Monday, June 2, 2008

Absolute truth?

The full excerpt


I believe that there is an absolute truth that we must find for ourselves... and there are many paths to getting there. Now I thought well what do people believe in the most generic of terms possible: either there is an afterlife (some sort of heaven) or we just die. To me, the earth being the end-all-be-all to the meaning of our existence (Atheism) seems just so limited when you really look at how amazing life itself is and how in the grand scheme of this galaxy/universe we live in, if things had been just perfect we wouldn't all be here... there's a design. That is my opinion but just like my friend I just don't see how there cannot be a creator... Random luck? Naw, I've seen karma at play too many times to believe in pure random luck.

Now if there is some higher power, then there is probably some sort of heaven or afterlife (though Agnostics might just think there is a high power but we still die and the end). As for all the other religions, I believe they are just different paths to same end: absolute truth...
The universal truth that we will all come to find when we die. There is one but it's a constant journey toward it through some sort of means of truth you believe is right. For me I'm Christian (Catholic to be specific) because for me that is the absolute truth I have found.

That doesn't mean I can judge whether or not you will go to "Heaven", nor does it mean either of our paths to truth are "wrong" (esp. to the point of needing to threaten me). It is what I believe is right and I will tell you about my beliefs, but you have the freewill to take it or leave it.

While it all is a mystery, there is a logic to it that gives my life stability. With relativity (ie. you're right and I'm right and he's right...etc) there is nothing stable to believe in... because if everyone is right we are just contradicting our own belief. That is why I believe in absolute truth.

One thing though... if you ever take a good hard look at each religion... there are underlying themes that bring peace to people's lives that are all the same. I think there is a connection to these philosophical principles that would keep us from being so divided. Another friend in the same class... his belief was that Religion divides and racism will always exist... I don't think its religion that divides i think it is ignorance (because if we were truly following a christian, hindu, muslim, or jewish... etc life then we would understand the principle of do unto others, sacrificing love... we are to judge for ourselves not for others... etc. Disrespect, hatred, causing physical harm to those who don't think or look like us... are all preached against in every faith and yet it never occurs to anyone that they are contradicting their own beliefs).

Just somethings I've been thinking about... I wouldn't mind someone playing devils advocate and giving me a good argument as to why there is no absolute truth. I'm up for philosophical, or musical, or cinematic-al or just plain random discussion any day... Ramble away (or rather Ramble on...)

7 comments:

Sui Generis said...

"Now I thought well what do people believe in the most generic of terms possible: either there is an afterlife (some sort of heaven) or we just die. To me, the earth being the end-all-be-all to the meaning of our existence (Atheism) seems just so limited when you really look at how amazing life itself is"


Since life is so amazing, it's enough just to have experience this life on earth alone and perhaps an afterlife is not needed? True there may be a design but perhaps the design merely ends here and there is no after life, so perhaps the creator thought it sufficient for us just to live once through this beautiful world.

Why do you think that with a higher power around, there should be a heaven or after life?

The whole world is a mystery and perhaps that is what the creator meant it to be, a mystery and our purpose is to admire and enjoy this mystery. Perhaps the purpose of this life is to discover there really is no purpose. However, innately, we all have a need for stability and it might be a reason for the existence of religions.





"While it all is a mystery, there is a logic to it that gives my life stability. With relativity (ie. you're right and I'm right and he's right...etc) there is nothing stable to believe in... because if everyone is right we are just contradicting our own belief. That is why I believe in absolute truth."




It's true that you say with relativity, everyone is right.

Certainly there are absolutes in this world, for instance, killing is definitely wrong. However, that is if we examine from the perspective of the act of killing itself. However, if we see it from the point of view that perhaps the doctor killed the patient to relieve him of more sufferings, mercy killing, then killing wouldn't be an act of evil.
The essense of relativity is that people view things from different perspective and different point of views.

The world is so complicated, there are so many factors we have to consider. True there are many absolutes, but most of the times these absolutes contradict with each other and hence we have dilemmas. for instance in the above example, the absolute of helping others relieve their suffering contradicts with the absolute of not killing. Therefore, relativity comes in when people see this from different frames of references or points of view. It's identical to the Einstein's theory of relativity. If we were all to see it from the same perspective, then we would all arrive at the same conclusion.

For instance, you said that you believe that all religions all lead to the same path, absolute truth. So you're saying that Hinduism is right, christanity is right, buddhism is right, taosim is right. But how can that be? just compare buddhism and christanity, in buddhism there is no god, in christanity, there is only one true god and all the other religions are false. (Pardon me if I'm wrong)

However, what you said was right too if we examine from your perspective, that is all the religions are just different paths to getting to the afterlife.

"Change is the only constant in life" But this statement means that nothing is constant, except change, which again requires relativity, a frame of reference to judge this. There is nothing absolute about this statement until you define you r frame of reference, so if you are getting a headache, that is because you have yet to define your frame of reference. If you view change as an object, then it is a constant. If you view change as change, that the statement means nothing is constant. It's the same in this world, till you define your frame of reference, you can't say anything is absolute.

