“Ask yourself, why do you seek the Cup of Christ? Is it for His glory or for yours?” – Templar Assassin, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’
In my years, I have answered challenges to my Faith and philosophy from every direction it could come – secular philosophy, science, atheism, cults, and even the Christian Church. Yet now in the deafening roar of silence, I have encountered a foe that I don’t know how to defeat. He is like a Shade that doesn’t fight back…
I have lately become discouraged in my quest to find Truth. My discouragement hasn’t been because I couldn’t find it but rather because of the way the modern world receives it. People seem to be too preoccupied with their own petty lives to even notice what’s going on around them. What’s more is that since each person’s life seems most important to him, it never even occurs to him to consider otherwise. It has become more important to people to cater to their own lives rather than to seek the Truth. Many have become little more than animals.
I have thought long and hard about how to deal with this problem, but this is the ghost I cannot fight. It’s pointless to even write an argument here because it isn’t a matter of choice within people. Though it may sound like I’m describing selfishness (and in the past, I’ve mistakenly believed it to be), it isn’t the selfishness in people that I see. Selfishness requires both the awareness of serving one’s self at the expense of others and the awareness of serving others at one’s own expense, and with that awareness, choosing to serve self. What I see is a limited awareness within people, a vice which is inherent within man and which compels him to cater to himself. And since it is a matter of awareness rather than of choice, most cannot grasp it even when exposed to it.
Consider the atheist. He isn’t atheist because he is anti-God or a hater of religion, both of which are negatives. He is atheist because his knowledge, experience, and his beliefs present to him that atheism is the best way of life for him to live. He lives in a manner that is, according to his own understanding, the ‘right way.’
Consider the Christian. He isn’t Christian because he is inherently good and in accordance with righteousness. He is Christian because he has learned and experienced things that has caused him both to believe in God and to believe that God is the God of the Bible. He lives his life in a manner which he sees as the best way he should live. ‘God loves me!’ That is to say, ‘God is a positive part of my life because He makes me feel special and important.’
Ultimately, both the atheist and the Christian – who are total opposites in most respects – are exactly the same, fundamentally. They both live in the manner they see as best. I’ve seen that this is universal across all beliefs and customs of man because it is an inescapable limitation of man to see the world from a first-person perspective. Our beliefs reflect our knowledge of ourselves as individuals. It is our vain effort to cater to our own minds about the world around us. All of man’s labors are for his mouth, yet his appetites are never filled.
Yet Truth stands in the gates, raising her voice in the streets, ‘How long, you simple-minded, will you love simplicity?’ She is always there, even while men stumble blindly in their own minds trying to find her. Despite where they may wander, she will always be.
As a scholar, I have often asked myself the question that since I am a man subject to this inescapable curse, how can I know that my own thoughts on these things are Truth and not simply vanity? For I know that Truth is spiritual, and I am flesh. I do not understand my own actions. If I hear her voice and heed her instructions rather than following what I believe to be right or best, I can know that I am in accordance with her. Though my curse is inescapable, I can for but a moment catch enough of a glimpse of her that I have hope of moving in the direction to find her. But to follow my own understanding of what is ‘right’ or ‘best’ is to fall into the abyss of deception.
How do I help others understand this? How to make them even see it? As a scholar, I am able to shape and mold others’ experiences into an image of knowledge within their minds, but I cannot mold something that is not there. Will the sleeper ever awake? Should it? Will this Shade ever become something real in mankind?
To say that God is worthy of my obedience and worship even if there were no redemption and even if I knew I were destined to Hell at His decree – without benefit, acknowledgement of Who He is rather that of what He has given me – that is Truth.