Sorry, buddy, but your gold fillings aren’t live

May 13, 2006 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

All week, I’ve been out of sorts. I’ve been trying to figure out how to be certain which of all the world religions is the right one.

The extremely frustrating thing about this worldview problem is that I have no way of proving which one is ultimately true. Is it Christianity? Hinduism? Islam? Atheism? Neo-Paganism? Agnosticism?

Being a Christian, I operate on completely different assumptions about the world than do other people, but I can’t logically demonstrate that my assumptions are right and theirs are wrong.

This fact comes home to me regularly in my discussions with my atheist and agnostic friends. Many of my conversations with these people end with me realizing that no matter how hard we try, we just can’t make complete contact with each other’s views. There is no way for us to step outside our foundational assumptions and somehow use logic to determine whose religion (or lack of it) is right.

This fact is often disconcerting to me. I realize that my reasoning is in some sense circular, and I don’t like that. If there is no proof for my religion, how do I know that I’ve made the right choice? I’m afraid of being closed-minded and making wrong judgments. Sometimes it seems like everything’s relative in the world of ideas, and I worry that there is no way to actually figure out the truth.

Then again…

My mom, however, reminded me of an important point earlier this week, when I was in one of my “there’s-no-solution-to-this-problem- so-I-might-as-well-throw-in-the-towel�” slumps.

“You know,” she said, her eyebrows going up slightly, “I could take you downtown and introduce you to a guy who would swear his gold fillings were picking up signals from Martians. Could you prove that it wasn’t true?”

I shook my head.

“No,” she agreed, “you couldn’t. But you’d be a fool to let him confuse you about what’s really going on.”

I conceded the point.

“Open-mindedness is a good thing,” she continued firmly, “but don’t take it so far that you lose your sense. There is such a thing as truth, and you have a responsibility to recognize that the guy with the gold fillings doesn’t have it. Period.”

Hate to admit it, but I think she has a point.

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Ten Commandments Day: A confusing message? Thanks, Mom

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Profile

profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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