A legitimate first question to ask is why a person should even bother to search for truth, whatever that may be. After all, as many can argue, why consider the question of ultimate truth—whether that means belief, non-belief, or something in between—when there are so many interesting and urgent things to deal with in everyday life? A person could, in theory, live a perfectly content existence never wrestling with the questions at hand.
Well, one of the things that has always resonated with me is a statement made by the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the podcast Radiolab many years ago. I can still remember driving through Westchester County to a night shift in the E.R. when his words, for whatever reason, had an immediate and piercing effect on me. I’ll paraphrase slightly, but when asked how significant humans are in the context of the universe, Mr. Tyson said, “We are specks upon a speck upon a speck.” So indeed, our “speckedness” serves as a humbling frame of reference for our position in the majesty of the cosmos. As it pertains to the truth, I first admit that I am a speck and will never be able to fully grasp everything in the universe. But not only are we specks in physical space, but we are also specks in time—that is, we may live for 80 years or so, but in the context of eternity our brief life is but a speck on the radar of time. Hence, as it pertains to the truth, our present is significant, but eternity matters more simply because there is so much more of it. Finally, any person with a pulse can be absolutely, irrefutably 100% certain about a concrete fact: Valar morghulis. And for all those who do not speak High Valyrian or watch Game of Thrones, this translates as, “All men must die.” Death is not only the great equalizer but the inescapable endpoint of all life. As it pertains to the truth, my search therefore turns not necessarily to what I’m doing now but to what will happen later. True, nothing may happen, but I cannot simply dismiss the great equalizer with a shrug of the shoulders. Accordingly, when I contemplate all these things (speckedness, death, and eternity), I begin to wonder what is really true and how that imputes meaning, purpose, and significance to everyday life. In the end, even if I am just a bag of DNA, my humanity yearns to know and understand, and an existence in which I deny my humanity, in my opinion, isn’t a very pleasant existence. Consequently, in pursuit of understanding, the purpose of this series is to look for answers to critical questions, and I hope you will join me in the search for truth.