Does truth need defending? Does it “demand” to be believed in? Would it be a blasphemy, or sacrilege, to ignore the truth?
The answer to the three questions above is singular – a resounding NO. Truth does not need defending. It does not “demand” to be believed in. And it is firmly indifferent to people who do ignore it. However, if you do ignore it, natural laws are likely to act against your best interests. For example, if you ignore the fact that your door is closed, the door won’t mind. However, if you walk right into it, you’ll collide with it, fair and square. And then you’ll be thoroughly sorry for ignoring such simple truths - that your door is real, and solid, and closed, and can give you a black eye.
But if this is the case, why then is there a caste of people who feel like they need to defend their particular blend of “truth?” I’m, of course, referring to all fundamentalists. I’m referring to all people who meet at a certain place, once every week, and firmly affirm their beliefs in certain core concepts. They hold hands together, and shout, with total conviction, something to this effect: “Yes, I believe in this and that! Amen! I also believe in this other thing! Amen! Lord, give me the strength to keep up my faith, and keep on believing! Amen!”
Few people who do this ever pause to wonder at the rationality behind the rituals. But in order to clarify the problem being addressed here, imagine the following. Imagine a number of scientists in a scientific convention, holding hands, and shouting: “Yes, we believe in gravity! Amen! Yes, we believe that when something is thrown up, up, up, it eventually comes down, down, down! Amen! I ask for more faith and spiritual strength, in order to keep on believing that all things fall down! Amen!!”
The scenario about scientists described above feels, intuitively, absurd. But why is this so? Simple. Facts don’t “demand” to be believed in. And humans don’t need faith in order to believe in facts. Facts are simply out there. The truth remains, whether or not we believe in it. And the truth does not require people to meet, on a weekly base, to affirm their faith in it. In a sense, actually, the truth is perceived best where faith is absent. This is because “faith” is largely hope in things unseen. And things unseen always have the inherent possibility of being purely imaginary.
Given the above, therefore, the question arises: why is it that some belief systems require people to congregate, regularly, to affirm their particular perspectives? And why is that they keep on asking for more “strength” to maintain their particular perspectives. If, indeed, their perspectives reflected reality, would they need strength, or even “more faith”, to keep their perspectives in line? If you have a real, physical friend called Abdi, do you need “more faith”, or “more strength”, to keep on believing in that friend? Do you need to go to a certain secluded place, once every week, to affirm, along with other like-minded people, that Abdi does exist, and is your friend?
Wouldn’t Abdi be self-evident enough, if he was real?