Questioning the Unquestionable
We take so many things in life for granted. These things we do not even consider as beliefs because they are things that we do not question at all. They have to be real. In fact, it would seem absurd to most people to even question them but when we discuss believing in things we must first realize that we do not question so many things. I have a problem with this approach because it allows for many assumptions in what is deemed the “natural” world but it does not allow these same assumptions for the existence of God.
What do I mean?
The Sophists would have argued with you until you believed whatever point that they picked to argue for making truth out to be relative. Some of the greatest thinkers weren’t even sure if anything that they saw was real. Take René Descartes for example; He is the one who said “cogito, ergo sum” meaning “I think, therefore I am.” He proposed that since he was thinking that he knew without a doubt that he existed. Senses were not how one could find the truth about reality. Many historic "thinkers" believed that they couldn’t know anything for sure and it was impossible to know the truth about reality
This distrust of the senses goes even farther back to the fifth-century B.C.E in Zeno of Elea. Zeno is known for his many paradoxes, many of which I could never explain in a blog post or even understand myself without some help. The one I want to focus in on today is one of his simpler ones, which we don’t actually have the how he would have argued it, but I am going to warp it for my needs in our discussion: a small seed does not make a sound when dropped but when many of them are all dropped at once they do make a sound. Now, of course with the aid of electronics, we can hear the small sound that the seed makes and this is where my argument begins: how can you believe the electronic device? A person using their senses to sense the device is not sensing the seed but what the device tells them to sense. This goes for an array of things that devices help us sense that we normally could not.
So how can we know?
We can’t. That’s why we believe things. Merriam-Webster.com defines belief as “a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true.” This is why we choose to believe that the device aids us to measure real things. But when we are put into the scrutiny of others can we define our beliefs in such a way that others see the validity of them? Or do they see that it takes a leap of faith to latch onto a belief? I know that there is a God and that the Bible is a major way that God chose to interact with humanity but I can’t “prove” it. I can cite how reliable the Bible is, be present for miracles, have fuzzy feelings, offer Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God, and give everyone the god gene but I still would not have proved anything, at least not by Western standards.
Back to where we started
This brings me back to where I started when I voiced a problem with the approach. There are many things that are generally accepted as what to believe in the scientific community that is not subject the scientific method that seems to disqualify God from existing. For the record I love science. Do I have the solution to how all of science fits nicely with God? No. I don’t. But I believe that they are not mutually exclusive. And before you tell me that I am not allowed to accept science I just want to point out that there are scientists today that believe that the universe is a hologram! Not because I think they are crazy, but because they give me hope that science can be free to explore the truth and not blindly rule things out.
We must be open to question our own beliefs with the same zeal and fervor as the beliefs that we see as a threat to our own. Only then we’ll we move from taking belief for granted to an active role in what we belief by knowing why we believe it.
[I've since written a blog that ended up being part 2 of my questioning blog. Check it out Here.]