The following is from a short paper I had complete for a TWU philosophy class I am taking. The assignment was simply to go interview people regarding truth and then write a short reponse as to what happened. Anyhow.....
Walking on to the University Campus of the Fraser Valley with the intent of engaging people in significant and meaningful conversation regarding truth and morality was an exciting and thought provoking venture. I am often amazed, if that is not too strong a word, at the highest common denominators of thought, idea, and opinion among the vastly different cross-section of students found in a learning environment. On that note, in reflection on my eight dialogues, I was amazed but not surprised by the common thread that ran and weaved its way through the conversations. Please find attached my progression of questioning and my written short hand recording of the response given.
My intent within my first couple of questions was to simply feel out the individual’s general view of truth; was it an objective absolutist view of truth or a relativistic view of truth? From this initial general conclusion, the line of questioning would follow down one of two paths; 1) questions directed at bringing contradictive conclusions of truth, or 2) questions directed at establishing how integrated ones view of truth was. Though the initial response from person to person was either objective or relative the final conclusion with every person was that truth is up to the individual – or that it is relative.
A specific that we often camped out on for a while was the whole discussion of morality, right and wrong, and the concept of intrinsically good or bad. The transition from truth to morality left every single person that I talked with trying to hold to their intellectual integrity while trying to rationalize away no objective moral code. All but one respondent had no problem asserting that two opposing truths can equally be true and co-exist and then go on to suggest that there are, indeed, moral absolutes. It was interesting (and at times comical to watch) as each person then tried to explain their earlier belief of relative truth and how that applies to morality. Contradiction, so it seems, may be easy for the general population of university students to by-pass in theory, but becomes a much more daunting task when forced to consider the implication of opposing morality on our society.
Awareness of their inconsistencies left varying bits of room for us to discover together what some possible solutions to these inconsistencies may be. It is very interesting to note that every person I shared this discovery process with made the jump and connection from truth/morality to God, religion, or spirituality within moments. Though a very small number of students were interviewed, it may be safe to assert that generally, when people think of truth and morality, their minds begin to think in some kind of meta-power beyond themselves. From my experience, as soon as people begin on this journey of wondering about the supernatural, God, or spirituality – they begin to ask the questions and search for the answers that satisfy. It was invigorating to be able to openly share the Christian idea of truth and faith with complete strangers who were somewhere along this journey. I would further attribute this openness in dialogue to the establishment of credibility before hand in the soliciting of the other individual’s opinions on life. The by-product was that they asked my opinion and beliefs. The spread of the Christian faith is not rocket-science!
One particular good conversation was with a girl named Carissa. Once completing the questionnaire she began to talk about her brother (who is a youth pastor) and how he always tries to force his beliefs on her. It was very obvious that this was really annoying and hurting her as well as moving her further away from Jesus. Too many people see religion and run from God – and this is what was happening with this girl. Anyhow, I made a comment about her name, how its root is from the Greek charis meaning grace. From that point on we got to work through the whole reality of God’s grace vs. man-made religion and how that impacts authentic Bible-believing Christ-centered spirituality. She was moved to a point of tears and is now, at least, re-oriented in the direction of Jesus. She made the comment as we parted that, “I will never be able to get away from grace because that is my name.”
I would like to submit that real education is being put in the position where ones only escape is to think. I am a learner and I am teacher. Every person I interviewed was a learner and a teacher. Life is not an autonomous event of biological interactions between organisms, but rather, a communal process of living, loving, learning, and growing together. My prayer is that those people I interviewed, Karen, Savinder, Dana, Carissa, Randy, Sarjinder, and Rose, would be plagued by the search for truth, discover truth, and discover Jesus. Amen.