“At the end of the day, does it matter if we believe or not? Does it matter what we believe?”
The other day, one of my students spoke these words with great sincerity. We were in the midst of discussing arguments for God’s existence and he delved directly to the heart of the matter: does what we believe matter?
I knew this question was going to divert us from the lesson plan I had for the day. We were supposed to go through a few of the arguments, discuss them, and then share what we thought about those particular arguments. But I find it difficult to pass up opportunities to discuss aspects of the faith they are genuinely interested in discussing.
So I took the bait.
I posed a question to them: Does truth matter?
They thought for a moment and then began to offer their responses.
“Yes, truth matters.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“It is simply a matter of opinion.”
This is the heart of many debates in religion, politics, science, and simply life in general: what is true? And, perhaps a question posed more in today’s world than in previous centuries, does truth matter?
I talked to my students about how some truths are opinion based. It is true that I think blue is the best color. People have differing opinions on this matter and I don’t worry about people who prefer red or yellow or green. These are truths that vary based on the person.
Yet there are truths that are objective. These remain true regardless of my personal opinion, knowledge, or awareness of that truth. Gravity did not become true when it was discovered or defined. It is because it is true that it was able to be discovered and defined.
Naturally, I would argue the same thing about God. Either God exists or He does not. He doesn’t exist for some and then not exist for others. He either is or is not and my opinion doesn’t change this reality.
“But couldn’t we all be wrong?” one student asks.
“Sure,” I tell them, “that is why we rely on faith in addition to reason. We choose to believe even though we may be wrong.”
“Wow.” At least one student seemed surprised by my admission that we could be wrong.
“What we need to do is to honestly pursue the truth. I believe that if we honestly do that, we will find it. Of course, you know what I think is true. I think God is real and He exists. But knowing and seeking the truth is important. Because if God is not real, I want to know now.” Continue reading “The Importance of Truth”