Monday, July 20, 2009

A Quest for Truth

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33)

So why are the mysteries of life so confusing? The simple answer to that is because the devil seeks to confuse us. He did it in the beginning with Adam and Eve and has been doing it ever since. But I think the answer can go deeper than that too. I think the truth is that we are hard wired to believe anything we hear. We automatically assume everything we hear is true - subconsciously. The conscious mind is what questions the things we hear. If you don't believe me just observe a hypnotist perform hypnosis on someone. With the conscious mind out of the way, the hypnotist is able to tell the hypnotized person pretty much anything and the hypnotized person will believe it or do it. A good example of this involves a recent case of a woman in Great Britain who was told under hypnosis she had gastric bypass surgery. She was actually able to remember having the surgery performed despite the fact that she never really had the surgery performed! In addition to remembering the surgery she also lost "4 stone" because of it (I think that's around 50 pounds or so). Consciously she knows that she never had the surgery performed, yet she still remembers it and still lost weight because of it. So the subconscious mind is obviously stronger than the conscious mind and, despite the fact that the subconscious mind never sleeps and is aware of every minor little detail we observe and hear, it doesn't seem to be capable of understanding what a lie is.

If you want more evidence just observe how a very small child will believe whatever its parents tells them. A small child doesn't understand the necessity to question what its told, so it will believe whatever it is told. You can tell them there's a Santa Claus, a Tooth Fairy, an Easter Bunny or whatever, and they just assume its true. They don't realize until they get older that they need to question what they hear. So basically the knowledge that we need to question what we hear is a learned trait. The irony is that if people didn't lie, then we wouldn't need to bother questioning anything. Basically humanity is being held back because some people have the desire to lie to get ahead. Because we know that people have the potential to lie, we automatically assume we have to question some of the things we hear. Imagine how much further we could get if we weren't so busy questioning everything we hear? If everyone just told the truth and everyone knew they could trust what they hear, everyone could unite together and combine their knowledge for the advancement of humanity. Having to question what we hear and in some cases go back and research the basis for someone's claims just slows the process down and keeps people divided.

So what started with the serpent deceiving Adam and Eve snowballed into something much bigger. Now we have so many different beliefs and so many different opinions on so many different subjects that the whole world is pretty much confused about everything. An entire religion could start as one man's lies and ultimately lead to thousands or millions of followers. Basically it starts by one man saying something and then someone else assuming he is telling the truth. That person (or those persons) then tells their friends and family, who assume they can trust what they are being told (which is really only a lie that was assumed to be true getting repeated). Once enough people believe something to be true, then they assume it is an established fact. Once the conscious mind believes something to be true though, then trying to convince a person otherwise can be difficult. The subconscious is already totally convinced, so if the conscious mind doesn't question what it hears, then it is very difficult to make progress in convincing that person what they believe is a lie. So the question process can work in reverse too because if a person already believes one thing to be true, then they question the validity of anything they hear that contradicts that. Part of the trouble with this is that people get so firmly rooted in what they believe, when someone else questions what they believe then they feel the need to seek out evidence to "prove" it. What usually happens though is that when seeking evidence for a belief, they let what they already believe shape the evidence they find, instead of letting the evidence shape what they believe. The truth is, many things are open to interpretation. While doing some research for a book I am writing, I read in a book how some scientists were able to "prove" the Earth was much younger than the 4.5 billion year old stuff that you usually hear about by using radiometric dating. Yes...the same radiometric dating that supposedly "proves" that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old can also "prove" that the Earth is only thousands of years old. How can that be, you may ask? Well what most people don't know is that radiometric dating evidence is based on theoretical concepts. Most scientists adhere to the idea that the "the present is the key to the past", which is based on a concept known as "Uniformitarianism". Basically it is the assumption that all natural processes have always been the same and always happened the same way and can be measured in the same way. Prior to Uniformitarianism people believed in "Catastrophism", which pretty much means the opposite - natural processes haven't always been the same. So for instance, if you assume an event such as the Great Flood to be true, then that throws the dates for what is below the flood period line way off because such a catastrophic event "contaminates" the ground. In other words, it disrupts the natural processes. A volcanic eruption can have a similar effect. Volcanic rock from a volcano that was known to have erupted say, a hundred years ago, can be dated to being millions of years old if you assume that the natural processes have not been contaminated (Uniformitarianism). The intense heat of the eruption disrupts the natural processes though, which is what makes the dates wrong. But if the dates can be wrong in one spot, then they can be wrong anywhere.

So what do we have here in this case? Basically you have Darwinists on one side who have invented a theoretical concept that allows them to interpret the evidence to mean that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, which would fit their belief that species evolved over incredibly long periods of time. On the other side you have people who interpret the same evidence differently based on the idea that natural processes haven't always been the same. So in other words, the evidence is only as good as what you interpret it to be, and generally most people interpret the evidence based on what they already believe.

I think even as adults a lot people still retain a little bit of that childlike assumption that whatever they hear is true. Although adults know to question things, typically they find it easy to believe anything they hear that matches what they already believe. They are also more likely to believe what they hear based on how its presented to them. If someone they trust tells them something, typically they will believe it even though it may be that the person they trust has merely repeated something told to them that they assumed to be true, but isn't. They are also more likely to believe something they hear from a news reporter they trust or if information is presented to them in a professional manner (such as a documentary film or book). But, I think we all know that reporters, documentaries, and books can be wrong or lie, yet, we typically find it easy to believe what is said if it matches what we already think or don't have a reason to question it.

I guess the reason I decided to write this is because I was thinking idealistically today. Imagine a world with no lies. A world where everything you knew was the truth. No one would be confused and everyone would be united. But because some people throughout history have decided to take advantage of the human inclination to believe that whatever they hear is true for their own benefit, we are left with a world of confused people who fight amongst themselves instead of coming together in peace and truth for the betterment of the human race.

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