day by day.  Without it, I would be in a mental hospital, prison, or dead.  

Meaning is defined as: noun
what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated;signification; import: the three meanings of a word.
the end, purpose, or significance of something: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?

Truth is defined as: noun, plural truths  [troothztrooths]  Show IPA .
the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like:mathematical truths.
the state or character of being true.
actuality or actual existence.