If you study quantum physics, there is law and order in uncertainty. So what is absolute here? uncertainty? but how can uncertainty be an absolute?

The only certainty I've learnt in this world is there nothing is for sure and it's true we must have a stand and belief, but we have to leave perhaps some space for error otherwise there is no point in human communication for if everyone believes they are 100 percent right, than nothing will get through to the other person.

Must there be an absolute to everything? just like what George Bush said, "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror.", isn't the idea of an absolute absolute dangerous? Because it's when both parties think they are absolutely right and that the other party is wrong and that's when the fighting starts.

cinemadolce said...

I think you have some good points here.

Didn't mean to bring science or politics into my religion and philosophy musing but I will address my view on your points.

"Why do you think that with a higher power around, there should be a heaven or after life?"
Maybe its my foundation as a christian but most every religion with a higher power there seems to be a heaven we are working toward... But really what is heaven? Now that mystery could be something worth following said religion for, considering following your path of choice usually improves your earthly life.

Einstein's Theory of relativity
Light is constant from every perspective and thus in relation to my belief in absolute truth... Light is the truth and there are many perspectives to seeing this one universal truth.

Now why does the world have to be "so complicated" yes life can feel complicated but aren't we trying to simplify our lives? That's some philosophical principal i can't remember... :-)

"For instance, you said that you believe that all religions all lead to the same path, absolute truth. So you're saying that Hinduism is right, christanity is right, buddhism is right, taosim is right. But how can that be? just compare buddhism and christanity, in buddhism there is no god, in christanity, there is only one true god and all the other religions are false. (Pardon me if I'm wrong)"

Now I did not say they were all "right" they are all perspectives... I stated I believe in Christianity as my truth (its one perspective leading to that absolute truth we all are journeying toward) by the freewill that higher power gave us... I will defend and share what i believe, but I will not judge you or hate you or disrespect you for not believing what I do because you have been given the same freewill I have.

Quantum Physics is something I don't know much about so I will not try to discuss any point there.

As for politics... that's an absolute statement... not Absolute Truth in a religious philosophical sense...
Absolute statements without logic (which Bush has been lacking)... can be dangerous... we must be able to bend statements as we learn more... and that's where ignorance and education come into play in the human journey through life.

Sui Generis said...

" Now why does the world have to be "so complicated" yes life can feel complicated but aren't we trying to simplify our lives? That's some philosophical principal i can't remember... :-) "


I didn't ask or complain on the world being complicated, what I'm trying to say is that there are absolutes, but because the world is complicated, there are too many factors involved, that's why there is no absolute right or wrong on the right action to take because too often these absolutes contradict with each other.

And personally, I feel to simplify our lives just so that life can feel less complicated is not justifiable. To make ourselves more at ease, we fix boundaries to our mind or rather imprison ourselves in our safety corner. But again, there's no right or wrong, it's just my personal opionion.

"For instance, you said that you believe that all religions all lead to the same path, absolute truth. So you're saying that Hinduism is right, christanity is right, buddhism is right, taosim is right. But how can that be? just compare buddhism and christanity, in buddhism there is no god, in christanity, there is only one true god and all the other religions are false. (Pardon me if I'm wrong)"

"With relativity (ie. you're right and I'm right and he's right...etc)there is nothing stable to believe in... because if everyone is right we are just contradicting our own belief. That is why I believe in absolute truth."

"Now I did not say they were all "right" they are all perspectives..."


And yes, that's precisely my point. And hence, relativity doesn't really mean everyone is right and hence it doesn't mean there is nothing stable to believe in. It is again, all a matter of perspective.

"Einstein's Theory of relativity
Light is constant from every perspective and thus in relation to my belief in absolute truth... Light is the truth and there are many perspectives to seeing this one universal truth."

The speed of light is constant but the path travelled by light seen from different perspective is different. And thus, when viewed from different perspectives, the light (absolute truth) in terms of its taken path looks different. So how can absolute truth be absolute when it looks different from different perspective?

What are your arguments for an absolute truth?

"Why do you think that with a higher power around, there should be a heaven or after life?"
Maybe its my foundation as a christian but most every religion with a higher power there seems to be a heaven we are working toward... But really what is heaven? Now that mystery could be something worth following said religion for, considering following your path of choice usually improves your earthly life.

Most religions believe in heaven doesn't show that there should be a heaven or after life... It's like saying because majority thinks so and thus majority should be right.

And again, your question is what is heaven? why not ask is there a heaven? And scientists often ask themselves is there a heaven and thus they too are in search of an absolute truth then, and so it could be considered as a path to seeking out the absolute truth too and thus they chose science to try to solve this mystery.

"I will defend and share what i believe, but I will not judge you or hate you or disrespect you for not believing what I do because you have been given the same freewill I have."

And i guess that's the creator's intention then, to give us freewill, to make for a more interesting world. Because if anybody who believes in a creator giving freewill judges or hates or disrespects somebody for not believing the same thing, then that anybody is disrespecting the creator, disrespecting his decision to give freewill to the people.

My command of language isn't good so pardon me if the words sound offensive......

cinemadolce said...

