I used to know a few things. I knew that the earth was round, one plus one equaled two, God existed, and everything could be proven. As a young man, a boy actually, I was especially convinced of the latter. Just because science has not proved a thing does not mean it can't be proven. Inevitably, everything will be proven and understood; of this I was sure. My purpose was to contribute to that knowledge and to take one step closer to the end of reason, or so I thought. Long I engaged in trying to prove or disprove the existence of God. Metaphysics appeared to be the medium best suited for me to explore this question. The method I chose was to find an inherent contradiction in the absolutes of the universe; this would show the universe could not exist without God. I spent years and years exploring the topic, going from creation theories to temporal infinities, spending endless sleepless nights discussing with friends the nuances of entropy. Every time I thought I had an answer, someone or something showed me a crack in the logic. This fissure became the starting point to a new theory that had its own glitch. So it went for me ad nauseum. Interestingly, the catalyst that broke this cycle came from two people: one, a theologian and the other, an agnostic. My friend, the agnostic, brought up a fundamental flaw in using inductive validation. Deductive reasoning derives specific principles from general axioms. For example, if all objects have gravity, and all apples are objects, then all apples have gravity. Inductive reasoning derives axioms from principles. An example of this would be since all observed ice is cold, all ice is cold. This is how all absolutes of the universe are derived; because something is always observed a certain way, it is always assumed to be that way. Laws cannot be proven; at best, one can demonstrate how likely one is. This is the reason the term axiom, or generally accepted truth, is used. It took some time for the implications of this to dawn on me. Once they did, I would never look at things the same again. I could not prove anything exists. Socrates' famous saying, "The wise man knows he knows nothing," took on a whole new meaning for me. If the universe lacked all substance, and everything was a phantom subject to my perceptions, then all meaning would be determined by me. As highly as I thought of myself, this was a little more responsibility than I was ready for. More and more, the meaningless mire of nihilism seemed the appropriate answer-until the theological side interrupted my introspection. Previously, my step father recommended a book on some of the parables from the New Testament. The effusive evangelical styling of the church has never excited me; I've always preferred cold logic, so I casually began to read without expecting to find anything of interest. Surprisingly, the author posited a holistic theory on the nature of God, and more importantly, faith. Believing in something you can't prove is not faith; faith is the essential question all people must answer that informs every aspect of their lives. No matter how deep a person's understanding of something runs, his choice is whether to have faith in that thing or not; this includes logic and reason. Without faith in not only observed truths but also the system used to validate them, I could not function. Making any decision requires the ability to judge actions and results, so I must believe there are absolutes; without them, one must conclude that there is no way to judge something. Not only do I enjoy telling people they are wrong, but in order to even use the words should or shouldn't, I must believe there is validation beyond feeling a certain way. Since my perceptions changed, I can laugh at people so concerned with believing only proven things but only if I can laugh at myself, for I have been that person. My dogma is useful only with the humility to admit I could be wrong. I used to know so much; now I know nothing, and I am better for it. These days, I believe the earth is close to round, one plus one equals two most of the time, God exists, and there is no way I can be sure.
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