We can train our brains to think more effectively, to sharpen our critical thinking skills. Being aware of our perspectives and biases moves us in the right direction.
If God is real, He must be the most important and relevant reality in the universe. Therefore, the truth about God is worth pursuing.
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What we believe about tomorrow impacts how we feel and act today. When we believe that things will get better, hardship is much easier to endure. The light at the end of the tunnel pulls us forward.
Making a proper cup of tea requires time and effort that ends up being totally worth it. Same with thinking. What good is our knowledge if our failure to think renders that knowledge useless?
WHAT I DO & WHY
Suffering has to stop.
I believe that suffering will end when there is a mature, universal knowledge of good and evil. Only then will we choose only good, because we’ll clearly see how good good is. We’ll never choose evil again, because we’ll clearly see how evil evil is. No more fuel will be poured on the fire of suffering, and it will go out.
How can we get to a mature, universal knowledge of good and evil? By exposing them. By uncovering all of the evidence and holding it up for all to see.
Almost everyone agrees that suffering has to stop (the fact that not everyone agrees is part of the problem). Areas of disagreement include these questions:
- Which things are good, and which things are evil?
- Who determines what is good and what is evil?
- What are the sources of good and evil?
I believe that only God is good; He alone is goodness itself. If we are to have a mature knowledge of good, we must know the truth about God.
I focus on evidence about God and what I believe to be the truth about Him. I help people build evidence-based beliefs about God — beliefs that are less likely to be shaken and more likely to be true.
THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD
Does God exist? If so, is He good? Does He love me? Why does He allow evil and suffering? Does God really make people burn in hell forever?
Someone once asked me a most profound question: If you could know for sure whether what you believe about God is true, would you want to know? After some difficult self-examination, my answer to that question became Yes.
Do you want to know the truth, whatever it is, or do you want to remain in the comfort of your belief, whether or not it’s true?
If God is real, He must be the most important and relevant reality in existence. Therefore, the truth about God is worth pursuing.
The best way to find truth is by following the evidence — facts, reason, and experience. Belief (by definition) does not stand on proof. However, sound belief stands on compelling evidence. Evidence-based beliefs are less likely to be shaken and more likely to be true.
If we are to discover the truth about God, we must earnestly examine the evidence about Him. The two greatest treasure chests of evidence about God are scripture and nature.
Scripture is the first book that provides evidence about God. If we use it as evidence, we must examine the evidence about scripture itself. Is it trustworthy?
The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. It contains falsifiable claims that would have shut down the Christian movement at its start if the claims had been untrue. Although the documents were written by about 40 authors on three different continents over a period of about 2,000 years, they are coherent in message. The Bible reports events that were the fulfillment of specific prophecies, and it contains prophecies that have been fulfilled in post-Bible times. Much of the Bible is confirmed by the writings of contemporaries and by archaeological findings. The Bible is by far the best attested writing from antiquity.
How can we do our best to find the truth in scripture?
- Keep in mind that scripture’s primary purpose is to reveal the truth about God and connect us to Him relationally.
- Read all of it. Each bit must be understood in the context of the whole.
- Remember that some words and passages can be interpreted in multiple ways. Consider the possibilities, and (when possible) determine the best interpretation based on evidence.
- Read it with a sincere desire to know the truth, whatever it is.
NATURE & SCIENCE
Scripture is the first book that provides evidence about God. Nature is the second. Science is the methodological study of — and the body of human knowledge about — nature.
The more we know about nature — the more science progresses — the closer we get to the truth about God.
Do these two books of evidence about God — scripture and nature — conflict with each other? No. However, some interpretations of scripture conflict with nature, and some interpretations of nature conflict with scripture. We would do well to study both books with a mind open to truth, whatever it is.
Is there a conflict between science and religion? Between reason and faith? Only sometimes. They are not necessarily at odds. Faith that is not based on evidence is irrational. Faith that is based on evidence is rational.
Faith is belief without proof, but it is not necessarily — nor should it be — belief without evidence (facts, reason, and experience). Faith is not unique to the realm of religion. Everyone has faith in something.
Dogmatism is the closing of the door to additional evidence. It can afflict both religion and science (this is known as scientism). Dogma is an enemy to truth. In both religion and science, we must follow the evidence.
The notion that a person has an eternal soul comes from mythology and philosophy, not scripture. (In fact, not only is the idea not in the Bible, it is contrary to biblical teaching.) That’s just one example. Several tenets of today’s Christian theology came into the church from classical philosophy, not the Bible.
It is important to understand where our beliefs come from. It is critical to know what the Bible truly says — and what it doesn’t say.
Studying philosophy helps us better understand where ideas come from and how beliefs develop over time. Also, the two disciplines of the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science — and the related branches of philosophy known as metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics — compel us to employ methods and ask questions that get us closer to truth.
The philosophy of religion involves reasoned, objective examinations of God and related matters.
The philosophy of science explores the foundations, methods, implications, and purpose of science. It also looks at the relationship between science and truth.
Theology, science, and philosophy are pursuits of truth. When we bring scripture, nature, science, and philosophy together, we can discover more and more of the highest truths.
The truth about God is ultimately unavoidable. We would do well to search for it with earnest and with skill. The more truth we know, the closer we get to the end of suffering.
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