Mmm you're right on the majority thing, should have better thought that out. Is there a heaven? well I guess that is a matter of faith.
Since I believe in my religion then I have faith that there is a Heaven... a goal to be with God, creator, enlightened.. whatever it is.

I know there is no evidence that supports either side for or against an afterlife. But I do believe there is a God and I have my own personal evidence to believe this and I have faith that God has the truth for my life. He's in Heaven and that's my goal to work toward.

Simplifying your life doesn't have to be cowardly in my honest opinion.

Now about this defining of absolute truth... there is no absolute right or wrong action because of the complex factors of life. okay now what does that have to do with there being an absolute truth?
Our actions on earth are not without error...we are not perfect. So I agree with you on that point, but I'm not sure it disproves that there is absolute truth.

I think our banter has come at a crossroads because our views of relativity are different in the sense of our context:

In a religious context being relative about truth and what you believe would be to say its all relative everyone is right.

The theory of relativity in science is explained with perspectives. A perspective is neither right or wrong just a way of viewing something.

So I think we missed eachother's points somewhere...

Let me just leave with one last kind of reason as to why I think there can be absolute truth. Jesus (who has the truth in the christian faith) came to earth and he never disrespected or hated anyone he met. He was happy talking and sharing with the Jews, the Gentiles, the Samaritans and so on, but he was steadfast to the truth. Those people had different beliefs and perspectives on the truth... but as we journey though this earthly life to try to understand and find the truth for ourselves, we must be open not ignorant of the perspectives around us.

That was my basic point. But thanks for this lively banter!

Blake said...

i agree with you, ashton.
good words provoking good thought.

Sui Generis said...

"Let me just leave with one last kind of reason as to why I think there can be absolute truth. Jesus (who has the truth in the christian faith) came to earth and he never disrespected or hated anyone he met. He was happy talking and sharing with the Jews, the Gentiles, the Samaritans and so on, but he was steadfast to the truth. Those people had different beliefs and perspectives on the truth... but as we journey though this earthly life to try to understand and find the truth for ourselves, we must be open not ignorant of the perspectives around us."


Sorry but how does this show that there can be an absolute truth?

"Now about this defining of absolute truth... there is no absolute right or wrong action because of the complex factors of life. okay now what does that have to do with there being an absolute truth?"

This doesn't disproves the existence of an absolute truth. I just thought since life is designed by the creator and since he intentionally created this world to be so complex, then must there really be an absolute truth? Just because our limited thinking cries out for somethting that is absolute doesn't mean nature has to obey. There are probably higher dimensions or powers out there which are beyond our comprehension and why should their powers be limited by our constraint thinking?

What does absolute truth actually mean to you? How do you actually define it?

"In a religious context being relative about truth and what you believe would be to say its all relative everyone is right."

I don't really get you, so what you are saying in the religious context is that you don't believe in 'relativity' in this religious context and thus only one religion can be right?

Apologies, I tend to group everything together because I thought the underlying principles were all the same. I was trying to say that simliar to Einstein's theory of relativity, it's all just a matter of perspective, and this could be applied in everything and in the context of religion as well for instance in our discussion.

If I'm not wrong, you were sort of saying every religion is kinda right if you view it from the perspective that every religion is pursuing the absolute truth and they practise the basic moral principles. So are you not practising 'relativity' here? My point is it seems like relativity, needing a frame of reference is needed everywhere before we can really 'judge' things or see the absolute and therefore, it seems like this may be the design principle of this world. Based on this design principle, it is one way of trying to understand the higher power and thus, perhaps nothing is absolute till we define the frame of reference. I know this defies all our logic and understanding, the creator is the absolute start and thus he must be the absolute right? But that is according to how we see the world and what we understand of it, the world once again could be beyond our comprehension and experience, what we don't understand doesn't mean it may not be true. We've already witness how amazing this world works so once again, why should we constraint it by our limited understanding?

Sui Generis said...
This post has been removed by the author.
(Because somehow or rather I accidentally posted my comment twice!)

2 comments:

Winmin said...

Kun, what's your stand actually? Do you believe in an absolute truth? And what is this absolute truth regarding?

Now, you wrote that "I just thought since life is designed by the creator and since he intentionally created this world to be so complex, then must there really be an absolute truth?". But it is a very big assumption to make that there is a creator. Your argument just seems shaky when you base it upon this assumption.

wm

Sui Generis said...

I am just debating for a possibility that absolute truth might not exist.

I don't know if there is an absolute truth, sort of like an agnotist who is open to all possibilities.

Absolute truth in the context of my 'opposition' I guess is just an afterworld, a heaven, an afterlife. To me, absolute truth is just something that is absolute, that there is only one beginning, one source, you know? Which all our logical senses and experience will point to that. It's a bit complex to explain, you might want to read up on the Bohr Einstein argument, Eistein would be for the existence of an absolute truth while Bohr is against.

It is with the purpose of my opposition in mind that I used the word creator, because that is what she believes in. Then it is my mistake then, I would correct it as "Since life is apparently naturally this complex, then based on this understanding and observation of life, we perhaps shouldn't be so sure about the existence of an absolute truth which is too simple for the complexity in life we've seen so far."