Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

thought experiments

1/7/12

Albert Einstein, in formulating his Theory of Relativity, employed what are known as thought experiments. In these, he imagined certain situations and from the associated questions drew his profound conclusions. This turned out to be a valid way to arrive at new scientific truth.

In the realm of religion, we most often rely exclusively on our understanding of a sacred text in order to determine and validate the Truth. This turns out not to be very satisfactory, because our text, the Bible, is so convoluted that many differing conclusions can be drawn about what is presented and what of that is essential Truth. Throughout the history of Christianity there has been no uniformity of understanding of the Bible. However, gradually a number of doctrinal points have come to be recognized as incontrovertible and essential by a majority. These essential points comprise so called Orthodoxy.

Despite the church's insistence on orthodox doctrine, Christians still pay lip service to the idea of validating one's own beliefs by comparing them with the scriptures personally. In actuality these personal examinations of the Bible often amount to little more than a shallow perusal aimed at justifying what is already taught and accepted as true.

Personally, I find that imaging all the real world situations which the church's doctrine must address and then asking how that doctrine operates within each situation and what implications and questions that raises is a far superior way to validate that doctrine. When imagined but yet real situations present an impossibility or absurdity or obviously contradict another "essential doctrinal element, I must conclude that the "Truth" is not really true. This questioning mode or attitude is absolutely essential to our spiritual well being and development. Nothing should remain sacrosanct within our faith if it cannot survive this kind of testing and experimentation.

The bottom line is this: there is more to Truth than mere words, including those in the Bible. There is an old expression: Beauty is as beauty does. I think the same sentiment applies to the Truth. What it does, i.e its results in our lives, is truth's substance and proof. If suggested truth leads our lives to a spiritual, ethical, or logical deadend, then, as far as I am concerned, we don't have the truth, only meaningless or at least misunderstood words.