People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.
– Timothy Keller
I believe in a lot of things: logic, love, mathematics, morality, and truth. I especially believe in truth. Truth underlies everything, because if there is no knowable and irreducible truth, then the rest has no meaning. Logic, science, philosophy, and math can only exist when based on natural and unchanging truths (sometimes called facts, proofs, or laws). Love, intuition, justice, and morality rely on truths that are just as evident and integral. Truth must also exist separate of individual, cultural, or social beliefs and customs; it must lie outside of the very things that it governs.
I carefully distinguish between belief and this Truth, because one is developed independently within each of us, while the other simply is. I like to think that my beliefs are based on truths that I have discovered over the years, but I know that many of my beliefs were obtained through education, heredity, and even social osmosis, among other things. There is not enough time in our lives to investigate the Truth behind each and every belief, but we must at the very least be aware of the basis – and just as important, bias – that has built the system of beliefs that we hold so dear. We must investigate… ourselves.
I do not propose that we attempt to live without bias – the very notion would allow us no position whatsoever – but, rather, that we remain aware of that intrinsic bias and adapt it as necessary to the truth that we discover. And we must discover, or else our beliefs have no basis. There are a number of beliefs that I once held that were proven false only when I had the will and temerity to investigate them. Socrates compelled us to “follow the argument wherever it leads” with the basic assumption that we would attempt the journey. This page is merely a diary of this part of my journey.
The fact is, we often take a great amount of pride in what we know, and are much more willing to impart our wisdom to others than to acquire some of theirs. Over the past few years, as I branched out in my reading and studying from the typical and traditional religious tomes, I realized how lacking I had been in exploring differing viewpoints. It is much more simple and even enjoyable (on the surface, anyhow) to read and listen to those who we already agree with or are saying something that we truly want to believe. It takes a little more effort and diligence to read and study the opposition. If you are only staying on your own side of the fence, you are unlikely to have any true experience of the world.
I have often asked atheists that I know to give me the titles of a few books that they have found to have a profound influence on their philosophy of life, vowing to read every word with the understanding that they would do the same for me. I figured that by taking the proverbial “walk in each other’s moccasins,” we could have a more meaningful and intelligent discourse. I have typically received no response, but the one response I did receive was along the lines of, “I know that I would not reciprocate.” It is telling that they steadfastly refuse to take the challenge, in spite of holding what they claim to be an intellectually superior position. Perhaps, as C.S. Lewis claimed, “A young man who wishes to be a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.” What drives this fear of whatever caused me to believe as I do? Although I am certain that a response would include some variation of “a waste of time,” there must certainly be more to it than that.
A search for knowledge and understanding produces a very real danger for anyone to lose his faith in beliefs both held and presented for much of his life. Anthony Flew surely encountered this danger to both his pride and intellect as one of the most outspoken and fearless proponents of atheism in the 20th century. It was his devotion to the Socratic obligation mentioned above that forced him to admit his conversion to Theism late in his life. There are many who are unwilling to face that possibility. I have a large degree of both skepticism and awareness when it comes to proselytizing; I am able to be somewhat objective when I am exposed to it regardless of the format. However, ignoring an opposing view based on preconceptions of its illegitimacy is the height of intellectual dishonesty and can lead to little more than ignorance. If we are in a battle for the minds and hearts of the world – and assuming that we care – then we would be wise to listen to Sun Tzu and “know [ourselves] and [our] enemies.”
Although this is ostensibly a blog, I want it to be much more than that. I want responses. I want debate. I want opinions – and facts. I am fully aware that I do not hold the key to theology, philosophy, science, or apologetics. I am on a journey of my own and am constantly studying and accepting the fact that I can learn much from others around me, regardless of their philosophical or religious identities. I want this to be an online Stammtisch of sorts, where we meet every week to discuss and debate the most recent or relevant topic. A famous aphorism comes from Proverbs 27: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” I do not want to hear only from those who agree with me, nor do I want unenlightened and bitter arguments. I want to explain what I’ve learned and discovered, and enhance it with the knowledge and discoveries of others.
The fact is, there are plenty of places to find what I am offering (and desiring) here, but hopefully you can find something here that interests you in a new and different way. Maybe you feel that you can find an outlet here for your questions, doubts and fears, or can offer answers and solutions to someone else’s. Regardless, this is all that I have, and all that I am, even if I am just Another Jesus Fish in the Sea…
 Lewis, C. S., Wayne Martindale, and Jerry Root. The Quotable Lewis (Wheaton, IL) p. 60