What Religion or Philosophy is the True One?
ABSTRACT: Our various disciplines such as science and religion may seem at odd with each other, and we find it impossible to know what to believe. Yet there are ways for identifying a deeper reality that binds them.
What to Believe?
The various sciences, philosophies and religions offer a rich variety of ideas and beliefs. Scholars, professors, and civic and spiritual leaders and teachers tell us to follow their ideas and reject contrary ones. How can we know which of them are true?
We typically believe what we are born into, or are introduced to by parents, teachers, peers, and community. And once we accept the beliefs given to us, we tend to cling to those beliefs and may decry other dissimilar beliefs as wrong, even evil or devilish. There is a logical reason for this, and it leads to the very idea of what we should believe.
Our beliefs are called facts when we know with certainty that the belief is true. It is this solidness of mind that brings us stability, allowing us to think and reason within a framework of a slowly changing landscape. Confusion will develop and chaos will follow when we lose faith in our beliefs. And when we come up against others with seemingly opposing irreconcilable beliefs, then anger, revolt, revolution, and war can occur as we literally battle over whose belief is right. We find ourselves walking a tightrope as to which “wrong” beliefs we will tolerate and which ones we will not. Because, opposing beliefs can threaten beliefs we cherish.
Such a process appears unfruitful, yet can be useful for our coming to a mindset of what to believe. We may believe we are a fluke of random chance and have ultimately no purpose, or that Christ’s suffering gives us eternal life. The belief itself, dependent on the continuing narrative we live out in this life, is temporal in nature, because our experiences in this world are temporal. And being temporal, a belief cannot be true, because something of which exists for a while and then ceases to exist is true only within the reality it is germane to.
Temporal Beliefs Reveal Underlying Truths
It may be true that Christ died on the Cross but this is not truth. There was a time before Christ is said to have come into the World and died on the Cross and there will be a time when this society has run its course and different historical events will be remembered. It may alternately be true that the physical organism “man” evolved historically through a process of natural selection, as Charles Darwin theorized. It might even be that both ideas are true (or neither). But truth cannot just begin and end. Facts are temporal, they come and go like the apparel we wear for a while and discard when their usefulness has ended. Truths, however, underlie the facts that we routinely embrace and reject.
The story of Christ on the Cross and our salvation arising from it does contain truths. It is a lesson for the weak and the humble, that the greatest king, creator of worlds, crucified like a criminal, is thus no greater – in truth – than the most lowly of men. And, it is a lesson of our eternal natures – there is no death, only the narrative dies. The narrative is a sequence of events – facts – yet truth is the greater underlying element giving cohesiveness to those facts, driving them along, inspiring us, fulfilling our greater natures.
Alternatively, Darwin’s theory of natural selection, although conventionally viewed as a natural enemy to the story of Christ, may give unintended insight into the changing nature of the world and its forms; the unveiled truth being not the method of physical evolution of the species, but rather the nature of how the mind builds patterns and systems for conveying and processing information that manifests as our physical world.
Christian belief and Darwin’s theory thus convey the deeper truths, there thus being no need to ponder upon which of the two is true.
What we Should Believe
We can believe now that no belief can really be true, and that truths underlie those beliefs, and are recognizable. Confronted with such vast wealth of beliefs offered to us, we have ample fodder for better knowing our true natures. If no belief is true, what should we believe? We should believe nothing, yet respect everything. Beliefs are of the imagination, not real, not lasting; the eternal truths they convey are the element we must embrace. All sentient beings are of equal potential, eternal and of one mind. Reality arises from the mind (in our world) in the guise of “beliefs”.
Identifying the truths underlying our experiences, we transcend the world’s beliefs, and will see God.
About the Author
Arthur Telling has written numerous stories and articles on religion, philosophy, and metaphysics. His article, “A Different Jesus Message” appeared in the Nov. 2011 AMORC Rosicrucian Digest. Telling is author of four novels, including his latest book “Yancey Gates: A Dialogue with Self”, a "how to" book on awakening to the present moment. His website is: www.arthurtelling.com