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Randomness, Year 2
Issue 42

The Quest for Truth

Normally, I'm very uninhibited. I say whatever I want. Generally--and especially in Randomness--I just say what it is I think. Once I made a peaceful guy want to beat me up, but that was a misunderstanding. Lately, though, I've not been as blunt as usual. This issue I may very well be, depending who you are. I plan to throw caution to the wind. And no, were not discussing Calvinism or Arminianism because I'm currently on world ideologies. I was going to tell a story I read about relativism, but I won't. Anyway, I've been told that Randomness gets a little lengthy at times, so I shall not go into all the nuances I wish to explore with the current topic--especially for the sake of people on Josh's, Jonathan's, and Will's mailing lists.

I feel that there is a prevalent feeling of apathy in the world. For example, my brother Jonathan asked people at work and around town about truth one summer. He pointed out that all religions contradict each other, which people agreed. People also agreed that if they all contradict each other, then only one can be true. But no one was willing to go out and find out what that one, true religion. People don't want to. A guy I know, when shown the faults in his statement, "There is no absolute truth," responded with a non-committal statement expressing, essentially, that he did not care. He didn't care! I find this to be rather shocking. How could a human being not want to know the truth? Is the truth not one of the greatest things in the universe? Yes, Jesus Christ says that the truth will set you free--and so it will. But even if one does not believe Jesus to be the Christ, it must be admitted that the quest for truth is one the higher quests of humanity. It is one of the main impetuses [did you know that was a word? I always thought it was impeti!] of all human achievement. Why cross that ocean? To know the truth about what lies beyond. Why do research on the human body? To know the truth about what lies within. Why consider the truth of God? To know the truth about what lies everywhere. It is our beliefs about God--correct, incorrect, sufficient, insufficient as they may be--that help form our view of the world and our view of our lives. To know the truth is very important and very great. Yet people do not care about the truth. They do not want to expend the time and energy involved in finding out the truth about the world.

I'm sure some of you can imagine the degree of frustration this causes in me. You know how passionate I get about stuff. You know how much time I spend seeking information and truth. You know how much I care about people knowing the truth. So it is no surprise that I should consider this simple question: Why don't people actually want truth? Sure, it is not a simple task. But isn't it better than being wrong? I would rather put myself through some trouble to be right than be lazy or apathetic and be wrong, wouldn't you?

I have spent time thinking and talking to people, so I am not totally enveloped in darkness. The reason I'm looking for begins with the very nature of humanity. Yes, truth has led to some of man's* greatest achievements. But that does not mean that man always pursues truth. As far as moral, ethical, religious, spiritual truth goes, man hardly ever enjoys checking it out. To examine truth is not really one of man's favourite things to do. The nature of man--whether or not truth does him good--is to lie. Man is naturally immoral. Many people would argue against this. I do not say that man is naturally bad or that man is wholly incapable of good or does not have some sort of morality ingrained into his very being. I merely say that mans natural inclination is immorality. For me, this is obvious, because I am a Christian, and understand how we are all stained by original sin, that, because of Adam's sin and Fall, we are no longer in a natural state of godliness. Righteousness is now something we must strive after if we want it. Thus, man's natural inclination is not to go and seek true morality.

Sin is fun. Otherwise, we wouldn't do it. People enjoy doing fun things. This fact is why we have liars, cheaters, thieves. Morality is not always fun. It is in our nature to desire lies. They seem more fun and exciting than the truth. They make life interesting. (For my views on morality and freedom, check out Issue 13--its on the website.) But truth--so what if it may set me free? It certainly doesnt LOOK fun or exciting. Why expend time and energy on something that may take away my "fun"? Even if logic can prove someone wrong, that person is not necessarily prepared to go out and discover or accept the truth. The quest for truth is not exactly . . . easy. It is much easier to continue living life as one has been. Furthermore, a true investigation of moral truth requires an examination of more than just the world, books, and others. It requires an investigation into the very heart of the person's core. People are afraid to evaluate themselves. Such an evaluation could very well bring up something they do not like, for when the truth is found, "it imposeth upon mans thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor" (Sir Francis Bacon). Human nature is to be immoral. To investigate oneself may very well show evidence of lack of morality--which is not always a nice thing. To investigate oneself may require accepting the fact that morality must be accepted in and of itself.

Another reason why people dislike questing for truth is that the discovery of morality often makes them pale in comparison. Most people I know like to believe that they are good people. No one wants to admit his own sinful, immoral nature. One would sooner lie than have to feel an unwanted guilty conscience.

Therefore, we have seen one reason why mankind does not seek some sort of moral higher ground, some sort of moral truth. This reason is found in his very nature--immorality. But still it perplexes me. Despite my knowledge of mans natural state of immorality, I crave to see people seeking the truth. The quest for truth is a preoccupation of mine. If only it were a preoccupation of all humanity.


*As usual, man refers to humanity, not just male humans.

Copyright 2001, Matthew Hoskin