One of my goals in writing this blog is to talk about the search for truth. It is my interest in discovering truth that motivates many of my posts about philosophy, religion and science.
The search for truth always begins with an idea. The idea might be true, or it might be false. We must evaluate the idea to determine which one is the case.
In order to evaluate an idea we need only three things. We must be able to believe that the idea might be true, we must be able to believe that the idea might be false, and we must have some way of determining which is more likely.
Faith describes our ability to believe that a given idea is true, and doubt describes our ability to believe that a given idea is false.
For an idea to be meaningful, it must be subject to both faith and doubt. An idea that cannot conceivably be true, or that cannot conceivably be false, is meaningless. Any idea worth considering can be believed and it can be disbelieved.
The question is for meaningful ideas, ideas that can be either true or false, how do we determine whether the idea is true or false?
We consider the evidence. We consider our experiences. We consider our existing beliefs. We consider what it means for the idea to be true. We consider what it means for the idea to be false. Finally, having considered these things, we decide whether the idea is true or false.
Reason is what allows us to go through this process with every new idea and make a determination. Reason is what we use to distinguish truth from falsehood, and its job is never done.
Even those questions that we believe are settled must be examined from time to time.
Some people say that we should never question religious truths, but I vehemently disagree. I believe that if we don't consider the possibility that our religious beliefs are false, we render them meaningless. After all, if an idea cannot possibly be false, what does it mean when we say that it is true?
In that vein, I've started reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I will be posting my reflections on this blog as I go through the book. If you're curious about how an open-minded person of faith responds to Richard Dawkins, then keep reading. I expect it will make for an interesting series of posts.